We are hardwired as human beings to want closeness with a female because of the familiarity she represents. Life can be likened to a quest where we can only make sense of the journey by returning to our original destination. For humans, this equates to a fascination with orgasm and the female body, for that is where we originated. As a result of orgasm, we are conceived, and our first experiences take place not in a labor and delivery room, but in the female uterus and vagina. The womb is our first “home.” No wonder the female genitalia is a mesmerizing mystery — to both men and women!
And the moment we emerge from that womb, we’re immediately thrust . . . where? Not to the male breast, but to the female breast. It became our new “home” from which breakfast, lunch, and dinner flowed. I was recently visiting a friend who’d just had a baby, and the baby’s fussiness level revealed it was feeding time. The newborn squirmed and squealed relentlessly until her mom brought her to the breast, and then she relaxed completely, whimpering multiple sighs of relief and contentment. Indeed, our survival instincts make the connection that this soft, warm place is where comfort, security, and nourishment reside.
Therefore, future emotional cravings for comfort and fulfillment might naturally result in an overwhelming desire to return to the powerful mental image of the breast.
This desire is what drives many to distraction — looking at pornography, visiting topless bars and strip clubs, seeking a prostitute, a sexual affair or a lesbian partner. But could there be an even deeper spiritual longing behind such sexual longings?
I believe so, because we are also hardwired to desire intimate connection not just with earthly softness, but also with Sacred softness as well — that side of God that represents femininity. Because both men and women are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), it’s a reasonable conclusion that God is neither male nor female, but both. He is the perfect combination of masculinity and femininity.
However, because most denominations embrace a strictly masculine image of God, we only hear Him referred to as “Father,” never as “Mother.” This creates two psychological dilemmas. First, for the woman who was abused by her father or a significant male in her life, connecting with God as a “Father” can feel like a dangerous proposition. However, she might feel safer connecting with God as a “Mother,” since mothers often paint a softer, gentler picture of God in our minds than our fathers do.
Second, for the man who longs for relational intimacy, where can he go? Most likely he’s been culturally conditioned that only gay men turn to other men. And since in his mind God is a male figure it’s a challenge to make the mental, emotional, and spiritual connection that God is the source of the fulfillment he seeks. He naturally turns to women instead.
But women can’t fulfill men any better than men can fulfill women. Oh, we try. But we’re draining each other dry, growing more and more disillusioned with how the opposite sex can never measure up to our expectations or meet all of our emotional and sexual needs.
We simply weren’t designed to fully complete each other, only to complement one another. We must look to God to complete us. This can only be done as we embrace not just the masculine side of God, but also the feminine side.
If you’re thinking this sounds more “New Agey” than biblical, consider that the Hebrew word shaddai comes from the root word “breast,” and one of the most common words for God, El Shaddai, can be translated “many breasted one,” used forty-eight times in the Old Testament.1 In other words, God isn’t just the Father-figure who protects and provides, He is also the Mother-figure who nourishes and comforts. This is a God who can meet all our needs . . . if we’d only let Him.
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1) “El Shaddai-The Breasted One,” Good News Inc., accessed July 11, 2012, http://www.goodnewsinc.net/v4gn/shaddai.html.