Is God Female?


#1

Quick background to my question. I just 2 weeks ago started volunteering at a juvenile detention center through our archdiocese. Once a week a small group of volunteers goes to the cottages to offer Bible study - going over the Sunday readings - to any teenagers that wants to. Unitl my background clearence is complete I go to cottage with another volunteer. This week I was with a volunteer that referred to God as She when she was discussing one of the readings. The teenagers all looked surprised and one said that God was Father. Her response was that we are made in His image, male and female. I did not say anything but I could tell this bothered the girls. I know it bothered me. Help. Is it against Church teaching to refer to God as She? Any documentation would be helpful. I did not challenge her in front of the kids but feel I need to say something to her before next week. My biggest concern is that she is confusing the kids and want to make sure she is sharing Church teaching and not just her own agenda.

Hope this is the right area for this thread.


#2

While God is neither male or female, as He simply IS,
I explain the term FATHER to my teens by quoting Jesus.

Reading the New Testament, continually, Jesus refers to God as “Father”, beginning with the time he stayed behind at the temple…Mary found him and He replied:

(Luke 2:49) And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in** My Father’s house**?”

Throughout the rest of the Gospel…

And ending with the Ascension when He last spoke with the apostles:

(Luke 24:49) “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Why would anyone presume to know God more intimately than Jesus??? If Jesus calls God, Father, then God the Father it is. I don’t buy into the argument that Jesus only used the term because of the ‘time’ which He chose to come to earth - the fact that society was Patriarchal at the time, so ‘logically’ Jesus spoke to people in terms they would understand and accept.

But, Jesus spoke on various subjects in terms people did not accept (they killed Him for it) so that’s a bogus argument, in my opinion. Jesus is God…He could use whatever term He wanted, and apparently He wants God referred to in the masculine as Father.


#3

Good thoughts and the first thing that came to my mind was that Jesus taught us to pray Our Father. So how do I charitably approach this woman?
M


#4

[left]As John 4:24 states, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Since God is a spiritual being, God does not possess physical, human characteristics; however, sometimes figurative language used in Scripture assigns human characteristics to God in order to make it possible for man to understand God. This assignment of human characteristics to describe God is called “anthropomorphism.” Anthropomorphism is simply a means for God (a spiritual being) to communicate truth about His nature to mankind, a physical being. Since man is a physical being, man is limited in his understanding of those things beyond the physical realm, and anthropomorphism in Scripture helps man to understand who God is.

Some of the difficulty comes in examining the fact that man is created in God’s image. Genesis 1:26-27 says “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

What this means, is that both man and woman are created in the image of God, in that they are greater than all the other creations as they, like God, have a mind, will, intellect, emotions, and moral capacity. Animals do not possess a moral capacity, and do not possess an immaterial component like mankind does. Genesis tells us that when man was created by God, God breathed the “breath of life” into man. No other creation is described this way, and that “breath of life” is the spiritual component that man alone possesses. God created man to have a relationship with Him; man is the only creation designed for that purpose, and that “breath of life” is evidence of that.[/left]
gotquestions.org/God-male-female.html


#5

[quote=Magnolia] Her response was that we are made in His image, male and female. .
[/quote]

Magnolia,

Thats an interesting response. Why would we call the Father a she if we are made in His image? It doesn’t seem to necessarily follow, unless your co-volunteer means that God is actually both male and female at the same time? And if that is the case, then why aren’t we both male and female at the same time? Do you see how her response breaks down?

The only way her response makes any sense, as a defense to calling the Father a She, is if she feels the need to “counter-balance” a perceived masculine bias when speaking about God. And so, yes, I would hypothesize that she does have an agenda. The reasons to say “she” are 1)to indoctrinate the kids into a system that proposes a radical new ontology for God as female, or 2) for shock value, or 3) to counter-act a perceived male bias, or 4) a more subversive and sinister motive of undermining the True Nature of the Trinity as revealed by Christ.

I know this might be a challenge – but I encourage you to not let her get away with this unchallenged. She is a catechist, and is responsible for transmiting the true and unadulterated teaching of the Church. And regardless of whether or not there can be valid or fruitful theological discussion about male and female gender and their source in God – her duty as a catechist is to pass on sure teaching, to respect the abilities of her students, and to not purposefully confuse impressionable minds.

