Does God Have a Gender?

This is an email I received today:

…One aspect of God that is very prevalent in the churches in Northern Virginia (a hotbed of cultural diversity as I am sure Atlanta was) is the aspect of God being feminine. Gender is quite the issue in many churches, praying to “God, he or she, which ever you prefer.” Certainly there are references to God’s nature as feminine characteristics, (sheltered under wings…etc.) and certainly God references himself as a “male” time and time again. He does describe His characteristics as gender specific so that we may have better understanding. That does not mean He is either male nor female. An understanding of what spirit is helps clear this up.

Once a person has allowed him/her self to distort the scriptures in one area (i.e. the trinity) then it is so much easier to distort and paste his/her own issues on God and who He is – such as making Him female. Instead of looking at the images of femaleness as ways of understanding God’s relationship with us, it is taken to a deeper level of His essence.

This is surely nothing new. Ashera and other female gods were worshipped and still are…Gaia, etc. Delusion upon delusion seem to heep upon one another. That is why I am with you wanting to just know the truth because that is what I want to believe. It is scary sometimes because I don’t want to be in that deluded catagory and have been at times, and still probably am in some areas… But that darkness is not wanted and God knows that and will teach me as He has continued to do through the years.

my response is below:

This is difficult to determine because God is not a human being and therefore does not necessarily have a gender. However, the Scriptures say that grace & truth came through Jesus. Thus the Son would know the best about the Father since he has the most intimate relationship with him. Jesus referred to God as “my Father” (not Mother) approximately 50 times. Thus, if we are to trust that the one who has “fully declared God” (John 1.18) knows best, then we should refer to God as our Father (in the masculine).

What do you think? Is God masculine/feminine/neuter?

Advertisements

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by TPI on January 18, 2007 at 3:10 am

    Hi! Everyone

    Does God have a Gender?
    A rather quaint question to be sure. Nevertheless, a worthy one which deserves to be answered.

    I suppose the immediate answer is that God is spirit and therefore the rationale of the question ‘gender’ becomes redundant.

    Every Christian needs to ask themselves, “What image do I have of God?”.
    What do the Scriptures reveal to us about God; concerning His form of existence in the spiritual world? Are there any references that shine light on the inner being of God? What coherence exists between God and the Spirit of God?

    Let’s first decide to apply the rule as described in 1Cor 2:13 and compare Scripture with Scripture and spiritual things with spiritual.

    God is a person with a spiritual body. In the Old as well as the New Testament we find many instances where God is spoken of as a person: … and God said … and God saw … and God did … and God heard. Nowhere in the Bible do we find any basis for an ‘impersonal’ God.

    The bible is not vague or unclear in this regard: God is spirit (John 4:24); the word “God” is the name of the Creator of heaven and earth (Gen 1:1). Additionally there are texts who speak about the mouth of the Lord, the arm of the Lord, His mighty right hand, His feet and about the eyes and ears of the Lord. There is a reference to the depths of God and to the heart of God. When we align all these spiritual things together, we begin to grasp an image of a (spiritual) body.

    Does God then have a spiritual body too? Is God similar to man in this regard? We should perhaps reverse matters: God is not similar to man, but man is created in the image of God; man is similar to God. Because God is a person possessing a spiritual body, man also has a spiritual body. Because God has a spiritual heart, man also has one. Man can speak, see, and hear because God can do these activites also.

    With the creation of man, God created something which is similar to His own being. This not only applies for the spiritual body of man, but also for his natural body too. The visible is connected to the invisible and is an image of it. It is because of this that it becomes possible for us to make the step from a clearly visible material body to the less clearly visible immaterial spiritual body and obtain for ourselves an image of it. Based on Genesis 1, we may make another step and state that a complete image of man can only be obtained when first possessing a clear image of God.

    When John declares that God is spirit, he most certainly does not mean to imply that God is a spirit like many others, or that God would be on the same level as all other spirits in the spiritual world. God is the Person in the spiritual world who carries all things, and of whom and to whom are all things,(Romans 11:36). He is the beginning and the end of all that is. In this sense God cannot be compared to any other being, Isaiah 40:25. God is not a spirit like the angels are spirits; God created heaven and earth and surpasses the entire world of the angels because of that. God created heaven and earth; all that is, owes its existence to God. God surpasses all that is created, because it is the work of His hands.

    When we compare the spiritual body of God with that of man, we need to be thoroughly aware that, because man is created in the image of God, there are clear similarities which can be pointed out; yet, the difference between Creator and His creation remains for ever.

    The Bible speaks in various ways about the Spirit of God. Examples: the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, the holy Spirit, Your holy Spirit, His holy Spirit, My Spirit, The Spirit of Your Father, The Spirit of life, the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of grace, the Spirit from God, the spirit of wisdom and of revelation… When reading all these texts, should we think of different persons, or is it essentially one person?

    Concerning the holy Spirit(Ghost) many are inclined to think of a second person besides God. Is the holy Ghost then a God too? Consequently, is there a difference between me and my spirit, between the spirit of man and the man?

    So, it is that we arrive at the core of the issue: from the image of man, in which the unity between spirit, soul and body is clearly expressed, we can also obtain an accurate image of God, God’s Spirit, God Himself, the depths of God and so on. The image of man is closely related to the image of God and the image of God is closely related to the image of God.

    So, if we wish to know who God is, we would do well to also have a proper biblical image of man too. It will prove to determine much of our imaginative faculty concerning spiritual/unseen realiites.

    Every man has a name and by that name something is intended. On the one hand it indicates the inner self of a person, his personality, his heart, his soul. On the other hand it also indicates all that is connected to that heart: the person as a whole, interior as well as exterior. I do not mean to say that every contemporary name describes the qualities/character of that person as is often seen with some biblical names. We can however state that every particular name (or nickname) “belongs” to a certain person.

    God is a spirit, a being without a material body, a person bearing the name God. The word God therefore firstly indicates the deepest being of God, His heart, the depths of God, the core, His person(ality), but secondly also all that is connected to that, His Spirit, His spiritual body. In one word the core and the whole are connected and named.

    Additionally, the name “God” is also a description of the being of the Creator and fully connected to the uniqueness of the Creator of all things. No other being can and may bear this name.

    The heart, the soul of a man is covered in and surrounded by his spirit; together the soul and spirit form his spiritual body, the inner man. In the same way, the being of a spirit is covered in the spirit. So, we speak of a spiritual body.

    A man’s spiritual body is connected to a material body and functions in it as ‘neshamah’and this serves to distinguish man from every other spiritual being. Men are persons with a spiritual and a natural body, by means of which they speak, see, work, and function in two worlds simultaneously. The being of God, the heart of God, God Himself therefore, is covered in His Spirit, in the Spirit of God. God is a spirit, a Person with a spiritual body, by means of which God speaks, works, manifests himself, reveals himself.

    Examples: 2Chronicles 16:9 has “the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth”. No one will think here of something independent, something that can function, independently from God; it is God Himself who sees (with his spiritual eyes) throughout the world to assist the people who are dedicated to Him. When God’s strong right hand supports, it is not an arm in itself; it is God who supports. When the Spirit of God moves on the face of the waters, it is not just the Spirit of God; God Himself controls the waters. If the mouth of the Lord has spoken, who then has spoken? If the Spirit of the Lord is with me and in me, who is then with me and in me? when I am led by the holy Spirit (Ghost), by whom am I then being led? When the holy Ghost reveals something to me, who is it then that reveals something?

    All these expressions are about God: God speaks, God is with me, God leads me, God leads and reveals. In the holy Ghost, the Spirit of God, is the person “God”. The being of God is covered in the Spirit of God and forms the heart, the central “part” of that Spirit. The holy Ghost is not a second God, but is an indication of God himself: God is (a) spirit. The holy Ghost is the body of God, in which the heart of God is hidden.

    We should not separate the holy Ghost from God himself; it is about one spiritual Being, one Person with the greatest spiritual body that can ever be imagined!

    If the holy Ghost is not a separate God, then how about Jesus? Is there a ‘trinity’ God who is one in being? Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, Phil 2:11. There is but one God, the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ, 1Cor 8:6. There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 1Tim 2:5. Jesus is not a second God, and the holy Ghost is not a third God.

    The bible speaks of two persons:
    Firstly of God, the Father, the creator and bearer of all things; a Spirit, a purely spiritual being with a spiritual body, so great, so magnificent… almost indescribable, within it the heart of God, the depths of God.
    The bible also speaks of Jesus, the Lord, head of the church, Son of God; a (glorified) man, a spirit-soul-body being, completely connected to the Father. Jesus and God are a unity of one; one in thinking, one in striving, one in intentions, one in word and works.

    They are two persons who merge in each other without losing their own identities. God never became man by His unity with Jesus in holy Ghost. When Jesus was baptized in the holy Ghost His spiritual body became covered by and filled with God’s Spirit, but He remained a man; He did not become spirit, nor a second or third God. There is not a ‘trinity’ of persons, but rather they form a harmonious unity in testimony; there are three, says John, which bear witness that Jesus is the Messiah.

    The holy Ghost is the (spiritual) body of God, in which the heart of God is hidden. In the same way is the heart, the soul of man hidden in his spiritual body. In 1 Corinthians 2:10 Paul says: “The Spirit searches all things, yes, even the depths of God (the heart of God)”. Proverbs 20:27 speaks of the spirit of man that searches his entire innermost being (God’s Word). Paul made the comparison: “after all, who knows everything about a person except that person’s own spirit? In the same way, no one has known everything about God except God’s Spirit”. (Again, a confirmation of the similarity between the image of man and image of God).

