For most of human history, as anthropologists and archeologists can attest, women were revered as the Supreme Deity in many ancient civilizations. As primary caregivers and bearers of life, female deities were the natural choice for worship and reverence during the Neolithic and Paleolithic eras. When agriculture came about the concept of the Divine Feminine only gained momentum.
By 1500 BCE, scholars believe that Indo European cultures brought with it their Patrilineal concepts. Contrast that to the cultures before it, namely the Paleolithic and Neolithic cultures that were matrilineal.
Sumer, Egypt, Crete, Greece, Ethiopia, Libya, India, Elam, Babylon, Anatolia, Canaan, Ireland, Mesopotamia, and ancient Judah and Israel had deep reverance for female dieties. Goddesses such as ISIS, Ishtar, Sedna, and Teleoinan are just a few examples of the ancient perception of God.

According to Jew FAQ, God has always been neutral in sex. Being Spirit God is beyond human conceptions of sex and gender. God is referred to in masculine terms for convenience sake and also because Hebrew has no neutral term for gender. There have also been metaphors referring to God as a mother in Hosea 11:3-4, Hosea 13:8, Deuteronomy 32:11-12, Deuteronomy 32:18, Isaiah 66:13, Isaiah 49:15.
My Jewish Learning has asserted that there is a reason that the ancient sages have used masculine terms for God. God is seen as the lover and husband of Israel, but it doesn’t mean that Israel or women have lesser roles.
Ancient Hebrew.Org suggests that the nature of God is balance. Yin and Yang, light and darkness, man and woman. In all things there is a balance and so too in the Creator of the Universe.
The website The Torah, suggests that scholars who claim that the masculine terms of God are irrelevant have neglected to consider linguistic findings. Linguistic language transfers over into our view of complex concepts of the world and our experiences.
Rabbi Mark Sameth in Reform Judaism has argued that God is dual in nature, noting that in Genesis the Creation story says that God created them in his image. He created them male and female. Therefore, the nature of God is dual in nature. He also suggests that this can be found in the unutterable name of God. The name was supposed to be read backwards and reveals the Hebrew terms for He and She, thus revealing the nature of God from the beginning.
As we talk about the sex of God, let’s talk about Gender identity when it comes to His/Her image bearers. According to, there are and have been six genders in classical Judaism. Gender is a social construct and is used to categorize individuals based on various characteristics.
• Zachar/זָכָר: This term is derived from the word for a pointy sword and refers to a phallus. It is usually translated as “male” in English.
• Nekeivah/נְקֵבָה: This term is derived from the word for a crevice and probably refers to a vaginal opening. It is usually translated as “female” in English.
• Androgynos/אַנְדְּרוֹגִינוֹס: A person who has both “male” and “female” sexual characteristics. 149 references in Mishna and Talmud (1st-8th Centuries CE); 350 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes (2nd -16th Centuries CE).
• Tumtum/ טֻומְטוּם A person whose sexual characteristics are indeterminate or obscured. 181 references in Mishna and Talmud; 335 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.
• Ay’lonit/איילונית: A person who is identified as “female” at birth but develops “male” characteristics at puberty and is infertile. 80 references in Mishna and Talmud; 40 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.
• Saris/סריס: A person who is identified as “male” at birth but develops “female” characteristics as puberty and/or is lacking a penis. A saris can be “naturally” a saris (saris hamah), or become one through human intervention (saris adam). 156 references in mishna and Talmud; 379 in classical midrash and Jewish law codes.
The Talmud lists the genders and suggests the probability that Adam and Eve were created joined as androgynous or Tumtum. Link at The Jewish Women’s Archive looks at this text deeper.
Gender diversity has evolved and been cyclical throughout the centuries. An intense and profound awareness of the inherit value, strength, rights, and independence of women has been propelled forward by the #MeToo movement and the fact that women’s value has been suppressed, denied, and mocked, for far too long. The consequences of only viewing God as male and patriarchal inevitably leads to the devaluation and dehumanization of women as often happens when we try to form the Divine in our image and not our image in the Divine.
The Spirit goes where it wills and I believe God is advancing humanity and worth of all people. We are at a moment where change is advocated for at a deafening octave. The world is seeking change and it is that commitment to change and respect for women that is the driving force behind a new historical movement in the works. This we hope and pray will create an awareness that balance creates peace and a prosperous world. We furthermore hope that this too will be part of God’s kingdom being brought to this world.