Are Angels Gender Neutral?

Arkane Curiosities

Often Angels are depicted in art with male dress. The named angels also sound very masculine — Michael or Gabriel. Even the Greek word angelos (as well as the Hebrew word מֲלְאָךְ malak) are both masculine meaning a messenger from God. But is it really right to speak of angels as being masculine? Are angels gender neutral?

Man Was a Neutral Word for Centuries

The default to masculine names and male dress might have been influenced by the use of “man” as a gender neutral term (at least in English).

The proverb, man does not live by bread alone, refers more to humankind rather than just men. 

Up until a thousand years ago, the word for a male person was “wǣpmann” and a female person was “wīfmann”. This root word, “mann” means a person.

Angels Are Spirits with No Form

Humans and other Earthly creatures were designed to breed, thus the male and female forms. Unless they breed asexually, that is. Yet angels are not related to these mortal creatures at all. 

In Hebrews 1:14 (the New International Version) states this about angels:

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

God created the angels completely by scratch. They were never meant to reproduce, and thus have no need of genders. 

Additionally, angels are constructs of pure thought. They have no physical form but are simply spiritual beings. Assigning them a gender is pointless. 

Perhaps the reason we depict them as some form of gender speaks to our own limitations on how to perceive the divine. It makes it easier for our limited mortal brains to comprehend the angels. As spirits, they have no physical form at all. 

Tim Kane

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2 comments on “Are Angels Gender Neutral?

  1. Heaven says:

    You maybe right about angels not having a sex, but wrong about them not having a form. They eat manna (it’s call a angel food) and fight with fallen angels. How can someone fight and eat if they’re bodiless or formless? Yes they’re call spirits but for that’s probably because the ancient Hebrews didn’t have a word for higher dimensional being. Plus I experience angels. I don’t see them but I do bump into them even while invisible. You can’t bump or feel a bodiless entity. Paul even talk about spiritual bodies and celestial bodies. Yes he didn’t mention angels, but maybe he didn’t need too. After all angels are compare to stars and Jesus said the elect will be like them. No it isn’t just marriage and death. I think it also means having an angelic body like in Matt 28:3.

  2. Heaven says:

    Some translation of Pslam 78:25 have it mighty ones, but the LXX understood it to be angels. You can say it probably meant they made manna and not eat it. You can believe angels lack a form and don’t eat manna, but I’m allow to disagree so I disagree.

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