“‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ — which means, ‘God with us’” (Matt. 1:23 NIV).
In an op-ed piece published by the New York Times (August 15, 2003), columnist Nicholas Kristof used the virgin birth of Jesus to shamelessly promote the Enlightenment’s false dichotomy between faith and reason. In his words, “The faith in the Virgin Birth reflects the way American Christianity is becoming less intellectual and more mystical over time.” Kristof ends his piece with the following patronizing comment: “The heart is a wonderful organ, but so is the brain.” Those who have a truly open mind, however, should resist rejecting the virgin birth before examining the evidence for it.
Several lines of evidence support the miracle of the virgin birth (technically it should be called the virgin conception). First, miracles are not only possible, but they are necessary in order to make sense of the universe in which we live. According to modern science, the universe not only had a beginning, but it is unfathomably fine tuned to support life. Not only so, but the origin of life, information in the genetic code, irreducible complexity in biological systems, and the phenomenon of the human mind pose intractable difficulties for merely natural explanations. Reason, therefore, forces us to look beyond the natural world to a supernatural Designer who periodically intervenes in the affairs of His created handiwork. In other words, if we are willing to believe that God created the heavens and the earth (Gen.1:1), we should have no problem accepting the virgin birth.
Furthermore, reason and evidence compel us to acknowledge that the Bible is divine rather than human in origin. Manuscript evidence, archaeology, predictive prophecy, and the science of statistical probability together provide a persuasive case for the reliability of Scripture; thus, we may legitimately appeal to the Word of God as evidence for the virgin birth. Christ, moreover, who demonstrated that He was God in human flesh through the undeniable fact of His resurrection, pronounced the Scriptures infallible (John10:35; 14:24–26; 15:26–27; 16:13; Heb. 1:1–2). If Christ concurs with the biblical record, therefore, no one should have the temerity to contradict its claims.
Finally, while it is currently popular to suggest that the Gospel writers borrowed the virgin birth motif from pagan mythology, the facts say otherwise. Stories of gods having sexual intercourse with women — such as the sun god Apollo becoming a snake and impregnating the mother of Augustus Caesar — hardly parallel the virgin birth account in the Gospels. Moreover, given the strict monotheistic worldview of New Testament authors, it should stretch credulity beyond the breaking point to suppose they borrowed from pagan mythologies, especially myths extolling the sexual exploits of pagan gods! It has become all too common for people to buy into what has been well described as “a unique brand of fundamentalism” — a skepticism that values rhetoric and emotion over reason and evidence. Those who suppose that the virgin birth is mythological would be well advised to carefully consider defensible arguments rather than uncritically swallowing dogmatic assertions.
— Hank Hanegraaff
For further study, see R. Douglas Geivett and Gary R. Habermas, eds., In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God’s Action in History (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997).
We in the United States are in a heated presidential election. When the political temperature rises so does name-calling, character assassination, and confrontation. Even committed Christ-followers, unfortunately, get caught up in the partisan political whirlwind of the moment and join in the fight. We as Christians should seriously engage in the ongoing debate in the political public square, but in doing so we must demonstrate a citizenship seasoned by God’s wisdom and love.
The title of this article is based on Jesus’ question in Mark8:36, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (NIV). Over the years, I have watched many Christians zealously become active in partisan politics and actually “lose their souls”; that is, they lose their public, uniquely Christian witness, act contrary to the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and become divisive agents within the church.
On today’s Bible Answer Man broadcast, Hank discusses the issue raised by skeptics that Christians are irrational because we believe in a God we cannot see. In reality, says Hank, it’s irrational for someone to suppose that what cannot be seen doesn’t exist. After all, Christians and skeptics alike recognize such things as electrons, or the laws of logic, or the force of gravity—all of which are unseen. The order and complexity of the universe testify to the existence of an uncaused first cause. The more you contemplate the grandeur of the universe in which we reside, the more we are brought in touch with the glory and the grandeur of the invisible God who made himself known in time and space through the visible Jesus Christ.
Hank also answers the following questions:
Are we meant to keep the Sabbath, or is it no longer under the law?
I feel ripped between Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Roman Catholicism and I’m not sure which one to stick with. Can you advise me?
I am having trouble trusting God; I read about His love, but I don’t feel it personally. Do you have any wisdom on the nature of God as it relates to me?All Sermons by Hank Hanegraaff