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On one occasion, I heard someone prayer, "To God, our Father and Mother." In The Shack, the Trinity is represented as three persons, where God the Father is a woman.

Is there any biblical justification for referring to God as Mother?

If so, which doctrines believe in this interpretation?

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Hope you don't mind the edit. I'm trying to help it avoid this fate. –  Richard Dec 15 '11 at 14:09
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Also, there's always one of God's names: El Shaddai (loosely interpreted as "the breasted God") –  Richard Dec 15 '11 at 14:11
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I've seen some devotionals at my church (of 7 years ago, as I've moved since) where the daily prayers in the back started "Father and mother God" - my pastor failed to provide any biblical support for it, but also wouldn't say he disagreed with the idea. I didn't see the logic then, and I still don't. –  corsiKa Dec 15 '11 at 16:40
    
It's an attempt by some pastors and Christians to be inclusive. –  Gilbert Le Blanc Dec 16 '11 at 13:16
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It's a realization that God isn't a human being, so of course He (;-)) has no gender. –  Jürgen A. Erhard Dec 23 '11 at 21:41
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4 Answers 4

up vote 15 down vote accepted

There is a significant distinction between calling God "mother" and the Bible identifying aspects of motherhood (and fatherhood) as reflecting the glory and character of God.

Both men and women reflect the glory and character of God in different ways, as men and women, fathers and mothers, teachers, judges, etc.

However, God is spirit (John 4:23) and not physical. In the beginning, God created the physical universe, including genders. Yet, He Himself was not biological, but is and was outside of creation.

When He entered into creation, He did enter into it as a Man. In the Lord's prayer, God the Son instructs us to refer to God the Father as "Our Father" (Matthew 6:9-13). Nowhere in Scripture are we instructed to refer to God as mother.

The example of Paul is of note as well. He himself indicated that he cared for the Thessalonians like a mother cares for her children:

But we were gentle[c] among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 1 Thessalonians 2:7 ESV

But no one used that as a basis for calling Paul "Mom".

This in no way disparages women, and both men and women reflect the glory of God. Yet, God has chosen to reveal Himself in the masculine sense. If we are devoted believers, we recognize that He is the One who has the right to define how we should refer to Him--not us.

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Isaiah 49:15 - Can a mother forget the child nursing at her breast? Yes, but even if she could, I would not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

As a practical matter, the case for "Mother God" tends to be made only by the more liberal wings of churches.

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Good answer, reminds me of Matthew 23:37: "“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." –  Wikis Dec 15 '11 at 11:51
    
Hmm. Was Julian of Norwich a liberal? Admittedly I'm not sure that she had much in the way of Biblical basis for Jesus as Father, Mother, spouse, brother and Saviour. –  Andrew Leach Mar 21 at 21:30
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I think the key to understanding this is to remember one thing:

God is not male...     ...and not female either.

"God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:24 NET

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Yes I agree.. God probably transcends gender. These are just ways in which we try to anthropomorphize some of his characteristics to better understand him/her/it –  Neil Meyer Dec 19 '11 at 11:23
    
@Neil: did you just say that God is... transgender? ;-P –  Jürgen A. Erhard Dec 23 '11 at 21:43
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There is no biblical justification in the King James bible.

Matthew 6;9 After this mamner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

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This does not answer my question. Of course the Bible refers to "Our Father". The question is whether that necessarily excludes Mother as a title for a God who has no gender (He is Spirit) –  Wikis Mar 23 at 4:17
    
God has asked us to use "Our Father" when we pray. If we choose to do differently, we are saying his way is not good enough, and our way is better. Should not his will be done? –  V. Rollins Mar 29 at 4:59
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