‘God is not a father in exactly the same way as a human being is a father. God is not male or female. God is not definable.

‘It is extraordinarily important as Christians that we remember that the definitive revelation of who God is was not in words, but in the word of God who we call Jesus Christ. We can’t pin God down.’

A YouGov survey found 41 per cent of British Christians agreed God ‘does not have a human gender’ – but most refer to God as male.

Diarmaid MacCulloch, a professor of Christian history told The Times: ‘The conventional unthinking image of God as male has been around since Christianity first emerged