People are beginning to ask more and more why God should be presented as exclusively masculine, as Father but not Mother. The mothering qualities are needed so much in our present world that individuals feel they would like to be able to invoke them more directly.
Christ Jesus' teachings show God as a loving Father. And the Old Testament, referring to God's care for Israel, uses the imagery of the mother eagle: ''He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.''n1
n1 Deteronomy 32:10-12.
Christian Science uses the term ''Father-Mother'' as one way to describe the divine Parent. It also speaks of God as Principle, the source of all true law and government, and as Love itself, one of the Biblical terms for Deity. Principle without Love might appear stern and cold. Love without Principle might seem weak and indulgent. But these synonymous terms taken together give a clear sense of the ideal combination of fathering and mothering qualities inherent in the divine nature. And these qualities are expressed by man, by our true selfhood as God's complete and blessed offspring. We all, then, are capable of expressing the balance of strength and gentleness, intelligence and affection, integrity and sensitivity.
The Father-Mother's love never turns to hate or vengeance. It loves impartially and universally, as the sun shines.
Our conception of God does much to color our experience. While God's goodness is constant and eternal, a misunderstanding of His nature can cause needless suffering. If we think of Him as a punishing God, for example, we tend to feel less of His tender love. But if we understand God to be Love itself, we are much more likely to have a blessed experience because we have come to know His government of man as wise and loving. A verse from Psalms asks, ''Hath God forgotten to be gracious?''n2
n2 Psalms 77:9.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''. . . God being infinite Mind, He is the all-wise, all-knowing, all-loving Father-Mother, for God made man in His own image and likeness, and made them male and female as the Scriptures declare; then does not our heavenly Parent - the divine Mind - include within this Mind the thoughts that express the different mentalities of man and woman, whereby we may consistently say, 'Our Father-Mother God'? And does not this heavenly Parent know and supply the differing needs of the individual mind even as the Scriptures declare He will?''n3
n3 Message to The Mother Church for 1901,p.7.
It follows that expanding our concept of God's nature also expands our concept of man's nature. As the child, or expression, of the divine Father-Mother, man is infinitely more than a limited, sex-oriented mortal. He reflects the whole range of spiritual qualities, both masculine and feminine - the vigorous and the beautiful, the wise and the intuitive. Living in harmony with this truth doesn't make for effeminate men or masculine women. It enables each one of us to expand into self-completeness.
This expansion gives a sense of the distinctiveness and completeness of spiritual individuality, of the value of each and every one as a child of God in his own right. This emancipation frees both sexes from limitations and moderates conflict and frustration. This new concept of ourselves also gives us new dignity based on a perception of our individual spiritual relationship to God.
Changing our concept of God doesn't change His essential nature. But it does help us to understand Him - and ourselves - better. DAILY BIBLE VERSE He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: myGod; in him will I trust....He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.... He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all tht ways Psalms 91:1, 2, 4, 11