I've spend a few hours today arguing about the fact that God transcends the human limitations of sex (gender) and is neither male nor female, not that many Christians wander about under the impression that the Divinity is female. Naturally the Second Person of the Trinity is male insofar as He has chosen to live His humanity as a male human.
The Second Person of the Trinity, during His earthly mission, told us to call the First Person of the Trinity Father, and stated that God was His Father. And so, of course, we do as He said, and the Roman Catholic Church and the churches united to her do not believe anyone is validly baptized unless baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit/Ghost.
However, as God as God is not male, which is attested to by Saint Gregory Nazianzus, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Jerome, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, why did Christ call God His Father? And why did Christ choose to live His humanity as male?
I can only speculate. And I am speculating wildly, without being surrounded by the works of the Fathers, so kindly keep this in mind and your reason at a critical distance from what follows. I offer the follow thoughts just as ideas, as if in a seminar. Don't accept any of this as the teaching of the Church because it isn't; it is speculative theology.
First, one of the analogies in the Scriptures, in both the Old Testament and the New, is the analogy of the bridegroom. In this analogy God is the bridegroom, and His people is the bride. It's not a perfect analogy--bridegrooms are not to brides what God is to His people--but then you can't have perfect analogies when talking about God: God is infinite and thus beyond our linguistic and mental capacities. However, given the Scriptural analogy of bridegroom, it was probably easier for the first Christians to understand the male +Jesus+ as the bridegroom than it would have been for them to understand a female +Jesus+ (if you can get your mind around that for a second) as Wisdom. (The Wisdom figure of the Old Testament is understood in light of the Incarnation as a metaphor for the Second Person of the Trinity.)
Now, as God decided that the Second Person of the Trinity would indeed live His humanity as a male human--being human necessitates having a sex (gender)--this may (MAY) have influenced the way the Second Person described the First. "He who has seen me has seen the Father", said Our Lord (John 14:9). Christ revealed to us who God is, or what God is like: a healer, a saviour, the giver of life, a forgiver of sins, a friend, even a servant (!) . And a son more clearly mirrors a father than he does a mother, and a father more clearly mirrors a son than he does a daughter. So as Christ as human was male, perhaps it made more sense for Him to call the First Person of the Trinity His Father. It helps, too, of course, that as human He had a human mother, who was very much in evidence. He had no human father; as with his begetting from Eternity, God was His only begetter. And so--Father.
Also, the Hebrew traditions around God were in stark contrast to Mother-Goddess worship. The Middle East was full of worship of the personifications of human reproduction, particularly female ones. The human temptation to worship sex-and-reproduction seems endemic. Thus, by calling the First Person His Father, the Son was affirming that God is not the personification of human reproduction, the Mother Goddess. God is a Creator, an intelligence at work, not a Cosmic Womb.
The only risk is that humans, not being very bright, and generally obsessed with sex, might confuse the First Person of the Trinity with Jupiter or Zeus or Wotan or any one of a number of Sky Fathers. However, this did not seem to be a problem for the Christian Church, as St. Gregory, St. Jerome, et alia, were rather harsh with people who went around saying the Godhead was male. Again, it is the teaching of the Catholic Church that God is beyond human notions of sex (gender). He is neither male nor female; He is God. We use the pronoun "He" because it is used generally for any reasonable being, as in "everyone must read for himself". It is used of angels, and angels are also neither male nor female, each angel being A) incorporeal and B) his own species.
Anyway, those are my thoughts, and I invite any Readers with graduate theological training to wade in and tell me if I am out to lunch entirely, or where I am out to lunch, or if I have something here.
Naturally it is important that the Second Person of the Trinity chose to live His humanity as male, but I am interested to know why this was most fitting, as it most assuredly must have been. Also, it is important that the Second Person told us to call the First Person "Father" but as God is not male, it is interesting to speculate why it is that the Second Person chose a term associated with male humans. (By the way, was it ever "Father" or was it always "Abba", Daddy? Because there is a big difference between father and daddy.) How many times does "Abba" appear in the Christian Scriptures, and how many times "Pateras"?
And if you are wondering, this all arose out of a Facebook dispute around the use of the word "Godself" as a replacement for "Himself." I don't think this is the biggest heresy out there, or even heretical at all, but Hilary White seemed incensed. I think it sounds like Gerard Manley Hopkins coined it.
P.S. By the way, there is one poor man on the Facebook thread who keeps bargling on about how God is male, and seems to think the idea that God is beyond male-or-female some kind of body-hating yet feminist plot. No matter how many times I list off the Church Fathers, he keeps fighting on for the maleness of God. I think he is really confused at this point because St. Augustine quite famously came to realize that God doesn't HAVE a body (Confessions, Book 7). I think, though, the problem is that he can't mentally distinguish between the humanity of Christ, the divinity of Christ, the three Persons of the Trinity, or analogy from reality. I rather rudely suggested my interlocutor thinks the Holy Spirit is a bird.
As a matter of fact, I love the depiction of the Holy Spirit as a dove. I really do. I used to doodle it all the time when I was taking breaks from writing theological essays.