Biblical Genders

This is not about the modern cultural war between the belief that gender is binary and genetic and cannot change, and the belief that gender is fluid and can be changed.  It is instead the controversial subject of Adam’s gender at creation – and a couple of other related subjects.

You might be thinking, “Well, Adam was created a male, wasn’t he?  Problem solved.”  Not quite.  As we shall see from the Hebrew grammar, while Adam was not created female, he was not created male, either.  Dr A Nyland, a language scholar, explains in an endnote of her book Complete Books of Enoch: 1 Enoch (First Book of Enoch, 2 Enoch (Secrets of Enoch), 3 Enoch (Hebrew Book of Enoch):

Adam, the first human.  Adam is a word which simply means “human.”  The above statement demonstrates the confusion between the English language and the original languages of Scripture.  The verse actually reads, “God created adam (the word for the race of human beings) in God’s image – God created it in the image of God, God created them male and female.”  Genesis 5:2 states, “God created them male and female and blessed them and called them human (adam) on the day they were created.”  The word “Adam” that we see in English translations of Genesis is merely a “transliteration”, the result of putting the Hebrew letters into English letters.  The translation is “human”, person/s of both genders.  Hebrew has grammatical gender.  Many languages have grammatical gender but English does not.  In English, we only use words like “he” and “she” when we are speaking of persons, and we try to find out the biological gender of those persons so we know whether to refer to a particular person as “he” or “she.”  In languages which have grammatical gender, all nouns, whether or not they refer to persons, have a gender.  Hebrew has two genders and Greek has three.  These languages use pronouns like “he” and “she” with nouns, such as table, tree and lake.  The pronoun goes with the noun to which it refers.  This is what is meant by “the pronoun agreeing with its antecedent.”  We need to learn the grammatical gender of the noun to know which pronoun to use.  It is exceptionally important to note that grammatical gender does not match biological gender – it may, but by coincidence only.  Thus, in ancient Greek, the word for “old woman” is neuter gender.  Yet if we were translating a Greek sentence about an old woman into English, we would not refer to the old woman as “it,” we would refer to the old woman as “she.”  The Greek word for a trench is feminine gender, but in English it would be silly to refer to the trench as “she.”  We just don’t do that in English.  English is different from Hebrew and Greek.  In Hebrew, the word adam is masculine grammatical gender.  That means it has to have a masculine pronoun, just as the word for hand (even a man’s hand) in Hebrew is feminine and must have a feminine pronoun.  Again, this has nothing to do with biological gender.  In the account of the adam in Genesis, Genesis 1:27 states, “God created human in God’s image.  In the image of God, God created oto.”  Oto is the singular masculine accusative pronoun agreeing with adam, the human.  It has to be masculine grammatical gender to agree with the gender of the noun.  It simply replaces the word adam.  In English we say “him” because tradition holds that the biological gender of the adam was male and the English language does not refer to a person as “it.”  The verse continues, “Male and female God created otam.”  Otam is the plural gender-unmarked accusative pronoun.  Grammatically, this refers to the adam, humanity.  Thus the verse means, “God created humanity in God’s image.  God created it in God’s image, God created them male and female.”  Thus God did not create the male first, God created the human first, humanity.  God did not create a male first and identify humanity with that male’s name.  The previous verse, 26, states, “Let us make adam … and let them rule.”  Adam is here treated as a collective noun, agreeing with a plural verb, that is, the human race.  Again, the account does not mention a singular male.

