(I am not teaching the ideas that will follow. Tell me where you agree and why, and I will learn from you. Tell me where you disagree and why, and I will learn as much.)
Cheryl Schatz has a very interesting view on why Jesus had to be male.
She reminds us that Eve came from Adam before there was sin.
She then say that sin entered the world through Adam, as per Romans 5. (Romans 5 is the foundational text for federal headship too.)
This means that, although we have descended from both Adam and Eve, we get our sin nature from Adam. This picture has Adam, Eve, and a male and female descendant. Adam and Eve get their sin nature from their own actions by her thinking, while we get ours from Adam: We were in Adam when Adam sinned, but Eve was not.
Rom 5:12 …by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned
But, she speculates, Jesus had no sin because he came through the woman’s seed, and not the man’s. (That also gives significance to the promise in Gen 3:15) Cheryl does not claim women are not sinners. She believes a sinful nature enters through the male gene, but it enters both genders. (She can also explain, by that belief, why only men were circumcised.)
Could Jesus have been female? Cheryl says no – we needed replacement for the parent (Adam) who gives the sin nature, not the one (Eve) who does not:
Rom 5:17 For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
By this concept, it would seem Adam is our federal head. But this federal headship is not leadership but source-ship. He is the source of a sinful nature. Adam does not command us to sin. We are not commanded to obey Adam’s headship by sinning.
There is no way, as far as I can see, to go from this source-ship to claiming women have to obey men. Even assuming (a big jump that I do not think is made in the Bible) that it is not just the things Adam did that has such a big effect on everyone, but the things all men do, it will be a reason for women to have a say over what men do – after all, it has equally big consequences for them!
By the mere fact that Adam is called our federal head, theologians show that head could mean source, even in English. Egalitarians have been saying head means source for years, so the idea seem compatible with our views.
Cheryl’s view also fits in with a text complementarians like to quote, 1 Tim 2:13-14. Why would God say the man, not the woman, caused sin to enter the world? Perhaps because Eve sinned by deception, but Adam deliberately. (Hos 6:7) Eve’s sin may not have affected everyone because God sees the heart, and Adam’s heart motives for sinning was worse than hers.
People like Matt Slick extend federal headship to mean that the male, in general, represents his descendants. But the text only tells us that sin entered through Adam. It passed upon us all not because of Adam’s representation, but because we all sinned too (Rom 5:12).
Nor does it say that the man, Adam, represents us in a way the woman, Eve, does not. It only say that one of the parents of the human race gave us a terrible legacy, so bad that Jesus needed to replace it. The other did not. To go from: “Adam left us a mess” to “obey males, they should be leaders” is a sleigh of hand, not responsible scripture interpretation.
But perhaps egalitarians should think about how to face Romans 5:12 head-on. Yes, Adam did leave us a legacy of sin. Maybe we can use that starting point for a different conclusion.