I understand that since the terms used for God are masculine in the Hebrew language this is most likely the reason why God is perceived as a Father. Is it possible that since Israel was a patriarchal society that God being perceived as a male was a manipulation done by way of the men who wrote the Bible? Thanks.


I come from the point of view that I believe the Bible is inspired by God. For that reason, from my perspective, your explanation cannot be correct. If the Bible is inspired by God (and I believe the evidence for this is absolutely overwhelming), then the use of “Father” for God cannot be a manipulation by misogynistic men who wrote the Bible. I believe that the reason God is called “Father” by Jesus is because this is the closest Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek word to how Jesus viewed the Father. Jesus viewed the Father as a person with whom he had a relationship. What other title might he have used? Jesus would not have called the Father “God” because Jesus was God. He could have called his Father “Mom” but I suppose this would not have been as appropriate a title as Jesus could have used. He could have called the Father Bill or “hey you” or some other name, but this also would not catch the sense of the relationship between Jesus and the Father.

We all know that God is neither male nor female in the physical sense. In many places in the Bible God is described as having qualities we would stereotypically ascribe to be female attributes such as nurturing his people. In other places in the Bible God the Father is described with attributes we would stereotypically describe as male attributes, such as providing for his people or defending his people. God is not called Father because “He” has male sexual characteristics but because it is the most appropriate choice between the three possibilities: he, she, and it.

Having said that, for a great number of reasons, when describing God, the Hebrew and Greek writers of the Bible chose male words rather than female. Jesus came in a male body, not a female body, not because men are better than women but because for cultural reasons a woman could not have done the things Jesus did. God is neither male nor female, but “He” is addressed with male pronouns, not because of the manipulation of male Bible writers but because God, in his wisdom and inspiration, decided to use male words for God.

John Oakes

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