Genesis 1:27 speaks of the creation of the adam.  If the noun is a collective it could either agree with a plural or singular pronoun.  That means that we do not know, from the grammar, whether the noun means “human” and thus the first human was androgynous (as the ancient tradition holds), or whether the noun means “humanity”.  That is, we do not know whether a single androgynous “human” was created, or whether “humanity”, males and females, were created.  Further on, the account consistently refers to males and females under the term adamAdam is the general term for humans, both male and female.  At the end of chapter 1, all the references to adam are in the plural.  Genesis 2:5 states that there was no adam to cultivate the soil.  There is no reference to maleness in the verse.  Genesis 2:7 tells us that God formed the adam from dust, breathed into its nostrils the breath of life, and that the adam was a living being.  We do not know if the noun is collective or singular (as grammatically it could be either), and no gender is specified.  Genesis 2:8 says God put the adam in the garden.  Again, the masculine pronoun is used as it must agree with the grammatical gender, unlike English, where a masculine pronoun would indicate a male person.  In verses 16-17, God speaks to the adam.  At this point, the term adam still encompasses male and female.

In Genesis 2:18-19 God says, “It is not good for the adam to be alone, I will appoint a suitable helper for it.”  Again, the masculine personal pronoun in Hebrew simply agrees with the grammatical gender of the Hebrew noun adam.  It is usually translated as “he” in English, as people have assumed that the adam was a male.  There is nothing in the grammar to indicate that the adam was a male, and animals are first brought as suitable companions.  There was no initial idea that a female of the species was lacking.  There is no idea, grammatical or otherwise, that the adam is a male.  In Genesis 2:20, the adam gave names to the animals.  The adam here is now presented in the Hebrew as a singular person, but still there is nothing to suggest that the adam was not both male and female.  In verse 21, God put a deep sleep on the adam, and withdrew the female portion from it.  (Hebrew tsal’ot, Greek pleura, referring to the factor the portion, it was only later Rabbinic tradition that had “rib”.)  In verse 22, God shaped that which he had taken from the  adam into an isha (female) and brought her to the adam.  In verses 23 and 24, the word isha (female) is distinguished from the ish (male).  This is the first time the words for female and male have appeared in the account.  The adam is now an ish, and becomes the individual Adam.  However, the meaning of the word adam has not changed, he is a human.  Yes, he is now, at this point, also a male, but the word adam means “human.”  The  female portion was taken out of the human, the adam, and became an isha.  That which was left was still called a human, adam.  Someone can remove a piece of pie from a whole pie, but the remaining pie is still called a pie.  It does not have to be renamed just because a piece of it was removed.  The following verse refers to the new two individuals as ish and isha, male and female.  However, Adam as a name does not appear until Chapter 5.  This has similar language to chapter 1, where the adam is created in God’s image, male and female.  However, this is followed by a significant statement.  After the male and female are introduced, God blessed them, and named them adam: “God created them male and female and blessed them and called them human (adam) on the day they were created.”  Thus it is clear that the word adam bears no connotations of maleness.  Thus Adam is now a male, but the word “Adam” does not mean male, it still means “human”.  The Hebrew word adam did not refer to male humans in particular; it means “human,” “humanity,” and did eventually refer to the husband of Eve, but his name was “Human”.  Yes, at this point, he was a male human being, but his name was not “Male” in Hebrew, it was “Human.” (Endnote 49)

So, the gist of all that is that Adam was created a hermaphrodite, with both male and female organs.  Eve was created by removing Adam’s female portion, not his rib.

Then there is the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha’Kodesh), commonly referred to as a “he” or “it”.  It can be established that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic (which I hope to write about in a later post).  This was the nearly universal declaration of the early church fathers, and is also supported by the Greek New Testament manuscripts themselves – they are written in very poor Greek grammar, but very good Hebrew and Aramaic grammar.  The Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts, on the other hand, have no such problems.  It is a historical fact that the first century AD Jews spoke primarily Hebrew, with Aramaic as the language of commerce.  Most Jews simply did not speak Greek – Josephus said he went to great pains and expense to try and learn the language, but never fully mastered it.  Which doesn’t match the traditional language.  Anyway, as James Trimm explains in the preface to his Hebraic Roots Version (HRV) of the Bible:

