Do souls have genders?


#1

Am I a soul within a male body, or am I a male soul in a body?

If souls are gender-neutral, then will our Heavenly Bodies be gender-neutral? If souls have genders, then will our Heavenly Bodies have genders?


#2

We are male or female persons, and will continue to be so in heaven. We are not a duality but a unity of body and soul. Our souls do not inhabit our bodies but animate them by being the life principle of the body. But a soul with no body is an incomplete human. Thus, the resurrection.


#3

[quote="JimG, post:2, topic:216812"]
We are male or female persons, and will continue to be so in heaven. We are not a duality but a unity of body and soul. Our souls do not inhabit our bodies but animate them by being the life principle of the body. But a soul with no body is an incomplete human. Thus, the resurrection.

[/quote]

This is a great answer.

Heaven will be a bodily resurrection, so it is fair to say that yes, we will have gender. God created us male and female. :)


#4

You are a male person who has both a body and a soul. Your maleness is part of who you are, and will remain with you for eternity.


#5

Indeed. Your soul was made for your body, therefore has the gender of your human body.


#6

Marian, I am an old-fashioned, very un PC guy, and I have been fighting these last 30 or 40 years to replace the term “gender” with the old fashioned word “sex”. PCer’s have bowdlerized the term. Properly speaking, gender applies to masculine, feminine (and in some languages, Latin and German for example) neuter endings for nouns, adjectives and pronouns, e.g. le and la (masculine and femine genders for “the” in French).

Having got that off my chest, I believe there’s a New Testament quote saying from Jesus in one of the parables about there being no marriage in heaven. That being the case, I would guess one’s soul is sexless. (sorry I can’t find the Biblical verse, but I’m sure someone else can pick it up.)


#7

Traditionally though, the gender (not sex, linguistically speaking) of the soul is feminine, and so has for a long time been always referred to as “she” regardless of whether the soul is that of a man or a woman.


#8

[quote="MarianD, post:1, topic:216812"]
Am I a soul within a male body, or am I a male soul in a body?

If souls are gender-neutral, then will our Heavenly Bodies be gender-neutral? If souls have genders, then will our Heavenly Bodies have genders?

[/quote]

From the Catechism:
"Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others." (C.C.C. #2332)

I don't know if this is a strong enough statement to be considered an official teaching on the idea of the soul having gender, but in elaborating on this line from the Catechism, Dr. Peter Kreeft states:

"Our sexual identity extends to our souls, our personalities, our spirits. There is indeed a 'feminine mind' and a 'masculine mind' as well as body, for we are a psychosomatic unity (soul-body unity). To think of one's soul as neither masculine nor feminine is to separate body and soul artificially, as did the ancient Gnostics, and to think of the soul as a sexless 'ghost in the machine' instead of as the life and form of the body, and to think of masculinity and femininity as merely a material, animal thing."

-Dr. Peter Kreeft, *Catholic Christianity *(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001), 244.


Is An Organism's Soul the Same as Its Species
#9

[quote="Anselm33, post:6, topic:216812"]
Marian, I am an old-fashioned, very un PC guy, and I have been fighting these last 30 or 40 years to replace the term "gender" with the old fashioned word "sex". PCer's have bowdlerized the term. Properly speaking, gender applies to masculine, feminine (and in some languages, Latin and German for example) neuter endings for nouns, adjectives and pronouns, e.g. le and la (masculine and femine genders for "the" in French).

Having got that off my chest, I believe there's a New Testament quote saying from Jesus in one of the parables about there being no marriage in heaven. That being the case, I would guess one's soul is sexless. (sorry I can't find the Biblical verse, but I'm sure someone else can pick it up.)

[/quote]

The verse you're thinking of is Matthew 22:30, but just because there won't be marriage in Heaven doesn't mean that we won't be gendered in heaven. (Or would the term be "sexed"? Somehow that doesn't sound right.) We will in fact, have our own bodies in Heaven, glorified, as Christ did after His resurrection.

For St. Thomas's treatment of this subject, see Summa Theologica Suppl., q. 80, art. 1. He even specifically addresses the objection you mentioned from Matthew.


#10

[quote="EricFilmer, post:8, topic:216812"]
From the Catechism:
"Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others." (C.C.C. #2332)

I don't know if this is a strong enough statement to be considered an official teaching on the idea of the soul having gender, but in elaborating on this line from the Catechism, Dr. Peter Kreeft states:

"Our sexual identity extends to our souls, our personalities, our spirits. There is indeed a 'feminine mind' and a 'masculine mind' as well as body, for we are a psychosomatic unity (soul-body unity). To think of one's soul as neither masculine nor feminine is to separate body and soul artificially, as did the ancient Gnostics, and to think of the soul as a sexless 'ghost in the machine' instead of as the life and form of the body, and to think of masculinity and femininity as merely a material, animal thing."

