Stop Arguing About God's Gender
Language Can't Paint in HD
I’m tired of people arguing about the gender of God.
God is not human.
The Bible speaks of encounters with God in a multitude of ways. Moses experiences God in a burning bush. Joshua runs into a Divine ambassador of God. Ezekiel sees sights so incredible that the words he selects to describe them continue to confound us millennia later.
God does not have any identifying physical form to direct us towards one assumption on the other as far as gender goes. (At least until the incarnation, but more on that below)
Gender is a human construct.
Many well-meaning people—people whose only desire is to be faithful to the word of God—will point to the language of the Bible to insist that God is male. But the Bible also speaks of Jerusalem as a woman. We would be foolish to insist that a city is somehow female. “But God is revealed as the Father, Trey!”
Ah, yeah. I see the problem now.
We have confused the ontological with the physiological once again.
My bad. I don’t like using seminary words in this space. But sometimes I gotta reach into the bag.
When I speak about “the ontological”, I am speaking of essence. I am referring to that which grounds a thing in being. I am describing what exists regardless of the way we physically experience a thing.
Ontological realities are how I know that many Christians who are ready to acknowledge that Jesus was a Jewish man (from what we’d now recognize as the Middle East) still worship a White Jesus™. Because being white has never been about the color of one’s skin. It has always been about not being Black. Being white has always been set up as an aspiration. It was something that people desired—recognizing that the further away they got from being Black, the easier their life would be. That explains how people with all sorts of shades of skin migrated to the United States from all of the corners of the earth and fought (yes, even in the courts!) for the right to be identified as white. They didn’t care what they looked like. They wanted the rights that whiteness afforded. Being white is not a biological reality. It is an ontological reality. It shapes the way that people experience life, and the way they are experienced by others.
In the same way, God is not a biological father. There is not a DNA test on this planet that we can take to prove that we are God’s legitimate children. Maury Povich cannot help determine God’s paternity. Rather, God is the ontological father.
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