God is gender neutral, says the Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks during a service of thanksgiving for Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday

God is a gender neutral being, according to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

During a lecture on Wednesday (November 21) at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London’s Trafalgar Square, the Archbishop responded to an attendee who asked about God as a father by saying that “God is not male or female,” according to The Times.

Welby, who said last year that boys wearing dresses to school was “not a problem,” explained that “all human language about God is inadequate and to some degree metaphorical.

The Creation of Adam, by Michelangelo, shows God as a man

God is gender neutral in Catholicism and Protestantism, despite male depictions (Public Domain)

“We can’t pin God down”

— Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

“God is not a father in exactly the same way as a human being is a father. God is not male or female. God is not definable,” continued the Archbishop.

“It is extraordinarily important as Christians that we remember that the definitive revelation of who God is was not in words, but in the word of God who we call Jesus Christ. We can’t pin God down.”

Is God gender neutral in Christianity?

Both the Protestant and Catholic Churches already approve of this gender neutral way of viewing God.

In the Church of England’s guiding Articles of Religion, a document which dates back to 1562, God is defined as being “without body, parts, or passions.”

This description portrays God as a gender neutral being—as well as one without a sexuality—in a uniformly positive way, going on in the same sentence to praise the deity’s “wisdom and goodness.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby speaks at a National Holocaust Memorial Day event in 2017

The Archbishop of Canterbury said that “God is not male or female. God is not definable” (Jack Taylor/Getty)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that God can be compared to a father or a mother, but should not be seen as literally being either.

“God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood,” it reads, before warning that “human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood.

“We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God.

“He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no-one is father as God is Father.”

Clergy and celebrities agree: God is not male

Ariana Grande performs "God Is a Woman" at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards

Ariana Grande released her song “God Is a Woman” earlier this year (Michael Loccisano/Getty)

Last year, the Church of Sweden advised its clergy to stop referring to God with male pronouns.

Sweden’s national church, an Evangelical Lutheran denomination, made the switch as part of a modernisation push which called on leaders to drop male identifiers such as “he,” “Father” and “the Lord.”

Instead of using the phrase “the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” during church services, clergy were urged to say: “God and the Holy Trinity.”

US pop sensation Ariana Grande also addressed the gender imbalance in the way that many religions see God as male by releasing her song “God Is a Woman” earlier this year, with a video that featured Madonna playing the part of God.