The bible is a book written by men and is mostly stories about men. Considering today’s current climate with the #MeToo movement and attention being called to women who do not have a voice, it might be a good time to give voice to some women in the bible. Over a few weeks in Lent I will be focusing on some of those stories. Today, let’s start with the first female being mentioned in the bible. She is found in Genesis chapter 1 and verse 2 … the Spirit of God. God is mentioned first, of course, in Genesis 1:1, but God has no gender.
This is what we read in Genesis 1:2
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Some versions refer to the Spirit of God as the “wind of God” because the Hebrew word for Spirit can be translated as such. What I’m interested in is the “hovering.” Some translations use “moved” in place of this word. The meaning of the word could also be “to brood,” and some interpreters say the force of the word could mean “to bear” as in bearing a child. The fact is, the earth, being formless and void, needed a woman’s touch! Hovering and brooding over things that are not quite yet done are typical mothering things to do.
Creating is a feminine endeavor, not exclusively feminine, but often thought of as feminine. We women create lives in our bodies. We create a “home” that is beautiful, comfortable, and meets the needs of our families (not unlike God’s creation of a beautiful and comfortable earth for humans). The word earth, by the way, is also a feminine noun in Hebrew. We women fuss and brood over our homes, making our nests, ensuring that “it is good” and beautiful and nurturing and comforting.
To top it all off, God makes clothes for Adam and Eve (3:21). While sewing is not a strictly feminine endeavor, it is mostly associated with women. So, not only are God’s initial acts of creation/creating feminine, God ensures that the humans have clothes to wear.
I love the image above of the bird gathering materials to make a nest for her young. She looks fierce, doesn’t she? Maybe not unlike our own fierce mothering instincts … or maybe not unlike God’s.
What does this all mean to me? I find this aspect of God to be comforting. God’s nature includes preparing, creating, comforting, protecting, nurturing, and those are beautiful and healing thoughts to contemplate. For women who may have been abused, or who have suffered spiritual trauma, only knowing a God who is vengeful and punishing, this is good news.
Spend some time this week contemplating this aspect of God. Re-read the creation account with a mother’s eye and heart. Ask for your understanding of God to be more deeply opened to you.