This page is in response to a dialog I heard on the radio from a Christian whom I respect for his usually excellent teaching. However, his response to the question, "Is God male?" left much to be desired. The issue was skirted around and never directly answered, although the implied answer was "yes." Since many skeptics claim that the Bible is sexist, it is good to know what it actually says about this issue.
Nature of God
The Bible has a lot to say about the nature of God. God is personal and emotional. In fact, in the phrase, "God created mankind in His image," it is generally accepted that the characteristics that distinguish us from other animals are those that reflect the nature of God. If the Bible were referring to only physical characteristics when it states that man was created in the image of God, it would not say many of the things it does about His nature. For example, the Bible states that both males and females are created in the image of God.1 Unless God were a hermaphrodite (having both male and female sexual organs), this phrase could not refer to purely physical characteristics. In addition, there are numerous other verses in the Bible that describe God as having non-human physical characteristics, such as feathers and wings.2 Should we think of God as being an overgrown chicken? Certainly not! God is so unlike humans, that the Bible often paints word pictures to give us a glimpse of what God is like.
God in three persons
The Bible says that God exists in the form of three persons, although He is one God. These three persons are said to be the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. According to the Bible, nobody has ever seen the Father, except the Son and the angels.3 The Father is the fully-expressed glory of God in heaven. The Son is the image of God4 expressed in bodily form,5 who existed in eternity past as part of the Godhead,6 but voluntarily gave up some of his glory to come to earth as a Jewish male.7 In this sense, the representation of God on earth could be said to be male. Likewise, every time "The Angel of the Lord" appeared on earth in the Old Testament, He appeared as a male. Most Christian theologians interpret the appearance of God in the Old Testament as the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. The third person of the Godhead is the Holy Spirit, who works through believers, but has never appeared on earth in human form.
Is God in heaven male?
When most people think of God, they think of Him in His glory in heaven. So, the question, "Is God male" usually refers to God as He exists in heaven. The Bible always refers to God using male pronouns. Does this mean that God is physically male? In other words, does God have male sexual organs? Surprisingly, the Bible does address this question indirectly, through a number of different statements about the nature of God and what He is like. Jesus said that God is "spirit."8 Although not defined extensively in the Bible, a spirit is an entity that has no physical body. After His resurrection, Jesus told His disciples that He had returned in bodily form, saying, "a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."9 If God is a spirit as the Bible says, and a spirit has no flesh or bones, then God cannot be male in physical form. God is not male, since He is not a physical, but a spiritual, being.
Additional notes about sexual identity in heaven
The Bible indicates that things will be really different in heaven compared to earth. Many religions (e.g., Mormonism, Islam) make claims that heaven will be a place where males will have their choice of multiple female "companions." This tends to make those religions more appealing to human males, but makes no sense from a biblical perspective. The Bible says that once we die, there will be no marriage.10 This is because we will be "married" to God Himself.11 Biblical marriage was designed as a system to produce and raise children as a family unit to encourage them to choose to be with God in heaven. Once in heaven, there is no need for reproduction. Jesus also indicated that the angels (who are spirits) do not marry either. Given these facts, it would seem very strange that God would exhibit any kind of sexual characteristics.
- Who is God?
- If God Created Everything, Who Created God?
- What Will Heaven be Like?
- Sexism in the Bible?
- Man, Created in the Image of God- How Man is Unique Among All Other Creatures on Earth
- So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
- Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my
soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the
disaster has passed. (Psalm 57:1)
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge... He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:2-4)
- "Not that any man has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father." (John 6:46)
- And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
- For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, (Colossians 2:9)
- In the beginning was the Word [Jesus Christ, the Son], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1-2)
- ...Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7)
- "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)
- "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." (Luke 24:39)
- Jesus was asked a complicated
question about heaven by the Sadducees (a religious sect that did not believe in
the resurrection of the dead) that directly leads us to this conclusion (Matthew
The Sadducees gave a scenario of a woman who married 7 men (sequentially,
since they all died prematurely) in her lifetime. They asked whose wife she
would be in heaven. Jesus answered:
"You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God. "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. (Matthew 22:29-30)In other words, there will be no marriage or sexual differences among those in heaven, since reproduction is unnecessary. This concept is supported by other biblical verses that indicate that males and females are spiritually equal (Galatians 3:28).
