Sometime ago I promised a post on Christ as Christa, responding to a comment or two which insisted that Christ had to be male in order to save humanity. My thoughts are here, but by extraordinary coincidence, I am penning them on a day in which I read on Cranmer's Curate, written on the other side of the world, a post about Christa! In the days that follow through Holy Week I want to offer a series on the theme The Wrath of God was Satisfied.
I am aware in the broadest and shallowest of terms of a feminist theological theme concerning "Christa" the female Christ. Here I am not attempting to either forward or reverse that discussion; and admit that I am borrowing the name "Christa" from that theological movement in order to speak about the possibility that the Saviour of the World could have been a woman and not a man.
I am also aware that one could have a very long post dotting exegetical "i"s and crossing theological "t"s, but causa brevitatis I am going to offer as spare a post as possible!
First, then, something this post is not. It is not an attempt to suggest that the history of humanity and of Israel, as narrated through the pages of the Old Testament, Genesis to Malachi, was such that it did not matter when the Child was born to Mary whether it was a girl or a boy. That history, which is a theological history, has too much to say about Israel as Son of God for prophecy to have been endorsed as fulfilled through the birth of a female Child who would be Saviour.
Rather, the point of this post is that God could have organised the history of the world from before the beginning of time by having a Daughter rather than a Son. The sin of Adam, which is shorthand for the sin of Adam and Eve (heavily underlined by 1 Timothy 2:13-14), could have been undone by a new Eve as much as by a new Adam. For the equality of male and female, both created in the image of God, means that each sex has potential to yield the inclusive Saviour of the World (contra Cranmer Curate's post cited above).
On this line of thinking a number of things in the Old Testament would have been different were there a female Saviour. Most notable, I suggest, as well as perhaps the most obvious change, would be the emphasis on human imagery for Israel moving from "Son" to "Wife" or "Bride" (with any imagery re "Son" being omitted or becoming imagery about "Daughter"). That imagery is already there in the Old Testament, with Israel the wife of YHWH being the unfaithful and feckless wife whom YHWH would find a way to woo back to himself. To propose that Christ could have been Christa is simply, and biblically, to propose that the history of the world and of Israel could have been different in a modest way so that the Saviour sent by God could have been the perfect Daughter/Wife who redeemed Israel and humanity from its unfaithful and feckless ways. Just as the "Wife" or "Bride" imagery of Israel in her sin was inclusive of male and female sinners, so a female Saviour could be inclusive of all sinners, male and female.
That's about it really. A proposal, that is all, for the basic history of salvation is in reality different: a boy child was born to Mary, Jesus Christ, son of Mary and Son of God. Why bother speculating? Well, I have this unease that when we speculate in a different way, that the Saviour could NOT have been a woman, we maintain a subtle downgrading of women: women are equal to men except that they cannot ... and the "cannot" now includes, as Cranmer's Curate argues, that a female saviour could not be inclusive of male sinners, whereas a male saviour can be inclusive of female sinners. Let's avoid all "gynophobia"!!
Tomorrow, the wrath of God was satisfied. Why we can sing the great modern hymn, In Christ Alone, without the slightest need to change any words of the hymn, least of all a line in this verse:
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live