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The femininity of God. . . September 23, 2008

Posted by Nate in Church, Friends, Spirituality.
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Last weekend I was enjoying the final Saturday of the summer with some friends at the Bancrofts’ house. We had a fantastic time. As a side note: David, (the Worship Bloke) and Jess are fantastic hosts. If you’re ever invited to their house, don’t pass up on the invitation. You’ll regret it if you do.

Anyway, moving right along. I noticed something while there. Men are distinctly men, and women are distinctly women.

We’re each designed to have certain attributes that God placed within us. On the surface, they’re exhibited in things like our choice of drink and conversation. I have no idea what the women were talking about, but the men were talking about video games, technology, blowing stuff up, recording equipment. . . Okay, so “blowing stuff up” wasn’t really in conversation, but given enough time, it might have shown up.

But there we were, standing in a circle near the fridge, enjoying our beers and conversation that girls might interpret as mere grunting.

In the other room, the women were chatting about God-knows-what and sipping their glasses of Cabernet or Merlot.

But when the men entered the room, the conversation didn’t shift to male conversation or remain female. The dynamic changed. . . and as the exchange continued, the conversation grew spiritual.

I think that’s evidence that the man and woman were meant to come together on a spiritual plane. There’s something deep about that connection, even when there are multiple people in the room and many of the relationships are purely friendships.

Sure, there are deep conversations between women as there are between men. But there’s something unique about the exchange that a man has with a woman. It’s deeper somehow.

I think it’s a completion of God’s image in us. Whenever man and woman come together on any level—conversational, emotional, physical—the image of God has been put together.

While God has chosen to reveal himself in a distinctly masculine way, it would be presumptuous of us to view him as entirely male. God transcends male/female distinctiveness.

That’s not to say he’s neither male nor female. That would be to deny the fact that our gender distinctions aren’t part of God’s image in us.

God possesses qualities of both Man and Woman. He is both the Warrior and the Mother Hen.

I’m still exploring this idea for myself, but I find no reason to deny God’s feminine qualities. Moreover, I find reason to affirm that God does, in fact, transcend the gender differences.

Like I said, he has chosen to reveal himself to us in the masculine. But if we deny his femininity, we begin to say that God’s image is more pronounced in Man than it is in Woman. That’s an unfortunate conclusion because it leads to the abuse of the authority God gave Man.

Again, I’m still figuring this all out. Feel free to challenge me if you’d like. I’m very open-minded about this topic.

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Comments»

1. anotherviewpoint - September 23, 2008

Right on, Nate! I’ve come to that conclusion myself and completely agree. I think that creation expresses the Creator, so when you think about these things, we learn so much about God and who He is.

One other thing to think about: when I was single, I would hear people lament that they weren’t “complete” until they were married. I disagreed. Though the fullness of God is seen when the sexes are united, I think that just as Jesus is completely God and the Father is completely God and the Spirit is completely God in their own individual rights, when they come together they are the fullness of God. I haven’t thought much about it beyond that point, and perhaps an examination of “complete” and “fullness” are in order. But that’s the conclusion I came to anyway.

2. Mia - September 23, 2008

Can you expand on what you mean by “the authority God gave Man”?

3. Nate - September 23, 2008

Sure thing, Mia. The authority God gave Man in his relationship to Woman is found in Ephesians 5.22-24. Man is to be the head of his wife just as Christ is the Head of the Church. The problem comes in when a man has abused this authority.

Men have a tendency to leave out the part about Christ being Head over the Church. In other words, they forget the correlation. They are supposed to model Christ in his Lordship over the Church.

In other words, what did Christ do to show His authority over us? He gave His life for us. In the same way, Man’s authority over his wife comes only insomuch as he is willing to give his life.

4. Joey Hoelscher - September 23, 2008

Hmm, Nate, I think you’re actually a bit backward on this one. God does not show He is masculine or feminine by the traits He exhibits. This would be to judge God by a human standard, which seems backward to me.

Rather, human beings (both male and female, and true, perhaps in differing manifestations) show their likeness to God, or their bearing His image, by the traits THEY exhibit.

In other words, we are displaying the image of God when we exhibit the traits that He exhibits. God does not display human characteristics–humans display human characteristics, and some of them are in the image of God.

I think you also ought to be careful–the Bible never describes God as feminine. You say that God has the qualities of both a warrior and a mother hen. Perhaps true, but even there, the Scriptures use a masculine metaphor (shepherd) to describe God’s nurturing qualities. We must be careful when we say what the Scriptures do not say.

I appreciate you, brother, and hope you are well. I’ll let you know if I’m ever anywhere near NJ.

5. Bob McKissick - April 30, 2009

I think St. Paul has put the whole thing in focus. In Colossians 1-14-17, in the 15-17th verses we read, “Who(Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature: 16 For in Him were all thngs created in neaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him. 17 and he is before all, and by him all things consist.”
Adam and Eve are made in the Image and Likeness of God. If Christ is the Image of God, we can say that God made man in Christ(Image of God), and that as God made Eve from Adam, so Mary is made of Christ, the First Adam. The feminine of God seems to come from the creatability of the other than God. Mary is the personification of the feminine in God and is only inferior to God.

6. Roman - February 23, 2012

I just finishing writting a paper on gods feminine and masculine nature This might help you better understand:

In opposition to modern belief that from “the rib of a man” the woman was born, the Adam spoken of in Genesis is not male or masculine. Adam spoken of in Genesis is in fact a genderless, sexless, asexual, or an androgyny or hermaphrodite being created in the image of Elohim. Referencing to Adam sexual ambiguity, the Midrash Bereishis Rabbah reads, “Man and woman were born side-to-side.” And addressing the mistranslation of the word “rib” in the Torah, Rabbi Yoav said to me: “Bereishis only mentions that woman was made opposite of man. The more accurate Hebrew translation for the word “rib” is side. Instead of “from a man’s rib,” the more accurately translation is, “from Adam’s side (from Adam’s opposite)…” Adam’s ambiguous sex is closely connected to G-d’s name, “Eloh” + “im.” The prefixes “Eloh” and “Eloah” are the same, both connote a female presence in the name of Elohim (This feminine presence of Elohim in Tanakh is known in Kabbalah as “Shekhinah,” the mother-goddess), and the suffix “im” connotes a masculine present and ties both “Eloh” and “im” in singularity despite their plurality. Elohim is, however, still genderless. Therefore, Elohim spoke in Genesis, “Let us (male and female) make Adam (male and female) in our image … After our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). The “he them” is referring to Adam’s female, male nature. He (Adam) is them.

This explanation, however, does not make Elohim male or female, both male and female at the same time, or prove that there is more than one god. Elohim is genderless, sexless in his-her existence and is still only one. The purpose behind his name and plural speech is one, to demonstrate that man and woman were created on equal terms. The lesson is as follows, G-d embodies the characteristics of both male and female without being either of them—Elohim is everything without having to be anything.


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