OT / NT God??

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OT / NT God??

Postby STEPcoach » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:42 am

Been studying the Bible since 1965 and this question has nagged me a bit before, but has just recently been poking me ...
We all see the differences between the attitude of God in the Old Testament, and understand generally that this was a Patriarch creating a nation with rules and consequences such as "stone them publicly", and Jesus God in the New Testament with the new covenant of Love and Peace as two aspects of the same Godhead ...

But what's been eating me is the generally Masculine/Father nature of the OT God, and the (now, hear me out) generally Feminine/Mother nature of the NT God.

What I mean is that, in studying male/female, husband/wife characteristics (I'm a family mediator, so I teach this sort of thing), I keep feeling like those M/F attributes could apply to the OT/NT God personalities. For example, generally speaking, mothers are more forgiving, nurturing, and gentle with their children than fathers, who are more discipline focused and rigid. Much as OT Jehovah was more (again, generally) rigid and disciplinary than NT Jesus, who forgave the same sinners OT Jehovah would have had stoned in the public square.

I'm just developing this line of thought, so I'm looking for any ideas or theories or insights anyone may have. If you disagree with me, please explain clearly why, don't just bash me. I know this is a bit non-trad, but I really feel there may be something of value here regarding the personality of God.

Thanks!

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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby PaulSacramento » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:10 am

The bible gives as a pregressive revelation of God's nature, cumulating in God Incarnate, Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that know had ever seen or known the Father until HE made Him Known.
The OT writers wrote the best that they could in regards to their understanding of God, they didn't always get it right.
Even death was "misunderstood" and its understanding progressed,going from nothingness to Sheol to divisions in Sheol to bodily ressurection and even then, not all agreed on those views, case in pint the Saudecees.
To the OT writers God was a God of anger and wrath and must be feared, when they went to battle and destroyed and killed it was God's will, when a natural disaster happened, God was upset and displeased with their sacrifices.
Jesus brought a true understanding of God, he is Our Father, Love and grace are God most defining traits, yes He gets upset, because he loves us and cares and yes he punishes and judges, for the same reason, Love.

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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby STEPcoach » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:38 am

So, you're saying that both the OT and NT aspects of God's nature are masculine, just viewed differently by the writers? Then what about the infallability of the Holy Spirit's authorship of the Bible and His familiarity with the Godhead?

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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby PaulSacramento » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:52 pm

STEPcoach wrote:So, you're saying that both the OT and NT aspects of God's nature are masculine, just viewed differently by the writers? Then what about the infallability of the Holy Spirit's authorship of the Bible and His familiarity with the Godhead?

Not sure if we can out a gender on God, LOL !
We are trying to see and understand GOD by our limited human views, a very challenging task indeed, don't you agree?
I don't recall the HS PERSONALLY writing anything ;)

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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby jlay » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:32 pm

Are there any specific scriptures you could reference and contrast to illustrate this contrast in 'feminine' quality?

Just my thoughts, but I'd think there would need to be more to go on than just applying these modern counseling perspectives to the scriptures. Not sure that is a proper lens to view the scriptures. FWIW, the OT often times presents a very tender, nurturing figure. In the NT, Jesus spoke very differently at different times depending on his audience. See how harshly he spoke to the Pharisees. He also spoke about harsh judgment to come, as do most of the NT epistles.

Certainly the qualities of God character are revealed differently depending on how He is dealing with man, during specific times.
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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby Canuckster1127 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:24 pm

God's image is reflected both in female and male.

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

Patriarchal societies and culture tends to emphasize the masculine as an indirect means of envisioning God in the role that the chiefest members of that society assume. There are some images in the OT that are feminine in terms of the language and culture. The NT may seem more feminine in that Jesus moves the perspective of God from what in the OT is often more dominant to the NT where God is seen primarily as Love, especially in the Johannine Gospel and Epistles.

THe Bible is both a divine and a human work and the influences of the culture within which the writers were inspired are reflected as well. In terms of God's nature, both maleness and femaleness are fully equal in terms of the image of God we bear. In term of the human writers the emphasis in some areas is much more on the masculine because that's the context and perspective that their culture filtered and understood things by.

Making the assumption that maleness is superior to femaleness because God is cast in that light within Scripture based upon the number of images and mentions in that particular context is in the end a circular argument and denies what God directly reveals about Himself (or Herself if you want to tick off some people .... ;) )
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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby Byblos » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:26 am

Canuckster1127 wrote:... (or Herself if you want to tick off some people .... ;) )


I like to use the grammatically incorrect but very fitting 'themself' when referring to God. Plural, yet singular, sort of like the trinity. And gender-neutral.
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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby jlay » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:39 am

This post probably goes a little beyond the original question in the OP.
I don't think we can ignore how things are intentionally worded in the scripture. I certainly don't think we should use the revealed masculine nature of God to try and subject women to some inferior creation, or 2nd class citizenry. But I think we should be very suspicious and critical of any thoughts of referring to God as mom, mother, she, her, etc.

The Bible does distinquish the differnces of the sexes, and more than once defines distinct roles to each. It does speak to the "weaker sex," it does often speak to male authority, and many other specific distinctions in the roles of the male and female. The distinctions have often been manipulated to imply superiority of one and inferiority of the other. That is simply wrong. However, I would contend that promoting God as feminine, is more of a push back response to this than it is a valid scriptural position. It isn't valid. (I will address feminine comparisons in poetic language later.) I know this isn't a popular view in our culture, but I think it is one that is essential in seeing the church function in a Godly way. We all know that for the church to 'function' that each part has to function the way it was designed.

We most certainly know that in our current dispensation of grace, regarding salvation, that there is no difference regarding gender. None. (Gal 3:28) In fact, the NT is perhaps some of the most pro-feminists literature ever penned, especially considering the context of the times. That doesn't negate how the Bible defines our roles, authority, and God's nature. When God appeard in the flesh, He certainly came as a man. When Jesus referred to God, He specifically referred to Him as FATHER, not mother. There is absolutely no question about this. To refer to God in the feminine is wholly out of line, IMO, based on those two facts alone. That doesn't mean that God doesn't evoke what we would call feminine character traits at times. God's spiritual being isn't bound in our gender roles. And He most certainly designed each sex, so his handiwork is imprinted in each of our DNA.

However, I don't think that gives us liberty to call God, mom. I think such distortions, are a result of our current culture's ambiguity in regards to gender, and a lack of appreciation for how God has revealed Himself personally, and how He desinged our gender roles. I think we see the disasterous consequences upon the male/female roles in our culture today. I'm not saying that referring to God as "she" or "her" has caused this, but that the cultural issues have opened the door to consider this a legit way to speak of God. (Rob Bell's done this one as well) Which I think would have been considered ridiculous in any other time in history. Inevitibly, if one takes my position, it is bound to come across as that of a narrow-minded fundementalists. And I have little doubt that will be revealed even here. To me, it seems absurd to have to defend God as Father, Son, He, Him. And, I'm not saying I have to do that here.

Regarding those who support or are OK with referencing God in the feminine. I think it is often defended with proof-text from the scripture. (If it is defended scripturally at all.) There isn't any question that the scripture makes analogies to God's attributes as with reference to feminine qualities. I could site many of those myself. That isn't my argument. My argument is taking liberties with the scripture to try and defend this position. For example, I've often heard Matt. 23:37 sited as a pro-feminine example. It is nothing less than absurd to try and use this text to defend referencing God as her, or she.

My experience has been, anytime I hear someone refer to God as 'she' or 'her' it is almost exclusively as an antagonistic remark towards traditional Christianity. Oprah comes immediately to mind.
You will find similar statements such as this from those who promote the feminine. "I think that whatever you need God for, He/She is it. If you need a mom or a dad, or even a good friend, he's everything for everyone at anytime."

