Author Topic: Calling God "She".  (Read 1443 times)

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Offline Ray1

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Calling God "She".
« on: May 01, 2018, 08:12:15 AM »
We know that God has no gender, God is neither male nor female, such concepts do not apply to God. But why do we call God "He" and not "She"? Why does it feel "weird" to use female pronouns when it comes to describing God but not when using male pronouns? And on a personal level, what do you think, and would you use "She" to call God?

I personally don't know where I stand, I just use male pronouns to call God, but would it be "wrong" or "heretical" to use a female pronoun?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 08:14:41 AM by Ray1 »

Offline Arachne

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2018, 08:22:03 AM »
Jesus consistently called God Father - in His teaching, in His private devotions, and in the first standardised prayer He provided for people. What was good enough for Jesus is good enough for me.
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Offline JTLoganville

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2018, 08:24:16 AM »
Jesus is God, and His gender is male.

He called God His Father; and He has commanded that we Baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

Other pronouns should "feel strange" because they are alien to God's self-revelation.

Offline Ray1

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2018, 10:29:48 AM »
Jesus is God, and His gender is male.

He called God His Father; and He has commanded that we Baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

Other pronouns should "feel strange" because they are alien to God's self-revelation.

Jesus was a Middle Eastern man, should we now consider God also Middle Eastern? You can't say God is male because Jesus is male, but then say no, God is not Middle Eastern, even though Jesus was. Saying the former leads to the latter and many others.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 10:33:42 AM by Ray1 »

Offline Ray1

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2018, 10:33:19 AM »
Jesus consistently called God Father - in His teaching, in His private devotions, and in the first standardised prayer He provided for people. What was good enough for Jesus is good enough for me.

I agree, but it still leaves the question of why did God use the male pronoun instead of female unanswered? Is God sexist? certainly not, so why was the male pronoun used and would using a female pronoun be considered "wrong"?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 10:35:05 AM by Ray1 »

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2018, 10:44:42 AM »
Thinking symbolically, I think fatherhood is a better analogy for God's relationship to creation, as opposed to motherhood which might suggest something more like Platonic or Daoist creation by emanation. Of course God's relationship to creation can be- and sometimes is- compared to a mother too in some ways. No analogy about God is problem free!

I would say that referring to God as "she" is not inherently more wrong than saying "he," but using pronouns interchangeably might undermine the sense of God as person (as opposed to abstraction).

Lastly I would say that a living faith tradition lives with history and with the accompanying difficulties. Transcending these difficulties is a very different thing from whitewashing them. Rewriting prayers and overturning age-old customs with the aim of correcting a perceived imbalance or injustice tends to engender sterility and distracts more than illumines.
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Offline WPM

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2018, 12:36:28 PM »
What about the Ancient Egyptian Pharoahs? . . .
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Offline Luke

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2018, 02:01:09 PM »
Arachne is correct. Jesus called God Father.  He also taught us the prayer that begins, "Our Father . . ."
In addition, In the ancient Hebrew culture, the creator of anything was called its "Father."  The Lord created Israel, so they called Him Father.  The Lord created the Church, so we call Him, "Father."
Furthermore, the Hebrew and Greek words for God are in the masculine gender.
However, even when we use the pronoun in English, we write "He" instead of 'he."  That capital H tells us that we are not dealing with the everyday "he."
Although we use "He," we know from Genesis 1 that both genders are created in God's image.
I doubt if calling God "She" would be a sin, at least not one of the worst ones, but since God refers to Himself as "He," I am too chicken to call Him anything else.

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2018, 02:23:29 PM »
Thinking symbolically, I think fatherhood is a better analogy for God's relationship to creation, as opposed to motherhood which might suggest something more like Platonic or Daoist creation by emanation. Of course God's relationship to creation can be- and sometimes is- compared to a mother too in some ways. No analogy about God is problem free!

I would say that referring to God as "she" is not inherently more wrong than saying "he," but using pronouns interchangeably might undermine the sense of God as person (as opposed to abstraction).

Lastly I would say that a living faith tradition lives with history and with the accompanying difficulties. Transcending these difficulties is a very different thing from whitewashing them. Rewriting prayers and overturning age-old customs with the aim of correcting a perceived imbalance or injustice tends to engender sterility and distracts more than illumines.

