Is God a man? Is God a woman?
Spoiler alert: God is neither.
It is important to remember that gender is a social, human construct, and God, on the other hand, is above, beyond, and greater than humanity. God does not fit into the mold of a human construct.
It is also important to remember that God created man and woman in God’s image. Both of them. God created both of them and both are the image of God, so therefore, God is neither one nor the other. God is both and everything in between.
Though God does not fit into the box of a specific gender, binary pronouns and gender-specific descriptions are often used when talking about God, and with this, there are certain advantages and disadvantages.
Assigning God a gender can be beneficial for understanding certain qualities of God. For instance, “God loves you like a father” or “God cares for you like a mother” can provide really incredible imagery for the unconditional love, selfless care, sacrifice, and forgiveness God gives us. The descriptors and metaphors we use can help us relate to and grasp the concept of God.
On the other hand, gender specifications for God can also be quite harmful. They can be harmful to those who do not identify with a specific gender. For example, someone who is intersex (i.e. born with sex characteristics that do not fit into the binary gender categories) can feel quite isolated in not identifying with the God they are called to worship. Gender specifications can also be harmful for those that do identify with a specific gender and feel isolated from or dissimilar to God. Let’s say you identify as a woman and you are constantly worshipping a male God. It might make it harder to relate to or see yourself in that God.
Another possible negative effect arises when a gender-specific noun is ascribed to God that has caused someone pain in the past. For example, if someone has had an abusive relationship with their father, how are they to react to a call to worship “God the Father”? Or what about someone whose mother left when they were young; how are they to react to a call to serve “the Mother God” with their life?
It’s important to remember that gender descriptors are ways of highlighting certain qualities of God Whose attributes cannot be fully described by the limits of language and the human mind. God encompasses all genders, everything between, and everything beyond. God is above gender and within gender. God is God of all and God for all.
If we are to choose to use gender-specific pronouns and nouns to describe God, let’s look to diversify the words we use and include as many peoples as we can. And maybe next time you want to have some fun, change up the gender you use to describe God. Try talking about God at the dinner table with your family or friends and explain how great “She” is and how you saw “Her” act in your life. Then, if you’re feeling super adventurous, maybe try interchanging male and female pronouns throughout your story. “God has been working so incredibly in my life. He has provided in ways I could’ve never imagined. I see Her in so many facets of my life.” That’ll really spice things up. Nothing like some good, Christian fun at the dinner table.
That Christian Lesbian