God is a father, but He is like a mother

In my contemplations for Mother’s Day this year, I was reminded of a fairly popular question going around some churches in the 1980s.

In my contemplations for Mother’s Day this year, I was reminded of a fairly popular question going around some churches in the 1980s. The question was whether God was male or female. It never came to any of my churches, and I was relieved, for I considered the question to be inane. If indeed God can be defined, it will not be accomplished within the confines of human gender. God, by virtue of His divine, eternal nature transcends definition in customary human terms.

However, the Scriptures very clearly, consistently and constantly delineate God in the masculine gender and refer to Him repeatedly as “Father”. Nowhere in the Bible is God referred to as a mother or in the feminine gender.

The foregoing is in no way an attempt to demean, humiliate, or degrade women. Genesis 1:27 clearly states that both men and women are created in God’s image. It says, “So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created male and female.”

In addition, I have often said (especially around Mother’s Day) that a mother’s love is quite possibly more like God’s love than any other. By this I mean that a mother’s love can often be strong, selfless and sacrificial.

God, in describing His commitment to His people states, “Can a woman forget her own baby, and not love the child she bore?…I will never forget you…can never forget you! I have written your name on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

Isaiah 66:13 says that God will comfort like a mother comforts her child. David, in Psalm 131:2, speaking of God says, “I’ve learned to feel safe and satisfied just like a young child on its mother’s lap.”

Though gender is not indicated, many believe that a mother’s love is being depicted in the Old Testament book of Hosea, where God describes, quite graphically, His love for His people. It says, “Yet I was the one who taught Israel to walk. I took my people up in my arms, but they did not acknowledge that I took care of them. For I drew them to me with affection and love. I picked them up and held them to my cheek. I bent down to them and fed them” (Hosea 11:3,4).

Jesus, highlighting the compassionate side of God employs an analogy in Matthew 23:37. He says, “How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

So, I believe it would be both biblical and appropriate to say that while God is a father, He is like a mother.

I hope that you had a great Mother’s Day weekend!

FAITH & REFLECTION