People can be so obtuse.
There’s an opinion piece flying around the internet. It’s written by Rabbi Mark Sameth for the New York Times. The article, provocatively titled Is God Transgendered? posits that God is not a man or a woman, but is instead a blend of all genders.
I think this is spot on. But there are people around the internet who are aghast that someone who believes in God thinks God is not a “he” or any other aspect of the normalized binary.
Egads. What is the world coming to?
I’m not going to cover all the strange responses people are throwing about in response to this well-written and provocative piece. I will write this though: folks, the headline of the article was specifically meant to provoke you to read it. I think the headline is doing a great job.
What’s more interesting to me though is what the Rabbi has to say about gender as described in the old testament. It’s pretty thought-provoking. Read it for yourself:
“…the Hebrew Bible, when read in its original language, offers a highly elastic view of gender. And I do mean highly elastic: In Genesis 3:12, Eve is referred to as “he.” In Genesis 9:21, after the flood, Noah repairs to “her” tent. Genesis 24:16 refers to Rebecca as a “young man.” And Genesis 1:27 refers to Adam as “them.”
Surprising, I know. And there are many other, even more vivid examples: In Esther 2:7, Mordecai is pictured as nursing his niece Esther. In a similar way, in Isaiah 49:23, the future kings of Israel are prophesied to be “nursing kings.”
Why would the Bible do this? These aren’t typos. In the ancient world, well-expressed gender fluidity was the mark of a civilized person. Such a person was considered more “godlike.” In Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, the gods were thought of as gender-fluid, and human beings were considered reflections of the gods. The Israelite ideal of the “nursing king” seems to have been based on a real person: a woman by the name of Hatshepsut who, after the death of her husband, Thutmose II, donned a false beard and ascended the throne to become one of Egypt’s greatest pharaohs.
The Israelites took the transgender trope from their surrounding cultures and wove it into their own sacred scripture. The four-Hebrew-letter name of God, which scholars refer to as the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, was probably not pronounced “Jehovah” or “Yahweh,” as some have guessed. The Israelite priests would have read the letters in reverse as Hu/Hi — in other words, the hidden name of God was Hebrew for “He/She.” Counter to everything we grew up believing, the God of Israel — the God of the three monotheistic, Abrahamic religions to which fully half the people on the planet today belong — was understood by its earliest worshipers to be a dual-gendered deity.”
Sameth also reveals something I’ve known for a very long time: that the bible is a hand-curated tome specifically designed to control the believing masses. It is not meant to accurately represent a Spiritual Truth. There are Spiritual Truths in it, but they are so obscured by allegory, metaphor, misinterpretation and the gap of time between when it was written and our current times, it’s really hard to figure out what those Truths actually are. I don’t know if the Rabbi meant to reveal all this obfuscation, but there it is.
If God – or All That Is, which is the term I prefer – was transgender it would mean he was originally one gender and “born” into a different one. Or some other aspect along the gender spectrum. All That Is has no gender and simultaneously is every possible gender imaginable. This may be too complex for “believers” to comprehend. But I find it interesting that the Hebrew Bible, at least according to this Rabbi, alludes to this reality.
2 Replies to “God: Transgender or something more?”
Found you here: https://medium.com/@Perry_Gruber/its-interesting-isn-t-it-11a1c7c6163b.
Ministers, with no linguistic or scientific background, can make up whatever they want; they’re fond of dumb puns that bear nothing on the origin of a term but can further a premise.
Abrahamists believe their religion is monotheistic; it’s not but henotheistic where one believes in many gods but worships one. So many labels for different gods were hidden as words or figures that no longer look like proper names. “God” itself is a translation of Vulgate Deus, a mistranslation where in Hellènic it was only in the lowercase definite “ho theos” for “the god”. Their creation stories all betray a plurality of gods, a We, which later show up as persons, sons, anghels, heavenly council, heavenly host, all of which plagiarize pagan godheads. It wasn’t the father god who sent Scripture to man; it was gabŕi-el, the equivalent of thor, merquri, hermes, etc. It wasn’t the father either who made life, but ŕuax (or ŕuakh), the equivalent of frigg, venus, approditè, etc. It wasn’t the father still who ridded man, but qhimmanu-el, the equivalent of yngwa, saturnus, crono, etc. In the garden these sons were afraid man would eat of the tree of life (where the trees of life and knowledge were the palm and fig, artefacts of agriculture and leaving of the wild), where they got their powers, so this tree was even older than these gods.
Every god had one’s own gender as every god could breed and make. The Old World languages used gender for inanimate objects too where English uses the neuter gender (other than for vehicles and countries and maybe inventions); the masculine and feminine genders came from the animate and inanimate genders several thousand years ago. IndoEuropean languages kept two words for fire for each sense.
“It is a lige that your gods do not beget.
aps and t·jàmàt begat làkhm and làkhàm who begat anshàqhr and cishàqhr (qheljon and ŕuakh) who begat an and ci who begat -il and -àthiŕat who begat the 70 sons of goddles (b·nej ha-elohijm) who include bàqhàl, shaddæ, gabŕi-el, j·hveh, ŕàkhmàn, etc. j·hveh and ŕuax begat xocmàh, j·hveh and Tsa-llpunit begat Shimshon; logho and Elisabet begat Jòannè, logho and pneýma begat Emmanuèl, ŕàkhmàn and ŕuakh begat -àllàh and -allàt, and -àllàh and -àllàt begat -isŕàfil and dzhinn.
Jèsu introduced himself as the son of man. Emmanuèl the son of god[s] spoke throuh him. Emmanuèl is the equivalent of dumuzid, crono, saturnus, yngwa, and ŕiqhzhwàn.”
“In fact, the Hebrew Bible, when read in its original language, offers a highly elastic view of gender.”
Or it could be scribal errors, as vav and jod look alike. But he’d never admit it.
“In Genesis 3:12, Eve is referred to as “he.””
“hu-” is indeed “he” or “it”. You can find several errors for both hu- and hi-:
That makes much more sense than arbitrary genders.
“In Genesis 9:21, after the flood, Noah repairs to “her” tent.”
“while the preposition in 9:21, referring to Noah’s tent and which is allegedly feminine, actually reflects an ancient masculine prepositional form).”
The “preposition” only applies to English; Hebrew used a suffix.
“The four-Hebrew-letter name of God, which scholars refer to as the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, was probably not pronounced “Jehovah” or “Yahweh,” as some have guessed. The Israelite priests would have read the letters in reverse as Hu/Hi — in other words, the hidden name of God was Hebrew for “He/She.” Counter to everything we grew up believing, the God of Israel — the God of the three monotheistic, Abrahamic religions to which fully half the people on the planet today belong — was understood by its earliest worshipers to be a dual-gendered deity.”
He fabricated this, as theists do. j·hveh is the third-person masculine imperfect verb “he gets” or “he’ll get”. He tried to pass himself off as shaddæ, the hill/earth/ore/war god of 1000 years earlier; he took -asheŕàh for a wife for 1000 years then took the Israelites for a bride; he plagiarized the bàqhàl-t·jàmàt (owner or husband and she-sea) story for himself and ŕahab (http://classic.net.bible.org/search.php?search=hebrew_strict_index:07293).
His mother and wife ŕuax was mistranslated in Hellènic to pneýma (neuter: wit; Latin vis) instead of anemo (masculine: wind; but I think translators must adapt to the original gender anema, or leave the original word), then mistranslated in Latin to spiritus (m.: breath or booze) instead of ventus (m.: wind; or venta). This Bronze Age concept was supplanted in medieval times by humor and in modern times by hormone and neurotransmitter. Whereas ŕuax (wind) the maker of life is self-explanatory, j·hveh the later alleged maker of earth and heaven was defined as fire (De 4:24: -esh: feminine, if coincidentally) and was often seen with fiery attendants and liked to kill by fire.
“Scientists now tell us that gender identity, like sexual orientation, exists on a spectrum. Some of us are in greater or lesser alignment with the gender assigned to us at birth. Some of us are in alignment with both, or with neither. For others of us, alignment requires more of a process.
It may come as a surprise that scientists view gender as anything other than a simple binary. But thousands of years ago, as a review of ancient literature makes clear, that truth was known. In court challenges, administrative directives and popular culture, the issue is playing out in real time, before our eyes. But behind the unfolding legal drama lies the reality of human nature: the fact that gender is not, nor has it ever been, a matter of “either/or.””
Words may heed a gender rather than a sex, but Semitic languages only kept track of two; their creation stories also only had two; therefore they didn’t evolve from the primitive two genders whereas IndoEuropean did until the four genders neuter, masculine, feminine, common. Their creation stories, which plagiarized the Sumerian (http://www.bibleorigins.net), reflectant who told them, said the male was created first then the female of his rib, whereas in reality the default body is a Turner female unless androgens make a penis or estrogens make a womb. Hormones and genes conspire any combination of these so that there aren’t only three sexes but seven: X, XX, XY, XX’, XY’, XXY, X/Y. The plant mosaics are called perfect and the mollusk mosaics hermaphroditic; a sex with both genitals can in theory breed with oneself. Many animal and plant species can clone themselves, as females, without the need of a partner by parthenogenesis and vegetative propagation; this probably descended from mollusk fragmentation then protist mitosis then bacteria fission. So Scripture which said there were two sexes in the beginning, male and female, is wrong as usual.
“If God – or All That Is, which is the term I prefer – was transgender it would mean he was originally one gender and “born” into a different one. Or some other aspect along the gender spectrum. All That Is has no gender and simultaneously is every possible gender imaginable.”
A god is by definition a person (not a feeling, abstraction, or other thing properly neuter), a being not subject to one’s creation. All, however, includes itself so it can’t create anything. Subsets of all can create. Under natural laws a god cannot create so the natural cannot interact or coexist with the supernatural: https://www.quora.com/How-do-antitheists-justify-their-belief-that-there-is-no-God/answer/Autymn-Castleton.
The common gender in IndoEuropean (one, two, three, who, a, the, they, some, such, all, olle, -ens, -ente, -end, -ans, -ante, -and; friend, husband, migrant, errand, etc.) already expresses every gender, or sex.
What a fantastic reply. Thank you so much for so much detail!