God the Mother

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Theology' started by Dallas Rivera, Oct 29, 2017.

  1. Dallas Rivera

    Dallas Rivera New Member

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    One of my rather liberal and SJW friends said God can be a mother because he is God and has no gender. I responded saying that God is our Father and not a mother because he reveals himself as Father in scripture, and when God came to Earth he was a man. It is also against tradition to call God "mother". Am I wrong? Please feel free to pitch in your two cents on this matter.
     
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  2. Philip Barrington

    Philip Barrington Well-Known Member

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    Hi Dallas, sorry to do this to you.

    Article I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity
    There is but one living and true God, ever-lasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
    The bit I wanted to underline for you is without body, parts or passions. It is inadequate to speak of God as gender constrained, and really that is what the thirty nine articles say.

    This is, as we would all expect, in complete conformity with Holy Scripture.

    Genesis 1:26-27
    Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’
    So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.​

    So in creation we see that the image of God is carried Male and Female. Each of us in completeness carries the image of God, yet in order to bear the image and the likeness we have been created male and female. In a sense this is in itself a reflection of the mystery of relationship bound in the Holy Trinity.

    The convention (Holy Tradition) accepted for a long time is the refer to God as Father (and so we speak of the monarchical integrity of the Father) and indeed Jesus taught us to pray Our Father ... so the general convention of Church language is expressed as such. Nonetheless there have been Holy people in history who have challenged us beyond this narrow confine, and in our own tradition Blessed Mother Julian of Norwich springs most readily to mind.

    Perhaps in recent time the hymn writer Brian Wren has most successfully turned our attention to it in his hymn Bring Many Names which I like as a hymn, however you have to sing all the verses as a whole, and if you only sing verse 2 you will twist the intent and corrupt the meaning.


    In the long run I think we are called to have a big view of God, and if that is where someone wants to go I can be happy, HOWEVER there is also a trendy movement that see this as a projection of feminist politics into theology, and that is an area to tread with care. Let our faith inform our politics, and not our politics inform our faith.
     
  3. Dallas Rivera

    Dallas Rivera New Member

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    Thank you for your corrections :)
     
  4. Philip Barrington

    Philip Barrington Well-Known Member

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    Please Dallas, it is a conversation, not a correction. You asked for two cents worth, and that is what you got, though some may think that is an inflated estimate of their worth!
     
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  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I'm 100% with you, God is Father.

    To try to call him any other names would be to adopt the heresy of transgenderism, denying the natural order of the world and the natural order of the genders.

    Your interlocutor may try to argue that since God is transcendent he cannot have a human gender. While that's true on the surface it is a facile effort: God cannot be angry either, right? Yet he is clearly said to be angry. And he is also said to be a he! And a Father! Either Sacred Scripture is true or it is not.

    If Sacred Scripture is true, then how can God be described as having a gender or having emotions? Theologians have answered all this, hundreds and thousands of years ago: natural language cannot describe God as he actually is. The only thing natural language can do is describe God analogically..

    This was a very helpful article to me on this, from the eighteenth century apparently: http://www.anglican.net/works/william-king-sermon-predestination-consistent-with-free-will/
    There it is argued that we can be said to be predestined, and to have free will, at the same time, because God's attributes such as being omniscient and omnipotent are analogical.

    If God's attributes are analogical, then it is appropriate to describe Him as Father, because he is the author and progenitor of the human race (according to Biblical anthropology man comes first, and from him comes woman). God is our teacher, which according to Scripture is the province of the Father of the family. And certainly not less than anything else is the fact that he's simply described as a He, and a Father, in Sacred Scripture, which is God's own word...!
     
  6. anawkwardaardvark

    anawkwardaardvark Member Typist Anglican

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    In the words of Cyprian of Carthage, “you cannot have God for your Father unless you have the church for your Mother.”

    God is Father, Christ is the Bridgegroom, and the Holy Spirit is making us (the Church) His bride. Christ is the New Adam and through God's grace we the Church shall be the New Eve.
     
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  7. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I read that for the early church, the Holy Spirit represented the feminine aspect of the Trinity. I've not researched it so I cannot vouch for the statement's veracity...but I do see in the old testament and the apocrypha that divine Wisdom is personified as a woman, which lends credence to the claim imho.
     
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  8. Philip Barrington

    Philip Barrington Well-Known Member

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    The Hebrew rhua variously rendered as breath or Spirit is grammatically feminine, which on the one hand proves nothing however is seen to add weight to this discussion. If the Holy Trinity was however entirely masculine it would make understanding some of the Genesis creation narrative more difficult. The Greek pneumatos is grammatically neuter and was rendered in the Vulgate in Latin espiritos which is grammatically masculine. The notion of gender in grammar is not however the be all and end all of the gender debate, and is not the same as saying it's a boy! or it's a girl!, it may add weight to the argument but can not be the argument in itself.

    Also there is the feminine aspect drawn in the image in Matthew 23:37.

    Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!​

    This image of the Lord's speaking is quite striking from this point of view, in that it in stands together with many images in his words which are characteristically more masculine.

    Our notion of God in the end I think should transcend the limitations of the human experience, and that includes gender. That is why I commenced by looking at Article 1 without body parts or passions as indicative of the depth of the tradition in which we stand.
     
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