In today’s scientific era is it reasonable to believe Mary, a virgin, gave birth to the Son of God, Jesus? Well, it depends. It depends on a decision (or decisions) you’ve likely already made. My argument for the virgin birth is an argument of coherence, or an internal argument. In other words, belief in the virgin birth is absolutely reasonable within a theistic worldview. It is absolutely ridiculous in an atheistic worldview. Miracles don’t happen within an atheistic worldview.
So yes, it is reasonable to believe in the virgin birth, as well as other miracles, if you believe in God. However, this does not mean the virgin birth, or any other miracle, has occurred. The fact that it is reasonable doesn’t mean it happened. It’s reasonable, in a Christian worldview, to believe Jesus will return tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean it is going to happen.
So, what do you base your belief on? My belief in the virgin birth is predicated on a few other beliefs that I think there is a stronger case for. My line of reasoning would go something like this:
- I believe there is very strong evidence that God exists.
- I believe there is good evidence that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead.
- Jesus treated the Bible as the Word of God.
- I believe the Bible is the Word of God and therefore true.
- The Bible claims Jesus was born of a virgin.
- I believe Jesus was born of a virgin.
Like I said, if you don’t believe premise one then of course you don’t believe my conclusion – and I don’t blame you! Some of our beliefs are based on other beliefs. This is true for all worldviews. So long as the beliefs are coherent with one another, they are perfectly reasonable. Of course, if premise one is proven false (i.e. God turns out not to be real) then the whole web of (coherent) beliefs falls apart.
Christians should definitely believe in the virgin birth as it is central to Christ’s later atoning work on the cross for our sins. The fact that he was born of a virgin and “of the Holy Spirit” makes him uniquely qualified to atone for our sins.
Question: If you were alive at the time, and knew for a fact that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth, how would you prove it?
Merry Christmas everyone!