The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Is the Holy Spirit feminine?

What is your take on the gender of the Holy Spirit? The Aramaic texts seem to use feminine pronouns for the Holy Spirit. Do you believe it’s proper to refer to the Holy Spirit as She or Her? I think of the Trinity as a Divine Family-- the Father, the Mother-like Holy Spirit, and the Son Jesus. The church is also feminine and is as a bride-- so we will become part of the Divine Family. Is it proper to refer to the Holy Spirit as the Heavenly Mother? It seems people have been trying to fill the void left by denying the femininity of the Holy Spirit through Mary veneration or leaving Christianity altogether. Can this be avoided by reclaiming the femininity of the Holy Spirit as professed by the early church?

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I could see it argued both ways. I’m still new to the faith so see Him, my father-in-law who has been a Christian for decades sees the Holy Spirit as a Her now.

'Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” ’

Proverbs 4:6-9

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The word

Are you suggesting that the church is female? The Greek word which has been translated as “church” is “εκλλησια.” That is a feminine word. Greek words are masculine, feminine, or neuter. People and other mammals are male or female. There’s nothing female about a church.

The Greek word for “spirit” is “πνευμα” and it is neuter. However, that says nothing about the sex of the spirit of God… The Greek word for “God” is “θεος” which is a masculine word. Again this doesn’t imply that God is male. Jesus called God His “Father.” That might lead us into thinking God is male. Also we us the masculine pronoun “He” to refer to Him. But does that mean He’s male?

As for holy spirit, my belief is that The Father and the Son can extend their Persons anywhere in the Universe, and that they do extend their Persons especially into the hearts and minds of the faithful.
That extension is personal because it consists of the Persons of the Father and the Son, but it is not a third divine Person.

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He is probably referring to the fact that marriage symbolizes God’s relationship with the church which I would agree doesn’t make all of us female in any literal sense.

If we believe in the incarnation then we should say that God is at least male insofar as Jesus is male insofar as God is Jesus. I used to parrot the idea that God has no body or genitalia but these days I lean toward believing that he does because I personally see no evidence that Jesus has thrown away his body or humanity, I believe he is a male insofar as he is human. Now maybe that is as insignificant as his hair color(if anything about him could be truly said to be insignificant), but I suspect that it is more significant than that and that he didn’t just incarnate as a male by the flip of a coin or because he could get more done in that ancient culture.

EDIT: I just noticed this post was 3 months ago! I saw a link to it and I replied. I am still getting used to the format of this site. :slight_smile:

I remember Fr. Barron had a good explanation on Jesus genderwise. The son is not strictly speaking only Jesus of Nazareth. The Son is described as the word of God, whom all things originated. Malewise? The Son who walked on earth was definitely a man. However, I dont know if the same can be said for the Cosmic Christ before the incarnation.

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Exactly, that’s how Koine Greek, and even many European languages, work today. “Gender”, linguistically speaking, often has nothing to do with whether something is male or female. It often just has to do with which letters are used in the word.

I won’t claim to understand the nuances of the incarnation but I imagine it as God choosing to become human(though not ceasing to be what he already was) and remaining incarnate human to this day. I am sure that catholic theologians probably wouldn’t like the idea but I have no commitment to Catholicism nor even tradition. If I see clear Biblical reason to believe that God has shed or disposed of his human body, I will believe it. I also don’t buy the idea that he merely inhabited a human “vessel”, my understanding is that he is human ever since the incarnation at the very least.