Date of Defense



Comparative Religion

First Advisor

Dr. Susan J. Hubert

Second Advisor

Dr. Brian Wilson

Third Advisor

Dr. Nancy Falk


It is an indisputable fact that, in the Christian tradition, the most commonly used term in reference to God is that of Father. Along with this image of Father are those such as King and Lord both of which are male images for the Divine. In this paper, I will attempt to show that this exclusively male perception of the Christian God has an impact on society, and that this exclusive image is not justified by the Christian tradition. I will do this from a feminist perspective, which draws on liberation and metaphorical theology. In the words of Dorothee Soelle, feminist liberation theologians "see that the Bible is an androcentric and patriarchal document, but at the same time we discover in it a fundamental opposition to these traditions; we read it as a book of justice, aimed at liberation from all bonds that enslave us."1 In short, feminist liberation theologians would see any use of the biblical interpretation that denies the freedom and equality of all women as unjustifiable. A metaphorical theology is based on the assumption that God is beyond human comprehension and understanding. It states that all words that are used for God are metaphors since no one can understand the depth and complexity of the Divine.

This paper will be divided into four main sections. First, I will look at the impact and way that language is used within American society. Second, I will look at the impact of an image when it becomes concrete and the fine line between a metaphor and idolatry. Third, I will take a closer look at those people whose experiences have been left out of the formation of God images. By demonstrating these four components, I hope to show that the traditional God image is exclusionary and that this exclusion is unacceptable. Finally, I will provide a solution to this problem. This solution will show a way to approach the topic of God imagery, which is neither exclusionary nor idolatrous.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only