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Author Topic: Why Does the Virgin Birth Matter?  (Read 508 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: March 19, 2013, 06:31:21 PM »

This is something that I've been pondering for quite a while. We've had several threads over in the Protestant section about the Perpetual Virginity of the Theotokos even after Christ was born, but here is another question. Why exactly is it so important that Christ was born of a virgin? To be honest, if I found out that St. Joseph or something was his biological father, I honestly don't think it would affect my perception on Christ at all.

What is the reason why this is so important? Is there something I'm missing here? Is it related to some doctrine on sexuality or something, or does it perhaps carry some sociological significance that's been lost to me in modern society? I don't really get it. To be honest, when I ask this question, it seems like the only reason so many people take the Virgin Birth seriously is due to polemics against the Jews, who--using the Masoretic text--try to argue that the prophecies say nothing about a virgin getting pregnant. But besides this polemic reason, I don't see any doctrinal reasons why it's important. I'd like to know why though.
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 06:33:48 PM »

I honestly don't think it would affect my perception on Christ at all.

Would you still believe He is God? How?

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Is it related to some doctrine on sexuality or something,

It's incredible but not everything is related to sexuality.
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2013, 06:47:40 PM »

I think even Protestants of all kinds would agree that the Theotokos was a virgin up until the birth of Christ.  The issues is her virginity after.  Because if she wasn't a virgin before, the Christ would have been the son of a man, not of God.  Then again, in most Western theologies that wouldn't be a big issue because they only believe that we are saved by the perfect sacrifice of a sinless man in Christ.  So Him being God has nothing to do with our salvation.  God could have just gotten any man and imbued them with so much grace that they become perfectly sinless throughout their lives, then their sacrifice would have been acceptable.  Christ did it because God loved us so much that He gave us His only Son as sacrifice for our sins, but (from some Western understanding) not because it was an absolute necessity for salvation.

The Orthodox faith teaches we are saved by the Incarnation, Crucifixion and Resurrection.  That is, Christ becoming man is in itself not only improtant, but necessary to our salvation.
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JamesR
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2013, 07:08:29 PM »

Would you still believe He is God?

Yes

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How?

I don't know. Isn't the Incarnation a mystery either way? It doesn't make any sense at all how someone could be fully God and fully human at the same time, but we believe it. I really don't see how Jesus having a biological father would really change it at all. It's just one more element to the mystery.
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2013, 07:46:01 PM »

God could certainly have become incarnate through two biological parents rather than just the one, but that doesn't mean it's not important. The One who is begotten eternally of the Father without a mother is begotten in time from a mother without a father. As Adam was created from the dust of the earth and became a living being through the inbreathing of God, the Word created for Himself a human nature without the seed of man through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. It goes on and on.

Just because God could have done something differently doesn't mean the way He did do it is without significance.
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2013, 08:11:06 PM »

Is there anyone of the opinion that the way everything is has to be this way and it couldn't be any different? People who talk about God always seem to say He could have done it different, how do we know that? Is it possible that He couldn't have done it different? I have heard it said that Christ crucified is God's way of justifying Himself for creating a world like this as if He were saying "what else do you want me to do" any opinions on this?Huh? Sorry for jacking your swag, I mean, thread James
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 08:13:56 PM »

Is there anyone of the opinion that the way everything is has to be this way and it couldn't be any different?

God is all powerful and not subject to any limitations.
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 08:38:53 PM »

Is there anyone of the opinion that the way everything is has to be this way and it couldn't be any different?

God is all powerful and not subject to any limitations.

Well yea I guess that just makes the most sense.
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 08:52:07 PM »

This is something that I've been pondering for quite a while. We've had several threads over in the Protestant section about the Perpetual Virginity of the Theotokos even after Christ was born, but here is another question. Why exactly is it so important that Christ was born of a virgin?

Because Christ is to have been conceived by the Holy Spirit as the Only-Begotten Son of God ...
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2013, 12:36:11 AM »

JamesR, I've written about this before and was pretty bashed on here... It's in writings of early Christians, but the Catholic Apologetics Resource Ministry has a good write on it.

http://carm.org/why-wasnt-jesus-born-original-sin

The concept is that original sin passes through the male lineage/seed.  Being of born of a virgin, would mean that the conception would not be brought on by intercourse passing lineage & original sin.

