Re-examining the Status of Women (and Men) from the Start

Genesis 1: 26-28 (NIV, I’ve added bold type for emphasis)

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them

male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.

You may notice one ‘them’ that I didn’t bold: ‘in the image of God he created them.’ The translators of the 2011 NIV, in their desire to make this word gender neutral have opted for ‘them’, rather than the masculine ‘him’ found in most translations. The Hebrew word here is singular, and English doesn’t have a gender neutral singular, apart from ‘it’, so ‘them’ is a best compromise. This problem sums up the problem we are looking at here: is God’s emphasis on him, or her, or them? If we read this passage as a whole the answer is clearly them. Read more