The Bible clearly states that Jesus was born of a virgin. And I don't think it would be an overstatement to say that Satan hates the fact of the virgin birth. He hates it because it attests to the divinity of Jesus, and Satan is determined to do everything possible to convince the world that Jesus was just a man.
As an example, consider one of the featured songs contained in the popular Broadway musical and movie called, "Jesus Christ, Superstar." In one of the key scenes in the production, Mary Magdalene sings a song about Jesus while he is sleeping. The words go like this (emphasis added):9
I don't know how to love him.
What to do, how to move him.
I've been changed, yes really changed.
In these past few days, when I've seen myself,
I seem like someone else.
I don't know how to take this.
I don't see why he moves me.
He's a man. He's just a man.
And I've had so many men before,
In very many ways,
He's just one more.
Notice the words, "He's a man, he's just a man." Satan has orchestrated attacks like this on the fact of the virgin birth ever since it was proclaimed to the shepherds in Bethlehem.
Philosophers and scientists scoff at it as nothing but a "childish myth." Jewish leaders, from the earliest of times, have written it off as "a cruel hoax." Saddest of all, many modern day Christian theologians contend that it is "a non-essential legend."
Satan's attacks have been very successful.
Today, the virgin birth is flagrantly denied by professors at many Christian seminaries. In fact, I would venture to say that it is the most ridiculed doctrine in the Christian faith. It is usually dismissed as nothing but a "johnny-come-lately myth" conjured up by a bunch of ignorant shepherds in the First Century.
This observation is supported by polls. In 1998 the Harris group took a poll of over 7,000 clergy in the U.S. and found the following percentages of clergymen denying the virgin birth:10
19% of American Lutheran clergy
34% of American Baptist pastors
44% of Episcopalian priests
49% of Presbyterian ministers
60% of Methodist clergy
79% of Congregational pastors
This unbelief among clergy is taking its toll on the American general public. In 1998, the year the clergy poll was taken, 83% of Americans believed in the virgin birth. Ten years later, that percentage had dropped over 20 points to 61%.11
Still, these polls show that among the general public there is much more faith in God's Word than among the clergy!
Ambivalence in Jesus' Time
The interesting thing is that this ambivalence about the origin of Jesus is nothing new. Even in the time of Jesus, His origin was a matter of ambivalence and constant speculation.
In John 6 we are told that the Jewish leaders scoffed at His claim that He had come from Heaven. They said, "How can you claim that you came from Heaven when we know your mother and father?"
In John 7 we are told that some of the residents of Jerusalem rejected Jesus' claim to be the Messiah because they said, "We know where you came from, but whenever the Messiah comes, no one will know where he came from."
And in John 8 we are told that some of the people accused Jesus of being born of fornication while others claimed he was a half-breed Samaritan.
Another interesting thing is that Jesus Himself revealed the reason for all this ambivalence about His origin. Here's what He had to say about it in Matthew 16:13-17 —
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven."
Note carefully that last verse. Jesus said His divinity had been revealed to Peter by God the Father. The point is that the only way that anyone will ever know the deity of Jesus is by a divine revelation from God. Man will never come to this knowledge through philosophy, theology, or science. It must be revealed.
Man through his own knowledge will always conclude that Jesus was a great scholar, inspired teacher, visionary prophet, moral leader — or whatever.
But Man, reasoning on his own, will always miss the central fact that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. And therefore, man operating in the flesh will always deny the virgin birth because the virgin birth and the deity of Jesus are inseparable.
If Jesus is God, then He must be born of God. He cannot be born of human parents. It is therefore my position that to deny the virgin birth is to deny the deity of Jesus.
For you see, without the virgin birth, Jesus is — in the words of the Broadway musical — "just another man," born with the flawed sin nature inherited by all of us from Adam. And if Jesus is just another man, then you and I have no hope whatsoever. That's why the virgin birth is not a peripheral issue. It is central to the Christian faith.
What are three reasons why the Virgin Birth is essential? Find out in our next installment of this "Truth of the Virgin Birth" series.
9) STL Lyrics, "I Don't Know How To Love Him,"
www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/jesuschristsuperstar/dontknowhowtolovehim.htm, page 1.
10) ReligiousTolerance.org, "Beliefs of Christian Clergy & Public,"
www.religioustolerance.org/virgin_b7.htm, page 1.
11) Wtop.com, "61 Percent Believe in Jesus' Virgin Birth,"