Why God Is Not Your Mother

 

Randy Stinson and Chris Cowan have a helpful article attacking the arguments of those who say we ought to address God as Mother. Stinson and Cowan give seven arguments. I’ll include the ones that I found to be most persuasive.

There is no biblical precedent for referring to God with feminine terms such as “Mother” or “she.”
The Bible uses masculine names for God and masculine pronouns. Ungendered metaphors and imagery are used for God, but no feminine pronouns are used of God in Scripture.

Biblical, masculine language for God is not culture-dependent, but rather is God’s chosen self-revelation of his identity.

Other ANE religions worshiped both masculine and feminine deities (Judges 3:7; Acts 19:34) so it’s difficult to argue that Israel’s patriarchal tendencies dictated her (!) use of exclusive patriarchal language.

The use of “feminine imagery” for God in the Bible does not demand or even imply that we may refer to God with feminine terms such as “Mother” or “she.”

OK, fair enough. On rare occasions, Scripture does describe some of God’s actions using feminine figures of speech. This proves nothing. Scripture also speaks of the actions of male characters in Scripture using female figures of speech. Paul says that he’s in the anguish of childbirth until he sees Christ formed in the lives of the Christians at Galatia (Gal . 4:19). Does that mean Paul should be referred to as a ‘she’? Of course not.

“Father” is a name or title that communicates something real about God’s nature.
In Scripture, God is called ‘father’ not just because he is like our human fathers, but because He is the father of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3). Stinson helpfully notes that this relationship is before the incarnation as before the incarnation God sent his ‘son’ into the world (John 3:17). Scripture seems to indicate that this Father-Son relationship in the Triune God is eternal.

For more arguments, click here.