how God self-identifies

Discussion in 'Non-Anglican Discussion' started by Rexlion, Jan 10, 2022.

  1. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Using the Creed a our starting point, we can also look at its third clause: "And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life"

    Anyone who confesses the Creed will automatically confess in the masculine pronoun for the third person of the trinity (and of the 2 others).
     
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  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    "Lord," as opposed to "Lady and giver of life." I never thought about that before!
     
  3. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I believe it’s common practice in military tradition to refer to female officers as “Sir”, not “Ma’am”. So I’m not sure we can infer from the masculine title “Lord” that “It” is an inappropriate pronoun for referring to the Holy Spirit.
     
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  4. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    Lord in this context is a position of authority, not a hereditary peerage. The Lord Mayor of Brisbane can be a woman, and Queen Elizabeth II is currently Lord of the Isle of Mann (not the Lady). Ladies do not rule. A woman who rules must be the Lord of the castle, not the Lady.

    Lord /lɔːd/ noun
    1. a man of noble rank or high office; a nobleman.
    2. a master or ruler.
    3. a name for God or Christ.
    ~ Oxford

    I mean it all seems quite pedantic anyway. We all know the Holy Spirit is neither male nor female so what does it matter if we refer to the Spirit as either "It" or "He"?
     
  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, let me ask this: would you refer to your grandparent as "it"?

    If the Holy Spirit is a person, then "it" seems quite inappropriate. But if one were advancing a non-Trinitarian concept of the Holy Spirit being an impersonal force, then "it" would be the pronoun of choice.

    I believe that He is the third person of the Trinity. In my thinking, respect for Him and a desire to express doctrinal clarity both define which pronoun to use.
     
  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    It’s just an accident of the English language. It doesn’t sound so strange in Greek.

    I think we have to be careful about ascribing personality to God so literally that it becomes univocal. The attributes of timelessness and transcendence imply a level of being far beyond anything we know in our experience as “personal”. A timeless being does not conceive thoughts and plans, and then execute them in temporal sequence. Terms like “divine foreknowledge” are thus a bit of misnomer. Also, consciousness is the awareness that “one is this, and not that”, yet surely this kind of duality cannot exist in God, who is utterly unique and exists apart from everything. To say this is of course to say that God is more than personal, not less than personal, but we have no positive content for that ascription. It is thus no more accurate to refer to the Holy Spirit as “He” rather than “It”, and we should thus look elsewhere than in a defense of “personhood” for the reasons why the tradition has stuck so doggedly clung to the use of masculine pronouns, and without letting the “culture wars” confuse the properly theological issues at hand.
     
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  7. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    VoltaireQuote.jpg

    I do think the Voltaire quote is relevant. It reminds us that the more we try and make God like us, the more we diminish him. God is not a boy's name. Asserting masculinity to God may simply be the affirming of a cultural tradition. Proper theological reflection should clearly lead us to the conclusion that God is not contained in gender, for God is before gender, and a proper reading of Genesis 1:26 should inform us that our creation in the image and after the likeness of God, was as man and woman.

    The strength of God is found in Christ, in the vulnerability of the child in the manger, in the vulnerability of the the crucified redeemer.
     
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  8. Annie Grace

    Annie Grace Member

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    Jesus was undoubtedly male and I refer to God as Father because Jesus did. But I know that God is neither man nor woman. As a female, I don't find anything remotely sexist in using male pronouns to refer to God or to the Holy Spirit. I just don't confuse the word with the reality.
     
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  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand, God incarnated as a man (very clearly a person). It seems that He wants us to be able to relate to Him in this manner, Person to person.

    Philosophical musings aside, personhood is a belief of the church. Article 1: "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 are three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost."
     
  10. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Yes but there’s no ecclesiastical definition of ‘person’, and the term is only applied to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, but not to the divine nature which they have in common.
     
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