Gen. 1:27 (NRSV-CE) says:

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

See that the author of Genesis puts two accounts: one, on the creation of humankind in God's own image and the second, on the creation of humans as male and female, in one single verse as if in one breath. Note that the two parts are not joined (or separated) by a conjunction like `and', therefore or but, but are only divided by the punctuation of semicolon. One could be pardoned for doubting if the second part of Verse 27 owes its origin to the first part . In other words, does the “image” of God in which mankind was created, contain primordial elements of both masculinity and femininity?

My question therefore is: According to Catholic scholars, does the second part of Verse 27 of Genesis 1 have any connection to the first part?

  • Asking “according to catholic scholars” seems too broad. Maybe try specifying a bit.
    – Luke Hill
    Jun 3, 2022 at 5:08

1 Answer 1


St. Thomas Aquinas explains this in Summa Theologica I q. 93 a. 4 ("Whether the image of God is found in every man?") ad 1:

The image of God, in its principal signification, namely the intellectual nature, is found both in man and in woman. Hence after the words, "To the image of God He created him," it is added, "Male and female He created them" (Gn. 1:27). Moreover it is said "them" in the plural, as Augustine (Gen. ad lit. iii, 22) remarks, lest it should be thought that both sexes were united in one individual. But in a secondary sense the image of God is found in man, and not in woman: for man is the beginning and end of woman; as God is the beginning and end of every creature. So when the Apostle had said that "man is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man" (1 Cor. 11:7), he adds his reason for saying this: "For man is not of woman, but woman of man; and man was not created for woman, but woman for man." (1 Cor. 11:8)

tam in viro quam in muliere invenitur Dei imago quantum ad id in quo principaliter ratio imaginis consistit, scilicet quantum ad intellectualem naturam. Unde Gen. I, cum dixisset, ad imaginem Dei creavit illum, scilicet hominem, subdidit, masculum et feminam creavit eos, et dixit pluraliter eos, ut Augustinus dicit, ne intelligatur in uno individuo uterque sexus fuisse coniunctus. Sed quantum ad aliquid secundario imago Dei invenitur in viro, secundum quod non invenitur in muliere, nam vir est principium mulieris et finis, sicut Deus est principium et finis totius creaturae. Unde cum apostolus dixisset quod vir imago et gloria est Dei, mulier autem est gloria viri; ostendit quare hoc dixerit, subdens, non enim vir est ex muliere, sed mulier ex viro; et vir non est creatus propter mulierem, sed mulier propter virum.

cf. Popik Philosophy of Woman of St. Thomas Aquinas, pt. 1 "The Nature Of Woman", § "Essential Equality Of All Humans"

  • Thanks, Geremia, for meaningfully editing the title of my question. As for your answer, it is sad that Aquinas, while recognizing the meaning of Gen 1:27, has gone on to state that in a secondary sense the image of God is found in man, and not in woman. Jun 6, 2022 at 7:57
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    @KadalikattJosephSibichan Why's that "sad"? It comes straight from St. Paul (1 Cor. 11:7-8).
    – Geremia
    Jun 7, 2022 at 5:24
  • It needs to be explained if 1 Cor 11: 7-8 is to be read as Logos , or only as the personal view of St Paul. For example, would Paul say that St Joseph was created in the image and glory of God, and Blessed Virgin Mary , as the glory of Joseph ? After all, does 1 Cor 11:7-8 go shoulder-to-shoulder with Gen 1:27 ? Jun 8, 2022 at 6:39
  • @KadalikattJosephSibichan I would contest it can more truly be said that the Blessed Vrigin is the glory of Christ, as in being made by Him and for Him, however, it can also be said she is the glory of St Joseph. Qualifying Sacred Scripture as a "personal view", especially of St Paul, with the intention to disregard it is irreverent and leads to heresy.
    – Glorius
    Aug 19, 2022 at 10:10

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