Good analysis brother.

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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2018, 04:35:02 PM »
Jesus is God, and His gender is male.

He called God His Father; and He has commanded that we Baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

Other pronouns should "feel strange" because they are alien to God's self-revelation.

Except, God has no genitals, nor chromosomes, nor brain which might have gender characteristics. If we're taking the Hypostatic Union and the importance of the body to identity seriously, then I think we should conclude that an unmixed, indivisible Union of male humanity (on the most gender essentialist reading possible of what that might mean) with genderless/gender transcendant deity results in an intersex Person.

That having been said, I agree with others that calling God She in a Christian context is likely kind of pointless/needlessly revisionist in a practical sense (keeping in mind passages in Scripture wherein God compares His own role to that of a woman).
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2018, 05:05:16 PM »
Thinking symbolically, I think fatherhood is a better analogy for God's relationship to creation, as opposed to motherhood which might suggest something more like Platonic or Daoist creation by emanation. Of course God's relationship to creation can be- and sometimes is- compared to a mother too in some ways. No analogy about God is problem free!

I would say that referring to God as "she" is not inherently more wrong than saying "he," but using pronouns interchangeably might undermine the sense of God as person (as opposed to abstraction).

Lastly I would say that a living faith tradition lives with history and with the accompanying difficulties. Transcending these difficulties is a very different thing from whitewashing them. Rewriting prayers and overturning age-old customs with the aim of correcting a perceived imbalance or injustice tends to engender sterility and distracts more than illumines.

I think Fr. Aidan would agree with your analysis there:

https://www.scribd.com/document/83236723/Holy-Trinity-Meets-Ashtoreth
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Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2018, 06:00:15 PM »
Jesus is God, and His gender is male.

He called God His Father; and He has commanded that we Baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

Other pronouns should "feel strange" because they are alien to God's self-revelation.

Except, God has no genitals, nor chromosomes, nor brain which might have gender characteristics. If we're taking the Hypostatic Union and the importance of the body to identity seriously, then I think we should conclude that an unmixed, indivisible Union of male humanity (on the most gender essentialist reading possible of what that might mean) with genderless/gender transcendant deity results in an intersex person.

1 + 0 = 1

1 + 0 != 1.5

(Despite the fact that I don't believe in a gender spectrum; biological intersex people from birth are clearly abbaratioms and not a normal decimal point person).
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2018, 06:10:16 PM »
Jesus is God, and His gender is male.

He called God His Father; and He has commanded that we Baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

Other pronouns should "feel strange" because they are alien to God's self-revelation.

Except, God has no genitals, nor chromosomes, nor brain which might have gender characteristics. If we're taking the Hypostatic Union and the importance of the body to identity seriously, then I think we should conclude that an unmixed, indivisible Union of male humanity (on the most gender essentialist reading possible of what that might mean) with genderless/gender transcendant deity results in an intersex person.

1 + 0 = 1

1 + 0 != 1.5

(Despite the fact that I don't believe in a gender spectrum; biological intersex people from birth are clearly abbaratioms and not a normal decimal point person).

Even if I bought that reasoning, we're talking about God and the mystery of the Incarnation not about merely human intersex people. Whatever gender is, Christ has to interact and enter into it, yet He is also one unified Personality. Saying that God's lack of gender has absolutely no influence on that sounds to me like some kind of Nestorian separation, almost akin to denying the term Theotokos.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 06:11:28 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Ainnir

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2018, 06:28:20 PM »
The second Person of the Trinity incarnated as a whole human being, of which there are two varieties as Genesis attests.  He incarnated as male by choice.  That's probably all the further we need to concern ourselves with the status of our Lord Incarnate's sex/gender/pronoun.   :-X

As for God the Father, God the Son calls Him so, and thus so do we.  The pronoun for Father is "He."  I really don't see why it needs to be more complicated than that.  Personally, I don't feel any more valuable as a woman when people try to make it more complicated than that.  Maybe others do, though, I don't know.  I'm not sure challenging God's pronoun would be the right response to that possibility.   :-\
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no clue, so there's that.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2018, 06:45:52 PM »
The second Person of the Trinity incarnated as a whole human being, of which there are two varieties as Genesis attests.  He incarnated as male by choice.  That's probably all the further we need to concern ourselves with the status of our Lord Incarnate's sex/gender/pronoun.   :-X

