In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the church became embroiled in a theological war between the modernists (the children of the enlightenment) and the fundamentalists (believers in orthodoxy). And what doctrine do you suppose was contested most vigorously? The Virgin Birth.
The modernists said four things: A virgin birth (a) has never happened before (b) has never happened since (c) could not be observed empirically (d) could not be repeated scientific setting. In other words, they took the tools of empirical observation, applied them to the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, and rejected it.
But this is exactly the limitation of the naturalistic sciences. Science can only study that which is "inside the box" of the observable world. But the Lordship of our Sovereign God extends to both the natural/material and supernatural realms. Science is limited by definition.
But conversely, God is not limited in any way. As I have so often preached to my congregation, if Genesis 1:1 is true “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth…” then absolutely everything else in the rest of the Scripture is possible.
When science says it doubts the Virgin Birth because it cannot be repeated in a lab, Christian Philosopher Alvin Plantinga says it’s a lot like a drunk driver insisting on looking for his lost car keys only under the bright streetlight, on the grounds that the light is better there!
The answer is that the Virgin Birth of Christ is the one domino--that if Satan could cause to fall--would destroy the whole of Christianity. If the Virgin Birth is not a fact rooted in the dusty hills of Palestine in the city of Nazareth 2,000 years ago, then our Bibles are not inerrant, because Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:35 expressly say that it was so. Furthermore,
- If Christ was not born of a Virgin, then the full deity and full humanity of Christ would be impossible.
- If Christ was not fully divine, then His sinless life would be impossible.
- If Christ sinned even one time, He could not have laid down His life on the cross for our sins as an atonement of satisfaction and propitiation.
- If Christ did not lay down His life for us, our forgiveness and renewal would be impossible.
If it could ever be proven somehow that Jesus was not born of the Virgin Mary, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, He would not be worthy of our worship. But if He is—truly man and truly God—as I proclaim to you today that He is, He is worthy of our eternal praise. Amen.
Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida.