Two recent books discuss how our conception of gender relates to our perception of God.
Two books published last year by Wm. B. Eerdmans are attempting to confront our assumptions about the gender of God from two different angles.
God Is, by Mallory Wyckoff, is more personal and more expansive in its role casting of the divine, while Women and the Gender of God, by Amy Peeler, is more scholarly, systematic, and orthodox in its claims about God’s nature.
To be candid, I nearly wrote the foreword for Wyckoff’s book because I was so excited by its approach to the topic. God Is counters the “default notion of God as an old male figure in the skies” by showing God is, as one chapter title intimates, “more than we’ve been led to believe.”
Wyckoff addresses a dozen-plus potentially new “God is” statements: “Mother,” “Midwife,” “Hostess,” “Home.” It is a brave book with more to learn from than to disagree with. However, I was not merely uncomfortable with the chapters where God is “Sexual Trauma Survivor” and “Wisdom Within”; I found them heterodox. The former pushes the boundary of analogy in a way that doesn’t fit, and the latter is the title of a heresy.
For Wyckoff, the more you learn about yourself, the more your conceptions of God change. In part, this observation rings true. As we grow in life and faith, we should move from milk to meat, as the apostle Paul implies (1 Cor. 3:2–6). Wyckoff notes that aging moved her into new ways of imagining God: “In each season of life, with each iteration of myself, I have seen God reflected in multiple lights. I have encountered various images of the God who is all and none of them.” Likewise, she wants to expand our notions of …
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