MARCHING TO A WORTHY DRUMMER INSTALLMENT #26

Chapter 8: (continued) Scriptural Suggestions of a Feminine Holy Spirit

 

 

No longer on the defensive

 

Why has this link between the Holy Spirit and the Shekinah Glory been ignored for so long? Having attended several theological conferences associated with the Baptist community, I have in my mind an overview of the nature of the theology that is discussed among the intellectual leaders of that community. Typical topics under discussion among them are nowhere close to the importance of dialogue concerning gender within the Godhead, and yet that topic seems never to have been touched.   It’s time to change that dialogue.

Having taken a primarily defensive position up to this point, I am confident that my answers regarding the female function of the Holy Spirit are sufficiently logical that they justify my taking the opposite stance. In that vein, I respectfully invite any individual who objects to my view of the female functional nature of the Holy Spirit to respond with rebuttals of the following Scripturally-based items that support my viewpoint.

Marriage of Christ with His Church as representative of the family

 

The rebuttal must take into account the fact that Jesus claimed that He is the Image of the Father, as well as address the oddity that while one Member would have a gender-based relationship, the other Members would not.nature of the Godhead.

The linkage in John 3 of the Holy Spirit with spiritual birth.

 

Birth, whether it is physical or spiritual, is a profoundly female function. John 3 directly links this function with the Holy Spirit.

The linkage of the Holy Spirit with Song of Solomon.

 

Many respected Bible commentators agree that Song of Solomon represents the future relationship between Christ and His Church. Well they should make this claim, for if it did not say something about God or His relationship with mankind, it wouldn’t belong in Scripture.   Moreover, Song of Solomon confirms the romantic nature of which God (Jesus and Church and/or Father and Holy Spirit) is capable in the spiritual domain.

As I had noted in Chapter 7 under the topic of passion in God, the published commentaries on the Song of Solomon in both the Reformation Study Bible and the Schofield Bible directly link the relationship between the lovers in this book with the anticipated future relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church.

However, it would be self-inconsistent for Jesus Christ alone among the Members of the Godhead to enjoy this type of relationship. If Jesus is the Image of the Father (John 8:19, 14:7,9), then Song of Solomon should also describe the relationship between the other two Persons of the Godhead, Father and Holy Spirit.

 

The linkage of the Holy Spirit with Proverbs.

 

The Book of Proverbs beautifully and harmoniously supports a female functional designation for the Holy Spirit. Of particular interest in this regard are Proverbs 3 and 8, from which the following excerpts are taken:

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. . .She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. . .The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. . .Doth not wisdom cry? And understanding put forth her voice? . . .The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.”

Several items come to mind from the above review of these passages in Proverbs. The first is that the Persona is female throughout; an attempt to assign some of these passages to Jesus Christ, as many do, would constitute an unnatural force-fit, most obviously in the issue of gender, but also with respect to function and role. The second is directly related to function, wherein the passages suggest a connection between Wisdom and the Holy Spirit as furnishing the most likely Person to which a female function may be assigned; the third is that the Holy Spirit was active in creation itself, as summarized in Genesis 1:1-3:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

 

The frequent Catholic attribution of Wisdom to Mary faces the equally grave difficulty of linking Mary with capabilities such as creation that are reserved for God alone.

 

In the context of Scripture’s general treatment of the Holy Spirit, the passage in Genesis quoted above more than suggests that the Father was assisted by or in union with the Holy Spirit in the act of creation, the result being, as Jesus Himself suggested in Revelation 3:14, a manifestation of the Son. I am not alone in this assertion regarding the active participation of the Holy Spirit in the creation event. As a matter of fact, as I noted earlier I simply repeat the position of Benjamin B. Warfield, a noted Bible scholar who is well-respected among conservative theologians.

 

Any attempt at rebuttal must address Proverbs 3:19 in the context of Genesis 1:1-5, Proverbs 8:22-36, Job 26:13 and Psalm 104:30. The attempt to attribute Proverbs 8 to Jesus rather than the Holy Spirit must explain the out-of-context insertion into material descriptive of Wisdom, as well as the feminine description of Wisdom throughout the Book of Proverbs as opposed to the depiction of Jesus throughout Scripture as strongly masculine and the image of the Father. Furthermore, the attempt to link Wisdom with the Virgin Mary is unsustainable in the light of Mary’s full humanity and consequent absence in the creation epic, wherein according to Chapter 8 Wisdom was at the side of the Father during the process of creation.

