Do you use feminine or masculine terms in reference to God?


Hi, I wasn’t sure where to ask this question so I placed it here because I would like to know how non-catholics view this subject as well. Lately I’ve heard a few other Catholics and non-Catholic Christians refer to our Creator in feminine terms. (The majority of those who did so, had experienced severe trauma at the hands of men (Ranging from Rape and sexual violence, to genial abuse). These women not feminists, just extremely uncomfortable with men. For this reason they feel closer to God when using feminine terms. Some of the women also suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Due to being a rape survivor I can sympathies with this women, sometimes I feel sick referring to God in masculine terms because the rapist called himself God while raping me. He said all kind of thing mocking both God and Jesus. I can’t help but to get chills now when I hear these words. )

Talking with these women got me to wondering how many people use feminine terms during prayer and their reasons.


Under no circumstances anytime anywhere anyplace would I ever even remotely refer to the Triune God as anything female. It’s insane, blasphemous, inconsistent with Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, period. Show me one place in Scripture where God is not referred to as our Father but rather a Mother? This makes me cringe even thinking of it! :eek:

I would never think to mock one who had suffered so terribly. You are in my prayers this night.

Our God has revealed Himself in masculine terms. The relationship between the First and Second Persons is one of Eternal Father and Son. Since this is how He has been revealed to us, we do not have the authority to change it. After all, any change would be one of error. We cannot go beyond what God Himself has revealed, right? :slight_smile: I must say Lord, Father, King, and so forth. That is who God is.

Jesus called God “Abba” which translates to “Daddy”.

God the Father has attributes which are feminine and masculine.

Nobody in here would bash or rip on a rape survivor like yourself. Someone I love very close to me was also raped. I know the mental scars it leaves behind. You’re a BRAVE and honorable and amazing person for what you’ve gone through. May Christ be with you to heal you from this. You can move on. It’s possible. But boy it’s not without challenges and bad memories and distrust toward the opposite sex…I sympathize. Blessings to you and healing through the Mother of God and Her Son! :thumbsup::slight_smile:

I’ll include you and your friends in my prayers.

Mother God

As one whom his mother comforts, so I (God) will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. Isaiah 66:13

Reverend M. James Divis, S.T.L.
Censor Librorum

Most Reverend Fabian W. Bruskewitz, D.D., S.T.D.
Bishop of Lincoln

May 12, 1997

I cannot imagine anyone mocking or bashing you. May I offer a thought? Do you know some good men, men who are not like that evil monster who raped you? If you can look at those men and see that they are good, then see that that is what of God is reflected, because God is *all *good. He is not at all bad.

And consider this: there are bad women out there. If you choose the worst of men against whom to compare God, then you must think of the worst women, no? One cannot compare bad men and good women with God and then decide to call God feminine, because that would not make sense.

God Himself embodies more than the good of men and the good of women, but He is masculine.

As to the horrible things this wicked pervert said to you, remember that he was insulting God. Pray to God about this issue; I can only imagine how horrible the experience was, and the memories popping up…

And for the last thing, I know that this may well sound impossible, pray for the man who attacked you so horribly. Pray for him not because he in any way deserves it, nor because there is anything that would justify what he did, but pray for him because that will help God heal you.

“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 differences between the sexes. But the respective “perfections” of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother (Isaiah 49:14-15; 66:13; Psalm 131:2-3) and those of a father (Job 31:18; Jer. 3:4-20) and husband (Jer. 3:6-19).” [CCC 370]

“By calling God “Father,” the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that He is at the same time goodness and loving care for all His children. God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood (Isaiah 66:13; Psalm 131:2), which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents,…”[CCC 239]

When I read this, my first thought was that it’s referring to Mary, but “his” is not capitalized, so I guess it’s not talking about Mary’s love. It’s making a comparisson between the comfort that a mother gives and the comfort that He gives. I don’t think it means that He is a mother, but that His love is as comforting as that of a mother. To be honest I’ve heard people refer to God as “Her” but not in prayer. Hearing it makes me feel uncomfortable, mostly because the Bible refers to Him by many names, but not speciffically anything feminine.

A little off key, this reminds me of the song by Dishwalla:

♫Tell me all your thoughts on God, cause I’d really like to meet her.♫
♫And asked her where and who we are.♫
♫Tell me all your thoughts on God, cause I’m on my way to see her.♫

In the song the middle line is later changed to “And asked us where and who we are”, which is referring to how the kid is asking both parents. I think that holds similar meaning to the scruptural quote; that love is neither masculine or feminine, it is both.

I read that, statistically, 1 out of 3 women will be a victim of rape. In just my immediate family the ratio is 3 out of 5. Being a **survivor **of such a violent crime always changes a person, but it’s important to remember that the one true God stays the same. His love does not change to Her love, it remains complete. What that man did to you, and what any rapist does, is nothing short of evil, but it did not change God’s love for you.


