Does God have a gender?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
Does god have a gender? I know that people ascribe one - male - but I have always thought that there was no gender.
What do us Catholics really say?
-- Jacob R. (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 21, 2004
God is a supernatural being and also a trinity, so here is how it breaks down:
God the father - exists beyond gender, pure spirit. When He has manifested Himself to humans He has done so in a male gender, specifically as a father figure. "The Lord, the unique "I AM WHO AM," is a Father God, not an androgynous divine entity."
God the son - came to earth as a male.
God the holy spirit - exists beyond gender, pure spirit. When manifested to humans has done so outside the realm of gender, however has always been known as a 'He', not as an 'it'.
See: God and the Sexes, by Evelyn Birge Vitz
Does this help?
-- Bill Nelson (email@example.com), April 21, 2004.
Pure spirits do not have gender. That would mean God and angels. Gender is directly related to reproduction. Therefore neither God nor angels would have any use for it. God has chosen to be addressed in masculine terms (Our Father), but that doesn't mean God is "male". Jesus as man was of course male, but Jesus as God who existed from all eternity was not male before He took on flesh.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), April 21, 2004.
Jesus as man was of course male, but Jesus as God who existed from all eternity was not male before He took on flesh.
-- Bill Nelson (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 21, 2004.
Actually, the fact that spiritual being are without gender and so, strictly and theologically speaking,God and the persons of the Blessed Trinity are without gender, is not the whole story. As Catholics we believe that the Holy Scriptures are the divinely inspired norm of life and doctrine.
Those Scriptures consistantly apply masculine pronouns ("he" "his" "him") to God, both as a unity and as persons in the trinity. Likewise, titles given to God in Scripture are masculine: "King" "Lord" "Father." When feminine similies (God loves Israel "as a mother") are applied to God (and the are on rare occasions) it is clear that the usage is metaphorical in a way that the proper attributions such as Lord and Father are not.
This does not mean that God has gender but it does have implications about the way in which we conceive of God - unpopular as this might be in certain circles today.
-- An Orthodox Commentator (email@example.com), April 21, 2004.
Please don't use the word "gender" in place of "sex" to mean "the state of being either male or female". This may seem trivial but it is not. "Gender" is a grammatical term only. WORDS are the only things that may have a gender. People, most animals, and some plants, have a "sex". I understand that some people are so put-off by the constant use of the word "sex" as a slang abbreviation for "sexual intercourse" that they try to avoid using the word "sex" even in its perfectly proper and non-controversial sense. But using "gender" instead, implies that a person's sex is not a basic part of his/her genetic nature, but something that is purely cultural and can be changed at will by popular usage, like the rules of grammar.
You may say "it's just a word". But words change culture. Others will twist our meaning to mean "sexual identity in relation to society or culture" . It has even been suggested that there are 3, 4, 5 or more different human "genders". For example if you advertised for a youth leader and said "the person's gender is not important" some people would deliberately or otherwise interpret this to mean you want a homosexual, transvestite etc.
We have already seen how the word used for a thing can change perceptions of it. eg the word "gay" with its association of carefree, colourful fun, helped convince many people unconsciously that homosexual acts are morally indifferent or even good. Similarly when using the word "homosexual" we must always specify whether we mean "a person with a homosexual orientation" or "a person who commits homosexual acts". Many of the Church's enemies are only too willing to confuse the two meanings in order to claim that the Church unjustly discriminates against people merely because of the temptations they are sent.
-- Peter K (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 21, 2004.
Peter this note may be of interest to you
Note: The use of the term gender to refer to the sex of an animal, especially a person, was once common, then fell into disuse as the term became used primarily for the distinction of grammatical declension forms in inflected words. In the late 1900's, the term again became used to refer to the sex of people, as a euphemism for the term sex, especially in discussions of laws and policies on equal treatment of sexes. Objections by prescriptivists that the term should be used only in a grammatical context ignored the earlier uses. [PJC]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
-- Kiwi (email@example.com), April 22, 2004.
Kiwi, yes that is interesting historically, but I am talking about its usage today. I am not one of those prescriptivists arguing that "if it's not in the dictionary don't use it". A meaning is put in dictionaries because that usage becomes widespread and common enough to need recording. What I'm saying is that many people, including some opinion formers who I suspect are doing it deliberately, prefer "gender" over "sex" because the meaning is fuzzier and lets in the idea that one's "gender" is purely a social construct and there can consequently be an unlimited number of "genders". I think we should resist this surreptitious social engineering and promote a healthy and correct view of the nature of humanity and sexuality by using the word "sex" instead.
-- Peter K (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 22, 2004.
As far as me is concernes, a Christian Yahwist,
even spirits have male or female qualities.
God Yahweh is male. So is Jesus the Nazorean.
The Christian Yahwist
The Man of Yahweh
-- Elpidio Gonzalez (email@example.com), April 22, 2004.
God is neither gender!!
-- Praveen Sriram (Camden003@msn.com), November 29, 2004.
Wrong Praveen, God is BOTH male and female. Read Genesis: "God created man in His own image...male AND female He created them."
-- Steve (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 29, 2004.
As human beings we have both a spiritual nature and a physical/biological nature. It is our immortal spiritual nature which reflects God's image and likeness, since God is pure Spirit. Nothing in our physical/biological nature, including our gender, makes us like God, since God has no physical/biological nature.
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), November 29, 2004.