Representative Eric Swalwell has drawn a little attention from an incidental remark wherein he referred to God using the pronoun ‘herself.’ This sort of blasphemy is not surprising on the cultural left–and blasphemy it is, to willfully feminize God, who has always revealed Himself in masculine pronouns–but it is an instructive reminder of what lies at the bottom of the sexual revolution. This ideology is not, at the last, about freedom or love or individuality; it is about idolatry.
It’s easy to see the sort of logic that might push someone on the religious left towards feminized deity: it’s all about power dynamics, and deity is seen as the highest glass ceiling. How can any woman really get to the top if, ultimately, He is at the top? So feminist theology has, for some now, pursued the quest for a goddess. We see this in academia, in iconography, and, as in the present case, in popular culture.
This is all part of the project of self-actualization, self-centering of the sexual revolution. All obstacles to our freedom are to be abolished. With abortion, it manifests in the denial of responsibility for the life of the child which impinges on our freedom; with divorce, denial of the covenantal union which threatens to make us for-another and united-with-another instead of with and for ourselves; with promiscuity the barriers to self-centering are obvious, and so also with the whole LGBTQ+ alphabet. But feminism, remarkably enough, is what takes the project to its fullest extent.
By feminism, of course, I do not mean what feminism might have once meant (and still touches on in some ways): contending for the simple truth that women are fully human, equal in value and dignity, responsible moral agents. By feminism, I mean what mainstream feminism now is and has long been: a project of revolt against God’s good design for man and woman. In this sense, it is an arm of the sexual revolution, and plays a major role in the revolution’s cultural advance.
But a revolution revolts against some authority or power. Who is the sexual revolution in revolt against? Not ultimately, as its footsoldiers might believe, oppressive patriarchy or antiquated norms. It is in revolt against God, who created man and woman, who created human sexuality, and who has established its nature, purpose, and the good boundaries that allow for true freedom and flourishing. The sexual revolution is merely one particularly consuming aspect of mankind’s rebellion against the maker–and we see this, in stark clarity, with the feminist attempt to feminize God. For while the sexual revolution in its manifold aspects attacks the dignity and identity of men made in the image of God, this final expression of feminism goes after the God in whose image we are made.
All of this is sobering to observe. But do not lose heart. There is good news–very much, very good news.
In the first place, God is invincible. He cannot be disfigured. In His great forbearance, He permits blasphemy for awhile, but idolaters cannot tarnish the glory of the Holy One. God will vindicate His honor, in His time; at the last, every knee shall bend, every mouth declare the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
In the second place, God does forbear, and idolaters of every sort are invited to receive the amnesty of the Almighty. By faith in Jesus Christ, those who scorn God now may yet come to know Him as Father, and the wonderful privilege of adoption as His children. It is not too late.
A fundamental choice is laid before all of us, a call to repentance, with the wonderful promise of restoration, redemption, and resurrection. We may know God–not just abstractly, but personally; not just as the Father, but as our Father. But we may only know God on His terms, not on our own. We may only know Him as He has revealed Himself–as He truly is, not as we would have Him be.
Knowing Him a He truly is, we also come to know ourselves as we truly are, and in sanctification we embrace the selves that He has called, and empowered us, to be. This self is not self-centered but Christ-centered, renewed in the image of the Creator. There, unsurprisingly, lies the secret of creaturely joy.