God is not a policeman
Thoughts on a meme
I saw a meme which said, “God is not a policeman, God is a fireman.” I thought that cannot be right. I do not think either of them is a good analogy. Then I thought, “If God is neither a policeman or fireman, then what is he? But even the question “What is he?” has problems. What is God?
But first, a look at why I think the meme was wrong. Why God is neither a policeman or fireman.
Upholder of the law?
A policeman is someone who upholds the law. His job is to catch criminals, but also to enforce other rules such as keeping drivers to the speed limit. A policeman is also a protector of people. Crime prevention is part of their job, as is being called out to mediate in domestic disputes to make sure people are not harmed.
Some talk as if God is a policeman, his job is to enforce the rules. To arrest the bad. The trouble I have in believing in this is that it does not ring true to how I relate to God. There are times when I would love a policeman God when I feel a victim, an autistic person in a neurotypical world, a disabled person in aa able bodies world, a chronically ill person in a world full of well people. (I am using person language here because that is how I feel in my darker moods: A victim.) I would love a policeman God to sort out the injustice of an unfair world and bring fairness. Fairness so that there was no longer any need for women’s rights, gay rights, transgender rights, mental health rights, workers rights and the rest. That does not happen. God is not a policeman, it is not God’s place to do this. That is our job given to us by God and we are blame shifting from ourselves onto God if we blame God for not doing it.
But being a Christian is not fire insurance. We are saved from Hell, yes but that is yet to come. What I am saved from in my daily life is myself. The thing inside me that causes me to hurt others, even if I hate doing them but can’t help myself is made null and void by the cross of Jesus Christ. I am in Christ, and so as far as the law, God’s rules, is concerned I am dead. The law no longer has power over me. In Jesus Christ, I am dead and raised to a new life.
There are people who preach Hell as if God wants to frighten people into his kingdom when God has in fact shown his love for people in the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ. There was one such preacher in the city centre when I worked in Leeds. With a face screwed up in hate and a Bible open, he would tell people the bad news that they were going to Hell. Did he even know about God’s love?
A phrase I have heard recently and has stuck with me: If God hates the same people that you hate it is a sign that you have made God in your own image. God does not wish to condemn anyone.
What is he?
My own question is wrong too. I have spent over a year looking at the many names of God. Not all of them are masculine. I am not going so far as to say that God is feminine, although the Holy Spirit has feminine pronouns in Hebrew, neither is God male. Jesus was God incarnate as human and male and referred to his Father and our Father, but not all attributes of God are masculine. Jesus said we were to be born again of God. The last time I checked people were born of women, God has feminine attributes too.
God is a midwife
The blessings of the breast and the womb come from God, says Genesis 49:25. Does this sound like a male God? We are born again of God, God gives suck to us and nurtures us. God is Mother as well as Father.
People in ancient times looked on God as being a midwife. Midwives were double maternal, women who had children of their own who had passed the age of childbearing and helped other women in childbirth. Psalm 22:9-10 says:
Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb, you have been my God.
Breasts and womb are feminine attributes and there is an intertwining of mother and God here, in a psalm that is used as foretelling the crucifixion of Jesus. If the attributes of God include the feminine and in Jesus is the fullness of God we should not be surprised of the prophetic passages about Jesus including the feminine. Sadly we often are. God is not only male in the Bible but female as well. When God made mankind in his image he made them male and female. Both are in the image of God.
God is less about making us obey laws or quenching Hell than he is about creating new life in use and nurturing us.
God is Mother is in the Bible, let us praise her.