Is God Male or Female? Does the Bible Say?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Does the Bible say whether God is male or female?  Can we know for certain from the Word of God?  Can we tell from the style of the literature or the original authors?

God in the Masculine

God is spoken of as a “He.”  Jesus is a male…the Son of God.  The Holy Spirit is referred to as “He.”  But does this mean that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are males?  No, not as we know maleness in the human gender.  If we understand that the Bible was written in the masculine form and that it is not gender-neutral, we can see that God is a “He.”  Just like we christen a boat and give a feminine name to it, we hear the Bible mention “men, mankind and the sons of men.”  But this does not mean that God is a male like human men and boys are.  Jesus was born of a virgin woman as a male, yes, but before that He was God and was with God (John 1).  God is Spirit (John 4:24) and so as God is a Spirit, He is neither male nor female as we understand it.  I am not saying that God as the Father is not a male in name but God is spirit and even the angels are neither male nor female (Matt 22:30).  Angels are given male names but this is by design because angels have no sexual orientation.  They can not marry or reproduce because they are spirit beings.  God can create beings like He did angels and mankind but God can not reproduce other Gods.  This is because God, by definition, has always existed, was never created, and can not create an eternal god because by definition, something that is eternal can not have a beginning or an ending and thus be a created being.

Is God Male or Female

He bids you to come to Him today…for tomorrow may be too late

God as Father

We understand that God the Father is likened to a human father.  In Psalm 103:13-14 is among my favorites as it says that God is like,a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;  for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.“  He is benevolent, He provides for, He sustains, He corrects, He disciplines, and He loves…but God is not a male as we know human maleness but He is male in His divine attributes.  Just like a ship with a feminine name or a hurricane with a feminine or masculine name is not a sexual being.  A few years ago when hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast, it was understood that the hurricane was not a female and could not reproduce.  God created male and female and the First Person of the Trinity is referred to as a Father (male) but this doesn’t mean that God is a male in the sense of human maleness.

The Son of God

Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, is sometimes called “the Son of Man” indicating a masculine gender (Luke 19:10).  Jesus was a carpenter and carpenters in that day worked with heavy stones and timbers.  There is little doubt that Jesus must have been “a man’s man” or a very strong man because the job of a carpenter in those days was a very strenuous job and demanded hard, physical labor.  He was the Son of God and the Son of Man, emphasizing His human birth.  The Scriptures show dozens of time that Jesus was a male in the flesh and the Scriptures testify of this for even the Roman authorities said, “no one ever spoke like this man“ (John 7:47)! The Scriptures also testify that,God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17).  Clearly Jesus was a man on earth but He was God before He became man (John 1:14).  Before Jesus came in the flesh He was with the Triune God and neither male nor female but declared to be the Son of God, the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world (Rev 13:8b).

The Holy Spirit

When Jesus said that He was going away, He was going to send the Helper.  This Helper would also be called the Counselor as we read in John 16:7-8, But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.  When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.”  Here we see that the Holy Spirit is referred to as a “He.”  There is a maleness in the gender of the Holy Spirit but that is the way that the Holy Spirit is referred to just as Jesus is called “Him” and the Father, “He.”  This does not mean that the Holy Spirit is a male as far as we think of human maleness but we must refer to the Holy Spirit in the masculine.

Conclusion

We have heard many wrongly attribute God as a “she, her, or mother-god” but these are not found in Scripture and these are an insult to God.  There are also many Bibles that have made God out to be gender-neutral.  This is also wrong because the Bible in the Hebrew and Greek clearly say God is referred to in the masculine by name.  You may have even heard the terms “mother earth” or “mother nature” but is the earth or nature really female?  Of course not!  It is just the way the language idiosyncrasies are in the Bible.  This doesn’t mean that we should not refer to God the Father, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit as “He’s” but they are not anything like a human male at all.  Even so, we see that they are masculine by name and this is the way that we must refer to them.  To refer to God in the female gender is not only incorrect; it is not biblical, so in the strictest sense, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are “He’s” or male.  Not so much in persuasion, sex, or gender as we know it, but by title and definition.

If you have not placed your trust in Jesus Christ, you can not pray to God as a Father, because if you are not one of His, then you are one of the children of the devil (John 8:44).  You must belong to one family or the other.  If you decide today to place your faith in Jesus Christ to save you and have repented of your sins and placed this saving trust in Christ, then you have a Father…God the Father that you can pray to.  And when you pray, you can pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God Who gives you access to the Throne Room of Heaven.  And you can be praying in the Holy Spirit for He helps us pray and knows what we should pray for.  These three “He’s” are available to you.  Will you come to Jesus to make the Son of God your Savior…or deny Him and have Him be your Judge (Rev 20)?  He bids you to come to Him today…for tomorrow may be too late (2 Cor 6:2).