-Dr. Peter Kreeft, *Catholic Christianity *(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001), 244.

[/quote]

:thumbsup::thumbsup:excellent explanation.


#11

[quote="Damase, post:9, topic:216812"]
The verse you're thinking of is Matthew 22:30, but just because there won't be marriage in Heaven doesn't mean that we won't be gendered in heaven. (Or would the term be "sexed"? Somehow that doesn't sound right.) We will in fact, have our own bodies in Heaven, glorified, as Christ did after His resurrection.

For St. Thomas's treatment of this subject, see Summa Theologica Suppl., q. 80, art. 1. He even specifically addresses the objection you mentioned from Matthew.

[/quote]

Thank you. But I wonder, if there is no marriage (or sexual relations) in heaven, why should our bodies (resurrected) have sexual characteristics?


#12

[quote="Anselm33, post:11, topic:216812"]
Thank you. But I wonder, if there is no marriage (or sexual relations) in heaven, why should our bodies (resurrected) have sexual characteristics?

[/quote]

Because the sex/gender of our body, and its mind (your mind is the mind of your body) is not just for engaging in sexual behavior. We behave "sexually" only a small fraction of the time we are alive; but while alive, we are always man or woman, it is intrinsic to who we are.

In addition to the mechanism of "sexuality," sex/gender also determines such things as the body build, muscular strength, voice, some aspects of the senses, and subtler nuances of the mind. All of these attributes shape our life. If we lose our gender (sex) in the pneumatikon soma, how would our embodiedness connect to our human life?

God bless and ICXC NIKA!


#13

[quote="GEddie, post:12, topic:216812"]
Because the sex/gender of our body, and its mind (your mind is the mind of your body) is not just for engaging in sexual behavior. We behave "sexually" only a small fraction of the time we are alive; but while alive, we are always man or woman, it is intrinsic to who we are.

In addition to the mechanism of "sexuality," sex/gender also determines such things as the body build, muscular strength, voice, some aspects of the senses, and subtler nuances of the mind. All of these attributes shape our life. If we lose our gender (sex) in the pneumatikon soma, how would our embodiedness connect to our human life?

God bless and ICXC NIKA!

[/quote]

:thumbsup: thank you for an excellent explanation.


#14

Thank you for your responses, but now I’m a little confused.

I always considered the soul to be inhabiting the human body, animating it. But Dr. Peter Kreeft in his commentary says that’s a heresy. However, is this the official position of the Church? I wouldn’t take Dr. Kreeft’s words as the final say since he’s not the Magisterium.

Also, how is it explained when people are born into a wrong gendered body, if the soul is not separate from the human body? For example, what if one’s soul is male, but what if that person was born as a female and knew he was in the wrong type of body? This and a lot of other things (such as the body being dead but the soul being in Heaven, such as with every Saint except Mary) make no sense if the soul and body are one and the same, but it makes sense if the soul is a separate entity from the human body.

But what’s the point of the glorified bodies having genitalia if there is no marriage (and by extension, sex) in heaven?


#15

[quote="MarianD, post:14, topic:216812"]
Thank you for your responses, but now I'm a little confused.

I always considered the soul to be inhabiting the human body, animating it. But Dr. Peter Kreeft in his commentary says that's a heresy. However, is this the official position of the Church? I wouldn't take Dr. Kreeft's words as the final say since he's not the Magisterium.

[/quote]

He is, however, very faithful to it - he is considered a conservative, orthodox Catholic.

Also, how is it explained when people are born into a wrong gendered body, if the soul is not separate from the human body?

The Church does not recognize such a condition, and sees the resulting surgeries not as a cure for a condition, but as sinful mutilations.

For example, what if one's soul is male, but what if that person was born as a female and knew he was in the wrong type of body?

The Church does not believe that this can happen, and that persons claiming such are suffering from some kind of dissociative mental illness.

This and a lot of other things (such as the body being dead but the soul being in Heaven, such as with every Saint except Mary) make no sense if the soul and body are one and the same, but it makes sense if the soul is a separate entity from the human body.

The soul, being eternal, can survive beyond the life of the body, but this situation is only temporary - ultimately, all of our bodies will be resurrected from the dead and reconstituted, and we will spend most of eternity in our bodies.

But what's the point of the glorified bodies having genitalia if there is no marriage (and by extension, sex) in heaven?