- "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" And he said to me, "These are true words of God." (Revelation 19:7-9)
We are what we think.
- 07/19/2016 07:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Bonaventure
St. Bonaventure was one of the great thinkers of the Middle Ages, but what exactly did he believe and what else did he contribute to Christendom? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of St. Bonaventure—and why he still matters today. Who Was St. Bonaventure? St. Bonaventure (c. 1221–1274) was born in the Tuscany region of Italy during…
- 07/12/2016 07:00 AM
A Scientist’s Perspective on Hollywood Disaster Films
Today I offer an article by guest author Kevin Birdwell. *** Editors Sandra Dimas and Amanda Warner sat down with climatologist and RTB visiting scholar Kevin Birdwell to get a scientist’s perspective on Hollywood disaster films. Let’s start with somewhat recent films about massive earthquakes: 2012 and San Andreas. In 2012, Los Angeles experiences a 10.9 magnitude earthquake caused by…
- 07/05/2016 09:34 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard was unknown to the world until 100 years after his death. Though his philosophical and theological works finally rose in popularity in the twentieth century, what exactly did he believe and what else did he contribute to Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Søren Kierkegaard—and why he still matters today. Who Was Søren…
- 06/28/2016 09:00 AM
3 Qualities that Draw People to Ask about Our Faith
Most Christians want their light to shine among other people, to serve as a signpost to the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. But just how does a believer go about being a good witness? Sometimes the virtuous qualities and characteristics we strive hard to live out in life earn us a unique opportunity to reach others—for as…
- 06/21/2016 10:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on Jonathan Edwards
Photo Credit: Public Domain Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards may be one of America’s greatest thinkers, but what exactly did he believe and what else did he contribute to Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of Jonathan Edwards—and why he still matters today. Who Was Jonathan Edwards? Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) was born in New England in colonial…
- 06/14/2016 09:00 AM
How to Make Sense of Things We Can’t Control
How are we to think about our inability to control certain facts of our lives (e.g., our conception, time of birth, place of birth, family, and culture)? These “givens” in life powerfully remind us that we humans have genuine limitations and boundaries. Our lives are dependent upon many causal factors. Life itself is fragile, short, and there is a clear…
- 06/07/2016 08:00 AM
5 Things We Can’t Control
As human beings we like to think that we are masters of our own fate. We enjoy thinking that we are autonomous individuals whose personal decisions have made us who we are in life. Philosophers even talk about libertarian freewill—defined as the view that an individual who freely made a specific choice could have decided differently (in contrast to some…
- 05/31/2016 09:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas’ system of thought was declared the official philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church, but what exactly did he believe and what else did he contribute to Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of St. Thomas Aquinas—and why he still matters today. Who Was St. Thomas? St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) was born in a castle…
- 05/24/2016 09:00 AM
Spheres of Awareness: 4 Unique Ways Humans Perceive Reality
An implication of being made in God’s image is that human beings have a unique awareness of reality. That reality is wide and deep and extends to four basic philosophical spheres or dimensions of life. The awareness of and interaction with these spheres illustrates humankind’s uniqueness and makes the discovery of four critical truths possible. Sphere 1: The Intellectual Human…
- 05/17/2016 09:00 AM
Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Athanasius
St. Athanasius passionately defended Christ’s deity during a time when Christological heresies were rampant, but what else did he contribute to Christianity? Here’s your crash course on the life and accomplishments of St. Athanasius—and why he still matters today. Who Was St. Athanasius? St. Athanasius (c. 296–373) was born and educated in the ancient city of Alexandria. Coming from a…
Last Modified June 18, 2011