It isn't surprising to me that such thoughts are often defended with equally bad theology. God is all we need, but not remotely in the terms that are presented here. That is a very fuzzy way of saying that God conforms to YOUR image. In short, idolatry. It's amazing that two people can say, "God is all I need," and have completely different theology and meaning behind the statement.

Anyway, I didn't want to jump too far off topic. Just some thoughts.
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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby Canuckster1127 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:49 pm

Jlay,

God referred to Israel as his wife and Jesus refers to the Church as His Bride so in that regard, if we wish to extend the metaphor to the same degree some of the rationale is above, then there is no "maleness" except in God.

God is Spirit. Femaleness and Maleness are in that regard equal reflections of God's image. If someone has a need unique to their own upbringing to relate to God in God's feminine qualities that's no less legitimate than finding the same needs met in God in terms of a Father.

Maleness and Femaleness are both patterned off of the image of God as reflections. God is neither Male nor Female. Those, in my opinion, who wish to extend the metaphor to actually making God male (usually males do this and it seems that they often do it in order to boost their own value or egos as of more value compared to females.)

Grammatically there is indeed an overwhelming number of male references in terms of God as Father. Jesus was male. Those who like to point that out as somehow important almost always do it, to my observation, without also noting that the form of the word "Pneuma" or Spirit in most of the bIble in terms of relating to the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit is feminine in form. Apparently that's not important or that's only a coincidence of language when it doesn't square with the logic promoted in other areas.

Again, maleness and femaleness are all part and parcel of the image of God which we reflect. We are not little copies of God running around in earth.

It's ironic, JLay but I actually agree with your concluding statement that there are fuzzt ways of saying that God conforms to our image. As you might guess however, I see those who are concerned about promoting the "maleness" of God as doing that more than those who see both maleness and femaleness as equal reflections of God's image and ultimately accept that God is Spirit.

It's blunt and I offend people with it at times, but those who wish to go to great lengths to give lip service to the image of God being reflected in both male and female but then use gender case and the cultural context of the societies that were involved with the preservation of scripture to infer that God is somehow "more male" than female and that both elements can't be seen, my question is "Exactly how big is God's penis?" So far, nobody has tried to give me an answer to that. I ask it here just to illustrate the sillyness of some of the arguments built to try to lock God into either gender in terms of His (and yes that's a male pronoun) being as opposed to the manner it's used in Scripture which is more about drawing a parallel in role that gives us, from our perspective, a handle to understand how God relates to us.

God transcends our perspective. The attribution of human characteristics to God is called anthropomorphism and it's a legitimate means both in Scripture and in our own context today of putting God in terms that we can understand, grasp and relate to. When we lose sight of that and then imagine that the metaphors we use to describe what God is like are indeed what God actually is, then we're indeed putting God in our own image. If it's legitimate to appeal to the male metaphor of God's maleness to understand His role of authority and prominence in some contexts, then it's legitimate in others to recognize that there are female metaphors in Scripture too. Of course, it's just as silly to imagine then that God really is female, but from our perspective for some reason, people will see that in the one gender but not the other.

My thoughts too, for what they're worth.
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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby jlay » Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:37 pm

God referred to Israel as his wife and Jesus refers to the Church as His Bride so in that regard, if we wish to extend the metaphor to the same degree some of the rationale is above, then there is no "maleness" except in God.

Sorry, I am not following you here.

Regarding metaphor. I stated in my post that this was not my argument. There are many metaphorical and poetic examples, as I mentioned. I would not use Israel being referred to as God's wife as a case that God is an anatomically correct male. Not at all the point of my response.

God is neither Male nor Female.

God the Father certainly is not male or female in the physical, anatomical sense, since God is spirit. Jesus was God in the flesh, and there is little question to His gender. And the risen Christ is still in the same form He was when He ascended and sat down with the Father, and I presume will be for eternity. As God will be Father yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Those who like to point that out as somehow important almost always do it, to my observation, without also noting that the form of the word "Pneuma" or Spirit in most of the bible in terms of relating to the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit is feminine in form. Apparently that's not important or that's only a coincidence of language when it doesn't square with the logic promoted in other areas.


