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From the perspective of the tripartite nature of man--that men and women have a body, a soul, and a spirit--is there a biblical basis for the position that gender is not merely present in the body or the physical nature, but that it is also present in the soul and even a person's spirit?

A few other ways to ask the question...

  • Is there a biblical basis that suggests gender is not merely biological/physical?

  • Is there a biblical basis that suggests gender is not merely something that distinguishes a person's body type, but also a person's soul type or spirit type?

  • Is there a biblical basis that suggests masculinity and femininity something that distinguishes not just the the body, but also the soul and possibly the spirit as well?

  • Is there such a thing as a masculine or feminine soul or spirit?

  • Is gender identity (being male or female) temporal or eternal? Will we continue to remain as men/women after our death, in eternity?

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A fascinating question, with big implications! –  James T Feb 13 '13 at 17:32
    
Totally! This is Bl. John Paul II's point in his "Theology of the Body" addresses. I know it has a lot to do with Genesis and the few things Jesus said concerning marriage. I'm not an expert but this might be a good jumping off point. –  Peter Turner Feb 13 '13 at 18:23
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3 Answers

You seem to be asking for a definitive verse in scripture that states or implies that the soul has a gender. There is no such verse (it seems), and indexes to mentions of gender list nothing concrete. However:

God made humans, "in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:26), and this was so before the fall. This passage is used to show that human persons are male or female.

The body will rise, for "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body". This passage is used to show that the perfection of a person includes both soul and glorified body. A person is not soul, not body, but the unity of both.

A soul is a male soul in the sense of being the soul of a male person: a person with a male nature. Your hand has no gender, your blood has no gender. In that sense a soul has no gender.

  • The Bible's account of creation assigns gender to persons. Human persons are both body and spirit. So in that sense gender is not purely physical, because humans are not purely physical.
  • Souls have "types" in the sense of being the souls of female and male humans, of animals (non-eternal gendered souls), of angels (no gender), of God (no gender!, though the human nature of Christ was male (...but this merits its own question), and we have been instructed by Christ to refer to God the Father as "our Father").
  • Masculinity and femininity can be aspects of souls/spirit. That the perfections of the female as well as the male can be found in the perfection that is God, who is spirit and without gender, can be seen in Isa 49:14-15; 66:13; Ps 131:2-3; Hos 11:1-4; Jer 3:4-19 (CCC270). Which perfections are appropriate to male humans and which to female might merit its own question.
  • Are there masculine and feminine souls? Of course: the souls of human males, the souls of human females.
  • For similar reasons, gender is eternal. A person who has her breasts cut off, like St. Agatha, does not cease to be a female. Even a person who has his head cut off, like St. John, does not cease to be a male. Adam and Eve will rise still male and female, as they were even before sin.
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The Catechism of the Catholic Church #239 specifically states that "God is neither man nor woman: he is God":

239 By calling God "Father", the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood,62 which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard:63 no one is father as God is Father.

To make it simple, what I take away from the "whole picture", is that there is NO difference in the spirit and soul. Made in the image of God, the alpha and the omega, our bodies just express the spirit in different ways, almost to the point that gender is just as analogous to type A vs. type B personality.

In conclusion, we have male and female bodies made from the dust of the earth, with God (no sex) inside.

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Could you add biblical references that support the Catechism? I was asking specifically for biblically-based answers. –  Narnian Feb 13 '13 at 20:03
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This seems to be an argument against rather than an argument for. Perhaps you could move your answer to this new question: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/14178/… –  Narnian Feb 13 '13 at 20:41
    
@Narnian: like the link I included in the other answer, there are Biblical references to God as female, male and neither...everything is an interpretation, there is no clear answer. –  Greg McNulty Feb 13 '13 at 22:37
    
@GregMcNulty Usually the catechism will give you the biblical references. Should be easy to post those. –  Drew Feb 14 '13 at 21:09
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Is there a biblical basis that suggests gender is not merely biological/physical?

I would say that the principal argument in favor of the assertion that gender is not limited to physical creatures, is that God the Father is spirit (John 4:24) and invisible (1 Tim. 1:17), yet He is always referred to by masculine-gendered pronouns in the New Testament. One would think that, if gender was only a trait possessed by physical creatures, God would simply be referred to by neuter-pronouns (e.g., αὐτό ("it")). In addition, He is frequently referred to as "father" (and then, never "mother").

God is called "father" and referred to by the male gender for several reasons, including:

  • primarily, because He is the Creator, and thus, He is the head (cp. Exo. 6:14) of His family in heaven and on earth (Eph. 3:15)
  • all of creation are His children (Acts 17:28)
  • He begat a Son (John 3:16)
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not completely, there are references to both. But +1 nonetheless: womensordination.org/content/view/234 –  Greg McNulty Feb 13 '13 at 19:40
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I'm not dogmatic on this...just throwing it out there. =) –  H3br3wHamm3r81 Feb 13 '13 at 19:55
    
Yet motherly attributes are given to God by Jesus himself in Matt. faithcommunity-novi.org/sermon/ser100509.html –  fredsbend Feb 21 '13 at 6:45
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