Understanding God within Feminist/Womanist framework

Understanding God within Feminist/Womanist framework

The concept, “the image of God” has been used powerfully in the past to legitimate oppression and to perpetuate violence against women. What do the terms “image” and “likeness” mean?

Etymologically, the term “ image” is derived from Latin “imago” which means image, imitation, copy, likes, statue, picture, phantom, conception, thought, idea, similitude, semblance, appearance, and shadow, and it contains the same root as “imitari” which means to imitate, copy depict, replace, be like, act like, and resemble.[1] “The likeness” refers to the resemblance of that shadow to the figure. The Hebrew term for “image” is selem which means “shadow”. This word is used five times in the Old Testament while referring to people.[2]

What is God’s image? What is the symbol of God? Who is God? What is God? How God looks like? What is God’s character? Is God gendered? What kind of God does the church present? Is God relational? If so, what is God’s relationship with women? Finding answers to these basic questions are of serious importance to feminist/womanist theology. “What the image of women is as created in the image of God?” Does God dwell in them” “Is the image “He” for God adequate in explaining God?” “Can we replace the image “she” for God?” “Can women affirm the image of God that is within them?” these questions need serious attention in finding new identities and new images for women. The “image of God” is beyond gender and God image is different from person to person. The concern of feminist/womanist theology is to engage in reimaging the image of God within the context for the sake of the faith community that continues to speak for God and to God.

The theology as the term implies begins with God and deals with God’s relationship with humanity and creation. The term theology comes from two different terms; theos means God and logos means Word (reasoning). In literal sense theology has to do with human attempt to speak about God or to explain what we mean by God, in other words it is the construction of the conception of God. The task of theology is the analysis, criticism, and reconstruction of God in the context of human relationships and the world as well. Although theology is an academic exercise, God cannot be considered as an object up there to study about. Rather God is a subject of theological inquiry, in relationship with human beings and nature. The theology as a human discipline is not a supernatural one, but has been handed down from the traditions, from particular cultures and the context. Paul Ricoeur says, ‘The symbol gives rise to the thought.” When people encounter God in their religious experience, people experience the image of God in diverse ways and it is not one and the same forever. Jesus often used various metaphors for God in his teachings.[3] The art of imaging is at the heart of the Christian gospel. The Bible describes multiple images for God. There is no single set image of God that is drawn from single religious experience that can claim to be universal experience and universal image of God.

