Two Major Universities Seek to Illuminate Gender References in Describing the Divine

Duke University Chapel is located on the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and seats 1800 people.

It is hard for us to understand God and the very person of God is a difficult topic for many. We have to understand that we have a very large obstacle. This obstacle is the very way in which we communicate.

We deal with language and communicate concepts through words. This is a limitation in many ways. With this said, we are given precepts and truths about the Divine Creator in ways that are limited.

But, if God has revealed Himself as a Him, do we have the right or prerogative to change that pronoun? Is it okay, for the sake of others to refer to God as something other than what has been revealed to us?

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Two mainstream schools seem to think so.

Heat Street reports

duke-div-school-carving-375x281Guidelines at two top U.S. divinity schools have recommended professors use “inclusive” gender-neutral language—including for God, according to documents from both Duke and Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt’s 2016-2017 catalog says the divinity school “commits continuously and explicitly to include gender as an analyzed category and to mitigate sexism” in its teachings. “This includes consistent attention to the use of inclusive language, especially in relation to the Divine,” the divinity school catalog says.

“Referring to God in gender-neutral language can sound clumsy,” the Duke guidelines say, “but this is largely due to the fact that we are in a transitional period with our use of language. Imagination, patience, and diligence are required in order to use language that expands and enriches our understanding of God.”

The problem is not in the language and not in the revelation. The problem is not that we are transitioning. The problem is that these professors and their students believe that they are the final authority on God.

These foolish people believe that they are able to change the way God is described because human thinking and social norms change. But God says that He never changes. Mal. 3:6

“For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

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