I’ll begin my explorations into the apophatic by stating something that God is Not, and something that I doubt will generate too much consternation among readers:
God Is Not Male.
Since God is also not female, it’d be even more accurate to say that God Is Not Gendered.
I think this sentiment is more palatable these days than it was fifty years ago because we are now aware of the complexities of gender. The meanings of words like “masculine” and “feminine,” “manly” and “womanly,” have been pretty thoroughly deconstructed. Thus, it’s really not even accurate to say, “God has characteristics of both genders,” since that sentence is basically meaningless. God is strong, which is masculine? God is sensitive, which is feminine? The ridiculousness of these sentiments quickly becomes clear.Which makes this a good introductory salvo into the apophatic. We know only gender. Even the aforementioned complexities (homosexual, queer, bi-sexual, transgendered, intersexed) are understood based on the poles of the two genders. But God fits neither of the genders nor the complexities in between.
Therefore, we are left with nothing kataphatic to say, nothing positive to claim, when reflecting on God and gender. Instead, we make the apophatic statement, God Is Not Gendered.
N.B., This post is part of a series exploring apophatic statements about God.