What if you were to learn that Jesus did not come from a virgin birth—that Mary conceived him just as most of us were conceived? Would that have any affect on your faith? Would it change the way you feel about him?
There are only two references among the four gospels about a virgin birth. It is first mentioned in the book of Matthew, which was written around 80 years after the death of Jesus. As we begin reading the book of Matthew, we are presented with a very long genealogy of Jesus from King David to Joseph, the husband of Mary. This was given to substantiate that Jesus was the Hebrew messiah, born to reign on the throne of David.
However, one has to ask: Why then did the writer of Matthew feel the need to mention genealogy when he then goes on to say that Mary was a virgin and came about through no assistance from Joseph? Theologians say that the original Hebrew word used in the above passage was actually “almah” which meant a young woman—or maiden. It had to do with age rather than virginity.
The other gospel that mentions a virgin birth is Luke. The disciple Luke was Greek and the book itself reflects Greek mythology. There was heavy pagan influence at this time in the early history of Christianity. In Greek mythology, Perseus was born of the virgin Danae. In another Greek myth, Dionysius was born of the virgin Semele, impregnated by Zeus with a lightning bolt.
Because of the few instances in which the virgin birth is mentioned, many theologians believe that it may be something that was added to appeal to the gentiles that the early Christians were trying to convert at the time.
So, how do you feel about this? If Jesus did not come from a virgin birth, does it change your perception of him or your faith?