What Happens When God Can be Mother Too?

Feminine Images of God in the Bible

The following verses are a rich source of feminine imagery for God from which to draw when we address God. Our foundational understanding of God is that God is spirit (John 4:24), neither male nor female. Yet both masculine and feminine metaphors enrich our understanding of God.

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So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27

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You saw for yourselves what I did to Egypt, how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself…. [God as mother eagle].

Exodus 19:4

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As an eagle stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young; as it spreads its wings, takes them up, and bears them aloft on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him; no foreign god was with him. He set him atop the heights of the land, and fed him with produce of the field; he nursed him with honey from the crags, with oil from flinty rock…

Deuteronomy 32:11-13

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You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.

Deuteronomy 32:18

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May Yahweh pay you in full for your loyalty! May you be richly rewarded by the Most High God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to find shelter! [God as mother hen or other female bird].

Ruth 2:12

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Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb?– when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band. Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the hoarfrost of heaven?

Job 38:8-9, 28-29

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Guard me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings… [God as hen/female bird].

Psalm 17:8

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Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast. [God as midwife].

Psalm 22:9

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Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me! In you my soul takes shelter; I take shelter in the shadow of your wings until the destroying storm is over. [God as hen/female bird].

Psalm 57:1

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In your tent I will make my home forever, and take shelter under the cover of your wings. [God as hen/female bird].

Psalm 61:4

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He will cover you with his pinions and under his wings you will find refuge. [God as mother hen/female bird].

Psalm 91:4

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As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God. [God as mistress].

Psalm 123:2

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But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul within me is like a weaned child.

Psalm 131:2

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I [Wisdom] was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be. When there were no oceans, I was given birth [by God], when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth.

Proverbs 8:23-25

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For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant.

Isaiah 42:14

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Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb, even to your old age I am he, even when you turn gray I will carry you. I have made, I will bear; I will carry and will save.

Isaiah 46:3-4

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Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

Isaiah 49:15

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Shall I open the womb and not deliver? says the Lord. Shall I, the one who delivers, shut the womb? says your God. [God as midwife].

Isaiah 66:9

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For thus says the Lord:…As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.

Isaiah 66:12-13

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When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me….Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them….My compassion grows warm and tender. I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.

Hosea 11:1-4, 8-9

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I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs…

Hosea 13:8a

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And again he said, “To what should I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

Luke 13:18-21

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“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing.”

Luke 13:34

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Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’  Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Luke 15:8-10

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But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but born of God.

John 1:12

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Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

John 3:5, 6

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Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation–if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

I Peter 2:2-3

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If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that every one who does right has been born of him.

I John 2:29

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Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abide in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God.

I John 3:9

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Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

I John 4:7

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Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child.

I John 5:1

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…for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.

I John 5:4

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We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them.

I John 5:18