Gender Identity & the Trinity

I find it interesting that many people have gone through great and torturous grammatical and theological gymnastics and contortions to attempt to convince other people of a Christian trinitarian view of God (to which I subscribe) but these same people cannot for the life of them comprehend the emerging nuance and complexity of gender identity among their peers.

I have used all sorts interesting examples to attempt to explain the Trinity (God as three distinct personas sharing one essence (this is where the 3 in 1 phrase comes form).

I have read even more odd examples that do the Trinity a disservice: God is like three-in-one shampoo; God is like an egg (shell, white and yolk); God is like Aquafresh toothpaste etc. They are all cringe-worthy.

There is no good demonstration of this in reality because it is a paradox.

PARADOX: “A seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true” – Oxford English Dictionary


I remember once taking three separate glasses of water and pouring them into a single glass as a demonstration of three in one…glazed looks met me.

I remember trying to use Saint Patrick’s legendary shamrock demonstration of three leaves in one…still confusion.

God is. God is Creator. God is Christ. God is Holy Spirit. God is one. Christ is not Creator. Creator is not Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is not Christ. All are one God sharing the same essence. Not three Gods. God is.

This is Orthodox Christianity.

This is very confusing.

The Creator has historically been referenced as Father. Christ as Son…both therefore as masculine. Although it is more appropriate the call the Creator Father/Mother given that the creation narrative speaks of people being created in God’s image of Male and Female. Biblically the Spirit is often feminine and referred to variously as Sophia (Wisdom/Feminine) etc.

So while we continue to allow the paradox of the Trinity to exist within our faith frameworks clearly demonstrating unique gender identities within the Godhead… we cannot seem to grasp a non-binary way of dealing with human gender identity.

Why do we struggle with this?

Likely because difficult ideas that do not meet our experience hurt our heads. We like simple answers and things we can understand. We are not fond of paradox.

Well some people resolve the paradox by simply affirming that God is He. HeHeHeHeHeHe…there is no identity confusion or blending…God is He and that is final.

Of course to do this is to be dishonest with scripture and the cultural, time and language-bound context within which it was recorded. It denies very clear references to God as female, and God as female and male, and God as something other than these two.

But He is what we know and love because He is historically strong in a patriarchal society and He is the word most commonly translated from the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into our languages. We grasp onto He as though it were the last log of a rapidly unwinding raft in what we perceive as the raging and frighteningly chaotic tsunami of gender identity conversation that is flooding unwanted into our world.

A clue to the way through might exist in the fact that regardless of perspectives on God all views can be boiled down to one primary, foundational point – we call and identify God as (BLANK) because we believe this is how God views God’s Self.

Therefore perhaps we might bow to what others are choosing to call themselves as well – be it He or She or Ze or They or something else. We might not understand it. We might feel it is some form of paradox. We might not like to have more than two categories…but as with, God perhaps the other knows best and we should learn to respect this.

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