Why did God only have one child? Why did it have to be a boy?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... the place where I discuss the thinking that went into this article.)

Question 1: Why did God only have one kid? And why did it have to be a boy?

Answer: What a direct and refreshing question!  And since you have made my day… let me run with your question a bit before I answer it: If Jesus was indeed the best thing since sliced bread (of life), wouldn’t more of him have been even better! So, how about some siblings? And what’s the deal with the girls? It seems like God’s running some sort of men’s club over there. Can’t a girl get a leg up in this saving humankind business?

I hope that I captured the spirit of your question because it struck me as playful and good-natured — and I would like to answer it in kind. But the best I can do is to address why God’s plan for redemption hinged on Jesus uniquely, particularly and only — why having more redeemers would signal less redemption — why it couldn’t be anybody else in general… but why it couldn’t be a girl in particular. So let’s begin with why God only had one kid.

In families with multiple children, what does the youngest child frequently say to his siblings — sort of as a joke? It is usually some variation on, “Mom and dad kept trying to have the perfect child… but they had all you instead. So, when I came along, they said, ‘Wow!’ and stopped… because they finally found perfection.”

Although that’s a joke, it is quite a good answer to your query. You see, if there were any need to continue begetting and sending children, God surely could have done that… I mean, he’s God! But the fact that he did not beget other children is very significant: it means that Jesus did indeed fulfill God’s plans perfectly — which in biblical parlance means completely. So then, since Jesus already accomplished everything (“It is finished.” [John 19:30]), then there is no more work to do. Therefore, God’s having more kids would be, at minimum, redundant… even inefficient, and at maximum, having more kids would sully Jesus’ name as the Redeemer of humankind.  

Most Christians know the Bible verse John 3:16, but have you ever contemplated this entire passage in light of Jesus’ “onliness?” God goes out of his way to emphasize that Jesus was his “one and only Son.” Do you think God meant something particular by that? Or was he just turning a phrase? After all, the Bible is known for the elegance of its phrases.

But I work under the assumption that God inspired an optimal Scripture; every word pulls its weight. This makes me ask, why is God emphasizing the “onliness” of his Son twice in so few verses? If nothing else, repetition indicates emphasis — but I see this coupling as brackets: in verse 16 he tells us that he sent us the gift of his Son… but then goes out of his way to qualify that it was his only Son. Then in verse 18, God tells us why the world is condemned… and it is for more than just rejecting Jesus; it is rejecting Jesus, the only Son. Most people understand that Jesus was an important figure. But what many miss is that he must stand alone as the Redeemer.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16–18, NIV)

You see, it is possible for people to receive the “wrong” Jesus… like “choosing” him as Savior while assigning him equality with other paths to God, other paths to redemption… or calling God’s gift inadequate by saying that we humans require works or sacraments to actuate it. Jesus’ “onliness” shows up twice in the above passage… yet it goes over the heads of people who are willing to receive some dumbed-down version of Jesus. But the real Jesus — the Jesus people need to receive — is the one who is God’s only begotten Son… period! There are no other persons who could do that job, and there is no other Jesus who can do that job… except the fully revealed Jesus Christ. Therefore, when God tells us that “onliness” is a characteristic of the true Redeemer, “more” is not better. More is an insult (Hebrews 6:1-6).

So far I have asserted that God only had one child because that single child performed the complete job and that having others like him would have been, not only superfluous but counter-redemptive — militating against the Redeemer’s “onliness”… and insulting Jesus for extra measure! But why did Jesus have to be a boy? Couldn’t a girl have done the job just as well? Sorry… no.

“The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.” (Exodus 12:5, NIV)

The Passover is (arguably) the biggest deal in the Judeo-Christian world. Not only does it connect the Old and New Testaments by way of biblical type (biblical symbolism), it is the apex of redemption: Jesus was the final Passover sacrifice. So, to fulfill the typology as seen in Exodus 12:5 (above)… but perhaps more importantly, not to skew the biblical type… the Redeemer had to be a male.

