Let's begin with the basics: Anyone who believes in the Bible should be a liberal. Why? Because according to the Bible, God is a liberal. The traditional liberal view sees every human being as having certain unalienable rights. The Bible says these rights are grounded in the very act of creation, when God created human beings in God's own image (Genesis 1:26). And not just men. Women, also, are created in God's image (Genesis 1:27).
This is an oft repeated statement, that we take for granted, but rarely consider the implications. As someone recently pointed out to me, we need to stop and consider what the first listeners of these verses would have thought. In most civiliztions of the time, the king, or members of the royal house, were the only ones considered to have a close connection to the divine. They were the representatives of the gods on earth. Or they were descendants of the gods. They were set apart from ordinary people.
So to the first listeners, something extraordinary and revolutionary was being said in Genesis: All humanity -- men and women -- were created in God's image. No human being could lord it over any other human being as having some sort of hereditary advantage to the divine. All people enjoyed the same standing with God, participating in the Divine act of bestowing It's own image in Its creation.
So from the very beginning, we see that what was considered a very liberal idea in the 18th century, already had been said millenia sooner by the author of Genesis.
What are the implications of this? To be explored next time.