Is God male? TEC contemplates revising the Prayerbook again

Discussion in 'Anglican and Christian News' started by Lowly Layman, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Anglican (ACNA)
    Good point

    I don't know, I still feel like there's something wrong here... Maybe somebody knows more about this
    Liturgyworks likes this.
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I can appreciate your feelings here. I too get the gut feeling that it would be sheer lunacy to replace every reference to God as 'Heavenly Father' with an utterly incongruous substitution of 'Heavenly Mother'.

    I think the 'feelings' we have are completely 'human' though, and that is perhaps the problem. When we contemplate the nature of God it is a profound mistake to start from our human experience and try to construct a mental picture of ANYTHING that we can humanly imagine.

    We have to start with God, and God's attributes as they are described in scripture first. Then try to accept the astonishing degree of difference there must be between us and God.

    Only God could ever 'bridge' that humanly unimaginable differentness in kind between us and God. Only God could do it and it has been done only once in the history of mankind, and that event is called The Incarnation.

    But even here we need to be theologically cautious about imputing human gender assumptions upon God. Jesus was undoubtedly a man, but the key 'truth' about the incarnation is not that He was masculine, but that God became a human being. God was just as capable of becoming a female infant as God was able to become a male infant. The reason God chose to become a male infant is for God alone to know for sure, but I can guess at a couple of reasons.

    (1) A male messiah was expected and prophesied. (i.e. God's decision to become a 'boychild' was correctly predicted)
    (2) A female messiah would be unable to atone for human sin. (Human sin and male arrogance would have subjugated her, ignored her teaching, rejected her divine authority, never considered her a threat to the institutional authorities, never crucified her. Possibly beat her up, humiliated and raped her, but not crucified her.)

    So God had no choice but to become a male human being, in the time and place and race that God was incarnated.

    To mistakenly assume that 'masculinity' is a necessary attribute of God, is a fundamental mistake. In a similar way, if one had an abusive natural father, (any many people unfortunately have had such), it would be a mistake to assume that God is like one's own father. A mistake to impute upon God the sins of one's own father on the assumption that one's own concept of fatherhood is a suitable yardstick by which to measure God's character.

    Unfortunately when we approach the task of imagining God, (whom no one has seen), we are inevitably forced to use human experience and thought to do the 'imagining'. Our concepts of God are always going to be 'human' concepts, and therefore 'tainted' by our human tendency to 'bring things down to the level of our own understanding and experience', both of which are subject to severe limitations. We can't do that with God. We just have to accept that God is God and therefore not at all like US men. God has made all human beings, (in some respects), like God. (I deliberately avoided writing 'like himself'). So theologically speaking mankind is like God, but God is not like a man.

    Having re-read my previous sentence and noticed the problem it exposes, I now come to Jesus. (As of course we all should).

    Jesus said, "If you have seen me, you have seen The Father". Jn.14:9-11. Yet the self same author in the self same book also wrote 'No one has ever seen God'. Jn.1:18.

    From this apparent contradiction I draw the following conclusions:

    (1) Jesus was not saying "You are seeing God whenever you look at me". (because nobody has ever seen God).
    (2) Jesus was not referring to optical sight and looking, but to 'insight' and 'understanding'.

    STRONG’S NUMBER: g3708
    Dictionary Definition g3708. ὁράω horaō; properly, to stare at (compare 3700), i.e. (by implication) to discern clearly (physically or mentally); by extension, to attend to; by Hebraism, to experience; passively, to appear: — behold, perceive, see, take heed.
    AV (59) - see 51, take heed 5, behold 1, perceive 1, not tr 1;
    to see with the eyes to see with the mind, to perceive, know to see, i.e. become acquainted with by experience, to experience to see, to look to, to take heed, beware to care for, pay heed to.

