Friday, September 16, 2016

The Fathering of God, Part 2

What is God’s own self-presentation to us? Multiple word pictures and metaphors from human life and relationships are employed in Scripture to instruct us about God. In all of them the emphasis is on the character and the personal nature of God. Taken together, this diversity of metaphor and word pictures reinforce that God is like us in that he is a personal Being but unlike us in his essential nature as God. God is ultimately incomprehensible in his nature and we will never for all eternity be able to ever know God in this way. However, God does make himself known through things and relationships which are very familiar to us. 

Looking at Scripture, one finds God described primarily as masculine and couched in terms of the ancient cultures in which the writers lived. This should not be a surprise to anyone as it was written by real human beings who lived long ago. But since we believe that it is holy Scripture we need to pay attention to the particulars of how God is described. That it comes from times that are ancient to us is not an excuse to dismiss what it affirms. 

 So then, in Scripture God is referred to with masculine pronouns but is not male; rather God is described in masculine terms while enveloping and expressing essentially female roles and tasks of “mothering.” A key text for understanding the balance in the whole teaching of Scripture is 1 John 3:9 (Greek): “Everyone having been begotten [birthed] of God does not sin [miss the mark], because God’s seed in him [her] remains; and that person cannot [continue] to sin [miss the mark]; because he [she] has been begotten [birthed] of God.” 
Scripture presents us a balanced view of God and God’s activities in the world. For many diverse metaphors, traditionally male and female roles and analogies are used by God the Spirit to describe the way God relates to his human creatures. Since God by definition cannot be adequately described by words anyway I for one am not surprised to find this diversity of language used to communicate with us. Above all, this message about God comes through clearly in Scripture: God is Almighty, personal, holy and involved in every part of the life of his creatures.

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