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Sources:

New International Version Bible (NIV)
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

phana Nkosi moyo August 14, 2012 at 5:45 am

Thanx! im so uplifted each nd everytime when i read your staff.

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Jack Wellman August 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Thank you so much Phana. I am so glad you came to visit us and leave a comment.

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Michael August 14, 2012 at 9:46 am

Great article it answered alot of questions. I have often wondered whether God was a He or She. thank you for clearing it up.

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Jack Wellman August 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Michael…you truly are an encourager my friend…are you sure you are not related to Barnabas in the New Testament?

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Sonlife August 14, 2012 at 10:10 am

thank you! great post, very insightful

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Jack Wellman August 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Thank you my friend. I appreciate your input. May God richly bless you this week and please come back again soon.

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Derek Hill August 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Well done Jack. This made perfect sense. You handled this tough topic smoothly. Well done brother!

In His Name Always,
Derek

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Chris Martel August 18, 2012 at 9:50 am

Hello again Jack,

We are created in his image, both male & female, and yes GOD definitely has given us ALL of His attributes, it’s just that He gave to each sex various levels of His being. To women He gave more caretaker and nurturing behaviors and to men he gave more hunter/gatherer and defence oriented abilities, this was of course necessary otherwise we would never have been united as couples where we live, love, and work together as one. This is just one of His greatest gifts, that two become one, united in love, in His image. Yeah, GOD is without a doubt the smartest and most caring entity in the universe! All this in six days!

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Jack Wellman August 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

As usual Chris, your spot on the mark my friend. I do love how you factor in the different attributes of God into the different sexes. That’s a great observation that I wish I had included in this article and as always, you add so much more to any article or conversation and I thank God for you brother. The one attribute of God that is lacking in us and me in particular, is His holiness, of which I believe all other attributes flow out of for if there is one single thing that I think about God is that He is “holy, holy, holy.”

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Robert Jackson September 8, 2012 at 7:48 am

Hello Jack,

Very well done, right to the point and scriptually sound. May Yeshua continue to bless your ministry.

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Jack Wellman September 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Mr. Jackson…coming from an accomplished writer like you sir, this means a lot. I thank God that I met you and may Yeshua be glorified.

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John Frazier May 29, 2013 at 6:37 am

Thank you for your answer, as its been my feeling since as child. God is so much greater titles of male and female. I’m a gay male and have been all of my life. Many think that its a choice, but in my case, I was born this way. It doesn’t matter if I have sex with my own gender or not, its like trying to change from black to white. I would still be black no matter what. I do believe that we all are sent here to learn, exist and love each other unconditionally. I wont debate as I feel that’s satan’s way of dividing us up and causing confusion. Thank you for your answer as it helps me continue on my quest to learning more about our Creator. God bless you.

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Win November 19, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Yes, also why don’t we just forget language reforms and refer to all humankind as mankind. Women and other gender identities don’t matter anyways. God is clearly a male, masculine figure in Christianity. I am not saying God is to be considered devoid of sexual orientation, but if God is indeed devoid of sexual urges, then we should call God asexual or refer to him in gender-neutral terms. It’s called good and respectful use of language. Also, the very use of word, God (vs. Goddess) suggests God is a masculine entity in Christianity. I liked your article, but I just couldn’t agree with the end part that resisted change to use of language.

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Michele Bowler March 8, 2014 at 7:51 am

You wrote, “We have heard many wrongly attribute God as a “she, her, or mother-god” but these are not found in Scripture and these are an insult to God.”

I really doubt God would be insulted. If I was made in (his) image then (he) clearly has some of my female attributes too. The Bible was written in a time and culture where referring to female attributes of God would never be acceptable. It was written to be understood by the masses at the time and so males as figures of divine authority would be more acceptable. I love God with all my heart and while I like your article I just feel the wording of your sentence above is a bit of a smack in the face to all Godly women.

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Mariella September 17, 2016 at 9:04 am

My theology professors in Christian schools all my life taught me that we humans speak of God as a man because sexism exists in the Bible as it does in real life.

God is not masculine or feminine or human but our thoughts and understandings are human, therefore, we process things and label them in the LIMITED way we see best to try to process them. If you read the Bible, it should be very evident that the 40 male prophets who wrote the Bible through divine revelation, like all the men of their time, thought women were inferior to men –that women were less than men. This belief is incorrect, but in a man’s eyes, God “couldn’t possibly” be seen as feminine or a woman back then! The mere idea of “Mother God” wasn’t even an option in the eyes of the egotistical men in power and presence of The Holy Spirit. I don’t think God even have a choice in the matter quite frankly haha.

