Because of our tendency to rip truth out of the weave of revelation or wrongly order those truths, one of the functions of the Creed is to help us rightly order our knowledge of God. Jesus’ ultimate revelation about the first Person of the Trinity is that God is not a mere abstract Ground of Being. Nor is God merely Master, Lord, King, Author of Creation, or Ruler of Time and Space (all “power” titles). No, for Jesus he is “my Father and your Father” (John 20:17). All these other titles have their place. But the supreme revelation remains that God is Father.
For many postmoderns this immediately creates a difficulty. Isn’t it unfair that God should be depicted with masculine imagery in the Bible? Doesn’t Scripture pretty much claim that God is male?
Actually, no. The Bible makes it exceedingly clear that God is neither male nor female; He is Spirit. Remember: it is paganism—not the Catholic faith or the Bible—that sees God as simply an expansion on whatever bit of nature we happen to fancy. In contrast, the Catholic faith sees nature as a dim reflection of a God who is utterly transcendent. Because of this, God is the source of both masculinity and femininity. While God is neither male nor female, both masculinity and femininity reflect attributes of God. For this reason, the book of Genesis describes the creation of human beings this way: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
The full image of God is not simply man but man and woman together. Of course, God is, in himself, beyond the distinctions of human gender. We refer to God as “Him” rather than “It” because God is personal (in fact, super-personal since he is three Persons, the Trinity); he is not some impersonal ‘force’ or ‘energy’.
Then why, it may be asked, does Christianity constantly address God in masculine terms as “Father,” “Lord,” and so forth?
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