Is God male? TEC contemplates revising the Prayerbook again

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by Lowly Layman, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Article1.jpg

    My view is that we have already resolved the question.

    1. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity
    There is but one living and true God, everlasting, 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.
     
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  3. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    My thoughts on the matter are that while God is neither male nor female, He has chosen to reveal Himself to humanity as a Father. All of the scriptures refer to God in that role, and we cannot change that to suit our feelings. He could have chosen to portray Himself as a Mother, but He didn't. We have to respect and accept that as His will.
     
  4. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    While God has revealed himself as Father in the words of Jesus and has often revealed himself to be a mother-figure as well as a father figure, and the regular trinitarian formula still stands for obvious reasons, as Wil Gafney even said in the article. This is merely a semantic thing that requires attention to detail and the evolution of language so as to get at what is the truth: God has no gender and fully embodies both male and female more perfectly than any on earth.
     
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  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I would disagree with the honorable gentlemen above, for God can be indeed described as male, insofar as all his attributes are analogical and not literal anyway.... Here is what I wrote earlier:

    ====
    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!

    Theologians have answered how God can have a gender..: 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...!
     
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  6. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    Don't get me wrong I'm all for gender equality, but I can't help saying to "God female gender " crusaders, "Us men can't help being the way we are, it's the way God made us, so blame her". Try It! You'll be amazed at the speechless reaction you get.
     
  7. Jordan of the waters

    Jordan of the waters New Member

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    I believe in God, FATHER almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

    I believe in Jesus Christ, HIS only son, our Lord.....
    he is seated at the right hand of the FATHER.....

    Think we need to take America back and teach them the Apostle's Creed.
     
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member Anglican

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    How far do you want to take the metaphor of 'Father'? Are you thinking that God has a penis and scrotum, with which 'He' presumably begot the only begotten Son? (and within whose vagina did God perform this begetting act, one might ask). If God is male, then surely He must have male genitalia? (It should not be difficult for anyone to see the theological Pandora's Box which is opened by attributing exclusive 'masculinity' to God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, who is 'Spirit', not flesh.

    I think "God is Spirit" trumps, FATHER almighty, when comparing God to human 'fathers', and therefore idolatrously attributing the First person of The Trinity with physical human characteristics, including presumably facial hair and male genitalia. (Unless this 'male' Diety is a eunuch, in which case I don't see how God's only Son got begotten).

    Literal interpretation can often erroneously extrapolate illogically, reaching bizarre conclusions unwarranted in scripture.
    .
     
  9. neminem

    neminem Member

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    For us human organisms to relate to God, there is gender.
    God is Spirit and Truth.
     
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  10. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member Anglican

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    Quite so!

    It seems to me that to change the creed to "I believe in one God, the parent almighty, maker of heaven and earth", might be theologically accurate but it does not quite 'cut it' either poetically or traditionally.

    Neither would "We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Parent Almighty".

    God is metaphorically a Father. Not a Parent. A parent can be either male or female for sure, but God The Father Almighty does not, and never has had, a Wife. The Father is therefore not one Parent of a Pair of parents. God is metaphorically the Father of everything, not just every-one.

    The answer to people not understanding what is meant by calling Almighty God a Father, is not to change all references to Him as Father, but to educate the ignoramuses who make stupid literal assumptions, rather than make the personal effort to understand the 'faith of their Fathers'.
    .
     
  11. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It seems to me the second part of your post undermines the first, for you are indeed making a theological argument about God as Father (and am glad this is so!)... I would say it wouldn't be accurate even theologically to call him just a "Parent"... He is our metaphysical father, for life in the divine sciences comes from the father and not the mother... a father is the origin of his progeny, and so God the Father is the origin of all creation
     
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member Anglican

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    Which, I think is what I said. All things come from God. That is a rather more profound theological concept than assuming God must be 'masculine'. The idea of masculinity being essential in procreation does not apply to God. That is idolatrous 'human think'. Isa.55:8-9. God needs no human genitalia to procreate. God CREATES, He does not procreate. God's Fatherhood is a metaphor, not a literalism.

    Not quite so sure that scripture is quite in full agreement with you on that though. Gen.3:20.
    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018 at 11:22 AM
  13. Jordan of the waters

    Jordan of the waters New Member

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    I guess I hadn't ever taken the metaphor this far. To pick out an example of God manifesting as a humanoid in the old testament, Exodus 4:24 KJV describes God coming to Moses and nearly killing him in what sounds like a wrestling match! I'm sure Moses, the supposed author of Exodus would have made a note that it was a woman who did this to him, and not the King of Heaven he describes in Genesis.

    Whether or not this is just a humanoid "mask" God chose to use because we are too closed minded and mortal to understand his true form is up for debate, but this is a possibility.

    Perhaps it is indeed Idolatorous to insist on referring to the Lord as father, but it is also perhaps heretical and unfounded to try and change what little understanding we inherited from the church fathers and the scriptures as experts have interpreted them and agreed on for many years.

    Finally, Jesus Christ our Lord himself teaches in Matthew 23:9 that only God in Heaven is your Father. If there's one infallible teacher it's him - and he would likely have pointed out the Pharisees insisting on God as "father" erroneously rather than concurring with them.

    Once again though I suppose it is yet another mystery of faith - one we may only truly understand when all is revealed.
     
  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member Anglican

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    I think you must be getting your OT stories mixed up. God, met Moses, "by the way in the inn, and sought to kill him" Ex.4:24-26., but no mention is there of a wrestling match. That happened much earlier to Jacob, (Israel) Gen.32:24-32.

