‘Conversation With God’ w/Extensive Endnotes (Second Update and Expansion)

For those readers who might be interested in some basis for what some (many?) might consider my outlandish “Imagined Conversation With God,” concerning divine gender ~ God the Mother or Father or both ~ as well as my views on the strength of the feminine and longing for my ideal soul-mate, I offer this re-presentation of the dialogue with extensive, explanatory endnotes. The endnotes, in fact, offer commentary to the extent that one can both understand my line of thought as well as (if s/he desires) knowledgeably critique the whole of the dialogue. Needless to say, then, in this edition it is fundamentally important to read carefully the end notes!

Imagined Conversation With God

Yonatan –      I have long wanted to speak with you openly and honestly, laying bare my deepest pains and desires, of which you are doubtless already aware, to unburden my soul and, if you graciously acquiesce, to perhaps finally know some answers to my most plaguing questions, most kind and gracious and almighty Elohim.

Elohim –         Most assuredly, you are welcome, Yonatan, for have I not asked my children to cast their burdens upon me, assuring them that I care for them as a mother cares for her child? Have I not laid bare my breasts to nurture and sustain precious life? Am I not an advocate for the world, a pillar and refuge, who offers life-giving water to all?[1] Have I not also promised that if you ask, you shall receive? Even those, such as yourself, of little ability, by depending upon the great, may prosper. A drop of water is a little thing, but when will it dry away when united to a lake?[2]  No, Yonatan, surely I will not withhold answers to your questions, nor fail to explain the pain you feel, if only you’re able to understand. Know this, however: You may not be able to understand, nor may you be able to accept my answers even should you understand. Such is the gulf that divides us, dear child[3] –– the gulf of intellect, of spirit, of very being. Can you possibly expect to comprehend my ways any more than Job of ancient lore?

Yonatan –      Forgive me, then, for asking questions the answers to which I may not understand due to my own human limitations, but I will make bold by your invitation to ask anyway.

Elohim –         Yes, Yonatan, ask freely and without fear.

Yonatan –      Very well, then, I shall begin with the troubling question of how I might relate to you, whether as Father or Mother, for this has troubled me for quite some time, magnificent Elohim. Tell me, if you please, if I might without sacrilege refer to you as Mother, for in my weakness I feel very deeply the need for an almighty life-giver, nurturer, protector, who is maternal. That I do not despise fatherhood is well-known to you, the All-Knowing, but I am constitutionally inclined to pray to you and worship you as divine Mother. Is this wrong?

Elohim –         And here, dear Yonatan, you may not understand yourself as well as you imagine, for it is my very Spirit communing with your spirit that has led you to cry out to me as I Am.[4] You know well, Yonatan, that God is not bound by human gender;[5] this is seen clearly even in sacred scriptures. I Am above and beyond gender, yet divine Mother and Father. I Am the Progenitor of All, the Birth-Giver of the cosmos and all life therein. Could any truth be clearer than this from a clear and sensible reading of the sacred literature? [6]

                        I have revealed myself as the Birth-Giver of Israel, have I not?[7] Will any deny this? And who, after all, gives birth? I have revealed myself as suckling my children at breast, and who feeds their babes at breast but the mother? I have revealed myself as the nurturing hen, the protective she-bear, the mother eagle; why, then, would anyone question my being Mother? No, Yonatan, my Spirit has taught your spirit more of the truth of my nature, which is in pure accord with what I have revealed of myself from of old. And see, too, I have revealed myself by many names and titles: God, Elohim, Yahweh, Allah (which means God), Father, Shepherd, and yes, Mother.

Be not afraid, then, of your own desires for me, for I am for you all that you need for me to be. Be still, and know that I am God.[8] I will not be circumscribed by the petty narrow-mindedness of hypocrites and contemporary Pharisees, by those who strain at gnats and swallow camels.[9] Know me; believe in me; trust me and love me, Yonatan, not blind, flesh-and-blood guides. There are those whom I have anointed to teach and led, and they hear my voice and follow me. They are those who are filled with my love, joy, peace, and happiness; they are filled with warmth, and enthusiasm, empathy, and understanding. These are devoid of acrimony, spitefulness, deceit, and vindictiveness; they are empty of malice, cruelty, cunning, and folly.[10] Remember, you will know them by the fruits they bear,[11] and they are not those who condemn you for coming to me, wrapping your arms round me in your lively imagination, which will one day be reality, and laying your head on my bosom,[12] calling me Mother. No, Yonatan, they understand as I understand.

