Difference between revisions of "Virgin birth"

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The '''Virgin birth''' of [[Jesus Christ]] is a miracle recorded in the Bible, revealing that Jesus was born of the [[Virgin Mary]], having been conceived by the [[Holy Spirit]], and not by relations with any man. This belief has been a traditional tenet of Christianity, and continues to be held by most Catholics and Protestants.<ref>[http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/88-americans-express-their-views-of-the-virgin-birth-of-christ Americans Express Their Views of the Virgin Birth of Christ] Barna research, December 17, 2007</ref>  However, this doctrine is not considered essential by many within [[liberal Christianity]].<ref>Roger E. Olson, ''The Westminster handbook to evangelical theology'', p. 281</ref><ref>Robert Paul Lightner, ''Handbook of evangelical theology: a historical, Biblical, and contemporary'', pp. 79,80</ref>
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The '''Virgin birth''' of [[Jesus Christ]] is a miracle recorded in the Bible, revealing that Jesus was born of a virgin, [[Mary]]. She is believed to have conceived her son through the power of the [[Holy Spirit]] rather than by relations with any man. This belief has been a traditional tenet of Christianity and continues to be held by most Catholics and Protestants.<ref>[http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/88-americans-express-their-views-of-the-virgin-birth-of-christ Americans Express Their Views of the Virgin Birth of Christ] Barna research, December 17, 2007</ref>  However, this doctrine is not considered essential by many within [[liberal Christianity]].<ref>Roger E. Olson, ''The Westminster handbook to evangelical theology'', p. 281</ref><ref>Robert Paul Lightner, ''Handbook of evangelical theology: a historical, Biblical, and contemporary'', pp. 79,80</ref>
  
 
==Luke 1:26-38==
 
==Luke 1:26-38==
 
 
The Angel Gabriel went to Mary and said,  
 
The Angel Gabriel went to Mary and said,  
  
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==History==
 
==History==
The doctrine was well established by the 2nd century, but theologians were always puzzled that Paul never mentioned it, though some commentators believe the wording of Galatians 4:4 alludes to the virgin birth.<ref>Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible; John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible; Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown; Robertson's word pictures in the New Testament</ref>
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The doctrine was well established by the 2nd century, but theologians were always puzzled that Paul never mentioned it, although some commentators believe the wording of Galatians 4:4 alludes to the virgin birth.<ref>Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible; John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible; Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown; Robertson's word pictures in the New Testament</ref>
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Roman Catholicism also holds that Mary remained a virgin even after her marriage to Joseph, which doctrine most [[Evangelical]] Protestants disagree with because of the wording of Matthew 1:25 and the basic description of marriage given in Mt. 19:4,5 and 1 Cor. 7:2-5. It is also argued that there is an absence of any discussion in the canonical gospels of Mary's supposed perpetual virginity and that there is an indication of Mary having had other children (Ps. 69:8; Mt. 12:46; 13:55; Jn. 2:12; 7:3,5,10; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19). <ref>[http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/M/MARY International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ''Mary'']</ref><ref>http://www.letusreason.org/RC8.htm</ref> Roman Catholic apologists believe these texts refer to close kin outside the immediate family, and otherwise dispute the Protestant conclusions. <ref>Dwight Longenecker, David Gustafson, ''Mary: A Catholic Evangelical Debate'', p. 93-78</ref>  
  
Roman Catholicism also holds that Mary remained a virgin even after her marriage to Joseph, which doctrine most [[Evangelical]] [Protestants disagree with, due to the wording of Matthew 1:25, and the basic description of marriage, (Mt. 19:4,5; 1Cor. 7:2-5) and the absence of any discussion of Mary's perpetual virginity in the canonical gospels, and references indicating Mary had children. (Ps. 69:8; Mt. 12:46; 13:55; Jn. 2:12; 7:3,5,10; Acts 1:14; 1Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19) <ref>[http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/M/MARY International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ''Mary'']</ref><ref>http://www.letusreason.org/RC8.htm</ref> Roman Catholic apologists believe these texts refer to close kin outside the immediate family, and otherwise dispute the Protestant conclusions. <ref>Dwight Longenecker, David Gustafson, ''Mary: A Catholic Evangelical Debate'', p. 93-78</ref>
 
  
In 21st century mainstream Protestant denominations, belief in the Virgin Mary is considered optional.<ref>See for example Donald K. McKim, ''Presbyterian questions, Presbyterian answers: exploring Christian faith'' (2003) [http://books.google.com/books?id=54f0oX23u5EC&pg=PA32&lpg=PA32&dq=presbyterian+%22virgin+birth%22&source=bl&ots=4ACahhqEHy&sig=5fDWvz5HKAHiFC4peLscgZp4UmE&hl=en&ei=fiGYSv-dFJOesgPl_9W1Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7#v=onepage&q=&f=false  online pp. 31-2 ]</ref>
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In 21st century mainstream Protestant denominations, belief in the Virgin Mary is generally considered to be optional, the Bible's word for "virgin" being understood as "young girl" rather than a female who has not had sexual intercourse.<ref>See for example Donald K. McKim, ''Presbyterian questions, Presbyterian answers: exploring Christian faith'' (2003) [http://books.google.com/books?id=54f0oX23u5EC&pg=PA32&lpg=PA32&dq=presbyterian+%22virgin+birth%22&source=bl&ots=4ACahhqEHy&sig=5fDWvz5HKAHiFC4peLscgZp4UmE&hl=en&ei=fiGYSv-dFJOesgPl_9W1Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7#v=onepage&q=&f=false  online pp. 31-2 ]</ref>
  
 
==Worldview==
 
==Worldview==
Many Protestants mistakenly identify Catholics as worshippers of Mary. In fact, Catholics only worship God.  
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Many Protestants are critical of Catholics for allegedly worshipping Mary. Although the word (worship) is used in the Bible to mean veneration or special regard, often accompanied by special acts of devotion, we normally reserve it these days for the ultimate honor that is given to God alone. Taken in that sense, Catholics worship only God.  
  
