Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | December 20, 2017

Born of a Virgin?

(6 Minute Read. With video.)

After Eden Word Became Flesh

Christmas Blessings to all the readers of the Bible-Science Guy Blog!

This week we celebrate the birth of the greatest Man who ever lived!

Two thousand years ago in Bethlehem in the land of Israel, a Baby was born and placed in a manger. By the standards of the day, His parents were undistinguished — a carpenter and a homemaker.

Yet this Baby from the Manger grew to be the most influential Man of history. Who was He?

He is One to whom none other can compare. Throughout the ages, leaders of nations have claimed many august titles. Military officers have earned numerous honors. Politicians have boasted strings of official titles. Scholars have accumulated multiple degrees.

But for this one Man of history, His titles far surpass all others, both in quantity and quality. The titles ascribed to the Baby from the Manger include Prince of Peace, Last Adam, Lion of Judah, Son of God, Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, Savior, Mighty God, King of Kings, Christ, Son of Man, and Lord of Lords.

This man is also rightly titled Creator and Sustainer: He undergirds all of science and nature, “for by Him all things were created, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16,17). The universe and all it contains would disintegrate apart from the moment-by-moment sustaining power of this eternal God-man.

Jesus Titles

There is no mistaking the holder of so many honorifics. Jesus of Nazareth is the most titled man in history! There are over 300 Names and Titles of Jesus in the Bible. Merely to read aloud all the titles of worth, dignity, and honor ascribed to Him in Scripture takes a full five minutes.

Virgin-Born!

One of this Man’s most distinctive and yet disputed titles is pivotal to redemptive history: Virgin-Born.

Can a virgin be pregnant?
Was the Great Creator of the universe born on earth as a baby?
How can one believe such things?

Was Jesus of Nazareth really born of a virgin? Isn’t that impossible?

The Virgin Birth is the primary point at which critics attack the Biblical birth accounts, thereby assaulting both the divinity and sinlessness of Jesus. Is the Virgin Birth optional? Or is it absolutely essential?

The Creator of the universe born as a baby from a virgin? These are certainly stupendous claims made about a baby named Jesus born in Nazareth, Israel, 2000 years ago. Can rational, thinking people of the 21st century really believe such things?

Biblical Accounts of the Virgin Birth

The Bible’s accounts of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth emphasize two points:
1. He was born of a virgin who had not had intimate relations with a man.
2. He was God.

Here is the apostle Matthew’s account:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25)

Here is Dr. Luke’s account:
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:26-38)

Adoration of the Shepherds
He who holds the universe together
humbled Himself to be born as a man.
(By Italian Guido Reni, 1575–1642)

The Biblical record is very clear that Mary as a virgin gave birth to Jesus. Scripture teaches that Jesus was conceived within His mother Mary by the Holy Spirit without a human father. It was a virginal conception. Joseph kept Mary a virgin until after Christ’s birth, so He was literally born of a virgin.

Significance of the Virgin Birth

The stunning significance of the Virgin Birth is that Divinity took on humanity. God and man joined in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Godhead. Jesus became fully human while remaining fully divine. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father. (John 1:1,14)

Salvation and the Virgin Birth are closely connected. Jesus had to be human and sinless to die in man’s place and pay the penalty for man’s sin. A natural son of Joseph and Mary would have been an ordinary sinful human. Is the sin nature passed through the male alone and not through the female? Scripture does not specify, but if true, this would explain the necessity for a virgin birth. For Jesus to be human, divine, and sin-free, the Virgin Birth was essential.

The Virgin Birth is inseparable from the authority of Scripture. Denial of the Virgin Birth denies clear Biblical teaching. If the Bible were historically inaccurate about the Virgin Birth, how could it be trusted for anything? What basis would there be for celebrating Christmas?

Evidence of the Virgin Birth

Born of a virgin — can sophisticated 21st-century readers believe such outlandish reports? Are they only symbolic, intended to portray a pure origin? Critics have argued the Virgin Birth was invented to handle embarrassing questions with a convenient “cover story.” But would it quell gossip to claim that God impregnated a virgin?

Modern man believes himself erudite compared to his supposedly naive ancestors. He understands how babies originate — virgin births are impossible. (Actually man is more gullible today — belief in evolution and fascination with horoscopes is rampant.)

Mary and Joseph both knew the facts of life. Mary’s question to the angel Gabriel shows she was not ignorant: “How can this be since I am a virgin?” Joseph initially planned to quietly terminate his engagement to pregnant Mary. Yet later he did believe Mary — compelling evidence made him change his mind.

Matthew, a wealthy tax collector, and Luke, a physician, produced two independent historical documents. Independence is demonstrated by the substantial differences in the two birth narratives resulting from differing perspectives and emphases. They are complementary but not contradictory.

Each testifies that Jesus was born of a virgin by the power of God. Likely both spoke to Mary, the one person most qualified to explain the birth.

Jews did not expect the Messiah to be virgin-born, so Matthew had no impetus to concoct a virgin birth story to fulfill prophecy. Why would Matthew and Luke fabricate such an “unbelievable” story? They clearly believed it was true. Matthew and Dr. Luke were not ignorant rubes. They understood the reality and significance of what they reported. The contemporary recording of the birth event by two independent reliable historians is weighty evidence that should not be casually dismissed.

The Jews of Jesus’ day probably didn’t believe His virgin birth. Their backhanded slur, “We were not born of fornication,” (John 8:41) suggests their scorn about His birth. Skeptical Jews referred to Him as the “son of Mary” (Mark 6:3). Addressing a Jewish man as his mother’s son impugned his parentage. These insinuations show that unusual factors about His birth were well known. Mark and John were not afraid to record the aspersions since they knew the true explanation.

Paul’s description of Jesus as “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4) suggests he knew about the Virgin Birth. Everyone is born of a woman; why mention it? Paul was emphasizing Christ’s humanity in connection with redemption. Typically one would mention a male sire, but he could not do that for Jesus.

Prophecy of the Virgin Birth

The first hint about the Virgin Birth was when God described One who would bruise the serpent’s head as “her seed” (Genesis 3:15). This is contrary to the usual Biblical pattern of identifying the male lineage of a child.

Over 700 years before Christ, Isaiah prophesied, “The Lord Himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) Syria and Israel were threatening military conquest of Judah. Isaiah assured Judah’s King Ahaz that they would not prevail; Assyria would desolate Judah’s two enemies before the virgin’s son knew good from evil.
Isaiah’s prophecy had immediate application to Ahaz and ultimate fulfillment centuries later. The prophecy was given to the “house of David” (7:13) and not only to Ahaz since “you” in 7:14 is plural. Matthew identified Jesus as the literal Immanuel (God with us) who fulfilled this virgin birth prophecy. Isaiah prophesied a birth that would signify the contemporary fulfillment of God’s promise to Ahaz and foreshadow the birth of Jesus. Jesus was the complete fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy independent of its historical context.

Matthew knew Old Testament language and culture far better than commentators who lived much later. Matthew’s understanding of Isaiah undoubtedly came from Jesus Himself. Moreover, Jesus appointed him to pass His teaching on to others. Matthew’s credentials for understanding and applying Isaiah’s prophecy certainly trump those of subsequent critics.

Mary: “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
Gabriel: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and
the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
for that reason the holy offspring shall be called
the Son of God.”

Ramifications of the Virgin Birth

A virgin birth was humanly impossible 2,000 years ago. But the God who created the earth and hung the stars in space could easily accomplish it. If God could make Adam from dust and raise Jesus from the dead, He could certainly produce a virgin birth. As the angel Gabriel told Mary, “Nothing will be impossible with God.”

Science considers it impossible for a virgin to give birth without male seed. Here Scripture and scientific opinion conflict. Many use “scientific impossibility” to dismiss clear Biblical teaching about Creation, age of the earth, and a global Flood. Should the Virgin Birth be jettisoned for “scientific impossibility”? Will the Resurrection be abandoned next?

The Virgin Birth was a divine miracle. Scripture does not explain how God did it. It only says that it was by the power of the Holy Spirit that a Child was conceived in a human womb. He had a human mother and God as His father resulting in being wholly man and wholly God.

The truth upon which all thinking must be grounded is the Bible, God’s Word. Truth clearly taught by Scripture must be believed, even if it cannot be explained scientifically.

If the Virgin Birth is false, then Christianity disintegrates. The Virgin Birth (when God became man) was the necessary precursor to the Crucifixion (where the God-Man paid for sin), which was the necessary precursor to the Resurrection (which validated Jesus’ divinity and sacrifice for sin). The Virgin Birth of Jesus of Nazareth is not an optional doctrine for Christians. The Virgin Birth is a historical event that’s foundational to salvation.

The most neglected truth of Christmas is that Jesus was virgin-born. If Baby Jesus was God in human flesh, as the doctrine of the Virgin Birth attests, then this stupendous news should be exuberantly celebrated and vigorously proclaimed!

Meaning of Christmas

Here’s a 2-minute YouTube Christmas video from Living Waters on the meaning and reason for Christmas:

Christmas Blessings to all the readers of the Bible-Science Guy Blog!

Questions to Ponder

1. Why do many who reject the Virgin Birth still look to Jesus as Savior?
2. How would you defend the virgin birth of Christ in your own words?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Click Christmas Articles to read my other blog posts on Christmas topics.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday December 20, 2017 A.D.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:8-14)


Responses

  1. Another excellent article. It is always so good to read that every part of the Bible is true. When one part breaks down, it all breaks down. Truly, the Bible is an all-or-nothing proposition. I wish more people could understand that, even as I sometimes find myself struggling to accept the more difficult parts.

    Thank you for writing this. Keep up the good work!

    Like


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