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Confusion about the Virgin Birth


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Initial post: Nov 25, 2012 3:29:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 5:27:36 PM PST
Ambulocetus says:
I should preface this by stating that I am not now, and will probably never be, a Christian, but that I also am not now, and will probably never be, the kind of person who thinks that theism is the source of all evil and stupidity in the world.

I am posting this because I am sincerely confused about a particular Christian doctrine, and attempts that I have seen to clarify this doctrine just make it seem to vary based on the argument being made, or else to not make much sense. Given the age and centrality of this doctrine, I just don't think that his can be right: hence my question.

It's this: obviously, it would be blasphemous and absurd to claim that God impregnated the Virgin Mary in the way that human beings typically impregnate one another, Zeus-and-Leda style. Nobody accepts this idea. On the other hand, however, Christians ALSO do not believe that Joseph was Jesus's daddy, or that Jesus was an illegitimate child.

The conclusion seems obvious: God was Jesus's Daddy.

There are four problems with this idea that make it seem unmotivated and doctrinally confused to me:
1) Luke's geneaology of Jesus includes Joseph. Why?
2) If Jesus's daddy is God, then Jesus could receive no DNA from a male, human parent. Obviously, God Himself has no DNA. So, umm. . . ?
3) We are told that the Son is one of the three persons of the Godhead, and that all three have existed since time immemorial. Why, then, would the impregnation of Mary be necessary? Hasn't "the Son" always been "the Son," regardless of "blood" relation?

I don't expect to be persuaded that this doctrine is true, and I don't expect anyone reading this to be persuaded that this doctrine is false. I just don't understand how it fits into a Christian worldview, unlike, say, the doctrine of the Resurrection, or Jesus's various miracles, which seem (whether literally true or not) to make perfect Christian sense.

I appreciate any comments or links which are provided.

EDIT, I meant THREE problems, of course, DERP!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 4:19:43 PM PST
Daniel, you ask a very important question. And the best possible answer to give is that it is what God did, pure and simple. God could do what He wanted and this is what he chose to do. To explain further would be to invite controversy.

If you don't mind, I'd like to address each of your concerns:

1) Luke's geneaology of Jesus includes Joseph. Why?

Simple answer: As does Matthew's genealogy. It would have been important to the Jewish audience that Jesus' lineage was that of the house of David. This would have been traced through his father.

2) If Jesus's daddy is God, then Jesus could receive no DNA from a male, human parent. Obviously, God Himself has no DNA. So, umm. . . ?

Answer: Ye ole DNA issue. To understand this you have to subscribe to the adage "anything is possible with God." If you cannot make this leap of faith, this will haunt you.

3) We are told that the Son is one of the three persons of the Godhead, and that all three have existed since time immemorial. Why, then, would the impregnation of Mary be necessary? Hasn't "the Son" always been "the Son," regardless of "blood" relation?

Answer: Mary's impregnation was not necessary. But it is the way God chose to do it. Yes, the Son has always been the Son, but he was not always Mary's son. And that, too, was important, especially to the Jews.

Jesus was born into the world and had a human history, a genealogy, a family. He wasn't just dropped from the sky. He became one of us in all ways except sin.

Let me tel you a story that might help. Then again, it might not.

It is Christmas Eve and the house was all decorated and there was a glowing fire going. The man, a non-believer, was staying home as his wife, a believer, took his children to midnight Mass. As the night progressed the threat of a snow storm became a reality of a snow storm and the man stood by the window watching the flakes settle and begin to accumulate and he hoped that his wife and children would make it home before the roads got took slick. As he sipped his egg nog, he noticed a small flock of birds huddled on some of the high wires that ran from his garage to the house. The birds look to him to be cold. He decided to open the garage door so the birds could go in there and get out of the snow. He used the automatic opener from the inside of the house. After a while he noticed that the birds were not moving; they were not going into the garage. So he put on his coat, hat, and boots and went outside to try to shoo them into the garage. All he managed to do was to scatter them, but they settled back on the wire, huddled together in threes and fours. Soon the lights of his wife's car shone into the garage and his family was home safe, pounding the snow off of their boots, coats and hats as they disrobed in the mudroom. His wife reached for the garage door opener to close the garage door, but her husband stopped him. Pointing out the birds, he told her that he hopped they would use the garage for shelter during the storm. He said: "If only I could be a bird for just a few minutes so I could lead them into the garage. It would be a safe haven, a safe harbor. If only I could be a bird, like them." His wife looked at him and responded, "If only..."

Jesus became the bird; he became like us in every way but sin. He became human, with a human mother and a human father. He became human so that human beings would not scatter and fear him as he leads us to our home, our safe harbor, our safe haven, heaven.