Images of God in the Old Testament in Brief

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the primary name that is used for God is Yahweh. Theological circle of 7th century (BCE) presents Zion as the place where Yahweh dwells and gives highest place in the story of Hebrews. In early Israel, Yahweh was known as God’s name along with other names and divine appearances. The name Yahweh meant, “The one who is with you” (Exod. 3: 12).[4] Other terms those are attached with Yahweh are: “hosts” mentioned for 400 times and saba in its plural form, Elohim and Adonai (I Sam. 17: 45). Particularly the expression “Lord of Hosts” used nearly 300 times in the Old Testament and is common in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah and Malachi.[5] Yahweh as King always occurs in the Old Testament in association with the metaphor Zion as his people. Yahweh as a King and Zion as his people, gives rise to an authoritative model. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, the dominant image that is used God is King. There can be no doubt that in ancient Israel this was a dominant form in which the people thought of God. The expression of Yahweh as a king is mostly used by psalmist and few times by other writers. Yahweh as warrior is used in connection with the metaphor king (Exod. 15: 3, Deut. 28: 7, Num. 10: 35). The Shepherd metaphor is used to express the caring image of Yahweh. The metaphors warrior and shepherd were combined often to express and to evoke an image of powerful but caring God. Isaiah 49: 8-12 combines these two metaphors of a warrior, shepherd (9-10) and possibly a parent (8). Yahweh’s parental image has been used very often (Deut. 1: 31, 32: 6, Hos. 11: 1, 3-4, Ps. 103: 13). [6] The metaphor mother is used for Yahweh (Isaiah 9: 14-16, 46: 3-4, 42: 14-16). Apart from these, mil hamaa (man of war) Exod. 15: 3, Adon (Lord)  Josh. 10: 1, Me’od (Most High, Great One, as a victor, terrible one, still small voice (I Kings 19, shepherd, (Isaiah 40: 11, Good (Ps. 136: 1), love and mercy (Ps. 103: 8), faithful, gentle, pre-existent, eternal, just, righteous, guide, friend, neighbour, wise, creator, shaper, shepherd, saviour, redeemer, king, judge, a lion, shield, a horn of salvation, a rock a refuge, healer and so on are used to address God. In the Old Testament God’s appearance was found in many forms: awesome, blinding, overwhelming, frightening, full of light, lightening, and terrible in imagery. God is also called Father in the Hebrew Scriptures, (Exod. 4: 22-23, Deut. 4: 32, 14: 1, Is. 63: 16, 54: 8) although not very often but plainly and in several places. God’s work is compared with that of a parent, mother or father or both (Deut. 32: 18). The social meaning for “father” in Israel was related with authority, care, discipline, protection and dignity. When God’s work is compared to that of a parent, the language that is used is warm, gentle, affectionate, nurturing, and caring. God is addressed in the image of Father predominantly in the texts which deal with creation, affection and leading. “Father” was a social assumption, part of the social and cultural mould into which the faith of the Old Testament was poured. Most strikingly the father image is used only in 20 places in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Although most of the images used for God does not present God as male and only in male terms in the Old Testament, for centuries, exclusive male language has been used in the traditional interpretation to articulate theology. The diversity of views in the Hebrew Scriptures which arose from the people over the course of at least nine centuries makes it clear that there cannot be one accord on the images of God.[7]

New Testament Images of God

While Old Testament is rich in names and descriptions for God remarkably the New Testament kept back from the rich variety of language for God which is used in the Old Testament. Old Testament use of proper name of God Yahweh is absent completely in the New Testament. The New Testament writers did not borrow much from the language of Hellenistic Judaism. For example, Paul’s usage of God is God. In Romans he uses the term God for 146 times.[8] He uses the term “Father” for few times in Romans. Twice he referred to it in association with Jesus Christ (Romans 1: 7, 15: 7). In Ephesians, Paul used slightly different language. The term God is found twenty three times in the six chapters and the pronoun “he” is often used for God and the term “Creator” is found. In contrast to Romans, the term Father is used for God frequently in Ephesians.

On the other hand, Mark as an earliest Gospel writer refers to “God” as simply God.[9] The term “Father” is referred twice in mark. Luke uses the term God 122 times and in Acts 168 times. Although Luke mentions the term “Father”, Father Language is not dominant of Luke. Luke refers twice as “my Father” and thrice as “your Father” and four times in other terminology. Matthew and John elevate the title “Father” for God. Matthew uses the term God for 51 times and father over 40 times. In Matthew’s Gospel, God is assigned hegemonic masculine roles, such as father or master of the house. Of the 63 instances of pater in Matthew not less than 44 times refer to God and all the references are found on the lips of Jesus. John uses the term God for 83 times and Father to refer God 108 times. A brief description of New Testament usage of God indicates that the images are prescribed or ascribed to God from the writers’ context, perceptions and understandings, knowledge and in the social cultural context that they lived in.

The Old Testament gave much importance to the metaphor “King” for God. However, uncompromisingly Jesus during his life time fought against this understanding of God. He taught in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come,” but there was no king in God’s kingdom. Mammen Varkey says that, “The ‘Kingdom’ does not have a king! The ‘Kingdom does have a Father! We can say, as well, a Mother, the God, whom Jesus told us about and witnessed to, is “Parent-God.’ Not ‘imperial’ God.”

