MARCHING TO A WORTHY DRUMMER INSTALLMENT #16

Chapter 7: Reconciling Claims Against a Feminine Holy Spirit

 

My high school trigonometry teacher, the one who entertained lascivious thoughts toward Lorelei, wasn’t the first teacher with whom I had an odd encounter. In the ninth grade, I had Mr. Edwards as my teacher in earth science, a man I remember quite vividly for the disturbing information he hurled in my direction after class. The bell had rung and the other students had dashed for the door, which was our usual mode of exit. I hung back that day, because a large wall map of the world caught my attention. I had walked up to the map and was studying it intently when Mr. Edwards verbally accosted me.

“Don’t even think about it!” he shouted from behind his desk. Red-headed and red-faced, he was Irish to the core and way beyond, and he had a voice to match his brash demeanor. That’s all he had to say. I remember being amazed that he knew exactly what I was thinking, and that in that one short sentence I knew that he knew, and he knew that I knew that he knew.

“They don’t fit!” he continued. “It’s just an accident of geography. Chance, if you will. Africa and South America were never joined; science now knows without a doubt that they were separate continents from the beginning of the world billions of years ago.” He dismissed me from his mind and went back to the papers he was reviewing. I kept looking at the map, not sure what to believe. It seemed so basic, so obvious, and yet here was a man of science, an expert in the field, an authority telling me different. I finally shrugged my shoulders, accepting the fact that Mr. Edwards knew far more about the subject than I did.

Many years later I got wind of the fascinating new theory of plate tectonics, and the collateral damage it did to Mr. Edwards’ understanding of geology. His authority, at least as far as I was concerned, was overthrown in an instant, my only regret the time I had wasted accepting his pronouncement. But at least I learned something: don’t accept everything that “experts” say as truth.

That new understanding about authorities and truth was reinforced in college, where I learned that respected scientists had declared around the beginning of the twentieth century that virtually everything knowable about the universe had been uncovered; all that remained was the calculation of certain physical constants and other rather mundane cleanup work. That pronouncement was made, of course, before Einstein had arrived on the scene, development started on atomic physics and quantum mechanics, the Van Allen radiation belt was discovered, exploration had begun of our solar system and the uncovering of the vast intricacy of the molecular machinery of life had not yet borne its amazing fruit.

Several years after college I became fascinated over the controversy between Immanuel Velikovsky and Carl Sagan regarding the visitation on earth of catastrophes of planetary scope. Sagan, as a member in excellent standing of the scientific community, was the expert, whereas Velikovsky was an interloper who was daring to trespass on the intellectual property of the evolution/uniformitarian-oriented community. What really stuck in Sagan’s craw was that Velikovsky was basing much of his innovative theory of enormous catastrophes that occurred within the memory of man on the Bible, specifically the accounts of Moses around the fifteenth century B.C. regarding the Exodus, and, about fifty years later, of Joshua’s long day (and America’s long night) and of Isaiah in the eighth century B.C. How dare the man contaminate science with notions of God, Sagan fumed. But Velikovsky had predicted certain things on the basis of his thesis, like his certainty that when man was able to measure the surface temperature of Venus, he would find the planet to be so hot that it wouldn’t support human life. Sagan scoffed at the notion, asserting on the basis of his own spectroscopic studies of Venus that the planet was earthlike in temperature. We all know how Sagan’s notion worked out in that regard. In fact, Sagan and others within their scientific clique were continually surprised by what our space probes were finding, all of which confirmed Velikovsky’s predictions and negated Sagan’s sneering, intellectually empty rebuttals. Most profoundly, Mars was found to have suffered immense damage, which was a revelation that would have been unthinkable to the mainstream scientific community back when.

Then along came the father-son Alvarez team, who managed to toss the mainstream uniformitarian notion into the intellectual trash heap, regardless of the fact that the scientific community continues to dig for it among the rest of their intellectual garbage, attempting to somehow resurrect it and restore it to its former glory. Nat Geo is doing its best to help out, but so far the collective IQ of the population that it and the media are managing to convince is steadily progressing downward to zero.

More recently, the biological sciences are making amazing strides, all of which are undercutting the theory of evolution.

The bottom line is that a revolution has been taking place within the scientific community for several years now. Not much is being said about it to the public at large; nevertheless, a good many scientists who have been venerated over the last several decades as “experts” and “authorities” have been uncovered as entertaining embarrassingly obsolete and downright wrong views on the subjects on which they had so arrogantly held forth.

Can the same be said about our religious theological “authorities”? I’ll give you an example and let you decide. For starters, there are Catholic Christian authorities and Protestant Christian authorities who are theologically separated by a very large intellectual fence. While Protestant “authorities” pronounce their Catholic brethren to be entirely wrong about their veneration of Mary, their papacy, and the Eucharist, to name but a few items of contention, their Catholic counterparts are equally vehement in pronouncing their Protestant brethren lacking in their understanding in these same areas. What does this say about the objective truth of these matters? Hint: both sides can be wrong, or one side can be wrong and the other right. But both sides cannot be right, which requires that at least one very large group of theological “experts” be wrong.

