The Good News - Home
The Virgin Birth
By David A. DePra
Therefore 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)
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:30-35)
The Truth that Jesus was born of a virgin is an essential Christian Truth. It is not negotiable, debatable, or a matter of opinion. Why?
Well, first of all, the Bible says Jesus was born of a virgin. Read the above account from Luke. There is no question that Mary understood that the angel was telling her that she would become pregnant via a miracle – this is why she asked, "How can this be, seeing a don’t know a man?" Secondly, the virgin birth was prophesied in Isaiah. Many liberal scholars have tried to discredit this verse, but there needs to be no question, for it was fulfilled in Luke. So we know what it means: A virgin shall conceive one who would be God – whose name would mean, "God with us."
Thus, right off the bat, we see that to deny the virgin birth is to deny the inspiration of the Bible. You cannot have it both ways. The Bible teaches the virgin birth. Period.
But there is an even greater reason why the Truth of the virgin birth is essential. The virgin birth must be the Truth if Jesus is God Incarnate. Thus, the identity of the Savior Himself is dependent upon the virgin birth.
Three Theories, One Truth
How so? Well, think about it. Assuming you agree that Jesus Christ existed at all – and there is almost no one today that denies that – then there are only three possible ways in which He could have come to be.
First, He just appeared – sort of materialized as a baby in a manger. No one believes this. Not even the Gnostics. They taught that Jesus was a man, and that God the Son entered into him at baptism, and left him just before the crucifixion. Proof? None. But they believed it. So the idea that a baby Jesus just materialized in a manger is really a silly suggestion.
Second, some say that Jesus was born of two parents, just like the rest of us. But if that is the case, then He was born IN ADAM, and had a sin nature like the rest of us. This would mean that He did not live a sinless life, and therefore could not have been the Lamb of God without blemish who bore the sin of the world. But that would mean we have no Savior. Indeed, if Jesus were born of two parents, He would not have been God BECOME man at all. He could not have existed BEFORE He was born of a virgin. Thus, He was only a man, and not God.
Of course, this is the theory that those who deny Jesus is God believe. Sure. They believe He was born just like the rest of us, was a good man, and a great teacher, and was martyred. But they deny He rose from the dead. You will find that almost universally that those who deny the virgin birth deny the resurrection. Sure. Both are essential if Jesus is God. Neither can be the Truth if, as they insist, He was only a man.
Remarkably, some people can deny what the Bible clearly teaches about Jesus – His virgin birth and His resurrection, and yet continue to believe He was a good man – reading the same Bible they say is lying about the very identity of Jesus. They pick and choose. I mean, why believe anything the Bible teaches in that case? But people do that. Unbelief can be quite inconsistent.
I once got a package of papers from a guy who believed that Jesus was God, and even his Savior, but did not believe He was born of a virgin. This guy was convinced that the concept of the virgin birth was copied from older ancient religions. He sent me all this stuff he had written to prove it. I can tell you that I am not ignorant of those claims, and of the fact that ancient religions sometimes taught a virgin birth. But to say that this automatically means that this is where Christianity got the idea is utter nonsense, has no basis in fact, and is really the product of unbelief.
The fact is, right from the prophecy of a Redeemer in Genesis 3:15, it is likely that God revealed that the Savior would be born of a virgin. The ancients may have actually copied it from the traditions handed down from God’s people, rather than the other way around – sort of like so many ancient cultures teach an ancient flood of some type. But regardless, the fact that a virgin birth, while a miracle, is found in ancient religions is not surprising. It would certainly cross the mind of anyone wishing to create mythical religion – and certainly would be used by Satan to dilute and pollute this great Truth. It seems that anywhere you find the occult, you find Satan using bits and pieces of the real Truth – almost as if to mock it.
But anyways, this guy who sent me all this stuff he wrote about Jesus being God, but not being born of a virgin, thought that he had come up with a revelation. But he was, in fact, deceived. If Jesus Christ was the product of human reproduction, then He could NOT be God. He could not have existed before conception. This guy never addressed this issue – how a human being who was the product of two others could have been God become man. Impossible. This was heresy.
What was amazing about this guy was that he swore up and down that he was saved, because his faith was in Christ! When I told him that this was impossible because he was denying the very identity of Christ, he sort of, "forgave," me for my statement. But the Bible is clear:
Whosoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (2 John 1:9-11)
There is something quite profound in this passage. God is not telling people that they had better agree with the Truth about Jesus or they are going to go to hell. He is not telling us to avoid people who disagree with our doctrines – because of a difference of opinion. No. John is pointing out what ought to be obvious: If someone does not know who Jesus Christ is, there is no way they have embraced Christ as Savior. Why? Because if you are saved, YOU GOT THAT WAY by seeing who Jesus Christ is! Can we see that?
