The World Mission Society Church of God (or simply, the Church of God) believes “Mother God” not only exists in the Bible, but exists in the flesh today in South Korea.
In the previous article of this series I analyzed the Church of God’s use of Genesis 1:26-27 and Isaiah 6:8 to justify their belief in Mother God. Below, I’ll continue to analyze the Scripture they cite as biblical proof of Mother God.
(God From the Machine has published a book titled Searching the Bible for Mother God: Examining the Teachings of the World Mission Society Church of God, available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. Click here to learn more.)
As I did in my earlier articles, I’ve purposely avoided exposing myself to any negative websites or information about the Church of God (COG) and have based my analysis strictly on their explanation of their own beliefs a stated on their official website.
Since they use the Bible to defend their views (and they appear to believe the Bible is the Word of God), I’ve used the Bible to analyze and refute their beliefs as unbiblical and as a corruption of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. (See below for other articles concerning the COG.)
Before reading further, I would recommend you pause and first read an earlier article I wrote about poor biblical interpretation and how certain churches, sects, and cults misuse Scripture. The principles in that article certainly apply here, as you will see.
The following practices of poor biblical interpretation (manipulation-?) are the most evident in the COG’s use of Scripture:
- Isolating verses and taking them out of context.
- Imposing views on the text rather than letting the text speak for itself.
- Jumping from one part of the Bible to another with utter disregard of context to “prove” ideas, beliefs, or opinions.
- Inconsistent decisions on what should be taken literally or figuratively, often based on preconceived ideas.
“How long will you go here and there,
O faithless daughter?
For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth—
A woman will encompass a man.”
Like many of the passages the COG cites as evidence of Mother God in the Bible, Jeremiah 31:22 sounds mysterious, and may even lead you to suspect there is some sort of hidden meaning behind it, but by simply looking at the verse in context, the meaning of the passage becomes clearer.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote his book during the harsh, tumultuous times after the fall of the Assyrians and the rise of the Babylonians, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the deportation (the Exile) of Jews to Babylon. Like the other prophets, Jeremiah states God allowed this calamity to fall on the Jewish people as just judgment for their sin and idolatry.
But, also like the other prophets, Jeremiah isn’t all negative: he also gives a message of hope, where God will redeem the faithful.
This message of hope is seen in the verses preceding 31:22. Take a moment to read it, covering 31:15 to 31:22.
Rachel is Weeping
Verse 15 refers to Rachel weeping for “her children,” the exiled Jews:
“Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.”
We find Rachel way back in the book of Genesis. Rachel was Jacob’s second, but favorite, wife (Genesis 29:30) and the mother of Joseph, the father of Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 30:22-24; 41:50-52). Notice Ephraim is mentioned in Jeremiah 31:18 as also grieving.
Like many of the prophets, Jeremiah uses a lot of poetic imagery. The idea here is that the Exile is so devastating to the Jews that even Rachel is mourning. It would be similar if I said to an American today, after someone had burned an American flag, that Betsy Ross (the woman traditionally credited with sewing the 1st American flag) is weeping over the treatment of the flag. The person would know that I didn’t mean this literally, since Betsy Ross lived in the 1700-1800’s, but poetically.
But Jeremiah moves on to the good news. God will have mercy, and a faithful remnant will return to their land. Note the imagery of roads in 31:21, implying their return:
“Set up road markers for yourself;
make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.”
Israel, the Jewish people, are then poetically personified as a young woman, a “virgin” and “faithless daughter” in 31:21-22:
“Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.
How long will you waver,
O faithless daughter?”
And then we have the mysterious and infamous words of 31:22 used by the COG as evidence of Mother God:
“For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth:
a woman encircles a man.”
First, it’s clear from the context of the rest of Jeremiah that jumping to the conclusion that this verse is about a female deity of any sort has no textual or logical grounding. If you continue to read the rest of Jeremiah, you will find so such evidence of “Mother God” either.
Admittedly, this single line “a woman encircles a man” is a bit of a mystery. One commentator even says the clear meaning of this line is “enigmatic.” Yet the only way to justify that this is about Mother God is to read a preconceived idea into the text, not by letting the text speak for itself.
Unorthodox sects and cults often grab onto unclear lines of Scripture and insert their own meaning into them. Further, the same commentator who labeled this line “enigmatic” also writes that though this one line is unclear, the rest of the chapter surrounding it is perfectly clear and unambiguous.
Though Israel is a “faithless daughter,” God will still give her a “new thing” – a new life as he brings her back to her land from exile. “Encircles” in 31:22 (“a woman encircles a man”) can also be translated “encompasses” or “protects.” What the line is most likely symbolizing is that the “woman” (Israel) will grow in strength, even to the point of being strong enough to protect “a man.”
As you can see, nothing in Jeremiah supports the claim that Mother God appears in this ancient book of prophecy.
***God From the Machine has published a book for evangelizing, educating, and refuting the World Mission Society Church of God titled Searching the Bible for Mother God: Examining the Teachings of the World Mission Society Church of God, available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. Click here to learn more.
MOTHER GOD: Analyzing the Biblical Evidence: GALATIANS 4:26-31.
My earlier articles on the Church of God:
Also, I do not intend to debate here if the World Mission Society Church of God is a “cult” or not, and I prefer my readers to decide. (Please feel free to comment, discuss, & debate below!) Earlier articles I wrote will hopefully be helpful: