The divine feminine occupied an important place in Gnostic theology. Certain sects of Gnostics eschewed eros (sexual longing to be united with another) in favor of agape (unconditional, self-sacrificing love). They practiced celibacy and aceticism. Those who engaged in lovemaking viewed their female partner as the embodiment of the divine feminine. The Gnostics' God was both masculine and feminine, and created humans in that divine image. Eventually, the concept of the divine feminine all but disappeared, while “the bride of Christ” came to mean the collective soul of the church.