Wisdom, as depicted in Proverbs, is strongly female and only female. The attempt at rebuttal must also avoid taking the Jungian notion of the human psyche, both male and female, as containing both masculine and feminine elements, and extrapolating it to his notion of the Trinity. There are logical difficulties in doing so, as described below.

Scripture rather exclusively associates the Father with the Divine Will, which, as an initiating role, also is exclusively masculine. Similarly, Jesus the Son is presented in Scripture as the Divine Representation which, as the perfect image in reality of the Father would also be predominantly masculine. The masculine predominance of Jesus is given further weight by Paul’s characterization in Ephesians 5 of Jesus as the Bridegroom of the (functionally feminine) Church. In Family of God I simply noted what to me was an obvious connecting function of the Holy Spirit between Father and Son: the Divine Means which, in union with the Divine Will, gave birth to the Divine Implementation in reality (Divine Representation). Obviously, this Divine Means, being so closely linked with the other two Members, is also Deity. Because the Divine Means performed a function that was responsive to the Will, an obviously female role, I attached a female gender to this Person. Scripture and Christian tradition both understand this third Member of the Trinity to be the Holy Spirit.

Another difficulty, and it is a big one, that I see in the notion of each Member of Godhead possessing elements of both genders is that such a state of affairs would promote self-adoration, a characteristic that I sincerely hope is lacking within the Godhead. Love and adoration require otherness. The alternative is narcissism.   I truly believe (and hope) that both Father and Holy Spirit are as selflessly noble as the Son demonstrated on the cross.

 

A family-based Godhead in which the Holy Spirit is functionally female, united in love, naturally and intuitively resolves the apparent discrepancy between monotheism and a Trinitarian Godhead.

Assuredly, a union within the Godhead involving love of a non-romantic nature can be proposed. However, a rebuttal alternative should carry as much intuitive and love-inspiring force as a relationship in which a family setting is central. A rebuttal should also explain in functional terms why there is a proscription against the gay lifestyle as presented in Leviticus 18 and Romans 1. Furthermore, a rebuttal should also address the centrality of family in Scripture as well as in life in general.

Linkage of the Holy Spirit with an executive function.

 

This executive nature of the Holy Spirit was proposed by respected theologian Benjamin Warfield as well as others. It is certainly suggested in Scripture. An executive office is responsive to higher orders, this being within the Godhead the initiative of the Father, or Divine Will. A responsive office, in turn, is a distinctly feminine one. This creative response is distinctly different than Jesus’ role as the Divine Representation, or Divine Implementation, which is, as a perfect Image of the Will, the result of creative response to the Will.

The Deeper Meaning of Adam’s Rib.

The Scriptural account of the creation of man and woman is given in Genesis 1:27 and 28:

 

          “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

 

In what on the surface appears to be something of an afterthought, in Genesis 2:18, 21 and 22 there is a more detailed description of how God formed Eve out of Adam:

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help fit for him. . . And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

There is nothing in this passage that directly relates to the intrinsic nature of God, but the fact that God chose to point out in this detail the specifics of the process by which Eve was formed, along with the many more overtly definitive Scriptural pointers to the femininity of the Holy Spirit, is profoundly suggestive of its use by God as a model of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit as taken out of Himself in selfless love. This vision, which I noted in Chapter 5 of Buddy and excerpted in Chapter 6 of this work, transforms what might be considered to be a rather mundane and even somewhat extraneous Scriptural passage into a spectacularly beautiful description of the Father’s elevation of love to the status of His primary characteristic. A brief paragraph of that excerpt from Buddy is repeated below:

“’He chose to manifest an Other out of Himself, giving up part of Himself in the process and restricting His portion in everything that is or ever will be to that of one Member of a Partnership. He decided to share His exalted position with that Other. But here’s the great beauty of what he did: in relinquishing His singleness He added love into the mix. And through this love He again became One with His Other.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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