I struggled with this issue during training to be a Catechist. The teacher was saying that God is either male or female and I threw a fit as did others. Then in a Spiritual Womens Group, the director was and still is teaching that if you, as a woman who has been abuse by men, are having trouble directing prayers to a male God to think of God as a female. I left the group post haste, but only after talking with the director.
O.K. So I did some research. Check out your Catechism, #370. It says: “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 infininte perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband.”
Is this then saying we should choose for ourselves if God is man or woman? No. I personally do not believe that is the case. I believe that He has revealed himself as a male figure so that our human brains can understand Him to some degree. However, this is where the more hetordox (is that the right word) teaching this as doctrine is getting their proof that God is a woman if we want her to be such. True Orthodox teaching is that God has been revealed as a Father. This is why Jesus told us to pray to His Father…
o.k…so then they say that was all cultural. True enough in that time, and I believe so in our time. God is God through all time and Jesus wasn’t afraid to make the truth known. So if it was just cultural that He prayed to His Father (not his mother) why would other cultural or social events of his time (healing on Sunday) be such an issue? Another words, why would he clash on some cultural or social issues but not on this one? My answer is because God is revealed as our Father, not as both.
I think this Catechist teaching is not for us to wonder if he is a she, but rather to state there just is not a male or female BODY. God is not confined physically to being male or female. We were made in His spiritual image. However, so that we could connect with him from a human perspective, God is revealed as a man. If this was the way God set up our relationship, who are we to tear it down and decide for ourselves?
Check out a good book called God or Goddess? I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it, I only just purchased it.
My prayers are with you.