Motherhood and God

Mothers_DayAs we celebrate Mother’s Day, here’s something to ponder. Did you realize that we have a “Mom” in the triune Godhead?

I was reading Paul’s blog (Just Me Being Curious) post, “Unconditional Love at its best,” where he said this…

“Jesus was a man. Yet I look at his life and see a Trinity: mother, father and child all in one. God is “a man” yet we have the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

Amen, Paul!

And that’s what I want to talk about here. In the triune nature of God, we see a Father and a Son, but what about the Holy Spirit?

Could it be that the Holy Spirit takes on the “mother’s” role in our Divine Family?

Here’s something for your consideration.

Eve’s role was to be Adam’s “helper” (bold-type added):

“Then the Lord God said,
“It is not good for the man to be alone;
I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Gen.2:18 NASB)

This English word “helper” can be a little misleading here. In the Hebrew language it’s more clear. The Hebrew word, עֵזֶר (‛êzer), speaks of one who is an effective aid to someone else in need, or one who provides comfort in difficulty.

It’s important to note that it does not mean that this “helper” is in a subordinate position like it might in English.

This word is most often used of God helping Israel. Here are two examples in the Psalms (bold-type added):

“Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.” (Psalm 33:20 NASB)

“How blessed is he
whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God” (Psalm 146:5 NASB)

You can’t say that a wife, or a mother, is subordinate to the husband unless you’re also prepared to say that God is subordinate to those He helps! There are differing roles for a mother and father, but there is no hierarchy in view, anymore than there’s a hierarchy within the triune God.

And this gets us to this mysterious triune nature of God. There is another that’s called a “helper” in the New Testament. Can you guess who this is? I thought you could.

Jesus says this about the role of the Holy Spirit (bold-type added):

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in My name,
He will teach you all things,
and bring to your remembrance
all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26 NKJV)

Now, even though this Greek word (paraklētos) is in the masculine gender as a word, it doesn’t follow that the Spirit of God cannot have feminine characteristics, or even a maternal role in the Trinity.

We know from Scripture that the spirit of wisdom is part of the seven-fold Spirit of God (Rev.3:1; 4:5). Here’s Isaiah, speaking of the Holy Spirit resting on Jesus (bold-type added):

“The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isa.11:2)

But notice the gender of this Spirit of wisdom in Proverbs (All in NKJV, bold-type added):

Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.”
She speaks her words:
“How long, you simple ones,
will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.” (Prov.1:20-23)

“Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding your nearest kin.” (Prov.7:4)

Wisdom has built her house,
She has hewn out her seven pillars” (Prov.9:1)

Am I saying that the Holy Spirit is a woman? Not any more than I’m saying that God is a man (See Num. 23:19). God is neither, yet both. Furthermore, women, you are also a son; men, you are also a bride! In fact, there’s neither male nor female in Christ (Gal.3:28).

We’re talking about relational roles that find their source in the Godhead.

What does the Holy Spirit do?  Does He (She) not speak to the heart, provide comfort, nurture and train us up in the way we should go? Yup…just like a good mother!

This is from “The Trinitarian Vision Summary” by Dr. C. Baxter Kruger. It really shows us the true pattern for relationships in the Kingdom (bold-type added):

“The trinitarian life is a great dance of unchained communion and intimacy, fired by passionate, self-giving and other-centered love, and mutual delight. This life is good. It is right, unique, full of music and joy, blessedness and peace. Such love, giving rise to such togetherness and fellowship and oneness, is the womb of the universe and of humanity within it.”

My question is this? Would the triune nature of God have a Father and a Son, yet exclude the nature of a mother? And if this Godhead is the “womb of the universe and humanity within it,” would our marriages and our families be designed to be contrary to who He is within Himself?

If this is true, and I believe it is, then where do we find the Divine DNA and pattern of motherhood if not in His Spirit?

You were born of the Spirit, and what do you normally call someone who birthed you? Selah…

We know that mothers play a vital role in the family, and just like “within the trinitarian life,” there is no competition or subordinate role in view. Kingdom-based marriages are built on submitting to one another (Eph.5:21), with honor and “self-giving and other-centered love, and mutual delight.” 