Magnolia, perhaps myself, YingYangMom, and our fellow posters can help you marshall a defense? What do you think?

God Bless,
VC

P.S.
As an aside – has anyone ever encountered this God is a she business in any other denomination???


#6

From the Catechism:

[size=3][font=Times New Roman]238 Many religions invoke God as “Father”. The deity is often considered the “father of gods and of men”. In Israel, God is called “Father” inasmuch as he is Creator of the world. Even more, God is Father because of the covenant and the gift of the law to Israel, “his first-born son”. God is also called the Father of the king of Israel. Most especially he is “the Father of the poor”, of the orphaned and the widowed, who are under his loving protection.

239 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, which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard:no one is father as God is Father.

240 Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father in relation to his only Son, who is eternally Son only in relation to his Father: “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

[/font][/size]


#7

Thanks VC for your offer to help - I accept! This is why I love these forums because of the wealth of understanding people share.

I want to talk to my fellow volunteer before next week and with the help of the Holy Spirit and all of you, speaking in truth and love, help her to appreciate the responsibility she has as a cathecist.

So how do I approach her? I am not the best at expressing what I know in my heart and feel like Moses when God said to go to Pharoah. Why me? Send someone else!

M


#8

Magnolia!

Nope, God chose you! Praise Him in all His designs.:wink:

Well, folks – we need help. What’s the best way for Magnolia to approach this effectively and in charity?

We need a plan.


#9

Well, next time this group meets, Magnolia can open the session by noting XXs ‘She’ statement from the previous statement…

She can say something directly to XX like,

“XX, while you express a preference to identify with God as female, personally, I can appreciate and respect that need to do so - in private. But the official Catholic teaching on God’s masculine/feminie identification is to refer to God as Father, therefore, in these group settings, particularly because we’re trying to educate people properly here, we will use He/Him/His when we refer to God. I would greatly appreciate your respect and cooperation in this matter. Thank you so much.”

It would help if she had a half-page hand out with some of the wording posted here in this thread (particularly the Catechism text/references) to hand out to everyone in the group so they can follow up on the matter in their own time should they care to.

That way, if anyone objects at the time she speaks directly to this person, she can refer them to the handout to learn more on their own time, stating clearly “for now, because of time constraints, let’s move forward with the discussion/lesson…” and then continue with whatever statement you were going for before the interruption.


#10

God does not have a gender. But He chose Father as way in which we are to start to know Him.

Genesis seems to me to say that God created Adam in His own image, then separated him into man and woman. Thus, every human attribute that is good has its origin in God. Thus any good attribute that can be attributed to women has its source in God.

All that is correct so far. But it is not a logical leap to thus claim it appropriate to refer to God as she. Why?

  1. God has no gender.
  2. God has instructed us to call Him Father.
    3.God never instructed us to refer to Him in a feminine name.

Thus, there is no logical basis to call the Almighty ‘She.’

There is some theological speculation that the Holy Spirit seems to posses some attributes thought of as feminine in humans. But to address the Holy Spirit as ‘she’ would be a major innovation in the church which would not be appropriate before serious theological review and guidance from the bishops. This kind of guidance has NOT been given. Thus, it would be folly to forge ahead and do it!


#11

You could get “When God Was A Woman” by Merlin Stone. But I don’t think that the Catholic Church teaches that God is a Woman. :banghead:

Kathie :bigyikes:


#12

[quote=Magnolia]Quick background to my question. I just 2 weeks ago started volunteering at a juvenile detention center through our archdiocese. Once a week a small group of volunteers goes to the cottages to offer Bible study - going over the Sunday readings - to any teenagers that wants to. Unitl my background clearence is complete I go to cottage with another volunteer. This week I was with a volunteer that referred to God as She when she was discussing one of the readings. The teenagers all looked surprised and one said that God was Father. Her response was that we are made in His image, male and female. I did not say anything but I could tell this bothered the girls. I know it bothered me. Help. Is it against Church teaching to refer to God as She? Any documentation would be helpful. I did not challenge her in front of the kids but feel I need to say something to her before next week. My biggest concern is that she is confusing the kids and want to make sure she is sharing Church teaching and not just her own agenda.

