Thinking Of God As Masculine

The man Christ Jesus.
The man Christ Jesus.

In all of the various battles that Christianity has fought in recent decades, the battle against the feminist siege seems decidedly absent. Answers are given and adapted theologies are conjured up in an effort to find some sort of wise non-hostility. Yet, feminism continues to manifest itself within the walls of the church, the walls of which should keep out such obvious decay.

The church seems deliberately oblivious to this unholy spirit sitting in its pews and pulpits. Having bought into feminist ideology, it is blatantly blind to the reality of what is happening.

If Christianity is to directly counter feminism, granted that it actually acknowledges both that there is feminism and that it is inherently evil, then an important step would be to sow the seeds of a masculine theology. The church must ask again the question, is God male?

The common answer is similar to this:

Spirits—because they are non-corporeal beings—have no physical body, and thus, by definition, are incapable of possessing gender. In speaking of the humans who one day will inhabit the heavenly realm, Jesus remarked that they “neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as angels” (Matthew 22:30). His point was that we shall not take up our earthly gender roles in heaven, just as the angels, as spirit beings, have played no gender roles throughout their existence. Similarly, God, as a Spirit Being Who inhabits the heavenly realm, has no gender.

Basically, God has no body, therefore neither penis nor vagina, and as such is neither male nor female. The fundamental assumption is that masculinity is physical but not spiritual. This means that masculinity and maleness did not exist before the creation of Adam in Eden. The problem with this (at least for me) is the person of Jesus Christ.

Christians generally believe that the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, is eternal and non-created. So it has to be asked if Jesus was a Son from all eternity, or if He became the Son of God only during His earthly ministry, His physical time in this physical world.

This is important because if Jesus was the Son of God from eternity, then the Father and Son relationship is also eternal, not merely something that is found in the physical creation and in the languages of man. In other words, God is male and not female because masculinity and maleness are first and foremost spiritual and eternal, as God is spirit and eternal, and secondly manifested in the physical creation of Man.

It makes sense then that the scriptural account of man’s creation would read (in more literal translations):

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

It is man, not man and woman, who was created in the image of God. Woman, it can be said, was created in the image of man.

Going back to the common answer of God’s maleness, if God is neither male nor female, then why not call God a Mother who has a Daughter? The other common answer is simply because God commands man to use masculine language to describe Him.

But must we refer to God via masculine terms? The question has nothing to do with what we would like to do, but rather with what God tells us to do … It is not man’s (or woman’s!) place to question God’s sovereign authority or divine will; neither falls under mankind’s jurisdiction.

So if the truth is that God is not a male, but God commands humans to call Him by male terms, then God has divinely appointed man to openly declare what is false (it might be argued that God is also called by terms like “rock,” but rocks are not made in the image of God and the man Christ Jesus is the direct image of God). It seems much more reasonable to say that God is revealed as the eternal male figure Father through the eternal male figure Son is because God is male. God lacking maleness renders the concept of Father merely abstract, like smoke and mirrors, having little to do with reality past mere symbolism. If God is neither male nor female, referring to God the Mother and God the Daughter is as much the truth as the male references. The only reason to deny man the freedom to call upon God the Mother is because it is a false idea.

All of this may be called ad hoc theology (I’ve no M.Div or Ph.D), but trusting that both scripture and nature reveal God as He is, especially in the man Jesus Christ, is paramount. If God is not male, then scripture in all its declarations of God in male terms is fundamentally wrong,  to be denied as factual.

Working through these issues, which seem obvious, will be an important first step if Christianity is to fully and soundly reject feminism and defeat its nefarious influence.

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Author: M.W. Peak

Just a humble guy trying to make his way in the universe.

5 thoughts on “Thinking Of God As Masculine”

  1. Listen, I can’t stand feminism either but we can’t use that hatred to twist the meaning of Scripture.

    “The fundamental assumption is that masculinity is physical but not spiritual. This means that masculinity and maleness did not exist before the creation of Adam in Eden.

