Church tradition has a habit of making the divine male. While the Bible describes God as father and uses male pronouns to describe God, there are definite feminine descriptions of the divine. These images found in the Bible and historical church texts are rarely considered when discussing gender and God.
One significant example of this is Wisdom described in the Old Testament, particularly Proverbs.
In the biblical narrative, numerous stories display God in partnership during creation. These narratives point to an eternal sense of a co-creator that existed with God before the incarnation.
John 1 describes this as well as Proverbs 8
Proverbs describes this entity as a woman called Wisdom, “When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep.” (Proverbs 8:27)
The book of Proverbs describes her as the “Masterworker,” who, alongside God, formed the world. Also, she is a salvific force that leads humanity toward God and God’s ways.
The power of Wisdom, to connect humanity to God, is a theme throughout Wisdom literature. And theologians agree. In his book The Power of Saving Wisdom, Cornelis Bennema explores the relationship between Wisdom and Christ and argues that she is the only divine aspect described as intertwined with God in the same way as the Word.
The Bible personifies Wisdom as someone humanity must seek out to receive salvation, and as a teacher explicitly revealing God’s will. We must seek her out because she holds a special intimate place next to God. Comparably John 1 describes the Word in the same way.
For Bennema, “Wisdom’s teaching is salvific, in the acceptance of and adherence to Wisdom and her revelatory teaching gives or leads to life, whereas rejection of Wisdom’s teaching leads to death.” This unique saving place does not belong to two separate entities, but one.
Therefore Wisdom should be considered in parallel with the Word of John 1.
Both men and women are created in the image of God. When we remove the female aspects of the divine from from our theology we cultivate a watered down image of God.
This image hurts women and affirms oppressive understandings contradictory to salvation.
When we understand and embrace the feminine aspects of God, we embrace all of God. And all of God’s creation.