My lovely young youth group and I were looking at Angels in the Bible the other Sunday evening and wondering about what gender they were or if they were any gender at all.
The story of when the angels visit Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah, which is often used as one of the key stories to condemn homosexuality doesn’t make sense when looked at regarding gender. So the angels turn up, the men of the town want to have sex with them, Lot is says No but then offers his daughters. Now surely if these men of the town were homosexual being offered women wouldn’t quite hit the mark for them. So I wondered if this story was being used out of context, like too often happens???
The vicar who supports me with this youth group said that he thought that the original languages didn’t have genders and that these came in with Latin translations. But he couldn’t remember for sure.
The two things that struck me were that
One we are now obsessed with gender with there being numerous different gender types that people can identify with. Is this a throw back to things like this? Things like when it was important for spiritual beings like Angels and God to be defined by a gender, by a certain sex?
Two that biblical angels were powerful, strong, mighty warriors, faithful messengers, obedient. All traits that are often associated with men. Not so long back women were seen as weak, easily manipulated, unfaithful, disobedient, needing protection.
So I do wonder if those in the Church who wanted power made sure that all the traits to aspire to were “male”, so both Angels and God had to be male. Also I do wonder if our obsession with the myriad of different genders is because we are searching to get back to that place where people were people and gender didn’t matter, but because there is such a strong emphasis on the male/female divide that for now there has to be these other things to identify with.
Imagine if we didn’t care about gender, if we just let people be as they are – strong/weak, faithful/unfaithful, able to protect/needing protection, etc etc. What would it be like if no one worried if you were male, female, trans, queer, asexual, and more? I wonder if we could all live much more at peace with ourselves then too.
So reread some of those stories and try not to see the Angels as male and see how you get on