There are people in this world who are blessed with the gift of simple faith. They are the ones who see the truth in what they believe and are happy to accept it wholeheartedly and without reservation, much like a young child.
Then there are those whose minds just won’t stop thinking. These are the ones who must examine and delve and pull apart and understand things. For better or worse, God made me one of the latter. So for those readers who share my affliction, here are some thoughts on the incredible miracle of the Incarnation of the Word of God in Jesus Christ…
Did Jesus have to be conceived within a virgin? Why couldn’t He have just been born normally and then filled or ‘soaked’ with divinity afterwards?
In many ways this would have made the story of His life easier for people to accept. Today, there are theologians and clergy in the Churches of the West who cannot accept the concept of the Virgin birth of Christ, because it isn’t natural. They will point to examples of pre-Christian faiths that include virgin births, such as the Egyptian gods Isis and Horus, to show that the Christian one is just one example of a common phenomenon in religions.
I see this as being a faulty argument. The existence of fakes in no way means that there cannot be a genuine article somewhere. Imagine if someone told you that all the so called Rolex watches sold at the markets are fake, and that therefore there IS no such thing as a genuine Rolex watch. You show him your watch, bought from a reputable jeweller complete with documentation, but he refuses to accept it. Nope, he’s seen too many fakes, so this one can’t be real – why, it looks just the same as all the other fakes!
The Virgin birth wasn’t just a trick to show off God’s power. There are reasons for the Incarnation to have occurred from a Virgin birth rather than a normal one. Had Jesus been born to a normal couple, we would be missing one of the most important pieces of evidence that He really was God Incarnate rather than just a very holy prophet.
And that’s not just because He was born miraculously. There are numerous miraculous births recorded in the Bible. Isaac was born miraculously to Abraham and Sarah, many decades beyond childbearing age. Similarly, St John the Baptist was born to an elderly couple after a miraculous announcement by the Archangel Gabriel. It is no surprise that the birth of God Incarnate should also be in miraculous circumstances, but the added extra here is the nature of the miracle itself.
A virgin mother can only contribute half the DNA necessary for the conception of a new human being. Normally, the other half must be contributed by the father. Where there is no human father, God must have created that DNA miraculously in order for St Mary to conceive.
Now amongst the bewildering variety of life on earth, you will find examples of “parthenogenesis”, the making of a new individual without this mingling of DNA from two separate parents. But the conception of Christ could not have been a natural event, since His mother did not possess a Y chromosome. All humans possess two sex chromosomes, named, imaginatively, X and Y. Females have two X chromosomes, whereas males have an X and a Y. Each parent contributes one of their sex chromosomes to the child. If both parents contribute an X chromosome to their child, they have a girl. If the father contributes his Y instead of his X, then they have a boy. St Mary had no Y to contribute, so where did the Y that made Jesus male come from?
It must have been a miraculous creation, and the source must have been the Holy Spirit that overshadowed her and caused the conception to occur in her womb. In this way the Virgin birth points, by its very nature, to an inescapable conclusion: the male child born of St Mary was, in a very real way, truly, the Son of God. He owed His very genes to two parents, one human, the other divine. The mystery of the Incarnation of the Logos, God becoming a true man, is embodied in the event we call the Virgin birth.
Beautiful, isn’t it? But of course, all that analysis is not what Christmas is really about (and no, it’s not chocolates and presents either). Having exercised an overactive mind sufficiently, one is freed to approach Christmas the way it should be approached: with the love and simplicity of a child…
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Wishing all readers a happy and holy Christmas and a blessed 2010.