“God is not male” – Jesus confirms it
RACHEL Evening is falling in Galilee. After the rain, a rainbow stretches across the freshly washed sky. Standing beside me is Jesus, the one from Nazareth, who in few minutes, he tells me will bring to an end his second coming to earth. How about a greeting for our audience, Jesus?
JESUS Gladly, Rachel. Peace to all my brothers, and very especially today peace to my sisters, to the women who hear us.
RACHEL Why that special greeting?
JESUS Because of what I’m going to tell you.
RACHEL When we spoke a few days ago, on our way to Magdala, you hinted to me that you had some sensational news for this final interview.
JESUS Yes, I have some good news that will delight everyone who’s listening to you.
RACHEL Well, … our microphones are at your disposal.
JESUS Do you see this valley, Rachel? The fields are already prepared for sowing. There has been plenty of rain. What I’m going to tell you today will fall upon many deaf ears, but one day they will open up and understand.
RACHEL Why are you being so mysterious?
JESUS Because I’m going to speak about God.
RACHEL But we’ve spoken about God in all our interviews, haven’t we?
JESUS And how did you imagine that God we spoke about?
RACHEL Well, I don’t know …
JESUS For a long time, Rachel, when we thought of God or prayed to him, we imagined him to be a powerful king, … like an elderly man … with a white beard …
RACHEL And isn’t that the way he is?
JESUS God is not male, Rachel.
RACHEL What’s that you’re saying?
JESUS I said God is not male.
RACHEL Could you please explain yourself better. I don’t understand what you mean.
JESUS In my time I didn’t understand it either. I couldn’t understand it. I used to pray, “Abba, our father”. I never prayed, “Imma, our mother”. I did not know God that way, but now my eyes have seen her.
RACHEL And what have you seen, Jesus? Tell us.
JESUS It’s a very ancient story, one that we’ve forgotten.
MUJER For centuries and centuries, for all the earth’s peoples God was a mother. They adored the Great Goddess, the Giver of Life, the one from whom all is born and to which all returns. The Mother Goddess looked down upon the earth from the Moon, which waxed and waned in the nights and the rose again resplendent.
For centuries and centuries, hers were the animals and the green vegetation that covers the earth. Hers was the celebration and the dance, hers was the joy.
During centuries and centuries, God was female for all the peoples of the earth. But then the era of greed arrived, and the warrior gods who loved to sow fear and demand sacrifices supplanted the Great Goddess and sought to hide her. They wanted to kill her outright. And right up till today those male gods remained in command of the heavens.
RACHEL But the God you preached, Jesus, two thousand years ago was a God of love and compassion.
JESUS Yes, he was a good father, but after all a man. Now the time has arrived for us to understand the damage done when God is seen as male, then men see themselves as gods. They give orders, they make decisions, they wage wars. Believe me, Rachel, another God is possible. That God of whom we’ve been speaking all these days is not a king or a judge or an old bearded man.
RACHEL And so … is God a woman? Is that what you want to tell us?
JESUS No, God is neither male nor female. Nobody has ever seen God. How can we name him? What word could express him? But the time is coming, and we are already in it, when his motherly tenderness becomes once against resplendent.
RACHEL And all this … why are you telling me about it?
JESUS Because you can understand it. Two thousand years ago it was women who announced the good news that I was alive. Now, you women are the ones who must announce the good news that God has a womanly countenance.
RACHEL But I … Wait …
JESUS What are you doing, Rachel?
RACHEL Nothing, pinching myself, hitting myself, trying to wake up …
JESUS Wake up?
RACHEL I’m not sure, but maybe I’m dreaming … Maybe you never came, nor went, nor returned. Maybe I never spoke with you, or you with me … and all that’s happened in these days has been just a mirage.
JESUS Why do you say that?
RACHEL Because what you’re telling me now and all that you’ve told me in these interviews is … is too delightful to be true.
JESUS That’s exactly what Mary was thinking as she left the grave. … But now I’m going, Rachel. I leave this precious pearl in your hands. Pass it on.
RACHEL Pass it on?
JESUS Yes, pass it on to your listeners.
RACHEL I’ll do that. Good-bye, Master. Now you’ll let me call you that, won’t you?
JESUS Good-bye, Rachel. Maybe we’ll meet up on my third coming. God be with you! Goddess be with you!
RACHEL These historic days of the second coming of Jesus Christ to earth have been covered for you by Rachel Perez, of Emisoras Latinas.
ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.
*More information about this polemical topic…*
God has no sex, but does have gender
Every religion consists in making the invisible God visible by means of images, words and symbols. The Christian religion, with its Jewish origins, has used a multitude of masculine words, images and symbols to make God visible. And for that reason we can assert that, although God has no sex, for thousands of years he has had a gender: the masculine gender.
