Was the Virgin Birth non-miraculous?; and should Christians bother with atheists?
Published: 26 December 2009 (GMT+10)
In this week’s feedback Lita Cosner shows correspondent Eirith G. how to rebut the contention that the virgin birth can be explained away as an entirely natural parthenogenetic birth. Then Chris M. asks whether Christians should bother with trying to reach out to people who are determined to go their own way, which Lita answers.
Eirith G.: I just recently came across an article on Slate.com (http://www.slate.com/id/2179865).
It basically states that a virgin birth is possible in humans, just not common. Would this mean that Jesus’ birth was not miraculous/not the only virgin birth?
I appreciate the help. Thank you.
As the article points out, there has never been a ‘natural’ (i.e. non-miraculous) parthenogenetic birth in humans, because of all the complex errors which would have to happen to result in a ‘normal’ fetus with no father. And such a baby would probably suffer severe deformity. Note that any baby resulting from a natural parthenogenetic birth would have to be female, because the mother has no Y chromosome to pass to her offspring.
Therefore, the fact that Jesus was male is proof that it was not a natural parthenogenetic fertilization.
Even if that were not the case, it would be an amazing coincidence, to the point of being miraculous in itself, for the world’s only person born of “natural” parthenogenesis to then have a subsequent life as Jesus did. I.e. such that 2,000 years after his death, billions of people believe that he was the son of God, the Creator of the universe, and that even non-believers acknowledge that he was probably the person with the greatest impact upon history of all time.
The Bible tells us that Mary was impregnated when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. This is not like pagan stories where a god has sexual relations with a woman, because Mary was still a virgin when she gave birth to Christ. Rather, God created the required genetic material to fertilize the ovum, which is not hard to believe. If we believe that God created the whole universe, including the genetic material with all of the information in the original biological kinds, how much simpler would a few chromosomes’ worth of DNA be?
Creation Ministries International
Feedback on “Was the Virgin Birth non-miraculous?”
Erin M., USA
That is a great explanation. I remember my evolutionist biology teacher bringing up this subject years ago. Wish I had known this back then! I would have had an answer. :)
Why bother talking with atheists?
In response to our article Probably no God?—Atheists bury their head in the sand, Chris M. wrote:
This quote is from your article on “there is probably no God”:
Ultimately this is what all atheism boils down to, a rejection of God, because it enables them to justify living any way they desire, without having to come under judgment for it by the Creator God who owns them.
Absolutely right. This is what it all boils down to. Often I wonder if it is even worth the effort trying to reach them. They want to go their own way. Shouldn’t we just let them?
CMI’s Lita Cosner responds:
Atheism is, as you quote from our article, primarily a rejection of God, and often it can be frustrating to deal with people who seem so willfully ignorant of the truth. It is tempting to give up sometimes, especially in cases where the atheist is overtly hostile to the truth. But I think there are a couple reasons why we need to keep trying.
First, and most important, is Christ’s commandment to evangelize the nations. He did not say to only evangelize those who are likely to convert; indeed, we have no idea of knowing who might be won to Christ. I believe this is the whole idea of what is generally called the Parable of the Sower (which I think would be better called The Parable of the Soils, given the emphasis of the parable).
Second, every Christian has been forgiven of sins of rebellion that would have sent us to Hell just as surely as the stubborn atheist’s; we are really no better than them apart from the grace of God and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. Some of the staff on CMI used to be atheists before converting, and I went through an agnostic phase before converting which was practically no different from atheism. To lose compassion for the atheist is to forget that we ourselves have been forgiven for our rebellion against Him.
I think Satan would be thrilled if we’d give up on ‘confirmed atheists’ in frustration; it would ensure their eternal separation from God (humanly speaking, of course; God can use any means He wants to convert people, with or without us). Only God knows who will ultimately convert and follow Him and who will reject Him to their grave.
Of course, what I’m saying applies to the principle of presenting the Gospel to atheists; in individual situations, there is a time when presenting the Gospel to a certain atheist who has repeatedly shown contempt for God becomes ‘casting pearls before swine’ (Matthew 7:6).
It is a matter of judgment informed by wisdom when exactly we should ‘shake the dust off our feet’ (Matthew 10:14) and find a different audience for our evangelizing. For instance, CMI does not spend a lot of time trying to convert Richard Dawkins, but we take the time to respond to atheists who email us (although sometimes, an atheist shows a stubborn refusal to understand our answers; then it becomes unproductive to spend any more time on him).
Paul teaches that the Gospel is the scent of life to some, and the stench of death to others (2 Corinthians 2:14-16); we shouldn’t be surprised when people react with hostility to our proclamation of the truth.
We aren’t commanded to make converts, since it is the Holy Spirit’s job. Rather, Jesus’s Great Commission was to spread the Gospel and make disciples.
Creation Ministries International