Several years ago, someone at my workplace asked me if it was necessary to believe in the virgin birth to be a Christian believer. I told that person I believed it is one of the basic tenets of Christianity and to truly believe in Jesus, one must believe that Mary was a virgin and Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. I have thought about that question many times since. I knew that is required but I never truly understood all that Jesus humble birth meant. So, here’s my understanding.
When Adam fell by disobeying God and eating the forbidden fruit, sin became a part of the human condition. Adam passed the sin nature onto his children and so on throughout the generations. Not a human born of man and woman is without the damnable sin nature. Everyone carries it and everyone is destined to pass it on. If Jesus was to be the spotless lamb, he could not have the sin nature. And he had to be human to pay for the sin of Adam. He could not be anything else and satisfy the debt. The only way to prevent him from acquiring the sin nature and still remain human was to by a miraculous conception, allowing him to be born sinless (without the sin nature) thus qualifying him to carry Adam’s sin to the cross as Paul so eloquently explains in Romans 5.
Now this begs the question of why didn’t he acquire the sin nature through Mary? I didn’t understand that either for a long time. Then I read “The Seed of a Woman,” (a book I highly recommend) in which the author mapped out the whole biological plan of God to protect Eve’s eggs from contamination. Though all women inherit the sin nature, their eggs do not. Only during conception is the sin nature infused into the fetus. By circumventing the natural process, Jesus became both human and divine, the Lamb of God.
Jesus humanity allowed the Son of God to experience, first hand, all that humanity experience (save the sin nature) and as the writer of Hebrews puts it, “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” Hebrews 2:14-15
There are many more verses that discuss the reasons and benefits of Jesus’ humanity. Philippians 2:5-10 comes to mind. Jesus laid aside the reliance on his deity and became dependent totally on his Father for guidance, strength, and power; an example we are instructed to follow. Instead of relying on his own deity and power, Jesus relied instead, on the Holy Spirit as his source of strength to walk among us. Likewise we too can forsake reliance on the flesh and turn to the Holy Spirit to guide us.
So, if there was ever any doubt as to the importance of the virgin birth, I pray it is much clearer now. Thanks be to God. Amen
* Dr. Arthur Custance; Doorway Publications; 1980 I wholeheartedly recommend reading this book. It may be hard to find but well worth the time and effort.