Only a Feminine God Can Help

“Behold the mysteries of love, and then you will have a vision of the bosom of the Father, whom the only-begotten God alone declared. God in His very self is love, and for love’s sake He became visible to us. And while in his ineffability He is Father, in his sympathy with us he has become Mother. By his loving the Father became feminine, a great sign of which is the one he begat from himself; and the fruit born of love is love. For this reason he came down, for this reason he put on human nature, for this reason he willingly suffered what belongs to being human, so that having been measured to the weakness of those he loved, he might in return measure us to his own power.”

– Clement of Alexandria in Who is the rich man who is being saved? 
(quoted in Louth, Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology, 31.)

8 thoughts on “Only a Feminine God Can Help

      1. It seems like Clement is designating certain attributes/trait as feminine or masculine — which is not surprising since you see this a lot with the the early church fathers and in philosophy. Is love really a feminine attribute? Or is it actually a divine attribute in which both men and woman (created in God’s image) share?



        1. I interpreted the thought process to go like this:
          Father had great love – – > led him to become feminine – – > proof of femininity is that he begat from himself (the Son) – – > since Father is love, that which he beget is love.

          So the “feminine” attribute would be the eternal generation of the Son – the ability to “pro-create” if you will (actually produce one of your own kind) – which, while involving a male, is a “motherly” trait is it not?


  1. This quote reminds me of the Rembrandt painting return of the Prodigal. In the Painting the hands of the father look like those of two different people. The right hand appears very strong and masculine, and the right hand is soft and tender. I heard once that he did it on purpose to represent Gods perfect balance of justice that is tempered with mercy.


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