Most people somehow know that Jesus was born to a virgin mother. I’m sure this fact is met with a fair degree of scoffing and derision. To somebody who doesn’t understand what Jesus is all about, the virgin birth must seem like a) a convenient way to explain away a pregnancy outside of marriage, or b) a myth reflecting Christianity’s aversion to sex. Of course, many will regard this as impossible and therefore mythical.
Still, the Bible is quite adamant about proclaiming that Jesus is the product of a human mother (Mary) and God. It declares that this is miraculous not mythical. The Bible asserts that this was foretold in prophecy (Isaiah 7:14) and by an angel (Luke 1:26f). Galatians 4:4 says, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under Law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Let me unpack that passage a bit.
There is a reason why Jesus had to be both a human and the literal Son of God if His mission was to save human beings from being damned by God’s law. In my previous entry (God’s Unusual Justice), I stated that all human beings are altered genetically and behaviorally by an event that happened to Adam and Eve. The result is that all humans are born separated from God and sinful (Psalm 51:5). God’s Law, which is never suspended by God, would require our eternal damnation, as harsh as that sounds. God doesn’t want that to happen, but He isn’t the type of being to just change the Law because He can. In fact, He wants the Law to damn Satan and his cohort. So God comes up with a creative solution. Have his Son become a human and let the Law apply to Him. If He can remain sinless, then a human has fulfilled the Law, and forgiveness can be extended to other humans by connecting them to Jesus.
The virgin birth plays an important part in this plan. To make a sinless human you can’t have them be the product of two sinful humans. They would have to be the product of a human and God. This apparently doesn’t require or even suggest that God had sexual relations with Mary. Mary doesn’t even seem to know she is pregnant. She understands herself to be a virgin. Other than this, the birth of Jesus can be normal in every way. He didn’t have to be born in a miraculous fashion, as some in history have asserted.
Is this possible? Why not? If God is involved, it isn’t even hard. Many creatures reproduce asexually. I’m sure this was not difficult for God, other than the Son of God had to accept this humbling role. Jesus is great, not just because of His power or nature; He is great because of His love. He loved us enough to do this. That is why Christmas is a thing worthy of our celebration.