February 7, 2018

God without Sex

The biblical texts portray God as Father because God is the creative source of all life. In the era in which the biblical texts were composed, the male was believed to be the active, creative contributor to human (and animal) reproduction; the female was understood to be passive, contributing the substance from which the creative force shaped offspring. So while biblical authors may well have conceived of God as male, they did so not on the basis of revelation, but due to their misunderstanding of the reproductive process. Pinning theology to this misunderstanding of biology is as pointless as pinning our understanding of the universe to a mistaken cosmology.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

2 comments:

Georges Staelens said...

Indeed. However, the same word is used from Jesus onwards not in the meaning of "creator", but in respect of the Trinity. He is the source of being to the Son and to the Spirit.

The current error I see in churches is to replace «the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit» by «the Creator and the Redeemer and the Sanctifier», which is a dubble error. First, it does not render the interpersonal relationships within the Trinity, but rather some relationships with the creation (God cannot be defined only by his relationship with his creation). Second, all the three persons are creator and sanctifier, and implied in the redeption.

Most of the Romanian-language liturgical texts (except the Lord's prayer and the doxology) call God the Father «Pãrinte» ("Parent"). On the other hand, Mary is also called «sancta parens» ("holy parent").

This leads us to one occasin, when «Father» and «mother» cannot be rendered as «parent.» Patrology and liturgy speak of Jesus as: «motherless begotten of the Father, before the worlds, and fatherless born of the mother.»

Tobias Haller said...

Georges, while I agree that "Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier" is not a sufficient or helpful replacement for "Father, Son, Spirit" on the first count (it doesn't preserve the relations) I am not so sure about the objection to the functions, unless it descends into a purely modalist understanding in which the functions are the only distinction between the Persons. After all, the Nicene Creed itself identifies the Father as God the "maker of heaven and earth," and focuses the actual work of redemption in God the Son.

I say all this with some bemusement, as I regard almost all discussions of the Trinity to be asymptotic at best, regarding truth. I prefer to limit my reflection to the Creed itself, and not worry too much about the mechanism.

What I'm objecting to in the O.P. is the assertion by some that God is actually male. That is surely wrong!