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[+] The Virgin Birth
Posted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 6:04 pm
Sam
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I like what Gary said this Sunday in that the cross was evident in the manger - the struggles in both seemed as bookends to the wonderful life of Jesus.

However, I see much more of the uncertainty of God when the virgin birth myth is not the focal point. The presence of God is made that much more real for me this time of year when I think of the anxiety that Mary and Joseph must have felt with everything about to change for them. I think we serve a wonderful God who takes our troubles and human-made issues and over time transforms them into an outlet to see the working of God.

Those who lived in the midst of the Jesus story as it was happening didn't have a virgin birth story to show them the greatness of the person Jesus. They saw his greatness in every step he took. Even when it seem like this greatness ended with a criminal's death, a community was formed around the resurrection story so that his greatness could live on in their lives.

We are lucky to see the meekness of the manger and the cross. But I am reminded of the peace of God when I think of those early believers who by following only the spirit of God cultivated a community and a Christianity in the midst of chaos.

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Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:50 am
Scott Mc
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Quote:
Those who lived in the midst of the Jesus story as it was happening didn't have a virgin birth story to show them the greatness of the person Jesus.


Do you mean that the people didn't have any way of knowing that Mary was a virgin (seems reasonable to me) or that the people had an understanding that Mary was not a virgin at all?

If it is the second, what would be the premises to support the argument that Mary was not a virgin? Also, is part of the argument that Joseph was Jesus' biological/genetic/conventional or whatever you want to call it father?

Side note: is it correct to "say" Jesus' or Jesus's --- Anyone??

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Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:52 am
Scott Mc
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I do want to add that there is so much more to the story of Jesus'/Jesus's life and birth than just the virgin birth. So few verses in scripture are devoted to his birth compared to the rest of his life.

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Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 12:31 pm
Sam
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Thanks for your questions, Scott. You really make me think.

I assume that very few people were aware of Mary's virginity, just as I don't know the status of other people's virginity (this isn't a topic that people discuss openly).

I base my claim of a virgin birth 'myth' on the lack of discussion of this story in the earliest Christian writings. Had the virgin birth story been legitimized during Jesus' life, his credibility would have been heightened.

The only place we see a discussion of a virgin birth are in Matthew and Luke. These gospels weren't written until decades after the death of Jesus, whereas the first gospel, Mark, does not mention a virgin birth. Likewise, Paul, one of the first Christian writers, never mentions a virgin birth as the basis of Jesus' divinity. It was always the death and resurrection that meant the most to Paul. However, a virgin birth may have never been a concern to Paul.

It seems to me, that since the resurrection story spread almost instantly, storytellers soon added a miraculous beginning to go with a miraculous end. As time passed in the first century, Christians saw the world wasn't going to end like a lot of them thought, and they needed to write things down. Jews became less responsive and so the message was taken to the Gentiles. Adding a virgin birth would have gained Jesus accreditation in the Greek world, making him as valid as the gods of the Pagan religions.

Then, the virgin birth was codified in creeds, whose only use was to exclude some from being a part of the community.

I don't know if Mary was literally or actually a virgin, but I do know that virgins don't give birth.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/james_still/virgin_birth.html

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Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2005 12:57 pm
Scott Mc
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Joined: 12 Aug 2004
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Thanks for the clarification Sam.

I think to say that Mark does not make mention of a virgin birth is misleading , because Mark does not mention Jesus'/Jesus's birth at all. I think it could be suggested that Mark didn't think there was anything miraculous about his birth, but I think it could also be reasonably concluded that Mark just wanted to focus on the life of Jesus.

I have to break for a meeting, but here is a research question. I was thinking that idol worship in the Greek mythological tradition had ended by the turn of the century with the onset of the followers of Plato lifting up a different pagan theology related to a unifying "logos" or mind of some kind that people were trying to gain unity with. I don't say this out of authority, but out of dusting some cobwebs out of the back of my brain.

Also, if we accept that there are ANY miracles in the bible, I think we cannot throwout the possibility of a virgin birth based solely on biological possibility. Do you believe any of the accounts of other miracles in the bible to be true?

Later...

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Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 7:58 am
Sam
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Give me a day or two on the miracles thing. Good question...

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Posted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:27 am
Scott Mc
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Joined: 12 Aug 2004
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Location: E Nash




Sounds good. I actually just posted the same question in another thread. I think my vision is getting blurry with the different discussions going on.

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