Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Peter van Inwagen on God's Maleness or Lack Thereof

Professor van Inwagen (University of Notre Dame) writes:

"Before leaving the topic of the personhood of God, I should say a word about sex--not sex as the vulgar use the word, not sexual intercourse, but sexual dimorphism--what people are increasingly of late, and to my extreme annoyance, coming to call 'gender.' We haven't yet officially said this, but, as everyone knows, God does not occupy space, so he can't have a physical structure; but to have a sex, to be male or female, is, among other things, to have a physical structure. God, therefore, does not have a sex. It is literally false that he is male, and literally false that he is female" (The Problem of Evil, page 21).

Although van Inwagen does not think God is male or female, he uses the third-person singular pronoun "he" to avoid calling God "it."

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