Changing the paradigm of God from male to female can change one’s perception of God, and of oneself.
It seems reasonable enough to picture God as a divine parent, and it is understandable that a male-dominated culture would use “father” instead of “mother.” It is reasonable, but is that the reality?
For most of my life, I thought of God as male. It was kind of shocking at first when I heard people refer to God as “her.” I have no ideas about the motives of other people. It did sound strange to me, but it didn’t sound offensive. Even the first time I heard it, I have to admit I kind of enjoyed the feeling it sparked.
The theologian inside me wanted to object, the artist inside me wanted to smile. The artist won this round.
The Bible presents God as a heavenly father. At the same time, the scriptures say God is not male or female. Some say God is both. I can see that just as well as I can see that God is neither. But we want to create God in our own image. God is not male or female, but our perception is more about us than anything.
In recent years I have started thinking of God as female. Not so much an overbearing fatherly authority figure, but more as a loving, nurturing kind of mother figure that wants what is best for me.
In my early years, my idea of God was an authority just waiting for me to mess up so he could punish me. Sort of like the principal in a school. Not someone you want to mess with. Someone you want to avoid.
I’m seeing God now more as an authority who doesn’t want to see me mess up, and wants to comfort me and help me when I do. She is still an authority figure, she still rules all of the creation that she made, but it is me that has changed.
The father figure God didn’t like me much, but sort of put up with me as long as I was good. The mother God figure likes me a lot. It makes sense because she made me, she created me. As they say, “God doesn’t make junk.”
We are God’s workmanship
Why would a God create something and then punish it for not working the way he designed it. Actually it does work the way it was designed to work, and we are to believe God will punish us when we have no choice but to perform the way were designed to perform?
Is the maker not responsible for the creation too? Yes. I have come to see that my Divine Mother knows what she created, and maybe even enjoys seeing the ups and downs of that creation. She isn’t judging because she is all-knowing and loving, and is not surprised at all when I don’t act as I should.
The divine Father figure wanted to send fire and brimstone to me, and maybe I deserved it. He sent his son to die for me, so that means he can put up with me for the most part now because the debt has been paid. The divine Mother figure is not pleased with my weaknesses perhaps. She is not pleased when I choose to do wrong. But she wants me to come to her to be healed and gain strength. She sent her son to give me life, not just to pay some debt that I can’t even understand theologically.
There is the difference of performance based acceptance, and love based acceptance.
Perception is reality
There are not two Gods. They are not even competing ideas. It is more my perception that makes the difference. Perceiving God as a divine mother does not change the nature of God. It changes my nature.
It may be better for you to perceive God as a divine father. Let’s not judge each other’s perceptions. That is not my purpose here. I am not saying what anyone else “should” do.
There is also a sensual aspect to seeing God as female. It is the female who gives life, who receives the seed and produces life with it. There are religions that take this further, but it is our heavenly mother that gives us life. Even so, she could not give that life if she did not have the seed planted in her.
There are ancient religions that see sex as holy, or sacred. They don’t see it is something to give us guilt or shame. I think seeing a heavenly mother makes that idea more possible. It also feels kind of like heresy, so I am still struggling to understand this aspect.
All things to all people.
In my case, I grew up with a single mother. I never knew my father. I’ve heard stories about him and seen pictures, but even so, he is sort of an illusion to me. He is someone that is not really there. Almost a mythical character.
But I do know what it is like to have a mother. I know what it is like to hear her, to touch her, to feel her warmth and kindness. It makes sense then, that I would have an easier time relating to God as a divine mother.
My earthly mother has passed on from this world. In a way I cannot quite explain, she talks to me at times. It is not with words, but more with feelings. Since she has passed the idea of God being female has become even stronger.
Changing my perception of God from male to female, of course, does not change God, but it changes me. I used to see religion as sort of an obligation. Something I “should” do. Even when I wanted to, there was still this authoritative “should” hanging over my head.
The relationship with a Divine Mother is much different. It is more personal. It is not even religious. Religion is just the vehicle. It is a means of explaining God and a framework. That is not a slam against religion. It still is important to me, but it is not the bedrock.
Seeing God as a divine Mother makes it much more personal. It makes worship more internal, more real.
What do you think?
How do you perceive God? Do you see a heavenly father or a heavenly mother? What difference do you think it would make? What difference has it made? I would love to see your thoughts.