Re: Virgin Birth

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. (
Date: Wed Feb 27 2002 - 15:08:18 EST

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    On Tue, 26 Feb 2002 09:21:31 -0500 (Keith B Miller)
    > Jon asked:
    > >> Now I take the Virgin Birth as a "given". In that case, in the
    > light of
    > >> the modern understanding of what happens at conception, how do
    > we
    > >> understand it, and more importantly, what is the theological
    > >> justification?
    > My currrent view on this is that the virgin birth was a "sign"
    > pointing to
    > the incarnation. It, like the resurrection, was an affirmation of
    > Jesus'
    > divine character. I guess I would say that the virgin birth was not
    > a
    > requirement for the incarnation but a sign pointing to it.
    > I would value the response of those with theological training of
    > which I
    > have none.
    > Keith
    Though there have been other items in this chain, I go back to put in
    some general comments on the matter of the virgin birth. First, if Jesus
    were normally conceived, then for the divine to take over would have been
    identical to the action of demons in taking over the identity of a
    person, a usurpation. This does not seem to be appropriate to the way God

    Second, if a person could live a perfect life so as not to be under
    condemnation, and decide to give his perfection to a sinner and take up
    the sinner's guilt, this would juridically be sufficient only for the
    one, not for all the other children of Adam. The value of the sacrifice
    has to be equal to the total guilt to provide an atonement for all. The
    only way for this to occur is for the infinite to be joined to the finite
    to produce a human life of infinite value. This cannot be an explanation
    of the hypostatic union, but indicates its necessity.

    Third, any form of human parthenogenesis without direct divine
    involvement could only duplicate the haploid female genome, which lacks
    the genes on the Y chromosome necessary for developing as a male. I
    believe that there are a few persons with two X chromosomes who have bits
    of Y inserted in a somatic chromosome, who have a male phenotype that may
    be "messed up." As a consequence, I think the virgin birth goes beyond
    being a sign or affirmation to being a necessity.

    Finally, although the term in Isaiah 7:14 means "young woman," LXX makes
    it "virgin," which is the way Matthew 1:23 cites it. There must be a
    solid reason for the virgin birth, since both Matthew and Luke state it.
    (Yes, George, I know you differentiate the virgin birth from the virgin
    conception, but I use the familiar terminology.)

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