It is your whole body that is male or female - not just your genitalia. If you were blown up by a bomb, and all that was left of you was one finger, or one toe, a forensic scientist who knew his business would be able to know your sex, age, and medical condition at the time of death. Even if we have no genitalia in Heaven, we will still be either male or female - although I expect that we will be complete in our bodies, anyway.


#16

In 1311, the Council of Vienne defined as a matter of faith that the rational soul is the form of the body.

As regards “people are born into a wrong gendered body”: I suppose that you are referring to what psychologists call gender identity disorder. This seems like a psychological disorder to me, not a case of God being cruel by putting a woman into a man’s body. (Just saying it sounds absurd to me.)

As regards death: death is the separation of the soul and the body. This is not the natural conditions of our souls, which exist as the principle of our bodies; so at the Resurrection the two will be rejoined. Mary, conceived as she was without sin and therefore not subject to the penalties of original sin, was permitted by God when she died not to suffer this separation.

The answer of Thomas Aquinas: “The other members that is, parts of the human body, including genitals] belong more to the truth of human nature than hair and nails. Yet these will be restored to man at the resurrection according to the text. It is written (Luke 21:18): ‘A hair of your head shall not perish.’] Much more therefore does this apply to the other members. Further, ‘The works of God are perfect’ (Deuteronomy 32:4). But the resurrection will be the work of God. Therefore man will be remade perfect in all his members.”

Since you like Kreeft, have you read his essay Is There Sex in Heaven? He says there: “As we have seen, sexuality, like race and unlike clothes, is an essential aspect of our identity, spiritual as well as physical. Even if sex were not spiritual, there would be sex the word ‘sex’ here refers to what you call gender, not sexual intercourse] in Heaven because of the resurrection of the body. The body is not a mistake to be unmade or a prison cell to be freed from, but a divine work of art designed to show forth the soul as the soul is to show forth God, in splendor and glory and overflow of generous superfluity.”


#17

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=341074

Question:

  1. Does the soul have a gender? I think it does since we are made in the image of god and we are all unique individuals with unique souls. Thus a man would have a male gender soul since his soul is him, his essence.--agree?

Answer:

Hi,

Our gender comes from our bodies--not our souls. Gender is a body thing. Angels do not have genders.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.


forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=341206

Question:

I was intrigued by Father Vincent Serpa's response to the question on whether the soul has a gender. The common argument given by transsexuals (I admit I'm not even sure I'm using the preferred term) is that they were born into the wrong sex. Does the fact that the soul has no gender give merit to this argument?

Love this site by the way!

Answer:

Hi,

I said that gender is a body thing. Human beings are incarnate spirits. We are a union of both. Even though the soul leaves the body at death, it is incomplete without it and will eventually be re-united with it. The body is not a matter of clothing for a soul that is really me. My body is me just as much as my soul is me.

No one is given the wrong body any more than one is given the wrong soul. If one doesn’t feel right with the body one has, this is a feeling problem; not a body problem. Even though I have feelings, I am not my feelings. I AM my body.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

[LIST]
*]My Opinion: This seems like a contradiction, but I admit my ignorance. Can someone (namely Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.) please clarify things for me?
[/LIST]


#18

:confused: I'm surprised by all the answers that our souls have a sexual identity. I have always understood gender to be a purely biological attribute, for procreation and such. I assumed that the soul would have no gender because the soul is spiritual, not biological. I thought God created people male and female in accordance with other animals and to serve higher purposes in this earthly life. Because there will be no marriage in heaven, I thought perfect bodies would have no gender, because with no marriage or procreation it would be meaningless.


#19

[quote="blase6, post:18, topic:216812"]
:confused: I'm surprised by all the answers that our souls have a sexual identity. I have always understood gender to be a purely biological attribute, for procreation and such. I assumed that the soul would have no gender because the soul is spiritual, not biological. I thought God created people male and female in accordance with other animals and to serve higher purposes in this earthly life. Because there will be no marriage in heaven, I thought perfect bodies would have no gender, because with no marriage or procreation it would be meaningless.

[/quote]

But then there would not be the softness of the female voice, the bluffness of male muscles, the nuances of M/F minds, etc.

ICXC NIKA


#20

[quote="GEddie, post:19, topic:216812"]
But then there would not be the softness of the female voice, the bluffness of male muscles, the nuances of M/F minds, etc.

ICXC NIKA

[/quote]

Not necessarily. I am sure the qualities we consider "feminine" and "masculine" could still be had in Heaven with perfect bodies. That we would be intrinsically and biologically male and female in Heaven without the ability or necessity to procreate would be meaningless.


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