13th June 2012, 01:57 AM
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Manipulation Resistance Team
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Join Date: 5th February 2002
Reps: 2,181,701,459,488,119,040 (power: 2,181,701,459,488,208)
Hagia Sophia is No Lady
Q. This stuff about the Holy Spirit is so vague and intangible, it seems to me like we’re talking about the Ladies Auxiliary of the Trinity.
You have stumbled (and I do mean stumbled) upon a widespread theological error, which feminists have used to smuggle androgyny into the Godhead: They point out that in Hebrew and Aramaic, the word “Spirit’s” gender is feminine, and tried to argue that the Spirit can be seen as a kind of Goddess-figure. The problem is that the Apostles seem to have given zero credence to such a theory. The Gospels use the masculine word “Paraclete,” and masculine pronouns, in referring to the Spirit—whose gender was never questioned again in Christian circles until the appearance of Ms.
Magazine. After that, the notion of casting the Holy Spirit as feminine became quite popular among groups of nuns who now practiced Wicca, and (no kidding) the Branch Davidians. Not that this should discredit this theological innovation, of course. Not at all.
A more significant problem with conceiving of any person of the Trinity as feminine is this: The primary use of sexual metaphors in Christianity is to convey the balance of activity and passivity, initiative and response, between the Lord and a human soul. We call the Church the “bride” of Christ, and Jesus the “bridegroom” of the soul precisely because of what these terms convey to psychologically normal people with conventional sexual expectations. To be a bit more blunt, it is God who picks us up and carries us over the threshold, who overwhelms us like the bride in the Song of Songs, who plants the seeds which we must nurture. Those people who want to make God feminine are really trying (whether they admit this themselves or not) to make themselves the dominant partner in the relationship, to flip things over and make the soul the master. In this context only, the Church insists on the missionary position.
Of course, in other linguistic contexts that don’t connect to the marital act, there are places in the Bible where God’s love is compared to maternal solicitude and tenderness—which believe me is quite a relief after reading stories like Sodom’s. But the primary use of sex metaphors in scripture is yoked to the sharp distinction between transcendence and immanence we discussed when I explained why we call God “father,” and for that reason the entire orthodox Christian tradition has spoken of God (metaphorically) as male. If it’s any consolation to outraged readers, that means that the whole of the human race (the pope included) is theologically female. We’re all in this together, girls, and sisterhood is powerless.
Q. No, that doesn’t help at all. In fact, it just makes matters worse.
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Time heals griefs and quarrels, for we change and are no longer the same persons. Neither the offender nor the offended are any more themselves.