To one’s surprise, the term “image of God” is used only three times in the Hebrew Scriptures and all three uses are found in Genesis. Not less than dozen times in the New Testament and mostly used by Paul. Nevertheless the term “image of God” exercises a greater influence both in the Scriptures and in the life of Christianity. However David Carins makes it clear that in the New Testament the “image of God” is used in three ways: the term applied firstly to Christ, then to all believers and to all. Although it is affirmed that God is without gender, nevertheless God is constantly referred to in male pronouns and characterized in line with traditional Christian theology as Father-Son and Spirit and all are masculine in Latin upon which Western Theology is deeply dependent.

However the male imagery of God as it is presented in both Hebrew and Christian Scriptures have damaging effects on the psyche of women. Either the Old Testament or the New Testament puts forward no particular image for God. The Bible contains no fixed image for God. The Bible does not accept unconditionally a fixed dwelling place for God.

The Image of God: Depatriarchalization

The image of God is a human construct like all symbols. According to Gordon D. Kauman, “the symbols of God has been built up in order that, they can serve as the ultimate point of reference for understanding and interpreting all of experience, life and the world.” The traditional construction of the image of God draws heavily on human metaphors and models such as father, lord, judge, master etc. God is depicted as metaphorical steadfast, loving, caring and responsible husband in the Hebrew Bible. Although the term “image of God” is applied to all believers irrespective of gender, it is taken for granted that the image of God means “man”. However the term has been used in different ways by different people in the ways that lead to conflicts, contradictions, exploitation, oppression, dehumanization, and idol worship. However the patriarchal traditional interpretations of God instruct that “God is in the image of man” and “God created man in God’s image.” Prejudiced male physical imagery for God has been explored in the traditional theology. On one had the Christianity believes that God is beyond gender and on the other attributes male gender to God. The traditional theologies failed to a larger extent to study what is the image of God which dwells in each and every human being.

Feminist theologies reject the notion of male gendered God and also the images of God which are authoritarian and disciplinarian.[10] They argue that the male gendered God has damaging effects on the image of women. The traditional theological interpretations have neglected female imagery for God, eventually neglected female. The male imagery of God has legitimized the subordination of women and reinforced women’s internalized inferiority. Although systematic theologians maintain that God transcends sexuality,[11] in practice the male symbols those are used to address God and in the liturgy and prayers actually function to support religious and cultural ideologies that are crippling women. Feminist/womanist theologians argue that the effects of such patriarchal God-language have deeply wounded the psyche of women. The exclusive male God-language theologically idolizes certain understandings of God and limits the scope of divine self-disclosure. Imaging God in male form is neither male nor female nor neutral. God is to be thought of in terms of eminence and a pleasant experience and not in terms of physical body in literal sense. Imagining God literally in the physical images leads to idolatry.

Traditional interpretations reinforce the attitude that men are gods. For example in Augustinian views:

Woman is secondary to and subject to a man’s will, while both are subjects to God’s will. As souls, man and woman are equal in the eyes of God. Bur as bodies, man is made in the image of God.[12]

According to Augustine, woman as body is not in the image of God. Augustinian polemic understanding of human being divides body and soul and as a soul mates man and woman are in the image of God and as body mates only man is in the image of God. Augustine’s image of God in body form is highly questionable as the scriptures clearly disclose that God is beyond physical body. Augustine accepts woman and man as the image of God. But his hierarchical ideas exhibit deep rooted androcentrism. Augustinian view has profound influence on late theologies. Thomas Aquinas says:

The girl child as a defective human being is the result of an accident to the male sperm. The sperm was to contain the complete human being and to reproduce its likeness, that is, another male. Using Augustine’s thought, Aquinas says that the male possesses the image of God in a different way from woman and that his image is superior to that of woman. Woman in her sexuality involves a weaker and more imperfect body and she is subordinate.[13]

For Bultmann hermeneutics centred on the question what is the meaning of God-talk? The relation between revelation and experience occupied him throughout his demythologizing. His concern is to help the modern human mind to understand and experience God. For Bultmann:

