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Is God Male and Female?

I was recently on my computer when I saw a question appear on a news feed and it was asking if it was okay to refer to God as a female? I was reading the comments and I could see that there was a lot of confusion around this topic. Most of the people commenting were Christians and some were saying that God is Spirit and spirits have no gender whilst others were saying God is both the Father and the Son so must be male, whilst others were saying that Scripture recognises Him as a mother so He must be both mother and father, making Him male and female.

What does the Bible say?

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them (Genesis 1:27, KJV). This Scripture shows us that God created mankind in His own image, first the male and then the female. Does this mean God is male and female if both are created in His image? Many believe this to be so because of their interpretation of this passage. To get a better perspective what does the word image actually mean in Hebrew in this passage?

Image (Strong's #6754)
The word צלם (tselem) is literally a shadow which is the outline or representation of the original. Mankind (which is male and female) were created in the shadow/outline of God. This means the blueprint of men and women being created by God in His image was a representation of the original. This means the invisible form of God is shaped like a human. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (Colossians 1:14-17, KJV). We see that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God and Jesus was a male human being. Jesus as the word of God always existed in Heaven as God and was the firstborn over all His creation. This means that Jesus has pre-eminence over all creation and that He Himself is not a created being as He Himself is the creator. Later, Jesus as the word of God became flesh through an immaculate conception and dwelt amongst us (John 1:14). When God formed mankind, He started with the male (Adam) and then decided he needed a companion and formed the female (Eve) from man's rib. This means that God’s creation is either male or female and created from a representation of the original design of God Himself – meaning the form and shape. Scripture shows us that God Himself is male (and not female).  In Scripture God refers to Himself as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  The Father is male and Jesus the Son is male.

 What about the Spirit of God?  

I have heard people state that the spirit of God is genderless?  I naturally used to believe this too. However I couldn’t find anywhere where it stated God’s Spirit had no gender. What is the Spirit of God?  It is the Holy Spirit of course. The Holy Spirit of God is His Spirit and He is always referred to as a He or Him in Scripture and is the third part of the Holy Trinity.  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you (John 16:7-15, KJV).

I also learned in my study that the Hebrew and Greek language assigns gender to their words. Hebrew has two genders (masculine and feminine), and Greek has three (masculine, feminine, and neuter). Does this have any emphasis on the Spirit of God? The Holy Spirit is referred to in the masculine throughout the New Testament.  The word for "spirit" by itself (pneuma) is actually gender-neutral. The Hebrew word for "spirit" (ruach) is feminine in Genesis 1:2. Does this mean we can assign sex, personality, or character of something or someone from the gender assigned to words?  No and I will explain why. An example of this is the word ‘Foot’.  Foot is feminine in Hebrew (regel) but masculine in Greek (pous). Foot clearly does not have a gender. In John 21, Jesus uses a masculine and neuter word to describe the same fish. He then uses two neuter words for ‘sheep’ to describe the same people. Does this have anything to do with the sex, nature, or character of the fish, sheep, or people? No. There are many more examples like this. The main point here is that the gender of a ‘word’ in Greek or Hebrew has nothing to do with gender identity. We have to believe that the King James Version is correct and is the true word of God. This translation has been touted as being one of the most accurate and true to the original transcripts. These Scriptures are clear that God is not a female.

What about humans, will they be male and female in Heaven? Many believe that we will have no gender and will quote Galatians 3:28 and say that in Heaven there is no male or female. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, KJV). To put this Scripture in context it is talking about inequality. Women on earth are cursed for man to rule over her as a result of the sin of Adam and Eve. In Heaven there is no inequality and men and women are classed as equals. One is not greater or more superior than the other. Why?  Because there is no more curse of course. It also says there is no Jew or Greek as we are all one in Christ. There is no separation or bias based on your sex, race or human status. It does not mean in Heaven we are genderless. Even the angels are referred to as he or she (gods or goddesses). Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven (Zechariah 5:9, KJV).  In this Scripture the angels are defined as women with wings. The Bible also mentions Michael and Gabriel who are two male angels.

“Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father” (1 Kings 11:33, KJV). This Scripture is clearly showing us there are male gods and female goddesses. Many take the passage where Jesus says there will be no marriage in Heaven and that we will be like the angels to mean we are in spirit form and will be genderless. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven (Matthew 22:30, KJV). Scripture does not say anything about our gender or the angels gender in this passage, and it is assumption based on the wrong interpretation of the other Scriptures that lead many to believe we and angels will be genderless. Just because angels and ourselves in Heaven do not marry doesn’t mean we will be genderless. We don’t marry one another because we will be married to Christ.  For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called (Isaiah 54:5, KJV). He is our husband and we (both male and female) are His wife. Scripture shows us that when Jesus returns we will be resurrected into our perfect physical heavenly bodies.  These bodies are both physical (perceived through the senses) and spiritual but not made from the earth. Jesus Himself received His new body at His resurrection and it was a Heavenly body.  He was still Jesus (and must have looked different as the disciples did not instantly recognise Him) but was still referred to by the disciples as a man.  He did not become genderless. He ate food with the disciples, and they were able to physically touch Him. If one can eat and drink then one must also assume one needs to use the bathroom as well. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father and is still in human form – the visible image of the invisible God and is equal with God. God was head over Jesus when He was on earth because of His weakness in His earthly flesh.

He is now clothed in His Heavenly body and no longer an earthly body – flesh and blood cannot enter Heaven. Our heavenly bodies will be an image of Christ’s body.  They will differ from our earthly ones in type of flesh, in splendor, in power and be eternal.

I have also heard people describing God’s attributes as feminine or masculine.  What is feminine and masculine? This is cut and pasted from Cambridge Dictionary - We use female and male to refer to the sex of humans and animals. We use feminine and masculine when we refer to the qualities that we consider to be typical of women or men.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, KJV). In this passage the Bible uses the word effeminate as a sin. The word effeminate in Greek is Malakia translated as "softness", "weakliness" that, in relation to men, has sometimes been translated as "effeminacy". Effeminacy is the manifestation of traits in a boy or man that are more often associated with feminine behavior, mannerism, style, or gender roles rather than with traditionally masculine behavior, mannerisms, style or roles. God created men and women opposite to one another. There is one God but three depictions of His character – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which is seen in both man and woman. This is where so much confusion comes in. Many men display the fruits of the spirit gentleness, love, humility and compassion. Society can label them as feminine. It is not femininity but gentle loving caring fruits of the spirit. Many men reject these fruits as they don't want to be seen as feminine, or weak which in turn reject the characteristics of God. Men should be able to operate in these qualities and not be labelled feminine. Woman can take on the role of self-sufficiency, not wanting to be seen as a weaker vessel to the man so in turn can reject their femininity. Put simply men are made masculine, woman are made feminine. This is how God made us. Men should not refer to them self as feminine, just as woman should not refer to themselves as masculine, but we should all be able to operate in all of the fruits of the Spirit without fear of labels. We need to embrace the qualities and attributes that pertain to both genders that God has ordained for us. This is femininity in woman, masculinity in men, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit operating in both.

What about those who believe it is okay to refer to God as a mother?  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37, KJV).

As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem (Isaiah 66:13, KJV).

Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee (Deuteronomy 32:18, KJV).

I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once (Isaiah 42:14, KJV).

Scripture shows us that He is nurturing and has motherly instincts toward us but He never refers to Himself as our mother or a female, but is instead likening Himself to a mother. When you really delve into the truth of the Scriptures you can see that calling God a woman, a mother, a sister or a female is heresy.

By Tania Francis 

 

   

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