Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Gender of God: What if God is Female? (Part 3 of 4)

If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 of, “The Gender of God: What if God is Female?” 

What if God is female?

Honestly, who would have thought so much complexity could arise from referring to God as he? God transcends gender. There is a theological function and biblical context in the use of gendered language. The Godhead (Trinity) is the basis for reconstructed use of gendered language. Biblically, God is portrayed as Father and by the masculine pronouns. One might contest this hermeneutically (which was addressed earlier in this discussion). One may contend that masculine language for God emanates from a male-dominated biblical culture. Nevertheless, there is a redemptive hermeneutic (interpretation) in this biblical language and it should not be ignored.

In reality, God’s fatherly depiction (when understood properly) is meant to present an alternative image of what a father should be. It is not the distorted portrait of a father that has already been discussed. God the Father is loving, forgiving, just, redeeming, and gracious. God is the father to the fatherless (Ps. 68.1-10). God steps in as the surrogate father to the abused and abandoned. Redemption is the champion argument in favor of God as father. One is redeemed in Christ’s work of the cross (death and resurrection). This is the promise of God.

As the divine, God transcends gender, but it is evident that language is important. What if God is omnigender? What if God is female and male? The Godhead is three persons and one God. The Holy Spirit takes on two forms in biblical language, feminine (Hebrew) and neuter (Greek). But, linguistic gender (he, she, masculine, feminine, and gendered language) and physiological gender (whether one perceives God as a male or female being) are different matters. These distinct definitions have, unequally, influenced the interpretation of divine gender issues.  

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