To speak of God’s activity is at the same time to speak of my own existence. We can talk about God only if God is active in the world and enters into one’s own existence.[14]

Bultmann expressed God relationship with human beings either in some form or not in any form. Paul Ricoeur suggests that it is necessary to destroy the idolatrous father image to God. Paul Ricoeur is not against father’s conception. He suggests depatriarchalization to break the father idol as is in Radford Ruether Rosemary’s thought. According to him the image of the father can be recovered as a symbol in the process of reconstruction. An idol must die so that a symbol of being may begin to speak. He points that the depatriarchalization is already found in the biblical scriptures; God who has been pictured as king and ruler in the covenant relationship has been moved into a loving husband like father in the prophetic teachings and finally into the form of Messiah. It is important to recognize the depatriarchalization process that is already present in the Biblical texts. Alter Waltmann writes in his “Methodology of Latin American Liberation Theology and a Contextual Re-reading of Luther,” says that:

The question of God is raised differently, according to the various cultural, socio-economic and political contexts. In the Latin American context, the question is not one which deals with the existence or non-existence of God. The question is whom do we refer to when we talk of “God”.[15]

The world Council of Churches concluded that “the doctrine of God’s image (imago Dei) has by tradition been a source of oppression and discrimination against women.”[16]

Feminist/womanist theologians had a great deal of struggle with the biblical stories which are andocentric in nature. Reformist theologians believe that the same tradition that oppressed and excluded women is capable of liberating. Feminist theologians have deconstructed the male image of God and reconstructed with new images. In the hermeneutics of reconstruction, the doctrine of God is no longer a doctrine of male-God. God is re-imaged both in female and male forms. The female images of God which are obvious in the Biblical texts have been reconstructed from the experiences of women which promote full humanity of women. However, Ruether points out that “humanity can be reconciled with God only if God is converted from “His” patriarchalism to become the ground of reciprocity in creation.” For Philis Trible the re-appropriation of the forgotten, suppressed and hidden feminine images of God present in the biblical tradition such as, God as mother, midwife, nurse, lover, Sophia etc. is essential. Some Das brings out an interesting exposition of feminine images of God which are found in the Old Testament. He says:

“Compassion” or “Mercy” is a translation of the Hebrew word, mahcr (recham) and its plural, rechamim. It literally means “womb” in Hebrew. Isaiah 49 passage compares God to a nursing mother, who sustains us all and will never forget us. “Blessings of the breasts and the womb” (Gen. 49: 25) is one of the blessings of God. Isaiah 42 passage compares divine judgment to a baby gestating in the womb of God. Similarly, Go’s hesed (love) is described in prophet Hosea in a feminist style. The Hebrew word for “womb” is from the same root as the “ruah”, meaning spirit/breath mentioned in the creation narratives. Womb is the affirmation of creation or the creative process, which involves both pain and joy…

Somen Das is clear in his explanation that God cannot be attributed only fatherhood apart from her motherhood and that metaphor cannot be taken in a literal sense. For him the metaphor of fatherhood and motherhood of God affirms the intimate and immediate relationship between God and humanity. He further says, “Therefore, God the Father is not to be understood in any ontological/metaphysical and physical sense but as a symbol of divine creativity or productivity.”

The patriarchal box that wrapped God in male image, which Elizabeth Johnson states, “Divine mystery is cramped into a fixed, petrified image” and Mcfague names it idolatry and Ruether calls it blasphemy. Evangeline Anderson Rajkumar states that “patriarchal God is a false God”. For Aruna Gnanadason, the father model becomes an idol, father becomes God’s name and patriarchy becomes the proper descriptions of governing relationship at many levels. R.A. Norris says that, “To ascribe sex to God is to subject the infinite in its own being too created limitations and thus to substitute an idol for God.”