Also to fulfill prophecy.
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 04:34:28 AM »

I think even Protestants of all kinds would agree that the Theotokos was a virgin up until the birth of Christ.

Unfortunately, you think wrong. I've known both Anglicans and Lutherans who have ranged in belief from denying the Virgin Birth to saying that it didn't matter whether or not the Theotokos was a virgin whilst making no actual denial of it. I very much doubt that these sorts of attitudes are confined to Anglicanism and Lutheranism either. I think you underestimate quite how far from authentic Christian faith some sections of Protestantism have drifted, and we're not talking the neo-Protestant sects here either.

James
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 10:34:28 AM »

If nothing else, the Virgin Birth shows that God has the power to do miracles.

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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 10:37:14 AM »



The concept is that original sin passes through the male lineage/seed.  Being of born of a virgin, would mean that the conception would not be brought on by intercourse passing lineage & original sin.


*cough*
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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2013, 10:44:01 AM »

Well, if you inquiring why it matters to our salvation, I suppose it doesn't really matter from the perspective that God could save us in any way that He deemed best.  It does matter though, because if the Church is teaching a falsehood, how could it be trusted?  Likewise, God wouldn't be prevented from saving us if it was the case that Jesus became divine at His baptism, but if that was the case, it casts the whole veracity of our faith and the Church into question because it means that the Church has fallen into error.  God didn't "need" a virgin, but He chose to use one, so we accept it as truth.

And the Orthodox don't believe in original sin, so I wouldn't say that the above argument is accurate from an Orthodox perspective.
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 11:16:03 AM »

Well, if you inquiring why it matters to our salvation, I suppose it doesn't really matter from the perspective that God could save us in any way that He deemed best.  It does matter though, because if the Church is teaching a falsehood, how could it be trusted?  Likewise, God wouldn't be prevented from saving us if it was the case that Jesus became divine at His baptism, but if that was the case, it casts the whole veracity of our faith and the Church into question because it means that the Church has fallen into error.  God didn't "need" a virgin, but He chose to use one, so we accept it as truth.

Exactly. The vigin birth is recorded in Scripture. It's important because it happened.
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« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2013, 01:12:50 PM »

JamesR, I've written about this before and was pretty bashed on here... It's in writings of early Christians, but the Catholic Apologetics Resource Ministry has a good write on it.

http://carm.org/why-wasnt-jesus-born-original-sin

The concept is that original sin passes through the male lineage/seed.  Being of born of a virgin, would mean that the conception would not be brought on by intercourse passing lineage & original sin.

Also to fulfill prophecy.
This would be reasonable, if original sin was true.

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How?
Adoptionism mebbe?
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« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2013, 03:39:09 PM »



The concept is that original sin passes through the male lineage/seed.  Being of born of a virgin, would mean that the conception would not be brought on by intercourse passing lineage & original sin.


*cough*

But we don't accept original sin, at least not in the same way as the west. We only believe that death is passed on--which, Jesus was subject to before He shattered it.
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« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2013, 12:10:37 AM »



The concept is that original sin passes through the male lineage/seed.  Being of born of a virgin, would mean that the conception would not be brought on by intercourse passing lineage & original sin.


*cough*

But we don't accept original sin, at least not in the same way as the west. We only believe that death is passed on--which, Jesus was subject to before He shattered it.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/Original_sin

Under the discussion section "ancestral sin". 

Quote from link: "St Augustine of Hippo -- this is the "evil impulse" of Judaism, and in Orthodoxy, we might say this is our "disordered passion." It isn't only that we are born in death, or in a state of distance from God, but also that we are born with disordered passion within us. Orthodoxy would not describe the human state as one of "total depravity".

In whichever way you'd like to perceive it, as the EO and Jews reject "original sin" as the RC's believe, I've always viewed them one in the same (yeah I know they aren't exactly).  Anyway, you are "born in death/tainted" with ancestral sin from an EO viewpoint.

This was an acceptance of the Jews, passed through male lineage. (ancestral or original sin)

I can only guess this was one reason that Jesus did not have a "death lineage", thus needing to be born of a virgin.

(Also I'm not trying to speak in absolutes, just putting out food for thought here). 
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