Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Virgin Birth Revisited!

"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. --- Isaiah 7:14 (written approximately 800 years before the birth of Jesus Christ)

It was one of the great events recorded in the Bible which began to be questioned and eventually denied in the closing years of the 19th Century. There were those "scholars" and supposed "intellectuals" in the religious realm who simply could not accept the fact that God chose a humble young Hebrew woman -- one likely still in her teen years -- to be the human instrument through whom His Son, Jesus, would be born into the world. The miracle was in the fact that no human father was involved in the conception of this child. As spelled out in the Scripture account the Holy Spirit would come upon Mary and the miracle of conception would take place, bypassing the usual biological means by which a baby is conceived through the union of a human male sperm and a human female egg!

Like a cancer which begins with just a cell or two, the spirit of unbelief in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ spread, eventually reaching the shores of the United States. The beginning of the 20th Century saw a "war" break out within those churches which claim to be Christian in faith. In those days the conflict was commonly referred to as the "modernist-fundamentalist" controversy. And over time those groups identified as "mainline denominations" really took a hit. But the nature of this spiritual "cancer" is such that you never can be quite sure as to where it will rear its ugly head!

Persons involved in this were church leaders, seminary professors, and pastors. And to lend authority to this "new light" that the virgin birth never literally happened a strange breed of persons known as "theologians" affirmed under the guise of some wild explanations and interpretations that Jesus was actually conceived in the old fashioned way, the same as the rest of us sinners! One of these went so far as to suggest that Jesus might have been conceived as a result of Mary becoming intimate with one of the mercenaries under hire to the Romans! Oh well, if you are going to demonstrate pure insanity in your thinking, you might as well do it first-class and leave no room for doubt that your elevator can't get any higher than a few feet off the first floor at best!

And so as the seed of unbelief was sown in seminaries and in churches over the years which included not only the virgin birth but other miraculous works of Almighty God, we have come to the place today where it is not that uncommon to find that the Bible is simply regarded as a human produced book with a lot of stories that fall into the category of myth and fable. Oh, we might experience a temporary uplift from them, but we need to remember one thing - they never actually happened -- someone just got carried away with his imagination when writing about such things when it was all put together somewhere in the ancient past!

There are still a few of us (the number seems to be diminishing) who believe beyond all doubt that Jesus was conceived by a mighty work of the Holy Spirit. The God Whom we few choose to believe is capable of doing things that are far beyond our puny and limited minds to even begin to understand! Maybe one main reason for this element of trust is the fact that we have become personally acquainted with this God through Jesus Christ -- when you really become acquainted with a close friend, among other things, you know what that friend is capable of doing.

One key to this confidence is seen in Jesus' own statement during His ministry -- "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3). Ah, so that's how it works - the moment I become inflated with my pride in being "sophisticated" and "intellectual" -- and the moment I take the position in regard to the Bible in which I say, "What do I have to say about this Book, rather than what does this Book have to say about me?" I am in a giant heap of trouble!

But when I become as a child through an act of God's grace in conversion, and I read that God did a miracle 2,000 years ago and used a young virgin as the means by whom He brought His Son into the world, then I have no problem -- my view has become one that God can do anything He wants to anytime He wants to, and is under no obligation to explain to me all the ins, outs, wherefores, and whys about what He did!

One of the big surprises for many after death is facing the fact that God meant every word He said and did every deed recorded in the Book, which means there will be a crowd that will be highly embarrassed as they find themselves now facing the Creator of this mighty universe in judgment and being pressed as to why they chose not to believe the revelation to which they had total access over the years of their existence on a lowly planet called Earth!

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." --- Luke 1:26-37

No comments: