December 15, 2008

Study break post

As I read more and more of the church fathers, I find myself at odds with their use of male-gendered language for the relationship between the different manifestations of the Godhead. Most specifically, the Father-Son language that's used almost exclusively and widespread throughout patristic literature. I avoid using it in my notes, but as I'm studying for exams I'm beginning to realize that I may have lost some of the intrinsic relationship implications by avoiding those terms.

The terms "father" and "son" are fundamentally part of what these authors are describing - the relationship between begotten and the person who begat is at the heart of the debates taking place. The church fathers then verbalized this in whatever manner they knew best, which not surprisingly, was that of a parent-child relationship, and specifically the father-son relationship (fueled by a multitude of references to God the Father in the Bible).

I'm still very much a proponant of using gender-inclusive/gender-free terms for describing the Trinity in our daily use now (also empire/dominion-free terms), which means "father," "lord," "son," and other familiar terms are out in favor of "creator," "redeemer," and "sustainer." The bigger question now, however, is how to rethink the church fathers and put their male-dominated ideas into gender-free language while still maintaining the important relational aspects they were trying to convey in the first place.

Something I don't have the time (or background knowledge) for currently, but a book I'd be interested in reading some day.

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