It’s a big word this time of year:
In this secular age, what are we to make of the “Virgin Birth?” asks Ian Harris.
What, in this secular age, are we to make of the virgin birth of Jesus?
Can it be literally true that the young Mary conceived a baby boy without benefit of a male’s sperm? If it is not factual, what is the story doing in the Bible?
What point is it making?
If the church’s creeds, hymns and liturgies are anything to go by, the response is yes, the story is literally true.
Jesus is human through being born of Mary and divine by virtue of the intervention of the Holy Spirit.
That, some would say, lies at the heart of Christian faith.
Not so. Other interpretations are possible.
Indeed, American Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop John Spong goes so far as to say: “Continued belief in a literal, biological virgin birth for Jesus of Nazareth is based only on a faith or a dogmatic commitment . . . (read the rest here)
Of course, its not just a religious issues, but a political issue as well:
The guidelines allow the use of federal funds for embryonic stem-cell research only on embryos created for reproductive purposes at in vitro fertilization clinics and no longer needed for that purpose. They specifically ban funding for “research using human embryonic stem cells derived from other sources, including somatic cell nuclear transfer, parthenogenesis and/or IVF embryos created for research purposes.” (from here)
One would think that if man could do it, surely God could, right?
What do you think? Is the Virgin Birth important to Christianity? Is it open to interpretation?