Are All Angels Male or Female?

Gender might depend on their energy or their mission on Earth

angel genders male female
Are angels male or female? The issue of angel genders can be confusing, since angels have shown up as both men and women, or no gender at all. Tommy Flynn The Image Bank/Getty Images

Are angels male or female? Most references to angels in religious texts describe them as men, but sometimes they're women. People who have seen angels report meeting both sexes. Sometimes the same angel (such as Archangel Gabriel) shows up in some situations as a man and in others as a woman. The issue of angel genders gets even more confusing when angels appear with no discernible gender.

Genders on Earth

Throughout recorded history, people have reported encountering angels in both male and female forms. Since angels are spirits unbound by Earth’s physical laws, they can manifest in any form when they visit Earth. So do angels choose a gender for whatever mission they’re on? Or do they have genders that influence the ways they appear to people?

The Torah, Bible, and Quran don't explain angelic genders but usually describe them as males.

However, a passage from the Torah and the Bible (Zechariah 5:9-11) describes separate genders of angels appearing at once: two female angels lifting a basket and a male angel answering the prophet Zechariah's question: "Then I looked up -- and there before me were two women, with the wind in their wings! They had wings like those of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between heaven and Earth. 'Where are they taking the basket?' I asked the angel who was speaking to me. He replied, 'To the country of Babylonia to build a house for it.'"

Angels have gender-specific energy that relates to the type of work they do on Earth, writes Doreen Virtue in "The Angel Therapy Handbook": "As celestial beings, they don’t have genders. However, their specific fortes and characteristics give them distinct male and female energies and personas. … their gender relates to the energy of their specialties. For example, Archangel Michael’s strong protectiveness is very male, while Jophiel’s focus upon beauty is very female."

Genders in Heaven

Some people believe that angels don't have genders in heaven and manifest either male or female form when they appear on Earth. In Matthew 22:30, Jesus Christ might imply this view when he says: "At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." But some people say that Jesus was only saying that angels don't marry, not that they don't have genders.

Others believe that angels have genders in heaven. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that after death people are resurrected into angelic beings in heaven who are either male or female. Alma 11:44 from the Book of Mormon declares: "Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous…"

More Men Than Women

Angels appear in religious texts more often as men than as women. Sometimes scriptures refer definitively to angels as men, such as Daniel 9:21 of the Torah and the Bible, in which the prophet Daniel says, "while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice."

However, since people formerly used male pronouns such as "he" and "him" to refer to any person and male-specific language for both men and women (e.g., "mankind"), some believe that ancient writers described all angels as male even though some were female. In "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Life After Death," Diane Ahlquist writes that referring to angels as male in religious texts is "mostly for reading purposes more than anything, and typically even in present times we tend to use masculine language to make our points."

Androgynous Angels

God may not have assigned specific genders to angels. Some people believe that angels are androgynous and choose genders for each mission they make to Earth, perhaps based on what will be most effective. Ahlquist writes in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Life After Death" that "… it's also been said that angels are androgynous, meaning they’re neither male nor female. It seems it is all in the vision of the beholder."

Genders Beyond What We Know

If God creates angels with specific genders, some may be beyond the two genders about which we know. Author Eileen Elias Freeman writes in her book "Touched by Angels": "...angelic genders are so totally unlike the two we know on Earth that we just can't recognize the concept in angels. Some philosophers have even speculated that every angel is a specific gender, a different physical and spiritual orientation to life. For myself, I believe that angels have genders, which may include the two we know on Earth and others."

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Hopler, Whitney. "Are All Angels Male or Female?" ThoughtCo, Jun. 18, 2018, thoughtco.com/are-angels-male-or-female-123814. Hopler, Whitney. (2018, June 18). Are All Angels Male or Female? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/are-angels-male-or-female-123814 Hopler, Whitney. "Are All Angels Male or Female?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/are-angels-male-or-female-123814 (accessed June 19, 2018).