    The fundamental assumption is that masculinity tells us something of the nature of God. This means that masculinity and femininity express to us and help us understand the nature of God. God is a trinity of three persons that are one but at the same time are diverse and relate to one another. Adam and Eve, are diverse (are different) but are one in their relation to one another.
    Masculinity reflecting the generating power of God the Father, begets the Son through his loving will which proceeds from Him. The Son is begotten but the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son. We have to remember that God is eternal, so God is eternally begetting the Son, the Holy Spirit is is eternally proceeding from the Father, through the Son, and the Son eternally returns the Father’s love through the Holy Spirit. In other words, the love between the Father and the Son, is so real, it also becomes a third person of the Trinity.

    The first time in creation that God pronounced something as “not good” is when he pronounced that it was not good that man (Adam), should be alone. He needed a helper fit for him. Adam by himself, could not fully image God, because he imaged God’s masculine nature of generating that would proceed from him, but there was no “other” who could receive it and return it. He was lonely. She had to be like him in that she was an individual person made in God’s image as he was, but she also had to be different in order to receive that which he had to give. Male and female as individual show us that God is made up of individual persons but they have perfect unity in how they relate to one another, or trinity. God wouldn’t be a trinity without the masculine attribute of “generating or initiating” out of a desire to love, combined with the feminine attribute of “receiving love and desiring to return the love which was received.” Because God is spirit and not matter, this isn’t a sexual thing it is a spiritual working of the nature of God.

    However, man and woman, being created in God’s image, reflect the nature of God when man initiates in love and generates by sending forth his seed which the woman receives, nurtures in her body and nine months later that love is so real, it’s given a name. She gives fatherhood back to the one who willed to generate life.

    “The problem with this (at least for me) is the person of Jesus Christ.”

    Yes, Christ is male in his human nature, even though as a person of the trinity, he is neither male or female. Christ wasn’t just plopped onto earth as a male. God sent his Holy Spirit, by the willing cooperation of a woman who was full of grace. Christ had both a divine and human nature by being born of the perfect, willing fiat of a woman. She received the Holy Spirit and lovingly returned to God that which he wished to generate. Not only Christ as a human person but also all of humanity restored to him after the fall. Yes, Christ was male but he received the flesh he walked around in from woman. In other words, he was literally bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh because he wasn’t generated by a human father. So although Christ came to us in male form, he received his human nature through a woman, full of God’s grace. Christ being this perfect union of divinity and humanity was able to generate our new life in him on the cross. We receive this gift of love by lovingly returning it by following him in obedience.

    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

    the “him’ referred to in this verse should be understood as mankind, not just Adam. Adam, as an individual, bore the image of God, but until there was an Eve, who also as an individual bore his image, they couldn’t fully image him until they could image the unity of the trinity, reflected in sexuality.

    “It is man, not man and woman, who was created in the image of God. Woman, it can be said, was created in the image of man”

    If woman was created in the image of man, she would be like him, not different. She had to reflect something about the nature of God in her person in order to explain why she is different from him. She’s not different because she doesn’t reflect God’s image, she’s different because she reflects in her body something of God’s nature as a man’s body also reflects something of God’s nature. Yet, God also being three distinct persons, she is also images God in that way as well.

    “Going back to the common answer of God’s maleness, if God is neither male nor female, then why not call God a Mother who has a Daughter? ”

    God has attributes of both. God reveals Himself to us as Father so we understand that by His generative power we were created by Him. God, as Christ, came to us as a Son, because He was a savior and also by His death on the cross, generated new life, in cooperation with His Mother Mary, for those who would choose to follow Him. His male body was a reflection of of His power to generate our new life. If he had a female body, his act on the cross, would be out of sync with that which it was doing, not receiving new life, which Mary did as the new Eve, but generating new life, as the new Adam.

    “If God is neither male nor female, referring to God the Mother and God the Daughter is as much the truth as the male references. The only reason to deny man the freedom to call upon God the Mother is because it is a false idea.”