    These OT 'appearances' of God to man, are known as Theophany. If God were 'a man', (i.e masculine, male, man etc.), instead of just 'having the appearance of a man', 'appearance of a cloud', 'appearance of a pillar of fire', then God could not also be a 'Pillar of Cloud', a 'Pillar of fire' or 'a still small voice'. All these 'appearances' are not actually God, They are merely what OUR MINDS make of the experience of 'meeting' God. We do not have the emotional, intellectual or physical equipment to 'see God', as He is. That is why it clearly states in John's Gospel that "No one has seen God". 1 Jn.4:12, and Jn.1:18.

    No! it is only idolatrous to refer to God as if God were 'a man', 'male', 'masculine', 'human'. (except in the case of Jesus, who was actually ALL of those, including also, ' God'.
    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018 at 2:41 PM
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  15. Jordan of the waters

    Jordan of the waters New Member

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    That's what I meant, sorry - I do get these OT references mixed up!

    Yeah, I guess that's what I'm getting at. I would still say it seems silly to change the language of the liturgy - we inherited it from the early church, who had a much greater understanding of the events than we do, and as such the decisions made then are likely better informed by the Church Jesus formed.
     
  16. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It is most definitely NOT idolatrous; that is what the Son our Lord uses to refer to the Father...

    First of all, we all agree that our language regarding God's attributes is merely analogical, not ontological... This has been taught by the theologians and I fully embrace this teaching that we cannot speak of God as he is in himself, but only by analogy using human categories...

    That being said, the analogical category used for God has always been Father, and not Mother or some other entity... Can you explain why specifically 'Father' was used?

    Are you claiming that God's Fatherhood -- in the analogical sense we are meaning here -- excludes any sense of gender (again by analogy)? Why did have the Prophets, Jesus, the Apostles, the saints and martyrs and the whole church called him Father?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018 at 3:17 PM
  17. Tiffy

    Tiffy Active Member Anglican

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    Probably because in a patriarchal society that particular human role was more descriptive of God's essential nature towards His Creatures.

    In His essential life though God is actually a fellowship. This is perhaps the supreme revelation of God given in the scriptures: it is that God's life is eternally within himself, a fellowship of three equal and distinct persons, Father, Son and Spirit, and that in his relationship to his moral creation God was extending to them the fellowship that was essentially 'His' own. That might be read into the divine dictum that expressed the deliberate will of God to create mankind. "Let us make man, (Heb.: Adam = mankind), in our image, after our likeness". We are not made in the image of a 'man'. We are made in the image of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We marred that image in us, by fear, blame and shame, but God has restored that essential 'fellowship' through the atoning sacrifice of Christ. It is now available to all who will accept the truth of it in an appropriate manner.

    While it is under this relationship of Father that the NT brings out the tenderest aspects of God's character, his love, his faithfulness, his watchful care and strong dependability, it also brings out the responsibility of our having to show God the reverence, the trust, and the loving obedience that children owe a loving, caring Father or for that matter the respect one should have for the mother who carried us in the womb and nurtured us to adulthood.

    Christ taught us to pray, not only 'Our Father', but 'Our Father in Heaven', thus inculcating reverence and humility. This where the Father analogy is more appropriate for most of us. We may have protective feelings toward a 'Mother', but it is God who protects US, not we, Him.

    Not because God is a 'man' obviously. Not because God is 'male' or 'masculine' either, but because God is analogous to the best and most caring earthly Father, (In a patriarchal society this would have seemed the most appropriate analogy). There are also examples in scripture however where God's care for us is described by the analogy of the care of a mother for her birth infant. Isa.49:15. Isa.66:8-13. And the care of a mother hen for her chicks. Matt.23:37, Lk.13:34, 2 Esd.1:30. So we should not run away with the idea that these analogies are intended to imply that The first person of The Trinity is 'male', in any 'human sense', only that 'He' perfectly fits the role of a perfect human Father. Just as equally God fulfills the role of a perfect human Mother.

    Our problem with both of those metaphors is that we have little actual experience of either 'perfect human fathers' or 'perfect human mothers', so a great deal is left to our imagination when applying the images of Father or Mother to God. Not many of us have considered God as a hen with chicks either, I would suppose, but there it is. The scripture can't be denied, the image and metaphor is there.

    "I gathered you as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But now, what shall I do to you? I will cast you out from my presence." 2 Esd.1:30.
    .
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018 at 5:24 PM
  18. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    As an aside, we have to remember that the "patriarchal society" under discussion, Israel, was created by God himself. The Jewish people and their religion, were (if we are to believe the scriptures) established by God. He could have chose to reveal himself to Abraham, the Patriarchs, and the Prophets as female, but he chose not to, and not (in my opinion) in deference to these individuals having patriarchal values. As we see with Christ, God often overturned existing values and institutions, and he was not bound by what society or individuals wanted/expected. In the same way, while neighboring societies, e.g., the Egyptians, Greeks, Celts, etc., had females serving in various priestly capacities, God chose to establish an all-male priesthood for his chosen people. Of course God is not a man, but it is obvious that it was his will to interact with us in the role of a father, and attempts to change how God is described in the scriptures is both presumptuous on our part, and is an attempt at theological revisionism.
     
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    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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  20. neminem

    neminem Member

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    Jacob fought with an angel. At the end of the day the angel decided to call Jacob, Israel (one who struggles with God). It seems that those that followed Jacob are still struggling with God.
     

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