Yonatan –      Thank you, then, Mother Elohim. Your most gracious answer has made me confident enough now to ask another question: You deigned that I be a man, that is male, yet I have been long troubled that I do not measure up to the standard of manhood. As well, I also long for an intimate companion who is wise and strong and beautiful, my Lady-Lord. Is this wrong? Is there something distorted within me, perhaps because of my fallen nature? Because of sin? Do you intend the man always to be stronger, and to be in authority, to be the leader? Or might the woman in intimate companionship better fulfill the place of authority, or at least in primary decision-making?[13]

Elohim –         Ah! Yonatan! How we must unravel this tangled misapprehension for many people, not only for you, my child! First, how do you imagine God defines manhood? Would I not say you are a good man if you are honest, charitable, kind and gracious, obedient to what I’ve directed you to do in life? How much more a man can you be than to be my faithful child, Yonatan? And how much more a woman can a woman be who does the same?[14] That there are physical differences is obvious to even the most casually observant, young child! But, now, did I birth the male and female as two intrinsically, constitutionally different beings? No! Of course not! Have I not taught you, and everyone, that I fashioned male and female in my image, according to my likeness?[15] What more, then, is there to say? It is sin that has distorted relationships between men and women;[16] this was never my intention! And those who attribute to me the abusive distortion in such relationships with which you are familiar commit an act of practical blasphemy, Yonatan![17]

                        But let us go back to the beginning of all, to my creation of life. Do not both the science of humanity as well as my divine revelation teach that all life is lived in an interdependent symbiotic relationship?[18] And life, all life, sprang from the same Life, for I Am the One Life-Giver, and in the growth and maturation of this life, the mother of all humanity, called Eve, became the crowning achievement of my handiwork. She was the diadem of the whole cosmos, which is apparent in the very title I bequeathed upon her – my very own, as Helper.[19] The man, Adam, was incomplete, insufficient unto himself, and in need of physical, intellectual, and spiritual fulfillment. The female was that fulfillment, who herself was in no need of fulfillment, for remember I said, “It is not good for the man to be alone,” and also I said, “Thus the man shall leave mother and father and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one.”[20] Is it not apparent, then, even to the sensibilities of a child, that the woman was made greater than the man?[21]

Evil and wickedness distorted this, Yonatan, and men have been preying upon women ever since, just as the Adversary has been preying upon humanity.[22] Sinful man, then, follows the course of the Enemy in satanic rebellion against all that is divine – all that is good, and true, and lovely.[23]

Yonatan, I would have you know, though, that you are precious in my sight. You are not less the man I fashioned you to be. What? Will you be embarrassed for me to tell you that you are beautiful, instead of using the word handsome? You are beautiful, Yonatan, and intelligent, gifted, talented; you are kind and gentle and compassionate. You are like an amazing, spectacular flower ready to burst forth in a magnificent array of beauty to bless the world![24] Oh, Yonatan, do you not know that I know you need a strong and wise, beautiful and capable companion with whom to join yourself? Yes, child, I know you are pining to pour yourself – heart, mind, and soul – into the life of this kind of woman, and I know this strong and sturdy, level-headed and determined, righteous woman[25] is not easily found because they are so rare, and they are so rare because so many women have been abused into being grossly subservient to the almost complete obliteration of the gifts and talents with which I’ve bequeathed them… But do not lose hope!

Yonatan, you are a thinker, researcher, essayist, story-teller, poet and care-giver. You are what I want you to be, and I love you passionately, like only a mother could love you. I Am your Mother; you are my child. I will not leave you or forsake you,[26] my son. Should she never come – and I believe she will – or should she be blind and deaf to the treasure that is your person, your self, then the loss will be hers;[27] after all, the human is limited, but I am not, and I know ten thousand treasure hunters who would find in you an invaluable boon, my dear. Do not give up, then!

Yonatan –      Forgive me, great Elohim, for being so dull, but I must ask again, is there any sense in which you intended man to lead, to be the authority over woman and all of creation? This is, after all, what your Church has taught down through the ages.

