Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas and the virgin birth

Christmas is fast approaching. Of course it is a time for family, giving, and celebration but perhaps for some too it is also a time to reflect on the incarnation and the implications of this one fact on mankind. It raises the question of a virgin birth - its importance in the way we view the universe - and fundamentally whether we believe it as a concrete fact in the history of procreation.

… but first a light-hearted poem on that apple issue and what it was really like before children arrived ...

A Mother-In-Law Problem

it is not a well-known fact
that Eve won the Miss Universe Contest
three years running!

it was planned out from the beginning
the whole thing ribbed from above
stage-managed to perfection

nobody said she was one in a million
so she always took top honours
the decision a one-off personal affair
how could Adam vote for another
for he had magnetic affinity for dark hair
and he couldn't vote for an unseen blonde

but the fourth year Adam simply had to abstain
it was all Eve's doing in the cookery department
an unwise decision to make apple pie
for how could she emulate her Mother-in-law
when the recipe wasn't God-given,
perhaps she just thought she could do better!

a bit unfair on poor old Adam though -
for he never ever looked at another woman
and always treated her as his very own body

so now we're all eating Eve's humble pie
and whether we realize we're married or not
we can blame the Mother-in-law for dictating our lot

Richard Scutter 7 May 2010
Original sin – perhaps just a simple mother-in-law problem!
On the virgin birth

Evolution theory and the work of Darwin have given an acceptable understanding on the origin and development of species. There would be few today that would believe in a God that acts in such a dramatic obvious way as to remove a rib overnight and startle you with a new partner for your bed, and to boot one without clothes!
So how does a virgin birth measure up in the eyes of the thinking person? Well it wouldn’t happen again without making the news!

Consider the implications on Christian thought if it is discovered that Jesus in fact had normal origins. Would God be a lesser God in not understanding life from the perspective of human existence? Would our own personal relationship with God be any different? Would God still exist as that on-going power to perfect life?

There are many in the world with no understanding or acceptance of the virgin birth - is God a lesser influence in their lives?

It is worth noting that such thoughts were far from the mind of the early Christian thinkers. Their interest in Christ’s person was not philosophical and speculative, but religious and evangelical. They speak of Christ, not as a metaphysical problem, but as a divine Saviour; and all they say about His person is prompted by their desire to glorify him through exhibiting his work and vindicating His centrality in the redemptive purpose of God. They never attempt to dissect the mystery of his person; it is enough for them to proclaim the incarnation as a fact, one of the sequences of mighty works where God has wrought salvation.
The exclusiveness of this evangelical interest throws light on the otherwise puzzling fact that the New Testament nowhere reflects on the virgin birth as witnessed to the conjunction of deity and manhood in His person - a line of thought much canvassed in later theology. This silence need not mean that any of the New Testament writers were ignorant of the virgin birth, as some have supposed. It is sufficiently explained by the fact that the New Testament interest is focused elsewhere, upon His relation to the saving purposes of God (see the footnote below for reference to this text.)
So as Christmas approaches perhaps there is time to think on implications of this one fact on the human condition - and on our own life.


The New Bible Dictionary (Incarnation: Standpoint of the New Testament Writers) Inter-Varsity Press ISBN 0 85110 608 0

My God is too small not to believe in this one great all defining miracle.

No comments:

Post a Comment