Many evangelical Christians are having a collective freak out session over Ariana Grande’s new song, “God is a Woman.” In it she makes the claim that her lover will believe god is a woman after she is through with him. Christians, as usual, took pop culture too seriously and made half my case in their over reaction. God is gender fluid.
God Is A Woman Reactions
Christian fans have have pushed back on Ariana. Evangelical commentators have had their say, claiming God is not a woman. Vigilant Christians are making response videos. Some of her critics accuse her of being a puppet of Satan or an agent of the Illuminati. Others are mad at her for including god in a song that is sexual in nature. Almost all of them are hung up on making the point that god is NOT a women.
The ones that make a Biblical case to reassert the manliness of god have a fascinating logic that includes a cognitive disconnect. If I can find a few passages that refer to god as god the father, then god is a man. We saw this logic used when the Christian’s freaked out that god was presented as a curvy black woman in the Shack. Heresy was the charge against Shack author William P. Young and heresy is the charge against Ariana Grande.
Mike Morrell’s Feminine God
In 2013 I shared a hostel with author Mike Morrell at Wild Goose Festival. I was still a Christian and a minister back then. Dad to dad Mike and I had a honest and tear filled conversation I doubt either of us will ever forget.
These days Mike Morrell is known for the bestselling book, “The Divine Dance” which he co-authored with Richard Rohr. Back in 2012 he wrote a blog post called “Biblical Proofs for the Feminine Nature of God.” Morrell, like Young and Grande, does not make a theological case that god is, in fact, a woman. What he does do is show verses that compares god to a nursing mother, a nurturing mother, and even a pregnant mother.
Sloppy Bible Logic
Using evangelical logic that if you find a few verses that say what you want it to in english combined with a bad understanding of language and a deliberate removal from context, I contend that god is gender fluid. I need no verses. Any study where Christians are upset about the topic of god’s gender will showcase all the verses where god is clearly a man. Mike Morrell’s passages also show that god is clearly a woman. Now for some sloppy Bible logic.
In Genesis 1:26 and 3:22 god refers to themselves in something that appears to be singular and plural pronouns. “Then Elohim said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness'”. Now, any Evangelical Biblical scholar will tell you that there is no polytheistic god here because the Bible says so many times that there is only one god (I AM). It cannot be about the angels because nowhere in the Bible does it state the angels have the Imago Dei (image of god) within them. The best they can come up with is the idea that this must be the trinity having a conversation with itself. But what if the truth is god is gender fluid?
If it is already clearly and biblically established that god is the father and the mother, then god is gender fluid. Some days god prefers they/them pronouns. Other days she and her pronouns. Still other days he and him. I suppose it all depends on how god is presenting that day. It is, of course, the staff of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association that tells us that god is neither male or female, but shows that even CS Lewis states that god presents as male with no reference to god’s assigned sex.
Heading Off Apologetics at the Pass
Now before all the arm chair apologetics go off on me with their commentary bibles, interpretations, and intense studies as to why I am clearly a heretic; we need to make a few things clear. I used to be a heretic. Now I am an atheist. I was a minister for 16 years. For a few of those, I was an adjunct teacher at a conservative charismatic evangelical bible college. I do not make a serious case here. That is exactly the point.
Ariana Grande is not making a theological point that god is a woman. I am not making a serious point that god is gender fluid.
One of the reasons I am an atheist is that my bible college had an excellent hermeneutics professor. Hermeneutics is a methodology of interpretation. Used mostly in matters relating to the Bible. It has also found a space in secular culture to help understand and interpret law, philosophy, and even used in the humanities.
There is a word in the discipline of hermeneutics called exegesis. This is the bit that deals with interpreting texts. Long story short, imagine an ancient text like a well. You are trying to “draw out” of the well what the author intended. The exact opposite of this is eisegesis , which is to “draw in” or place something into the well.
If one believes that the bible is the divine word of god, then when you draw out the meaning of scripture, you are drinking living water from a pure well. If you place into the well your own meaning, the well is poisoned.
Who is Right About God?
The World Christian Encyclopedia has a popular number that says there are 33,000 different Christian denominations. Some say that number is low and it is over 51,000 and others say that number in inflated and it is a mere 9,000. Regardless, you have thousands and even tens of thousands different versions of Christianity diametrically and theologically opposed to one another over different interpretations of the same book.
My first struggle after taking hermeneutics was taking a class called ‘Charismatic Distinctives’ the very next semester. In this class we had to deliberately ignore many of the things taught to us in hermeneutics regarding exegesis. Particularly as it pertained to our central passages on praying in tongues and other gifts of the holy spirit. It just got worse from there.
Deadly Christian Conclusions About God
Christians often come up with the amazing biblical conclusion that god always seems to agree with them. If I do not like black people, neither does god. If I feel being LGBTQIA+ is bad, so does god. And of course, if I feel women should have no agency over her own body sexually and no agency over her own reproductive rights, god agrees with me. The mainline and progressive christian world often plays the same dangerous game. This leads to conservative and liberal christians hurling “truth” and “heresy” at one another. While they do this, innocent victims are caught in the crossfire.
Christians have killed heretics for claiming the earth revolves around the sun. “Witches” have been murdered by them for their heresy. Slavery was defended when abolitionists presented a heretical view of freedom for the black man. In Uganda, American missionaries helped create a culture where people were executed for being gay. When Christians interpret the Bible and then break out words like heresy, I get nervous. This is often the point in the story of world history when people die.