Second, rereading the Bible as a patriarchal book demands that continued efforts be made to distinguish between the divine and the human elements in it. For while the former exemplifies timeless truths for our salvation the latter inculcates practices that are socioculturally conditioned therefore inapplicable universally. In what Origen calls the principle of accommodation, God puts up with our imperfect knowledge of divinity and divine ways while leading us increasingly to an ever fuller or more perfect knowledge.
The women issue is obviously an area where God is leading us at present to a more perfect knowledge of the divine will. As humanity once cooperated with the old sinful order by belittling the status and implication of women in society, it now has a corresponding duty to cooperate with God in making concrete and visible the actuality of the new order restored by Christ. This demands that serious efforts be made to interpret into programs of action within our ecclesial structures our theological belief in our oneness in Christ.
In this respect, it is not merely the woman who needs to be liberated from subjection and oppression; the man needs to be freed from his evil tendency to lord it over women also treat them as inferiors, a propensity that is basically unchristian. Third, and most important, the rereading of the Bible demands that stress be placed on the vocation of woman as mother, God’s privileged instrument for conceiving and bringing forth life. In the past, inadequate recognition has been given to this singular role of woman in society.
This importance will go hand in hand with sustained efforts to build up and celebrate the motherhood of God. For though in the last analysis God is neither man nor woman the human categories we use to articulate our knowledge of God assist us in our relationship with God. Our celebration of the motherhood of God will assist us to approach God and Jesus as compassionate, merciful, and tender givers of life and refuge of sinners rather than as mighty lords to be feared and appeased.
On the whole, children fear and obey their fathers, who have power and authority. However they love and feel most secure with their mothers, who allow growth in them. Let us allow God to be our mother, and our father: the gain will be completely ours. In struggling for their God-given rights, women have to reject all measures that oppose their divine vocation as agents of life or that give the impression that they wish to lord it over men.
That would signify simply replacing one sinful system with another. The struggle for the emancipation of women can be genuine merely if it is liberation in Christ, in whom men and women form one body and where each party is called upon to study and endorse the well-being of the other, in that way sharing in God’s own life-giving activity. Sustained efforts have to be made to educate both men and women, through Bible study groups, in a proper understanding of the Bible.
There is noticeable need to awaken and free people from centuries of sociocultural and theological conditionings footed on a false understanding of the teaching of the Bible regarding women. Merely in this way will humanity come to know that truth in Christ which sets us all free. Merely in Christ can men and women be truly free to achieve to their full destiny as people created in the image and likeness of God.
References: Conrad Hyers (1984). The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science; Atlanta, John Knox