    Even though a full spiritual reality of God Himself can hardly be imagined, we may begin to distinguish the person of God. He Himself sees us, strengthens us, and supports us; He himself gives us strength and courage.

    We must determine to be as clear and direct as possible in our use of words with regard to man and God. In this way we put off old ways of thinking including the thoughtworld behind the posed question of ‘gender’. If we wish to be renewed in our mind, it is important to also involve the words we use: renewing of our thinking also means renewing of speaking, and not just that, it means a complete renewing of our blurred conceptions.

    A proper image of God and a proper image of ourselves makes a proper functioning in two worlds after the will of God feasible. Together we wish to become permeated of the Spirit of God in order to realize all God’s intentions with man and creation. Then will we be to honor of His glory.

    Reply

  2. Posted by iRiley on January 18, 2007 at 3:47 am

    I don’t mean to sound dense and I’m not familiar with the prepositions in the hebrew be them masculine, femenine, or neutered, but if the translation is accurate, God is reffered to in the masculine sense, and, for me, that’s what I see him as.

    People say, ‘Well, that’s not really what it means, that’s just a metaphor.’ But, why can’t we take the Bible at face value? It almost makes sense that way.

    Any other ideas/views?

    Reply

  3. Posted by TPI on January 18, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Hi! Iriley

    Jus’ a quick reference to your comment, “God is referred to in the masculine sense”.

    It is not for nothing that the Scriptures posture God as masculine gender. This is in keeping with the fact that God’s Word (his eternal plans and intents) impregnates the ‘heart’ of man and this initiates what is known as the ‘Born Again’ experience. Every Born Again person has been impregnated by the ‘seed of God’.

    When I using the term, ‘heart’ of man, I am referring to the fact that man is an exalted creature with a soul and spirit. This invisible part of man (aka:’inner-man’) is what the Bible names as the spiritual body of man. Just as the earthly body is composed of elements of the earth, so too the spiritual body composed of elements of heaven (ICor 15:44 ).

    The terms ‘life’ and ‘death’ in the Bible first and foremost refer to this spiritual body of man. Life equals development in relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ. Death equals futility in reference to the purpose of God. When Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, he died before God according to his inner man, though his natural body lived on for hundreds of years.

    According to the inner man ‘the eyes were opened’ and man and his wife saw that they were ‘naked’, not just physically, but especially inwardly (Genesis 3:7). Their inner man was ‘naked’ before the powers of sin, which now could impregnate them with iniquity (‘seed of the serpent’).

    That is how sin entered the world. The term ‘world’ refers to the coherence of the natural man, animal, plant and lifeless matter. The term ‘sin’ refers to the impossibility for man to reach the original purpose of God. By the (act of) sin of man, he himself and the whole visible creation had come under the claim of Death (Romans 5:12-14).

    In the same manner, when we place our faith in the Word of Life,(the thoughts/inspirations of God), the “good seed” is planted and nourished which manifests itself in our mortal body as peace, joy and righteousness.

    The masculine metaphor of God is even more enhanced when we recognize the fact that the Church is the ‘womb’ which nourishes and assists in the development of the spiritual man.

    Anyways, I jus’ thought I would parachute in an’ give you these thoughts to ponder.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Victor on January 18, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    There is def. not a trinity. That’s for sure. At least not in the Bible or true Christianity. That can be the subject of posts to follow.

    God does give us much information about His character, actions, plans, words, etc. Many times the writers of the Scipture indicate that God is refered to in the masculine by pronoun etc.

    But think about this, Jesus clearly communicates a unique aspect for the people of God, especially who enter into the New Covenant through Christ – God (YHWH) is defined now as “Father.” Jesus prays, “Our Father,” etc.

    Father doesn’t seem to be too ambigious to me.

    But at the same time, we don’t need to get all bent out of shape because of the times we live in to define God’s gender – let the Scripturs speak and may we echo and speak like them.
    -VG

    Reply

  5. Posted by Dustin Smith on January 22, 2007 at 3:52 am

    Not to mention all of the verbs in Hebrew when referring to God are declined as masc verbs.

    There really is no argument here. Drop the feminist movement and let the Father be the Father.

    Dustin

    Reply

  6. Posted by Jacob Werner on October 9, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    “To whom then will you compare me …? says the Holy One.” (Isaiah 40:25 NRSV) “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;” (Genesis 1:27 KJV)

    Reply

  7. Posted by Bridgett Neighbors on February 21, 2013 at 11:50 am

    “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)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: