“mother God”and The Elca—is God A “she”

“Mother God”and the ELCA—Is God a “She”?

“Mother God, you have fed us with the nourishment of your spiritual food. Raise us up into salvation and rid us of our bitterness, so that we may share the sweetness of your holy word with all the world.” That was the prayer recently posted to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ECLA) Twitter account. God a “she”? Our Creator as “Mother God”?

Now, “God is spirit” (John 4:24), and so he doesn’t have a body or a gender in the sense that we, as humans made in God’s image, do. However, throughout Scripture, God consistently refers to himself as our “Father”—not our mother—and uses the pronoun “he,” not “she.”

Now, there are some passages that refer to God caring for his people and use terms that are often applied to mothers. However, none of these passages ever refer to God as a woman or mother . . . or use female pronouns for God. They are simply metaphors to give us glimpses into who our God is. Both men and women are made in God’s image (equal yet different with unique roles) and reflect God’s image uniquely.

So why does it matter if we refer to God as Father or Mother? Well, first of all because we want to be biblical—and again, there is no “Mother God” ever mentioned in the Bible. There is only one true God, and he is the God revealed to us in Scripture. We cannot add to the Bible or add our own ideas about who God is to what he has revealed to us.

Second, it matters because of the motivation that individuals generally have who refer to a “Mother God.” They’ve rejected what the Bible teaches about male and female. They’ve rejected that men and women are created equally in God’s image yet different and have been given different roles in the home and in the church. They claim that these are antiquated ideas from the male patriarchy meant to advance and secure male privilege. That’s a very low view of Scripture and results in man-made doctrine, rather than doctrine derived from God’s inspired Word.

When we handle Scripture correctly—as we have been commanded to do—we see that the Bible’s teaching about men and women doesn’t hold women in bondage or give men some kind of privilege. Those who teach such things need to reexamine Scripture.

So should we pray to “Mother God”? No. Absolutely not. The one true God is not our “Mother”—he is our Father—and there is no God but him (Isaiah 44:6). To worship any other God is idolatry. And remember how God himself taught us to pray:

“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.’” (Matthew 6:9)

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