By Tyson Thorne

February 19, 2021

GMM Large

One of the things we learn from Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well is that Jesus considers conversations about God to be second to nothing else. The story is found in John chapter four. Jesus is alone sitting near a well at around noon. The disciples have been sent into town to buy supplies and food. A Samaritan woman comes to the well at the hottest part of the day -- presumably to avoid having to run into other people -- when she comes across Jesus who strikes up a conversation with her.

He begins by asking the woman for a drink of water. She asks him a question, which he answers in a single sentence. She asks another question, in a long-winded sort of way, and again Jesus answers with a short, two sentence (in English) answer. She makes a request, and Jesus answers curtly again. She makes a statement and Jesus replies that he knows all about her troubles in a succinct manner. She then makes a statement about worshiping God, and suddenly Jesus launches into a diatribe!

Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not know. We worship what we know because salvation is from the Jews. But a time is coming—and now is here—when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such people to be his worshipers. God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Properly understanding God is of paramount importance to Jesus. Even though Jesus is God, talking about himself is secondary to talking about the Father. Again, understanding the nature of God is particularly important and cannot be stated firmly enough. So you can imagine my surprise when Representative Erik Swalwell referred to God as “herself”.

The context of his remark is unimportant, but for the record he was talking about the second attempt to impeach past president Donald Trump. He was bemoaning the fact that not even God could convince Republicans to convict the President, saying, “So we could have called God herself, and the Republicans weren’t going to be willing to convict, so we’re proud of the case we have put forward.”

I don’t know what Swalwell claims to be, if he claims to be a Christian or something else. I do know he is married and cheated on his wife with a Chinese spy, so we are not talking about a moral compass. Even so, a cursory examination of the Bible makes clear that God never refers to Himself as a female, always male. There is God the Father (“fathers” are men), Jesus the only Son of God (sons too are men), and the Holy Spirit is always referred to as a “him” or “he” (see John 15.26 for one powerful example). In short, throughout Scripture -- which is not simply a book about God but the actual Word of God -- he never refers to himself as “she” or with a feminine name. This is not a cultural phenomenon, this is purposeful. God identifies himself as masculine, not feminine.

Why is this important? Because if we misunderstand the nature of God, we misunderstand who God is; when we misunderstand who God is, we end up making God in our own image – and that is no God at all. Which brings me back to Swalwell, who I do not know but strongly believe does not know God at all. After all, if God is not ambiguous about his gender (he describes himself as the Father, the King, and the Son) why wouldn’t Swalwell get this right? He get’s it wrong because he does not read this site. For a complete discussion of God and gender, see our previous article located here.

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