Does it really matter more how He did it than that He did it?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 4:41:48 PM PST
God is the father of all people.

I am not sure what your issue is with this topic.

If you believe the evolutionists somehow somewhere sometime some single celled creature had to develop into a bisexual mode. So if you can buy tht why not a virgin birth with God's help whatever mode He used.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 4:42:56 PM PST
i thought that jewishness came through the mothers not dads

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 5:36:07 PM PST
Jewishness, as I understand it, passes from mother to child, but inheritance from father to son. The son inherited the kingship from the father; thus it was important to know the lineage of Joseph. Remember, to the world at the time, Joseph was Jesus' father.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 5:54:58 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 5:55:54 AM PST
Ambulocetus says:
So here's one thing God could have done: the DNA provided to Jesus was Joseph's DNA. that way, Jesus would be 1) fathered by God and 2) a lineal descendent of David via Joseph.

But at this point, what is the difference between this way of doing things and simply having Joseph and Mary jump the gun a bit? The result would be the same in either case, since if God exists, EVERY act of conception is, in some way, divinely mediated.

I guess I still don't understand why Joseph's genealogy is mentioned when Joseph and Jesus aren't blood relations. It seems like a stupid question, but I'm just not able to find a doctrinally motivated answer that doesn't sound like question-begging.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 6:07:45 AM PST
Or, another possible answer...

the actual, living, historical person we now call Jesus, a person his immediate family and followers considered to be 100% human and not divine in any sense of the word, was one of a long list of charismatic Judean rabbis whose actual story was usurped by others and, as in this case, changed and added to over time so as to have morphed into the basic error-prone, logic-defying myth that it is today.

In fact, that makes the most sense of any of `em.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 6:36:07 AM PST
BILL Boothe says:
it quite simple as youre thinking in human terms as to what works for us. forgotten is the trinity of God. Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost are ONE and the same. Confused? think of water. you have steam, water, ice. all are still water, one and the same, just different for different circumstances. God is the head of the house if you will. Christians simply believe in God who made and can do absolutely everything. if God made the heavens and the earth by simply thinking it into being, then he certainly can manafest part of himself into a virgin, since He made her anyway.
People simply dont choose to accept God and all His statutes. We have to be at a place in our life that we simply need more and are searching for better. For some (me) it takes a lifetime of doing everything we can to be happy and to fulfill our lives here. I would hate to think that this life is all there is because if so, Jesus died for nothing. He died for every soul on earth to have that choice. You see, God sends the Holy Spirit to touch every being on earth, to surround them with His love. Until that happens and we feel it, we are not saved, we cant be until the Spirit leads us to simply accept Christ. Its not rocket science, its so simply most will never understand. Since God is perfect, no sin can enter into His presence. We cant attone for our sins so He sent Jesus to take all the sin in the world onto His shoulders and when we accept Him and have a personal relationship with Him, our sins are forgiven. Does that make us perfect, nope. We still sin, but if you TRULY have accepted Jesus personally, some things automatically that we do dont happen anymore. Some things take an ongoing work effort on our part. We simply have to love everyone, but we dont have to love what they do.
You see, every person is born with a empty place in their heart. We try to fill it with more money, toys like boats, fancy cars, jewelry, ect. NOTHING can fill that void but God and NONE will ever be truly happy in this life without Him inside. we are so unworthy of this great a love but thats the cool thing, God loves us enough to have sent part of Himself, Jesus, just so that when we get enough of ourselves out of the way for whatever reason in our lives, the Spirit thats always there with us can finally touch our hearts and we can be saved. will everyone be saved? no unfortunately because some will never get past their own self and what others say. its just simple, have faith and believe. you believe that if you shut your hand in the door its gonna hurt dont you? its just the same, that belief. Since God made everything, why worship something that He made, just worship the Maker.
Everyone is guaranteed eternal life, this existance is not all there is. what is essentially us lives on. Heaven and Hell are very real and when Jesus comes back Hes not gonna be the nice guy who loved everyone. Theyve had the Spirit touch them by then and made their choice. Who ever doesnt know him personally in their heart will be thrown into hell on judgement day, THEY made that choice not God. Free will is a two edged sword, we have to answer for our lives. God only wants us to love Him like He does us. its just simple. He gave us life, everything we have, our health, our families, everything we love and hold dear. Shouldnt we just love Him? I have never seen God, but i have saw his presence in others, felt Him touch me, he loves me and gives me such peace thru everything that happens in my life. im truly blessed regardless of what this world throws at me. you got to know that you know that you know you are saved by the grace of God and have accepted Him.................and i do
have a wonderful blessed day Daniel