We know that sex is a biological characteristic and gender is a cultural construct, and that both the feminine and the masculine are present in God as complementary expressions of life. However, in Judeo-Christian culture and in the literature of two thousand years of Christianity, God has had a decidedly masculine gender. This means that in all Christian traditions, whether Catholic or Orthodox or Protestant, and also in Islamic traditions, God is imagined, thought and conceived as male. God is a man.
If gender is a cultural construct, that means that it can be changed, because all that is “constructed” can be “deconstructed” and reconstructed. That is the issue at hand: reconstructing the face of God to include feminine features.
God was born a woman
In the history of humankind “God was born a woman.” When the idea of God first arose, it was associated with the feminine. For millennia human beings, amazed at women’s ability to engender the miracle of life in their bodies, venerated the Goddess and saw the divine image in the female body. They also found a divine image in the moon, which synchronized with women’s cycles, and they saw divinity in all animal and plant life.
Many millennia later, about ten thousand years ago, humanity developed a culture based on the agricultural revolution, which involved accumulation of grains, control of lands, and the need to defend granaries and properties with arms. With this change, the religion of the Goddess was gradually transformed into the religion of the male God who was a mighty warrior. That God dominated the cultures of the ancient world. In Babylon Marduk supplanted the Goddess Inana-Ishtar, in Egypt Osiris replaced Isis, and in Greece Zeus unseated Gaia. The God Yahweh supplanted the fecund goddess Asherah, who was so beloved in Canaan. Thus Yahweh, the God of the Bible, the male, tribal, warrior God, was one of the gods of this stage of human history.
In order to learn more about this long process, we recommend at least three books: The Chalice and the Blade, by Austrian anthropologist and psychologist Riane Eisler (HarperOne, 1988); God Was Born Woman, by Spanish journalist Pepe Rodríguez (Ediciones B, 1999); and The Myth of the Goddess, by British researchers Anne Baring and Jules Cashford (Penguin, 1993).
In our genetic memory
The Chilean author Isabel Allende says of Riane Eisler’s book: With great scientific rigor, but also with passionate eloquence, Riane Eisler proves that the dream of peace is not an impossible utopia. There was in fact a very ancient epoch when participation, creativity and affection prevailed, when a benevolent Goddess reigned and people lived together with more solidarity than aggression. Eisler reveals this Goddess to us, one that has always been there, hidden in the shadows of our genetic memory. This book offers the certainty that a better world is possible … if only we could remember.
In the prologue to the book by Baring and Cashford, Sir Laurens van der Post warns about the consequences of depriving the feminine of its sacred character:
Jules Cashford and Anne Baring have gone as far back in history as possible, following a golden thread, and from there they have traced a line up to our days. They have a great story to tell us, a story that arrives just in time, since the loss of the feminine experience is what has obliged us to face the most acute and dangerous problem of our epoch: the exploitation and rejection of our mother, the earth, our mother who has been robbed of the great reserve of life that she had prepared for us. … As far as I know, the totality of history is being told for the first time in these pages. It is a terrible, and at the same time strangely suggestive, history of the feminine, which is still victorious and spirited.
Where God is male, the males think themselves gods
In all the versions of Christianity, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant, God is a Man. Could this gendering of God be the oldest and most hidden justification and legitimization of the inequality between men and women, and also of the violence that men exercise against women? Could it be that this root is still so firmly rooted, so deeply hidden, in the ground of our minds, that all of us, both men and women, have become anesthetized and quite unaware of its presence, so that it remains untouched?
This deep root has serious consequences in its expressions and its fruits. Where God is a Man, men feel themselves to be gods, and they act like gods, that is, like superior beings with more rights than women, including the right to dominate. In a regional assembly of evangelical women, held in Buenos Aires in the first years of the 21st century, Protestant theologian Judith VanOsdal stated this convincingly:
The image of God that is preached and employed in many churches is inadequate. In this way the churches relegate women to a second or third category, as if they were inferior beings, and thus do they contribute to rendering women’s historically important leadership invisible. The churches which imagine or represent God as a male must take responsibility for creating an image which is heretical, because where God is male, the male is God. Let us agree, then, that all language is inadequate to encompass all that God is.
The Bible holds that God is Spirit. We therefore have to broaden our imaginations in order to contemplate how God transcends gender, being neither masculine nor feminine. The Word of scripture contains a rich variety of images of God, including feminine images. The Bible never speaks of God’s sexuality. The term “father” is a relational term, which points toward the equality of every person as son or daughter of God. The basis of the temptation in the Garden of Eden was their wanting to become gods. This temptation continues to exist to this very day. When men hold themselves up as gods over women, we continue to suffer the consequences of this sin, the disequilibrium and injustice of gender.