Aw, I’ll just come out and say it without beating around the bush. Both sides are burdened with some very wrong theology. To back that up, I’ll first address a few glaring difficulties with the Catholic Church. A big one is the Catholic insertion of the papacy between us and our One Mediator, Jesus Christ, in open contradiction to Scripture, not only in Hebrews, but in general throughout the Bible. Another big one is the Catholic near-deification of Mary, wherein the Church laity is called upon to communicate with Mary at the expense of praying to Jesus or the other Members of the Godhead. A third is the Catholic insistence on Mary’s perpetual virginity, despite the fact that the virgin birth of Jesus was a functional necessity that allowed Him to be both God and man, free of Adam’s original sin and carried with it no connotation that moral purity involved sexual abstinence. A fourth and fifth are Mary’s immaculate conception and bodily assumption into heaven, which are extra-Biblical assumptions. A sixth is the continuing corruption within the Church leadership, its latest manifestation being unthinkable sexual misconduct, a difficulty that was preventable under a more perfect understanding of God and what He is looking for in mankind. And then there’s the issue about the opulence of the Vatican and its treasures of art, gold and precious jewels, and of the pomp that accompanies all these physical assets in spite of the clear Scriptural teaching that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this earth.

Now, as to the equally grave difficulties associated with the Protestant Church. First, there is the overabundance of discord from one sect to another, indicating the same kind of theological error associated with the discord between the Catholic and Protestant Churches. While I have applauded such differences of opinion in the past as indicating that some Christians care enough about their faith to think about the issues, this unresolved squabbling also indicates a murky understanding. Much of this discord has to do with issues that are, at best, connected indirectly with Scripture, and, while at first glance that may seem to be somewhat trivial, most actually are quite important. Among these are the controversy over free will vs. election (Calvinism vs. Arminianism), infant baptism, the gifts of the Holy Spirit in modern Christianity, the meaning of prosperity, the almost complete indifference toward Mary and the denial, in open contradiction to Scripture (particularly John 3 and Ephesians 5), of feminine motherhood in the economy of God, and the sterility of the Godhead. And what’s going on with all this falling away of the mainstream Churches from Scriptural truth, such as the popularity of the Chrislam movement, the ordination of Gays and the widespread ignorance of the Bible? To top off this list of ills is the odd indifference of some branches of the mainstream Protestant Church to the magnitude and nature of the love intrinsic to the Godhead and how this love harmonizes with and moderates the Godhead’s other attributes.

We thus approach our attempt at reconciliation with the understanding that while Scripture itself is inerrant in the original, the interpretations of it associated with mainstream theology are every bit as susceptible to human error and misunderstanding as other human endeavors.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

 

  • Genesis 1:26, 27

From this passage we get the idea that the gender separation is intrinsic to the Godhead itself. Are we reading too much into this? If this passage stood alone as supportive of that idea, we might be. But there are other passages like the following that dovetail well with that same interpretation:

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh.

  • Genesis 2:23, 24

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul presents to the Church a remarkable mystery of great importance. It is to be treasured not only for its contribution to our future hope and expectation, but also to clarify our understanding of our God. This mystery is encapsulated in Ephesians 5:25-32:

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

 

          “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth it and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

 

          “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

In dwelling upon this wonderful notion, we experience not only joy in understanding that our future spiritual role shall be as the Bride of Christ, but catch a glimpse of the true Trinitarian nature of God Himself. With that vision in mind, I’ll enumerate and then address the several objections to it that have been lobbed in my direction by my theological betters.

Nine Objections

Without a doubt the most serious objection to a feminine Holy Spirit is the use in Scripture of masculine pronounce in reference to the Holy Spirit. The “He” issue, however, while being the most obvious, is not the only one that Church authorities use to support their claim that the Holy Spirit lacks a strong femininity. Several others, both Scriptural and extra-Scriptural, are brought to bear as well, including the following, for which I personally have been charged in discussions regarding my intellectual malfeasance in assigning the feminine gender to the Holy Spirit:

Scripture specifically claims in Galatians 3:28 that (in the resurrection) there is neither male nor female. Therefore, the spiritual realm is gender-neutral.

I have ignored Scriptural passages, such as Jeremiah 10:10-13, in which the Father claims as His own some attributes generally associated with the Holy Spirit.

I have been cautioned regarding what appears to be a hasty connection between Wisdom, as presented in the Book of Proverbs, and the Holy Spirit. It was noted in that regard that in the common interpretation of the purpose and nature of Proverbs, which is contained in the ‘prologue’ summary (Proverbs Chapter 1), there is no compelling reason to make that connection.

It seems inappropriate, in the light of Paul’s restrictions on the role limitations defined by Paul of females in the Church, of conferring Godhood on a female.

There are many within mainstream Christianity who perceive God as being above passion. This particular notion of God being greater than our feelings of romantic love was expressed by the medieval theologian Zanchius, who to this day enjoys a considerable following.

As I noted in my blog friendofthefamily.wordpress.com, I felt pretty much alone in my perception of the female nature of the Holy Spirit. It has been suggested to me that there usually are pretty good reasons for ‘being out there alone’.

An objection was made that I may not be alone as I think: I seem to share my conviction with a collection of individuals who are not well-regarded in the conservative church, including thoroughly discredited Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and notoriously new-age adherent Oprah Winfrey.

In making my claims, I am assuming the responsibilities of a teacher of the Word of God, which should not be taken lightly.

In all, these nine objections represent a collection of all reasons advanced to me by those more theologically knowledgeable than me for rejecting the association of the female gender with the Holy Spirit. These objections will be rebutted below:

[to be continued]

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