On the language for God

The ancient Israelites knew and worshipped feminine images of the divine – ideas they adopted from the cultures around them, but ideas the Biblical writings consistently opposed.  Because these ancient writings use the masculine gender for God, I am reluctant to “correct” them.  I do not believe God is male, nor do I believe the scriptures think God is male, but we humans are enamored with fertility (how can I be happy and prosperous) where the God of the Bible is concerned with justice and mercy.  I think it best, therefore, to honor the ancient practice.

I will likewise honor the ancient convention of using the word LORD when the Biblical text uses the four letters for the name of God.  The scriptures are about a specific god in a world of many gods – a god who led slaves out of bondage and guided them with laws, upheld by prophets, that called them to be a people of justice and compassion and not a nation of slaves and slaveholders like Egypt and every other kingdom.  Since we, too, live in a world of many ideas about what deserves our ultimate allegiance it is important we be careful about the identity of the god of whom we are speaking.

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