Why Masculine Words?
Now there are several reasons why masculine words are fittingly used to refer to God, and feminine words are not. God is properly referred to with male pronouns, and with the figure of male family members, because God is the head of all Creation, and all Creation is subject to God. Therefore, when God created and ordered the human race, He fittingly designed humanity to contain a figure of the relationship between God and Creation by making the masculine role to be a role of headship, a figure of the role of God towards Creation, and the feminine role to be a role of subjection, a figure of the role of Creation towards God. And so God created and ordered the human family such that the husband is the head of his wife, and the wife is subject to her husband. God intends the role of a husband toward his wife to be a reflection of God’s relation to Creation, and the role of a wife toward her husband to be a reflection of Creation’s relation to God.
Also, God has a role of authority, leadership, and teaching over all created persons. And so God fittingly intends that, in a just and orderly society, men will have roles of authority, leadership, and teaching over women, as a reflection of God’s role toward all created persons.
Furthermore, God chose to become incarnate as a man, not a woman, and this was for specific reasons, not arbitrarily. God created and ordered the human race such that men and women would have different roles, and so that men would have roles of authority, leadership, and teaching. The Savior of the human race, who would have authority to forgive sins, and who would lead us to salvation, and who would teach us the way of God, therefore fittingly chose to be a male, in harmony with the order placed within humanity from the very beginning.
Also, by becoming incarnate as a male, Jesus Christ could then fittingly be born of a holy woman, the Virgin Mary, so that a woman could have a role as helper and assistant in the work of saving the human race. For, from the very beginning, woman was created to be a helper to man. Thus the roles of Christ and Mary are in perfect harmony with the roles of men and women in humanity, as created and ordered by God, even from the time of Adam and Eve. These roles are fittingly a reflection of the relationship between God and Creation. But in the case of Christ and Mary, Christ is literally God, and Mary is the most perfect part of Creation, after the human nature of Christ. So saving the human race through a male, as the head of all salvation, with the help of a female, who is entirely subject to him, is fitting because God is the head of all Creation, and all Creation is subject to him.
Thus God designed His Church to have Jesus Christ as its male head. In this way, the Church, too, is a reflection the relationship between God and Creation. And so God fittingly chose only men to have the headship roles in the Church of priest, Bishop, and Pope. These roles are a representation of Christ and of His role toward fallen humanity.
In summary, headship roles of authority, leadership, and teaching are given by God to men in the Church, the family, and society, as a figure of the relationship between God and Creation. Thus male pronouns and figures are fittingly used to refer to God and to each and all of the Three Persons of the Trinity. For God is the head of all Creation.
[The above article is excerpted from my book: New Insights into the Deposit of Faith, from the chapter ‘God is One Divine Eternal Act’]
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and Bible translator