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Why does the Church use male pronouns to refer to God?

Full Question

Why does the Church use male pronouns to refer to God?


Throughout Scripture, God revealed himself in masculine terms. Jesus often spoke of his “Father” and even taught his disciples to pray, “Our Father” (Matt. 6:9-13). Jesus himself was a man, not a woman, and he said of the Holy Spirit, “He will teach you all things” (John 14:26).



  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    Because Yahweh was invented by primitive, sexist men.


    It’s because God IS a man. He’s male.

  3. Toby Powell Reply

    “I have created you in my image, male and female have I created you.” God, male? Not a sure thing. Jesus called himself “son of God” but not God. Neuter pronouns have been used regarding the person of the Holy Spirit. The early church added letters attributed to Paul which modified the earlier Pauline letters which indicated equal status of women and men in the earliest church

    1. Patrick Gannon Reply

      Toby is correct. There is also a lot of evidence to indicate that even the real letters of Paul were redacted and edited by the early Church, in order to demean women. For example, in 1 Corinthians 14 it says:
      “(As in all the churches of the saints, 34 women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.[d] 36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached?)”
      If you read the chapter in context you see that Paul is speaking of both men and women prophesying in church. Just a few passages earlier he speaks of “brothers and sisters” speaking in church, then plopped right in the middle of his discussion about prophesy in church we have the inexplicable and contradictory passage 33-36 that I quoted above. Read the chapter with this passage removed and it flows perfectly; it completes Paul’s thought process and there is no admonition against women at all – but in fact, the direct opposite. Now either Paul was an idiot who couldn’t keep his thoughts straight in his own letters (and we know that’s not true), or someone inserted that passage many years later in order to relegate women to second hand status. The forged Epistles to Tim doubled down on the sexist effort.
      We have absolutely no originals for any of the NT, but we have enough copies that don’t include this passage to be quite sure that it was a later addition. Bart Ehrman covers this in a couple of his books, as do others such as Richard Carrier.
      Catholics are going to have to start accepting that they were misled by early church leaders who designed the Church to be the way they wanted it; and despite Paul’s lack of sexism, they insisted on it, and revised his words and added new words he never said to promote their version of orthodoxy, which through the might of the Roman Empire, became the Christianity we have today. It’s funny that they turned Paul into a sexist bad guy, when he clearly favored equality of the sexes when it came to religion. Paul had other issues like predicting the imminent end of the world – yet here we are; but I don’t think he was the sexist that the early Church made him out to be.

  4. Philip Schafer Reply

    Answering the question by quoting the bible is absurd. A more likely answer could well be this: The Israelites as well as most of the local pagans referred to their primary gods in the masculine because they were male dominated patriarchal societies that had earlier overrun the more peaceful “goddess cultures” in a time of great migration from the north. It is possible that the story of Adam and Eve reflected the clash of cultures. Eve represented a priestess of the old ways who dared to pass knowledge to a man (Adam) in the “Garden of Eden,” which symbolized a gentler, peaceful order. The serpent in the old culture was a symbol of the wisdom that Eve possessed. (There is probably a connection here with the caduceus symbol). Naturally, she was pronounced guilty of disobeying Yahweh and causing their (and humanity’s) banishment from Eden. Women are subservient in all three Abrahamic religions. The snake, of course, became the devil.

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