It’s a pity human language doesn’t have an appropriate gender-free pronoun that we could use when referring to God. As it is, God has to be either “he” or “she,” because He can’t very well be “it.”
The metaphors for God that we are accustomed to come from Scriptures that were mediated through partriarchial societies. So God is a “king” and a “father,” rather than a “queen” and a “mother.” Careful study of the Scriptures of course show that God is often described in feminine terms as well, but the undeniable fact is that most of the language we use to describe God makes it sound as if we are describing a man, albeit a Superman.
But if the character and characteristics of God were described to someone with absolutely no prior conditioning on the subject, to which gender might he/she/it be assigned?
We began teaching our son Will to say his prayers at bedtime even before he could talk, and I prayed with him every night I was home to do so. It would have never occured to me that he might be confused about God’s gender. But once he began talking, Will referred to God as “she,” rather than “he.”
It was amusing, but it made me think. Will understood that God loved him, cared for him, protected him, kept him secure, provided his food, etc. I assume that in his mind, those were the things he knew that his mother did for him. So he concluded that God was mother-like. And therefore God was “she.”
Maybe that should have hurt my feelings. But it didn’t. I loved it. God is love. And what greater love is there than the love a mother shows a child?
It didn’t last of course. The conventional male God-images quickly crowded out his innocent image of the motherly female God.
But I think it’s good to remember at times that while God is definitely our Father, she’s our Mother too.