A new PODCAST (click here to listen) is available on our desire for the perfect father. You can also get it at itunes. Search for Stirring the Deep under podcasts.
Overview: The impact that our dads have in our lives, good or bad, is astounding. The desire for a good father comes from the inner longing to be united to our Heavenly Father.
In this show, I talk about how our relationship with our earthly dad affects our relationship with God; how our relationship with God is conveyed through the child/father dynamic; and how coming to know God as the perfect Father we’ve all longed for.
This is a message close to many of our hearts. I pray you are blessed by it and moved to seek your heavenly Father as He is and His love for you.
In The Shack, which the author shares some very interesting insights, he addressed this issue of why God assigns a masculine gender to Himself in the Bible. He said the reason God did it was because He knew fathers would be the ones to fail more in their roles than the mothers and the majority of people would need a father, thus He took on the role.
If you haven’t read The Shack and plan to you may not want to read any further – I would hate to spoil it for you.
In the beginning, the main character, Mack, meets God as three people representing the trinity; God as a woman, Christ as a man, and the Holy Spirit as a woman. The God character said she came to Mack as someone he could accept so he would be open to what she had to say because Mack had negative experiences with his father. In the end, she changed into a man – when Mack could accept God as his father as well. I believe the author made a good point. God is spirit – not a gender. He can come in any form He chooses. However, He chose to be a masculine figure in the Bible for a reason – some of which I mentioned in my previous post.
Bottom line. God wants us to draw near to Him so that He is first in our hearts. He designed a world to teach us spiritual truths. And one of those truths is how to relate and build intimacy with Him. Describing Himself as our husband and father was designed to do just that.
Someone made a comment on my blog the other day asking why I refer to God as a He. It got me thinking . . .
Why do we assign God a gender when in reality He is spirit and far exceeds a limitation like gender? The issue came up because poor physical representations of a male figure – like an abusive husband or controlling father – can impede upon someone’s desire to draw near to God when we call Him our father or our husband.
God ascribes the male gender to Himself in His Word, the Bible. The question isn’t should we ascribe a gender to Him because it isn’t our decision to make because it is His as the Creator and Master Designer, but why did He ascribe a gender to Himself in His Word? This world and God’s Word are His design and it isn’t for us to change – however I believe He does want us to ask why?
God has a purpose and reason for everything. This is part of His nature that we see clearly in His Word and His creation. Therefore, what is the purpose of assigning a gender to Himself? I think the underlining purpose is to teach us about Him and our relationship to Him.
God put us in the physical flesh world for several reasons, but that is a different conversation. I want to stay focus on the fact that we are flesh and bones, and how we learn, including about God, is in accordance to the physical world.
This physical world was designed in such a way to teach us about the spiritual world. The two worlds interact and parallel each other. Because we learn best from experience, we experience truths in the flesh that point to truths in the spirit. However, even though God uses the flesh to teach us, He is still teaching us about spiritual things. Therefore if you don’t have His spirit in you, you can’t understand His instruction. 1 Corinthians 2:14
In designing the structure of this world, God created male and female; the males to represent God and Christ and the females to represent us – His people. He could have created something completely different but didn’t because this design accomplishes what He wants us to learn if we seek.
Examples of What We Learn:
For example, we learn how we are to relate to God – like we would our spouse. We are intimate, devoted, loyal, open, caring, loving, and so on. We grow in intimacy by talking one-on-one, listening, being honest and vulnerable. And when we don’t do these things we see the ramifications. When God says He is our Husband, then we understand how we are to relate to Him. When we take time to draw near, talk, open up, get to know Him, then a healthy relationship blossoms. If we don’t it doesn’t. Without this physical representation how would we know how to relate to God in this intimate way? How would we understand the consequences of not doing so?
Also with this design, we get a sense of what God feels when we turn our back on Him and don’t cultivate an intimate relationship of trust and love. When you read in the Bible in Hosea, Jeremiah, and Isaiah how God’s people have played the harlot, the imagery gives us an idea of how God feels and sees those who put their trust in something or someone other than Him. He compares Himself to a husband who has been cheated on. Something we can relate to. Now, if you have been cheated on you know now horrible that feels. Even if you haven’t you can imagine! From our flesh experience we can understand a spiritual reality. And for me it breaks my heart and makes me want to draw closer to God so I will trust Him more – because I love Him.
Why Not One Gender?
Why not just make everyone one gender? Because the two genders which are very different from each other yet share similar characteristics, teach us that we are different from God, but our differences create a perfect union – like two puzzle pieces coming together. In addition, having two separate genders teaches us we aren’t God, a lesson we all need in today’s world.
We need to remember that the physical didn’t come first then God related Himself to it. He designed it specifically to teach us certain things in this life and about Him. There are many, many lessons to be gained if we accept the fact it is His design and move on to seeking the lessons to be learned. If we do we will be greatly blessed in the truths we discover.
For Those with Negative Experiences
As for those who have had negative experiences with these physical representations, it is a huge travesty. However there is a great treasure waiting for them. What some of my friends have found, who have had these bad experiences with male figures, is that God filled the deep dark hole in their lives by being the perfect Father or Husband they never had. Yes, it was challenging because of the past, but the rewards were tremendous as they persisted. If we seek God He will fill the emptiness in our hearts and souls left by others. Our depravity is to push us into Him. We need to be open to His healing in this area. We need to realize that every need is ultimately to be filled by Him. We need to learn He is capable of fulfilling every need.
God’s design is perfect to teach us what He wants us to learn. We need to realize it is only an illustration, but He chose it for a reason. What we have done with that design is far from perfect – but there is another lesson altogether.