The Bible says that Christ was born of a virgin, but it does not say why. This silence has encouraged theologians to compose reasons of their own. These reasons, at times, are more ingenuous than wise.


Some theologians say Christ’s deity required the Virgin Birth, but the effort is wide of the mark. Christ is divine because he is one with the Father and the Spirit. The Trinity is an eternal order of being.

Other theologians say Christ’s incarnation required the Virgin Birth, but the effort overlooks the sovereignty of God. Since God is omnipotent, he could have united divine and human nature in any way he elected. The mode of Christ’s birth is part of the economy of redemption.

Many theologians say Christ’s sinlessness required the Virgin Birth, but the effort is weak on several counts. First, a “traducian” theory of the soul is required; a theory, namely, that the soul of a child is not immediately created by God, but is derived from its parents by ordinary generation. Such a theory is pure speculation; the Bible nowhere tells how the soul is formed. Second, the apostles trace Christ’s sinlessness to his holy life, not to his miraculous birth; and the judgment of the apostles is normative for the Church. Third, the science of genetics has found that hereditary traits come from the mother as well as the father. Thus, the Virgin Birth would not, of itself, secure Christ’s human nature from pollution.

Roman Catholicism tries to relieve the last difficulty by declaring Mary free from original sin. But the Roman expedient, taken out consistently, would imply a denial of the fall of man. Not only must Mary be immaculately conceived, but likewise her parents, ...

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