Thanks, Dave, for presenting points that I was hoping to make, but didn't
get around to do.
Just to add, a couple of points.
I always have mixed feeling when a biblical phenomenon like a "virgin
conception" goes from an "impossibility" to an explainable event, because
once we can explain a miracle, maybe we lost more than we gained, replacing
faith with knowledge.
Second of all, I cannot understand how someone can hope to negate the event
by parsing Isaiah 7:14. What ever those words mean, Mary herself made the
claim that she "knew no man" (Luke 1:34.) One can call her a liar, or claim
that the passage is in error, but that is a far cry from claiming Virgin
Conception is a misunderstanding of scripture.
Lastly, there was some mention earlier about the early belief that men
solely produce the "seed" that produced children.
I supposed that all you Genesis fans know of the claim that Genesis 3:15 is
a messianic prophesy:
God told the serpent-
"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and
her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the
The reference to "her seed" has been proposed as an indication of Immaculate
Robins AFB Georgia
From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 3:08 PM
Subject: Re: Virgin Birth
On Tue, 26 Feb 2002 09:21:31 -0500 firstname.lastname@example.org (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
> >> 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
> divine character. I guess I would say that the virgin birth was not
> 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.
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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