I'm not Greek expert, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn last night. Many languages use feminine gender for different words, which have nothing to do in regards to describing sex. I have studied Spanish and this was common from my best memory. So, if the Greek text ever referred to the HS as she then you might have something. Otherwise, I would guess that the common usage of the word Pneuma is feminine, although I was unable to find this. So, it might say, "His (masculine pronoun) spirit."

Example: But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11
Most of my Greek references show pnuema as gender neutral. But again, I am not a Greek expert.

Bart, I can only assume that since your post is titled to me, and you bring up promoting the maleness' of God, that you took my post to be doing such. I suspect, (and actually alluded to it in the post) that this would happen. And I had already figured it would be by you if it did happen. y:-? It just seems odd to me that when one can be put on the defensive on this issue when there simply is no basis for referring to God as her, she, mother or mom. Not in the grammatical sense. Yet, it seems you have done that very thing. I am not promoting the maleness, as much as I am criticizing the usage of the feminine in regards to grammar.

Again, maleness and femaleness are all part and parcel of the image of God which we reflect. We are not little copies of God running around in earth.

Is this also directed towards me? because I'm not sure what you are saying, or why you are saying it.

If someone has a need unique to their own upbringing to relate to God in God's feminine qualities that's no less legitimate than finding the same needs met in God in terms of a Father.


That's not my argument. And this relates back to the OP. God's qualities are God's qualities. We might see certain qualities as being more masculine or feminine, but no quality of God is actually masculine or feminine. They are Godly. For us, gentleness, tenderness and mercy may be related more to women, but that doesn't make it feminine anymore than anger and wrath is masculine. I am not acting feminine if I exhibit gentleness, or living up to my maleness if I respond with wrath.
God is Father. He is never referred to as Mother in any concrete grammatical usage. That doesn't mean He doesn't have qualities that we might relate better to as fitting better with a mother's nature. But that doesn't make the quality feminine. And it certainly doesn't justify referring to God as her, she, Mother, etc. Metaphors are just that. Metaphors. Although there are exceptions to this as well. For example, Jesus took the metaphor of a shephard, and referred to Himself as, 'The Good Shephard.' And we are certainly not out of line to refer to Christ by such a name. True Vine, Light of the World, etc. But we wouldn't refer to Christ as the, "mother hen."
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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby STEPcoach » Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:48 pm

Wonderful stuff here, my friends! Let me pull us back to my original question and perhaps expand it a bit.

OT God YHWH did, indeed, exhibit tender loving characteristics at times; however, overall He was pretty warlike and relentless in His drive to establish a holy people in the midst of a buncha heatherns. This called for war, ethnic cleansing, whole sale massacres, and absolute consequences for breaking His Laws. (Let God be forever praised and never criticized!)

The feminine quality I referred to regarding God-in-man, Jesus the Christ is exemplified in His openness to yielding dogmatic consequences to gentle forgiveness. To wit: OT God says in Leviticus and Deuteronomy to stone adulterers, but when presented with an adulteress in John 8, NT God/Jesus forgives her with the simple admonition to sin no more. Jesus' whole m.o. throughout the Gospels is mercy, tenderness, forgiveness, and lovingkindness: healing, touching, feeding, tending, nurturing all except the obviously hypocritical mis-users of His Name.

Regarding OT YHWH, Let us not get tangled in scattered examples of gentleness. Yes, I'm painting with a broad brush, but I'm seeking to color in the background and larger shapes before sketching in fine details.

Do you see my point of the difference between OT YHWH and NT Jesus, and how the masculine and feminine might be applied?

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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby neo-x » Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:18 pm

Do you see my point of the difference between OT YHWH and NT Jesus, and how the masculine and feminine might be applied?

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I agree with you in this that, if mercy, tenderness and forgiveness are to be attributed as exclusive motherly traits then, yes. You could say that. But then I always held the view that both motherly and fatherly tones are present in God, even in O.T

Isaiah 66:13 "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."