Elohim –         Yonatan, are you so dull? Or is the weight of your own doubts so great that you cannot see reason? Let me answer, then, and say that if I created from lesser to greater, then the penultimate of my creation was humanity, and within humanity, the woman.[28] Is this not apparent? Also, consider my nature and what would be my divine intention, and then look at the record left by man. For tens of thousands of years, man has ruled the earth, and what legacy has he left? Violence, war, pain, suffering, disease, starvation, oppression, exploitation, marginalization, degradation, evils of all kinds. Is this the exercise of authority God intended?

                        Return to the beginning again, then, and know that I created woman to be life-giver, nurturer, and cultivator.[29] Even the simple child can understand this is leadership, for who could be greater than the one who births new life, who nourishes all life, who cultivates home and family and community? As an icon of the divine Helper, the woman as helper was intended not only to complete the man, but also to complete the whole of my created order. Is this not astonishing enough! Is this not answer enough! Within this order, then, I intended woman to naturally provide loving guidance and direction, as she was creatively constituted by me to do so, and why not? In the pristine purity of that paradisiacal time, there was no inequality, or grasping for power, or envy, or malice and the like. In my Christ, I have tried to restore this original relationship,[30] Yonatan, as in him there is no longer the man or the woman, but rather an interdependent relationship of love.

You do not quite understand this, as so many others fail to understand, but you do know this about yourself: You long for the strong, confident, wise and knowledgeable, attractive woman, whom you can completely love and trust, and to whose guidance and direction you can (and would) gladly yield. This is good, Yonatan, for you have gone beyond the foolish acrimony of the typical male into the peaceful, life-giving desires of an unsullied heart. Know, too, that the image of man presented by the society in which you live militates against the image of good men that I have presented around the world, in every language and culture, down through the ages. So too the image of the woman presented in your society; it is gross and degrading to the finest of my creation, and further serves to subjugate those who are meant for so much more; those who are intended to be an invaluable blessing to the world … and, yes, often in positions of authority.

Yonatan –      Is this, then, not such an absurd thought? That you, the Everlasting One, created woman wholly differently than we experience woman in this fallen world today?

Elohim –         Yonatan, the heavenly feminine, very real and alive in a manner beyond your understanding, was with me in the beginning: intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear, unpolluted, distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen, irresistible, beneficent, humane, steadfast, sure, free from anxiety, all-powerful, overseeing all, and penetrating through all spirits that are intelligent, pure, and altogether subtle. She was and is my very breath, the pure emanation of my glory, the reflection of eternal light.[31] She is the heart of the way of Life and is immortal, the mysterious mother of all, of heaven and earth, of everything; invisible yet ever-present. She it is upon whom you can feed without any diminution to her whatsoever. She protected the first-formed man and for him I incarnated her from his very loins to be his heavenly-earthly companion-helper.[32]

                        Yonatan, she is the great portent that appeared in the sky in the vision of my servant, John the Revelator, the vision of the woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.[33] This woman imaged the re-incarnate Eve, the second Eve, the most blessed and ever-Virgin Mary, mother of your Lord Jesus the Christ.[34] And think now, Yonatan, how could these images be divorced from the constitutional being of woman and what I intended of woman? No, if humanity fell into darkness, sin, and death, as is apparently true, then everything in the whole of the created order was affected, just as you have been taught, just as you can see for yourself. This damage to the created order extends throughout creation into each of its parts, including relationships. Would it not be fair to say, then, that what you have seen throughout the history of the world is warped, skewed, so that you must know that typically common relationships are from inception twisted and marred?

Think, too, of this possibility: If what I have thus far told you is true, and it must be, so if you trust me, then what you have heard and read in your society about women trying to be like men in authority and leadership, and in so many other ways, may not actually be true.[35] It is at least possible, is it not, that for millennia upon millennia it has been men who have been trying to be what I intended women to be. Will you not admit this as at least a possible reason for the horrendously repulsive legacy of man? Perhaps it is not women imitating men, after all; perhaps, Yonatan, it is women returning to their divine-primordial being, raw and vibrant, naked in innocence, visceral in power… Ah, but there are so few!

Yonatan –      Will I ever meet such a one, gracious Mother? Will this servant of yours be joined to such as this woman? Will you so bless me, your child-servant?