If Christianity were simply a matter of agreeing to a list of doctrines, then the problem here would be serious enough. But in order to be saved, you have to surrender your life to Christ, and trust in what He has done. You have to know WHO HE IS. Thus, to say you can be saved while denying Jesus is God is a contradiction. You get saved by knowing and embracing the fact that Jesus is God!
John is serious about what he is teaching. When we speak of, "the doctrine of the Christ," we are talking about the very foundation and definition of Christianity itself. Distortions of this cannot be tolerated in the church. Read the passage again. I’m not sure how much more serious John could be about this point.
In our day and age of cosmetic conversion, these things are not preached, much less taken seriously. It is impossible to be saved unless we embrace the real Jesus. This doesn’t mean we have to know all of the theology of the Christ, or know the deeper aspects of the Redemption. But we do need to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who died for us, and who is God Incarnate, our Savior. Otherwise, where will we put our faith?
Read Matthew 16. Peter confessed that Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus told him that flesh and blood had not revealed this to him, but the Father had done so. Salvation likewise requires this revelation – and Jesus said so. He said, "It is upon this Rock – the revelation of Myself – that the church, the ones who are saved, will be built."
In the final analysis, Christianity is a revelation of Jesus Christ. Thus, to be a Christian requires that you have received and believed that revelation – to some degree. To distort the Truth about Jesus Christ is to distort that revelation and Christianity itself. What you end up with is not Christianity. It is something else – heresy and error.
The virgin birth is an essential Truth because like all of the essential Truths of Christianity, if you take it away, you don’t have Christianity anymore. It is just that vital. Thus, we come to our third possible explanation of the birth of Jesus: He was born of a virgin – just as the Bible reveals. This is actually the only way He could be God become man.
But how could this miracle take place? What I’m asking is this: Jesus was in heaven one moment, and the next, in Mary’s womb. How did that happen, and what does it mean?
Well, it happened just as I stated: From the perspective of our time and space continuum, Jesus was Word of God – in heaven – and the next moment He was in the womb of Mary. That’s right. He had actually BECOME that – a tiny spark of life. This was not the result of human reproduction, or of any other kind of reproductive act. Rather, in the blink of an eye, the Word of God was reduced down from God Almighty to the tiniest spark of human life, and supernaturally deposited into the womb of Mary. This was really the only way it could have happened.
Actually, it is essential that it happened that way. Why? Because Jesus, as God from eternity, could not have ceased to exist. He had to maintain His identity or selfhood. Thus, it was simply a matter of the eternal Word of God in an instant BECOMING FLESH. He had to be the same PERSON, and yet BECOME a tiny fetus. There just isn’t any other way that it could have worked out practically – and really there was no other way that Jesus could have truly become a man.
Can we possibly wrap our minds around what the Word of God relinquished to become one of us? He became a tiny spark of human life – He surrendered all consciousness and all position as God. He continued to BE GOD, of course, because, as I said, He could not cease to be who He was. But He had been stripped of all else, and had taken upon Himself everything that a human being IS.
As Jesus grew as a man, the fact that He had existed before His human birth, and the fact that He was Divine, was part of Him – He grew into everything that He was by nature. But talk about relinquishment. Jesus gave it all up for us. And we are not yet even talking about His death on the Cross.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in very essence God, did not consider equality with God something to hold to for Himself: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil. 2:5-8)
This is a nice description of the virgin birth and more. And upon it stands, not only the identity of Jesus as God, but the Redemption itself.
The fact that Jesus Christ was GOD INCARNATE mandates a virgin birth. In addition, it shows that Jesus alone is the Way to God -- just as He said. For only God the Son could bear the sin of the world, and work a redemption offered to all humankind.
Born From the Outside
Jesus Christ was NOT born of this world – He was not born of two human parents. Rather, He was born INTO this world from the OUTSIDE. Sure. That is the only way it could have been -- because He existed before His incarnation. And it is the only possibility if He were God BECOME man.
Remarkably, this miracle of the virgin birth was verified by another miracle, the RESURRECTION. The resurrection proved Jesus Christ was God. Thus, Jesus originally came into this world from the outside – through the virgin birth -- and that was a miracle. But He also came back into this world ushering in a new creation, through yet another miracle, the resurrection from the dead.
The greatest proof of both the virgin birth and the resurrection is found in us. Christianity is CHRIST IN US. Today He is to be born IN US, and raised IN US. According to the apostle John, this is the greatest evidence of all:
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us -- eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son hath life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:9-13)
Christianity is NOT merely a theological position. No. Christianity is CHRIST IN US. And then all of our theology will have a living proof in the life of the Son of God in the believer.
The Good News - Home