Faces on Faith: GOD’S mothering love
In l888, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, first used the term Father-Mother to describe God. A few ancient mystics and theologians sometimes referred to God as Mother, but Christian Science was the first religion to incorporate God’s Motherhood as part of the weekly service. In the Lord’s Prayer, which begins: “Our Father, which art in heaven” – Eddy’s spiritual interpretation continues with: “Father-Mother, God, all harmonious.”
In her seminal work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Eddy makes numerous references to God as Father-Mother. On Page 332, she writes: “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation.” On Page 276: “Love, the divine Principle, is the Father and Mother of the universe, including man.” Again on Page 335: “Mind is the divine Principle Love, and can produce nothing unlike the eternal Father-Mother God.”
One hundred twenty-five years after Eddy’s reference to God as Mother, Trudy M. Beyak draws a similar conclusion in her 20l3 book “The Mother Heart of God: Unveiling the Mystery of the Father’s Maternal Love.” Beyak, a committed Christian and investigative journalist, wrote: “Since the God of all grace made men and women to mirror who He is, there are compelling logical reasons to conclude that His nature is not exclusively masculine.” Her ambitious work drove her to interview 50 Bible scholars, as well as to research the Scriptures. She wonders why the gender of God has become suddenly relevant today.
Among the people she interviewed was William Paul Young, who suggests that “God delights in shaking up our religious stereotypes, breaking all the past rules. For many men it’s like the whole universe shifts in realizing God’s mothering love is real.”
Love is a universally accepted synonym for God in every major religion, so it shouldn’t be such a leap to accept that love – Divine Love – which implies a tender, caring, nurturing, compassionate God, could be feminine, as well as masculine, therefore the infinite, divine Father-Mother.
June Sieber is affiliated with the Sanibel Christian Science Church.