Dr. Dan Hayden
Son had existed forever. The Apostle John said "In the beginning"
(John 1:1). Micah the prophet said "from long ago, from
the days of eternity" (Micah 5:2). The infinite expanse
of the endless universe was His dwelling place and He filled it
in His immensity.
knew want, for all things necessary to His existence flowed within
Himself -- for in Him was life. He spoke the word and the Milky
Way spun in the palm of His hand. He sprinkled the stars with His
fingers and with macroscopic perfection set the planets as jewels
in a watch -- moving with precision to record the first increments
of time. His artistic genius splashed across the canvas of earth
in a spectrum of colors and shapes, while a myriad species of living
things tumbled out of His sculpting hand to glory in the splendor
of His world.
knew travel, for wherever it was, He was already there. He never
knew confinement, for there were no boundaries in the starless expanse
and no limits upon His personal desire. He never knew exhaustion,
hunger, thirst, suffering, or pain -- for the riches of heaven bedecked
Him in His glory, and His formidable strength procured every desire.
For the immense, infinite Son of God, this was how it was -- in
the fullness of time, The Son of God humbled Himself -- and entered
into a single cell in a woman's womb -- and allowed Himself to be
confined in the embryonic fluid of His fetal home -- and was born
of Mary with all of the limitations of a newborn infant. There are
many wonders, but this is truly a wonder of wonders. The angels
must have stood in awe. The universe must have gasped in disbelief.
There must have been silence in heaven as the cherubim were gripped
in speechless wonder. It was impossible! Yet it was done. A virgin
births have taken place in the history of the world, but there has
only been one unique birth. Only One has ever been born as no other
has been born. Contrary to all natural law, Jesus Christ was born
of a virgin.
records for us numerous unusual births. The birth of Isaac, for
instance, was certainly a newsworthy event. Sarah was unquestionably
beyond the years of her reproductive cycle as seen by Paul's use
of the phrase, "the deadness of Sarah's womb" (Rom. 4:19).
Abraham was 100 years old and his ability to provide a viable seed
was virtually impossible. That is why Paul said that Abraham was
"In hope against hope" (Rom. 4:18) with regard to God's
promise for a posterity that would rival the sand of the sea and
the stars of the heavens for number. Therefore, when the angel of
the Lord told Abraham that Sarah would become pregnant, the Bible
says that Sarah laughed (Gen. 18:12). "No way," she obviously
thought. Yet she conceived -- and Isaac was subsequently born in
the old age of his parents. That was very unusual, but it was not
unique. The natural process of fertilization by sperm and egg was
the means of Sarah's conception. Isaac was born just like every
other child has ever been born.
other stories of miraculous births in the Bible, as well. Both the
first prophet of Israel (Samuel) and the last prophet of Israel
(John the Baptist) were conceived in their mothers' wombs after
years of barrenness. The parallels between these two men are striking
in many respects, but the similarity of their birth accounts sets
them apart as men of unusual beginnings. In each case, their conception
was not unique, however. Elkanah and Hannah both participated in
the conception of Samuel, and Zacharias impregnated Elizabeth in
the conception of John. Unusual to be sure, but not unique.
years the world has been amazed at the occurrence of multiple births.
1934 saw the birth of the Dionne quintuplets, but it wasn't too
long before there were also the Fischer quintuplets. The Rosenkowitzs
of South Africa gave birth to the first surviving set of sextuplets
in 1974 as multiple births became more frequent due to the increased
use of fertility drugs. Even more recently (November 19, 1997),
the whole world converged on Carlisle, Iowa (via unprecedented media
coverage) to celebrate the birth of the McCaughey septuplets. Bobbi
and Kenny McCaughey are perhaps the most well-known parents in the
world as a result of the unusual event of the birth of their seven
babies. These kinds of multiple births don't happen every day. They
are unusual in the sense that they are infrequent. Yet in every
case there was a natural conception. They were unusual, but not
we live in a day of unprecedented scientific progress that is continually
introducing us to amazing wonders of conception and birth. In vitro
fertilization, artificial insemination, and genetic manipulation,
all have us on the edge of our seats questioning the propriety and
resultant moral implications of man's intrusion upon the prerogatives
every case, scientists must take the sperm of a man and the egg
of a woman to make it happen. It is all very unusual, but it is
still not unique.
on the other hand, is unique. It defies the natural laws of conception
and, prior to the birth of Jesus Christ, it had never been known.
Even today, after two thousand years, and in spite of man's scientific
intrusion into the process, it is still unique. There has never
been anything like it in the history of the world. It stands as
one of God's great miraculous interventions into the affairs of
men. God became a man -- and He did it by a virgin birth.
someone will say, "there is a reproductive process known as
parthenogenesis, where creatures are conceived without the benefit
of fertilization. Aren't such creatures virgin born? Maybe it's
not unique after all!"
is defined by the Encyclopedia Americana as "reproduction by
means of an unfertilized egg or, very rarely, an unfertilized male
gamete." The article goes on to say, "It is common among
various species of lower animals, including many insects."
