Thursday, February 16, 2023

Should we refer to the first person of the trinity as "Mother," "Father," or neither?

 Should We Call God Mother

by Denny Burk

A Review of Amy Peeler’s book: Women and the Gender of God

Feminist theologians have long wrestled with the question of God’s gender. In particular, they have chafed against naming God as “Father” and even against Jesus’ incarnation in a male body. As Mary Daly famously wrote, “If God is male, then the male is God.” Therefore, the business of women’s liberation involves freeing women from patriarchal notions of God. Daly complained that “The divine patriarch castrates women as long as he is allowed to live on in the human imagination.” For that reason, Daly argued, people’s masculine conception of God needs to be castrated. There needs to be a “cutting away the Supreme Phallus.”1

Daly and other feminist theologians view the Fatherhood of God and the maleness of Jesus as fixtures in an oppressive patriarchy designed to subjugate women. Their aim, therefore, has been to rewrite orthodoxy so as to remove all vestiges of patriarchy. That revision includes how we name God and how we think about the incarnation itself.

By and large, evangelicals have been consistent opponents of this program and have insisted on affirming the authority of Scripture, orthodox Trinitarianism, and orthodox Christology. Nevertheless, within evangelicalism, egalitarians have staked out a kind of theological no man’s land. On the one hand, they wish to affirm the authority of Scripture and the integrity of the Christian tradition. But on the other hand, they also wish to take on board some of the feminist critiques of “patriarchal” religion. For the most part, this has led to innovative reinterpretations of biblical texts (e.g. 1 Tim. 2:12, 1 Cor. 11:3, and 14:34-35) while affirming inerrancy, Nicene trinitarianism, and Chalcedonian Christology.

A new book by egalitarian Wheaton College professor Amy Peeler, however, takes a different approach. Read the rest of the article here