Why Isn’t Jesus a Girl?

The point of this exercise is to challenge our preconceptions of what Jesus must have been like: Why do we think he is male, and why do we assume Jesus is just like us?


Slide1This particular discussion was inspired by this (admittedly facetious) blogpost entitled “Where Would Jesus Pee?”

In it, Andrew Seidel raises an interesting point:  Jesus had a biological mother, but no biological father.  Therefore, even if the Holy Spirit intervened to cause Mary to become pregnant, all of the genetic material was from his mother.

Now, a person of female gender has two X chromosomes (XX) while a person of male gender has an X and a Y (XY).   The gender of their child is determined by which chromosome they get from the father – either the X or the Y.  But, since Jesus has no biological father, then all of his genetic material would come from Mary, meaning he got an “X” instead of a “Y” and so must be female.

I recently presented this as part of our church’s “Message for All Ages” (being very careful of how I presented it, given that grammar school aged children were present).  Then asked the question, “So, what do you think; why isn’t Jesus a Girl?”

As you can imagine, this produced some amazing facial expressions (and answers) from kids and adults like!

The point of this exercise is to challenge our preconceptions of what Jesus must have been like: How can we be sure he was genetically male, or even that he presented himself as a typical male, for that matter?  Why do we assume Jesus is just like us?

There are no descriptions at all of Jesus in any of the ancient records that have been passed down to us, other than a general agreement that he was a “he.” But, even that is problematic, since all of those ancient writings were written by men, who would naturally tend to assume he was like them.  Also, it seems clear that the ancient church deliberately did not create any written or visual representations of Jesus because they did not want to create an idol for people to worship;  and also because they also did not want to afflict us with their own preconceptions of who he was and what he looked like.

If Jesus is truly Emmanuel – “God with Us,” then Jesus must walk in our shoes.  I am a white Anglo Saxon male, so that’s pretty easy for me (especially within this culture) to see him as a White Anglo Saxon male.  But, there is just as much truth in seeing Jesus as a White Anglo Saxon woman, or a Black transgender Male, or as a Latino Lesbian, or as a female Sikh Guru.  If Jesus truly is Emmanuel, then Jesus must be walking in their shoes just as much in mine: relating with each of us and experiencing life with us in exactly the same ways that we do.  Jesus understands who we are, and what we’re experiencing, because Jesus is with us, individually, all the time.

When someone insists that Jesus is of a particular race, or gender, or sexual orientation, or faith, they are trying to make Jesus fit within the limits that they are comfortable-with.  Actually, this is OK: because Jesus does fit within our boundaries.  But, it is a mistake, and harmful, to think that having Jesus fit within our own boundaries means Jesus cannot fit into anyone else’s.

So yes, Jesus is a girl.

P.S. Some other fun thoughts to throw into the discussion:
* Since the “Y” chromosome is in effect a much truncated “X” chromosome, the ancient idea that women are a defective form of male is wrong. Using that reasoning, men should, in fact, be seen as a defective form of female!
* The “Y” chromosome is far simpler than the “X” chromosome, which may be one reason why men have such a hard time understanding women!

Copyright (c) 2016, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved.  I’m happy to share my writings with you, as long as proper credit for my authorship is given. (e.g., via a credit that gives my full name and/or provides a link back to this site – or just email me and ask!)

Author: Allen

A would be historian turned IT Professional who responded to the call to the Ministry, and is now focused on social justice and community service. He is a father of two (ages 28 & 7). He and his wife enjoy life near Boston. You can follow Pastor Allen on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PastorAllenV/ or on Twitter @allenvm3.

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