Elohim –         This I will tell you, Yonatan, and this only, because I have so orchestrated the world that each individual must travel the course of their life much under their own compulsion, directing themselves down whatever path they may choose. I have left life quite largely open,[36] though not completely so; nevertheless, I can assure you that there is such a woman for you, yes. Whether she discerns this and acts upon this knowledge only time will tell, for I have chosen for myself to leave that knowledge as an open end. Know this, though: She struggles with an unimaginable burden peculiar to women, so that even though she would find in you everything she could hope to find in a man of your disposition, yet she may be quite hesitant all and only because she acutely feels the weight of the expectation of her community to be what society, and particularly the Church, has defined as woman.[37]

Yonatan –      In the meantime, though, my soul is in anguish, my mind is in turmoil, my very body hurts, compassionate Elohim. What am I to do, this lonely man who I am, to survive this plight? To be surrounded by people, yet ever deprived of intimacy with an intended soul mate, is so excruciating that it must be some form of hell.

Elohim –         No, Yonatan, this is not some form of hell, but it can be purgatorial. If you will allow, this time can refine and purify you in and through your suffering. What you should do is what you already know to do: Work as you have been working, for it is an invaluable service to another precious human; write as you have been writing, for in so doing you are giving vent to your soul, and there are those who appreciate and benefit, though you doubt this to be true; pray and meditate, for you know from experience that joining yourself to me in this way always benefits you because you know I love you with an everlasting love, and you love me, too; sing and praise, for the light of worship often drives out the darkness of despair; take your medications, for I have given humanity the capacity to work healing in many ways and this way is one way by which you are helped significantly; love your friends and family, spend time with them, and enjoy their company, for this, too, will help guard you against loneliness. Finally, though, trust and believe that your soul mate is even now coming to know you, forming within herself an important familiarity, contemplating you, praying for you, preparing for you. I Am your Comforter, Yonatan, and I will not leave you or forsake you. Trust and believe, my child, and never give up hope! You are on the right track; stay the course!

Yonatan –      Praise be to you, Elohim, Mother God, the Everlasting One! Praise be to you, Christ Jesus our Lord and Redeemer! Praise be to you, Spirit of Light and Life, Love and Truth! Praise be to you, Holy One, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

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[1] I Peter 5.7; also, Psalm 131.2 pictures the psalmist with God “like a weaned child with its mother.” The Lord speaking through the Prophet Isaiah says, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you…” Also, That breast of Yours which is inexhaustible, health-giving, by which You nurse all that is noble, containing treasure, bearing wealth, bestowed freely;
lay that bare, Sarasvati [divine Mother], for our nurture.” Rig Veda 1.164.49 And also, “O Mother of Imupa, advocate for the whole world! What a remarkable Mother I have! O Mother, a pillar, a refuge! O Mother, to whom all prostrate in greeting Before one enters her habitation! I am justly proud of my Mother. O Mother who arrives, who arrives majestic and offers water to all!” Yoruba Prayer (Nigeria) as quoted in World Scripture.

[2] Matthew 21.22; John 16.24; I John 3.22; cf. also, Elegant Sayings 173 of Buddhism, as quoted in World Scripture.

