MORE GENDER THOUGHTS

MORE GENDER THOUGHTS

The issue of the Holy Spirit’s gender is important enough to continue pursuing it a bit. If, for example, the first chapters of Genesis as noted in my blog posting Significance of a Feminine Holy Spirit do indeed suggest gender-based facts regarding the nature of the Godhead, why doesn’t the rest of the Bible go along with the understanding hinted at there?

But the Bible does go along with it. In their haste to cleanse the Church of gender, the Church Fathers glossed over those passages in Scripture that seem to have confirmed this beginning overview of God’s nature, not recognizing them for what they may have intended to convey. Expositions of the Old Testament book of Ruth, for example, routinely assign the person of Naomi as representing Israel. They do the same with the Woman of Revelation 12, except that the Catholic Church insists instead that the Woman represented there is Mary. In both cases, the recognition of the Holy Spirit as feminine makes Her by far the best candidate.

The Glory of God (Shekinah) who indwelt the Tabernacle of the Wilderness Exodus 40) and Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 8) at their dedications, and who foreshadowed the Holy Spirit who indwells Christians as living temples of God (1 Corinthians 2:19-22 and Ephesians 3:16), was always considered by the Jews to be feminine. Incidentally, I wonder whether many theologians have understood the connection between the Shekinah of the temple dedications and the Holy Spirit of the Pentecost. I have never heard of that link being made in the many Church sermons and Bible studies that I have been privy to. Again, understanding the Holy Spirit as feminine puts a whole new slant on the Word of God.

Despite the many allusions to The Holy Spirit as the subject of the Book of Proverbs, particularly in Chapter Three and Eight, the mainstream interpretation of the feminine persona in Proverbs is simply that of a mere literary device. That viewpoint changes instantly with the recognition of the Holy Spirit as possessing a feminine gender.

How do the mainstream theologians handle the overtly erotic content of The Song of Solomon? I don’t know, because I’ve never heard a pastor or a Bible study leader mention the topic. The commentaries I’ve read do acknowledge the sexual nature of the book and, in line with Ephesians 5:31 and 32, they often directly link the subject with the future marriage of Christ with His Church. Regarding the implications of that association with respect to the gendered nature of the Godhead in general, commentaries of that flavor truly open a can of worms that most pastors wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. One of the pastors of my acquaintance indirectly acknowledges the viability of such commentaries, but then turns around and claims that God is genderless. Another example of Orwell’s doublethink.

The Pharisee Nicodemus had a hard time wrapping his arms around Jesus’ claim in John 3 that entrance into the kingdom of heaven required a person to be born again of the Holy Spirit. To this day, theologians have a hard time wrapping their arms around the implications of Jesus’ talk to Nicodemus, which is that His association of spiritual birth with the Holy Spirit automatically confers the role of femininity upon Her.

Taken on an individual basis, some of the associations that I’ve noted above between Biblical passages and the Holy Spirit, like in Ruth and Proverbs, wouldn’t be readily apparent to the person who doesn’t share my vision of the Holy Spirit. I get that. But in the aggregate, the sheer number of associations like that which can be extracted from Scripture add much weight to my point of view. Moreover, there are passages like John 3 that are so obvious in that association that I simply can’t conceive how a viewpoint that excludes the femininity of the Holy Spirit is possible to a logical mind.

Is it really a good idea to pursue a contentious issue regarding Church doctrine at a time when the Church is faced with such a rapid falling away from Scriptural truths and indifferent laypersons are leaving the Church behind in droves? I think so, because I perceive that the very difficulties that the Church is now facing are directly connected to the basic misunderstanding of Scripture that I’m attempting to address.

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