One problem that presents itself in translating the New Testament from Hebrew and Aramaic into English, is the gender of the Ruach Ha’Kodesh (Holy Spirit).  English is very different from Hebrew and Aramaic.  To begin with, English had three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter (i.e. he, she, and it).  Hebrew and Aramaic have no neuter gender.  In Hebrew and Aramaic everything is either a “he” or a “she”, and nothing is an “it”.  Also gender plays a much more important role in Hebrew and Aramaic, than in English.  In English, gender is usually only an issue when dealing with pronouns.  But in Hebrew and Aramaic, nouns and verbs are also masculine or feminine.  And while there are no true adjectives in Hebrew (nouns are used as adjectives), noun modifiers must agree in gender with the noun.  Now the Hebrew word RUACH (Aramaic RUCHA) is grammatically feminine, as is the phrase Ruach Ha’Kodesh.  This is matched by the role of the Ruach Ha’Kodesh as “comforter” (John 14-16), and the identification of the “comforter”, with YHWH acting as a “mother” (Is. 66:13).

Now in English, the Ruach is often referred to as “he” or “it” as also in the Greek New Testament.  However this seems very odd indeed, to the Semitic mind.

Now it is very clear that the gender of the RUACH has been revised in many passages of the Aramaic, to agree with the Hellenistic concept of the Holy Spirit as being either a “he” or an “it”.  Thus the pronouns used for the Ruach Ha’Kodesh in John 14-16 in the Peshitta  [standard Aramaic text of both Testaments], are all in masculine.  However the hand of revision is very clear.  For example, while both the Peshitta and Old Syriac have “he” in John 16:8, the Old Syriac has “she” just a few verses further down in 16:13, while the Peshitta has “he”.

Moreover there are passages in which the Peshitta itself, pairs the Ruach Ha’Kodesh with feminine verbs and/or feminine modifiers: Mk 1:10; John 1: 32, 33; 6:63; 7:39; Acts 8:29, 39; 16:17; Rom. 8:9, 10, 11, 16, 26a, 26b, 1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 1:11; 4:14 and 1 Jn 5:6.  In fact the Peshitta Aramaic of Rom. 8:16, opens with:

והי רוחא מסהדא

And she the Ruach gives testimony….

While it is clear the Ruach Ha’Kodesh has no literal gender, it is also clear that the Ruach Ha’Kodesh is grammatically and figuratively a “she”.

So… Adam may have been created a hermaphrodite, Eve was created from his female organs, the Holy Spirit is technically a female…  While no doubt somewhat controversial, the above is simply what the original Hebrew and Aramaic of the Bible appears to say.

44 thoughts on “Biblical Genders

  1. Very well done.
    It is a great pity that the roman church changed so much to bring in their Jesus & to follow “THEIR” religion instead of script. Keep up the good work mate.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have to disagree; Adam was made in the image of the Elohim, which are ALL male. That is one reason why there is no marriage in Heaven (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25). Even Christ will marry New Jerusalem on the New Earth (Revelation 21:9-14).

    As arch-/angels are Elohim and fallen angels — translated as “sons of God” — descended to Mount Hermon, took the “daughters of men” as their wives, and literally had sexual intercourse with them producing literal giants (Heb. Nephilim) as progeny, that PROVES that they are not hermaphroditic! Examine the opening of Genesis 6.

    Bottom line: Females are a unique creation of Earth! Eve was formed from a rib taken from Adam’s side in the second week from Creation. See


    1. I have no doubt that the fallen angels took on masculine form – although I’m not sure if they have any true “gender” otherwise. The “rib” is a mistranslation for “tsalah” (#6763), which basically means a “portion”. And in the Aramaic of the NT, there are several references to the Ruach as “she”.
      Just some food for thought, anyway. It doesn’t exactly affect our salvation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The fallen angels are referred to as masculine — bene ha-Elohim or sons of God, so they definitely had a gender. My concordance for #6763 is “tsela” tsade-lamed-ayin meaning “rib or side.” That concurs with Reuben Alcalay’s “The Complete Hebrew/English Dictionary” Vol. Nun-Tav on p.2184 meaning “enclosed by ribs (side).” Ruach is feminine and can mean “wind, breath, or spirit;” the Greek is pneuma, which is neuter. I do know that Leviathan was translated to be masculine, but is, in fact, feminine.

