This is a series about the lost tradition of God as Mother – okay, that was dramatic – about the traditional images and concepts of God that include God as Father and as Mother, and how the second has all but disappeared from view. From images of creation being birthed from God’s womb to being succored and comforted at God’s breast, Jews and Early Christians held a view of God that was both-gendered, rather than non-gendered. So, why has the masculine God become the Christian lingua franca.
GOD AS MOTHER:
Many Jewish Rabbinical talmuds and commentaries address God in both male and female terms, sometimes almost seemlessly and indiscriminately … it must be remembered that Jesus was both Jewish and a rabbi. The Hebrew Scriptures were Jesus’ scriptures, and the rabbinic tradition was that within which Jesus studied and taught. Rather than perceiving a genderless God, it seems that the traditional understanding is of a God who is fluid in gender – being both rather than neither.
These misogynist “church fathers”, because some of their thoughts have had profound significance, found places of power and importance in Christian culture and have been considered primary interpreters and commentators of Christian faith for the church through the ages, despite having raped the scriptures by interpretation through the lenses of their own bias, hatred and self-interest.
Effectively, the commonly occurring image of a God with feminine and motherly character has been stricken from the record by translating it out of scripture. Who did this? A culture which placed so little value on women that they could not bear the diety to have female characteristics, perhaps. We don’t know exactly why, even though we can guess, but we know it was. And, considering every English translation defers to the Septuagint, it is a tradition that continues unabated. Does that make it right?
The most definitive statement we can make, and it is still a statement of faith as opposed to knowledge, is that, “God is.” This mirrors God’s response to Moses when asked for an identity, “I am who I am!” Beyond that, any characterization of God along any lines, limitations or traits runs the risk of affirming that God is who we say God is – that God is part of our creation. I’m not inclined to do that.
The scriptures are clear – God is Father; He is Lord; He is Judge. But they also clear on the fact that God nurtures, holds people to Her busom, birthed creation out of Her womb and gathers and protects each of Her chicks as a mother hen. God is no more a man than God is a hen. These are our images through which we find a relationship with God. To project them back and insist that they are accurate and the sole images of God may be potentially damaging to others’ souls – not to mention our own.