Isaiah 49:15 "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!"

I would say though that your idea might not have the implication - to prove the femininity or masculinity of God but it indirectly provokes it. Not sure how you would handle it.

Bart, i think you meant by "anthropomorphism" in this case to be "Theomorphism". anyways,

God transcends our perspective. The attribution of human characteristics to God is called anthropomorphism and it's a legitimate means both in Scripture and in our own context today of putting God in terms that we can understand, grasp and relate to. When we lose sight of that and then imagine that the metaphors we use to describe what God is like are indeed what God actually is, then we're indeed putting God in our own image.


It is quite complicated, as you may have seen that the Hindus apply the same concept or the core of it, at least. In-fact the older religions that predate Judaism probably had the same approach and they had male and female deities, male deities expressed might, power, wars, courage, sacrifice, etc. female deities posed, fertility, provision, nature and nurture of living things. so the idea rests in human nature itself to attribute to God or see some of it in our selves.

God is no more male than he is female. as a matter of fact I think that Genesis 1:27 doesn't have to mean our current body, if the rest is pretty much metaphor, so can this be, in that it may just mean that "image of God" reflects that they were pure and without sin, in spirit. The problem is language, it only identifies male or female. Urdu language is my native language and in that God is written as male, however the word for spirit is feminine in the language original use. so when the "spirit of God" is written, it implies a literal feminine identification because the word "spirit" in Urdu can only be written as in addressing the feminine gender.

I agree with both of you, you are both right, Jilay and you. Jilay has a good point too, if such liberties are taken from scripture then you get all kinds of awkward and absurd ideas about God' gender and people trying to prove he is either more male or more female.
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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby Canuckster1127 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:15 am

I agree Jlay has some valid points. There's two sets of cultures (and maybe more) involved with understanding these issues; ours and the culture of the author and original audience of the passages of Scripture we look at. It's impossible to remove all elements of culture (and grammar and language etc.) from our approach to these passages. What is desirable, I believe, is to be as aware as we can be of how those elements are present in us and to try to avoid assuming our cultural biases are actually present in the text when in fact, we can if we're not careful, project them onto the text. That's very difficult to to do. These are usually "blind spots" for us and it takes a great deal of self-awareness and self-examination to begin to see how that works in us. It's much easier to see it in others.

Some, rightly, claim that these types of efforts can descend into philosophical "navel gazing" to where we rationalize away anything we're not comfortable with and attribute is to culture etc. when there are universal values present that transcend culture. I agree that can be an issue. I also think that a balance can be reached there and that it's human nature to avoid self-examination and hard work and that discounting that need can become a way of avoiding that hard work.

As Jlay pointed out, Jesus (and even Paul) by the standards of their day, were radical in terms of how they addressed and related to women. Jesus spoke openly in public with women including non-Jewish women in direct violation of the practice of public teachers and Rabbis. Paul advocated mutual submission within marriage, which was unheard of in those days. Paul, we also know from a multitude of his writings, was very inclined to defer in cultural issues toward those who were the weaker, and he made it his practice in his travels and ministry to defer to these when he could. He also was sensitive in some passages to delineate between what was coming from God and what was his own personal opinion and practice.

Gender is a core of our identity as humans. It's something that is almost impossible for us to separate from or assume a perspective of anything other than what we are. Gender involves much more than just sexual organs and cultural roles. Yet, while we agree that we're made in the image of God, both male and female, we know that God doesn't have a gender as we understand it in ourselves. God uses the relationships we understand however as an illustration of how God relates inwardly (between the members of the Godhead) and outwardly, (toward Israel in the OT and believers in the NT). God and Christ specifically use the image of marriage with God/Christ as the groom and us as the bride. He also uses the delineation of Father and Son as a image of relationship between God/Christ, even though that relationship strictly speaking isn't dependent upon the gender that we immediately associate with that image and those words.