Hope this is the right area for this thread.
[/quote]

In fact, God has both maleness and femaleness in Him, otherwise these could not have come OUT of Him upon our creation. Does that make sense?

Nonetheless, it is against the Bible, so to speak, to refer to God as “She.” The reasons for that are NOT “masculine by preference.”

In the Bible, the Woman Type, where a “type” is a Biblical symbol, stands for “mankind in need of salvation.” Thus, in the Bible, “woman” and analogs such as “girl,” “sister,” “wife,” etc. symbolize all of us, women AND MEN!!! In that sense, the Woman Type is quite honorable.

So, in Christ’s wedding parables, the Prince/Groom is always Christ. The Bride is always mankind in the Church.

However, note that not only is Christ male, but angels in the Bible, where gender is apparent, are invariably male.

That’s because the Man Type stands for “God” and “representative of God” (or, in the case of non-spiritual beings, “empowered by God”).

Calling God a “she” is at war with the type.


#13

You could keep it simple with this logic:

Jesus was a man.
Jesus is God
Therefore it is appropriate to refer to God in the masculine, since God=Jesus=masculine.

Obviously, as previous posters pointed out, The Trinitarian person of God is not human, and so does not possess physical characteristics that we can label “male” or “female”. But God is certianly not just an “It”, so we defer to our most perfect example, Jesus, who referred to God as Father – again a masculine term.

So there is NO reason to refer to God in the feminine.

Not that there is anything wrong with being feminine…:smiley:

Peace,
javelin


#14

As far as how to approach her, I would simply say that, since the Church’s tradition is to use masculine pronouns when referring to God, you would appreciate it if she would do the same when working with the children. Note their confusion and how it can detract from the main lesson.

If she is unresponsive, approach the religious director about it. He/she should take care of it.

Peace,
javelin


#15

This seems so very simple…maybe I am missing something. God is the only God right? He’s not from a race of God’s, or a dimension of Gods? Just the the one right? So if “he” has no sexual partner, why would “he” develop sexual characteristics? Seems like a moot point, like men having nipples. Appearing to us in one way or another is one thing, but for “him” to actually have a gender seems illogical. “He” just seems like a more personal term than “it” when refering to God. Just an outside perspective for you.


#16

First I wanted to let you know that yesterday I lost a very dear friend after her 14 month battle with AML luekemia. I was too tired to check in with you all last night…

YinYangMom your wording was just what I needed. To know how to start the conversation and ask for her respect and cooperation to close the matter. I just printed out all of your responses to compile a response and plan to bring the CCC. Thanks Verbum Caro for calling for help.

My biggest concern was the confusion I saw on the girls faces as javelin noted. Her comments stopped us all in our tracks and we lost focus on Christ’s message. I will appeal to our Church’s tradition and ask her to do the same.

I wish I knew this group of volunteers better and that they knew me so when I bring this up they won’t feel like I am bringing division. I love our Christ, His Chuch and want to share that with these kids. I pray that the other volunteer will be open, I will be charitable but firm.

The religious director is a member of my parish so while I don’t know her well at least she may know my committment.

So many good thoughts posted and ideas on why this volunteer might feel the need to say “she” which helps me to understand where she might be coming from.

I know the Lord has placed this on my heart and that I can’t just let this go without speaking up. Please pray for me to find the right words in love and charity.
M


#17

God is genderless, God is God.


#18

[quote=Fox]God is genderless, God is God.
[/quote]

:smiley: :clapping:


#19

God could not be a woman. The Catholic church does not ordain women because the church knows there’s no possible way that God could be a woman.


#20

I think “characteristics” of God are always difficult but here is food for thought. (Maybe I’m off base but this is what came to mind for me).

Woman is “from man” - isn’t that correct? So couldn’t we somehow draw a parallel that man, created in God’s image brings forth woman in the sense that “she” is contained in man?

Additionally, I think it is interesting to me, in this context, that in the marriage covenant, man and woman are brought back together as “one” and we know that God is One.

Maybe someone a little more intelligent than myself can develop this further?


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