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Monday, May 9, 2016

God As Mother

Another Mother's Day has come and gone, but the notion of mother lingers. The regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I almost always place masculine references to God in italics. WHY? Because, if the God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures exists (and I believe that to be the case), then we are forced to acknowledge that this entity embodies characteristics that are typically associated with both genders (male and female).

To be sure, the paternalistically inclined human authors of the Old and New Testament preferred to envision God as a male - the ultimate paterfamilias. Nevertheless, God's female side is implied in many passages. In the book of Genesis, we read that God created mankind in "His" own image - male and female (Genesis 1:26-27). This notion is further reinforced by the insistence that the two (man and woman) constitute one whole person - the clear implication being that each one is only half of the whole when separate.

Merriam-Webster uses a number of interesting words in its definition of mother. Consider the employment of terms like parent, "superior of a religious community," one who is old, the source/origin of something, and the rearing of children with tenderness/affection. Couldn't those same terms be applied to the God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures?

William M. Thackeray once said: "Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children." (brainyquote.com) If that's true, and Jesus Christ said that we must become like little children, what does that suggest about how we should perceive God?

Like many of my fellow Christians, I have derived much inspiration and comfort from picturing God as a loving Father. But does that notion accurately/completely encompass God's TRUE nature? When we only consider God from the paternal perspective, haven't we created a distorted image of God in our minds (and thus violated two of the Ten Commandments)? Can you imagine God in the guise of a loving Mother?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the wonderful article. We read your articles each time. Sorry we have not commented in a while, but we still enjoy your wonderful words of wisdom. Hope all is well with you both. Spirit of Peace is still doing fine and our attendance is up some from last year (about double). We are making plans for Pride in June and are having a interfaith pot luck at the church. Don't know if any other churches will participate, but we have invited them. Love and Peace, Roy.