Matt 23:37, Jlay thinks is "absurd" to associate this with any element of femininity in God. I disagree. Jesus is God and he's using a metaphor to express the love He (as God) has for Israel as personified through the city of Jerusalem. Jesus in many ways came with a primary message of revealing that God is Love and this element is greater than what He has revealed in the OT. If it's "absurd" to recognize within this metaphor, an element of feminine love then it's equally absurd to derive some sort of gender identification from the use of the terms Father/Son as denoting masculinity as opposed to femininity regardless of the number of times that image is used. In short, I don't think it's absurd at all. It's going to circle back to our presumed hermeneutic however in evaluating that statement.

In short, I think we need to continually be reminded that:

God is not human, Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Hosea 11:9

The overwhelming number of references and gender attributions in the Bible toward God are Masculine, but this is not exclusively true, Dt. 32:18, Ps. 22:10, Ps. 131:2, Is 42:14, Is. 49:15 and Is. 66:13. It should not surprise us in the context of Patriarchical societies that masculine pronouns and metaphorical images are going to default in that direction. Given that, it's not a matter of the number of masculine images drowning out the feminine ones. I think you have to ask yourself on each such reference of either gender, is there anything inherent in the passage that is dependent upon the gender asserted that isn't a matter of the cultural context and understanding of the people involved. In most cases, the answer is going to be, no there isn't.

Additional passages with feminine elements introduced in terms of Jesus and Paul metaphorically assuming elements of motherhood even though in their humanity they are male Matthew 23:37, Luke 13:34, Galatians 4:19.

The Biblical writers were not attempting, I believe, through their use of gender specific references and metaphors to make a case in any sort of systematic manner. They simply defaulted to the cultural images and gender of authority with which they were familiar. As I noted earlier, it's impossible to approach this without a strong cultural element as gender elements are inextricably tied into that.

Much of the strong reaction I see against balancing this issue, comes from our own culture which in general right now has historically had some strong feminist challenges to male domination and leadership. The Gay, Lesbian movement has some impact on this as well. What these movements have in common, to my observation is that they're not really attempting to bring balance. They're attempting to assert in some context, actual female superiority (either by direct assertion or as an attempt to counter-balance a history of male dominance) or there being absolutely no basis for gender (or sexuality) being a determinative factor in the roles open within society at large to those who historically haven't been represented equally.

Christians see this and they respond to that assertion by reacting (sometimes over-reacting) and attempting to preserve the status quo from the past and giving to it the weight of scriptural authority. It's happened in the past. When the US was undergoing a crisis of conscience with regard to slavery, both sides claimed the authority of Scripture and indeed because slavery in elements of Scripture was assumed, it's easy by inference to make a case that silence upon an issue is tolerance and acceptance. Just because God, or Jesus or Paul accepted the context of the culture in which they were addressing issues, doesn't necessarily mean that they were endorsing as God-ordained everything the underlies what is being addressed. Jesus telling slaves to obey their masters doesn't mean that Jesus is endorsing slavery.

I see a lot of these issues at work in gender based community issues today. Reacting to other agendas by asserting a patriarchal social order in my opinion misses the point. When we become caught up in elements of authority, systems and institutions I think we miss a lot. Jesus' Kingdom of God which He stated He came to establish falls outside many of the underlying assumptions of human based Kingdoms. It's a different way of thinking and based upon the idea that those who presume to lead and have power must first humble themselves and learn to serve. I listen closely when I hear the debates over Gender and it's hard to head those undertones in many instances. If the feminist agenda is wrong in general within our society, then that doesn't necessarily argue for maintaining masculine supremacy. Jesus I think, would reject both and call us to Love, serve and submit to one another. Where there's differences in roles, and scripture recognizes them, that doesn't necessarily imply that that is there by absolute decree or that there isn't room for different cultural approaches.