    We can’t refer to God as a Mother because as humans, God is establishing that we are generated (created) by Him. The male body helps us understand God as Father. The female body helps us understand that we receive love because “He first loved us” and we return that love. God as Father=God’s relationship with humanity God as Son = God’s saving power towards us and generating new life in Him God as Holy Spirit = teaching wisdom in love and giver of good gifts. Just as a mother teaches her children to respect their Father because He first loved them and the good gifts they receive are the fruit of following the teaching of the Holy Spirit, so we, as followers of Christ have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has this role as teacher or counselor, because He proceeds from the Father, through the Son, and dwells in us. He helps us understand this relationship between Father and Son and how, we can be one with them.

    You could say that because the mark of a man is freedom, that masculinity has much to teach us about each individual of the Trinity. The mark of a woman is cooperation and has much to teach us about how the individual members of the Trinity relate to one another.

    The problem with the feminist movement, is that by trying to claim freedom and liberation, they want to image God as a male and reject their own image of Him as female, which is cooperation and relationship. Both are attributes of God, to prefer one over the other is to disrespect that which is part of God’s nature. As individuals, we all have freedom and the liberty to use our free will, but since we are social creatures by nature, we all have to use this free will in cooperation with and in relationship with each other and God.

    The Bible does show us feminine attributes of God-He loves us both as a Father and a Mother, although he is not male or female Himself.

    God comforts his people like a mother comforts her child (Isaiah 66:13)
    Like a woman would never forget her nursing child, God will not forget his children (Isaiah 49:15)
    God is like a mother eagle hovering over her young (Deuteronomy 32:11)
    God seeks the lost like a housekeeper, trying to find her lost coin (Luke 15:8-10)
    God cares for his people like a midwife that cares for the child she just delivered (Ps 22:9-10, Ps 71:6, Isa 66:9)
    God experiences the fury of a mother bear robbed of her cubs (Hosea 13:8)
    Jesus longed for the people of Jerusalem, like a mother hen longs to gather her chicks under her wings (Luke 13:34)

  2. @Lisa
    ”The Bible does show us feminine attributes of God-He loves us both as a Father and a Mother, although he is not male or female Himself.”

    Feminists also sometimes argue that Scripture, even if not Jesus Himself, gives us a “depatriarchalizing principle” that, once fully developed, overcomes the “patriarchalism” of Jewish culture and even of other parts of the Bible. In other words, the Bible corrects itself when it comes to male stereotypes of God.
    But this simply is not so. Granted, the Bible occasionally uses feminine similes for God. Isaiah 42:14, for example, says that God will “cry out like a woman in travail.” Yet the Bible does not say that God is a woman in travail, it merely likens His cry to that of a woman.

    The fact is, whenever the Bible uses feminine language for God, it never applies it to Him in the same way masculine language is used of Him. Thus, the primary image of God in Scripture remains masculine, even when feminine similes are used: God is never called “She” or “Her.” As Protestant theologian John W. Miller puts it in Biblical Faith and Fathering: “Not once in the Bible is God addressed as mother, said to be mother, or referred to with feminine pronouns. On the contrary, gender usage throughout clearly specifies that the root metaphor is masculine-father.”

    In fact, the Bible ascribes feminine characteristics to God in exactly the same way it sometimes ascribes such traits to human males. For example, in Numbers 11:12 Moses asks, “Have I given birth to this people?” Do we conclude from this maternal image that Scripture here is “depatriarchalize” Moses. Obviously, Moses uses here a maternal metaphor for himself; he is not making a statement about his “gender identity.” Likewise, in the New Testament, both Jesus (Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34) and Paul (Galatians 4:19) likened themselves to mothers, though they are men. Why, then, should we think that on those relatively rare occasions when the Bible uses feminine metaphors for God anything more is at work there than with Moses, Jesus and Paul?

    Of course there is a crucial difference between God and Moses, the Incarnate Son and Paul. The latter possess human natures in the male gender, while God, as such, is without gender because He is Infinite Spirit. Furthermore, the biblical authors obviously knew that Moses, Jesus and Paul were male and intended to assert as much by referring to them with the masculine pronoun and other masculine language. The same cannot be said about the biblical writers’ notion of God. Even so, they speak of God as if He were masculine. For them, masculine language is the primary way we speak of God. Feminine language is applied to God as if it were being used of a masculine being.