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 6:40:14 AM PST
BILL Boothe says:
If one can not understand the concept of being (led) to do something, then they cant understand that the Bible is inspired by God and actually contains a lot of His words and thoughts. Jesus is the only major figure that noone has ever found his bones,,,,because they arent there, He is RISEN and sits in Glory with the Father of us all.

one has to simply believe that they aint all that and that there is something better. when one cant get past themselves, there is nothing beyond for them to believe.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 6:50:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 7:14:31 AM PST
W.T. says:
I've always prescribed to the notion that neither Joseph nor Mary actually contributed any DNA to Jesus, but Mary was rather only a surrogate mother used to birth the divine being into flesh. If that scenario is accurate, Jesus had no DNA from any earthly source, except perhaps that He might have matched that of Adam himself (which would lend an additional reason to Jesus being called the "second Adam").

It stands to reason that if God were going to create a body for Himself on earth, that it would match the other time he created a human being from scratch.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 7:15:35 AM PST
Vicki says:
Dear Daniel,

You said :"So here's one thing God could have done: the DNA provided to Jesus was Joseph's DNA. that way, Jesus would be 1) fathered by God and 2) a lineal descendent of David via Joseph."

I think that had Joseph's DNA been used, he would have passed down the sin nature, that we have all passed on to our offspring since the Fall. This causes me to wonder if Mary's DNA was used at all.

This is just a theory on my part:
Could Jesus' embryo have been created by God and placed in Mary's womb? God created Adam and Eve without needing a human semen or egg donor and they were without a sin-nature, yet fully human.

You said :"I guess I still don't understand why Joseph's genealogy is mentioned when Joseph and Jesus aren't blood relations."

Joseph was still Jesus' step-father. Adoption would not have been necessary for Jesus to be considered Joseph's son, since Joseph was married to Mary before Jesus' birth, although I imagine that people were counting on their fingers and not seeing things adding up appropriately. From what I've read, adopted sons could inherit, in the ancient world.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 7:16:59 AM PST
Vicki says:
Dear Bill,

You were faster at the keyboard than I was!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 7:18:28 AM PST
On Page 24 of "The Life of Jesus," Grove Press (1967)" The Life of Jesus , Marcello Craveri points out that the Annunciation narrative in Luke is a later insertion. "However, as is unanimously conceded by all the commentators, even the Catholics, this passage, like the entire story of the birth of Jesus, is written in a style that hardly harmonizes with Luke's characteristic sentence structure. Plainly, the fragment was added later, and the insertion was made rather unskillfully."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 7:54:06 AM PST
Bill Boothe says: Jesus is the only major figure that noone has ever found his bones

JC: Well, Bill, apparently you were told this and simply accepted it without really thinking about it. You're dead wrong; there is a long list of "major figures that noone has ever found his bones" [sic]. Among others, Moses, Lao-Tzu, and Zoroaster had, and still have millions of followers. Please tell me, where are their bones to be found?

Bill: one has to simply believe that they aint all that and that there is something better. when one cant get past themselves, there is nothing beyond for them to believe.

JC: Wrong again, Bill. As one of millions of examples, Ghandi did not believe in the divinity of Jesus. Being the egoist he was, though, shame on him for thinking he was "all that"; it's disgusting how he "couldn't get past himself."

I love witnessing the self-righteous assume they know the personality and thoughts of those who don't believe as they do.

There is a world of difference between being a "non-believer" and believing oneself to be "all that". It's a better sign that a person "can't get past himself" when they think that only those who believe as they do can possibly be "humble."

The actual truth, Bill is that YOU can't get past the idea that a person cannot possibly be humble and a non-Christian at the same time.

Again, you're simply dead wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 7:55:30 AM PST
I'm going to guess here, but Joseph's genealogy could be there for the benefit of the Jewish readers for whom it was important to know that Jesus was a descendant of David, as that would fulfill one of the requirements for the Messiah. This would not be that relevant to non-Jews.

Today, people might say that Mary's genealogy would have been more important than Joseph's. (In fact, Tradition tells us that Mary, too, was a descendant of David.) So, had the Scripture been written today, it might have included Mary's genealogy. But it was written to primarily a Jewish audience nearly 2000 years ago. They knew nothing about DNA. All they cared about was who the baby's daddy was, and his, and his, and his, etc.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 7:59:03 AM PST
Daniel,
Wouldn't Darwin's brilliant hypothesis do away with all these difficulties? And just allow all the *good ideas* above to fit into the general scheme of things without further explanation needed.

