Archbishop of Canterbury: Don't define God by gender

Justin Welby said that God isn't a father in the same way a human being is


Words: Steve Brown

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that God is not ‘definable’ by gender.

While speaking at St Martin-in-the-Fields church, in London, on Wednesday (November 21), Justin Welby was asked by an attendee about God as a father, to which he responded that God is “not male or female”, The Times reported.

Welby – who said that boys wearing dresses to school wasn’t ‘a problem’ – went on to explain what he meant and explained that “all human language about God is inadequate and to some degree metaphorical”.

He continued: “God is not a father in exactly the same way as a human being is a father.

“God is not male or female. God is not definable.

“It is extraordinarily important as Christians that we remember that the definitive revelation of who God is was not in words, but in the word of God who we call Jesus Christ. We can’t pin God down.”

Both Catholic and Protestant Churches already say that God is gender-neutral and the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that God can be seen as a father or a mother but never as literally being either.

It reads: “God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood.

“We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God.

“He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: no-one is father as God is Father.”