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/NOTMOTHR.HTM

    The ultimate spiritual quality of masculinity is transcendence.

  3. @info

    I’m not really sure if you’re arguing what I said or just backing it up. The reason for the confusion is that if you look at the sentence you pulled out of my comment, “”The Bible does show us feminine attributes of God-He loves us both as a Father and a Mother, although he is not male or female Himself.”, it would seem to be saying the same thing you said in your following comment and also the article you referenced. Notice I used the words “feminine attributes”, not that God is female and I also said “He loves us both AS a Father and a Mother.” meaning He is not mother but, just as the article describes he shows feminine traits. The reason I pointed out the Biblical references to God’s maternal actions is that the post implies that God is male and that human females are not created in his image but in the image of human males. This is false.

    The original post stated that “It is man, not man and woman, who was created in the image of God. Woman, it can be said, was created in the image of man”

    The female human is just as much created in the image of God as the male. Just as the article you referenced said Fatherhood speaks of transcendence meaning source or initiating principle, Motherhood speaks of immanence meaning intimacy and union with things. God possesses both transcendence and immanence in relation to his creatures.

    Another error is this,

    ” It seems much more reasonable to say that God is revealed as the eternal male figure Father through the eternal male figure Son is because God is male.”

    Human beings are male and female but God is not male nor female. God is revealed as Father in that he is the source of creation. The male human symbolizes God’s fatherhood when he initiates in the sexual act (in cooperation with God) the creation of a new human being in the mother’s womb. What makes a human male is his potential ability in his human person to become a father. Likewise, the female human symbolizes God’s union with his creation (his immanence) when she receives the male into herself and grows that life (in cooperation with God) inside her very person. What makes a human female is her potential ability to become a mother. God is not male because He asks us to call Him Father. However, a human person is male because He symbolizes God the Father.

    You said “the ultimate spiritual quality of masculinity is transcendence.” I would have to argue that transcendence is not a spiritual quality. God IS transcendent in that He is the principle source of all of creation, our Father. It is the act of becoming a father in which the male person becomes transcendent to his child. As the article you referenced pointed out when it says, ” In other words, the father, as father, transcends his child. Fatherhood, in this sense, symbolizes transcendence in relation to offspring, though we also recognize that, as the “source” of his child’s life, the father is united or one with his child and therefore he is not wholly a symbol of transcendence.”

    Spiritual qualities aren’t either masculine or feminine and they should be developed in both males and females. Some spiritual attributes come more easily to either the male or female person but none can be said to be the sole attribute of either sex. St. Edith Stein said

    “To belong to and serve God in love’s free surrender is the vocation of every Christian, not only of a few elect. Whether consecrated or not, whether man or woman — each one is called to the imitation of Christ. The further one continues on this path, the more Christlike he will become. Christ embodies the ideal of human perfection: in him all bias and defects are removed, the masculine and feminine virtues are united and their weaknesses redeemed; therefore, his true followers will be progressively exalted over their natural limitations. That is why we see in holy men a womanly tenderness and goodness and a truly maternal solicitude for the souls entrusted to them, while in holy women there is manly boldness, proficiency, and determination” (EW, 84).

    When I said above the mark of a man is freedom, I should have added “of initiative” to that to clarify it better. The mark of masculinity is freedom of will to initiate and create under God’s directives (or to choose to do his own will, rather than God’s and accept the consequences). He desires to reveal himself in action and in his work. The mark of femininity is cooperation, submission, sacrifice of self for the sake of God and bearing new life and cooperating with His will (or not and to accept the consequences.). She desires to focus more on perfecting the personal inner being than on achieving external goals

    Humans-both male and female-have more of a feminine role when relating to God in that we are all in submission to a loving Father (Abba, as Jesus told us to refer to Him) and need to cooperate with His will. Males and females relating to one another teach us more about our relationship with God and help us understand Him better. In other words, we understand His transcendence over us and His intimate relationship with us better, in fatherhood and motherhood.

