Summary: In this lesson, I would like to review some objections to the virgin conception of Jesus.
Several years ago Larry King, the well-known CNN television talk-show host, was asked, “If you could interview anyone in all of history, who would that person be?”
Do you know what he said? “Jesus Christ!”
“And what would you like to ask him?” the questioner asked.
“I would like to ask him,” King replied, “if he was indeed virgin-born. The answer to that question would define history for me.”
Whatever Larry King meant, to speak of Jesus as “virgin-born” can be misleading, because there was nothing unusual about his birth. Jesus left his mother’s womb in the same way we all did. What set Jesus apart is not how he left his mother’s womb, but how he entered it—and the Bible’s testimony about this is startling!
The Bible states that Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb without sexual intercourse—that is, she became pregnant while still a virgin. This is just one of the ways that Jesus is unique.
Now, some argue that in our day in vitro fertilization, embryonic transfer, and artificial insemination make it perfectly possible for a woman to become pregnant without sexual intercourse. So, they say, Jesus is not so unique, after all.
However, they completely miss the point, because in every case male sperm is needed. In our day male sperm is provided by a male donor. However, in the case of Jesus there was none!
So, it is more accurate to speak of the virgin conception of Jesus rather than the virgin birth of Jesus, because there was nothing unusual about his birth but there was everything miraculous about his conception!
Throughout history, the idea of Jesus being born without Mary receiving any male sperm has been ridiculed for many different reasons.
In this lesson, I would like to review some objections to the virgin conception of Jesus.
I. The Virgin Conception Was a Myth to Cover Up the Fact That Jesus Had a Human Father
The first objection is that the virgin conception was a myth to cover up the fact that Jesus had a human father.
When Joseph first heard the news that Mary was pregnant, he was shattered. Since he was not the father, he could only think that Mary had cheated on him, and so as far as he was concerned the marriage was off. He decided to divorce Mary, which was what was required for a betrothal in those days. However, before he could divorce her, God told him to go ahead with the marriage, as Mary’s pregnancy was not the result of adultery but the miraculous intervention of God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:19-21). So, all the testimony points to the fact that Joseph was not the human father of Jesus.
Other early skeptics said that the virgin conception was a myth created to cover up the fact that Jesus was fathered by a Roman soldier named Panthera, or Pandira, but this desperate attempt to undermine the beginnings of Christianity never had a shred of evidence to back it up.
II. The Virgin Conception Was Invented by Jesus’ Followers to Outdo Stories about Pagan Gods