A conservative evangelical facebook friend shared an image with a “LOL!” about three wise women arriving at the Bethlehem scene – asking directions, arriving on time, helping deliver the baby, bringing sensible gifts, cleaning the stable, making a casserole,… and there would be peace on earth!
I began to wonder how my friend would react to a similar image of the baby at that birth being a girl. Here is some of my whimsy…
Obviously the Second Person of the Trinity is not male, not masculine. The human Jesus 2,000 years ago was male [I will come back to that tense (“was”) in a moment], but the Son of God, Second Person of the Trinity, is not male, not masculine. For Mormons, of course, the person before the incarnation was male – but I will leave that to one side.
Jesus is representative human. Some evangelicals teach men can represent women, but women cannot represent men (Complementarianism). So Jesus can save humanity because he is male, but a woman could not have saved us. [There’s probably varieties of positions within Complementarianism that disagree with each other about details].
The virgin birth story, now that we actually understand the biology of conception (which Luke and Matthew did not), leads more naturally to the birth being a girl. A female’s sex chromosomes are XX. They do not have the Y chromosome to produce a male.
Evidence for women being crucified is very thin (Antiquities of the Jews 18:3). We are then entering into the discussion, did the messiah need to be crucified in order to save us…?
We could discuss whether a woman would have been listened to at the time of Jesus, in the context then? Would such a message have spread? What if the messiah came at a different time – when women were listened to more… Might the story of the woman messiah have even more strongly illustrated the turning-upside-down of our human understanding…
The messiah, of course, is the Second Adam. What does it alter to have the messiah as the Second Eve? The acceptance of evolution, of course, has already destroyed the understanding that Adam brought death into the world (Romans 5:12-21, etc) so to stay with the messiah-must-be-male theology we probably need to keep to an evolution-must-be-false presupposition.
Back to that tense: “Jesus was male”. Orthodox theology holds that Jesus is fully human, and that this full humanity continues through the resurrection (distinguished, obviously, from resuscitation). Is the Risen Christ male? Is our gender part of our resurrection state?
Add your own reflections in the comments – from the profound to the whimsical…