    I’m not really clear on why you are pointing out why we don’t call God mother, as I never alluded in my original comment that we should. I said “We can’t refer to God as a Mother because as humans, God is establishing that we are generated (created) by Him. The male body helps us understand God as Father. The female body helps us understand that we receive love because “He first loved us” and we return that love. “

  4. @Lisa
    I base my statement on this:
    ”The original post stated that “It is man, not man and woman, who was created in the image of God. Woman, it can be said, was created in the image of man”(1 Corinthians 11:7-9)

    Man is the Glory and Image of God and Woman is the glory of man.

    As God 1st created man in his image then derived woman from man who is also in his image. But that image is a carbon copy of a carbon copy hence the origin of hierarchy between a man and a woman.

    ” It seems much more reasonable to say that God is revealed as the eternal male figure Father through the eternal male figure Son is because God is male.”

    Wrong man. That’s Miserman not me. Double check my previous comment.

    “He loves us both AS a Father and a Mother.”

    How can a Father love as a Mother isn’t that a contradiction of terms?

    ”because He was a savior and also by His death on the cross, generated new life, in cooperation with His Mother Mary, for those who would choose to follow Him. His male body was a reflection of of His power to generate our new life. If he had a female body, his act on the cross, would be out of sync with that which it was doing, not receiving new life, which Mary did as the new Eve, but generating new life, as the new Adam.”

    Though Adam the world was damned through the 2nd Adam shall it be redeemed. Moreover there is no need for a 2nd eve. It is Christ who crushes the head of the serpent.

    1. @info “”The original post stated that “It is man, not man and woman, who was created in the image of God. Woman, it can be said, was created in the image of man”(1 Corinthians 11:7-9)
      Man is the Glory and Image of God and Woman is the glory of man.
      As God 1st created man in his image then derived woman from man who is also in his image. But that image is a carbon copy of a carbon copy hence the origin of hierarchy between a man and a woman.”

      Woman was fashioned out of the rib of man so they could share the same essence (bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh) It was also to show that God the Father and God the Son share the same essence and although different, they are equal. This is according to St. John Chrysostom in explaining these verses. This is not my interpretation but the Catholic Church’s interpretation and understanding of these verses. She got her shared humanity from man but God fashioned her out of his rib just as he fashioned him out of the dust. God imprinted her Himself with His image. He didn’t pull a carbon copy of Himself out of Adam. Being that they were both fashioned by Him would mean they both have the mark of their Maker and received it by His hands.

      The “Man is the Glory and Image of God and Woman is the glory of man” is interpreted thus:

      This verse was given in the talk about men not covering their heads in Church. A man is not to cover his head because his uncovered head is his acknowledgement, when coming before God in church of his taking responsibility of the role given him as head of the woman. To be the glory of God is to say that man was made FOR God. To also be His image, is to show that just as God is head, he reflects God’s image as head of the woman. (Image in this verse is not the same meaning of image as “being made in His image” that we see in Genesis. Image in this verse refers to his role as head to his wife, just as God is head of man.) To then go on to say that woman is the glory of man, is to say that she was made FOR him. It doesn’t say she is the image of God because her role is to reflect the Church, the Body. It is only the man in his role of head that reflects the image of God as head.

      @info ““He loves us both AS a Father and a Mother.”
      How can a Father love as a Mother isn’t that a contradiction of terms?”

      No, the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it here;
      “370 In no way is God in man’s image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective “perfections” of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband.241”

      @info “Though Adam the world was damned through the 2nd Adam shall it be redeemed. Moreover there is no need for a 2nd eve. It is Christ who crushes the head of the serpent.”

      The first Adam called Eve, Woman. At the wedding feast of Cana, the beginning of Christ’s public ministry, the 2nd Adam referred to his mother as “Woman.” This was to indicate that she was the New Eve.

      488 “God sent forth his Son,” but to prepare a body for him, 125 he wanted the free co-operation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary”: 126

      The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life. 127

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