The Gospel of John is remarkably different from the other gospels. It states that Christians are born of God (John 1:12-13). The first letter of John contains similar statements (1 John 2:29, 1 John 3:9, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 5:1, 1 John 5:4, 1 John 5:18). Men cannot give birth so God could be a Mother. It appears that the gender of God may have been modified in this text. That raises an obvious question. If the early church leaders went to great lengths to remove all the evidence of God being a Mother then how could they have overlooked this? The answer is probably that they did not.
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The Gospels were written in Greek and the ancient Eastern Mediterranean was infused with Greek culture. Greek thought affected the way Jews looked at their religion. In Greek mythology, the goddess of wisdom Athena was born from the head of the male god Zeus. Jesus is referred to as ‘godhead’ in some of the letters of the Church Fathers (Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, Colossians 2:9). In modern translations, this is lost. According to the Church Fathers, Jesus is the head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22) and the Church is Jesus’ body (Colossians 1:24). It is a strange idea that begs for an explanation.
When the Church Fathers changed the gender of God, they may initially have used the Zeus and Athena analogy to make Jesus born of the Father. The head of their construct was then Jesus while the body was the Father. That probably seemed inappropriate so that the Church became Jesus’ body instead. The Church may have become a substitute for God, and this substitution may also have been applied to Jesus’ marriage. That may be the reason why Christianity teaches that Jesus is the bridegroom of the Church.
There may be more to the phrase born of God than the spiritual meaning Christians give it. If you are already born, you have to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. When arguing with Jesus, the Pharisee Nicodemus noted that you cannot enter a second time into your mother’s womb to be born again (John 3:4). Nicodemus may have correctly understood what Jesus meant, which is that Christians are figuratively born of God’s womb. Jesus then gave it a spiritual interpretation with his answer, ‘No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.’ (John 3:5)
More evidence that God is a Mother can be found in the Odes Of Solomon. Ode 19 comes with the following lines:
A cup of milk was offered to me: and I drank it in the sweetness of the delight of the Lord.
The Son is the cup, and He who was milked is the Father.
And the Holy Spirit milked Him: because His breasts were full, and it was necessary for Him that His milk should be sufficiently released.
And the Holy Spirit opened His bosom and mingled the milk from the two breasts of the Father, and gave the mixture to the world without their knowledge.1
It is an old Christian text already circulating around 100 AD. Therefore, it probably was older. There are no other ancient Christian texts mentioning gender-related attributes of God. Here, God is definitely depicted as having female physical characteristics despite being called Father. It is hard to imagine that early Christians made this up without believing that God is a Mother. And therefore, God most likely was a Mother before the gender of God was changed in this text.
Featured image: Bible: Only God Knows What Jesus Really Said. Loesje.org.
1. The Lost Bible: Forgotten Scriptures Revealed. J.R. Porter (2001).