Does the Bible support that all are equal?

(Kelvin Bottle) #1

Something that cropped up recently. I am of the opinion that social view and what the Bible has to say on equality are somewhat different.

Some use the equality argument as a means to support unbiblical views.

For instance if i look to my marriage, we very much compliment each other that she is able to do things that I cannot and I can do things that she can’t.

Yet when we consider the issue of sin then we are all equal as mankind in that.

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(SeanO) #2

@Kelvin77 I think what is so beautiful about the Bible’s view of equality is that it does not require us all to be the same in order to all be equally valued as member’s of Christ’s body. We each have different gifts, different abilities and different roles, but we are still all one in Christ! That is so different from the worldly notion that equality means having what everyone else has or being able to do what everyone else does… The Christian view is that we are not the same, but every gift we have is from God, so we should use our gifts to humbly serve others. We are all one body in Jesus :slight_smile:

I Cor 4:6-7 - Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. 7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Galatians 3:26-29 - So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

1 Cor 12:12-20 - Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

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(Kenny) #3

Hi @Kelvin77, I think it is an interesting question that you brought up, because there are so many aspects of it when it comes to the concept of equality.

Just to name a few (non-exhaustive), there can be:

  • equality in capability
  • equality in standing with God
  • equality in importance of the individual to God
  • equality in calling

<< Equality >>

I do think that when we talk about the matter of sin, that all who sins have to be punished, it deals with equality when it comes to to the system that God laid out for the world. Everyone is treated equally in that framework, and nobody gets off with a “lighter punishment” just because they are different, or that they did something “less sinful”. This is also similar to the position of the individual to God. After all, God sent Heaven’s Best to die for us (everyone) on the cross, even those who will eventually renounced Him, their sin debts are still paid for regardless. Therefore, all souls are equally valuable in God’s eyes.

<< “Inequality” >>

On the other hand, if you talk about giftings or capabilities, there is definitely what we view as “inequality” in what is given to each one of us. Take for e.g., someone may be called to be a pastor vs someone who is called to be in a position of influence in the secular world. Both are very different callings, and therefore, in a sense, can be considered unequal. However, I am unsure if it can be classified precisely as to which is higher or less (since this is what the equality framework runs on). They are different, and therefore they are not equal, but that is not to say that one is more valuable (or of a higher magnitude) compared to the other. This will therefore tie in to your idea of your wife being able to do things you aren’t, and vice verse.

============

Hope this help share a different perspective on the question that you have brought up. :slight_smile:

(Stephen Wuest) #4

“Equal” is a terrible word.
Arbitrarily using equal to mean “same,” is a terrible mistake.

You really must define what you mean, when you ask whether we are “equal.”

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(Kathleen) #5

Totally agree; equality is not ‘sameness’. How do you tend to define ‘equal’ @Stephen_Wuest? :slight_smile:

(Stephen Wuest) #6

The Bible uses the word “equal” very little. The concept that we are all “equal” or that the outcome of everyone’s life must be “equal” is not really biblical language. “Equality” for everyone, with regard to any arbitrary topic, is really an atheistic politically correct slogan. I would rather that Christians move the discussion to concepts that the Bible uses.

For example, the Old Testament in Exodus commands that God’s people shall not show partiality/favoritism in applying God’s law. This concept is quoted by James in chapter 2 (when James gives the example of treating a rich man differently than a poor man). Historically, Christians would call this principle “equality before the law” (do you remember that phrase in the US Constitution?). But this refers to applying God’s moral/ethical law without discrimination/favoritism to God’s people. It is not a free-standing definition of “equality.” And it does not refer to applying equality before the law, with regard to a rule of law that is different than God’s moral/ethical law.

We see the Bible asserting that each person is individually morally/ethically responsible for what they choose to do. This is a type of “equality” that is biblical. But at the final judgment, when God impartially evaluates each of our lives against his moral/ethical code, there will be very different outcomes. Many people will be condemned. Few people will escape condemnation. Of those not condemned, the level of reward can vary from nothing, to huge (based on how we each lived out righteousness, or did not, or somewhere in between). There is no equality of outcome, at the final judgment. As Paul says, at the resurrection, we will differ in glory as the sun, moon, and stars all differ in their levels of glory.

Part of God’s moral/ethical code deals with sex, sexuality, sexual roles, gifts within God’s people, our age, types of authority, what God has called each of us to do, and the righteous acts that God has prepared for each of us to live out daily. As Paul says in Ephesians, we are God’s creation in Christ, for good works. Are we to demand that God use no creativity (and demand sameness) in how God created us into new creations? Some people like to quote Paul: “submit yourselves one to another, in the Lord.” However, they miss the following explanation of this ordering/arrangement that Paul is commanding: wives are to revere their husbands; husbands are to sacrifice their lives for their wives; children are to obey their parents; slaves are to obey their masters and work cheerfully for them; masters are to treat their slaves kindly and as equals (because both have the same master in heaven). The glory of the woman is the man. The glory of the man is Christ. The glory of children is to obey their parents. We are to submit ourselves to those who watch over our souls. “Equality” doesn’t really describe a specific man’s position among all men. Nor a specific woman’s position among all women. There is no “equality” here.

We do see radical language from Paul, who says that all who are “in Christ” are adopted sons of God, and co-heirs with Christ. We don’t quite feel the shock waves of this language, as would be felt in a Roman culture where women do not inherit, and a woman would not ever be an adopted son of anyone. And yet this outcome for all who are in Christ, is still subject to the conditions of the new covenant. It is not some sort of “entitlement” thing.

And then, the modern sense of “equality” bypasses the sovereignty of God altogether. In the modern usage, it’s not wrong that Jonah decided to go on a whale watching tour, instead of going where God commanded him to go. We can’t individually appeal to “equal opportunity,” and still respect the sovereignty of God to command me to live a very specific life that is different from what i think I am entitled to.

The biblical description of how I must allow God to be sovereign in my life, and I must not stridently demand the same outcome as people around me, or demand to define how I am to spend my life, or demand a self-defined identity, is VERY different than the modern PC language of “equality” that completely dispenses with God’s sovereignty.

This is where I would start the discussion about “equality,” with a fellow Christian.

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