Life seems to be a marathon search for God, a search that never ends, but rather continues unrelenting in the soul. It is no secret to realize that the soul has need of God. Or perhaps it’s better that I speak for myself: My soul has need of God.
But the God I need is not the “God of our Fathers.” That God is not big enough, complete enough, for me. I long for another presence of God in my soul. I long for a God that I can experience as both father and mother.
In my defense, there are hints throughout early Christianity and in Holy Scripture that God transcends “male” and “female.”
In Genesis, for example, women and men are created in the “Imago Dei,” image of God, which suggests that God transcends socially constructed notions of gender.
In the oracles of the eighth century prophet Isaiah, God is described as a woman in labor and a mother comforting her children.
And the Book of Proverbs maintains that the feminine figure of Holy Wisdom, Sophia, assisted God during the creation of the world.
Clearly, limiting God to masculine pronouns and imagery limits the countless religious experiences of billions of Christians throughout the world.It is probably best that we heed the words and warning of bishop Augustine, who once said, “si comprehendis non est Deus.”
If you have understood, then what you have understood is not God.
But getting back to my own search for God . . . In the over-used saying about “searching in all the wrong places,” we might find more truth than we expect. God as male; God as female; God as Spirit. Does it really matter so much? Regardless of our God image, we all search.
Some people search the heavens to find God, studying the constellations for a glimpse of the Divine. Others are certain that they find God in nature. Others scour the Scripture for God. Others are convinced that their own devout meditation and prayer will reveal God. Still others count on the religious rites and sacraments of their faith traditions.
The reality is that God seems to be nowhere and everywhere, waiting for me to find my own unique way of connecting. In the end, it is likely that I will not find God through my search, but rather come to the deep conviction that God was never lost to me in the first place. Saint Teresa of Avila may well have said the truest, purest words on this idea of searching for God.
We need no wings to go in search of God, but have only to look upon God present within us.
— Saint Teresa of Avila