Do you think God is male? Think again.
If we go back to the original words spoken by Jesus Christ, God was not male; God was “Abba” or parent – non-gender specific.
God is not male. The world needs to accept that. And soon. Because the belief that God is male has caused more tragedy on our planet than perhaps any other notion.
Women are still struggling their way up from the subjugation caused by this male-oriented concept.
After spousal/child/animal abuse and bullying, nothing gets me more upset than hearing God referred to as “He.”
“The Lord’s Prayer” is a particular pet peeve of mine because it is not even close to what Jesus Christ would have said.
Before you get upset with me and stop reading, hear me out. My evidence goes back to the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus Christ.
The impact on women
In the U.S., we’ve come a long way from the days when women were considered the property of their husbands. After long struggles, we gained the right to vote, drive, own property of our own, and have moved into previously male-only careers.
Our progress was hampered by the notion that God is a male and, therefore, women are inferior.
It’s particularly ingrained in the United States where we have never had a female president. In England, where rule is hereditary, women were monarchs but it was believed that they could only rule if they married and had a husband’s counsel to guide them!
All the English queens except Elizabeth I bought into that, and she ruled quite well without a husband.
It’s so ingrained in modern culture and consciousness that most women don’t even think twice about changing their name to their husband’s when they marry, even though this custom harks back to the time women were considered their husband’s property.
For those married women who have retained their birth names, I salute you.
Native languages and God as a Male
Native Americans originally viewed the Creator above and Earth Mother below as an equal partnership responsible for the existence of life on earth. The Earth Mother was equally revered.
It wasn’t until the missionaries came along and taught that God was male that God as “He” entered their consciousness and language.
The problems with translations
Translation from one language to another is always a tricky business. Each language grew out of the culture, history and geography of the people who speak it.
In fact language is such a reflection of the culture that one of the first things conquering nations will do to subjugate their victims is to forbid them to speak their own language.
In that way, their identity and history will die off. Hence, the phrase “kill the language, kill the culture.”
This was, in particular, the fate of most indigenous peoples conquered by Europeans throughout history. Many, many languages were lost. And those native people are now working hard to bring their original languages back.
Here is an example of language as a reflection of a culture and the difficulties of translation:
When the missionaries were attempting to convert the plains Indians of North America to Christianity, they taught the prayer familiar to most Christians: “Oh, lamb of God, have mercy on us sinners.”
But the Plains Indians had no sheep, and no words for “sin” or “mercy.” So in their language, the prayer came out like this:
“Oh, little baby billy goat, come on over here and look at this fool; and have pity on him.”
Loses something, doesn’t it?
So you can see the problem; it’s not always possible to have an accurate translation from one language to another.
Which leads me to Aramaic, Greek and English.
The Aramaic words of Jesus Christ
There is no dispute that Jesus Christ and his followers spoke the Aramaic language 2000 years ago.
Most New Testament translations went from Aramaic to Greek then underwent further translations from there.
Aramaic is a rich and textured language, and each word presents several possible translations, including metaphysical meanings. Biblical translations into Greek couldn’t do it justice; the poetic language of Aramaic, with many layers of meaning, became overly literal and misinterpreted.
And words were added that did not exist in Aramaic.
Many terms attributed to Christ in the Bible would have been unknown to him: sinner, sin, devil, heaven, hell and even referring to God as Father.
Here are examples of words from the New Testament and their original meaning in Aramaic:
Kingdom: The Great Mother
Heaven: The universe, or the kingdom within us, the sky, the furthest extent of anything. Sacred vibration that vibrates without limit through the entire cosmos.
Daily bread: Nourishment of all kinds
Father: Abba, meaning parent or ancestor
Sinner: one who is off the mark, unripe
Sin: Error, failure, mistake
Satan: Adversary, that which causes one to go astray
Hell: There is no comparable word in Aramaic
Evil: Unripe; not the right time or place
Spirit: Breath, air, wind. Therefore, “Holy Spirit” can mean “Holy Breath.”
So you can see the problem with translation from Aramaic.
Aramaic Lord’s Prayer
Because of the richness of the Aramaic language, there are many possible interpretations of The Lord’s Prayer. Here is the translation I find most meaningful:
Father Mother of the Cosmos
Thou of the shimmering soul
Unite our minds
Let all wills move
In love through the vortex of light and sound
Help us fulfill
What lies within
And circle our lives
With love for one another
You are the vital force
Sustaining all life
From you is born
It’s beautiful, and soft, and even feminine. Quite different than what’s been handed down to us. I think it’s time we adopted this version. And realize God is not a male; God is everything.
Note: Much of the source for this post came from Prayers of the Cosmos: Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus
by Neil Douglas-Klotz
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com