Non-gender God-ness: Why God can’t be “he” to me

Climbing roses

God-ness in my mother’s flowers

It makes my shoulders rise and my teeth clench to I hear God-ness referred to as “he.” To me, there’s something misguided about that.

It’s not because I hate men or have suffered trauma at their hands; I haven’t. And I don’t have father issues; my father was what everyone would describe as a “good man.”

Describing God as “he” feels inadequate to me, off target. Dangerous even. It’s like referring to gravity as “he.” 

To me, making God a “he” personifies something that cannot, and should not, be personified. It turns the Source, the Manifesting Force, the Creative Essence of our natural world into the Old Man in the Sky, and that causes all kinds of problems. The minute we personify God-ness we give a non-human force completely inappropriate human intentions.

The Old Man in the Sky can be blamed for things, thanked for things, asked for things. 

We would not consider blaming gravity for an airplane that falls out of the sky, and we would not assume that gravity had evil intent. We would not thank gravity for holding our TV on the stand while we binge watch The Crown, and we would not assume it had done so as a special reward for our goodness. We would not ask gravity to alter its natural state to accommodate our favourite sports team and keep that home run ball from sailing over the fence. 

Good things and bad things happen that involve gravity, but we don’t blame or thank gravity for those events. We simply accept. We don’t personify gravity, and so it goes about being gravity without everyone making judgments about it.

We can’t change gravity, but we have learned to work with it and to leverage it for our purposes. Accepting it and understanding it helps us to navigate through our world more effectively. We can choose to not believe in gravity, sure, but we’ll stick to the ground just the same.

Good things and bad things happen in our ever-creating world, and I believe we shouldn’t blame or thank God for those events. Simply accept. If we don’t personify God-ness, it can go about evolving and creating our world without everyone making judgments about it.

We can’t change God-ness, our creative source, but we can learn to align with the flow and leverage it for our purposes. By accepting it and understanding it we can navigate through our world more effectively. We can choose not to believe in God-ness, sure, but we were created, we will keep creating our whole lives, and we’ll create something else when we’re gone just the same.

If you ask me, an Old Man in the Sky has nothing to do with it. 

My son, ready to make use of gravity.

My son, ready to leverage gravity.

 

 

 

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About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on December 6, 2016, in Arlene Smith, Arlene Somerton Smith, good faith, Inspiration, modern faith, progressive christianity, religion, spirituality. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I never ask gravity to make sure my daughter arrives safely home so I would never feel obliged to say thank you to gravity when she does. I do however ask God to ensure her safety so when she does arrive I do thank that “old man in the sky”. I am grateful. God was personified when He made His son in His own image and presented the world with a baby BOY 2016 years ago.

    • I love and accept all points of view and respect where people are on their journey. This post is about where I am on my own. I know it will be very different for others, and that’s what makes the world so darned interesting.

  2. Phyllis Bohonis

    And wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same, in the same place, at the same time? Love your takes on life, Arlene.

  3. Do you feel the same way when people refer to God-ness as “She”? You didn’t make any reference to that in your writing.

    If we stop referring to God-ness as He or She will we start calling God-ness “It”? People personify things that are important to them (ever call your car she or give it a name?) and that is part of the human condition. While in my mind God doesn’t take the shape of a he or a she I usually refer to God as a He because it is the social norm and everyone gets what I’m talking about. By personifying God into the image we are comforted by we are creating a stronger association to that which is so important to us. What our expectations are of God beyond that is entirely personal.

  4. Wonderful food for thought, Arlene. Thanks!

  5. I feel exactly as you do, Arlene! I’ve never (well, never since I was over the age of 11) called God a “he.” How can pure spiritual energy be a he or she, and certainly not an ‘it.’ But for matter of linguistics, I know others need to place a name to the nameless. If someone talks about God as HE, I wickedly call God a SHE (which is really more suited to “Mother Nature,” which again is more like gravity than a being). Anyway, it’s so simple that most people find this idea too complex. And I definitely understand that talking/believing in a HE helps many. I try to feel the spirit within and without me always, and just breath it all in…and out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – it’s not easy to “come out” like this. xo

    • Thanks for your feedback. Funny, I never thought of it as “coming out,” but I guess it would be in some circles. In the church I attend this is not such a radical idea! I sometimes interject “she” into the conversation too, as a counterpoint to the male assumption, but I find that often is even less well received than my non-gender view. Sadly.

  6. Hello Arlene — thanks for expressing YOUR viewpoint so clearly. I hadn’t thought to compare God-ness to gravity before but it really works for me. The monotheistic religions place the male principle of creation above all else. This has made little sense to me, as in this world, it is both the masculine and feminine principle coming together that creates new life. In the poly-theistic religions (such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism) both the masculine and feminine principles are recognized and honored. And you also have the personal forms of God/Goddess, as well as the formless version with qualities and the formless version without qualities. Each person is free to choose the version of God-ness that works for them. This expanded way of viewing the Creating/Sustaining/Destroying Source-ness makes more sense to me than a gender-based version but that is MY understanding. Like you, I have come to honor each person’s path, trusting that all paths eventually lead us back to Source.

    Thank you so much for being courageous and letting us know your views on this subject. Blessings, Alia

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