A recent question on Christianity Stack (about monotheism and the Trinity) suggested that since Christians present the Trinity as a “family” it must contain a feminine element. This came as news to me, so I started to look into it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_of_God

I would like to find out what various Christian denominations have to say on this subject. My first question is directed at the Anglican/Episcopal Church which is in the process of revising its 1979 prayer book to remove any reference to God by masculine pronouns.

Of greater significance to me is what the Bible has to say about this and so I would welcome any biblical support for removing the masculine element from the person of God and introducing a feminine element within the Godhead.

I have now edited this question to make it clear that I am looking for the views of the Anglican and Episcopalian communities.

  • 1
    It would be good if you could provide some clear quotes from people teaching this. – curiousdannii Dec 22 '19 at 13:32
  • The basis for this question came from comments here: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/74586/… – Lesley Dec 22 '19 at 13:42
  • A human Mother give birth to a child.The Book of Proverbs chapter 8 also described God as giving birth to a "Spirit" called Wisdom. God the Father had begotten a Son and God had "qanah or birthed" the Spirit of Wisdom. Both the aspect of Father, Son and Mother was seen in this passages. – marian agustin Dec 22 '19 at 20:53
  • @marianagustin: The verb in question is not employed in the Bible in such a restrictive manner; see, for instance, the two genealogies from the fifth and eleventh chapters of the Book of Genesis, as well as the one from the first chapter of Matthew's Gospel. – Lucian Dec 23 '19 at 9:21
  • diversity of genders is only necessary for procreation in the Material realm. The Spiritual realm does not procreate. That was why God gave man the command to *be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the Earth. – BYE Dec 25 '19 at 15:31

During the course of my research into this subject I found an article that presents some views of the Episcopalian Church with regard the feminine element within the Godhead:

The prayer book, first published in 1549 and now in its fourth edition, is the symbol of unity for the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion founded in 1867. While there is no clear timeline for the changes, religious leaders at the denomination’s recent triennial conference in Austin have agreed to a demand to replace the masculine terms for God such as “He” and “King” and “Father.”

In the oracles of the eighth century prophet Isaiah, God is described as a woman in labor and a mother comforting her children. And the Book of Proverbs maintains that the feminine figure of Holy Wisdom, Sophia, assisted God during the creation of the world. Indeed, The Church Fathers and Mothers understood Sophia to be the “Logos,” or Word of God. Additionally, Jewish rabbis equated the Torah, the law of God, with Sophia, which means that feminine wisdom was with God from the very beginning of time.

With regard to Exodus 3:14 where God reveals His name to Moses, they make this claim:

[Yahweh] is a remarkable combination of both female and male grammatical endings. The first part of God’s name in Hebrew, “Yah,” is feminine, and the last part, “weh,” is masculine. In light of Exodus 3, the feminist theologian Mary Daly asks, “Why must ‘God’ be a noun? Why not a verb, the most active and dynamic of all?”

They take Jesus’ words in Matthew 23:37 to infer that Jesus is presenting himself in feminine language when he says he has longed to gather the rebellious children of Jerusalem together “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.” The writer of this article goes on to claim that:

the author of Matthew equates Jesus with the feminine Sophia (wisdom), when he writes, “Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” In Matthew’s mind, it seems that Jesus is the feminine Wisdom of Proverbs, who was with God from the beginning of creation. In my opinion, I think it is very likely that Matthew is suggesting that there is a spark of the feminine in Jesus’ nature. Additionally, in his letter to the Galatians, written around 54 or 55 A.D., Paul says that he will continue “in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.” Clearly, feminine imagery was acceptable among the first followers of Jesus.

The article goes on to quote from Clement, Augustine and Gregory in support of the argument. Source: http://theconversation.com/what-the-early-church-thought-about-gods-gender-100077

Anglicans and Episcopalians have always worked and worshipped together across national borders to support each others' lives and ministry. Source: https://www.anglicancommunion.org/structures/what-is-the-anglican-communion.aspx

I will continue to look into this subject in an attempt to find a definitive statement from the Anglican Church. Meanwhile, I would be grateful for any other information that can shed light on why the Anglican Community and the Episcopalian Church believes that there is a feminine element within the Godhead.

Disclaimer: I neither support nor endorse the view of "the feminine" within the Godhead. My question is merely to ascertain the basis for this view within the Episcopalian and Anglican Churches. This is a fact-finding mission.

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