A masculine divine family
In all the images we have seen since we were children, God is an old man with a long beard. He is also pictured as a king with a crown and scepter, seated on a throne. He is also a God of armies and a severe judge who issues inscrutable judgments. According to such iconography, which conforms to the Christological dogmas, God has a Son, who “became” man, which would seem to suggest that his essence prior to that “becoming” was also masculine. The third person of this “trinity”, of this “divine family,” is the Holy Spirit. In the Hebrew language the word “spirit” is a feminine noun (ruah), representing the vital, creative force of God, that which puts everything into movement and animates all life. Despite such biblical imagery, dogma teaches us that it was the Spirit who left Mary pregnant, so that we are led to think that the Spirit is a masculine vital principle. The result is a divine family unit that is completely masculine.
Also in liberation theology
God is a man even in such popular, liberating religious expressions as the Nicaraguan Folk Mass, which sings of him as being an “artisan, carpenter, mason and rigger”. No feminine task is assigned to that God. According to the hymn, “we see” God doing various jobs: checking truck tires in the gas stations, leveling off roadways, shining shoes in the central park … We never see him washing or cooking, not to speak of nursing. He is a God who is poor and humble, but … he is male. The God of liberation theology was also a male.
What about the ancestral pre-Hispanic religions?
In the search for the feminine face of God, some studies have delved into the pre-Hispanic religions of the Americas, which are different from the Judeo-Christian tradition since each male god always appears with his feminine counterpart. In these religions the supreme principle of everything is always dual, and divinity always has a masculine side and a feminine side.
Going deeper into those traditions, however, we find that the myths of ancient Mexico present the goddesses as participating in the originating power that creates the world, but they do so almost always as victims of male gods. In the myth of the warrior god Huitzilopochtli, his mother conceives him as a virgin and is murdered. She will be the Mother Earth, and her son the Sun God, a bloody deity who will require human sacrifices. In one of the myths of the god Quetzalcoatl, he kills Tlatecutli, the goddess of heaven, and splits her in two. But in another myth of Quetzalcoatl, who is the God who discovered maize, the feminine counterpart does play a positive role: she does not let herself be killed and repudiates sacrifices.
There is still much research to be done in order to be able to recognize and distinguish the feminist “wheat” and the patriarchal “weeds” that are hidden in these myths of the archaic non-western religions.
A change that touches the heart of Christianity
The feminist theologian Ivone Gebara states: Some historic movements, such as the women’s movement, affect the very heart of Christian institutions. Christianity is no longer the same when masculine images of God are suspected to be sexist. Christianity is no longer the same when women renounce their belonging to the church out of repugnance. Christianity is no longer the same in the light of feminist interpretations of the Bible and feminist theological perspectives. Christianity is no longer the same when women are in search of their freedom, expressed today throughout the world in so many different ways.
The God of Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth was educated about the God of his parents, and that God was conceived, imagined and contemplated as a man, as a male. Nevertheless, in Jesus’ attitudes and messages there are what many authors consider to be values associated with a more “feminine” type of culture: care, compassion, feelings, intuition, spontaneity…
An interesting observation is that in two of his parables Jesus uses women as images of how God acts. In the parable of the leaven (Luke 13,21) he tells of what happens with the Kingdom of God: just a small pinch of leaven is capable of fermenting the whole mass of dough, and the person who gets the process going is a woman. He also speaks of how God cares for all his children, comparing God to a shepherd who at great risk seeks out the lost sheep. He then immediately “feminizes” the comparison by saying that God was also like a woman who anxiously searches for the coin she has lost (Luke 15,8-10).
Such comparisons must have been surprising for Jesus’ audience, accustomed to a religious culture in which God was of the masculine gender and women were totally discriminated against in the practices, rites and symbols of the religion. By comparing God’s joyful feelings with those of a shepherd who finds his lost sheep or with those of a woman who finds her lost coin, Jesus broadened the image of God. He spoke of a God who is revealed in both men and women when they truly care for life.
Another world is possible, another God is possible
At the end of the research that produced the magnificent book The Myth of the Goddess, the authors state: We reach the conclusion that the feminine principle, as a valid expression of the holiness and unity of life, has been lost for the last four thousand years. This principle was originally manifest in mythological history as “the goddess”, and in cultural history it appears in the values associated with spontaneity, feeling, instinct and intuition.
Nowadays there is not, formally speaking, any feminine dimension in the Judeo-Christian mythology of divinity. Our culture is based on the image of a masculine god who is situated beyond creation and orders all things from outside, instead of being in the interior of creation, as were the mother goddesses who came before him. The inevitable result of such a situation is a disequilibrium between the masculine and the feminine principles, which brings with it serious consequences for the way in which we build our world and the way we live in it.
Because we want to build another world and live in it in a different way, we believe that the time has come, and we are now in it, when the feminine, maternal face of God should shine forth once again. We believe that for another world to be possible, another God has to be possible. And although God has an infinity of names and cannot be contained in any word, that other possible God, the God we need in our world of today, has a woman’s face. That is some of the best news that Jesus of Nazareth gives us in this his second coming to earth. We receive it from the hands of Rachel Perez, special correspondent for Emisoras Latinas, and we pass it on to you. Take care of it, and pass it on to others: it is a precious pearl.