I agree that it's likely not profitable to take things too far in that direction, but I also see a value in acknowledging the ambiguity. At the very least, it can lead to epistemological modesty, which is always a good thing to have more of imo.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2018, 06:52:08 PM »
St. Nikolai of Serbia looked at a couple parables in which Christ is represented by a woman rather than a man. Obviously, coming from someone like him, this isn't meant to blur gender lines, or argue that Christ or God should be referred to as a 'She,' but he does take the opportunity to show how activities or attributes traditionally considered feminine were at times more (or at least equally) representative of the divine good compared to masculine ones.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 06:52:37 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2018, 07:01:42 PM »
Christ said the Kingdom of God is both of those who take it by violence (which means women must take up this masculine trait) and of the meek (which means men must take up this feminine trait). I do believe some traditional gender roles are blurred when we're talking about being a Christian, although some must be much enforced, such as those related to the balances of holy matrimony. This doesn't have a direct relationship with the topic discussed here, but I was thinking about this and this thread sounds like an okay place to dump this idea.
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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2018, 10:06:11 PM »
Jesus is God, and His gender is male.

He called God His Father; and He has commanded that we Baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

Other pronouns should "feel strange" because they are alien to God's self-revelation.

Except, God has no genitals, nor chromosomes, nor brain which might have gender characteristics. If we're taking the Hypostatic Union and the importance of the body to identity seriously, then I think we should conclude that an unmixed, indivisible Union of male humanity (on the most gender essentialist reading possible of what that might mean) with genderless/gender transcendant deity results in an intersex person.

1 + 0 = 1

1 + 0 != 1.5

(Despite the fact that I don't believe in a gender spectrum; biological intersex people from birth are clearly abbaratioms and not a normal decimal point person).

Even if I bought that reasoning, we're talking about God and the mystery of the Incarnation not about merely human intersex people. Whatever gender is, Christ has to interact and enter into it, yet He is also one unified Personality. Saying that God's lack of gender has absolutely no influence on that sounds to me like some kind of Nestorian separation, almost akin to denying the term Theotokos.


I don't think so.
And saying that the Two Natures mixed together is Monophysitism. If God is fully Divine and fully man, I don't see how the Divine Nature would cause biological changes to the human nature. At least, that's how I see it. There are still Two Natures after the Incarnation, as Chalcedon declares.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 10:10:12 PM by LivenotoneviL »
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2018, 01:24:28 AM »
Jesus is God, and His gender is male.

He called God His Father; and He has commanded that we Baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit".

Other pronouns should "feel strange" because they are alien to God's self-revelation.

Except, God has no genitals, nor chromosomes, nor brain which might have gender characteristics. If we're taking the Hypostatic Union and the importance of the body to identity seriously, then I think we should conclude that an unmixed, indivisible Union of male humanity (on the most gender essentialist reading possible of what that might mean) with genderless/gender transcendant deity results in an intersex person.

1 + 0 = 1

1 + 0 != 1.5

(Despite the fact that I don't believe in a gender spectrum; biological intersex people from birth are clearly abbaratioms and not a normal decimal point person).

Even if I bought that reasoning, we're talking about God and the mystery of the Incarnation not about merely human intersex people. Whatever gender is, Christ has to interact and enter into it, yet He is also one unified Personality. Saying that God's lack of gender has absolutely no influence on that sounds to me like some kind of Nestorian separation, almost akin to denying the term Theotokos.


I don't think so.
And saying that the Two Natures mixed together is Monophysitism. If God is fully Divine and fully man, I don't see how the Divine Nature would cause biological changes to the human nature. At least, that's how I see it. There are still Two Natures after the Incarnation, as Chalcedon declares.

They don't mix, but what is true of one is true of the other to an extent (the Theotokos is the Mother of God, God died according to the flesh, etc). It implies that there's more to gender than just the body, but I didn't think that was a controversial view for anybody.
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline LivenotoneviL

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2018, 02:11:08 AM »
While God Himself has characteristics of both the female and the male gender (for example, He views Himself as a nurturer of Israel; Christ comparing Himself to a hen and the Israelites to the chicks, etc., He also "begets" and a Fatherly figure as well), nevertheless God doesn't have a gender; that is something that is unique to human beings as well as other earthly organisms.

My problem with your logic is that you equivocate genderlessness with characteristics of both genders as the possession of both genders, which is something I don't see as something that logically follows (particularly if we aren't acting like certain academians and are using "gender" and "sex" interchangeably), as after all, "intersex" means between both genders - which in some cases, actually biologically happens. You can thank the LGBTQ movement for clouding up this serious ethical question with the normalization of same-sex relationships and the idea that both gender and biological sex (as they define it) are something that are merely constructed and can be changed.


Then again, we are trying to both describe the Divine Nature of God, something that is only able to be described to a limited degree (Trinity)
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 02:14:04 AM by LivenotoneviL »
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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2018, 02:48:03 AM »
Important thing: male/female ideas in theology are not mere description as in some points there's an actual relation, since nature is an icon of divine mysteries. This is the gap between Western (post-schism) and Eastern theology of nature and reflects in actual icons (this is why Western art bothered so much getting more realistic, because nature started being seen merely in empirical POVs from every since Ockham; and even by Aquinas in a certain way as he split between nature and supernature).
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Offline Sharbel

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2018, 10:47:04 AM »
The Trinitarian God has Three Persons: the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.  Two of them are male persons and the other is neither male nor female.  The Father, however, as the source of Divinity in the Godhead and usually the person Whom we address as God, then, as his personhood is male, we use the male pronoun He.  Not this is any exegesis, for I know that I used terms loosely, yet we only know how to relate to another person, and, since the Trinity is a mystery incomprehensible to us, we are bound by the pronouns of language when referring to another person, even when neither a male nor a female pronoun is fully adequate.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 10:50:49 AM by Sharbel »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2018, 12:40:56 PM »
Gregory the Theologian in his 31st Oration talked about pronouns.  In the Greek, the word “Father” is obviously masculine, the word for divinity or Godhead is actually feminine, and the word for Spirit is neuter.  He makes this point to prove that there is no gender in God.

At the same time, we also clearly see in Scriptures the masculine use for God is relational to creation, which is feminine.  Israel and Judah, both names of men, were also femininized when discussing them as nations in a love relationship to God. This continues today with the Church.

To say anything further would be speculation.  We submit to the language of Scripture and leave the rest to any revelation in the second coming.
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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2018, 03:09:47 PM »
The Trinitarian God has Three Persons: the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.  Two of them are male persons and the other is neither male nor female.  The Father, however, as the source of Divinity in the Godhead and usually the person Whom we address as God, then, as his personhood is male, we use the male pronoun He.  Not this is any exegesis, for I know that I used terms loosely, yet we only know how to relate to another person, and, since the Trinity is a mystery incomprehensible to us, we are bound by the pronouns of language when referring to another person, even when neither a male nor a female pronoun is fully adequate.
On a side note, Syriac Christian writers might use feminine pronouns and allegory to talk about the Holy Spirit. I have no idea on the consistence or frequency of this, but some people in the forum might shed some light.
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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2018, 03:24:43 PM »
The Trinitarian God has Three Persons: the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.  Two of them are male persons and the other is neither male nor female.  The Father, however, as the source of Divinity in the Godhead and usually the person Whom we address as God, then, as his personhood is male, we use the male pronoun He.  Not this is any exegesis, for I know that I used terms loosely, yet we only know how to relate to another person, and, since the Trinity is a mystery incomprehensible to us, we are bound by the pronouns of language when referring to another person, even when neither a male nor a female pronoun is fully adequate.
On a side note, Syriac Christian writers might use feminine pronouns and allegory to talk about the Holy Spirit. I have no idea on the consistence or frequency of this, but some people in the forum might shed some light.

Well, at least in Arabic, Ruh is female (it may be Spirit or soul), while nafs is femenine (it may be soul or self). In e.g writings of metropolita George Khodr the fact that nafs (soul) is femenine, the same as Kanisa (Church) is very important in relations with God (Allah that's male).
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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2018, 03:40:47 PM »
Well, at least in Arabic, Ruh is female (it may be Spirit or soul), while nafs is femenine (it may be soul or self). In e.g writings of metropolita George Khodr the fact that nafs (soul) is femenine, the same as Kanisa (Church) is very important in relations with God (Allah that's male).
This, in Hebrew, is also important for exegesis of the Song of Songs. Maybe Fr. Tadros Malaty wrote something about it, IDK, but the OSB has a neat summary of how the Fathers saw the book, although not getting into linguistics.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 03:41:39 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline Ray1

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2018, 12:44:25 PM »
I'm late to the subject I started, and for that, I apologize.

It is interesting that the reaction I received is not the same as the one I feared to receive, which is one of ridicule and bashing the notion of calling God "she" as a new age wave and has no value whatsoever, but what I saw is a lively and honest intellectual discussion between multiple members which I enjoyed reading very much.



Offline Rubricnigel

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2018, 09:10:52 PM »
By your argument you could say god was a donkey, or a monkey. Ridiculousness

God is the FATHER, jesus was his SON. It was Written like that for a reason. But hey the swedish church just decided to ban the word father, son, etc. As apparently 1 feminist got upset so the WOMEN in charge of the whole church decided to change 2000 years of history. Wonder what they change next?

God the father, jesus the son. Period.

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2018, 09:29:39 PM »
By your argument you could say god was a donkey, or a monkey. Ridiculousness

How would that work? Or do you not think that women are human?

And what could it possibly mean for a Being with neither genitals nor chromosomes do be a father?

Pretty sure there's a lot more than only one woman who feels alienated by the patriarchal language of church, even if changing it is likely not a good idea in practical terms.
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Offline Rubricnigel

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #29 on: May 29, 2018, 11:32:06 AM »
By your argument you could say god was a donkey, or a monkey. Ridiculousness

How would that work? Or do you not think that women are human?

And what could it possibly mean for a Being with neither genitals nor chromosomes do be a father?

Pretty sure there's a lot more than only one woman who feels alienated by the patriarchal language of church, even if changing it is likely not a good idea in practical terms.

What i meant was we have the bible, it clearly states the word father, son. So you have the evidence but you dont like that so you ask a question going against what we have as evidence already.
   Theres no reason to question it, or think anythig else so i dont have to imagine this or that.
    Why is having a father, son a bad thing? Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Offline Brilko

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2018, 04:44:57 PM »
If you are a traditionalist, you should conform to the tradition. If you are a modernist, you should use God’s preferred pronouns.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #31 on: May 29, 2018, 05:26:55 PM »
By your argument you could say god was a donkey, or a monkey. Ridiculousness

How would that work? Or do you not think that women are human?

And what could it possibly mean for a Being with neither genitals nor chromosomes do be a father?

Pretty sure there's a lot more than only one woman who feels alienated by the patriarchal language of church, even if changing it is likely not a good idea in practical terms.

What i meant was we have the bible, it clearly states the word father, son. So you have the evidence but you dont like that so you ask a question going against what we have as evidence already.
   Theres no reason to question it, or think anythig else so i dont have to imagine this or that.

The reason to question it is that society in general has this little history of treating women like crap and Christianity hasn't always helped in that (though to be fair, it has helped make things better too- life's complicated like that). Why presume that the Creator of all the universe has a penis just because He used the word Father? It doesn't make any logical sense to me.

But like I said, I'm fine with the word Father/Son/He as a matter of custom and propriety. I just bristle at attempts to read some deep theology into it (especially from "complementarians," not that I think you are one).

Why is having a father, son a bad thing? Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Having a father/son is a great thing. But God is the creator of all, not of men only. It would make more sense to me if He was beyond our circumscribed distinctions in this created order rather than properly a part of them.


Am I a feminist? Maaaaaybe?

I generally think it's more moral to believe feminist things, though I'm skeptical of some claims and simply uniformed on others. I'm also a guy and I kind of agree with Jim Sterling that guys don't really have the moral right to self-identify as feminists. So, I guess I leave it to others to decide whether I "make the grade" or not.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 05:30:39 PM by Volnutt »
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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2018, 05:32:41 PM »
Happy shall he be, that shall take and dash thy little ones against the rock. Alleluia.

