Re: [asa] Lawrence Krauss Defends New Atheism

From: Merv Bitikofer <>
Date: Sun Jun 28 2009 - 23:43:47 EDT

Good point. I hadn't thought of that. Of course, the prophecy goes on:
"he shall be called Immanuel..." and the chapter is full of lots of
other details --albeit hard ones to understand; so the fact that a woman
is having a child isn't exactly standing by itself here. But God does
seem to specialize in bringing special children to the world through
barren or old women ... or in this case a virgin. I'd still like to know
why the prophet didn't actually use the Hebrew word for "virgin" if that
is what he meant. Are the critics actually correct about the choice of
words here, or is that just a bias driven "dispute"?


Dick Fischer wrote:
> Hi Merv, you wrote:
> >>O.T.O.H the prophecies of Isaiah refer to the Hebrew word 'almah'
> literally referring to 'young woman' when they could have used
> 'bethulah' which more literally is associated with virginity.<<
> First off, what would the prophecy be if he intended “a young woman”?
> “/Therefore the Lord
> <>
> himself shall give
> <>
> you a sign;
> <>
> Behold, a *virgin
> <>*
> shall conceive,
> <>
> and bear
> <>
> a son
> <>/
> …”
> What if he had said a man would give birth to a son. That would be
> attention getting, but if he had said a man will father a son, what
> kind of prophecy would that be? In other words, for it to be any kind
> of prophecy at all it would have to be either a virgin or an unmarried
> women who in that culture would have been stoned to death for her lack
> of virtue.
> Dick Fischer, author, lecturer
> Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
> <>
> -----Original Message-----
> *From:* []
> *On Behalf Of *Merv Bitikofer
> *Sent:* Saturday, June 27, 2009 8:56 AM
> *To:* Alexanian, Moorad; asa
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Lawrence Krauss Defends New Atheism
> Alexanian, Moorad wrote:
> The virgin birth is peanuts compared with the notion of a Creator God. I never quite understood why that issue is ever brought up. The virgin birth must be something to be doubted only by atheists.
> Moorad
> ___
> Playing atheist's advocate here...
> Yes, but it's also peanuts for hyperbole, hagiography, and general
> "story growth" to work its way into cultural "memory" even over a
> single human life span. Atheists don't doubt that an existing God
> could do what he wants. What they doubt (other than His existence
> obviously) is that the event actually happened as recorded in some of
> the gospels. To atheists, it's a matter of choosing the simpler
> explanation.
> ....and yes, some Christians do doubt the literal virgin birth, though
> I can't recall any big names to back this up (other than 'Jesus
> Seminar' folks like Marcus Borg --but then they doubt a lot of things
> that are pretty essential to Christianity). But it seems I have read
> somewhere how some wonder why the Apostle Paul who makes the earliest
> written contributions to the N.T. and who gives us otherwise expansive
> and comprehensive theology never once mentions this little detail
> about the virgin birth. As you can tell, I wrestle with doubts of my
> own, but they aren't doubts about God's capabilities. They are doubts
> about human cultural ability to resist the temptation of
> embellishment, in their zeal of reporting on a cherished cause. Since
> Luke, a physician, records it, and since it is O.T. prophecy
> anticipating it, these are marks in favor, even to one who doesn't
> automatically accept all Scripture literally. O.T.O.H the prophecies
> of Isaiah refer to the Hebrew word 'almah' literally referring to
> 'young woman' when they could have used 'bethulah' which more
> literally is associated with virginity. So doubters can reference this
> dispute as evidence that later gospel writers are imputing something
> back into prophecy to make it match. At least this is the case
> according to an ex-Christian blogger at this site:
> Does he have his Hebrew straight?
> --Merv (quester after Truth wherever that may lead; Lord, help me in
> this!)
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Received on Sun Jun 28 23:44:26 2009

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