The Inclusive Image of God
One of my favorite songs is Andrew Peterson’s “Is He Worthy?” It was one of the songs used in a recent online Communion service at our church. The message and the lyrics are compelling, asking the ultimate question of whether or not God is worthy of our adoration and praise.
As we were watching the lyrics on the screen, something nudged at me:
Does the Father truly love us? (He does) Does the Spirit move among us? (He does) And does Jesus, our Messiah hold forever those He loves? (He does) Does our God intend to dwell again with us? (He does)
During this verse, I turned to my husband and said, “I sure wish the response to the Spirit moving among us was, “She does.” It wasn’t a random thought. It’s something I’ve been considering for some time. I don’t have any issue with God as Father and Jesus as Son, but I believe we are really missing something when we ignore the femininity of God.
There are many wonderful attributes considered “male” that we attach to our Creator, and I’m not man-bashing here. However, what do we miss when we ignore those attributes considered more “female” in our world? God clearly made humanity in God’s image as male AND female:
"So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27 NLT
There is nothing imbalanced in this mix. Though our Scriptures were written in a very patriarchal culture where God would naturally be seen from a male perspective, I hope we are reasonable enough to not let that context keep us from exploring the beauty and power of the female perspective of God.
I realize that, as humans, we will never be able to comprehend God, and discussing God in terms of gender is imperfect but necessary for our finite minds to attempt to understand an infinite deity. However, recognizing that, why would we continue to give more emphasis to the male gender? My hypothesis is that many misinterpretations of God’s word, God’s actions, and God’s intentions in our world would be much better served with greater inclusiveness in this area. Might this also not be a huge step toward ending the tragic marginalization of women in the church?
If I take equally into consideration God’s compassion as well as sovereignty, mercy as well as might, nurture as well as strictness, how would that form my thoughts on God’s will in my life as well as the kingdom I’m supposed to be building on this earth?
I send out regular devotionals for our church. For each one, I craft a prayer relevant to the day. In one such devotional, I began the prayer to “Mother God.” A very dear and sincere man responded cautioning me that this was a dangerous thing to do. I responded with the suggestion that Scripture supports God as female as well as male and felt it was not at all dangerous but, in fact, beneficial especially for those of us who more closely relate to the female gender. He graciously suggested we would have to agree to disagree, and the email conversation ended. (Now, I’ve used MANY unique and non-traditional salutations to God in my prayers over the years. Interestingly, outside of one critical email from a non-trinitarian, this was the only one that caused alarm.)
I believe God is so much bigger than we can imagine. Might we benefit from embracing and exploring God from a female perspective? I believe so. Will this cause distress to some who would like to maintain God as man only? I believe it might. Would God approve of a more inclusive identity? I believe She would.
(This will be my final blog. As much as I have enjoyed this discipline, I am going to be concentrating my writing efforts in different avenues. Thank you for your support.)
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