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #33 on: May 29, 2018, 05:50:06 PM »
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 05:51:26 PM by Volnutt »
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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #34 on: May 29, 2018, 05:59:57 PM »
Ha, nice.
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Offline BrotherInChrist

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #35 on: May 29, 2018, 07:53:20 PM »
As said by others, Jesus called God "Father", and Jesus (Who is God) was Himself a male. Moreover, God is referred to as male many times throughout the Old Testament; in Exodus 15:3, for example, He is called "a man of war". In Isaiah 63:16 He is called a father, as well as in Psalms 68:5 and Malachi 1:6 (among other verses).

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #36 on: May 29, 2018, 08:42:36 PM »
By your argument you could say god was a donkey, or a monkey. Ridiculousness

How would that work? Or do you not think that women are human?

And what could it possibly mean for a Being with neither genitals nor chromosomes do be a father?

Pretty sure there's a lot more than only one woman who feels alienated by the patriarchal language of church, even if changing it is likely not a good idea in practical terms.

That’s so petty of them considering God then honored a woman above all other mortal humans, our beloved Theotokos.
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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2018, 09:00:05 PM »
By your argument you could say god was a donkey, or a monkey. Ridiculousness

How would that work? Or do you not think that women are human?

And what could it possibly mean for a Being with neither genitals nor chromosomes do be a father?

Pretty sure there's a lot more than only one woman who feels alienated by the patriarchal language of church, even if changing it is likely not a good idea in practical terms.

That’s so petty of them considering God then honored a woman above all other mortal humans, our beloved Theotokos.

She's only one, and she confers no abilities on earthly women.
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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #38 on: May 29, 2018, 11:00:40 PM »
By your argument you could say god was a donkey, or a monkey. Ridiculousness

How would that work? Or do you not think that women are human?

And what could it possibly mean for a Being with neither genitals nor chromosomes do be a father?

Pretty sure there's a lot more than only one woman who feels alienated by the patriarchal language of church, even if changing it is likely not a good idea in practical terms.

That’s so petty of them considering God then honored a woman above all other mortal humans, our beloved Theotokos.

What biro said. Also, when the leaders of the Church can only be men and the main texts of the Church were all written by men, and when there's not even female depictions of angels- it's hard not to see the existence of female Saints as a bit of an afterthought. It's the whole sense that the male is default and the female is a deviation- even though the Church has never been as extreme about that as, for example, Aristotle, it's still hard not to see it as being there.

Not saying I agree with that kind of stance, but I can definitely sympathize with it.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 11:03:04 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Ainnir

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2018, 11:53:07 PM »
You might not want to use angels to make your case.   :-\  They a) don't have a sex nor do they procreate, b) aren't human and don't look human in their natural form, and c) disguised themselves as men either of their own volition or according to God's command.  The writers of Scripture recorded what they saw or were told, and the iconographers patterned the icons after Scriptural accounts.  Now why they needed to appear as male humans is a better question.  My two guesses are 1) their natural form would have given most people a heart attack, rendering their angelic message undeliverable and 2) the culture of those days wouldn't have taken a woman's testimony seriously.  I'll attribute that latter one to the Fall and not a defect of theology.  See Hagar for an OT example of how God interacts with women.  A third possibility as to why the seeming unbalance in angelic appearances is that since we may be "entertaining angels unawares" at any given time, they could be disguised as either men or women and we'd never know anyway.  (Well not never, but my point still stands.)

And Saints by definition can't be an afterthought.  Not in Orthodoxy.  God makes saints, not the Church (and that could get more nuanced).  Whether people recognize and venerate this or that saint is another matter, but God doesn't do afterthoughts.  The Theotokos definitely isn't an afterthought, nor "just" one woman.  Again, according to Orthodoxy; I realize we're in Free-for-All.  I'm not excusing or ignoring abuses past or present, but I think the onus for that belongs on broken people creating broken systems, not God, Scripture, the Church, etc.
Is any of the above Orthodox?  I have no clue, so there's that.

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #40 on: May 30, 2018, 12:07:59 AM »
You might not want to use angels to make your case.   :-\  They a) don't have a sex nor do they procreate, b) aren't human and don't look human in their natural form, and c) disguised themselves as men either of their own volition or according to God's command.  The writers of Scripture recorded what they saw or were told, and the iconographers patterned the icons after Scriptural accounts.  Now why they needed to appear as male humans is a better question.  My two guesses are 1) their natural form would have given most people a heart attack, rendering their angelic message undeliverable and 2) the culture of those days wouldn't have taken a woman's testimony seriously.  I'll attribute that latter one to the Fall and not a defect of theology.  See Hagar for an OT example of how God interacts with women.  A third possibility as to why the seeming unbalance in angelic appearances is that since we may be "entertaining angels unawares" at any given time, they could be disguised as either men or women and we'd never know anyway.  (Well not never, but my point still stands.)