The patriarchal box that imaged God in particular male form needs to be broken, unlocked and unwrapped. Breaking of idols should begin at the level of internalized image of God as male. Thus God can be meaningful relate God self to people in their own context. Thus it is essential to discover or recover or reclaim new images for God in order that individuals and community as well worship God expressively.

The Image of God: Reconstructions

For traditional theology God is male. For feminist theology God is also feminine. Dalit theology looks at God as Dalit. Black theology explains God as black. A central conflict underlying God-language debate in feminist theologies, and in fact in all contextual theologies, concerns whether the personality should be ascribed to God. Reconstructionist theology asserts that God is an impersonal dynamic rather than a personality. Judith Plaskow asserts that, the parental images of God are problematic in relation to the experience of women and the problem of selfhood. Peter C. Hodgson rightly states that, “An appropriate strategy for our time, in my view, would be to give up the father figure, not attempting to repossess it after its dispossession.” And he suggests that, attributing the name God to God is simple and appropriate. Hebrew word for God is Elohim, which is simply translated theos in Greek, dues in Latin and Gottor in German. Attributing to God, male image or female image or any image leads to idolatry and to fixation of God.

The vision at the burning bush, in which God gives the name for God-self, “I am who I am does not transmit neither the father theology nor the mother theology. This revelation of the name, writes Paul Ricoeur, “signifies the annulment of all anthropomorphic conceptions, all forms and shapes, including the form of the father.” The name stands against the idol. The feminine use of “she” for God is highly for liturgical and for political purposes, but it too is metaphorical and anthropomorphically. The feminist interpretations of God’s image as female are once again not adequate. Walter Altmann in his article, “Methodology of Latin American Liberation Theology and a Contextual Re-reading of Luther” quotes Ludwig Feuerbach who says, in “The Essence of Christianism” that “not God created the human being are his own image, but the human being created God at his own image.” Walter Altmann affirms that Luther was well aware of this thought. According to Walter Altmann, for Luther, “human beings affirm themselves, thus annihilating God. And they do it by creating a god who is adjusted to their own desires, their private interests, and their ideologies-an idol.”

The patriarchal nature of traditional theology has made God an idol with male image and boxed God. The same patriarchal ideology has boxed women with subordination. The focus of feminist theology is a transformed community of women and men where there is peaceful relationship. While patriarchal theology boxes God in male image, feminist theology should go further in not only depatriarchalization of God but also in reconfiguration of God who is beyond sex, gender, position, class, race, colour, creed, religion and caste.

Children are taught to believe that God is in the male image. Sunday schools teach them to address God as father. Patriarchal teachings stay firm in the mind of a child as she or he grows. Rizzuto finds in her investigation that “God” was seen to be a creation of the human mind, an illusory image created by the child out of the “simple warp and woof of everyday life.”[17] While Sigmund Freud says, the father as the prototype for one’s picture of God, Rizzuto found that the mother and sometimes grandparents and siblings were just as consistently used as sources of God representation. Indeed, her study showed that frequently the mother, not the father, was the primary source for God’s image. She disagrees with Freud’s contention that one’s God image is forever fixed at one stage. She argues that the individuals frequently rework and re-elaborate their God images throughout life, particular at time of crisis in personal psychological development. Hence the metaphoric language cannot be fixed for ever. It depends on the moods of people, and on the experiences. People can image God according to each one’s understanding and perceptions and experiences as both Old Testament and New Testament writers used. But no symbol or metaphors or images are completely authoritative to image God. They are just symbols or metaphors. God cannot be boxed in any symbol or form or image.

Attributing particular gender to God makes God too small. The equal relationship that exists between the patriarchal image of God and the male positions of power in the church and society has negative effects on the lives of women. It should be overcome in the theological discourses. The Divine must be understood in the categories of relationships. God cannot be attributed any form, however we can speak only symbolically about God, every symbol that sets itself up as absolute must be relativized. We cannot live without symbols, but the symbols must be relativized and go beyond idolatry. God in fact transcends only when we do not lock God into prisons of symbols. Feminist theology does not deny that father is one symbol among many symbols for God, but if one makes it “the only symbol,” then it is not acceptable because it boxes both God and women.  The inclusive language to image God will be beneficial to women and men. It will serve to stress the fact that not only man but also woman is the image of God. It also stresses the nobility of motherhood of God. But the inclusive images to God need to be used with much care in a symbolic way.

