The Bible tells us repeatedly that our earthly actions will impact our ability to enter the gates of Heaven. Some Biblical passages say that our earthly actions can improve or lessen our experience of Heaven if we are in fact lucky enough to reach it.

With that being said, I conclude that we must retain our earthly identities and our earthly experiences. But if that's the case, then I must ask:

  • According to Catholic doctrine, do we retain our gender in Heaven?

Reason for my question:

A person's gender shapes their experience on planet Earth. Gender is a quality that you simply cannot shake. It opens some doors and closes others (and I'm not talking about the rest rooms :/) On the other hand, the Bible describes Heaven as a state of perfection and a place without bounds. As I see it, gender creates bounds, or at least a lane within which to operate. Such a lane would seem to run contrary to the nature of Heaven.

  • 2
    According to whom? Since Scripture doesn't address this, all you'll get is varying viewpoints, unless you specify a doctrinal or denominational perspective. Nov 9, 2012 at 13:38
  • @David Stratton: Did you downvote the question?
    – Jim G.
    Nov 9, 2012 at 19:30
  • No, but I voted to close as not constructive for the reasons cited. I didn't think it bad enough to down-vote. I actually think it's an interesting question. But I do believe it fits the textbook description of "not constructive?". Nov 9, 2012 at 20:07
  • @DavidStratton I don't think St. Augustine thought that scripture didn't address this!
    – Peter Turner
    Nov 9, 2012 at 20:52
  • I cast the Downvote. The question in the title has no basis by which it can be answered, and the text of the question is so convulted as to make any real question discernible. Wasn't in a place to write that though. Nov 9, 2012 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


St Augustine says we do and I might as well quote him at length since its way way in the public domain:

Whether the Bodies of Women Shall Retain Their Own Sex in the Resurrection.

From the words, Till we all come to a perfect man, to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ, Ephesians 4:13 and from the words, Conformed to the image of the Son of God, Romans 8:29 some conclude that women shall not rise women, but that all shall be men, because God made man only of earth, and woman of the man. For my part, they seem to be wiser who make no doubt that both sexes shall rise. For there shall be no lust, which is now the cause of confusion. For before they sinned, the man and the woman were naked, and were not ashamed. From those bodies, then, vice shall be withdrawn, while nature shall be preserved. And the sex of woman is not a vice, but nature. It shall then indeed be superior to carnal intercourse and child-bearing; nevertheless the female members shall remain adapted not to the old uses, but to a new beauty, which, so far from provoking lust, now extinct, shall excite praise to the wisdom and clemency of God, who both made what was not and delivered from corruption what He made. For at the beginning of the human race the woman was made of a rib taken from the side of the man while he slept; for it seemed fit that even then Christ and His Church should be foreshadowed in this event. For that sleep of the man was the death of Christ, whose side, as He hung lifeless upon the cross, was pierced with a spear, and there flowed from it blood and water, and these we know to be the sacraments by which the Church is built up. For Scripture used this very word, not saying He formed or framed, but built her up into a woman; Genesis 2:22 whence also the apostle speaks of the edification of the body of Christ, Ephesians 4:12 which is the Church. The woman, therefore, is a creature of God even as the man; but by her creation from man unity is commended; and the manner of her creation prefigured, as has been said, Christ and the Church. He, then, who created both sexes will restore both. Jesus Himself also, when asked by the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection, which of the seven brothers should have to wife the woman whom all in succession had taken to raise up seed to their brother, as the law enjoined, says, You do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. Matthew 22:29 And though it was a fit opportunity for His saying, She about whom you make inquiries shall herself be a man, and not a woman, He said nothing of the kind; but In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. Matthew 22:30 They shall be equal to the angels in immortality and happiness, not in flesh, nor in resurrection, which the angels did not need, because they could not die. The Lord then denied that there would be in the resurrection, not women, but marriages; and He uttered this denial in circumstances in which the question mooted would have been more easily and speedily solved by denying that the female sex would exist, if this had in truth been foreknown by Him. But, indeed, He even affirmed that the sex should exist by saying, They shall not be given in marriage, which can only apply to females; Neither shall they marry, which applies to males. There shall therefore be those who are in this world accustomed to marry and be given in marriage, only they shall there make no such marriages.

St. Augustine - City of God - Book 22 chapter 17

So, to summarize, yes there are sexes, no there's no sex because:

  1. There's nothing wrong with being a woman
  2. Jesus would have made it more clear when saying folks aren't married in Heaven.

Now, I'll bet your wondering if women have beards in heaven? Well that's another question, but somewhere in there I belive he even answers that.

  • I guess this doesn't answer your question directly, but if women retain their gender given the presupposition that only men do, it's a good bet we all retain our gender.
    – Peter Turner
    Nov 9, 2012 at 5:26
  • Upvoting ... but, I question point 2. It was my understanding that will be no marriage in heaven partially because there are no sacraments in heaven. There's no need for them. In heaven, we are with God and in no further need for an outward sign of inward grace.
    – svidgen
    Nov 9, 2012 at 20:11

Gender in Heaven

The Bible does not appear to address this specifically. However, we are given some clues. In Jesus' account in the afterlife of the rich man and Lazarus, He refers to the rich man and Lazarus and Abraham all with masculine pronouns. So, this indicates that there is some continuance of masculinity.

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’ Luke 16:19-31 ESV

Additionally, on the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appear to Jesus as men.

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Matthew 17:1-4 ESV

So, there is reasonable evidence to assume our bodies in the afterlife will retain at least some sense of gender, though we will not procreate.

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Matthew 22:30 ESV

The Nature of Woman

However, there is nothing deficient or secondary in being a woman. Yet, even if there were bounds in being a woman and not having the masculine experience, the reverse would be true as well. So, the nature of womanhood is distinct but not less honorable or favorable than manhood.

A Note on Luck in Reaching Heaven

Just a note to clarify that according to the Bible, luck has absolutely nothing to do with getting to heaven. It is by grace through faith--not luck.

  • You may also want to add Matthew 22's question about marriage in heaven. Jesus seems to be implying, "It doesn't work they way you think it does..." Nov 9, 2012 at 13:04

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