        No, it doesn’t affect our salvation, but it does impact the truth. The Scriptures refer to Adam as male and Eve as female; it doesn’t say that their reproductive organs were formed by God at a later time. So, let’s not add to the Word as we have been instructed.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. But as is explained, the Hebrew grammar describing Adam BEFORE Eve’s creation is not clearly masculine or feminine. There are some instances of a masculine pronoun or something like that, but that’s because the grammar required it as Hebrew had no neuter gender.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I understand, but nowhere does it state explicitly that Adam was a hermaphrodite. It states that HE, made in the image of the Elohim, was without a helpmate, and Eve was formed from a rib taken from HIS side. It also states that because Adam was created first, he — and all other husbands — are to be the head of the household just as Christ is the head of the church. She is to be in submission to him as we all are to Christ. Our wives are to respect us as such, and, in turn, we are to love our wives as we love ourselves and treat them well.

            The Scriptures document that the aforementioned Elohim (the Watchers/fallen angels) came down to Earth and had sexual relations exclusively with human women (NOT men!), who produced giants as progeny. Nothing in ANY of the Scriptures — even apocryphal or pseudepigraphal — suggests what you are. Therefore, you are adding to the Word!

            I also understand that you performed a lot of research for your article and that you are seeking the truth. Few respect that more than I, but your conclusion is unsubstantiated in this case.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Somehow reading this again I wonder why Christian Sunday school classes are so vehement in Holy Spirit being masculine. I don’t attend church these days though so I can’t really say what they are teaching now.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I find that excursions into the language of the ancients can, and does, so often point out misconceptions that Western Christians, including Messianics, have. And it can deepen our understanding and our love for Yehovah (the LORD) and Yeshua (Jesus). With that said, keep on digging!

    I must also mention one other thing. The entire article is about reading things into the writings that simply aren’t there. This so often leads to confusion and burdensome theology. And that is one of the great points of the post: “don’t read things into it that aren’t there. Realize when one is making an assumption about something.” That is something I wish we could all do, and not reject a brother or sister because they interpret something a bit differently (not saying anyone in this post has done that). Christianity is very stuck on the idea that everything must be explained in black and white, and one has to believe that way. The scriptures are not so! (Though there are many firm, black and white concepts in scripture.)

    I say the above because you (J.M.) are doing something similar to what the article is speaking against. In insisting that Adam was a hermaphrodite, you are forcing an interpretation onto the writings that simply isn’t there. He may have been a hermaphrodite, or may not have been. Scripture simply doesn’t make it clear.

    Personally, I don’t hold that Adam was male, female, or hermaphrodite before Eve came along. We just simply don’t know.

    Shalom, and keep up the research, and let it move you to loving Yeshua more! – Yosef

    Liked by 2 people

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  6. You have done some deep research into this post and I must commend you for this, but I do not agree with your final conclusion. I agree with L. Alan Scheutz comments. Adam was not created an hermaphrodite because God is not the heart of confusion. Adam is all male, but I do agree that the name also means mankind or humanity. We also need to consider this: How long was the time span from Adam and Eve were created until they sin? Was there a generation of humans who existed before sin? I believe the account of creation is a parable which we need the Holy Spirit to help us interpret. We cannot rely on our intellect alone. The Holy Spirit is male because He is the Spirit of God which is male. Only male existed in the spiritual heavenly kingdom. There was no females. The only reason why woman was created was to be a companion for the human man. If God did not create a man to rule the earth there would not be any need for a woman. Languages are languages and they have limitations and this is the reason why we also need the Holy Spirit to undarstand the spiritual things in the Bible.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Somehow I do not believe that God created a perfect world then in 7 years sin came into the world. Before sin, man was not limited to time. He had everlasting life and his body could not aged. So how could any humans know for sure the exact length of time that the first humans existed before sin. You said that the book of Jubilee stated 7 years, but it may not be the years according to our callendar. I also do not believe that the six days of creation were six literal days on our callendar. I believe it was six divine days. That is the reason why the earth appeared to be billions of years old to us because it was created in God’ s time which is limitless.