Nobody's ever going to win the argument/discussion/controversy unless we can eventually reach consensus based on our origins, and the Adam and Eve story is just one of so many.

For myself there is a lifetime's work in exploring all the nooks and crannies of what life has to reveal, and Genesis just doesn't answer any of our questions convincingly or satisfactorily.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:19:51 AM PST
Bill Goode says: Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost are ONE and the same. Confused? think of water. you have steam, water, ice. all are still water, one and the same, just different for different circumstances.

JC: Bill, there's a difference between being "confused" and not readily accepting a concept that makes no sense.

Your analogy is unfortunately lacking. Sure, steam, water, and ice are "different for different circumstances." However, they cannot SIMULTANEOUSLY be steam, water, and ice.

Please explain this in terms of your "Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost are ONE and the same."

Bill Goode says: if God made the heavens and the earth by simply thinking it into being, then he certainly can manafest part of himself into a virgin, since He made her anyway.

JC: This is the thinking common to many religions, past and present, that you very likely think of as "mythological." It does nothing to prove that your particular version of "God" is the correct one, and in fact, it places you alongside spokespersons for so many of those mythological religions that explain every possible thing with the convenient term "god(s) can do anything, so she/he/it/they did it."

Bill says: You see, God sends the Holy Spirit to touch every being on earth, to surround them with His love.

JC: How about the hundreds of millions of innocent children who have been slaughtered, starved, raped, tortured, and abused throughout history and into the present? How did the Holy Spirit "touch them on earth" and "surround them with His love?"

Bill says: You see, every person is born with a empty place in their heart. We try to fill it with more money, toys like boats, fancy cars, jewelry, ect. NOTHING can fill that void but God and NONE will ever be truly happy in this life without Him inside.

JC: Absolutely, unequivocally a false statement.

Contrary to what you have been trained to think, we don't all attempt to fulfill ourselves with material goods. You simply assume this, and are clearly mistaken. Also, you assume that people have a "void." Because you did, does not automatically mean that others do.

I am a truly happy person, and don't feel a "void," as you describe. Every one who knows me knows this to be true. You are simply incorrect about this. My life is a full, happy one, and does not require material things to be so.

Bill: Heaven and Hell are very real

JC: I find it rather strange that Christians have so many different beliefs about both, and that they therefore don't seem to know the exact nature of either (and not to mention that many Christians don't believe that Hell simply doesn't exist.)

If they are "very real," why don't Christians know the actual "reality" of either or both of them?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:27:00 AM PST
then you have to explain the resurrection

that proves He was who He said He was
and not some rabbi doing magic tricks

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:27:13 AM PST
TheWindMoves says:
Eusebius said that both genealogies pertained to Joseph. One by blood, the other by Levirate marriage.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.vi.vii.html

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:28:01 AM PST
they are not one and the same
they are three different and distinct entities and the bible proves it

you are parroting the popes lie that got started when he stole some pagan practice about 1500 years ago

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:29:18 AM PST
more logic please

yo umay be right but using nonsense does not prove it
and makes you unbelievable

they will never find bin ladens bones
so anything you say about him would fit too

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:29:22 AM PST
Your explanation is good, and believable except that in the Bible, the angel says to Mary "Behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son..."(Luke 1:31) A surrogate would have borne the son, but would she conceive in her womb?

As Luke said about Joseph: "He [Jesus] was the on, as was thought, of Joseph, son of Heli" (Luke 3:23) Joseph was perceived by the Jews with whom Jesus associated with to be Jesus' father. Matthew concludes his genealogy of Jesus with "Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah." (Matthew 1:16)

Joseph is not named as father of Jesus, though he is identified as husband of Mary. The relationship between Jesus is left in ambiguity.

Another interesting fact of note is that Matthew says that Joseph was the son of Jacob, whose family is traced back to Solomon and then David and from there back to Abraham. Luke says that Joseph's father was Heli and that his ancestry goes back to David through Nathan. Did David have a son named Nathan, or was Luke referring to the prophet Nathan?

This brings me back to what I originally said: It is not so important how He did it than that He did it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:30:15 AM PST
but more skillfully than the many lies the popes made up and the pagan practices they usurped and used

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:31:52 AM PST
i think they cared about the mother
that is where the jewish line came from
inheritance came from daddy

you know who the mother is
but cant be sure about the father

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:44:14 AM PST
Thank you, TheWindMoves. Levirate marriage, I never thought of that. Thank you.
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Discussion in:  Christianity forum
Participants:  28
Total posts:  182
Initial post:  Nov 25, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 2, 2012

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