Sunday, May 10, 2009





A little while ago there was an interesting discussion on Bryan L. blog about whether the Savior's gender is important. I grant that the ancient Israelites may have thought of Yahweh as an old man ruling from heaven and folk religion often gave Him a wife (Asherah). But to repeat my thoughts, I think God transcends gender because God is not a material being with a male or female chromosome but is Spirit (John 4:24) (except, of course, when the Son became incarnate and became a human male). Moreover, to assert that God is male is to make a judgment that men somehow better reflect the image of God than women, but Genesis 1:27 is clear that both males and females equally reflect the image of God. What I think we have in the Bible is predominantly masculine imagery (king, father, bridegroom), but in honour of Mother's Day here are a few verses (New Oxford Annotated Bible NRSV) that exalt the feminine and maternal side of God:

"You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth." (Deut 32:18)

"For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant." (Isa 42:14)

"Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb." (Isa 46:3)

"But Zion said, 'The LORD has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.' Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you." (Isa 49:15)

"As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you" (Isa 66:13)

"Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls from the highest places in the town, 'You that are simple, turn in here!' To those without sense she says, 'Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed." (Prov 9:1-5)

"For she (Wisdom) is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God and an image of his goodness." (Wis. Sol. 7:25-26)

"wisdom is vindicated by her deeds/by all her children" (Matt 11:19b, Luke 11:35)

"How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!" (Matt 23:37, Luke 13:34)

"Jesus answered, 'Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:5-6; a good case can be made that the Spirit [gramatically neuter] originally took on the Mother role in the Trinity [Father, Son, Mother]).