Thursday, 19 July 2012

Two men and a bird?

A gendered god is not the God of Scripture, and it’s time we acted on this truth!

Tim Bulkeley

I really like that statement, so my first reaction was to let out a cheer.  All that bad art sanctified by centuries that portrays the ETERNAL as a manly bloke, beard and all.  Sheer stupidity.

Then I thought... but isn't that the way scripture does portray the Ancient of Days?  The mighty warrior, the lord of hosts (i.e. armies) who lets Moses have a fleeting squiz at his (doubtless) hairy backside?  (Exodus 33:22-23)

Tim may have addressed these issues in his book Not Only A Father.  In fact I'm sure he has.  But despite empathising with his position, and favouring inclusive language, I might take a little convincing that either El or Yahweh weren't conceived as male deities, and rampaged down the ages with girded loins from that point on.  It's hard to imagine Jesus thinking any differently about the presence he addressed as 'father'.

Granted, the Good Book doesn't speak with one voice on issues like this.  But overall, the dominant voice we hear, at the loudest volume level, is surely the one that assumes a Sky Father, "our father which art in heaven".  Whether we like it or not is beside the point.  To pretend otherwise is to make these pre-modern texts over into our own post-Enlightenment likeness.

Against such jaded skepticism Tim presents an alternate case in a free online version of his opus which, given some time to do so, I'm interested to dip into.  There's also a paperback edition available on Amazon.  Too bad he hasn't also surfed the growing e-book wave with editions for Kindle and its lesser brethren...  or I'd have already downloaded it in a flash.

So, whatcha think?  Does scripture teach - or at least strongly portray - God, or the constituent members of the trinity or binity (depending on your theology) as one or more chaps?  Check out the poll in the sidebar.


  1. I would say that the God(s) of the Bible is (are) undeniably male and anthropomorphic. However, I see Yahweh as more of a literary character than an actual God. The God most Christians believe in is the God of the Greek philosophers, a genderless transcendent entity.

  2. Of course the bible portrays a male god.

    The most ancient religions worshiped the goddess, due to the reverence/awe people had for the birthing process. This was the creation of life after all - an incredible, miraculous event. In these ancient religions, the earth was believed to have been born of the goddess, and women were revered.

    After the "great discovery", when the truth was found out about the male role in the birthing process, and as cities arose for the first time, that all changed. Now, birth was not the only way new things were created - things were built, they were made. By men. So, therefore, the earth must have been MADE. By a MALE god, living in the sky. Hence the ongoing conflict we see - the priests of the male sky-god constantly trying to enforce their religion against the competing belief in the goddess.

    Was the god of the bible male? The whole society of the bible was male-dominated. Of course their god was male.

    This is the drama we walk into mid-stream when we open the pages of the bible. Many people still clink to the traditional belief in the earth goddess. But the male sky

  3. BTW the Kindle edition (I'm told) is coming soon, apparently it takes longer than print (go figure ;)

  4. I've come to the conclusion that any ways in which we try to define God will end up in placing human limitations upon him. There was an ancient Jewish tradition that God is simply too great and awesome for humans to be able to quantify. Using terms like "white", or "male" or even thinking of Him in those ways probably sets us back in our understanding.