Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
The WMSCOG says that since "God created man in his own image" and there are both male and female humans, then there must be two "Gods"--a God of the male image ("God the Father") and a God of the female image ("God the Mother").
I've already shown that the Hebrew word Elohim used here does not indicate that there are plural "Gods" creating the human race (see my study on Elohim, part 1, part 2, and part 3). If it did, then "said" and "created" would also have also be plural verbs, but they are singular. Plus, it would have said "their own image" and "they created," but those pronouns are singular also.
But besides that, what about gender--does God have a gender? Is God male or female, neither or both? And is that what being made "in his image" is about?
The questions below in red are what came to mind through this study.
If humans are created in God's image, does that mean God has a body like ours?
No, God is spirit, not flesh like us humans. (Yes, Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, but we're talking about the overall nature of God.)
John 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
The Bible talks about "spiritual bodies," but they are different than our earthly bodies, so we cannot say that God's image is a body like ours. (1 Corinthians 15:40,44)
Is there any place for the differences between the genders in the spirit realm?
These two verses would indicate no:
Mark 12:25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
God is referred to as "He" throughout the Bible. Does that mean He is male?
No, not necessarily. All nouns in Hebrew are either feminine or masculine. There are no neutral nouns (it). Everything is a "he" or a "she," even the door, the rock, and the fence. It's interesting to note that while Hebrew nouns for "God" are grammatically masculine, the Hebrew word for God's "Spirit" is grammatically feminine. It's not possible in Hebrew to refer to God as gender-neutral, so there is still the possibility that He is neither male nor female (or that He is both at once).
How about the masculine images of God that we see in the Bible--the Father and the Son, and even the Bridegroom? Does that mean He's male?
There are some feminine images of God too. They appear less often, but they are there. For example, God is pictured as a mother (Isaiah 49:14-15, 66:13), a woman in labor (Isaiah 42:24), having a womb and giving birth (Job 38:29, Deuteronomy 32:18)...
Then there is "El Shaddai" -- This Hebrew title of God means "The All Sufficient God" and is usually translated "God Almighty." It comes from the word "shad" which means "breast." So it describes God's sufficiency like a mother who is able to provide all the nourishment her new baby needs. It's used 48 times. Here it is in Genesis 17:1
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God [El-Shaddai]; walk before Me and be blameless."
So is this proof that there is "God the Mother" as well as "God the Father" just as the WMSCOG teaches?
No. If you look more carefully, those verses that show God in a feminine light refer to the LORD, which is YHWH, or Jehovah. The WMSCOG teaches that Jehovah is "Father God" and not "Mother God." So these verses are NOT referring to their separate "Mother God." Instead they describe feminine traits of Jehovah.
Then, is God both male and female at the same time, since He is pictured sometimes as male and sometimes as female?
No, not exactly. He is also pictured as a...
lion (Jeremiah 35:28 and 50:44)
bear (Lamentations 3:10 and Hosea 13:8)
hen (Matthew 23:37 / Luke 13:34)
rock (Deuteronomy 32:18 and 2 Samuel 22:47)
fire (Deuteronomy 4:24)
dove (John 1:32)
God is pictured as having hands (Exodus 33:22-23), feet (Isaiah 66:1; Nahum 1:3), and eyes (2 Chronicles 16:9), but also wings and feathers (Psalm 63:7 and 91:4).
Is God literally all of these things? Then neither must He be literally male or female.
All of these descriptions of God are literary devices (anthropomorphisms or personifications) to show God to us in a way we can understand.
I will conclude with a quote from a dear family friend, who is a Bible scholar, former pastor, and missionary worker. (Thank you, Brother, for your guidance with this study.)
"Being made in the image of God has nothing to do with gender or flesh, but that man and woman were made in the likeness of God's morality (holiness without sin), socially made to have fellowship both with God and man (remember God came seeking Adam and Eve in the garden to walk with them) and mentally able to make decisions and choices, reason and love all of which separated man and woman from the animal kingdom."
For more information about God as male or female, please read The Image of God here.