It is far too easy for a New Testament believer to underestimate the importance of the Old Testament’s preparations for which we’ve become as God’s people. In my opinion, believers would be far more “well-adjusted” if they understood how the Jewish holidays, the laws and the sacrificial system pointed precisely to the Christ. But, although every sacerdotal symbol is significant, the Passover is Mount Everest among them. You see, Jesus Christ is our Passover… and again, this is not just a song or a great sounding idea. This is the energy that drove history to the cross, and it is the linchpin of the Christian faith. The importance of Jesus fulfilling the Passover type — precisely and in every detail — cannot be overstated. If Jesus were not a male, redemption would not have occurred.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NIV)

“As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
(Matthew 26:2, NIV)

“Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7, NIV)

I do not want you to feel picked-on because of your gender — because gender was not the only critical issue in fulfilling the Passover. God was particular about many other “small” details… like not breaking Jesus’ bones in spite of the fact that this was the expectation for such a narrow crucifixion window.

“These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 
(John 19:36, NIV)

The timing, too, was critical… and extraordinarily executed — especially in light of the difficulties. Jesus had to die on a certain date and time to fulfill the Passover. .. but since he did not kill himself, the timing of his death was nothing less than miraculous. It required the precise interaction of multiple bodies: The Jewish nation as a whole rejected Jesus. The religious establishment, as a subset of that whole, didn’t merely reject Jesus — they wanted to destroy Jesus… and to do this they acted for the whole nation in spite of that not being the specific will of every Jewish person. But the Jews could not do the killing themselves under Roman law. So they had to coordinate with a government that did not like them — one that did not find Jesus guilty… but one which was corrupt enough to crucify him anyway. When you consider how bodies of people interact, this would be extraordinarily difficult to engineer on any level. But to have Jesus dying on that particular time and date would be exponentially more difficult. But he did. He fulfilled the Passover timing exactly.

“From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.” (Matthew 27:45–50, NIV)

“On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 
(Mark 14:12, NIV)

“Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.” (John 18:28, NIV)

The Passover lamb had to be perfect — without spot or blemish. Jesus fulfilled this type, too. He was the only human ever to remain sinless. He was thereby uniquely qualified to atone for our sins (Hebrews 4:15).

“but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:19, NIV)

Take heart, my female friend, because Jesus gave us an encouraging glimpse of the future of gender. After our resurrection, genders will not matter (although I’m not sure if this is because they will no longer exist). Watch how Jesus answered this “trick” question about the post-resurrection future of a woman that had seven husbands here
on earth:

“Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22:29–32, NIV)

But now I have some bad news. The above verse speaks to a time after Jesus returns… and until then, we are “stuck” in our genders, and we are obligated to maintain gender roles. Now, Satan is certainly taking a run at this one in the USA today, but although social parity is desirable, it is a step too far to counter God’s decree. You see, just as in the Passover where the sacrificial lamb had to fit exacting requirements, so it is in the Church where we must maintain our gender roles as a picture of Christ’s headship of his Church. The exactness of this symbolism is non-negotiable.

Just as many of the symbols in the Old Testament were fulfilled in the New Testament, there are a few symbols that were instituted in the New Testament which Jesus wants us to maintain until he comes again. (After that, symbolism will be moot… because Jesus [the antitype or the tenor] will be with us! Symbols dissolve when Jesus returns.) Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (communion) and told us to do this in remembrance of him (Luke 22:19)… which will be unnecessary after he returns. In like manner, we are to continue performing believers’ baptisms as a public profession of faith until he comes. But that practice, too, will naturally cease when Jesus returns in glory. So will gender limitations. Why so? When he returns, every eye shall see him (Revelation 1:7) — and when sight is perfected, there is no more need for shadows (Hebrews 10:1). But that’s future to us now.

Until Christ comes back, men must continue to rule over their households and love their families as a symbol of how Christ does the same… and wives must still play their gender roles to symbolize each believer’s subordination to him (Ephesians 5:22-33). This is the reason that I could not belong to a church with a female pastor. You see, people make arguments to counter Paul’s insistence on male headship by saying that was culturally appropriate then —  but we live in a different culture now — and that is true. But the issue is not year-60-versus-year-2016. It is one of the entire age. Believers must play these roles, starting from Christ’s ascension, and ending at his return… even when uncomfortable.

I am happy to report, however, that our future is immeasurably longer than this physical life… and no believer the will be “stuck” doing anything for eternity… except for exploring the possibilities of sinless perfection.

(Note to the reader: this questioner re-queried. To see the rebuttal and my further remarks, click here.)

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20160613 Jesus, the only Savior, had to be male).

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