Praise be on high: There is a gender neutral God – at least according to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
God is not a man. Nor is God a woman, apparently, ruling out the pleasing notion the Archbishop Reverend Justin Welby might be a big Ariana Grande fan.
Nope. God is a Woman is not gospel according to anything other than popular culture:
Reverend Justin Welby confirmed the Christian God is beyond human conceptions of gender because us lowly human beans just ‘can’t pin God down’.
Although God is consistently referred to in biblical passages with the male pronoun ‘He’, Welby has just thrown out the literal rule book on how we perceive the Almighty.
Welby is the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, who earlier this year married Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, and is noteworthy for his comparatively progressive attitudes to religious diktat.
Welby is a strong supporter of Anglican consecration of women as bishops, the welcoming of child refugees to Britain, and encourages Christians to grasp ‘cultural change in the life of the church’.
He’s a consistent critic of austerity, Universal Credit, and regularly speaks out against the growing divide between rich and poor in the UK.
However, he still ‘struggles’ with the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage and said last year the gulf between conservative and liberal Anglicans on the issue is ‘irreconcilable’.
But as far as asserting what it already says in the Bible about the gender neutral God in which Christians believe, Welby has been pretty clear.
In September a YouGov survey found just one per cent of British Christians believe God is female, while 36 per cent believe God is a man. Of the people surveyed, 41 per cent – almost half – believe that God ‘does not have a human gender at all’.
Reverend Welby’s assertions are not new concepts in Christianity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church number 239 laid down by Pope John Paul in 1992 states unequivocally that ‘God is neither man nor woman: he is God’.
Speaking at St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, he said:
All human language about God is inadequate and to some degree metaphorical.
God is not a father in exactly the same way as a human being is a father. God is not male or female. God is not definable.
It is extraordinarily important as Christians that we remember that the definitive revelation of who God is was not in words, but in the word of God who we call Jesus Christ. We can’t pin God down.
Diarmaid MacCulloch, a professor of Christian history told The Times:
The reason God has been seen as male is simply the patriarchal assumptions of those societies… They reached for male terms as the people with power in that Greco-Roman world were male, so we use words like ‘Lord’ and ‘King’.
The world is now different and we have to show that our view of God is wider than that.
Bruce Almighty reboot with a person who identifies as gender fluid playing the role of God? Yes please.
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A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.