For the last several weeks, I have been ruminating on the nature of religious Truth. Now I want to look more specifically at the Mystery of the Virgin Birth.
What is important is the truth about this religious mystery, not the facts. At this point, 2000 years later, it is impossible to ascertain the facts of this mystery. Since Mary had only X chromosomes, and Jesus as a male would have had to have both an X and a Y chromosome (since He is like us in all things but sin), where did the Y chromosome come from? Did God create one out of nothing, or make a miraculous copy of Joseph’s Y chromosome? We don’t know, we cannot know at this point, and frankly it is of no significance. God is Jesus’ Father, and that is what is significant. How that took place is probably beyond our understanding. That it took place is what matters.
What we do know is this: Jesus is totally and completely God’s free gift to us and all the human race. We owe to no man the phenomenal gift of God’s own self in Jesus Christ. Our salvation is not in any way a human achievement, but rather pure gift from God. We could never have achieved the Incarnation on our own. It is all GRACE.
The early Church Fathers and Mothers had a great time speculating on this Mystery. For many early church writers, it made sense that since Adam had no parents, and since Eve was born from a man alone, and since all the rest of us are born of both a man and a woman, therefore Jesus should be born with the only unique option left: namely born of a woman alone. Jesus’ miraculous birth therefor represents a new beginning for humanity in grace and union with God.
The Incarnation is a whole new event in human history. It is in truth a new beginning, a fresh start, a resetting of the relationship between God and humanity. It means that, henceforth and for all time, all flesh has the potential to be united to God. As Jesus became one with us in the Incarnation, so we now have the possibility of becoming one with God in the flesh. The Resurrection flows directly from the Incarnation, which is manifest in the Virgin Birth of Jesus.
The Virgin Birth is the Truth of a fresh beginning, a new start. We humans pretty badly mucked it up. We were trapped in the futility of sin. But the Virgin Birth broke through that endless repetition of sin with a whole new beginning. The Virgin Birth is the truth of God’s surprising and unique action to enter dramatically and conclusively into our history, to become one with us, and to save us – not from the outside – but from within. The Virgin Birth is the great sign of hope for all of us sinners to truly become children of God. And that is Good News. And it is TRUE!