Wednesday, November 30, 2011

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

What if God is female?

In retrospect, the problem is the application of interpreted language, tainted by experience, imposing human attributes upon a transcendent deity. Use of masculine or feminine language does not make God male or female; nor, does it deny the need for divine gender perceptions. God transcends gender (linguistically and physically). Physiology and language are not the same, but they work together. Hence, language interpretation is of critical importance. Theologically, God, as father, is important to biblical context and to redemptive interpretation. The language of a divine father or a divine lord is meant to replace – to purify – the distorted image of human fathers and rulers.

 In conjunction, what if that redeeming image can be used to call God, Mother? What if the counseling figure of the Holy Spirit represents God in feminine form? The Spirit of God is a guide to disciples, she is like a nurturing mother. People are baptized with the Holy Spirit, as an induction into the Church. This is their “new creation.” Baptism of the Holy Spirit is ones beginning in the family of God; their birth into the Christian faith (Mk.1.1-13).

Finally, what if God is neither male nor female in physical form, but both, masculine and feminine in gendered language? This is the work of a transcendent God, who is revealed in, through, and beyond the language of gender. God has no organic gender, but God is represented in a dialectal gender. God’s alternate gender dialect is a redeeming gift that has the power to heal the wounds of our tainted gender-language. Truly, this is why, God’s gracious work of the cross is so powerful. Because, people like me (and maybe you) need the love and grace of God.


  1. Hey Tim, this is Danny Brymer. Very interesting read and makes me think, which is great! I believe that God's attributes have been distributed among men and women, with men taking the warrior/leader and protector/provider attributes and women taking the nurturing, loving, and graceful attributes. That is why God saw it was not good for Adam to be alone, as he was only reflective of half of Himself, so he needed someone to complete that reflection and picture of God. As far as God being refered to as female, I believe we as followers should never refer to Him as such, since traditionally, and as illustrated in Scripture, man has been the head and woman has submitted to man. I am not a chauvinist by any means, but Scripture makes very clear the equal, but different roles of men and women. Men are no more like God than women are. But we should not think of God in too much of a feminine way that we think we can ignore His sovereignty. Today, everyone seems to focus mostly or only on His grace and love and ignore His equal role as the righteous judge who is to be feared and respected, so in a way many of today's Christians only recognize His feminine side, even if they haven't really thought about it in those terms.

  2. Hey Danny, I'm glad you enjoyed the read! You raise some good contextual points. The language we use for God is, very much, a matter of context. First, we have the context of biblical language. Second, we have the context of biblical cultures. Third, we have the context of tradition(s). Fourth, we have a context for interpretation. Fifth, we have the context of present-day cultures. Sixth, we have the context of present-day language. And, seventh, we have our personal context. All of these contextual matters taken (together or separately) bring a bias to the language and image of God.

    Fortunately, God transcends gender-language and gender-physiology.

    The gender roles, you speak of, are also the influence of a cultural and historical context. In the case of this subject and discussion, gender roles are a separate matter, which pose a different conversation. The scope of a gender role discussion is too grand for comment space. Perhaps, I'll blog on the subject at a later date.

    All-in-all, I'm glad you brought these questions/positions up because they lend an expressive view to the conversation that others may or may not identify with personally. Thanks again for reading! I hope you get a chance to dialogue with other viewers in the days ahead.