Tracing God in the Feminine

God as mother carries Israel from the belly, from the womb, from birth to death. (Isaiah 46:3-4)

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
carried from the womb;

 

even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.”

God as mother does not neglect her nursing child. (Isaiah 49:13-15)

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the LORD has comforted his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted.

 

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.”

 

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”

God is fluidly father-creator and mother, hen, giving birth to the child, encircling, suckling, fluttering over the child. (Deuteronomy 32:6, 10-13, 18)

Do you thus repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you? …

 

“He found him [Jacob] in a desert land,
and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
he encircled him, he cared for him,
he kept him as the apple of his eye.
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
that flutters over its young,
spreading out its wings, catching them,
bearing them on its pinions,
the LORD alone guided him,
no foreign god was with him.
He made him ride on the high places of the land,
and he ate the produce of the field,
and he suckled him with honey out of the rock,
and oil out of the flinty rock. …

 

“You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you,
and you forgot the God who gave you birth.”

God as male fights wars; God as female bears and gives birth; and these are the same God. (Isaiah 42:13-14)

The LORD goes out like a mighty man,
like a man of war he stirs up his zeal;
he cries out, he shouts aloud,
he shows himself mighty against his foes.
For a long time I have held my peace;
I have kept still and restrained myself;
now I will cry out like a woman in labor;
I will gasp and pant.

God as mother identifies with Zion as mother, giving birth without pain, in joy, satisfying the child at her breast, carrying the child on her hip, bouncing the child on her knees, comforting the child. (Isaiah 66:5-13)

Hear the word of the LORD,
you who tremble at his word:
“Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for my name’s sake
have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified,
that we may see your joy’;
but it is they who shall be put to shame.

 

“The sound of an uproar from the city!
A sound from the temple!
The sound of the LORD,
rendering recompense to his enemies!

 

“Before she was in labor
she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her
she delivered a son.
Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
For as soon as Zion was in labor
she brought forth her children.

 

Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”
says the LORD;
“shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?”
says your God.

 

“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;
that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious abundance.”

 

For thus says the LORD:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

God as mother-bear is fierce, protective, strong. (Hosea 13:8)

I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs;
I will tear open their breast,
and there I will devour them like a lion,
as a wild beast would rip them open.

Jesus as male identifies as mother-hen to her wayward brood. (Matthew 23:37; cf. Luke 13:34)

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

God’s image encircles male and female. (Genesis 1:27)

And God created the human in his image,
in the image of God He created him,
male and female He created them.

God is as a woman seeking her lost coin. (Luke 15:8-10)

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.'”

God’s wisdom as female is powerful, calling out to unwise men. (Proverbs 8:1-4; see also vv. 5-36)

Does not wisdom call?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
“To you, O men, I call,
and my cry is to the children of man. …”

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