Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

(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.

Comments on: "Could a form of federal headship be part of an egalitarian world view?" (2)

  1. Every person inherits the DNA from both parents. Half the genetic makeup of every child, whether male or female, comes from the mother, and the other half from the father. Girls have just as much of their father’s genes and DNA as their brothers.

    Furthermore, if someone wants to argue that sin is encoded on a gene on the Y chromosome (that only men have), that means that women do not have a sin nature. But women have a sinful nature as much as men.

    It is amazing what is carried by the DNA, but I wouldn’t explain the sinful nature, or the imputation of sin, biologically.

    Even though Catholics believe that Mary was herself miraculously (“immaculately”) conceived, the Bible gives no indication of this. Mary had half the genes of her father and at least some of these would have been passed onto Jesus.

    Adam (the first human) is simply used as a “type” in Romans 5, and so we can’t make precise statements, or go further than Paul does with his “type”. This is because, like most types and analogies, they don’t fit 100% with the reality they are representing figuratively. Types are frequently “fuzzy around the edges”. Just because Eve isn’t mentioned in Romans 5 there is no reason to think that her sin has no bearing on future generations of men and women.

    Rather than focussing on the figurative “type”, Paul wanted his readers to focus on the reality (the antitype) Jesus Christ. The first human is used as a literary foil to help Paul make his theological point about Jesus and his redemptive salvation offered to all, to both men and women.

    More on Adam as a type in Romans 5 here:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. donaldbyronjohnson said:

    I do not think federal headship is taught in Scripture and I do not agree with Cheryl’s analysis.

    One of my primary principles of interpretation is I believe all truth is God’s truth. I accept the basic outlines of modern science, this means I believe in what is sometimes called a full accommodation of Scripture and science where each book of Scripture was written to an original audience and is a part of that culture, including the way that they understood what we now call science, but all the books of Scripture are written in pre-scientific times. This does not mean they are less true, but it means that some ways of reading them may need to be re-examined. The contrast with full accommodation readings of Scripture is full concord or partial concord with partial accommodation. A reading of Scripture in the full concord way believes that everything Scripture states must be scientifically and historically true and a partial concord way believes that some important parts to the author beyond the recorded miracles that are called miracles must be scientifically and historically true.


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