- English - God/goddess
French - Dieu/déesse
German - Gott/Göttin
- Latin - deus/dea
And in Greek,
- ὁ θεός/ἡ θεός (also ἡ θεά))
In Hebrew the word for God does not have two contrasting gendered forms. Elohim, אלהים, is a masculine plural form possibly of a word eloah,
- The term ’elohim does not require that its referent be male. As a common-gender (“epicene”) noun, it can refer to either a male or a female deity. In this passage it is a status term; like “pharaoh,” that status can be taken by either a man or a woman. As such, the gender inflections of verbs and adjectives would be expected to follow the semantic orientation (social gender) of the occupant.
- Stephen A. Geller characterizes biblical theology in terms of three dominant traditions, and he succinctly summarizes their views of God: “In each one of them, one aspect of the deity predominates.The God of the covenant tradition is a personality; of the priestly tradition, a force; and of the wisdom tradition, a principle."
- Linguistic considerations, it appears, further helped some of the ancients to view deity regularly through a non-gendered lens. In contrast with Hebrew and other Semitic tongues, a few Near Eastern languages did not differentiate personal nouns by grammatical gender; the mythic poetry, epics and inscriptions written in those languages speak about male and female deities without linguistic gender distinction.35 During the last two millennia bce, male elites among native speakers of Semitic tongues often learned a non-gendered language (Sumerian, Hittite or Luwian), because it enjoyed international scope and literary standing.36 Given the ancients’ concept of the inherent reality of words, this multilingualism had cognitive consequences: The reader became used to viewing deities without grammatical gender cues; and in this view their social gender would not have been part of their nature, for, as Assyriologist and translator Stephanie Dalley has pointed out, “the change in noun categories would mirror a change in the objects which these nouns represented.
However, this situation does not occur Greek and Hebrew. In these languages one can talk of "God" who is both masculine and feminine, or neither masculine nor feminine. It works in Greek and Hebrew to do this. We are constrained in English, French and German.