Parthenogenesis – The Virgin Birth, Not Just for Christmas Consideration

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?

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6 Replies to “Parthenogenesis – The Virgin Birth, Not Just for Christmas Consideration”

  1. Uggh Spong.

    BTW I am sure it means little to brothers in New Zealand, but the Anglican Church in the USA is not the same things as the Episcopal Church USA. I can’t think of any of the other US Anglican congregations that would take him (Spong).

    As for “Is the Virgin Birth important to Christianity?” Absolutely. “Almah” can be translated young woman, but one must look at the way the scholars who translated the LXX and chose parthenos (virgin). A young woman having a child is not the same kind of event as a virgin having a child and if the virgin birth did not happen, then Christ missed fulfilling a prophecy, was born with original sin (note: Mary need not be sinless for this to happen, sin was passed from the father) and could not be the savior that was foretold and we are as all hosed as we would be if the resurrection did not occur.

    Of course there are some who have a strange belief that original sin is not a condemnable state, like Johnny Mac(Arthur), Big Al (Mohler) & Danny Akin, but they stand against the historic tide of Christianity.

    1. I wish you would put up more of a fight.

      I think the prophecy of a virgin birth goes back to the Garden when God said that the satan crusher would be of the seed of the woman. Some on this blog have actually said that the Virgin birth is not about translation, etc… but about revelation. Pish posh that!

  2. Hmmm, well, it didn’t really happen of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important for Christianity. After all, the resurrection of Jesus didn’t really happen either and how important is that for Christianity! I guess it’s just as important as you want it to be.

    Bill

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