God is Not a Man
Why do we think the Creator of the universe can fit into our human boxes?
“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Numbers 23:19
The idea that God is a man is not only unbiblical, it is dangerous. If God is a man, then men are more like God than are women. Adam, created first, is in the image of God; and Eve becomes an afterthought, barely human. Or maybe some kind of twisted dark mirror version of the image of God.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27
If God created “male and female” in His image, then women are just as much like God as are men. And if women are just as much like God as are men, then God is not a man. Of course, He’s not a woman either.
God is not a man. Of course, He’s not a woman either.
My dad once told me that he heard a story about how a great faith leader was asked if God is male or female. The faith leader said that asking that question is like if a child drew two stick figures, one in red crayon and one in blue crayon, and one of the stick figures asked the other, “Is the child who drew us red or blue?”
Trying to fit God into our understanding of human sex and gender is like a crayon drawing trying to fit a human being into a 2D world of binary colours.
God is nonbinary. He created Adam in His image, and then She created Eve in Her image. They created human beings in Their image. God is not human.
We tend to focus on the scriptures that characterize God as a Father, but She is also our Heavenly Mother. Jesus may have had a male human body, but He likened Himself to a mother when He wept over Jerusalem during the “triumphal entry” we celebrate on Palm Sunday:
“How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings.” Luke 13:34
In Isaiah, God uses imagery of a woman giving birth, nursing her child, and comforting her child to describe His relationship with Israel.
“Now I will cry like a woman in labour. I will pant and gasp at once.” Isaiah 42:14
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15
“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 66:13
In Hosea, God threatens to go all Mama Bear on Israel’s enemies. This is probably the most terrifying threat in the Bible. If I was those enemies, I’d be making myself scarce.
“I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs.” Hosea 13:8
Twice, in the Psalms, God is likened to a midwife. While today, male doctors may be common at births, in Bible times, women carried out this duty.
“But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God.” Psalm 22:9–10
“By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.” Psalm 71:6
The nature of God cannot be truly understood by human minds. We are trying to fit Him into a box where She does not fit. Just as we cannot flatten our bodies onto a sheet of crayoned paper, God is bigger than our comprehension.