Does God have a Feminine side?

Published April 13th, 2014 by Dirk Waren

Holy Spirit dove

This is one of those controversial questions where answering it is sure to offend someone.

The creation account states:

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

There are a few things I’d like to point out about this passage: “man” in the Hebrew is adam (actually pronounced ah-DAWM), which is how Adam got his name. Secondly, “man” in the generic sense refers to humankind in general, both male and female. And, thirdly, “man” — male and female — was created in the image of God. With this understanding, the feminine nature originated with God.

Of course God has a “feminine” side in that Scripture gives evidence of his softer traits (feminine), as well as his sterner side (masculine). Some good examples include Psalm 103:8, 1 John 4:8 and Matthew 11:28-30.

Yet when it comes to Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which one especially suggests the feminine nature? (Please understand that this is not a question of sexuality, but of nature). Obviously not the Father or Son because, after all, they’re the Father and Son — both clearly masculine.

I would offer that the Holy Spirit generally reflects the feminine nature. For instance the symbol for the Holy Spirit is a dove, which suggests gentleness and harmlessness (Luke 3:22). Also, the Holy Spirit is referred to as a “Helper” of believers in John 14:16, 26 (also translated as “Comforter” and “Counselor”). One of Eve’s main purposes was to be Adam’s “helper” (Genesis 2:18, 20). In addition, the Holy Spirit is shown to be sensitive — easily grieved — in Ephesians 4:30 and Hebrews 10:29.

The most glaring evidence of the Holy Spirit’s feminine nature can be observed in John 3:6 where Jesus pointed out that “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” Jesus was comparing human birth with spiritual regeneration. Just as a woman gives birth to a child (“flesh gives birth to flesh”) so the Holy Spirit gives re-birth to a person’s spirit when he or she turns to God. Giving birth clearly bespeaks of the feminine nature. By contrast, in 1 Peter 1:23 believers are said to be “born again” of the imperishable seed of the living Word of God, who is Jesus Christ. This is also conveyed in 1 John 3:9 where “Seed” in the Greek is sperma, which is the Greek word for sperm. You see, believers are born-again of the sperm of Christ, but given spiritual re-birth by the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, this may spur chuckles, but when Jesus said, “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matthew 12:32), I can’t help but think of the way men get irate when someone says something insulting about their Momma.

It is true that the Holy Spirit is referred to by the pronoun “he” in Scripture (e.g. John 16:13), but the thrust of Scripture points to the Holy Spirit’s feminine nature, as detailed above. Besides, God transcends quaint masculine and feminine associations and there is neither male nor female in Christ (Galatians 3:28).  Also, Jesus is the wisdom of God, as seen in 1 Corinthians 1:30, but wisdom is personified as a woman in Proverbs 8 and 9.

This brief article is not meant to be the all-and-end-all on the topic, but merely food for thought from the Scriptures to provoke further study. It’s a fascinating subject.


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