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Re: GOD AS 'HE' (fwd)

Feb 06, 1995 04:44 PM
by Dr. A.M.Bain

Forwarded message follows:

>Date: Mon Feb 06 22:20:40 1995

> I am thankful that the English language has a neuter gender, so
that (unlike the French and Italians) I can call God "IT" and not
have to create it in my own image, or yours.

In the Western tradition, which derives its concept of God mostly
from the Christian/Judaic model, the word "God" is English for
the (originally) Hebrew Jehovah, or YHWH.  (Okay, it's theos in
Greek, but the Greeks got this version from the Hebrews).  The
Hebrew noun YHWH is derived from the verb "to be" and as near as
can be translated is something along the lines of Being *per se*
or "Eternal Being." Many of the early church fathers, because of
this (and maybe not being English :)) spoke of deity as "The
Eternal" - often, granted, adding "blessed be *he*." But in a
patriarchal culture, that is to be expected - man makes Gid in
*his* own image.  Watch out for the women on this one - they are
on to it now [are you there Liesel?].  There are many studies in
progress which are addressing this unjustified description being
undertaken by women, and some men, although rarely, if ever,
among theosophists.  See my "I'm alright Jill ..." posted a while

Note that the above quote is from a different list, and so is not
a response to my posting to Armand.  The same opinion is likely
to be found on the church history mailing list to which I also

Part of the original translation problem is certainly due to the
fact that apart from patriarchal viewpoints which dominated
ancient Israelite thinking, Hebrew has only two gender its its
grammar.  Every noun is either he or she - no it.  In Hebrew, for
example, "Spirit" is always feminine, as is "Wisdom" and
"Understanding" and in its singular form ALHE (Elohe) the word
for god.  As kabbalists everywhere know, the word Elohim used for
God in Genesis and throughout the OT, is a feminine noun with a
masculine plural, and is said to represent the totally inclusive
nature of deity.

Not many people know that.
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