Husbands and wives are co-equals, as they are co-heirs in Christ. What’s true in the Kingdom of God is true on earth in the family in Christ.

Since God gave of Himself such beauty and grace in motherhood, let’s honor them and celebrate and cherish them on Mother’s Day, whether they be our own mother or the mother of our children. We thank God for their infinite worth, and for demonstrating the loving, nurturing care and compassionate nature of God, day in and day out. We so need and, therefore, so appreciate their “help.” They deserve our praise.

 “Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.” (Prov.31:29-31 NKJV)

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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14 Responses to Motherhood and God

  1. I really enjoyed this post. A very fresh perspective!

  2. Oh, Mel, this one struck my very core. Explained beautifully. Somehow at various times I find myself searching for that Hebrew word; now I will file it away where I can find it. Thanks!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks Susan, You know, the more I see God as He really is in His brilliance, beauty and grace, and how He put His DNA blueprint in us, the more “struck” I am to the core! He gets more amazing all the time. Blessings.

    • Yes, Mel. If the apostles, when first imbued with the Spirit, could spontaneously speak new languages, the Triune God can certainly be Man, Woman and Boy in order to reach and live inside each one of us.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen. Otherwise, we’re saying that God’s design is not in some of us, and that’s absurd. God’s design is in all genders, yet He’s not a man or woman (although, Jesus is a resurrected Man now!- Acts 17:31). God shows the “mothering side” of who He is a several places in Scripture, like in Isaiah 66:13 or, anthropomorphically, in Hosea 13:8 and Luke 13:34.

      We forget this because God is referred to as a “He,” so we assume that He’s a male. But this is a very shallow view of God. He is a “He” because, relationally speaking, He is our “Father.” But He’s neither male nor female, yet both. 🙂

      Btw, I think the book, The Shack, brought this mysterious nature of God out quite well. Some people didn’t like it because it messed with their traditional view of God, but it actually gave some brilliant insight on the true nature of God and to how He interacts with us in various ways.

    • I was thinking of The Shack as I wrote my last comment, Mel. I thought it was a brilliant book. I was glad it messed with the traditional view of God – but then, I’m not a traditional kinda gal. 😉

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen. And I think we needed to be messed with on our small view of God. He’s so much bigger and better than we’ve ever imagined Him to be. 🙂

    • Yes!! Mel, I was struck by the Shack in portraying God as a woman to the main character in the book but of course, God’s design was to put Himself…His character in woman and another part of His character in man. Some find that sacrileges as if the author was saying God was a woman, but that isn’t what he was saying at all. God is both, though as you said, relationally, He has us refer to Him as “Father”. Brilliant, indeed! Also, I went through a life coaching class where “help-mete” referring to woman was broken down and amazingly enough, saw that it is close to the word of “parakletos”. I hope I’m remembering that right. 🙂 Amazing insight!! I must say, God is brilliant! 🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      You’re right about why God showed Himself that way in the Shack. People misunderstood the point there.
      I think it’s just hard for people to grasp abstract or even relational concepts about God, like the idea that God is not a man or a woman, yet He is both. We would rather put Him in a nice and neatly fitted doctrinal box so we do don’t have to live with any mystery.

      Yes, God is brilliant…far too brilliant to be put in our little boxes. 🙂
      Blessings.

  3. Lance says:

    Mel, funny in the awesome prophetic kind of way…just drove up and back to Bethel for my daughter’s second year graduation. Listened to The Shack up and back. I read it when it came out from a very different perspective, paradigm and theology. Wow what a difference! Thanks for leading the charge. Eyes are being opened.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Yeah, I should probably read it again. It was a radical shift in our view of God back when it first came out. It was a breath of fresh air to me when I first read it, but I didn’t have the understanding that I do now.
      Btw. have you read C. Baxter Kruger’s “The Shack Revisited” yet? He goes into the theology behind the story. It’s worth the read.

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