A BBC article has addressed the new movement in the Church of England to refer to God as “She” as well as “He”.
This anthropomorphism of God outdates Christianity by many years, and as some Theology applicants will know, Hindus celebrated the female Gods well before the birth of Jesus. The difference in the perception of God and gender varies greatly throughout the world, and HSPS applicants should investigate the trend for God’s ‘maleness’ to align with liturgy in predominantly English-speaking countries.
There are examples in Theological history that outline where God has been described as “mother” and even more commonly, where the Holy spirit is referred to as female. However, since the 1980s there has been an increase in the number of terms that have been used to describe God, particularly in terms of gender. Mary Daly, the famous feminist theologian commented “If God is male, then Male is God”, arguing that giving God a gender inherently assigns value to men above women. Linguistics applicants should explore further on how gendered language impacts upon how different societies perceive men and women.
In the St James Bible, God is referred to with a neutral gender in places, and many churches are moving away from the masculinity of the liturgy describing God to more feminine or neutral descriptions. Theology applicants should consider how this potential change in perception will affect the study of Biblical texts and Christianity itself.