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Why is God a He?

January 24th, 2013

The other day I was asked (well, not me particularly; it was a rhetorical question, made to the group, but still), “Why is God always ‘He’?  Why does god have to be masculine?”

Good question, and one with an answer.  Or many answers.

The sun was no doubt the first thing to be worshipped.  And rightly so, as we depend so much upon the sun: for heat, for light, to make our food grow, to power our solar cells… And the sun has always been represented  as masculine.  In Taoism, the sun is yang, the moon is yin; brightness versus dimness, hot versus cold.  In languages where nouns have gender, the sun is masculine: il sole, el sol, le soleil.  Even in English until about the seventeenth century, the sun was masculine.  Shakespeare, “the sun his glory, the moon her circl’d orb.”  The moon is Diana, the sun Ra, Helios, Apollo.

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