Does calling God "Father" imply a divine Mother?

by Luke Wayne
Return to World Mission Society Church of God

The World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG) claims that there are actually two Gods: God the Father and God the Mother. They argue that the very fact that God is called "Father" proves that there must also be a "Mother" because, they say, this is definitional to the word "Father." To give a few examples in their own words:

"There is a definite reason God taught His disciples to call Him Father. The paternal title 'Father' was used because there is surely an opposite maternal existence to God the Father. The Bible teaches there is also God our Mother."1

"The existence of a father naturally indicates there are children. Children can only have life if there is also a mother because it is the mother who gives birth. Christ showed us to pray to our Father in heaven because, as children of God, we also have God our Mother."2

"We know God the Father exists (Matthew 6:9), but since the term used to describe God is plural—more than one—there has to be another God present. The term 'father' is used only among family. So if we look into the family system, we can understand who is missing."3

There is, of course, a certain simplistic logic to this argument. However, it ignores the Biblical data that clearly explains God as Father without the need to imagine a heavenly consort. Consider, for example, how it was that God as the Father of the nation of Israel:  

"Do you thus repay the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is not He your Father who has bought you? He has made you and established you," (Deuteronomy 32:6).

Israel was not the offspring of a divine father and mother. God was their Father in the sense that He has made them and also in the sense that He had "bought" them, or redeemed them and made them His own. We see these same ideas come out in Isaiah:

"But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand," (Isaiah 64:8).

"For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us and Israel does not recognize us. You, O Lord, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name," (Isaiah 63:16).

Again we see that God is their Father because He created them and because He redeemed them as His own possession. Think about this for a minute. When we call Henry Ford the father of the auto industry, it does not demand that there must also be a woman who gave birth to the auto industry. When we say that Adam Smith is the father of modern economics, no one asks us, "but then who is the mother?" The one who founded, established, or created a thing is its "father" without any need for a mother. When Malachi writes:

"Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us?" (Malachi 2:10a).

He is attributing God's Fatherhood to creation, not to marital relation and reproduction. Nothing in this language even hints at the idea of a Mother. Likewise, the idea of redemption needs no mother. It paints a picture of one who is a Father to His children by adoption. He is not their biological ancestor but has chosen to make them His own. The New Testament also used this language explicitly for God's Fatherhood of Israel and of His new covenant people:

"For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises," (Romans 9:3-4).

"He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will," (Ephesians 1:5)

"For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" (Romans 8:15).

"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons," (Galatians 4:4-5).

When God redeems a people, He adopts them as sons and is a Father to them. This, again, does not require nor does it in any way imply a Mother. We become God's children through redemption, through adoption, not through family relations. God is our Father by His choice and by His redeeming work on our behalf. This is the heart of the gospel!

Finally, we should note that one can be a Father relationally without any need for a mother. Joseph, for example, when he was elevated to the highest office in Egypt and was Pharaoh's trusted counselor, guide, and administrator, Joseph was able to say:

"Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt," (Genesis 45:8).

No one would say to Joseph, "well then who has He made mother to Pharaoh? He can't make you father without making someone mother!" That would be an absurd response to Joseph's point. He was using the word Father to describe their relationship, not their biological family ties. Likewise, the Apostle Paul calls Timothy his beloved son (2 Timothy 1:2) and his "true child in the faith" (1 Timothy 1:2). He also writes to the church at Corinth:

"For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel," (1 Corinthians 4:15).

None of this demands that Paul have a wife or female counterpart who is the mother of Timothy or the Corinthians Christians. Again, these passages are describing a relationship. When we think of the Trinity, God Himself is Father, Son, and Spirit. God as always been both Father and Son. The Son did not come into being at some point in time, nor did He need a mother to birth Him. The Son is eternal. He is called "Son" and the Father is called "Father" because these terms best describe their relationship. It has nothing to do with origins or life cycle. So we see, there is absolutely nothing inherent in the title "father" that demands the existence of a mother. When the Bible refers to God as Father, it always does so in ways that exemplify His power, His work, and His relationship within His own Trinitarian being and to His redeemed people. None of this in any way implies a second God or a motherly counterpart. In fact, insisting on a second deity would utterly diminish all of this wonderful truth about the one and only true and living God.

  • 1. (Accessed 8/11/16)
  • 2. (Accessed 8/11/16)
  • 3. (Accessed 8/11/16)