“Prophets and religious thinkers have long insisted on the need to turn away from false idols and escape out of their clasp toward the living God. In this context, seeking the female face of God has profound significance.
By relativizing masculine imagery it lassoes the idol off its pedestal, breaking the stranglehold of patriarchal discourse and its deleterious effects. God is not literally a father or a king or a lord but something ever so much greater. Thus is the truth more greatly honored. This is not to say that male metaphors cannot be used to signify the divine. Men, too, are created, redeemed, and sanctified by the gracious love of God, and images taken from their lives can function in as adequate or inadequate a way as do images taken from the lives of women.
But naming toward God with female metaphors releases divine mystery from its age-old patriarchal cage so that God can be truly God—incomprehensible source, sustaining power, and goal of the world, holy Wisdom, indwelling Spirit, the ground of being, the beyond in our midst, the absolute future, being itself, mother, matrix, lover, friend, infinite love, the holy mystery that surrounds and supports the world. This naming, critical for the integrity of theology, also has the advantage in today’s context of opening up rich new veins of justice.
Female representations of the abundance of God in creating, redeeming, and calling the world to eschatological peace function with prophetic power, challenging everyone to conversion in a new community where justice reigns. As the history of religions makes clear, God-language alone cannot bring about this transformation. Female deities and the subordination of women have and still do coexist.
But in the context of the social movement for women’s equality and human dignity, which now reaches around the globe, speech about God has a unique potential for effecting change at a deep and lasting level. If God is “she” as well as “he”—and in fact neither—a new possibility can be envisioned of a community that honors difference but allows women and men to share life in equal measure.”
— Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God door Elizabeth A. Johnson