Recent developments in church and culture have called into question some traditional Christian teachings. One of those teachings—so accepted that it is rarely discussed—is that God is masculine in nature. The God of Christianity is consistently referred to as “Father,” “Son” (in reference to Jesus), and with pronouns indicating masculine gender.
As feminism and church collide (read more here), the question of God’s gender is increasingly more common. Could God be a woman? If no, why not?
God Chose to Reveal Himself as a Male
Our first encounter with the Christian God begins in the Old Testament—Genesis, to be exact. From the very beginning God is revealed as male. Moses, the author of the first five books of the Old Testament, personally met with God (Exodus 33) before writing the history of Israel and God’s covenant with the Israelite people. This is the first powerful indication that God chose to specifically reveal Himself as male.
Later, in the New Testament, Jesus continued Moses’ precedent, referring to God as “Father” for the entirety of His ministry (Mark 14:36, Matthew 26:39, Luke 22:42, John 5:18). This further indicates that God’s masculine identity was not a man-made idea, but divinely instigated and upheld by Jesus Himself. It is also important to note that Jesus—one with God—came to earth in the form of a man.
God Possesses Both Male and Female Attributes
Just because God chose to reveal Himself in masculine form doesn’t mean He thinks less of women. To the contrary, God’s very creation of women indicates how precious we are to Him! We, like men, are made in His image. In Genesis 1:26-27, God said:
Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness… And God created man in his image, in the image of God created He him; male and female He created them.
Because God created both male and female, He possesses the qualities and attributes of both genders. And because God is a spirit, He is not confined by our human understanding of gender. His power to create both genders does not change the fact that He chose to reveal Himself as male. The fatherhood of God is a powerful image that encompasses the protective authority of “Abba” (daddy) with the compassionate nature usually associated with women. God is the perfect combination of both: almighty, yet intimate (Isiah 66:12-13, Hosea 11:1-4).
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. (Psalm 68:5)
God Sees Men and Women as Equal in Value
God’s wisdom and blessing is evident in the creation of both genders. Men and women both reflect God’s image and glory—in fact, God’s glory is far better revealed through the distinction of gender than either sex could attain on their own. It takes both men and women to reflect the complexities of God’s nature in this fallen world.
Some Christians have twisted God’s perfect design by abusing the roles of women in marriage and the church. This is neither biblical nor a reflection of God’s creative intent. God’s choice to reveal Himself as male does not support or justify women being treated as lesser beings. Nowhere in Scripture is that the case. Where culture would objectify the female gender, God elevates her to a place of honor (Genesis 2:18-24, Proverbs 31, Acts 2:17-18, Judges 4).
Though culture may question God’s Word, Scripture is the only unchangeable, objective standard for our view of God. We don’t get to change it, but we can seek to better understand it—and in so doing, better understand ourselves and our calling in this world.