What We Believe
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August 21, 2020 Q & A

Is it proper to call God “Mother”?

Question

Is it proper to call God “Mother”?

Answer

Thank you for your question. I would like to answer it in the way that Asaph answered the question as to whether God was good (Ps. 73); I will give the brief answer, then give the reasons why this is the answer. The answer is “no.” It is not OK to call God “Mother.”

Many pagan religions have female goddesses (from Asherah to Aphrodite to Gaia/Nature), but the Bible always and only refers to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in masculine terms. None of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity are referenced by female pronouns or terms. So the biblical persistence in referring to our God with masculine pronouns and terms is not based on culture; it is, in fact, counter-cultural.

One of the pertinent core issues is that God speaks. We are not left to our own devices to figure him out; he gives his very word in Scripture. We therefore are not free to “figure out” what he is like or try to define him; he tells us, using human language, who he is. The things revealed are what the Scripture calls a “mystery”: something unknowable apart from revelation. We cannot reason from cultural preferences to God but must learn from God’s Word as our point of absolute reference. He always speaks of himself in masculine terms—never as Mother. Jesus said specifically that we are to address God as Father in our prayers (Matt. 6:9). Whenever Paul speaks of God, it is in terms of “Father” (e.g., Rom. 1:7, 1 Cor. 1:2).

A part of the description of God is that he is spirit, and has not a body like men. When he created man and women, he did it in a way that they bear his image. In calling himself “Father,” he does not denigrate women in any way. Rather, he describes himself in the role he has assigned to men as protector and provider. The church is described as a “bride,” dependent on her husband.

In the midst of our generation’s gender confusion we are repeatedly told that we should refer to individuals by the gender term that they prefer. God is very clear on how he wishes to be addressed: call him “Father” through Jesus Christ, his Son.

I hope this is helpful to you. If you have further questions that are not answered by this, please feel free to write again.

 

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