[3] “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55.9

[4] Romans 8.26-27

[5] This is an admitted truth throughout the Christian faith. So The Catechism of the Catholic Church, “In no way is God in man’s image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective ‘perfections’ of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God.” (III.370) add to this the beautiful words of Dame Julian of Norwich, who said, “And thus in our creation God Almighty is our natural father, and God all-wisdom is our natural mother, with the love and goodness of the Holy Spirit. These are all one God, one Lord. In the knitting and joining he is our real, true spouse and we are his loved wife and his fair maiden.” And, too, Clement of Alexandria: ““The Word is everything to the child, both father and mother, teacher and nurse…. The nutriment is the milk of the father … and the Word alone supplies us children with the milk of love, and only those who suck at this breast are truly happy…. For this reason seeking is called sucking; to those infants who seek the Word, the Father’s loving breasts supply milk.” Cf. also Jenny Bledsoe, “Feminine Images of Jesus,” in which she observes that during the Middle Ages: “Clearly suggestive of the Eucharist, Quirizio da Murano’s The Savior (ca. 1460–1478) depicts Christ offering to a believer his blood from his breast, along with a wafer, symbolic of his body, both of which impart faith and thus nurture the spirituality of the believer (see fig. 1.1).23 An even more obvious allusion to the Eucharist appears in a German work titled Christ and Charity (ca. 1470).24 In this piece, Jesus’ blood spurts forth from his breast in a stream, as breast milk might. The blood streams into a cup held by personified Charity, obviously suggesting the Eucharist but also highlighting the nutritive nature of the Eucharistic blood by its connection with breast milk.” (41) In Eastern philosophy, Mystery is highly reverenced, which is certainly applicable to the Judeo-Christian conception of God, to wit: The way that can be spoken of is not the eternal Way; the name that can be named is not the eternal name. The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth; the named was the mother of the myriad creatures. Hence always rid yourself of desire in order to observe its secrets; but always allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its manifestations. These two are the same but diverge in name as they issue forth. Being the same they are called mysteries, Mystery upon mystery — the gateway of the manifold secrets.” As quoted in World Scripture, but note quite different trans. by Brian Browne Walker (St. Martin’s Press, 1995), although substantively the same.

[6] “Can you fathom the mystery of God? Or can you probe the limits of the Almighty?” Job 11.7 WEBA; “God moves in mysterious ways; His wonders to perform; He plans His footsteps in the sea; and rides upon the storm.” William Cowper (19th Century); cf. also Asma T. Uddin, “God is Mystery: Motherhood and Islamic Mysticism,” Tikkun, as accessed May 26, 2015

[7] Cf. Deuteronomy 32, 1ff, commonly referred to as the Song of Moses; Isaiah 46.3 as well, perhaps

[8] Psalm 46.10

[9] A good, close reading of the story of Job more than amply justifies this statement, of course. Who can truly comprehend the Divine and the ways of God? The Pharisees of old, and those of contemporary times, attempt to put “God in a box.” J. B. Phillips authored a book many years ago under the title, Your God is Too Small, which might provide and interesting read, especially if one expands the premises and application.

[10] Galatians 5.19-23 (NRSV); “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouting of a ruler among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one bungler destroys much good.” Ecclesiastes 9.17-18 (NRSV)

[11] Matthew 7.17-19; 12.33; Luke 6.43-44

[12] John 13.23

[13] Cf. Jeremiah 31.22 in that “a woman shall protect a man,” which is presented as “a new thing upon the earth,” created by the Lord. (So the RSV, ISV, CEV, GNB) “A new world is at hand, however one interprets the verse,” (The New Interpreter’s Study Bible) and this new order comes via the imagery-personification of the woman. This must, necessarily, bear some significance … especially as the woman, especially in ancient times, was honored (to the extent that she was honored) as life-giver, nurturer, and cultivator.

[14] Who could claim to be greater, overall, than the legendary, wise Suleiman? Look, then, at how his character is presented in the Book of Wisdom and ask, “Is this not an instructive portrait of what any man ought to desire and strive to achieve, rather than the brawny, brute, gladiator-type so often present to us via entertainment media? So then, “if any one loves righteousness, her (Wisdom’s) labors are virtues; for she teaches self-control and prudence, justice and courage; nothing in life is more profitable for men than these. And if any one longs for wide experience, she knows the things of old, and infers the things to come; she understands turns of speech and the solutions of riddles; she has foreknowledge of signs and wonders and of the outcome of seasons and times. Therefore I determined to take her (Wisdom) to live with me, knowing that she would give me good counsel and encouragement in cares and grief. Because of her I shall have glory among the multitudes and honor in the presence of the elders, though I am young. I shall be found keen in judgment, and in the sight of rulers I shall be admired. When I am silent they will wait for me, and when I speak they will give heed; and when I speak at greater length they will put their hands on their mouths. Because of her (Wisdom) I shall have immortality, and leave an everlasting remembrance (that is, good heritage) to those who come after me. I shall govern peoples, and nations will be subject to me; dread monarchs will be afraid of me when they hear of me; among the people I shall show myself capable, and courageous in war. When I enter my house, I shall find rest with her Wisdom), for companionship with her has no bitterness, and life with her has no pain, but gladness and joy. When I considered these things inwardly, and thought upon them in my mind, that in kinship with wisdom there is immortality, and in friendship with her, pure delight, and in the labors of her hands, unfailing wealth, and in the experience of her company, understanding, and renown in sharing her words (that is, to be a wise man, renowned sage), I went about seeking how to get her for myself.” Wisdom 8.7-18 (NRSV) We might also refer again to the fruits of the Spirit as being most preferable qualities of both men and women.

