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How can there be a virgin birth?


The virgin birth refers to the unique events surrounding the birth of Jesus. The Bible records how Jesus was miraculously begotten by God and born of Mary, a young Jewish virgin from Nazareth (Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-25). When the angel Gabriel announced that Mary would bear the Messiah, she too wondered how such an event would come to pass, since she was officially engaged to Joseph but had not consummated the union.

The explanation by the angel outlined how the “power of the Highest would overshadow her.” Without any physical act, the Son of God was conceived. Gabriel assured the certainty of his implausible message to Mary by reminding her that with God nothing was impossible (Luke 1:37).

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ has been the focus of controversy for hundreds of years. For those who don’t believe in miracles, the account of a young woman conceiving a child without the benefit of sexual intercourse sounds like an embellished story.

Given the uniqueness of Jesus, God the Son, who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) it is not surprising that his birth is equally exceptional. The prophet Isaiah had prophesied in the 8th century B.C. with numerous references to One whom God would use to deal with the sin problem of his people. A specific prophecy was the promise of a virgin with child: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ is a truly astonishing event, certainly not a natural phenomenon. Those who doubt its historicity, are those who deny that God is able to perform miracles. So assumptions about God, will determine how one thinks about the virgin birth. Certainly if the God of Bible is the Creator of the Universe, then this specific miracle is not beyond His power. In fact, it is a divine signal for the incognito arrival of the Son of God.

There are theological reasons why the virgin birth was necessary. It is only through the virgin birth that Jesus, the Son of God, could identify himself as a human being and still remain divine. Jesus is the unique God-man, a person with a divine and a human nature. His divine nature was joined with a human nature inside the virgin’s womb by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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