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Is God a Male?
Did Jesus Rebuke His Mother? (John 2.4)

Is God a Male?

Question
In the Bible God is always referred to as "Father" and "He." Because of this, I have two questions:

  • 1) Is God actually a male?
  • 2) If so, does God relate more closely to the needs of men than to those of women?
Bible Bell's Reply
God is neither male nor female. Rather, God is Spirit...
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4.24

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Num 23.19a

Since God is Spirit, He does not have a physical body.

  • Accordingly, God is neither man nor woman from the standpoint that He has none of those physical attributes which determine "gender" (hormones, reproductive organs, etc).

Of course it is true that God created the human race in His image...

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Gen 1.27
However, this does not mean that we were created in God's PHYSICAL image.

Because God is Spirit, He is invisible and (as stated earlier) has no physical body...
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Tim 1.17

Instead of a physical image, God created us to be in the image of His NATURE in such areas as the following...

  • Exercising dominion
  • Bringing forth new life
  • Nurturing the earth and its creatures
  • Manifesting holiness

For further reading on God's image, use the LINK at the end of this discussion.

(Dominion) Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion... over all the earth Gen 1.26

(New life) Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply... Gen 1.28a

(Nurturing) Then the LORD God took the man & put him in the garden of Eden to tend & keep it. Gen 2.15

(Holiness) You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. Lev 19.2b

Since we are created in the image of God's character, it is Bible Bell's OPINION that...

  • Men mainly manifest those attributes of God's character that humans consider to be "masculine"
  • Women mainly manifest those attributes of God's character that humans consider to be "feminine."
  • In other words, God's character is neither masculine nor feminine, but BOTH -- and undoubtedly MORE.
Of course, God is able to visibly manifest Himself in any form that He chooses...
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. Ex 13.21

Then the LORD appeared to him (
Abraham) by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men (God and two angels in human form) were standing by him
Gen 18.1-2a
However, when people saw God in those forms (fire, cloud, man, etc.), they were NOT actually seeing God Himself because, as explained above, God is an invisible Spirit...
No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. John 1.18

The Bible does not say WHY God chose to refer to Himself as "He" and "Father."

In Bible Bell's OPINION, the following are possible reasons...

  • To communicate with us, the Bible uses human languages.
  • The pronouns in human languages are "gender specific" -- she, her, hers; he, him, his
  • Pronouns that are NOT gender specific (such as "it") generally refer to non-persons such as animals or objects.
  • Accordingly, there are no appropriate pronouns for referring to our God, who is neither "He" nor "She," but who is most definitely NOT an "It."

Our conclusion: The Bible refers to God as "He" and "Father" because, in most cultures throughout history, it is the male who is responsible to head the family, and to provide shelter, food, and protection.

Bible Bell CONSIDERS that the preceding conclusion accords with a major aspect of how God designed our respective genders to function in a family environment...

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church & gave Himself for her
Eph 5.22-23, 5.25
However, when it comes to the question of WHICH gender (male or female) is "more important" in God's eyes, the Bible's use of masculine pronouns means NOTHING!

For God has said...
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3.28
Click Here to read more about the image of God in people.
 

Did Jesus Rebuke His Mother?
John 2.4

Question
In John chapter 2 Mary told her son Jesus that a wedding party was running out of wine. Jesus sounded irritated when He answered His mother. Also, He called her "woman."

My Mom would scold me if I spoke to her the way that Jesus spoke to His mother. Didn't Jesus break God's commandment to honor our parents?
Bible Bell's Reply
The following is the Bible passage that the question refers to...
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.

When they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine."

Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."
John 2.1-4

To better understand the preceding verses, we will cover two main points as follows...

  • Point #1 - The language spoken by Jesus and His mother
  • Point #2 - The remarkable nature of Mary's request

Point #1 - the language spoken by Jesus and His Mother
In the English language as used in modern-day America, addressing one's mother as "woman" would often be considered as impolite or disrespectful...

  • But Mary and Jesus were speaking Aramaic (not English) and they were in ancient Israel (not modern-day America).
  • Thus, the Lord's use of the word "woman" was neither offensive nor impolite.
  • The fact that Mary was not offended is shown by her mild response to what her Son said to her...
His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." John 2.5

Jesus spoke to His mother in similar manner while He was being crucified...

  • In this conversation, Jesus most certainly was not rebuking His mother.
  • Rather, Jesus was lovingly taking steps to ensure that His mother would be provided for, and cared for, after His death...
When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"

Then He said to the disciple (
John), "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
John 19.26-27

Point #2 - The remarkable nature of Mary's request
Now, let's think back for a moment to the wedding celebration that was attended by Mary and Jesus...

  • In those days, wedding celebrations went on for two or three days, and usually involved hundreds of guests!
  • It was the host's responsibility to provide food and wine for those guests during the entire duration of the lengthy celebration. To run out of food or wine was a terrible disgrace.
  • But the host DID run out of wine. So Mary, who almost certainly was one of the host's close relatives, was quite concerned and wanted to help.
  • Accordingly, Mary told Jesus, "They have no wine."
  • To us, Mary's statement might sound like an idle comment, but what she was really telling her Son was -- "DO something about it."

Next, we need to consider the ENORMITY of what Mary was asking her Son to do...

  • At that time, Jesus was about 30 years old and had just begun His ministry (see Lk 3.23).
  • In other words, Jesus did not have an income producing job. Put bluntly, He was poor!
  • Did Mary expect her Son to BUY wine for the banquet? If so, how much wine would Jesus have needed to purchase?
  • The answer to the preceding question is -- Jesus would have had to buy more than 125 GALLONS of wine to meet the needs of all the guests!
  • This is proven by the size of the waterpots that Jesus filled with wine in response to His mother's request (although He created the wine, rather than buying it)...
Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece.
John 2.6

Clearly, Mary did NOT expect Jesus to have even a small fraction of the amount of money He would have needed in order to BUY more than 125 gallons of wine...

  • However, Mary fully knew that Jesus was more than just another Jewish man with empty pockets. In fact, Mary knew for a fact that Jesus was the Son of God (see Lk 1.26-38).
  • As Mary's penniless Son, Jesus couldn't acquire 125 gallons of wine, but as God's Son, Jesus COULD. And Mary knew that.
  • When Mary asked Jesus for wine, she ostensibly spoke to her Son, but what Mary really wanted, only GOD's Son could do. And Mary knew that, too.

Accordingly, the Lord's reply to Mary must be considered, NOT simply as a Jewish boy speaking to his Jewish mother, BUT as God's Son speaking to God's maidservant, Mary (see Lk 1.38).

After all, Lord Jesus CREATED woman (and everything else, as well), and surely can give no offense when He addresses a woman as such...

Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." Gen 2.22-23

For by Him (
Jesus) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Col 1.16

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