Why No Genderless Personal Pronoun?

Why is it that the English Language can reflect the changing environment, knowledge and technology by developing and changing, yet our language is still without a personal pronoun that can be used to refer to a genderless or bi-gendered God? Is it so difficult to come up with a word other than “he” or “she” to speak of God? “It” just doesn’t capture God. Yet, despite all of the inclusive language movements, and recognition that ” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them,” we still have not developed a personal pronoun that has caught on. Many use “She” but that is just reverse discrimination. What is wrong with something like “Ghe” or “Yhe?” Why can’t we just make one up and have it catch on? I don’t get it!


11 thoughts on “Why No Genderless Personal Pronoun?

  1. Exactly! I too am surprised at our inaction in this area. What’s stopping us? Are there any difficulties? Opposition?

  2. I’ve been known to use the word “they” when I’m not sure if I’m referring to a man or a woman.
    Say your name were Sam.
    I might say, “They were talking about pronouns over on their blog.”

    It sucks, but it works in a pinch in some situations.

  3. It really is awkward, isn’t it? I suppose I like He and I make the capital do all the work of identifying the word as somehow unique and different to its usual appearance in language. Cop out, I know!

  4. Litlove, I don’t think it’s a cop out. If you prefer “He” then that is fine. I just wonder what impact conceptualizing God as male has on women. Still, the trinity is male: Father, Son, anyway. I’ve heard that the Hebrew word for Holy Spirit is feminine. Perhaps, considering the trinity, Saskboy is on to the right idea: using “they.”

  5. A good question to ponder. For everyday people and things “they” works however supposedly ungrammatical it is. But for God it is hard when so many traditions view God and decidedly male. Maybe God should not have a personal pronoun?

  6. I’ve been playing with different possibilities since I last commented, and I’ve become quite critical with my lack of creativity. I had no idea I would expect so much out of a personal pronoun.

  7. Welcome Stefanie. Thanks for commenting. You make an interesting suggestion. Personal pronouns replace the noun, and maybe it would be more theologically sound not to use them. Hmmm.

    It is hard to come up with a word isn’t it Jerry?

  8. I found you! I’ve been known to resort to “they”, though that can get awkward at times. For example: in the religious context, it could suddenly seem as if I was referring to polytheism.

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