The Islamic [[Koran]] contains references to Jesus and Mary, but this much later work by [[Muhammad]] is critically different. While Jesus is presented as a perfect man, and Mary is portrayed as an extraordinary mother of a great prophet, Muhammad denied the Divinity of Jesus, and that He was conceived from a virgin mother. In addition, he mistakenly understood that the Christian Trinity consisted of God, Jesus and Mary. (Sura 5:116-117) <ref>http://answering-islam.org/Why-not/13trinity.html</ref> None of the thousands of extant biblical manuscripts support the Islamic contradictions of the Bible, though it requires its support. {{Main|Qur'an}}  
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The Islamic [[Koran]] contains references to Jesus and Mary, but this much later work by [[Muhammad]] is critically different from the Bible. While Jesus is presented as a perfect man, and Mary is portrayed as an extraordinary mother of a great prophet, Muhammad denied the Divinity of Jesus and that He was born of a virgin mother. In addition, he mistakenly understood the Christian Trinity to consist of the Father God, Jesus, and Mary. (Sura 5:116-117) <ref>http://answering-islam.org/Why-not/13trinity.html</ref> None of the thousands of extant biblical manuscripts support the Islamic departures from the Bible, although the Koran depends upon the Bible for support. {{Main|Qur'an}}  
  
 
==Further reading==
 
==Further reading==

Revision as of 23:41, 30 December 2010

The Virgin birth of Jesus Christ is a miracle recorded in the Bible, revealing that Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary. She is believed to have conceived her son through the power of the Holy Spirit rather than by relations with any man. This belief has been a traditional tenet of Christianity and continues to be held by most Catholics and Protestants.[1] However, this doctrine is not considered essential by many within liberal Christianity.[2][3]

Luke 1:26-38

The Angel Gabriel went to Mary and said,

"Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

Mary responds,

"How will this be since I am a virgin?"

The Angel answered,

"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."

Mary proclaims,

"I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said."

History

The doctrine was well established by the 2nd century, but theologians were always puzzled that Paul never mentioned it, although some commentators believe the wording of Galatians 4:4 alludes to the virgin birth.[4]

Roman Catholicism also holds that Mary remained a virgin even after her marriage to Joseph, which doctrine most Evangelical Protestants disagree with because of the wording of Matthew 1:25 and the basic description of marriage given in Mt. 19:4,5 and 1 Cor. 7:2-5. It is also argued that there is an absence of any discussion in the canonical gospels of Mary's supposed perpetual virginity and that there is an indication of Mary having had other children (Ps. 69:8; Mt. 12:46; 13:55; Jn. 2:12; 7:3,5,10; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19). [5][6] Roman Catholic apologists believe these texts refer to close kin outside the immediate family, and otherwise dispute the Protestant conclusions. [7]


In 21st century mainstream Protestant denominations, belief in the Virgin Mary is generally considered to be optional, the Bible's word for "virgin" being understood as "young girl" rather than a female who has not had sexual intercourse.[8]

Worldview

Many Protestants are critical of Catholics for allegedly worshipping Mary. Although the word (worship) is used in the Bible to mean veneration or special regard, often accompanied by special acts of devotion, we normally reserve it these days for the ultimate honor that is given to God alone. Taken in that sense, Catholics worship only God.

The Islamic Koran contains references to Jesus and Mary, but this much later work by Muhammad is critically different from the Bible. While Jesus is presented as a perfect man, and Mary is portrayed as an extraordinary mother of a great prophet, Muhammad denied the Divinity of Jesus and that He was born of a virgin mother. In addition, he mistakenly understood the Christian Trinity to consist of the Father God, Jesus, and Mary. (Sura 5:116-117) [9] None of the thousands of extant biblical manuscripts support the Islamic departures from the Bible, although the Koran depends upon the Bible for support. For a more detailed treatment, see Qur'an.

Further reading

  • Mary F. Foskett, A Virgin Conceived: Mary and Classical Representations of Virginity (2001) excerpt and text search. looks at the many complex meanings of Virgin Birth in the first two centuries
  • Robert Gromacki, The Virgin Birth: A Biblical Study of the Deity of Jesus Christ (2nd ed. 2002), Evangelical perspective. excerpt and text search

references

  1. Americans Express Their Views of the Virgin Birth of Christ Barna research, December 17, 2007
  2. Roger E. Olson, The Westminster handbook to evangelical theology, p. 281
  3. Robert Paul Lightner, Handbook of evangelical theology: a historical, Biblical, and contemporary, pp. 79,80
  4. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible; John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible; Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown; Robertson's word pictures in the New Testament
  5. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Mary
  6. http://www.letusreason.org/RC8.htm
  7. Dwight Longenecker, David Gustafson, Mary: A Catholic Evangelical Debate, p. 93-78
  8. See for example Donald K. McKim, Presbyterian questions, Presbyterian answers: exploring Christian faith (2003) online pp. 31-2
  9. http://answering-islam.org/Why-not/13trinity.html