To avoid reader 'fatigue', we'll begin our examination of church doctrines with a selection of summaries - virgin birth, trinity, etc...
Matthew and Luke had a compelling reason for compiling their genealogies of Jesus. This reason had absolutely nothing to do with 'virgin birth'!
Except for one important exception, the New Testament was composed in Greek. The Greek-speaking members of the early church very soon outnumbered the small Hebrew sect of the Nazarenes. Thus, as the gospel began to spread, it was preached to many who could not be expected to have an understanding of either Hebrew monotheism or of Hebrew 'messianic' expectations.
Gradually, the teachings about Jesus began to acquire the flavour of Greek and Roman paganism.
Adoration of virginity and virgin-mothers was a feature of the pagan world and their mythologies abounded with virgin goddesses e.g. Athena, Artemis, Hestia, and demigods e.g. Achilles, Perseus, Aeneas.
The introduction of the doctrine of Virgin Birth (Miraculous Incarnation) served a two-fold purpose: firstly, it rendered Jesus more 'acceptable' to those reared on a pagan diet and, secondly, it concealed the 'unpalatable' fact that Jesus of Nazareth was born out of wedlock!
In recent times, knowing they're on shaky ground, many Christian denominations have adopted a 'softly, softly' approach to 'virgin birth'. To deny it, however, is still considered 'heretical' by many.
The Christian churches pretend to have obtained this doctrine from the Bible. As their evidence they quote:
- the Old Testament prophet Isaiah
- the New Testament gospel of Matthew
- the New Testament gospel of Luke
These texts will be examined in detail in future posts. Meanwhile, ponder this...why would Matthew and Luke compile lengthy genealogies of Jesus if all they intended to record was a 'virgin birth'?
to be continued...
Coming up: The 'Virgin Mary' and the Koran