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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ray E. Heiple, Jr.

The Historical, Factual Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, part 1

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and

she shall call His name Immanuel. — Isaiah 7:14


Historically, the doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ is a treasured and wonderful truth of

the Bible, which has blessed and encouraged Christians for almost two millennia. That our

Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was conceived miraculously in the womb and was then

born of a woman who had, up to that time, never known a man sexually was held to be so

clearly and simply propounded by Scripture that the early church universally affirmed it

and included in the most revered creeds of ancient Christianity. Likewise today, just as

with all the other teachings of the Bible, all Christians should receive and accept the

doctrine of the virgin birth by simple faith. If God said it, those professing obedient faith in

God, undoubtedly should believe it. However, during the Fundamentalist Modernist

controversy of the early 20th century, this teaching became one of the main

battlegrounds. With the enlightenment in the 18th century and then the rise of naturalism

in the 19th, scholars were reinterpreting all of the supernatural and miraculous in the

Scriptures as superstition and myth—the, at best, misunderstanding of primitive, pre-

modern peoples. In a closed and purely mechanistic and material universe, the idea of a

virgin actually conceiving and giving birth is absurd—unless of course one is talking about

the potentials of the latest scientific advancements in human cloning, alien technology, or

exhausting all possibilities in an infinitely reproducing multiverse then of course it might

be considered a rational possibility!

However, the virgin birth of Christ, as taught in Scripture, is not a freak of nature or the

result of some human or extra-terrestrial manipulation of cells, but a supernatural act of

almighty God! God the Holy Spirit, directly and without the cells of any human male

father, created a human embryo inside the womb of a young woman who was herself a

virgin. He used her egg, but no naturally present or produced human sperm. It was a work

of God, a supernatural act, a miracle. The Bible clearly teaches this miracle in Luke,

Matthew, and here in Isaiah 7:14. Yet many Bible commentators have tried to interpret

these texts in some way that allow for an unusual, but less than supernatural, origin of the

baby Jesus. But all of them miserably fail to do justice to the plain words of Scripture. The

clear and unmistakable meaning of the texts are that the baby Jesus was supernaturally

conceived in the womb of His mother without any human father. The virgin birth is the

teaching of Scripture, you either believe it, or you do not.

Sometimes it is asked what is the big deal about this doctrine? “What does it matter if I’m

not sure about the virgin birth of Christ? As long as I have a relationship with Jesus, I will

have the comforts of faith in this life and then go to heaven when I die.” To think like this is

to make the clear teaching of Scripture optional, or to make oneself or today’s current

human & therefore limited and fallible understanding of reality the judge of the eternal,

infallible, and inerrant word of God. Unfortunately, many professing believers make

themselves the judge over the Scriptures without batting an eye. They determine what

parts of the Bible are the “Word of God” according to what they judge as true or false. In

reality, they, and not the Scriptures are the final authority of truth. As a recent example,

today a local, mainline Presbyterian church says in its brochure: “Some Presbyterians

believe in the virgin birth of Christ.” They might as well say “Some Presbyterians reject the

word of God.” The big deal about this or any other doctrine is the lordship of Christ and the

trustworthiness of Scripture. Since the Bible is the word of God, and since the Bible

teaches the virgin birth of Christ, to reject this doctrine, or even to doubt it, is to reject or

doubt the authority, power, and trustworthiness of God Himself.

This conclusion, however, depends upon the necessary condition that we have rightly

interpreted Scripture. Lord willing, in the next article we will look at the texts themselves to

see how God has, in fact, clearly and plainly said that His Son was born of a virgin.

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