Jesus’ Virgin Birth Is Not Alone

Jesus’ Virgin Birth Is Not Alone July 29, 2023

Male and female fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)

The Bible says Jesus of Nazareth was conceived unnaturally, thus a miracle called  “the virgin birth.” It is more accurately “the virginal conception,” though this might be somewhat nitpicking. Why? The term virgin birth is about Jesus’ birth, meaning Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus; whereas, the miracle to which it refers concerns Jesus’ conception, thus not his birth.

The reason Christians decided on the term “virgin birth” seems to be that it was easier to state and due to a detail about Joseph and Mary. It is that Joseph “had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus” (Matthew 1.25).

In Christianity, the miracle of Jesus’ virgin birth is widely accepted. Yet, the New Testament provides no support for demanding that people believe in Jesus’ virgin birth as part of the saving gospel about Jesus. And for such an integral element of Christian belief, there are only two accounts of it in the New Testament (Matthew 1.18-25; Luke 1.26–2.20). Moreover, there is no further mention of it therein. That includes the apostle Paul’s letters, which comprise one-fourth of the New Testament. Some scholars think this silence indicates that Paul never knew about the virgin birth, which I think is quite possible. Most of Paul’s ministry seems to have been conducted prior to the oral, Jesus’ traditions of the synoptic gospels having been written down.

Another contributing factor for Paul’s silence regarding Jesus’ virgin birth likely was that Luke reports concerning matters surrounding Jesus’ birth, “Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2.19). So, Mary seems to have not proclaimed this publicly. On the other hand, Luke somehow knew about it, and he was a ministry associate of the apostle Paul.

This dearth of biblical information about the miracle of Jesus’ virgin birth has led many New Testament scholars to conclude that Jesus’ virgin birth is fiction. I don’t believe that since I believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible. Plus, I believe that the single text in the Bible on which Jesus relied for the main identification of himself–the Son of Man–indicates Jesus’ virgin birth. Daniel says in his vision, “one like a son of man” was “coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days,” referring to God, “and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him” (Daniel 7.13-14 NIV).

This vision is about an actual royal ceremony that will happen in heaven while the so-called “end times” are being concluded on earth. Since I believe Jesus is that “one like a son of man, this vision depicts his reception of the kingdom given to him by God. The expression, “one like a son of man,” in Daniel 7.13 translates ke-bar enash in the Aramaic text. Ke means “like.” So, I believe this expression should be understood as Jesus being “like” other humans, but not exactly the same since he had a virgin birth.

I think it interesting that scientists have now discovered how to induce the condition of what they call “virgin birth” in animals. Virgin birth has occurred in some animals naturally, though not regularly, such as snakes, lizards, fish, birds, and crocodiles. This phenomena is called parthenogenesis. Biologists recently induced virgin birth in an animal for the first time, in female fruit flies. They did it by altering its genes. But they could only do it after they had conducted six years of work in discovering what genes in fruit flies enabled natural virgin-birthing.

Such a genetically-altered, female, fruit fly will be able to pass on its virgin-birthing ability to its progeny. However, this ability will only be passed to future generations if male fruit flies are prevented from fertilizing that females’ eggs.

Scientists expect that they will be able to accomplish this gene editing in females of some other animal species. Scientists are not pursuing this research only out of curiosity; rather, they say it could have implications for the world’s food security.

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