REVISITING FRIEND OF THE FAMILY

REVISITING FRIEND OF THE FAMILY

Several years have passed since I posted my initial Friend of the Family entries on this blog site. My motivation at the time for those postings was my conviction, in the face of general Church tradition to the contrary, that the Holy Spirit possessed a gender, and that moreover that gender was feminine.

Back then I included several Scripturally-based reasons for my contention of the femininity of the Holy Spirit. Now, several years later, that conviction remains. It is, in fact, stronger than ever. Over the years since those initial postings, a number of additional Scriptural suggestions of that femininity have come to my attention. In the next few postings I’ll share with you a more comprehensive set of Scriptural suggestions that point to a feminine Holy Spirit. But first, before developing them in logical fashion, I’ll summarize here all the suggestions that come to mind at this point in time.

These suggestions are developed in three phases. In the first phase, the full functional nature of Jesus’ spiritual marriage to His Church is presented as a means of countering the prevailing Christian misunderstanding of that marriage as being without significant substance, as that marriage is an important element of the association of the Holy Spirit with femininity. In the second phase, rebuttals are presented against claims that the Holy Spirit is not feminine. Thirdly, overt Scriptural suggestions of the femininity of the Holy Spirit are presented.

FUNCTIONAL MARRIAGE BETWEEN JESUS AND HIS CHURCH

Paul’s stunning statement in Ephesians 5:31,32 regarding Jesus’ marriage to His Church contains multiple elements that identify this marriage as much more than merely a figure of speech.

Romans 7:4 corroborates Jesus’ marriage to His Church; beyond that, it identifies the union as creatively productive.

Jesus first miracle described in John 2, the wedding in Cana, identifies Jesus as anticipating with joy His own future spiritual marriage.

In the parables of the marriage feast (Matthew 22) and the ten virgins (Matthew 25), Jesus describes His own future marriage without ambiguity as an important and joyful occasion.

Isaiah 54, as a follow-on to the great messianic Chapter 53, is a passionate statement of Jesus’ future marriage and is summarized as such by Paul in Galatians 4:27.

The Song of Solomon is a romantic, explicit depiction of the bonding between male and female; it would not belong in the Bible if gender had no place in the spiritual realm

SUMMARY OF REBUTTALS TO CLAIMS THAT HOLY SPIRIT IS NOT FEMININE

The claim has been made that since Galatians 3:28 and Matthew 22:29,30 describe humans in the spiritual realm as being gender-neutral, the spiritual realm doesn’t involve gender. This myopic and unjustified extension of statements beyond their meanings fails to take into account that whereas spiritual individuals will not be gendered, the Church, as an aggregate of individual components, will be gendered.

Jeremiah 10:12, in which God describes power and wisdom as belonging to Him, is cited as indicative that these are God’s own attributes. This claim fails to comprehend that the union between God and the Holy Spirit, being a romantic one, is also possessive. God here is speaking of the mutually possessive nature of marriage.

The “He” issue, for which the Holy Spirit is referred to in Scripture by masculine pronouns, may be resolved in two distinct ways, both of which permit the Holy Spirit to be viewed as functionally feminine while being composed of a masculine or neuter substance. Scripture’s treatment of spiritual humanity furnishes ample justification for viewing the HolyH Spirit to be functionally feminine and compositionally masculine, as suggested by Paul’s description of spiritual mankind as genderless in the face of his description of mankind’s aggregate as the Church as the wife of Christ. In the alternate but equally valid view there is also ample justification for appreciating that in the original autographs in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages, the Holy Spirit was perceived as feminine. Examples include John 14:26 in the version recorded in the Siniatic Palimpsest, Isiah 51:9,10 and Romans 9:25.

Scripture itself contradicts claims that God might be above the romance and passion intrinsic to a fully-functional spiritual marriage. Examples include the Song of Solomon, Jesus’ passion in the Garden of Gethsemane, and Jesus’ discourse on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24).

Many theologians insist upon interpreting the feminine imagery in the Book of Proverbs as simply figures of speech. Correspondingly, Proverbs is depersonalized, being considered at most an attribute of the Godhead. This view is contradicted by the intensely personal nature of Proverbs 3 and 8 and their link to the role of the Holy Spirit in Genesis 1:1,2. It is further disallowed by the direct personalization of Wisdom and the equation of Wisdom with the Holy Spirit in the Book of Wisdom, which is canonical in the Catholic religion.

Many pastors, having interpreted 1 Timothy 2 as limiting the role of women in Church, shy away from the thought of conferring Godhood on a female. Given the general responsive role of women as described in Scripture and Eve’s obvious misapplication of that role, Paul’s commentary in 1 Corinthians 2 actually supports the notion of a feminine Holy Spirit.

Some pastors point to mention of the Church as the Body of Christ in Ephesians 5 and elsewhere as conflicting with a meaningful role for the Church as the Bride of Christ. A careful reading of Ephesians 5 contradicts this apparent conflict: Ephesians 5:31 directly identifies the male/female union as a mutual ownership of each other. This ownership, in a possessive sense, assigns the wife’s (Church’s) body as the body of her husband.

There is a centuries-long tradition within virtually all Western Churches of a male Holy Spirit. A feminine Holy Spirit would go against the grain of this tradition. However, tradition isn’t Scripture, there are readily understandable reasons as to why the switch from the original was made, and there are understandable, albeit selfish, reasons as to why there haven’t been more disputes in that regard over the years.

SUMMARY OF SCRIPTURAL SUGGESTIONS OF THE FEMININITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Shekinah Glory who indwelt the Tabernacle in the Wilderness (Exodus 40) and Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 8) is recognized as feminine. This same Shekinah Glory is intimately linked to the Holy Spirit through the corresponding indwelling of Christians who are described in 1 Corinthians 3 and Ephesians 2 as living temples of God.

The only logical way that the Judeo-Christian monotheism may be reconciled to the general Judeo-Christian understanding of the Godhead as being a Trinity is to perceive the Godhead as representing a tightly-knit Family.

Through passages that describe Her presence alongside the Divine Father during the creation epic, the female Persona in the Book of Proverbs is identified as the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ fully functional marriage to His Church demonstrates the existence of gender and its associate romance in the spiritual domain.

Genesis 1:27 and 28 links the creation of man in God’s image as possessing gender; in Genesis 2 verses 18, 21 and 22 the detail of Eve’s formation out of Adam as being highly suggestive of the counterpart formation of the Holy Spirit out of the Father.

In Genesis 5, Adam and Eve are both named Adam, suggesting that Eve, while being functionally feminine, is also named after her masculine counterpart. This naming convention furnishes some justification for describing the Holy Spirit with masculine pronouns, although it should be kept in mind that the original Hebrew described the Holy Spirit in feminine terms.

It is generally recognized and specifically noted by Bible scholars that Scripture depicts the Holy Spirit as operating in an executive function, responsive to the Father’s Will. A responsive nature is distinctly feminine.Executive. Genesis 1:1,2 furnishes a specific example of the Holy Spirit operating responsively to the Father.

There are indications that the original Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptural texts depicted the Holy Spirit as feminine. Of particular interest in that regard is the Siniatic Palimpsest, in which Jesus describes the Holy Spirit as feminine.

The Book of Wisdom, which is canonical in the Catholic Bible, presents the Holy Spirit as feminine and directly links Her to Wisdom as presented in the Book of Proverbs.

Chapter 3 of the Gospel of John describes the Holy Spirit as possessing the function of spiritual birth. Birth, of course, is an eminently feminine attribute.

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