The word parthenogenesis actually means "virgin born,"
and describes a reproductive process whereby the eggs of certain
species do not need to be fertilized to develop into adults.
common occurrence of parthenogenesis is among rotifers, microscopic
organisms that live in both salt and fresh water. The presence of
a ciliary apparatus on the anterior end has led many to refer to
them as "wheel animalcules". These little creatures really
do reproduce in a virgin born fashion. Other invertebrates, such
as water fleas, aphids and honey bees, also reproduce parthenogenically.
The honey bee is an interesting study in this regard, in that the
queen bee reproduces both parthenogenically and sexually. The unfertilized
eggs (parthenogenesis) develop into drones and the fertilized eggs
(sexually) develop into workers.
Americana also says, "Parthenogenesis can be induced experimentally
in eggs of several animals in which the process apparently does
not occur naturally, including sea urchins, frogs, and even rabbits."
In fact, it was a man by the name of Pincus in 1940 who actually
produced several rabbits simply by inducing chemical and temperature
effects upon the ova. The interesting thing here, however, was that
all of the offspring produced in this fashion were females. You
see, in mammals, all females have two X chromosomes, while all males
have one X and one Y chromosome. Therefore, if the unfertilized
female egg duplicates its chromosomes in response to some artificial
stimulation, it can only produce other X chromosomes. The point
is that artificially induced parthenogenesis in mammals can only
result in female offspring, since the introduction of a male Y chromosome
can only happen through fertilization.
does all of this have to say about the virgin birth of Christ? Well,
even though virgin births (parthenogenesis) do happen naturally
in some invertebrates, and even though they can be induced artificially
in certain vertebrates -- this unusual reproductive process in the
animal kingdom cannot be used to explain the virgin birth of Christ.
As Pincus proved, if Mary had conceived parthenogenically, she would
have had a daughter, not a son. For her to have had a son would
have been scientifically impossible.
birth of Jesus Christ is not something we believe because we can
prove it by some scientific explanation. We believe in the virgin
conception because the Word of God says that that is how it happened.
It is a matter of revelation, not a matter of reason. God said so,
and that settles it for us.
not mean, however, that there are not reasonable evidences to support
the biblical claim of the virgin birth. The fact that the Bible
does reflect a virgin birth for Jesus Christ is not hard to prove.
There is the predictive prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 that specifically
says that a virgin would conceive (see the word study on "almah")
and that the product of that conception would be "Immanuel",
which actually means "God (Elohim) with us" (cf. Matt.
1:23). Then Matthew, in his description of the Messianic conception,
included specific phrases to insure that we not miss the point.
Consider what Matthew has to say:
birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been
betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found
to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And JosephÉ kept her a virgin
until she gave birth to a Son; he called His name Jesus." (Matt.
1:18, 24-25 -- emphasis mine)
Luke in his account tells us that Mary responded to the angel's
announcement of her conception with incredulity -- "How
can this be, since I know not a man?" (Luke 1:34, KJV).
There are liberal clergymen who deny that the Bible teaches the
virgin birth of Christ, but I don't understand how they could miss
it. I know Junior Highers that are more precocious in their understanding
of "before they came together" than those clergymen seem
to be. Perhaps those liberals still believe in the stork. Oh well,
forgive me for being facetious. The point I am making is -- just
read it. It's a no-brainer. The Bible does teach it.
used by the Septuagint (OT in Greek) translators of Isaiah 7:14,
as well as the word used by Matthew in his first chapter, for the
English word "virgin" was the Greek word "parthenos"
-- a word that means a virgin woman. Therefore, the Bible does say
that Jesus Christ was conceived in the womb of a woman (Mary) who
was truly a virgin. He was born parthenogenically -- not the natural
parthenogenesis of lower forms of animal life, nor the artificial
parthenogenesis of external stimulation on the ova (remember Pincus),
but a miraculous parthenogenesis arranged by God that transcended
all of the laws of natural reproduction.
to Isaiah and Matthew, this is the way it had to be. If the offspring
of the virgin woman, whom Matthew identifies as Mary of Nazareth,
was to truly be "God with us" ("Immanuel"),
then the process of His conception could not have been by natural
means. All children born of men and women since the days of Adam
and Eve have been only human in their nature. It is true that many
have become great men who have accomplished amazing things, but
none has ever been "Immanuel" -- "God with us".
For this reason the virgin birth was a necessity.
if the offspring of Mary were to be a genuine incarnation of deity,
then that offspring would have to be both God and man. That would
certainly necessitate a human birth (the Word became flesh
- John 1:14), but at the same time it would necessiate an offspring
generated by God. In other words, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ
was a necessity for Him to be "God with us" and
at the same time for Him to be a genuine incarnation of God in human
flesh as the God-Man. Even though the virgin birth cannot be explained
apart from the revelation of God, there is therefore, good reason
as to why it had to happen that way.
as you look into the manger at the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes,
remember that the most incredible part of the birth of Christ happened
"before the manger." The miraculous parthenogenic (virgin
born) conception of Mary was perhaps the greatest wonder to ever
occur in the universe -- rivaled only by the death, burial, and
resurrection of the Son of God -- who had been born parthenogenically.
we should celebrate Christmas on March 25. Think about it. But,
then again, I think it is doubtful that Jesus was born in December.
Something else to think about.