“It’s Still About the Virgin Birth”
By Chris Arch
It seems as though all the buzz in the domestic news of late has been the controversy surrounding whether schools, school boards, or school districts will be allowed to include the theory “Intelligent Design” into the curriculum presently monopolized by another concept on human origins.
The wonderful account of the birth of Christ, as recorded in Luke 2, tells of Mary’s utter amazement at the angel’s proclamation in her response: “How can this be since I am a virgin?” (v.34). Gabriel’s classic reply infuses the appropriate answer: “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (v.37).
It seems as though the most frequent and vociferous objections to the virgin birth of Messiah is that it is believed to be biologically impossible. This objection, however, if looked at closely, is rooted in a naturalistic presupposition of a closed universe. Both the anti-theists as well as the Deists of old (and new) would have difficulty with the concept of the virgin birth for both biological as well as theological reasons. Biologically, one could have difficultly with the concept of the virgin birth because according to biological laws conception is impossible without insemination. Theologically, both the anti-theist, naturalist, etc., as well as the Deist would reject the notion of a personal God “intruding” into the affairs of man. The Christian, arguing from the standpoint of revealed revelation would confidently assert that both have taken place.
However, do either of these presuppositions raise an insurmountable objection to the Christmas story? I don’t think so. In truth the naturalistic presupposition cannot be tested to a degree of total certainty, a charge often leveled at those holding to a supernaturalistic one. It is theoretical at best and in disagreement with both biblical theology, as well as philosophy and methodology. In the words of RC Sproul; “That something cannot be duplicated in a controlled laboratory experiment does not mean that it never happened.” (Renewing Your Mind, Sproul, p. 101) It’s impossible for a lab to completely eliminate the realm of all possible variables. In the question of the virgin birth, there is the amazingly complex variable known as God’s alternative. With that alternative, science may make a pronouncement in relation to the probability of the virgin birth, but it cannot of its possibility. If one looks to probability, the virgin birth must be regarded as unique.
However, the unique event is a significant aspect of the Christian faith. And, interestingly, in both the Old and the New Testaments miracles (of which the virgin birth would assuredly be!) are not treated as commonplace events. Miracles, by definition, are unique. It is that uniqueness that distinguishes Jesus Christ from all other people. Christmas, no matter what the marketing magnates want us to focus on this “Holiday Season” is still about the incredible, miraculous, virgin birth!