Skeptics of the virgin birth have been around since the church age began. Tragically though, it’s no longer just the unbelieving world that fails to accept the biblical account of Christ’s origin. The scientific age and the emergence of modern and postmodern theologies during the past two centuries have eroded many professed believers’ confidence in the reality of the virgin birth. The following is a commentary I received today:

“The Messiah promised in the Hebrew Scriptures must necessarily be "of the Seed of David" and that the introduction of the virgin birth by the Gospel writers alone was reason enough for any knowledgeable Jew to reject Jesus as the Messiah described in the Hebrew Scriptures and oral traditions. The genealogies of Joseph found in Matthew and Luke, which incidentally contradicted each other, were totally irrelevant since Joseph was not, according to the Christian Scriptures own words, Jesus' father any way.”

While this is somewhat true, it is not sufficient for a conclusion. In the eyes of the law of the time, Joseph was the father. More than just a legal guardian, by later taking Mary as his wife, he also claimed Jesus as his son. This gave him a standing in relation to the child that, in the eyes of the Jews at least, must be accounted for. The fact that he was himself of the line of David would put many doubts about the validity of Jesus' claims to rest. The excuse that there was no blood relation would have been overshadowed by the fact that he was the lawful father and not himself of the prophesied linage. Knowing that Joseph was himself of the line of David makes Jesus the rightful legal heir to the throne of David even though he wasn't biologically related to his earthly father.

However the other idea that many scholars agree on is that the record found in Luke is actually a trace of Mary's family tree, the one in Matthew is Joseph’s. It wasn't common to trace the maternal side because a woman’s genealogy was not often considered, but then again the virgin birth was hardly a normal occurrence. This would mean we have both the paternal and maternal genealogies and all the bases are covered.

Can a person reject the Virgin Birth and still be a Christian? The answer is no. However, we cannot expect the world to accept the fact of Christ’s virgin birth. Some people see it as a nonessential point, or treat it as mythology. It is neither. Although the church has not always been careful to guard this precious truth, it is the foundation of everything Christmas stands for. A woman wrote scoffing at the whole premise today:

“Is anyone going to mention the fact that there is no such thing as a virgin birth? Unless some freak of nature event occurred where Mary had both sex organs in her body or she had artificial insemination then for the love of all sanity who can say they believe in virgin birth? Honestly, this is the 21st century kindly step into it. And for the love of decency leave women's bodies out of this mess.”

Regardless of the biblical account that is sufficient, the virgin birth is not at all impossible. Although rare, Parthenogenetic reproduction could occur among human females yet remain unnoticed. A number of rare events would have to occur in close succession, and the chances of these all happening are virtually zero, but not impossible. Parthenogenesis in humans may seem far-fetched, but 50 years ago no-one suspected that parthenogenesis could occur in any vertebrate: now all-female species have been documented in fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds (all major orders of vertebrates except mammals).

For a virgin to get pregnant, one of her eggs would have to produce, on its own, the biochemical changes indicative of fertilization, and then divide abnormally to compensate for the lack of sperm DNA. That's the easy part: These two events occur in the eggs or egg precursor cells of one out of every few thousand women. These two genetic deletions might each have a one in 1 billion chance of occurring, and that's not counting the calcium spike and division problem required to initiate parthenogenesis in the first place. How difficult would it be then, for the Creator to choose a maiden and initiate such a biological event, coupled with the empowerment of Himself as the surrogate Father?

No other detail in the Christmas story is more important than the virgin birth. The virgin birth must have happened exactly the way Scripture says. Otherwise, Christianity has no point at all. If Jesus is simply the illegitimate child of Mary’s infidelity, or even if He is the child of Joseph’s natural marital union with Mary, He is not God. If He is not God, His claims are lies. If His claims are lies, His salvation is a hoax. And if His salvation is a hoax, we are all still dead in our sins.

Sowing doubts about the reliability of God’s Word is one of Satan’s favorite pastimes. His typical strategy is to try to make some small but foundational element of a great truth appear insignificant, then ridicule it and call it into question. If he can get people to doubt or deny the smallest foundational truth, he can eventually destroy the entire superstructure. If we doubt even one point of biblical truth, we open the door to denial and unbelief of it all.