I received a phone call from a girlfriend of mine the other day, who after reading my page on Wisdom/Sophia asked me, “Why had I never before questioned my belief that God was a single parent? That Jesus was raised by a single Father?” And she’s right. You would have thought that this strange phenomenon (God the Father being a single parent to Jesus) would have come up in both our church circles as a discussion topic. After all, we (Evangelical) Christians are so sensitive to portraying a proper, neat and tidy nuclear family: Father, Mother, Child.
I guess the problem with the Holy Spirit being a Mother is that this Spirit leads, is powerful, has authority and so oftentimes that personality contradicts what we are taught in church about who a woman is. A woman, after all, is supposed to be comforting, supportive, submissive, and remain in the shadows. Therefore, the “she” Spirit must remain a “he” Spirit within Evangelical theology–even when faced with biblical evidence that contradicts that view.
My friend and I talked for a while and came to a few conclusions about why we (Evangelicals) don’t seem to think about wanting a (dare I say it?) Mother God.
Reasons Why Christians Don’t Think About God as Mother
(1) Our long-standing belief in an all-male Trinity isn’t something we question.
We take our acceptance of the authoritative and powerful “He” for granted. God is in charge, He is powerful, He leads… He is therefore a “He”–no questions asked. It would simply be silly to question whether God was a mother (unless we were to think metaphorically–because then it would not be real). Since we’ve been taught over the years to believe that women don’t do any of the things men do, a “she” in the Trinity would sound… well–weird.
(2) Jesus had Mary to be his mother, and that’s enough.
Since the New Testament shows us a very real mother taking care of Jesus and being there for him as a comfort all the way through his life, his death and resurrection, we don’t often fret about whether God is also a mother. We see women as “comforters” and “nurturers;” therefore, Mary fulfills the whole role of Jesus’ mother.
(3) We haven’t thought about God as Mother simply because of timing.
There is a time for everything under the sun, goes the saying. And it’s the same with the revelation of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit being the original image of woman has just NOW come–sure, we’ve seen flashes of this belief throughout Christianity, but now things are different. Now many Christians all over the world are thinking about “her” deeply. And that is because it is simply time for the revelation to come to full light.