Why care about the virgin birth?

By Robin Schumacher

Single Page/Printer Friendly
Continued from Page One

Moreover, the writers of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, translated between the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC), who were certainly no Christians, understood what was meant as they used the word Parthenos for Isaiah 7:14, which only means "virgin."

The same Greek term is used by the gospel writers in the New Testament when referring to Mary at the time she received the angelic message about Christ's upcoming birth. For example, Luke 1:26-34 uses the word several times with the clear intention being to impress upon his readers that Mary never sexually knew a man up to that point. In addition, Mary's confusion at how she could become pregnant also demonstrates this fact.

There are other subtle scriptural pointers to Jesus' virgin birth. For example, in Matthew 1:16, Matthew says, "Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah." The word/term "by whom" is feminine, singular in the Greek, indicating that Jesus was born of Mary only and not of Mary and Joseph.

Further, two times Matthew uses the phrase "the Child and His mother" to refer to Jesus and Mary (Matthew 2:13, 20) with Joseph also being in the context of the passage. Matthew seems to go out of his way to ensure Jesus is always associated with Mary, but never referred to as Joseph's son.

Lastly, the fact that questions circulated about Jesus' true father are seen in John 8:40-41, where Christ's enemies mock him by saying, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God." Clearly implied in their statement is that Joseph was not thought of as the earthly father of Jesus.

So the first reason why the virgin birth cannot be separated from the Christian faith is that the Bible teaches it in both the Old and New Testaments. It should also be pointed out that the doctrine of the virgin birth differs from and precedes various pagan god myths about god-men being born into the world. As an example, Mithras, the pagan god cited by Bell, was supposedly born out of a rock and not from a woman and is historically dated as being introduced into Roman culture in the late first century A.D.

Salvation Demand a Virgin Birth

The second reason why Christianity cannot stand without the virgin birth of Christ is that salvation absolutely requires it.

The Bible teaches that since the Fall (Genesis 3), each person is born in the sinful image of their parents (Genesis 5:3; Psalm 51:5). Paul states this explicitly when he writes, "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Romans 5:12).

To escape the sin disease, and for Jesus to be the spotless/sinless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19), He had to be virgin born. A. W. Tozer puts it like this:
He took that nature [humanity] unto Him by the virgin birth. The reason He took it by the virgin birth was that He could assume to Himself human nature without assuming any of the tainted human sin. So when you hear someone questioning the virgin birth of Jesus, saying it doesn't make any difference who His father was, it doesn't make any difference how He was born, you need to speak truth to them.

So does Christianity depend on the "brick" of the virgin birth? Yes, it does. Scripture teaches it and salvation requires it. The criticality of the doctrine is one even understood by non-Christians like Larry King. When he was asked what one question he would put to Jesus, he replied: "I would like to ask Him if He was indeed virgin-born. The answer to that question would define history for me."

Image Credit: Correggio; "Madonna della Scala"; 1523; Public Domain

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Celebrating-Holidays  | History-Apologetics  | Jesus-Christ  | Theological-Beliefs

comments powered by Disqus
Published 12-17-14