The Virgin Birth

Recently I had the privilege of posting on an exclusive Christadelphian forum a thread concerning the virgin birth of Jesus and was accused of everything from trolling to fishing to misbehaviour just for asking a simple question. Okay, you talked me into it, here's the question:

Since Christadelphian theology doesn't believe in the Trinity or that Jesus was God or a god/man, why believe in the virgin birth?

Of course, that's only a paraphrase of what all I said but just so you get the idea of the thread over there (entitled, "The Only Begotten Son").

After several warnings and no answers to the questions, I came to the conclusion that Christadelphians only believe in the virgin birth of Jesus because of being literalists and inerrant scripture believers.

The Christadelphians believe that Jesus was only a flesh and blood man like any other man except without sin - that being made possible by his being filled with the Holy Spirit (without measure) at his baptism. His resurrection being when he became "the only begotten son" and not at his birth.

This cult cannot grasp the possibility of the virgin birth being interpolated to support the later Catholic doctrines of the Trinity, even though the earliest gospel (Mark) and the apostle Paul do not mention a virgin birth.

This cult cannot grasp the idea that {a god + a woman = a god/man} even though there were many other such god/men in existence at the time of early Christianity. Instead they want to deny that Jesus is God yet retain the virgin birth doctrine, being too stupid to realize that it means the same thing.

11 comments:

  1. Mary Mary quite contraryAugust 9, 2009 at 9:47 AM

    I always wondered, if Mary was such a young (some say low to mid teens), could not the charge of having sex with minor be leveled at the Deity? Since the Deity did not marry Mary, did the Deity commit fornification? If Mary was begotten by the Holy Spirit, which is said to be yet another being in the Trinity, is that not a thr...well never mind.

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  2. Hi Corky.

    Very interesting that you raise this topic. Recently I've been reading how both Paul and John were "divinizers" of Christ, making him a super-human God-man figure. Paul says Jesus was "in the form of God," and John goes to great trouble to impress on his readers that Jesus was equal with God - logos, a light shining in the darkness from the beginning. This is a major theme in John and it pervades his book, offending the orthodox Jewish characters in his narrative. Then at the end, John writes that Thomas finally addresses Jesus as "my lord and my God".

    It is interesting that Paul writes some 20 years after Christ, while John writes 60 years after Christ - but both are divinizers of Christ. However, in the middle, the other NT writers describe Jesus as 'just' the expected messianic prince, to restore the kingdom to Israel. They don't make Jesus into this God-man character.

    Things get more interesting when we add that Paul knows nothing of Jesus' birth of a virgin, Mary; he doesn't mention anything about it. In fact, Paul says Jesus received power from God when he was raised - not when he was born, nor when he was baptised.

    You are quite right that Christadelphians struggle with this. You can see how this happens, because of their strong Judaistic perspective. They want the Pharisaic hope of a Jewish kingdom restored. They bend John to try and fit the synoptic gospel writers, that Jesus is the messianic prince expected to do this restoration. But you can't fit these together: John has a very different, later view of Christ. This is supported by context: John was writing 20 years after AD70, after Jerusalem had been destroyed and the chance of a restored Israel was gone.

    I agree that the virgin birth was added later, to support "a virgin shall conceive," from Isaiah. The Septuagint is critical in this, because the GREEK old testament used by the Jewish Christians gave its readers the phrase, "a Virgin shall conceive," where the Hebrew refers to a 'Young Woman shall conceive'. (However, I don't agree that the virgin birth was added so late as to support the doctrines of the Trinity: those are a later complexity of the 3rd century.)

    What all this indicates is that the earliest Christian writings were not at all clear on "who Christ was". Different early Christian groups were competing and we see echoes of this in the New Testament. Note how John elevates himself as the disciple Jesus loves, while demoting Peter on whom Jesus elsewhere said he would "build his church". John also denigrates Thomas as "doubting", dealing a specific blow to the Gospel of Thomas that was contemporary at the time John was writing.

    I am somewhat convinced that the idea of a pure first century Christian faith, is false. (This is one of the pillars of a Pure Book, of course).

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  3. "This cult cannot grasp the idea that {a god + a woman = a god/man}"
    Christadelphians are not a cult and the mixture of a god and a woman does not give a Godman, and is in no way an assurance of a godly man, though Christ managed to stay pure.
    In the Bible we find a lot of indications that Jesus was lower than His Father.
    And why would it not be possible that the Creator of all things foresaw that a virgin became pregnant? For Him this was but a small step. It was part of His Plan.

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  4. God couldn't place Himself in the womb or there would have been no God during pregnancy in the Universe? But He could give new live in the body of the virgin.

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  5. The mixture of a god and a woman most certainly does produce a god/man. It is in every god/man story that existed in ancient times.

    Horus was a god/man, Hercules was a god/man, Mithra was a god/man etc. That makes Jesus a god/man too.

    Of course, the virgin birth story of Jesus is a later invention (after AD 70) that Paul and Mark had not known of in their day.

    It makes Jesus, God and that's the purpose of the story. Then later in the developement of Christianity, the Holy Spirit was made the third part of what became the doctrine of the Trinity.

    Yes, the Christadelphians are a cult, if for no other reason than that they don't accept the Trinity and other "orthodox" doctrines of the Christian church.

    That's not necessarily a bad thing but if they are going to reject the trinity they need to also reject the story of God literally producing a Son with a virgin human. Why? Because it makes the son a god/man (half god, half man), it makes Jesus, "God very God" and "God the Son" and co-equal with God the Father.

    The Jews knew that by Jesus saying that God was his father was making himself equal with God and that's why they tried to stone him.

    Yes, the Jews were very familiar with all the pagan god/man myths of that time and Jesus would have had no Jewish followers if he had actually taught such a thing.

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  6. "Horus was a god/man, Hercules was a god/man, Mithra was a god/man etc. That makes Jesus a god/man too."

    By this line of logic: god + earth = Adam/Earth God

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  7. Anthony V. Cavalo said...
    "Horus was a god/man, Hercules was a god/man, Mithra was a god/man etc. That makes Jesus a god/man too."

    By this line of logic: god + earth = Adam/Earth God
    .
    When a god makes a woman pregnant the son is a god/man.

    Don't believe me? Look up the definition of god-man.

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  8. Guys, there's no reason to argue over whether a God + a women = a god/man! The whole thing is just a silly story made up by stone age man. The fact that anyone in the modern era believes this stuff is hilarious.

    The Skeptic

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  9. Actually, it IS important to argue about the importance of the God/Man character.

    This is a common theme that appears in religious and mythological belief of this era.

    Christians of the 1st to 3rd centuries adopted this into the Christian story. This is why it was a digestable concept to the Romans. And as an addition, it is quite clearly not a smooth fit into the NT (for example, Paul is silent on the virgin birth of Christ).

    But Christians today (and particularly Christadelphians) don't know this because they aren't very well informed. They think they have one inspired book, written by The Spirit. The orthodoxy of their organization does not allow the entrance of outside information about the formation of Christianity.

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