By Kurt Baumann
There is a proverb that says: “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Would you believe that in the Bible there are verses that refer to God as a female?
The congregation in the Lutheran church I grew up in would have been surprised to hear it, so much so that they would’ve shunned it—even if the proof was right in front of them. My religious upbringing consisted of Baptism at birth, mainstream Sunday School stories repeated every year, with Instructions in lessons preparing for the rite of passage of adulthood, Confirmation, in a ceremony preceded by a congregational Examination by the minister.
Unfortunately, this course of study was limited. There were things that it didn’t answer such as the Nephilim of Genesis 6:1-4, and where Christ went for three days before his resurrection. The people of that church wouldn’t have troubled themselves with such questions and been satisfied with what they knew and limited that question to only one day out of the week.
Over the past few years, I’ve gained interest in the subject of the Nephilim, hybrid giants fathered by fallen angels, briefly mentioned in Genesis 6th. Apparently, they, as well as Humankind’s wickedness, were the reason that God sent the Flood and spared Noah’s family. This reason combined with the birth-line of Jesus made me read the Bible in a different way.
Theologian Michael Heiser, who authored several books about various religious subjects cited an adage, when researching the Bible, I’ve come to agree with:
“If it’s weird, it’s important”
I think that anything weird, in the Bible, is interesting.
Here is something else that you might find hard to believe: Would you believe a Sherlock Holmes-inspired novel inspired me to research and write an article about God? Since the beginning, God has been depicted as a Man, traditionally, similar to Moses, with a beard and messianic robes. The Apostle’s Creed refers to God as a Father. In the Sherlock Holmes/ Mary Russsell series, written by Laurie R. King, the novel “A Monstrous Regiment of Women,” Bible verses are cited, in both the Old and New Testament, that refer to God as a female—and mother.
To get a better idea of God as a parent, it is important to get a Biblical definition of a father and of a mother. During Biblical times, the father was the head of the household, the authoritarian patriarch who was the creator and the lawgiver of the family, beloved of the mother, and taught the sons right and wrong. The mother was the one who gave birth to, nurtured, guided, and protected the children while keeping the home, and deferred to the father, being worthy of the respect of the community.
In the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 32:18, Moses, while chastising the Israelites for forgetting God, compares God to a mother who has given birth:
“Of the Rock that begot thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God formed thee.” Deuteronomy 32:18]
In Isaiah 49:15 and 66:13, God is also compared to a mother while taking care of a child while Psalm 131:2, from a child’s point of view refers to God as a mother:
“Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will not forget thee.” [Isaiah 49:15]
“As one whom his mother comforteth, so I will comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in.”[Isaiah 66:13]
“Surely, I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.” [Psalm 131:2]
Deuteronomy 32:11-12 and the first part of Hosea 13:8 compare God to animal mothers:
“As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, taketh them, beareth them on her wings So the Lord alone did lead him and there was no strange god with him.”
“I will meet them as a bear bereaved of her whelps…” [Hosea 13:8]
In the New Testament, Jesus shows his maternal side while mourning the oncoming destruction of Jerusalem which is quoted in Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem , which killest the prophets, and stonest thee that are sent to thee;how often would I have gathered they children together as a hen doth gathered her [chicks]. under her wings and though would not. [Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34]
Knowing this the Apostles Creed could be reworded as follows: “I believe in God the Mother Protector, Birther of Heaven and Earth.“ Tradition will probably never see this change, but at least we can say that God is the ultimate Parent—both Mother and Father.
© 2022 Kurt Baumann
Since 1983, Kurt Baumann has lived in Beaver Dam involved in his community theater, church, and contributor to his local newspaper. After working a variety of jobs for most of his life, he has retired to do some writing. He has written one book: The Written Works of Kurt Baumann.