[15] Genesis 1.26-27; 2.7, 21-22;

[16] Adam Clarke explains the situation of the curse in the narrative of the Fall, conjecturing in part that “at their creation both were formed with equal rights, and the woman had probably as much right to rule as the man; but subjection to the will of her husband is one part of her curse; and so very capricious is this will often, that a sorer punishment no human being can well have, to be at all in a state of liberty,” that is, this should be somewhat a remedy, “and under the protection of wise and equal laws,” i.e. this is the ideal now. I mention the comments of this erudite 19th century Methodist bible scholar to give some perspective to pre- and post-Fall conditions in the relationship of male and female, even as this was conceived (at least by some) in a still decidedly patriarchal society and church (although the Methodist tradition has an appreciable heritage of equal rights, women in ministry, social-economic activity, etc.) Also cf. (importantly) Donald Gowan, “Man and Woman, Male and Female,” in which he aptly points out, “This being is alone (v,18), without the kind of relationships necessary for life to be good. God then set out to make ‘a helper as his partner,’ as the NRSV renders words that have often been misunderstood. KJV’s accurate translation, ‘an help meet [i.e., appropriate] for him,’ became distorted to ‘helpmate,’ and it has been assumed that ‘help’ made the woman inferior to the man. When the OT uses this word (ezer), however, it refers to one with superior power able to meet a serious need… The woman God makes is thus depicted as more than a ‘partner;’ she is one able to deliver the human from solitude. She will be kenegdo, which can be translated several ways, but perhaps ‘corresponding to him’ is more appropriate … that is, not identical, but essential.” D. E. Gowan, The Westminster Theological Workbook of the Bible, 312. 

[17] An interesting aside on this point might be the observation found on Islamic Insights: There is truly no masculinity in males who subjugate females trying to dominate them with resentment or physical abuse. “True masculinity and harmony between male and female lies in mutual respect, and in the understanding of each other’s needs. We can leave the spurious battle of the sexes for the opportunists who want to earn something other than the true realization of human beings.” Also cf., “Not those are true husband and wife that with each other [merely] consort: Truly wedded are those that in two frames, are as one light.” Adi Granth, Var-Suhi-Ki, M.3, p. 788 and the very poetically beautiful, “I am He, you are She;
I am Song, you are Verse, I am Heaven, you are Earth. We two shall here together dwell, becoming parents of children.” Atharva Veda 14.2.71 as quoted in World Scripture.

[18] Cf. “Systems Theory: The Interdependence of Life,” on Paddle Asia as accessed on May 26, 2015; Said Elias Dawlabani remarked, “Leaders in business and government, who fail to see the holistic interdependence of our planet, are destined to cause its demise,” in his book, Memenonics: The Next Generation Economic System, as quote on GoodReads as accessed on May 26, 2015; also consider “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1.3, ESV), the primordial chaos, as the hen gathereth her chicken under her wings, and hovers over them, to warm and cherish them, Mat_23:37 as the eagle stirs up her nest, and fluttereth over her young, (’tis the same word that is here used) Deu_32:11. (So J. Wesley, Notes) Life comes from the life of God, who maternally nurtures that life, the Life of the whole of the created order. “Even in a single leaf of a tree, or a tender blade of grass, the awe-inspiring Deity manifests Itself.” Shinto. Urabe-no-Kanekuni as quoted in World Scripture.

