How do I “picture” God? As a believing child, I don’t remember giving any thought at all to what God looked like. Oh, perhaps some of the Sunday School pictures of Moses gave me an impression. But I knew Jesus as God, and Jesus loved me, the Bible told me so!
As I grew older, and especially as I became involved in feminism, I began to wrestle with what I heard other people saying about the ideas of God as gendered. To clarify my own understanding I first went to Scripture – and after reading the entire Bible several times I realized that God is referenced metaphorically as a mother, as a father, as a husband and perhaps even as a sister (in Song of Solomon. In any case, all are close family relationships.
Turning to my study of linguistics, I began to realize that we are limited by our English language! If the English language was able to refer to God without gender as male or female, but as G_D, wouldn’t that be better? But then we might miss the parenting-ness of God, and the depth of relationship that God desires?
Finally, back to Scripture! In Gal 3:28 we read, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
Somehow that helps me sense or feel God’s presence, not as a physical picture. This is confirmed for me in John 4:24, where we see that “God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.”