We cannot expect the world to accept the fact of Christ’s virgin birth. As with all essential doctrines of the Christian faith, sinful humanity resists embracing the truth of His unique birth.
Tragically though, it’s no longer just the unbelieving world that fails to accept the biblical account of Christ’s parentage. The scientific age and the emergence of modern and postmodern theologies during the past two centuries have eroded many professed believers’ confidence in the reality of the virgin birth. (Along with that trend has been a noticeable decline in the percentage of “Christians” who believe in the deity of Christ.) But such skeptical thinking is foolish and directly contrary to the explicit teaching of all four gospels, the epistles, and the historical testimony of the entire early church that Jesus was none other than the virgin-born Son of God.
Lending credibility to skepticism, some New Testament commentators will concede that the authors of Scripture sincerely believed that the Holy Spirit conceived Jesus without any assistance from a human father. But such interpreters nevertheless glibly discount the validity of Scripture’s claims by immediately asserting that its writers were naïve, uneducated, and subject to the myths and superstitions of ancient times. According to the critics, the gospel writers merely adapted some of the familiar virgin birth legends to the story of Jesus’ birth.
Sowing doubts about the reliability of God’s Word is one of Satan’s favorite pastimes. His typical strategy is to try to make some small but foundational element of a great truth appear insignificant, then ridicule it and call it into question. If he can get people to doubt or deny the smallest foundational truth, he can eventually destroy the entire superstructure.
That’s why issues like the inerrancy of Scripture are so important. If the Bible is the Word of God, it must be truth unmixed with error. Each detail—including the historical, geographic, and scientific ones—must be accurate. If we doubt even one point of biblical truth, we open the door to denial and unbelief of it all. History verifies the inevitability of this pattern.
The virgin birth is such an issue. Some people see it as a nonessential point, or treat it as mythology. It is neither. Although the church has not always been careful to guard this precious truth, it is the foundation of everything Christmas stands for.
In fact, no other detail in the Christmas story is more important than the virgin birth. The virgin birth must have happened exactly the way Scripture says. Otherwise, Christmas has no point at all. If Jesus is simply the illegitimate child of Mary’s infidelity, or even if He is the child of Joseph’s natural marital union with Mary, He is not God. If He is not God, His claims are lies. If His claims are lies, His salvation is a hoax. And if His salvation is a hoax, we are all doomed.
In the coming days, we’re going to consider some of the major attacks on the virgin birth and how Scripture defends this miraculous truth.