Our Mother Who Art In Heaven? | Desiring God

[Excerpted from original article linked below]
…a student in the Netherlands recently wrote us to ask…:

Recently, I met someone at my university who tried to convince me of the existence of a female God — God the Mother — using various passages from the Bible. I had never heard of this before, and therefore didn’t know how to answer her. As a Christian, I think that this can’t be true. But how can I prove it from the Bible?

This is a good question, on many different levels, and the impulse is right: the Bible never titles God as our Mother. But the question is worth looking at more carefully because in dozens of places the Bible uses feminine language for God.

Feminine Passages

It’s worth saying from the outset, in the words of Jesus, “God is spirit” (John 4:24). God is not a sexual being, nor is he a biological male. He is spirit. “From eternity,” says John Piper, “God has not had a physical body and, therefore, he doesn’t have male features: facial hair, musculature, male genitals, no Y chromosome, no male hormones. Male is a biological word, and God is not a biological being” (Ask Pastor John, episode 294).

Yet even without biology, God chooses to reveal himself in Scripture through language that is both masculine and feminine. In fact, God’s character and actions are revealed by feminine imagery in at least 26 places:

Numbers 11:12
Deuteronomy 32:18
Ruth 2:12
Job 38:8
Job 38:28–29
Psalm 17:8
Psalm 22:9–10
Psalm 90:2
Psalm 91:4
Psalm 123:2
Psalm 131:2–3
Proverbs 8:1
Proverbs 8:22–25
Isaiah 31:5
Isaiah 42:13–14
Isaiah 45:10
Isaiah 46:3
Isaiah 49:15
Isaiah 63:15
Isaiah 66:7–13
Hosea 13:8
Matthew 23:37
Luke 13:34
Luke 15:8–10
John 3:3–8
1 Peter 2:2–3

But even taken together, the evidence does not warrant us praying to “our Mother who art in heaven” for at least three compelling reasons.

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