Let's Explore the Answer
While this might be difficult to believe, it’s an important element of the Christian life. After all, this miraculous event fulfilled Old Testament prophecies - prophecies that were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born.
So, how was Mary a virgin? And why is it so important to the Christian faith? There’s much debate over the validity of Mary’s virginity and many skeptics deny that it was even possible. Let’s see what both skeptics and atheists have to say before we look at what the Bible says.
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What Skeptics & Atheists Say
Because Mary was engaged to a man named Joseph, many skeptics insist that Jesus had to have been Joseph’s biological son. Some even claim that the Bible validates their belief, as Joseph is mentioned in the lineage of Jesus in Matthew chapter one. However, upon closer study, the inclusion of Joseph in the genealogy is simply to point to the lineage of David, from which Christ Jesus was born.
Atheists, who deny the deity of Jesus, often view the account of the virgin birth nothing but a superstitious story. They struggle to see the importance of Mary’s virginity because they don’t believe Jesus was anything other than an ordinary man.
Understandably, people question how it was even possible for a virgin to conceive, bear a child, and still remain a virgin. Our human understanding of God’s miracles is limited and often causes us to doubt God’s ways. However, the answer lies in the text of the Bible, which we’ll explore next.
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What The Bible Says
The Bible says in Luke 1:26-28 “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’”
Mary’s response indicated she was completely surprised, and even frightened by the angel’s visit, as recorded in Luke 1:29. “When she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.”
As the angel revealed to her that she would “conceive and bring forth a Son, and call His name Jesus,” Mary questioned how it was even possible since she had never been with a man intimately. The angel’s answer confirmed what’d been foretold by the prophets: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
By the will of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary remained a virgin until after Jesus was born. Perhaps the virgin birth of the Messiah isn’t as far-fetched as some people believe it to be. Instead, it’s a beautiful representation of a miraculous God who works through ordinary people to accomplish His divine purpose.
What would happen if you embraced the possibility that the God of the Bible really did create the world and really does care for you?
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In the seventeenth century, a famous philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, encouraged people to make a wager when it came to belief in God. If a person chose to believe in God and God did exist, that person would gain everything (eternal life). If a person chose to believe in God and God did not exist, that person would lose nothing. On the other hand, if a person chose not to believe in God and he was right, he would lose nothing. But if that person did not believe in God and he was wrong- he would lose everything (lose eternal life).
This wager can be said another way:
Based on this logic, Pascal suggested the rational person would choose to believe in God as believing offers a person everything (eternal life) while losing nothing. Wherever you are in your faith journey, would you consider taking Pascal’s wager? If the good God of the Bible exists, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by believing in Him today.