Trinity and the Feminine

Some thoughts I shared over at Armchair Theology:

The established doctrine is trying to get at something, but limited by human language and understanding. Instead of being humble, however, theology becomes very prideful and arrogant. Personally, I think there’s an elegant study of God within the doctrine of the Trinity. But, holding close to Scripture is our foundation and so holding even the formal doctrine loosely does keep us in tune with Scripture. We lose sight of Father, Son, and Spirit we lose sight of God’s marvelous work and reality. We over-emphasize our versions of who we think God is we risk boxing him in and defining him wrongly–making an idol out of our theology.

The Bride of the Church as the feminine is a beautiful image. And Scriptural. The Trinity is this wonderful fellowship, and we’re invited in. Not that we’ll become part of the Trinity, but they still are wanting to dance with us. Only we’re being trained to know the steps, to interact fully, to not step on toes, either God’s or each others. That’s holiness. We’ve been given a ticket to the dance, not by any of our own efforts. But now we learn to dance–as a Body of Christ.

In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for spirit is “ruach”. This is a feminine word. A lot of languages, if you don’t know such languages, have nouns assigned genders. And “ruach” is feminine and requires feminine pronouns and such. So, we could say that spirit in Hebrew is a feminine quality.

The difficulty is that for us we have gender and sexuality. God is Father not in terms of him being male, but in terms of his role and identity. He is not a guy. He’s the Father.

When humanity was made, Genesis tells us, we were made male and female, in the image of God. Thus both the masculine and the feminine reflect the fullness of God. It’s absolutely right to hold onto the Scriptural imagery the God reveals, and thus to use the masculine pronoun and emphasize the roles he expresses. However, we can’t do this and think the feminine, and thus women, are somehow not part of God’s image. Ever since the beginning we’ve confused our images of male and female, and our roles of man and woman, and attached them to God’s identity.

Women are no less an image of God than men. We very much risk making God into our image if we discount the fact God is beyond our gender roles and sexual traits. We lose sight of the image of God if we discount the fact that He created male and female in his image, and Scripture has references to God in a mothering role as well as Father.

That’s where so much theology and church organization has gone wrong. It has started with a revelation, God is Father, and then made God into the image of what we understand as ‘father’, attaching our cultural gender roles and boundaries.

If we are in fact male and female made in his image then no man is man enough in comparison with God. We’re all feminine. At the same time, no woman is woman enough compared to God’s feminine. We’re images, reflections, not fully expressing God’s fullness of masculine or feminine, because he fully encompasses both words, with our split identity into man and woman becoming only together a hint at God’s reality.

Worth reading the whole thread over there (and the other threads). It’s so heartening to read the depth people exhibit when given space to do so. That’s an especially solid group of folks over there, well shepherded by a couple of utterly superb moderators.

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