Wednesday, May 25, 2011

All things being equal

This past weekend I was in a discussion group about the chapter on Gender Identity in Miroslav Volf's book, Exclusion and Embrace.  I found it the most disappointing chapter for reasons I will blog about later hopefully. There was a strong emphasis on equality of the sexes and issues of superiority and subordination. But,  I wondered if equality was interpreted in a particular modern way and held as such a high value that it swamped other issues and concerns.

The United States Declaration of Independence begins:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal".
"Liberty, equality, and fraternity" is the national motto of France and was a catchcry of the French Revolution.

Is such an emphasis on equality appropriate and Biblical?

Equity is a Biblical concept. A word search on the ESV (English Standard Version) gives
11 occurences.
Kings are to rule with righteousness, justice, and equity, and the LORD will judge with justice and equity.

Perhaps the key issue is how does our notion of equity compare to Gods? Any comments?


  1. Being Equitable and equality are not the same. I'll put it this way, equality does not materially/spiritually/mentally exists. However, we should treat those who are less than us (as well as those more than us) with respect. Of course this does not mean we are to be nice all the time either.
    I think the only thing equal between human beings are the idea that we are created in God's image. We all bare that stamp, even though it's now being marred by sin.

  2. These are the things that popped into my head. Perhaps I should Volff it up sometime soon too. He seems to be in fashion.

    As is partly demonstrated by Bernard's response, this is a tricky issue full of different ideas from different people relevant to different situations.

    I am clearly not of a comparable intellect to someone like yourself, Ross. While perhaps in some things I may prove your equal, theoretical physics and chemistry aren't ever likely to feature in that list.

    So, as Bernard asks, in what sense do people wish to be equal? To be regarded as equally important? In whose estimation? To be treated with equal respect as others?

    The guiding dynamics that I can think of in such a conversation would be:
    God's making of each human in His image.
    Humanity's ability to de-value itself.
    God's stated priority to lift up the poor and lowly.
    God's character within the trinity of mutual love, glorification and voluntary submission.

  3. We are all equally loved by God and all equally in need of a saviour. From the female perspective, though, we are not equal in church "life".