By Tyler Hendricks, Ecclesiastical Endorser, Unification Church of America
I recall those boring accounts of the Church Fathers arguing over the Trinity. One of the views was that God is One who appears in different modes—sometimes as Father, sometimes as Son, sometimes as Holy Spirit. It is called “modalistic monarchism.” The view that came to the fore in the West asserted that God is not one person appearing in three modes, but is three distinct persons who are one. The problem with modalistic monarchism, they argued, was that it denied the personhood of Jesus.
How three persons could be one God they left as a mystery. Good for them!
I think that the view that God is our Heavenly Parent, who can appear as Father or Mother, is a repeat of modalistic monarchism. It’s not because I want to uphold the orthodox view of the Trinity that I say this. But I did want to begin by contextualizing the discussion in historical theology, and I do support, by and large, the Divine Principle view that God’s providence worked through the Western Church.
Now, to the main point.
I heard a story the other day on National Public Radio by a bisexual. It was one of their StoryCorps episodes, which are little vignettes of American life. The subject was a person who was born a man, married and fathered a child or children, and then changed his bodily make-up and became a woman. This person recounted how s/he related to the children he had fathered when a man. This person said, “I asked myself, am I their father or mother? I decided just to call myself their parent.”
By the doctrine that God is our Heavenly Parent, this person is the image of God.
This illustrates why I believe that the term “Heavenly Parent” is mistaken.
God as “Heavenly Parent” is androgynous. It is a trans-gendered existence that is neither male nor female in any common sense meaning. I find it hard to relate to such a transformer God.