I am Liz’s husband, Dennis; a born-again evangelical Christian, who had resisted to take serious my wife’s research into extra-Biblical texts, until she told me something that stopped me in my theological tracks.
“You should know that the word “spirit” is a feminine noun in Hebrew.” she said. “So shouldn’t we refer to the Holy Spirit as a She instead of a He?”
I took this as a challenge to what I considered to be foundational truth, namely that the Bible was clear that the Holy Spirit was a He. In reality, what I soon discovered would launch my journey into the divine feminine.
What I first found were references to a document called “the Gospel to the Hebrews”, a text quoted in part by numerous church fathers, including Origen, Jerome, Eusibius and Clement of Alexandria. According to Origen, the Holy Spirit is called the Mother of Jesus in this now lost document. In one of his Commentaries Origen goes on to say “there is nothing absurd in the Holy Spirit being His (Jesus’s) Mother.”
Was there a concerted effort in the “Dark Ages” to suppress the notion of a divine feminine? Could this explain why only fractions of the Gospel to the Hebrews remain known today?
Then I learned about the Old Syriac Version of the Gospels, which dates back to the second century AD, making it older than the Latin Vulgate. In the Old Syriac Version, John 14:26 quotes Jesus as saying…
“…but that Spirit, the Paraclete that my Father will send to you in my name, She shall teach you everything. She shall remind you of all that I say.”Old Syriac Version, John 14:26
This led me to ask, “If we are born the first time by our earthly mother, does it not make sense that we are born-again the second time by our spiritual mother, the Holy Spirit?”
The name “Paraclete” is also translated as “Helper” or “Comforter.” These are feminine qualities. If a child is bullied, it is more likely he goes to his mother for comfort, than to his father. Jesus often went to a place of solitude to discuss things with his Father. Did He have similar discussions with His Mother, the Holy Spirit? Today, in church, it is common to hear someone pray out loud to the Father. The Lord’s prayer, in fact, begins with the salutation, “Our Father”. It is not uncommon in some churches for someone to pray out load to Jesus (Yashua). But supposing someone were to stand up in a conservative evangelical church on Sunday and start off a prayer like this: “Our Mother, Holy Spirit and Comforter, hallowed be thy name.” In most churches, this would create a most uncomfortable situation.
But my journey into the divine feminine continues.
Going back to Genesis, I recalled that human’s are made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). We are made “male and female”. This should suggest to us that the essence of God is male and female. Bear in mind that the name Elohim is in the plural tense in Genesis 1. Doesn’t this make room for a divine Father and Mother? Perhaps, this is why the Hebrews describe God in some of their Kabbalistic literature as Abba and Ema, or Hokhmah and Bina.
The clincher for me was a proclamation made by the angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary as described in Luke 1:31-35.
Gabriel said to Mary “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”Luke 1:31-35
Notice how the conception of Jesus (Yashua) involved the coming together of two divine entities: 1) the Holy Spirit and 2) the Most High. There you have it. The angel Gabriel was telling Mary that the divine Mother and divine Father would come together to conceive in her womb the divine Son!
Or maybe there’s another way to interpret this. If so, I’d like to hear it. Please respond.
Great joy and shalom along your journey…..