Amy Thinks Deep

philosophy for the curious soul 

The Temporary Image of God as a Male Authority Figure

Do you ever wonder how God became a male authority figure? In the Bible, and even into today’s religious teachings, God is usually revered as a male figure. Up until recently, this was never questioned or talked about. 

I hope I don’t burst your bubble too much when I say that God has no gender. God is actually neither male nor female, yet possesses qualities and characteristics from both masculine and feminine gender roles. (Masculine and feminine qualities are usually behaviors that are expressed by neurochemical activity; however, divine masculine and divine feminine characteristics are pure forms that are not dependent on anything except spiritual concepts.)

So let’s take a look at how God became a prominent masculine figure.

Prior to the great Exodus (the Israelites escaping Egypt), God was known to each man - a priesthood was not established yet, so no religious authority was present to conduct a “religion.” Due to generational blindness (or whatever you want to call it) the Israelites, over several generations, fell into a trap of slavery under the Egyptian government and rule.

Much like the Alexandrian Empire or the later Roman Empire, the Egyptian Empire ruled over a great expanse of the Eastern world. The Egyptian culture, religion, trade/commerce, and more was governed by Pharaoh, the ultimate authority to anyone who lived among them. Israelites were deemed, used, and treated as a lower class of slaves. This oppression and trauma was held over them for hundreds of years, lasting for multiple generations. Though initially tolerated when Jacob/Israel brought his clan into Egypt to live freely among the Egyptians, the Israelite religion (remember, though, it wasn't a religion then; it was a way of life) evolved over the hundreds of years to become unimportant, and eventually the God-relationship that each Israelite had diminished and was unimportant. 

As generations evolved, the younger children became more and more enmeshed with Egyptian religion, taking on habitual beliefs and practices that evolved around Egyptian perspectives. After many generations, the Israelite God gradually became more unknown and unfamiliar, having Egyptian spiritual figures, like Ra, become prominent. 

Once their Hebraic connection and relationship with God merely vanished among the whole tribe of Israel, God connected with a particular individual, biologically an Israelite, but raised in the courts of Egyptians - you may have heard of him. His name was Moses. God chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of this spiritually traumatic place and restore their God connection. However, due to the way humans develop, this wouldn't be instant. 

Before restoring individual relationships with each person, God chose to carefully go about this in such a way that the perspectives of the religiously traumatized Israelites were unknowingly already familiar with. Through the heavy years of oppression and dictatorship from Pharaoh and his religious perspectives, the Israelites fed their spiritual views through Egyptian perspective, possibly even their spirituality too. 

So many people learn about religious figures or ways of spirituality through social means. The Egyptians prominent social and political figure of authority was Pharaoh. Through centuries of having one prominent authority figure, the most reasonable means of reconnecting with His people was for God to make Himself  known as a prominent authority figure. In times right after the Exodus, God established a priesthood whose responsibilities fell only in the direct descendant line of Levi (the biological family line of Moses). This established God as a familiar authority figure to the whole tribe of Israel. This model developed over time, beginning with one prominent authority figure (Moses, the Egyptian developing into Moses, the Israelite), to a few prominent authority figures (prophets, judges, kings, priests), and eventually God began establishing more direct relationships with more and more people (disciples, authors, teachers, preachers). Most recently, God is known more casually (less authoritative) through the relationships of missionaries, pastors, and even more individuals. 

Among the Exodus times, females were not revered as they are today. Females’ identities were found through their father or husband; furthermore, they were their male figure’s property. Men literally paid to have someone’s daughter in marriage. As one can see, from this time, males were the only humans to operate a living, social system. God chose to become familiar to the Israelite's perspective, thus why God appeared as a prominent, mysterious, male authority figure so that he could heal the individual’s perspective. 

Psychologists will agree that however long the trauma or abuse lasts, expect healing to take multiple times longer. Several generations after the Exodus, the Israelites were still healing. Even thousands of years later, worldwide, a masculine figure is how many religious connect with and revere God. Just recently have the Judeo-religions evolved and healed to incorporate even more abstract ideas and connections with the Divine God. Now, as prophesied by Jesus, the kingdom of God lives within each man, if they choose to connect with God in this way, and the presence of God has, over many generations, become a personal figure for each person.

Perhaps this is why, today, we have so many evolved individualistic perspectives of God as a divine being and our relationship to this Creator. As the male authority figure is slipping away, individuals perspectives are healing and opening to the more abstract concept of God and divinity as a genderless being. What is more, gender is a character that actually gets in the way of conceiving God or having spiritual relationship with this divine Being.

Though God is unchanging, our perspective of this spiritual Being is changing. It takes on many perspectives through time, showcasing spiritual curiosity; it takes each individual to a level of personal discovery, reestablishing that primal relationship with Something of spiritual importance. If religious trauma were to happen again, God would reappear as necessary in order to reestablish human connection with the Divine. As such, there are many perspectives and definitions of God. Each is individualistic to their own perspective and how they view authority figures - that is, if the individual perceives spiritual beings as authority.

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