“We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner; born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of a woman, and that He is both the Son of God, and God, the Son.” (Baptist Articles of Faith)
The virgin birth is a mainstay in all Christian denominations statements of faith – my question is – is it legit? Is it even reasonable? Is it even needed?
I have some reservations about the virgin birth – to the point – I do not think it is plausible as an idea. Here are 2 of my reasons:
(a) It is based on a scripture prophecy – from Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
Problem is the word ‘virgin’ (which bibles refuse to change) is actually the word ‘young woman’ in Hebrew – this is really not even a debate amongst scholars.
Hebrew-English Tanakh “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
The term seems to be used by early Christians – in error it would seem – to prove that Jesus was born of a virgin to fulfill a prophecy. Fact is, all Jesus needs to do is be born of a young woman (which he was) to fulfill the prophecy.
(b) Jesus, a messianic claim, is said to be from the line of David – Matthew 1:1 “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David…”
This is not possible if he is born of a virgin. The lineage of the Jewish nation is passed through the male – Joseph would have to be the person from the line of David (which Matthew 1: 16 shows) – “Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.”
But if Joseph is actually not the father – as the virgin birth claims – then Jesus cannot be from the line of David – but from whatever line Mary is from. The claim seems to be made due to Jesus becoming the ‘son of God’ and the meaning of that term – and how can Jesus be the literal ‘son of God’ without God getting Mary pregnant (as is the biblical claim). That just seems weird to me.
I am not sure why the early church believed Jesus had to be born of a ‘virgin’ – maybe for the same reason the Baptist’s think – so he could be the actual and literal ‘son of God’. But if the idea is true – then this person is not the messiah. He is not from the line of David as proclaimed. So either we have an interpretive error on Matthew/Luke’s part or Jesus was born of a virgin – just not from the line of David.