March 20, 2011

Did They Say “God the Father”? No Problem

I have never had a problem with the use of the term “God the Father.” Because of this, I am very grateful the newly published edition of the NIV (New International Version) Bible continues the use of this correct and accurate phrase.

As a woman, I don’t understand why some women and others object to the use of this term. Maybe it’s a “generational thing”, but I grew up using this phrase and never felt reduced or diminished by the image or representation of God as father. I also had a wonderful relationship with my father, who is now with the Lord.

I am fully aware God is not a man. I am fully aware many of the terms in the original languages of scripture referring to God are not masculine. Still, using “gender neutral” language is not my choice because I love many of the things the term “God the Father” says about how God chooses to relate to us.

In most of the world, for most of history, fatherhood has represented shared identity, protection, provision, inheritance, loving care, and access to resources. This is an image almost all people can relate to and appreciate. As Christians, all of these concepts teach something about how God interacts with us and our position relative to Him. Who is diminished by this image?

Yes, there has been and continues to be sexism in the church: unfairness and prejudice against women having nothing to do with Biblical standards. That unfairness should be challenged, and is challenged in many areas. Still, I am not for disregarding the revelation of God as Father. It is a clear, beautiful, and widely understood image of a God who honors us as one of His own, who brings us into His family, and sustains us now and forever

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