Saturday, February 14, 2009

God - Male or Female ?

It began way back in early history recorded for us in our own scriptures - an obsession with worshipping a female god.

Manasseh, an extremely evil king, went so far as to make a carved image of Asherah, who was a Semitic mother goddess of Baal, and set it up in Solomon’s temple that was to be holy to the Lord God! (II Kings 21:7)

The people of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord by worshipping Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians.. (Judges 3:7, I Kings 11:33)
King Solomon, at the end of his life - in spite of his wisdom and experiences with God - built a temple for Ashtoreth, who “was the abomination of the Sidonians”. (II Kings 22:13)

The people of Israel also worshipped the Queen of Heaven . She probably identifies with Ishtar, known in Mesopotamia as a goddess of love and war and the planet Venus. (Jer. 7:18, Jer. 44:17)

We have the history of many cultures who had female gods: Isis, Sophia, Shakti, Aphrodite, Athena - to name a few.
Christianity, of course, has held to the masculine when referring to the God of all Creation and the God of the bible.

Until recently......

Suddenly, there is a rebellion, an aversion, a shift away from an unquestionable 'He' to referring to God in the feminine pronoun.
New bible versions lean to the gender inclusive, hymns are reworded, books like The Shack go to the extreme in portraying God outright as a woman, voices are arguing for the validity of ‘mother’ God.

A justification reason is that God is beyond gender .. therefore is neither male or female, and since there has been an imbalance in the insistence of declaring Him male there is need to now portray him as feminine. Another reason given is that many people have a problem with the father figure in their life and they find it much easier to accept God if they see him more like a mother.

What is it we want ? Do we think that if we can visualize God as a mother , we will fear Him less ? that we can count on a more benevolent god, one more easily moved to compassion and One who will overlook our sinful ways ? One less inclined toward judgement ?

I have never had a problem with God being spoken of as HE - in all references referred to in the masculine. It is the language of the bible and I have never been tempted to wish it to be otherwise.

But with the changing popular trend around me I have been forced to think about it and
have come to a firm conclusion...... There is a very solid reason to not move away from the Father/male image of God.
It came to me the other morning while my husband was praying before breakfast.

When God created man , He created Adam first – then took Eve out from his side.
The woman was created out of man. (Gen 2:23)
Yes, MAN - created in God’s image - is male and female… BUT … the woman was created FROM man… she is therefore ‘a part of man’.

God can never be ‘a part’ or spoken of in terms that indicate 'coming from someone or something ' else !! He must be the whole, the first! Therefore He cannot ever be spoken of in female terms.
He speaks of Himself in the masculine… as the Father -- because that is the only accurate description of who He is and how we are to think of Him!

"A FATHER of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in HIS holy habitation." (Psa 68:5)
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6 comments:

Angie said...

Amen!

:o)

Tammie @ Are You For Real? said...

Julie, you have done SUCH a good job of explaining the reason for not attributing female qualities to our Heavenly Father. I think many believers 'feel' that it would be wrong to do that, but aren't quite able to explain why.

To your reasoning, I'd like to add that:

God is strong and powerful and FULLY capable of protecting us ... just as we have always desired from the men in our lives (husbands and fathers).

God is a strong provider and FULLY capable of supplying what is needed for life and health ... just as we have always desired from the men in our lives (husbands and fathers).

These are not attributes commonly associated with a feminine figure, so in referring to God as a woman, we strip Him of two very important characteristics.

Elsie said...

Yes!!! There are so many distortions of God's word coming out these days. It all started with, "Did God really say......" (Gen.3:1)

Lovella said...

I so appreciate your moments of clarity when you see the hows and whys and whats of the Bible. Thank you for your explanation of this. . .

Gwendolyn said...

You have wisely spoken! How very true - and a great explanation of reasons why we ought to refer to God in the masculine sense. It has way more to do with God's character, shown to us in His Word, way back in creation, than it has to do with our societal perception of tolerances!! In fact, if God, in His Word has preserved the masculine gender in Scripture over all these years and refers to Himself in those terms, why is that not good enough for us? Thank you too for taking a bold stand with reference to The Schack!!! I am so grieved to see so many Christians swallowing such portrayals of God so flippantly and written by one, so sadly going on his own interpretations of Scripture because of past grievances. Thanks Julie!

leslie wong said...

Yes, man was created in the image of God. God is complete, therefore He created man complete. Masculine and feminine is God, but mostly masculine, because He did create Adam in His image, and Adam came out masculine. Eve came out of Adam; a feminine creation that was created from man. God separated his original creation because it was discontent with the idea of being complete in itself. God pulled Eve out of Adam to physically COMPLETE him. Adam searched for a mate, and God knew he needed a mate. But since Adam was already complete, no mate would have been suitable. God, therefore, took something vital from Adam, gave it life, and gave it back to Adam, so that he can have a physical mate, and also continue to be emotionally complete.