Reclaiming the selected Biblical Images of God

God is relational to each and every human being in one’s own context. Biblical scriptures present God in various images in various contexts. God related God self in the biblical scriptures to various people in various ways. Hence God cannot be wrapped up in one particular image. However it is impossible to discuss all those images in this paper and so selected images of God are reclaimed which are present in the Biblical texts for the theological discourse. As the Bible was written by men in the context of patriarchal cultures, the central norm of Christian faith cannot be just the Bible itself, but also the experience of women and all the human beings for that matter. Though the Bible is enclosed by male domination and stamped by the patriarchal oppression, it is still called to be the Word of God in the entire world and it stands firm as authoritative. It is essential to reclaim the forgotten images of God. For example a few images are reclaimed below.

God as Life

However, either in a realistic sense or in superficial way, God is believed to be the source of life of a child. The life is the gift of God to both men and women. Life is the image of God that is presented in the personalities of both women and men.

The creation story makes it clear that God is life and Adam (the dust of the ground)and Eve (the Life) is the combination of female and male, became a living being with the image of God that is life.

The Old Testament is clear that the Spirit (ruah0 is the breath of God’s life. God creates everything through the Spirit. The image of God in human beings is life.[18] In feminist/womanist theologians’ faith struggle, God is discovered as life. God is the life giver, when that life is destroyed; when that life is threatened Go liberates them out of God’s love. When God revealed God’s name to Moses, for the first name, it was in connection with the commissioning Moses for the historic mission of liberation. Jurgen Moltmann while asserts that the Holy Spirit is source of life. The promise of Jesus is the fullness of life: “I have come that they may have life, and have it in abundance” (john 10: 10). This is life which begins here, in the days given to us, and continues for ever. John has beautiful images for God. As the bread of life (John 6), the light of life (John 8: 12), the life of resurrection (John 11: 25), the way, the truth and the life (John 14: 6), the Gospel is proclaimed and written so that we might believe and have life in Christ Jesus (John 20: 31).

“Life” as the image of God is a powerful image which leads to liberation of women. Liberation happens at physical, personal, social, political and spiritual level. The historical project has to do with producing life without forgetting that this includes the intellectual functions. It has to do not only with reproducing human life, but also with developing human life.

God as Swathanthra (Freedom)

Swathanthra means freedom. Freedom is an important subject in Lutheran theology and even all over the world and denomination. The church has insisted on God’s freedom in creating human beings and the world. The underlying theological starting point for a Christian in general and marginalized in particular in India is to s\ask what does “freedom” mean to oppressed communities in the context of restrictions and discriminations in the name of religion, gender, and caste?

God exercise freedom to pour out God’s love and to establish justice through reconciliation in Jesus. The freedom of God in God-self represents the sum of gospel and includes all the liberating activities of Jesus-his teaching, his mighty acts of healing, his deliverance of captives from oppressive structures of sin and death through his own death and resurrection. Jesus in his freedom and self-sacrifice brought reconciliation between God and humanity and between one another. Go d is free to relate God-self to people most intimately. God is free to become human in Jesus Christ. Human liberation is the purpose of God’s freedom. Unless the freedom is achieved, reconciliation is unattainable. God cannot be boxed into any categories, for God is God. “I am who I am” is the expression to create, to love, to liberate, to deliver and to free people from any bondage. The affirmation of God as creator does not mean just to refer to past events of creation but to continuous involvement of God to sustain it.

The New Testament declaration, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3: 17) affirms and confirms that God is freedom and human beings as God’s creation bear the image of God as freedom. Jesus’ key proclamation, “you shall know the truth, and the truth will make your free” (John 8: 31) has attracted Mahatma Gandhi to train himself to struggle for independence. Gandhi introduced the concept of Satyagraha (knowing the Truth) as a nonviolent moral force against the British to achieve svathantriya (Independence). The presupposition of Gandhi’s practice of Satyagraha is that the change of behaviour can effect a change of character or structure. Satyagraha is based on the fundamental conviction that human nature is basically good and is capable of being changed and the change can take place by self-suffering. To Gandhi, the law of love is the law of life. A true Satyagrahi is the one (The one who knows Truth) who has learnt the Truth-The God. In the concept of satyagraha the attack is on evil and not on evildoers. When evil is separated from the evildoer, the doer is transformed and a new harmonious relationship is established within the person and between the parties involved. To Gandhi Truth is God and God realization is to be activated through service to the afflicted. And this is what sarvodaya (the welfare of all) stands for and which he aimed at and for which Jesus died for.

[1] Yoshida, Megumi, “Imaging” as Theological Methodology: From Logo-centric to Holistic Approach” in In God’s Image, Vol. 28, No. 4, December (2009), 43.

[2] C. Barnabas, Basic Christian Doctrines, (Trichy: IIICS Study Book Series, 2003), 172.

[3] For example, Luke 15 reflects the metaphors of God in different ways. God is pictured by Jesus as the Shepherd, the woman and the Father.

[4] Wesly J. Furest, “How Israel Conceived of and Addressed God” in Carl E. Braten Ed. Our Naming of God: Problems and Prospects of God-Talk Today (Minneapolis: Fortress press, 1989), 61-66, 61-74.

[5] New Bible Dictionary, Second Edition (Secunderabad: OM Books, 1962), 495.

[6] Ibid. 92.

[7] Genesis 1&2 present God as the creator, Exodus presents God as Liberator, Prophets present God as Just, Psalmist present God as Just, Liberator, and as advocate of the poor and so on. Robert Kysar, Called to Care: Biblical Images for Social Ministry, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1001), 24.

[8] Paul speaks of God as He speaks God as comfort in Romans (15: 5), Peace (15: 13), Hope (15: 13) and so on.

[9] Mark refers God in association with other terms such as “Son of God”, “the house of God, “the will of God” and so on. He also uses other expressions like “the Heavens, “the Blessed,” “the Power” and so on.

[10] Alice Miller finds God the Father of the Hebrews is the one who is “easily offended, jealous, and basically insecure; He therefore demands obedience and conformity in the expression of ideas, tolerates no graven images and –since “graven images” included works of art for the Hebrew God-no creativity either”. Alice Miller, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society’s Betrayal of the Child (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1984) 221.

[11] Tertullian, Clement, Jerome, Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Barth, Bultmann’s demythologization, and Luther, Paul Ricoeur’s depatriarchalization, Paul Ricoeur, “Religion, Atheism, and Faith”, and “Fatherhood: From Phantasm to Symbol,” in don Ihde ed. The Conflict of Interpretations: Essays in Hermeneutics (Evanston III: Northwestern University Press, 1974) 440-67, 441.

[12] Cited by Tina Beattie, New Catholic Feminism: Theology and Theory (London and New York: Routledge, 2006) 121, see cited Susan Rakoczy IHM, In Her Name: Women Doing Theology (Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications 2004), 34.

[13] Cf. The Summa Theologica of St. Tomas Qquinas, part II, Second Part (translated by the Fathers of the English Dominican Province), (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd, 1929) 270. See for further information Cited Susan Rakoczy IHM, In her Name, ibid., 3.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Alter Waltmann, (1996), 106.

[16] Susan Rakoczy, 36.

[17] Ana Maria Rizzuto, The Birth of the Living God, 5, quoted, ibid.

[18] See Jurgen Moltmann, The source of Life: The Holy Spirit and the Theology of Life (London: SCM Press Ltd., 1997).

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