Why is God (still) a ‘He’?


  • Emmanuel Ifeanyi Ani University of Ghana


God, religion, gender, metaphor, philosophy


I consider the question of why Christians still use a male God pronoun, given that we do not know God directly. The biology argument is unsound because the premise that God is a male being is false or at least unknowable. The convenience argument (it would be greatly inconveniencing to change the God pronoun) is not entirely convincing because we have once migrated from referring to mankind as a ‘he’ to a ‘she’ and then to using the two interchangeably. The fact that all references to God are metaphorical because we do not know God directly is considered, but does not remove the concern why a male rather than a female metaphorical preference. The feminist approach is considered, but is not entirely convincing since it simply asks us to change the God pronoun from a “He” to a “She”, a transfer that has no clear rationale or principled argument. And the gender fairness argument (we should call God a “He” and “She” interchangeably) is intellectually sound but practically demoralizing (with reasons) in the context of the activity of worshipping God. In sum, the convenience argument seems to win by default: it is not only inconveniencing, but also religiously inconveniencing to refer to God with interchangeable pronouns.


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How to Cite

Ani, E. I. (2021). Why is God (still) a ‘He’?. Studia Philosophica Estonica, 14, 1–10. Retrieved from https://ojs.utlib.ee/index.php/spe/article/view/16509