A Virgin Shall Conceive

When I first started this blog, I anticipated writing more posts about fiction, understood from a Christian worldview. As it’s happened, I’ve ended up writing more posts about the Christian worldview than I do about fiction. And what better time to do so. I mean, Christmas is not exclusively a religious holiday, but it nevertheless does have religious significance. And not just religious. Christian meaning!

We aren’t celebrating the birth of any old god. Rather, Christmas rivets our attention on Jesus, the Christ, who entered the world as a baby.

The first miraculous part of His coming was His conception. His mother Mary was a virgin. Clearly anyone reading the Christmas story must question this. I mean, how many virgins do we know who get pregnant?

Interestingly, C. S. Lewis addresses this very subject in his book Miracles. This volume is much more of an apologetic for God and His work in the world than I had realized. As an aside, I can see more clearly why Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials, called himself the anti-Lewis. But because Lewis had himself been an atheist, he could anticipate the arguments an atheist would make against the Supernatural.

Unsurprisingly, the miracle Lewis refers to with some frequency is the virgin birth. Here are some of his thoughts in answer to the common atheist argument that people of old believed in miracles because they didn’t have the scientific knowledge we have now.

You will hear people say, “The early Christians believed that Christ was the son of a virgin, but we know that this is a scientific impossibility.” Such people seem to have an idea that belief in miracles arose at a period when men were so ignorant of the course of nature that they did not perceive a miracle to be contrary to it. A moment’s thought shows this to be nonsense: and the story of the Virgin Birth is a particularly striking example. When St. Joseph discovered that his fiancé was going to have a baby, he not unnaturally decided to repudiate her. Why? Because he knew just as well as any modern gynecologist that in the ordinary course of nature women do not have babies unless they have lain with men. … When St. Joseph finally accepted the view that his fiancé’s pregnancy was due not to unchastity but to a miracle, he accepted the miracle as something contrary to the known order of nature. All records of miracles teach the same thing. In such stories the miracles excite fear and wonder (that is what the very word miracle implies) among spectators, and are taken as evidence of supernatural power. If they were not known to be contrary to the laws of nature how could they suggest the presence of the supernatural? How could they be surprising unless they were seen to be exceptions to the rules? And how can anything be seen to be an exception till the rules are known? … If St. Joseph had lacked faith to trust God or humility to perceive the holiness of his spouse, he could have disbelieved in the miraculous origin of her Son as easily as any modern man; and any modern man who believes in God can accept the miracle as easily as St. Joseph did.

Good stuff, important to recall when we are approaching the celebration of the Incarnation. At every turn concerning Christ’s birth, there was a miracle. It’s helpful to remember that the things which seem impossible are impossible, except for God who can do the impossible.

This post was inspired by one that appeared here in December, 2007.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yes we’ll put Rebecca, one thing I’ve come to know about Christmas is, there is a definite spirit in it of God. Even people that don’t ordinarily honor God , does it at Christmas, whether they reolize it or not. The earth seems to have its eyes on Jesus , there is a feeling of love and brotherhood not felt among the people at other times, other than Easter. People everywhere are praising Jesus thru Christmas carols which honor him. A sense of “good will toward men. Merry Christmas!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “No one knows the real birthday of Jesus! No date is given in the Bible, so why do we celebrate it on the 25th December?”

    “Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means ‘birthday of the unconquered sun’ and was held on December 25th (when the Romans thought the Winter Solstice took place) and was the ‘birthday’ of the Pagan Sun god Mithra. In the pagan religion of Mithraism, the holy day was Sunday and is where we get that word from!”

    Read more about it here Becky and ponder on the fact that Jesus could have been born on any year and any day of the week, so more Christian confusion and you wonder why I don’t believe in your God and Bible.
    https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/25th.shtml

    Merry Christmas.

    Like

    • Steve, you sound like you’re posting a “gotcha,” a big blow to our understanding of Christmas. Sorry, but the history of Christmas is well-documented, and it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that the Church chose a date out of the blue or with relatively little historical connection to Christ’s actual date of birth. It’s still the day they chose to celebrate the amazing truths about His coming.

      And yes, it will be a Merry Christmas, not for the secular events or history, but because Jesus came to give us freedom from sin and death and guilt and the Law. What a wonderful holiday Christmas is!

      Becky

      Like


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