Good points.

And Saints by definition can't be an afterthought.  Not in Orthodoxy.  God makes saints, not the Church (and that could get more nuanced).  Whether people recognize and venerate this or that saint is another matter, but God doesn't do afterthoughts.  The Theotokos definitely isn't an afterthought, nor "just" one woman.  Again, according to Orthodoxy; I realize we're in Free-for-All.  I'm not excusing or ignoring abuses past or present, but I think the onus for that belongs on broken people creating broken systems, not God, Scripture, the Church, etc.

I agree that it doesn't necessarily reflect on God, but only on broken human systems, and from His point of view nobody is ever an afterthought . It's just that sometimes it's hard not to see the Orthodox Church as so patriarchal that it winds up being misogynistic in practice, even if not in intent.
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Offline Alpha60

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #41 on: May 30, 2018, 12:45:15 AM »
By your argument you could say god was a donkey, or a monkey. Ridiculousness

How would that work? Or do you not think that women are human?

And what could it possibly mean for a Being with neither genitals nor chromosomes do be a father?

Pretty sure there's a lot more than only one woman who feels alienated by the patriarchal language of church, even if changing it is likely not a good idea in practical terms.

That’s so petty of them considering God then honored a woman above all other mortal humans, our beloved Theotokos.

She's only one, and she confers no abilities on earthly women.

1. What difference does that make?  The Theotokos is exalted over all other mortal humans, even St. Elias.  She alone is entitled to hyperdoulia.  She carried in her womb and held in her arms God Incarnate, and spent more time with our Lord Jesus Christ than anyone else in this life.  She gave birth while remaining a virgin.  Glory to thee, O bride unwedded!  All generations will call you blessed and all of creation rejoices in you, O theotokos.

2. How do you figure?  What abilities would you have her confer?  We ask for her intercession in prayer as a matter of course.  “Through the intercession of the Theotokos, Savior, save us.”

She directly confers upon women the most important of abilities, which is faith (by the example of her life, she inspires a pious faith of repentance and humility, a faith in a loving God who cares for the meek and lowly as well as the strong and proud), and she intercedes in prayers for God to confer other abilities as may be meet or proper for our salvation.

Christianity is not Voodoo or Hinduism or Paganism or Wicca; I am not looking to offer worship or sacrifices to a male deity or a female deity in order to gain magical superpowers.   All I am looking to do is to keep my faith through repentance and humility and receive the nourishment of the sacraments in the Church.  I have no doubt you, who are a member of this forum known for exemplary piety, are looking for the same things I am looking for, and not looking for the same things I am not looking for.  So I am just a bit confused here on what powers St. Mary cannot directly confer, in your opinion, that we would actually want.

If by powers, you mean the divine grace which saves us if we cooperate with it, it is true that this grace comes from God and not St. Mary, in the uncreated energies of God.  However, St. Mary and all the other saints do participate in these energies; it is only the divine essence which is completely transcendant and unknowable, if we follow a Palamist theology.  Our salvation is deification, Theosis, and it would I think be correct to say that St. Mary is the most deified of all the saved Christians, and thus participates more in the uncreated energies of God than any other saint.

I believe some Orthodox hymns refer to her as the Mediatrix of all Graces; we are saved by Jesus Christ alone, but even in the Gospel, we see St. Mary interceding for us (for example, the Wedding Feast at Cana). 

I believe that God, owing to His perfection, would save us or help us even without the intercession of the saints, but since God is love, since theosis requires becoming like God, and since the uncreated energies of God are obviously love, it follows that God out of love has those who have been glorified intercede for us as a continuing form of divine Love, and as a means of drawing ever closer to Him.  And our tradition implies that St. Mary intercedes more than anyone else.


