Most references to angels in religious texts describe angels as men, and famous archangels (such as Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel) have shown up as men most often in encounters with human beings. However, people throughout history have also recorded angels appearing as women. So, has God made most angels male and some female? If not, what are angel genders?
Since angels are spirits who aren’t bound by Earth’s physical laws, they can choose to appear in any form when they visit Earth. So do angels simply choose a gender for whatever mission they’re going on? Or are they either male or female in whatever they do?
Genders on Earth
Throughout recorded history, people have reported encountering angels in both male and female forms.
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. When the house is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.'"
Author Doreen Virtue writes in The Angel Therapy Handbook that angels have gender-specific energy that relates to the type of work they do on Earth: "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 are genderless in heaven and simply manifest in either male or female form when they appear on Earth. A statement that Jesus Christ made in Matthew 22:30 of the Bible may imply this view. Jesus says in that verse: "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, and that it's too much of a leap to assume that he meant that angels don't have genders.
Others believe that angels do have definite genders in heaven. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (also known as Mormons) believe that people who have died are resurrected into angelic beings in heaven that 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…".
Men More Than Women
By far, angels appear in religious texts more often as men than as women. Sometimes religious scriptures seem to refer definitively to specific 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 have long used male pronouns such as "he" and "him" to refer to any person (male or female) and male-specific language for something that applies to both men and women (like "mankind" to refer to all human beings), some people believe that ancient writers described all angels as male even when some of them were female. In her book 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."
God may not have assigned specific genders to angels. Some people believe that angels are androgynous and simply choose a gender for each mission they go on to Earth -- perhaps based on what will be most effective for the people who will encounter them. 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 has created angels with specific genders, some of them may even be beyond the two genders of male and female 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."