Our language has shaped our understandings and our culture expresses our understandings. Our culture has always been very sexist towards women, which is why you, Mr. Jack Wellman, find the words, “Mother God” to be insulting (BUT it’s only insulting to you and other religious leaders, since you cannot possibly know if it’s an insult to God). If anything, God may very well be insulted and disappointed that we only limit God as a masculine power, completely ignoring exactly half of what makes God so great THROUGH our language. Language IS VERY powerful.

Example: The origins of hurricanes and cyclones having female names began because of sexism, just like God being referred to as a “Father”. After World Ward II, the Army and Navy meteorologists started naming tropical cyclones after their ex-girlfriends and wives. Since 1953, US started officially using female names but the practice came to an end in 1979 when the US Natural Weather Service and the World Meteorological Organisation developed a system of naming cyclones, alternating 50/50 to be male and female names, arranged in an alphabetical order in efforts to have a logical method and reduce sexism.

Referring to God as a Mother is just as CORRECT (& INCORRECT) to say God is a Father, plain and simple. Always remember that The Bible can be used to justify the continuation of racism, slavery, rape, and incest as well. When you write that God MUST be referred to in the masculine by name because it is biblical, it is also EXACTLY this type of subject matter and language, the strict NON-SENSE definitions and titles given BY flawed men, that which Jesus professed against; blind tradition, blind faith, blind indoctrination, and blind rules.

I do get what you mean though. When a child is named by their parents, (like God was called a MAN by MAN) no one lets the child decide what their name should be beforehand (in OUR western culture that is!***) The child may not even like their name but when they’re called, they respond to the name they are given. However! Just because that child may choose to legally change their name as an adult, that adult will still hear when they are called by EITHER name and that adult is still the divine human being God made, regardless of their human name.

*** in many indigenous cultures, parents give their children a “baby name” and then during later childhood, the community will give them their adult name based on their personality and they can choose what they are to be called. God is ever-growing, ever-loving, and ever-understanding, the Bible illustrates this when we witness an angry God in the old testament and an understanding God in the new testament, both are the same God obviously but it’s a documented evolution of God as well. I’m sure God wouldn’t have a problem with what we call God (respectfully), but humans would.

It has been said that God appears to you as how you see God best. God to me is the energy in nature all around us and the air that gives us life because when i was a child in religious schools, I learned about the law of conservation which states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it just is. That was God in my eyes as a child and that’s God to me now. Thank you for reading.

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Mariella September 17, 2016 at 9:37 am

P.S. I imagine Jesus as a very dark skinned man with short, curly salt and pepper black and grey hair because that’s what a 30-something year old Jewish middle easterner often has: dark skin, dark eyes, and dark, curly hair. It’s written he was indistinguishable from his disciples. I’m pretty sure the white-washed depiction we have of Jesus would be very easy to spot in a group of Semitic Jews ! So why do we CONTINUE to inaccurately illustrate Jesus with blue eyes, light skin, and light-colored wavy hair with Ango-Saxon, Caucasian features in paintings and stained glass windows of churches and in the movies/media? because of racism and tradition..because that is what we humans decided Jesus SHOULD look like, because we thought that is what a powerful, loving person “should” look like and we constantly presented the world with that unlikely image of JESUS for centuries, completely ignoring culture, ethnicity, and natural human geography. Many Christians find depictions of a black Jesus very upsetting but cannot really justify why that is without feeling racist… and that is the result of unbroken tradition JUST like unbroken language (FATHER, HE, HIM), because when he “think” of Jesus, we often think of the white Jesus in our history’s painting and in the big picture of life, this artistic rendition continues to perpetuate racist beliefs. When we think of God, we immediately limit his image to only be a human man, INCORRECTLY, based on biblical language. It ignores what God FULLY is. It keeps women out. These types of racist and sexist traditions do more damage than good, so please, always THINK OUTSIDE OF YOURSELF to understand everything around you.

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Jack Wellman September 17, 2016 at 11:04 am

The Bible says, and even Jesus says to pray “Our Father” and Jesus called God Father. So it is biblical to do so. These are not racist or male-induced thoughts. The Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek in which it was written calls God Father, because that’s the type of relationship with have with Him. God is not a “she” but a “He”, so says the Bible in the original manuscripts. I believe the Bible. It is correct.

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Sally July 30, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Well written! This came up in Sunday School Class today and yours is a great response which I will share. In reference to people’s names, I have always said, “Refer to a person as they would like to be referred as.” Now-a-days, that even refers to sexual identity; in Canada that is now the LAW!
If God refers to himself as male, then to do otherwise is insulting and putting your own cultural and private interpretation upon Scripture. PS. Our Father, who art in heaven…

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