THE MYSTERY OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH



The doctrine of The Virgin Birth is the second of two doctrines which has been increasingly undermined by many who profess Christianity. There is good reason..This doctrine, like that of The Resurrection, points to the divinity and humanity of Christ. By it we know that Christ is both God and man, having two distinct natures in the one person. Both of them show God's active initiation of, and participation in, man's redemption. Satan would do his best to make us believe otherwise.

Now, it is not conjecture, but a matter of fact that these doctrines have come under continuous attack over the centuries. So why the need to raise the alarm now? It is because the attacks on these doctrines are coming from within the ranks of the church, from professing believers, at an alarming rate. The church is facing a great apostasy.

The ignorance that abounds in a majority of 'Christians' today is appalling. I was at a birthday party when I overheard a conversation amongst some young adults. The topic had casually drifted to Christmas. One of them posed the question as to what Jesus' family name must have been. “Well if he's called 'Jesus Christ' then his family name must be Christ!”, said another rather nonchalantly. The rest shrugged their shoulders, as if it really didn't matter who Christ was, and the conversation drifted to less 'boring' topics. Mind you, these are 'regular Christians' from a mainline Christian denomination that I'm talking about. Is it any wonder why such 'Christians' are easily turned away by false teachers - 'like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind'!

When we talk of the virgin birth,what we are really referring to is 'virgin conception'. The two terms are used synonymously. Mary conceived supernaturally, but gave birth naturally. Essentially, the doctrine affirms that Jesus' conception in the womb of Mary was not the result of any sexual relationship whatever. I emphasize the word 'any' to refute some false theories that Mary was somehow impregnated by God or else she could not have become pregnant. Neither was she impregnated by any man in order to conceive Jesus. Mary was a virgin at the time of her conception. She remained a virgin until after Jesus was born. The scriptures clearly indicate that Joseph did not have sexual intercourse with her until after Jesus ' birth (Matt.1:25).

Many attempts have been made to come to terms with how this conception was possible. As a result of this intellectual probing, many other questions arose involving his humanity, his sinlessness and his divinity, which it is not my purpose to discuss in this paper.

I believe there are two major reasons why the virgin birth cannot be dismissed as essential to Christian belief - and in fact to salvation itself !

Firstly, it is stated categorically in the New Testament. By this I mean (1) unconditionally (2) absolutely (3) explicitly (4) directly and (5) in plain speaking terms. There are two places where the virgin birth is explicitly stated – Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38. These two accounts are sufficient to convince us that the virgin birth is a fact. Importantly, neither of the accounts is presented as an hypothesis but as simple factual statements. As with all of God's supernatural acts, no explanation is given as to how he accomplished it. On our part, we must believe it because the Bible tells us that it happened. To refuse to believe it is to repudiate the authority of the Bible.

The Christian accepts many concepts which are beyond his understanding, things which only God knows and does in his omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence. These concepts continue to remain an enigma to the human mind because they are outside the realm of scientific explanation. As we know, Science seeks to explain the unknown by reference to the known. By definition it (1) depends on deductions from self evident truths (such as in mathematics) and (2) seeks to explain material phenomena based mainly on observation, experiment, and induction (as in chemistry and physics for example).

In relation to the first, science refuses to accept the self-evident truth about God as revealed in His word. Yet, this refusal amounts to a denial of its legitimacy according to the definition of what constitutes pure science! And in relation to the second, science continues in its futile attempts to reduce the supernatural to the natural. Both God and his works must be 'proved' in a test tube. This is why science cannot come to terms with the mysteries and miracles of the bible. In order to grasp these mysteries the human mind must go beyond science and be on a par with God, possessing His omniscience. But this cannot be, because man is a limited creature and God is the all powerful Creator. For all his aspirations, man will never become God! It follows then that the human must remain content with accepting the truth of Scripture, not because he fully understands it, but simply because God said it. We call this unconditional acceptance faith. It operates in a supernatural dimension and is both a gift from God, and an enabling by His Holy Spirit. Science cannot give us this faith because it only deals with natural things. Faith in the things of God does not come from understanding; on the contrary, understanding comes from faith. The great Chapter 11 in Hebrews tells us of people of God who exercised this sort of faith. And so should we, if we are to count ourselves amongst believers!

Secondly, the virgin birth is God 's unique way to put His redemptive plan into action. According to the Oxford dictionary the word unique means 'unmatched, un-equalled, having no like or equal or parallel'. I can find no better word to describe God's method of incarnation. It is upon the fact of the virgin birth that the entire biblical doctrine of Christ's person and work hangs. Put simply, if Jesus Christ is not virgin born, he is not sinless, and if he is not sinless, then he himself needs a Saviour. If he himself needs salvation, then he cannot possibly be our Saviour, and the entire redemptive plan falls worthless to the ground. It follows then that we remain dead in our sins and our faith in him is futile! It is easy to understand now why Satan works incessantly to belie the virgin birth.

Let me elaborate on this a little. Man was created sinless, but he sinned and came under the penalty of death (Gen. 2:16-17). He thus needed someone to redeem him from death. But none of Adam's race could provide this because all who came from him would be born in sin and would need redemption themselves. Yet, if man was to be redeemed then man must die for man. Only God could redeem man, but by His own law (sinless man must redeem sinful man), he could not redeem man as God. He had to become man. However, if he was to become man, it must be apart from sin otherwise it would violate His own essential nature of sinlessness. Further, he himself would be a sinner in his humanity and therefore unable to save other humans. This is a 'catch 22' situation – a real dilemma. But not for God! His way of overcoming this apparent dilemma is seen in the miracle of the Virgin Birth. Through the virgin conception, God clothed himself with human flesh, and was born of the virgin Mary into the human race. Adam was created as a man but Christ 'took flesh' and became man. How he did this is a mystery. It belongs in the supernatural realm along with all of God's mighty works. It is by faith we accept that the God who was able to create Adam in the flesh was likewise able 'to take flesh' on himself and become man, entering the human race as a sinless man.

We call this act of God 'the incarnation'. By this act he took sinless human nature and united it with His sinless divine nature. He is God 'in the flesh'. In Christ “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). By this he showed himself fully God and fully man. Understandable? NO! Scientifically provable? NO! Acceptable? YES, through faith. On what basis? BECAUSE GOD IS TRUTH AND CANNOT LIE. There ends any further dispute!

Now, the only time that anyone could have problems with the doctrine of the virgin birth is if they don't believe God to be whom he claims to be! After all of the evidence He has made available, their real problem is not a lack of understanding but of unbelief, which is a fatal state as scripture points out in numerous places. It's as simple as that!

Preach The word-with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues www.kerysso.org

Bookmark This Page!(CTRL D)

General Articles                                                               

 Preach The Word