By: Jenna Drummond, Columnist
With new debates surrounding gender labeling and equality, many people start to question Catholics about why their religion is so patriarchal. The Holy Trinity is comprised of three male characters, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and to many outsiders, it seems there is no reason God could not have come down to earth as female instead of male. There is much more to the story than simply picking a gender at will. God came to earth, as the creed says, “for us man and our salvation”, and to understand why he needed to come as a man, you first need to understand the roots of redemption and Original Sin.
In the beginning, there were Adam and Eve, the first man and woman to inhabit the earth, and the parents to a fallen humanity. When Adam was created, God tasked him with the care, cultivation, and conservation of the Garden of Eden, and all that lay within it, including Eve (Genesis 2:15). Adam had the duty to protect Eve and defend her from the deception which would cause the stain of Original Sin. As the serpent enticed Eve to try the fruit, Adam stood next to her, joining her in eating the fruit (Genesis 3:6). While they both partook in sin, Adam knew of the consequences of eating the fruit, while Eve had been deceived. This is why, although it was Eve who ate the fruit first, it was Adam who was questioned first by the Lord.
When asked, “Where are you?” God was giving man the chance for repentance, yet instead of asking for forgiveness, Adam hid in shame of his nakedness. Man had fallen and the wait for the Redeemer began. God expelled humanity from paradise– Eden– and cursed the serpent to live on slithering and striking at heels, and punished man and woman for their actions (Genesis 3:15). Now, a hostility between woman and serpent existed, one which would last for generations. In the same verse that God condemn the woman and serpent to enmity, he foretells that woman will crush the head of the serpent, foreshadowing a new Eve.
Generations passed, and humanity remained fallen, waiting for their Savior and for a reversal of the events in Eden. Creation was for the unfallen to fall, but redemption was for the fallen to be recreated. The fall of man could not simply be erased, it needed to be reversed. The new Adam needed to be the flesh of the new Eve, as the original Eve was created from the flesh of the original Adam; Mary needed to give flesh to the Word Incarnate for redemption to be possible. As sin came into the world through man– namely Adam– righteousness also needed to be given through a man, Jesus Christ. The solution to the death brought upon by Original Sin needed to come through the person who sinned first, woman. The “seed of woman”, Jesus Christ, was to be the Redeemer, not the woman, herself (Genesis 3:15). By His death and resurrection, He reversed man’s fall, allowing redemption and salvation to those who follow.
Society is obsessed with the idea that men and women need equal representation in every facet of life. These ideas of equality have been pressed into interpretations of the Bible and leave people questioning why Mary could not have been the savior, why it needed to be a male figure, not female. Sin and death were the result of a man, and therefore, God saw it fitting for society to be saved by a man as well.