I'm meandering in any event, so i'll stop with this here.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby jlay » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:05 pm

Canuckster1127 wrote:Matt 23:37, Jlay thinks is "absurd" to associate this with any element of femininity in God. I disagree. Jesus is God and he's using a metaphor to express the love He (as God) has for Israel as personified through the city of Jerusalem. Jesus in many ways came with a primary message of revealing that God is Love and this element is greater than what He has revealed in the OT. If it's "absurd" to recognize within this metaphor, an element of feminine love then it's equally absurd to derive some sort of gender identification from the use of the terms Father/Son as denoting masculinity as opposed to femininity regardless of the number of times that image is used. In short, I don't think it's absurd at all. It's going to circle back to our presumed hermeneutic however in evaluating that statement.


I think I am being misrepresented here. First of all I absolutely agree that "Jesus is God and he is using a metaphor to express His love for Isreal." I think the way you have worded this infers that I can't arrive at this conclusion while rejecting the feminine element you chose to extract from the metaphor. No, I do not think God is representing an element of femininity here. But I think you have much different ideas about why I come to that conclusion. And, even if He was, it is hardly the primary truth being communicated in the metaphor. (more on this later) I have no doubt that God is revealing His love here. Not that it is feminine or masculine. But that it is true and it is deep. But hey, if we are going to use your hermeneutic, let's follow it all the way to its logical ends. Perhaps God is revealing to us his domesticated fowl side? The feminine one at that. :pound:

Bart, again, I feel like I am being forced into a position of defending that God sits in a recliner, watches Monday night football, and scratches himself. Uh, no.

I've already stated my position on metaphors, and I will simply restate, I do not think one should or can conclude any maleness or femaleness in God by referring to a metaphor alone. Not anymore than we should conclude that Jesus has a vegatative side. (True Vine) In every single one you site, the purpose of the metaphor isn't to convey God's feminine or masculine nature. It is to convey a spiritual truth, in a way that mankind can relate to and understand. A human can understand a mother comforting her child. Does that mean the intended truth of this metaphor is to reveal God's feminine side? No. If that is what one takes away from the metaphor then I would conclude that they completely missed the intended spiritual truth. From my perspective, I see the primary intended truth of the metaphor being set asside to focus on a secondary element. And no, I do not think that is a sound hermaneutic.

The fact is that over a 1500+ year period, with over 40 authors, God is grammatically referred in the masculine, including by the Son of God Himself. I'll stick to that. And I would argue against anyone deviating from that. And I would think anyone who advocates referring to God as Mother, she, her, etc, overwhelmingly has the burden of proof on their shoulders.

Christians see this and they respond to that assertion by reacting (sometimes over-reacting) and attempting to preserve the status quo from the past and giving to it the weight of scriptural authority. It's happened in the past. When the US was undergoing a crisis of conscience with regard to slavery, both sides claimed the authority of Scripture and indeed because slavery in elements of Scripture was assumed, it's easy by inference to make a case that silence upon an issue is tolerance and acceptance. Just because God, or Jesus or Paul accepted the context of the culture in which they were addressing issues, doesn't necessarily mean that they were endorsing as God-ordained everything the underlies what is being addressed. Jesus telling slaves to obey their masters doesn't mean that Jesus is endorsing slavery.

Please clarify. Are you saying that referring to God as Father and in the masculine is merely the status quo, and that these examples you site are reasons that we should accept God being referred to as Mother, she or her? I don't want to put words in your mouth, so can you please state whether you accept the idea of referring to God as Mother, she or her? Would you have an objection to a bible that substituted all the masculine pronouns for feminine ones, and substituted Mother for Father?
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: OT / NT God??

Postby neo-x » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:44 pm

Guys, I don't think this is heading anywhere, lets just roll back to the original question. I'm sure we all agree God is not human and any similarity, male or female only exists because of our limited perception. ;)
People treat facts as relevant more when the facts tend to support their opinions. When the facts are against their opinions, they don't necessarily deny the facts, but they say the facts are less relevant or insignificant. This is ofcourse because believing things that make you feel comfortable, takes a priority. And I think that should not be the case if one is after truth.

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