    "From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer." 2 Cor.5:16

    STRONG’S NUMBER: g1097
    Dictionary Definition g1097. γινώσκω ginōskō; a prolonged form of a primary verb; to “know” (absolutely) in a great variety of applications and with many implications (as follow, with others not thus clearly expressed): — allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know(-ledge), perceived, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand.
    AV (223) - know 196, perceive 9, understand 8, misc 10;
    to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel to become known
    to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of to understand to know
    Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman to become acquainted with, to know

    Paul understood the difference between 'looking at Christ' and 'knowing Christ'. We as Christ's disciples are called to 'know Christ' not just 'look at' him. I think that means looking beyond the mere fact of his masculinity when contemplating his profound divinity.

    Essentially, what I am trying to say is that when we try to make God out to be male, i.e. a man, we are "Regarding God according to the flesh", as Paul would have put it. That is according to Paul, not something we should be doing. "We regard him thus no longer".
  3. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    God (As a Spirit) - Is declared to be:

    Omnipotent, Gen.17:1; Ex.6:3
    Glorious, Ex.15:11; Ps.145:5
    Gracious, Ex.34:6; Ps.116:5
    Merciful, Ex.34:6-7; Ps.86:5
    Long Suffering, Num.14:18; Mic.7:1 (read from Mic.6)
    Just, Deut.32:4; Is.45:21
    Eternal, Deut.33:27; Ps.90:2; Rev.4:8-10
    Jelous, Josh.24:19; Nah.1:2
    Compassionate, 2 Kin.13:23
    Great, 2 Chr.2:5; Ps.86:10
    Righteous, Ezra.9:15; Ps.145:17
    Unsearchable, Job.11:7; 37:23; Ps.145:3; Isa.40:28; Rom.11:33
    Invisible, Job.23:8-9; Jn.1:18; 5:37; Col.1:15; 1 Tim.1:17
    Good, Ps.25:8; 119:68
    Upright, Ps.25:8; 92:15;
    Holy, Ps.99:9; Isa.5:16
    Most High, Ps.83:18; Act.7:48
    Immutable, Ps.102:26-27; James.1:17; 1 Jn.1:5
    Omniscient, Ps.139:1-6; Prov.5:21
    Omnipresent, Ps.139:7; Jer.23:23
    Light, Isa.60:19; James.1:17; 1 Jn.1:5
    True, Jer.10:10; Jn.17:3
    Perfect, Matt.5:48
    Incorruptible, Rom.1:23
    Only-wise, Rom.16:27; 1 Tim.1:17
    Faithful, 1 Cor.10:13; 1 Pet.4:19
    Immortal, 1 Tim.1:17; 6:16
    A consuming fire, Heb.12:29
    Love, 1 Jn.4:8, 16
    None like to Him, Ex.9:14; Deut.33:26; 2 Sam.7:22; Isa.46:5, 9; Jer.10:6;
    None beside Him, Deut.4:35; Isa.44:6;
    None before Him, Isa.43:10
    None good but God, Matt.19:17
    Fills heaven and earth, 1 Kin.8:27; Jer.23:24
    Should be worshipped in spirit and in truth, Jn.4:24

    This is what scripture declares God to Be. I do not see anything saying God is masculine, feminine or even, (God forbid), neuter.

    No single human category or attribute can describe God. God is unique, holy, none like to Him, none beside Him, none before Him.

    Human concepts of gender and sex are inapplicable to God as a Spirit.

    Human concepts of sex and gender are even inapplicable now to Jesus Christ, (after the resurrection, ascension and Glorification of God's Only Son, Our Lord). 2 Cor.5:16-20.

    This is why there is now no distinction between male and female 'In Christ'. It is because 'In Christ' we are one Spirit. 1 Cor.6:17; 1 Cor.10:16-17

    Our access, (male or female), to God is ONLY in and through 'Christ' via reverent faith in His atoning sacrifice, not through gender, sex, intelligence, wealth, righteous deeds, aristocratic inheritance, popular acclaim or any other humanly devised discriminatory category used previously to cause division between one and another of the people of God.

    This is the revolutionary nature of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are ALL just servants to servants of The Servant.