[19] Clarke notes, “If the word (ezer kenegdo) be rendered scrupulously literally, it signifies one like, or as himself, standing opposite to or before him. And this implies that the woman was to be a perfect resemblance of the man, possessing neither inferiority nor superiority, but being in all things like and equal to himself. As man was made a social creature, it was not proper that he should be alone; for to be alone, i.e. without a matrimonial companion, was not good.” Also, consider an appreciably more contemporary and accurate interpretation of Genesis 2.18: “In English, the word ‘help’ has a broad range of connotations.  ‘Help’ can refer to a simple, modest act or it can refer to something much more significant.  An example of significant help is the assistance and counsel provided by professionals such as doctors, etc.  In Hebrew, the word for ‘helper’ used in Genesis 2:18 and 20 is ezer, and it is always and only used in the Old Testament in the context of vitally important and powerful assistance.  According to R. David Freedman, the word ezer is a combination of two roots, meaning ‘to rescue, to save,’ and ‘strength.’ The word ezer is used only twenty-one times in the Old Testament.  Twice it is used in the context of the first woman.  Three times it is used in a military context.  Sixteen times it is used in reference to God as a helper.  All of these biblical texts are talking about a vital, powerful kind of help, yet when ezer is applied to the first woman, its meaning is usually diminished to fit with traditional and cultural views of women’s roles. The Hebrew word kenegdo, usually translated as ‘suitable’ in Genesis 2, gives the meaning that Eve was designed to be a corresponding companion and equal partner for Adam. There is no sense of subordination stated or implied, or even hinted at, in this passage in Genesis 2, whatsoever.” As found on New Life accessed on May 26, 2015. Note also, interestingly enough, that the very similar, related noun, nāgîḏ, means “prince or ruler.” However that may be, it is at least certain that “the new creation will be neither superior nor inferior, but equal. The creation of this helper will form one-half of a polarity, and will be to man as the south pole is to the north pole.” (V. P. Hamilton, Genesis Chapters 1 – 17, 175)

[20] Genesis 2.18, 24 respectively

[21] Admittedly weak in and of itself, but more in reaction to the line of interpretation classically used by some expositors to subjugate women to men. An interesting observation on this point: “Some of the same Bible commentators who believe man should rule over woman because he was created first take the exact opposite reasoning when they say man or humanity, being created last, is the most sophisticated of creation, and thus have dominance over prior creations. Following this chain of logic, the woman has to be considered the most sophisticated creation since she was created last, certainly more advanced than the man just as the man is more advanced than the animals that were created before him, and she will have lordship over man just as humans have lordship over animals.” Anon., “The Place of Woman in God’s Creation,” on Colorq World, as accessed on May 26, 2015; cf. also Gowan, Westminster Theological Workbook of the Bible, 312-313.

[22] I Peter 5.8; cf. also John 10.10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (RSV) Cf. also, W. Sibley Towner, “Satan,” D. E. Gowan, ed., Westminster Theological Workbook of the Bible, 447-449 for good overview of the evolution of the satanic/diabolic idea in Yahwehism and subsequently NT Christianity. Also from Zoroastrianism, “The Evil Ruler spoils the Word, the plan of life, by his teachings. He, indeed, deprives me of the exalted goal of Good Thought. With the word of my spirit, I pray to You, O Wise One, and to truth!” Avesta, Yasna 32.9 as quoted in World Scripture.

[23] John 8.44, “You are the children of your father, the Devil, and you want to follow your father’s desires. From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies.” (GNT)

[24] In other words, I am not here being self-deprecating; point in fact, I am consciously realizing my invaluable worth to God and the beauty with which God has endowed me as a unique creation, with gifts and talents and purpose.

[25] An untarnished understanding of the Proverbs 31 passage on the ideal woman, along with subsequent re-casting into contemporary context is precisely this woman.

[26] I Kings 8.57; Matthew 28.20; John 14.27; II Thessalonians 2.16-17

[27] Assuming free will rather than fatalistic predestination

[28] See above n20

[29] Cultivator here used to mean “one who prepares and fosters the growth of” in multidimensional life of family and community.

