The Church of England will look into the use of gender neutral terms to refer to God in prayers, but the centuries-old institution said on Wednesday there were no plans to abolish current services.
First, given that God is infinite, I must acknowledge that this is only an approximation of perceived understanding, and not a claim to understand the mysteries of God.
What does it mean to be created in God’s image? Well, to look at that as a question of male or female misses the entire point. Strictly speaking, God is neither since He does not have chromosomes or genitalia. When He manifested Himself in human form, it was as a male, but with levels of compassion most associated with females. He had an Alpha male aspect to Him, but also had a great and feminine emphasis on Love (not hippie love or lust, but Agape or Caritas depending on your theological background).
God is Triune. Since God is spirit, and that spirit is triune, then I think that being created in the image of God is a testament to the fact that mankind is also triune. God the Father — the Logos, the Justice, the Righteousness in one Person. Very masculine. God the Son — the Compassionate, the Merciful, the Teacher. Quite feminine. God the Holy Spirit — the ephemeral, the everlasting presence and existence, the Virtuous. Quite genderless.
Man is also triune. We have a mind from the Father, a heart from the Son, and a conscience from the Holy Spirit. That, I think, is what it means to be made in God’s Image. Men tend to relate more with a sense of righteousness and justice. Women tend to relate more with a sense of compassion and mercy. We all have to seek virtue. It is not about whether God is a man or a woman, and anyone who makes it about that is, in my opinion, sewing seeds opposed to God who is above and beyond that all together.
Our tradition refers to ships as “she.” The USS Ronald Reagan, SHE set to port yesterday. It is merely a tradition and figure of speach. No one has questioned that at this point that I know of. Likewise, God and all of the Angels are referred to as “he.” They do not have any more chromosomes or genitalia than an aircraft carrier. The reference is purely traditional, and not literal.
And yet, there is value in holding on to the tradition of referring to the assexual God and His Angels as “he” because of the subsequent metaphor and Truth: God will come again to reign as a Righteous King.
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