The Bible says, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost..... Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet saying, 'Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us"'. (Matthew 1:18-23).
The virgin birth of Jesus is a topic of exquisite design. The more comprehensive the study of the work of Jesus, the more fitting the virgin birth appears. How else could the Christ so convincingly demonstrate his kinship with man while retaining his divine nature?
But what is the evidence for believing in the virgin birth? Some have rejected the virgin birth as being an intellectual absurdity. However, there are but two choices as to the nature of the universe: It is the product of impersonal forces, or it is the result of the action of a personal creator. If the first is true, history has no purposeful goal, man is a biological pawn, and morality is purely relative or speculative. Ultimate pessimism must be the outcome. But, if the latter is true, history is going somewhere, man is somebody, and life can be based upon specifics.
Christianity asserts a personal God, who is active in history. Numerous confrontations with archaeology have emphasized the reliability of the Old Testament as being historically valid. The message of the Old Testament was that God would send to man a Redeemer. (Isaiah 9:6) This Redeemer was to be historical rather than a mystical abstraction (Isaiah 53). So it is reasonable to look for historical evidence of his birth.
Luke is the prominent witness for the virgin birth. His statement are pertinent because he possessed the characteristics of honest objectivity necessary to be a competent historian. His writings have met the test of zealous criticism.
"Luke was not only a doctor, and a historian, but he was one of the world's greatest men of letters. He wrote the clearest and the best Greek written in that century..... Since the arguments (for the virgin birth) were sufficient to convince Dr. Luke, we know that we are dealing with no ignorant childish fancy."
Dr. D.M. Blair, Dean of the Medical Faculty at the University of London is quoted as follows: "Luke can be regarded as a competent medical researcher. Luke was a product of the Greek medical school that flourished from the time of Hippocrates to the second century of the Christian era, and is recognized as having been imbued with a true scientific spirit. Diagnosis, in this school, meant logical deduction from careful observation . . . "
A popular objection to the virgin birth is to say that the pagan religions and the mythologies of Greece and Rome contained accounts of supernatural births of their heroes. This objection attempts to convince us that Luke and Matthew borrowed their information and adapted it to 'Suit their views of the birth of Christ.
This theory encounters these difficulties: the accounts of mythology and paganism are not parallel to the Biblical account. All these various stories of supernatural conceptions and births, which we meet within folklore and the history of mythology have this point in common . . . they serve to point not so much to the similarity as to the complete contrast and dissimilarity which exists between the Christian-birth story and the tales which are current in various pagan circles. The story itself, in comparison with all other stories of supernatural births, is one of unique and incomparable beauty. The natural abhorrence of the Jews to Gentile religious concepts makes it extremely unlikely that Matthew, whose account was particularly directed to a Jewish audience, would borrow from pagan sources.
We are thus led to think of the fitness which this mode of birth possessed for introducing into human nature One who was antecedently in more than one sense, "the Son of God". It was eminently appropriate that the human paternity of Joseph should give way to the paternity of God. Surveying the breadth and length and height and depth of the incarnation, must we not say that it would have been unnatural if the birth of the Savior had been natural.