[30] So again A. Clarke, “Neither male nor female – With great reason the apostle introduces this. Between the privileges of men and women there was a great disparity among the Jews. A man might shave his head, and rend his clothes in the time of mourning; a woman was not permitted to do so. A man might impose the vow of nasirate upon his son; a woman could not do this on her daughter. A man might be shorn on account of the nasirate of his father; a woman could not. A man might betroth his daughter; a woman had no such power. A man might sell his daughter; a woman could not. In many cases they were treated more like children than adults; and to this day are not permitted to assemble with the men in the synagogues, but are put up in galleries, where they can scarcely see, nor can they be seen. Under the blessed spirit of Christianity, they have equal rights, equal privileges, and equal blessings; and, let me add, they are equally useful.” Cf. also Elizabeth Johnson, “Commentary on Galatians 3.23-29,” on Working Preacher as accessed May 26, 2015: “The Babylonian Talmud includes a morning blessing to be recited by every Jewish man, thanking God for not creating him a gentile, a slave, or a woman (Menahoth 43b). While it is not certain that this prayer pre-dates Paul, it demonstrates the power these three categories held in the ancient world. Paul’s declaration that in Christ there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female, is a radical dismantling of these primary identity and boundary markers. Differences in ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status do not magically disappear, of course, but Paul declares them to be irrelevant in the body of Christ. For one to be baptized into Christ means being clothed with Christ and finding one’s primary identity and value in Christ.” Cf. also, Richard B. Hayes, “The Letter to the Galatians,” The New Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes, “This suggests that he did not understand the baptismal formula to prescribe merely a spiritual equality before God in a way that had no social implications. …. The  evidence  … is sufficiently ambiguous enough to suggest that Paul’s vision did, in fact, destabilize traditional assumptions about power in a way that had practical implications in his communities. For example, he counseled mutuality in sexual relations (I Cor. 7.304), and women did prophesy (I Cor. 11.5) and exercise roles of leadership in the mission (Rom. 16.1-7); Phil. 4.2-3). Whatever we may think in retrospect about the adequacy of Paul’s implementation of the vision articulated in the formula, it is hard to deny that he believed the church to be a new community brought into being by the power of God’s grace in which old social inequalities were being overturned and transformed. (see also I Cor. 1.18-31). 11.278

[31] Wisdom 7.21-23, 25-26

[32] Wisdom 10.1

[33] Revelation of St. John 12.1

[34] An ancient interpretation now gone by the way-side, although there is still a “minority opinion” that sees in this imagery a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary rather than the Church, or at least both. For example, many in the Eastern Orthodox tradition still give this passage a Marian interpretation. Cf. “Mary as the Queen of Heaven,” found at The Orthodox Faith as accessed on May 27, 2015

[35] Another interesting note, this time anthropological: “Interestingly, women, it seems, were not simply objects for their male counterparts to own and dominate, nor were they helpless slaves relying on the food supplied by men, quite the contrary in fact. Men relied on women in many of these cultures just as much if not more than women relied on them. The evidence shows that in most cases the food consumed by males and females, the positions held by males and females, the attitudes towards both males and females as well as expectations and behavior during day-to-day life and even the treatment after death of both males and females was virtually indistinguishable save a few carved mementos displaying an adoration and appreciation of women alone proving that modern cultures may be more than a bit misguided when it comes to the nature of gender separations…

“With all of the evidence gathered from unrelated cultures spanning thousands of years and thousands of miles it is difficult to ignore the fact that women in prehistoric time were regarded as highly as men and were most certainly honored as such. As anthropologists, historians and scientists continue to uncover new evidence we must ask ourselves if our current perceptions of gender divisions truly serve any purpose. The idea that this is how it has always been is definitely dispelled without question. So how then can we continue to justify the persisting misguided version of the past as natural? The truth is, we cannot nor should we. The time has come to put aside all previous, widely held perceptions of cultural diversions, specifically gender based theories, the time has come for our culture to move forward by looking to the past. Our ancient ancestors understood that men and women alike where intricate parts of society, culture, and ultimately survival each relying on the other for support in a variety of capacities, which is why their day-to-day lives in all aspects were virtually indistinguishable as they should be still.” Myranda Grecinger, “Status of Women in Prehistoric Communities: The Start of the Division of Labor,” on HubPages as accessed May 26, 2015

[36] At least a nod to the possibility of open theism…

[37] “Many women are expressing now more bluntly how they see themselves subtly but effectively ignored or stereotyped by the ecclesiastical establishment. Certainly this is not true of all women, but the wide extent of this fact cannot be ignored.” Michael A. Fahey, “Church,” Systematic Theology: Roman Catholic Perspectives, 2.10; also an interesting historical-background read is Ordination of Women to the Diaconate in the Eastern Churches, by Cipriano Vagaggini (Liturgical Press, 2013)

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