What biro said. Also, when the leaders of the Church can only be men and the main texts of the Church were all written by men, and when there's not even female depictions of angels- it's hard not to see the existence of female Saints as a bit of an afterthought. It's the whole sense that the male is default and the female is a deviation- even though the Church has never been as extreme about that as, for example, Aristotle, it's still hard not to see it as being there.

Not saying I agree with that kind of stance, but I can definitely sympathize with it.

There is nothing in the Orthodox faith to suggest feminity is a deviation.  If it were a deviation, the uncreated Logos would not have assumed our humanity by means of a woman.  Some theologians say that being born in the manner that He was is the only way Christ could have put on our humanity, and this may well be true in the context of the universe as God created it, where the female gender is
natural, holy and an exalted part of Creation.  However, God is omnipotent; if he had created the nightmarish Cosmos envisaged by Aristotle in which women are a deviation from the natural order, a view no doubt influenced by the prevailing pederasty of Athenians, He could have created it with an alternative form of incarnation.  The mere fact that our Savior is born of a woman discredits completely the misogynistic idea that women are a deviation, or of less value as human beings.

This of course is hard for people to accept; in the PRC the One Child Policy has led to tragedies involving abortion, infanticide or other evil treatment of women; misogyny is an ancient evil embedded deeply within a large number of human civilizations and is also contrary to the teaching of our Lord.

Lastly, the fact that the Patristic Corpus and the New Testment were, respectively, largely and completely written by male authors is a meaningless red herring.  Particularly when we consider the enormous numbers of female saints in the New Testament and the first millenium.  Mary and Martha of Bethany, Mary Magdalene, Theclas, the list goes on.  We have a legion of Christian martyrs like Ss. Lucia and Priscilla, and we have extremely important female church leaders, such as St. Theclas or St.Nino, who evangelized the entire country of Georgia.  The Byzantine Empress whose name escapes me who abolished Iconoclasm is another example.  Actually, I could spend all night iterating through female saints.  That the Patristic literature was mostly written by men is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

I would also casually pbserve that so much of the Patristic corpus is psuedepigraphical.  Given the rampant misogyny that existed then, which the Church fought against, it is possible some of these works were by female authors.

Lastly, recall the early growth of Christianity is now understood to have been largely driven by the conversion of women, who became Christian due to the faith’s protections for women and their children, such as the restriction of polygamy, adultery and especially infanticide.   Of these women, those who married via the romantic process insisted their suitors convert, and gave birth to Christian children.
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Offline biro

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #42 on: May 30, 2018, 01:12:41 AM »
Really, I don't think you're right. But it's too late to fight.
My only weakness is, well, never mind

And you'll sleep, but they'll find you

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Offline Ainnir

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #43 on: May 30, 2018, 08:46:59 AM »
I agree that it doesn't necessarily reflect on God, but only on broken human systems, and from His point of view nobody is ever an afterthought . It's just that sometimes it's hard not to see the Orthodox Church as so patriarchal that it winds up being misogynistic in practice, even if not in intent.
I hear you.  I don't share that perspective, but I hear you.   :)
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Offline Rubricnigel

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Re: Calling God "She".
« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2018, 01:24:08 PM »
By your argument you could say god was a donkey, or a monkey. Ridiculousness

How would that work? Or do you not think that women are human?

And what could it possibly mean for a Being with neither genitals nor chromosomes do be a father?

Pretty sure there's a lot more than only one woman who feels alienated by the patriarchal language of church, even if changing it is likely not a good idea in practical terms.

That’s so petty of them considering God then honored a woman above all other mortal humans, our beloved Theotokos.

What biro said. Also, when the leaders of the Church can only be men and the main texts of the Church were all written by men, and when there's not even female depictions of angels- it's hard not to see the existence of female Saints as a bit of an afterthought. It's the whole sense that the male is default and the female is a deviation- even though the Church has never been as extreme about that as, for example, Aristotle, it's still hard not to see it as being there.

Not saying I agree with that kind of stance, but I can definitely sympathize with it.

Move to Sweden, a women as Bishop, currently she has banned rhe word father/son.

Men have been bread winners, men have been kings not because "muh patriarchy" but because men are the protectors, the ones who fight and die to protect the women and children. Women are nurturing by nature, because if women had the same nature as man, there wouldnt be a society.
   A male feminist, so which wave do you support then?