THEOLOGY, having the greater Subject, is the study of our Creator and His works of providence and redemption. It has been called the queen of sciences and all other sciences are rightly pursued only in recogntion of its primacy.
ANTHROPOLOGY, having the lesser subject, is the study of humanity – God’s creature made in the divine image. Especially in light of the incarnation, it is best regarded as a sub-heading of theology. Man cannot be known aright apart from his Creator. Nor, for that matter, can anything be known properly apart from God.
The holy Bible is the primary text for both disciplines. And we are capable of error in both disciplines when we drift from that primary, authoritative text. Some errors introduce ideas that are utterly alien to the Bible – for example “reincarnation” as taught in certain Eastern religions, or the idea that any form of religious devotion is divinely acceptable so long as the devotee is sincere.
But most errors twist Biblical truth out of shape, cf. 2 Peter 3:16. Egalitarianism is such an error in anthropology. The truth it twists is the one expressly stated at Genesis 1:27 and 9:6 and preceptively revealed in the whole counsel of God. Namely, every human being whether male or female or of whatever ethnicity is a spiritual being having the high dignity of bearing God’s image.
The rest of the story so to speak is that our equality is not a cookie cutter equality. A five foot tall female gymnast and a seven and half foot tall pro basketball player are quite unequal in physical stature, but spiritually both bear the image of God.
In regard to the two sexes, God has added differences to that fundamental equality. Men and women differ not only in the obvious physical ways, but in ways less tangible. Generally speaking, men and women differ in how they think and in emotional traits. Similarly, we see differences added to the basic equality of divine image bearing as we observe the families, tribes, and nations of mankind.
Analogy: A ceramic worker might use the same lump of clay to make a cup, a saucer that holds cups, and a dinner plate. God took of the flesh of the first man Adam to make the first woman Eve. The entire human race is their offspring. So out of the same “divine image lump” the Almighty Potter sculpted us all. But we don’t all have the same gifts, callings, or roles.
Egalitarianism is the error of insisting on an equality that ignores these secondary differences. When a society is infected with it, the erosion of the “nuclear” family and its distinct roles for fathers, mothers, and children as well as various forms of destructive ungodly social trends and even social engineering follow.
Comparing the two major revolutions of the late 18th century of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is illustrative. The colonial Americans’ declaration of independence is not only the matrix of the U.S. constitution, it is a document that reveals their world view, ethos, and passion. It asserts that core human equality which comes from the Creator and goes on to profess bedrock dependence on His providence.
Despite the flaw of chattel slavery which ended about “four score and seven” years after its founding, America became the land of the most personal liberty and opportunity ever experienced in history, and a beacon of the same for the rest of the world. May it remain so.
The French revolution was rooted in a-Theistic sophistry. Its motto of “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” (Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood) sounds attractive. But since it despised the Biblical doctrine of God the Creator and humanity the divine image bearing creation – endowed with certain rights by the Creator – the fruit of that revolution included baseless, jealous denouncements of the upright simply because of their prosperity, the insatiable guillotine, and the Reign of Terror.