When Darrow taught in Paraguay recently, Eduardo Gallegos Krause was in attendance. After he heard Darrow’s message about God’s maternal heart, Eduardo wrote the following reflection about his and his wife’s experience of conceiving and bearing a child.
We are happy to give the DMF platform to this brother. We will publish a response from Darrow during Christmas week.
When my wife and I learned we were pregnant I was deeply excited about the opportunity that lay before us to raise and give love to a child. Besides the obvious challenges, I believed parenting would be a tremendous opportunity to know God better. After all, if God is “Our Father”—my Father—I could now reflect that dimension of God as a father myself. This shared-parenting reality would allow me to better understand God’s heart.
Recently I heard Darrow Miller speak about the “maternal heart of God,” an idea he develops in his book, Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women in Building Healthy Cultures. Darrow’s presentation prompted me to consider how this divine-human shared parenting applied to my wife, Paulina. If both man and woman are created in the image and likeness of God that means the woman also reflects God’s parenting. Her maternal experience is opportunity for her to know God as a parent just as my fathering experience is as well.
This led me to wonder how God views women, their pregnancy and childbirth. Does God know how all that feels? To put it more figuratively, has God been “pregnant”?
In a few brief paragraphs I will try to outline a response to this question.
Gestation is God’s design for creating new human beings. The synonyms for create—devise, imagine, think, invent, build—all share the idea of the human capacity of conception to give and sustain life. Pregnancy, the conception of a human being in the womb, is an example of the creative capacity that humans inherit from God as his image bearers. This must necessarily apply to both human fathers and human mothers.
The first verses in the Bible say, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” I underscore the last phrase because some biblical commentators have pointed out that in the Hebrew, this expression “moved” indicates a gestation process: the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters like a female bird broods or incubates an egg. God was preparing the birth of something new. After this process of gestation God gave birth to creation: “And God said, Let there be light and there was light.” In Spanish, my mother language, “give birth” and “give light” are synonyms, so literally—at least in Spanish—when God says “Let there be light” he says “give birth.” This birth is a post-conception stage and is a manifestation of a part of God’s identity that he has transferred to the woman as she possesses the ability to conceive, gestate, and give birth.
So I think the answer Yes, in a sense God has been “pregnant.” (After all, if a woman’s experience of pregnancy does not derive from God, where does it come from?) God has conceived, gestated and given birth, and not only in the past. Just as creation can be seen as a process of gestation ending in the birth of the world, we can visualize in the same way how God’s plan is being fulfilled in our time. The birth and death of Christ involves a plan of salvation and redemption, which is still brewing and Christians hopefully await, that is, the day when the birth is fulfilled (to continue the pregnancy image), the day when Jesus returns to establish a new world, when Christ will vanquish his enemies and will be exalted above all.
Indeed, at this time God is gestating … yes, God is now “pregnant,” as he was when the spirit moved upon the face of the waters, gestating the inventive process that finishes with the creation. God is now “pregnant” and the creation itself is sharing the travail, groaning and waiting for the revealing of the Sons of God who also groan inwardly waiting for the redemption that comes through the return of the Messiah (Romans 8: 22-23).
So God can understand the process of gestation. God knows what birth pains are. So pregnant mothers can feel privileged to live an experience in which you approach God in a unique way as a woman. You can feel the joy of knowing that only to you, and not to man, God gives the ability to “incubate” a life for so many months achieving a unique bond that no man can understand. You can claim the dignity of women and refute all those repugnant arguments about the alleged superiority of men over women.
– Eduardo Gallegos Krause
Dwight VogtDecember 18, 2014 - 9:44 am
Eduardo, what a wonderful and rich insight. Thank you for sharing this. “The God who conceives, gestates and gives birth.” What an awesome responsibility, honor, and privilege it is to be made in his image.
Dwight VogtDecember 18, 2014 - 9:53 am
And what a timely reminder for this season of the year. For the tens of millions of us who make up the church of Jesus Christ, may this Christmas be the beginning of a new year in which we, through the Spirit in us, conceive and give birth to countless works that bring God’s healing, goodness, beauty, and illumination to our broken world.
adminDecember 18, 2014 - 10:15 am