If there’s one thing the pandemic has been showing us it’s how to tell the difference between facts and wild conjecture. Facts are clear, provable evidence based on consensus of peer reviewed data. Wild conjecture, on the other hand, is based on fanciful speculation. It may have a few facts thrown in to make it sound like it’s true (like the Da Vinci Code book), but it’s usually exaggerated and cleverly manipulated to fit an agenda or narrative.
Applying that difference to the virgin birth of Jesus, and it could go either way, right? It can either be proven by facts, or dismissed as wild speculation to fit a Christian narrative and agenda. So, do facts prove it, or is it just another conspiracy cooked up by a religious cult to get attention? A virgin birth? Wow, that’s quite something, when the data of human history and human biology are clear that no such thing is possible.
But let’s assume the Bible version of Jesus’ birth is correct. In which case we’re on the hunt for facts.
So, fact number one: The evidence from Mary herself. When told she was going to give birth to a son, she replied in Luke 1:34, “But how, when I’m a virgin?” And the word “virgin” is backed up in verse 27, which calls her “a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph.” So no husband yet; still a virgin, which is also backed up in Matthew 1:18 which says, “Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together she was found to be with child.”
Fact number two: The evidence of Joseph’s reaction. In Matthew 1:19 he “didn’t want to expose Mary to public disgrace” for being pregnant before she was married. He was ready to break off their engagement too. And he “had no union with her until she gave birth to a son,” verse 25. So no sex with Mary to conceive a child, and no sex with her until after the baby was born. So why take Mary to be his wife at all? Because he believed she was telling the truth.
Fact number three: The evidence from Jesus, who at 12 years old told his human parents who’d been anxiously looking for him in Jerusalem, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2:49. Jesus knew he hadn’t been conceived by a human father. He knew who his birth Father was, and it wasn’t Joseph, it was God.
Fact number four: The evidence of prophecy. Or, as Matthew phrased it in Matthew 1:22-23, “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son….’” Not bad for a 700 year old prediction. But it was also crucial evidence, because this was the sign to Israel that Jesus truly was the Messiah whom God had sent to deliver Israel, and through Israel the whole world, from the damage, the power, and the fear of evil.
Fact number five: The evidence of those who accused Jesus of blasphemy in Mark 14:64, when Jesus admitted he was the “Son of the Blessed one (a Jewish title for God)” in verse 61. Again Jesus is saying he had not been conceived by a human father, but by God exactly as predicted.
Fact number six: The evidence of Christianity, because it wouldn’t have existed if the virgin birth wasn’t true. Jesus’ miraculous birth was proof that he truly was the Son of God he said he was, and therefore what he’d come for would come true.
Fact number seven: The evidence of what Jesus came for as the Son of God coming true in the lives of millions of people, exactly as predicted in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 36:25-27.
All this is based on what the Bible says, yes, but if the Bible can’t be believed, then can any historical book be believed as a source of facts?