Beverly Jane Phillips, a retired Presbyterian Minister of Word and Sacrament, is a Christian feminist theologian. She has written two books since her retirement in 1999. They are Learning a New Language, Speech About Women and God and From Heaven to My Heart, God’s Journey With Me.
When we act as the Divine Feminine we are engaging with God in God’s struggle to reveal Her femininity. In the first creation story in the Hebrew Scriptures God says to the universe, “Let us make man in our own likeness…” The writer of the passage goes on to say, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” The image of God, described by God, is male and female.
God wants people to know that She is She as much as He is He, but it is a colossal struggle to find this image that has been hidden for centuries. Eve’s decision to eat the forbidden fruit is the excuse men make for removing the image of God as female. After all, she sinned against God and God’s law and what was just as bad she tempted innocent Adam to taste the sweet fruit too. That act makes all women evil and unfit to be a metaphor for God.
Tertullian (160-230 C.E.) an early Christian theologian addressed this message to women:Do you not realize that you are each an Eve? The curse of God on this sex of yours lives on even in our times. Guilty, you must bear its hardship. You are the devil’s gateway; you desecrated the fatal tree; you first betrayed the law of God; you softened up with your cajoling words the one against whom the devil could not prevail by force. All too easily you destroyed the image of God, Adam. You are the one who deserved death, and yet it was the Son of God who had to die.”
His words were written during the age when Christian doctrine was being established. Such harsh words and concepts had an influence on Christian theology that prevails up to our day, although few modern people would admit it.
In the beginning, God/Mother/Father wanted to be known in Her wholeness and still does. Whenever I hear of a statue of Mary crying, I believe it is God crying for recognition of Her femaleness. When we act as the Divine Feminine we are showing the world God in God’s wholeness. Of course, this depends on our ability to still maintain that God is also He. If we turn only to feminine language for God then we have just moved God from one box to another. What people who profess belief in God need to understand is that any name we use for God is a metaphor. It is a way to understand God by comparing God to something we know. Whatever name we choose we need to apply this formula: God is… God is not… God is greater than…
A perennial question is: What difference can I make? We have all heard about the theory of the “butterfly effect.” It is an idea in a field of study called “Chaos Theory.” The idea being that everything that happens in the universe affects everything else in the universe. When a butterfly moves its wings in South America it may cause a tornado in United States. A tiny factor (me acting as the Divine Feminine) might have an effect on a large system (God’s struggle to reveal God’s self as being feminine as well as masculine).