Did Jesus have to be male, or could our Savior have been a woman?
Many see Jesus’ maleness as theologically irrelevant, His gender was arbitrary with 50/50 odds either way; rather it’s His humanity is what matters.
This understanding is even reflected in the change from the original NIV translation to the TNIV:
NIV: For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
TNIV: For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Is this a correct way of understanding the issue in this passage? Is anything lost by emphasizing Jesus’ humanity and not His maleness? Bruce Ware in The Man Christ Jesus gives twelve reasons why our Saviour had to be a male. Some of these are in keeping with Biblical prophecy, others are in keeping with purposes behind creation.
I’ve copied his list below, but the bolding is mine.
Twelve reasons why our Saviour was male
- Jesus’s preincarnate existence and identity is clearly revealed to be that of the eternal Son of the Father
- Jesus came as the second Adam, the man who stands as head over the new and redeemed race.
- The Abrahamic covenant requires that the Savior to come, as the promised descendant of Abraham, would be a man.
- The Davidic covenant explicitly requires that the one who will reign forever on the throne of David be a Son of David, and hence a man
- The new covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 requires that the Savior to come will actually accomplish the forgiveness of sins, and to do this, the Savior must be a man
- The Savior to come must be a prophet like unto Moses, as predicted by Moses and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and so he must be a man
- Our new and permanent High Priest, whose office is secured as sins are atoned for and full pardon is pleaded on our behalf before Father, must be a man.
- Christ came also as the glorious King of kings, reigning over the nations in splendour and righteousness, and to be this king, he had to be man.
- The incarnate mission and ministry of Jesus required that he came as a man.
- Because the risen Christ is now presented to the church not only as her Lord and king but also as her bridegroom, the Savior had to be a man
- Because our Savior came as the “Son of God” it was necessary that he came as a man
- Because our Savior came as the “Son of Man” it was necessary that he came as a man.