There is this maternal impulse, this ancient nurturing instinct. And it transcends time; it transcends culture; it transcends economics. There is an ancient mothering impulse, and it’s also a divine impulse. Throughout the Bible, God is described as compassionate. In Hebrew, the original language of the Scriptures, it’s the word “raham.” It’s also the word for “womb.” So, God is compassionate. God is “womb-like”? This is a feminine image for God.
Now see a lot of people are very comfortable with male imagery for God. So God is the Father; God is the Warrior; God is the Judge; God is the Lawgiver. But feminine images for God?
Well there’s this great line in the book of Job. God is pointing out all the complexity and creativity of creation and essentially saying to Job, “Who do you think made all of this?” And at one point, God ask Job, “From whose womb came the ice? Who gave birth to the frost from the heavens?” God’s answer to Job is “God.” God’s womb? God gave birth? Obviously it’s poetry here, so you can’t take it too literally. But this is feminine imagery for God.
Now these images can be very helpful in describing the divine. But Jesus said that God is Spirit. And Spirit has no shape; it has no form; it has no physical essence. I mean, God is, in essence, beyond male and female. Or perhaps you could say it more accurately: God transcends and yet includes what we know as male and female. [see video below]
Chris Cowan at CBMW has written a two-part critique of Bell’s video and shows the fallacious exegesis undergirding Bell’s use of feminine God language. Cowan concludes:
These analogies are not intended to tell us about God’s “feminine side.” Instead, they are a demonstration of God’s abundant mercy to us. God employs various metaphors and pictures, using simple concepts that we can understand, so that he might explain what he is like. As one whom his mother comforts, so God comforts his children. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. The love of Christ for wretched sinners is so glorious that it “surpasses knowledge” (Eph 3:19). What a demonstration of amazing grace, then, for God to point to a mother’s (or a father’s) compassion and say, “This is what I am like—only far better.”
Biblical metaphors and similes are meant to bring clarity to our understanding of God. Unfortunately, Rob Bell’s teaching only serves to muddy the waters.
You definitely need to read the rest of Cowan’s essay: