Charisma News Fails at Supporting the Virgin Birth

Charisma News Fails at Supporting the Virgin Birth December 13, 2015


Charisma News, a conservative religious news site, wrote an article that (apparently) offers

1. Luke was a super-amazing historian
Author Eddie Hyatt offers, is that one of the accounts was written by “a physician and world-renowned historian”. This claim follows off the idea that the author of Luke was actually an apostle, or someone that spoke with eye witnesses. However, Luke 1:1-4 suggests that the author of Luke (as the author never identifies him or herself) actually combed over the various stories, some that he identifies as having come from witnesses, and did not take anything from a firsthand account.

Even if Luke did interview witnesses, it appears he can’t get stories right. At the end of Luke, for example, at 24:36-53, has Jesus appear to his disciples after his resurrection.

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

Jesus shows them his wounds, gives the apostles a motivational message, and then,

…he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

When he the author then picks up in Acts (and the article in question even acknowledges this point), at 1:3 it reads

After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Forty days? That’s not what he had said at the end of Luke. But let’s not forget that he also gets information about the disciples wrong. Acts 11:1-18 tells us that the apostle Peter serves the Gentiles. But in Galatians 2:11-13,

But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision.

Luke also talked about a census that did not happen. Even if it did, the closest we have to a census around the time of the birth of Jesus, let alone with any other historic figures mentioned in Luke, is not consistent with historical documents. Also, there is no evidence that people would have had to travel to take a census, let alone why a Roman senator would require a census of non-Roman, or Galilean citizens like Joseph and Mary.

If Luke was a world-renowned historian (which we have no reason to believe), it certainly wasn’t for his consistency or getting facts straight.

2. Archaeology
Instead of offering archaeological evidence, Hyatt claims that people who were archaeologists were able to match up the geography as described in the Book of Acts as being consistent. One of the archaeologists, William Mitchell Ramsay, is claimed, by Hyatt, to have been agnostic and looking to disprove the accounts in Acts But that is not the case at all. Not only did Ramsay have faith, having studied and taught theology, it says nothing more about his faith other than he was skeptical of the accounts. But we also can’t trust his word since he believed all 13 of Paul’s epistles were written by Paul (Spoiler: they were not).

Also, how would archaeology proved a birth, let alone a virgin birth? Assuming that the geography described in Acts is accurate, that does not prove the virgin birth, let alone any, had happened.

3. C.S. Lewis Believed because he studied mythology
This account offers a strange argument. Hyatt essentially argues that he encountered things as a youth, and that “friends” challenging his atheism are what converted him. One of these friends was author J. R. R. Tolkein, who actually helped Lewis believe in God, but not necessarily the Christian God. It was not until another two years after that he converted specifically to Christianity. He made the realization while with his brother and walking to the zoo.

Hyatt also claims Lewis studied mythology. However, he held no such degree or distinctions in that area of study. Even if he did study mythology, how does that demonstrate that the virgin birth happened? Just because a prominent person believes something (say that a certain Presidential candidate believes the current POTUS is from Kenya), that does not make it true.

4. The Bible predicted it
No. No it did not.

5. It was universally believed by the early Christians
I don’t know how you prove that. I mean, I’m fairly certain that only Sith deal in absolutes. Aside from the uncertainty of the claim, it the earliest Christians believed it, no one told Paul of Tarsus who makes no such claims of Jesus being born of a virgin. Even in the one instance where he mentions Jesus’ birth, at Galatians 4:4, he says Jesus was born “of a woman”. It makes it hard to believe that, when an opportunity for Paul to spread the message and importance of Jesus came about, he simply chose to ignore an idea Hyatt thinks is so widely held and believed.

So, there’s that.

For more on virginity, sex, and other issues of intimacy that stem from the Christian Bible, check out my latest book What the Bible Really Does (and Doesn’t) Say About Sex: the How, When, Why, and with Whom of Scriptural Prohibitions and Permissions. Available now from Pitchstone Publishers.

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