I kid of course. :stuck_out_tongue:

This reminds me of Brian McLaren’s A Generous Orthodoxy, where he spends almost four or five pages apologizing to the reader for calling God “he.” In all the blood, sweat and tears of the Church Fathers and the great theologians, I don’t think they ever spent much time on this issue. You don’t see John Chrysostom taking a break from his commentaries to apologize to people for the reference to God as “he,” and you don’t see Matthew Henry going into detail about whether or not we should call God “mother.” Outside of maybe a few gnostic heresies, it was never an issue until our post-modern era, when calling anything powerful by a masculine name somehow suggested oppression and degradation of women.

The fact is, like others have said, Jesus Christ our Lord refers to God the Father as…well, “father”…and uses masculine pronouns in reference to Him. Call me crazy, but…if it didn’t offend Christ, it’s good enough for me. :thumbsup: People who think they “feel closer to God when using feminine terms” need to seriously reevaluate how they perceive a relationship with God.

Friends may use whatever pronoun they wish to use when relating to Diety. Some of the men in my Meeting had very abusive fathers…so the concept of 'God as Father" really does not “speak to their condition”…the only father the know is one who is violent and their relationship is painful with a “father” image.

Some women, who also are made in the image of God, cannot relate to a God who is distinctly “male”. God is neither male nor female…God is Wholly Other.

In scripture God is also understood as having female characteristics…so I have no issue with others using a feminine pronoun to refer to God. It’s not my personal preference…but I do not seek to dictate how others experience the Light Within.

To Catholics God is masculine. No amount of rationalization will change the fact God is and has always been referred to as masculine.

All men have feminine characteristics just as all women have masculine characteristics but that doesn’t give us the authority to actually change our gender.


Try this:
Abba is the Aramaic word for “father.” The word occurs three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). In each case it has its Greek translation subjoined to it, reading abba ho pater in the Greek text; abba, pater in the Latin Vulgate, and “Abba, Father” in the English version. St. Paul made use of the double expression in imitation of the early Christians, who, in their turn, used it in imitation of the prayer of Christ. Opinions differ as to the reason for the double expression in our Lord’s prayer:

Jesus himself used it;
St. Peter added the Greek translation in his preaching, retaining the archaic direct address;
the Evangelist added the Greek translation;
St. Mark conformed to an existing Christian custom of praying by way of hysteron proteron.

I didn’t realize we were discussing changing one’s gender…I thought we were discussing “Do you use feminie or masucline terms in reference to God?”

God IS neither…and in scripture God also is spoken of in feminine terms and personal articles of grammer in both Hebrew and Greek…something we do not necessarily have in English.

The Wisdom of God is feminine.

The Holy Spirit has a feminine article…“pneuma” and “ruach” are both feminine.

The Shekinah is feminine.

Jesus is reported to have said that God is like a mother hen who wishes to gather her chicks under her wing.

Isaiah 66:13 As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you . . .

Deuteronomy 32:18 God who gives birth ,“You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.”

Psalm 123:2-3 God compared to a woman , “As the eyes of a servant looks to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to you, YHWH, until you show us your mercy!”

While I relate to God best as “Father”…I do not begrudge others who come to God as a hurt child runs to it’s mother…some must see God a “Mother” before they ever can see God as “Father.”

Ultimately, God is genderless. Our language is limited, so we, for lack of anything else, and because of the sexism present in our society, traditionally use the masculine pronoun. God has feminine and masculine attributes. I usually use the masculine pronoun, unless I want to make a point about gender-role issues. For those who have had difficulty with rape issues and /or a history of abuse by a father, if it is necessary for them to move closer to God whom they conceptualize as feminine, “Do what you find to be necessary to receive the healing you need.” :grouphug:

Ultimately, God transcends gender. Our language is limited, so we, for lack of anything else, and because of the sexism present in our society, traditionally use the masculine pronoun. God has feminine and masculine attributes. I usually use the masculine pronoun, unless I want to make a point about gender-role issues. For those who have had difficulty with rape issues and /or a history of abuse by a father, if it is necessary for them to move closer to God whom they conceptualize as feminine, “Do what you find to be necessary to receive the healing you need.” :grouphug:

So Christ is a transexual…and also sexist for telling us to address God as, “Our Father”?

Friend, I dare say you know that is not what he meant…do you honestly believe that friend LongJourney suggested what you claim? Does your post speak from that Center of Light and Love?

As a person who once was liberal in diagnosing people with what I called “Mormon Personality Disorder” I now see it is common among people who claim other faiths. Jesus took the form of a male human being. His mother was not raped by a male god.

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