        1. If you look at the REAL science (and the details that Evolutionists gloss over or ignore), you’ll find that the mainstream dating methods are questionable at best. When tested on rocks whose age we know (from relatively recent volcanic eruptions etc), the mainstream methods produce wildly inaccurate dates – with rocks decades or even a century old made out to be hundreds of thousands or even millions of years old! There was one case of a New Zealand tour guide asking some scientists she was touring to date some volcanic rock. They all gave dates in the millions of years – and then she revealed she stood there 15 years previous and saw the rock formed. If these methods can’t be trusted to date rocks whose ages we know, then why should we trust them to date rocks whose ages we DON’T know?
          As for the Genesis 1 days: yes, the Hebrew word for day (yom) can sometimes mean a longer period – but the phrase “and there was evening and there was morning, Day ____” rules out it being longer than a regular day.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I agree with you about the dating method used by scientists is questionable. I have heard that theory before. During creation God was also creating a time zone specifically geared for humans also. Hence, the “evening and the morning”. The perishable human body cannot exist in Gods time zone but I do believe the immortal body which the sinless Adam had could exist in God’ s time zone. In the new heaven and earth in Revelation there won’t be any night. Jesus will be the light. Also, at the beginning of creation before sin there was no night as we know it now. The moon gave light to eliminate the darkness. I believe the Creation story is a parable with some deep spiritual meaning which is astounding. Only God can reveal to us the mystery of creation . It is nice having this discussion with you because I can see that you are well learned and you have a wealth of knowledge.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Considering that it’s the basis for our week, and that the Sabbath command was specifically based on and assumed a 7-day Creation (“For in 6 days The Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the 7th day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”) I’m inclined to think it’s literal.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. It is both literal and spiritual. God created the seventh day for His rest. It is also a spiritual divine day because He is still at His rest (Hebrews 4). God is an infinite being and we should not limit Him to human standard or time.

                Liked by 2 people

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  8. You stated — “Adam is a word which simply means “human.” The verse actually reads, “God created adam (the word for the race of human beings) in God’s image – God created it in the image of God, God created them male and female.” Genesis 5:2 states, “God created them male and female and blessed them and called them human (adam) on the day they were created.” ”

    My response — How does that reconcile with this:

    “Genesis 5:3
    3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”

    This is not saying when mankind lived for 130 years.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Adam is a word that means “human”, but also became the personal name for the first human (although since he was the first human, humankind was 130 years old at Seth’s birth LOL). In many of the early chapters of Genesis, Adam is called in Hebrew “ha’adam”, which means “the human”. (“ha” means “the” and never precedes a personal name). Later, the “ha” is dropped.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So this begs the question: If Moses dropped it then why was this verse in Genisis before he was born?

    “Genesis 5:3
    3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ok. There are some challenges there but given the use of “Man” and “Mankind” I will concede the possibility of what you are saying and continue reading.

        Thanks for the additional info.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. You stated — “So, the gist of all that is that Adam was created a hermaphrodite, with both male and female organs. Eve was created by removing Adam’s female portion, not his rib.”

    My response — I am not saying that I agree but it would seem that the following passage would indicate that they return to their original state of being (per your logic).

    Genesis 2:24
    24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

    Just a thought

    Liked by 2 people

  11. After reading the post I would need more evidence to be convinced but I must admit that it is very interesting. I can easily see where we have made some assumptions on gender but are they incorrect assumptions? Unlikely.

    I will keep this in mind as I continue researching the Bible.

    Great post, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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