Jesus’ Birth—How and Why It Happened
“IMPOSSIBLE!” Many non-Christians would say this upon hearing the story about the birth of Jesus. They feel that it is unscientific to believe that a virgin girl could conceive and give birth to a son without the aid of a human father. What do you think?
In 1984, The Times of London published a letter that reasoned on this matter, stating: “It is not logically valid to use science as an argument against miracles. To believe that miracles cannot happen is as much an act of faith as to believe that they can happen.” The letter was signed by 14 professors of science in British universities. They said: “We gladly accept the virgin birth, the Gospel miracles, and the resurrection of Christ as historical events.”
Yet, it is understandable for a person to be puzzled when first exposed to the story of Jesus’ virgin birth. Jesus’ own virgin mother was puzzled when God’s angel said: “Look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus.” In reply, Mary asked: “How is this to be, since I am having no intercourse with a man?” The angel then explained that God would perform this miracle by means of His holy spirit, adding: “With God no declaration will be an impossibility.” (Luke 1:31, 34-37) Surely the One who created the amazing process of human reproduction could also cause the conception and birth of Jesus from a chaste virgin. If God created the universe and its finely tuned laws, he could also use an egg cell from Mary’s ovary to produce a perfect human Son.
Why It Was Necessary
The godly man Joseph was engaged to Mary at the time she conceived. In a dream, God’s angel explained to Joseph the wonderful reason why his virgin fiancée was pregnant. The angel said: “Do not be afraid to take Mary your wife home, for that which has been begotten in her is by holy spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you must call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20, 21) The name Jesus in Hebrew means “Jehovah Is Salvation.” It reminds us of the need for salvation from sin and death and of Jehovah God’s provision for such salvation through Jesus.
Because the first man, Adam, sinned, all his offspring were born imperfect, with a tendency to break God’s laws. (Romans 5:12) How could Adam’s descendants be saved from sin and gain perfection? Another perfect human life, corresponding in value to that of Adam’s, had to be paid to balance the scales of justice. That is why God caused the miraculous birth of the perfect man, Jesus, and that is why Jesus allowed his enemies to put him to death. (John 10:17, 18; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6) After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heavenly life, he could confidently say: “I became dead, but, look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of Hades [mankind’s common grave].”—Revelation 1:18.
With the figurative keys of death and of Hades, Jesus opens the way for sinful humans to regain what Adam lost. Jesus explained: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone that is living and exercises faith in me will never die at all.” (John 11:25, 26) What a wonderful promise! And yet, there is an even greater reason for Jesus’ birth.
The Most Important Reason
Jesus’ conception in Mary’s womb was not the start of his life. “I have come down from heaven,” he clearly stated. (John 6:38) Jesus had lived in the spirit realm with his heavenly Father from the beginning of creation. In fact, the Bible describes him as “the beginning of the creation by God.” (Revelation 3:14) From heaven, Jesus witnessed the rebellion of a wicked angel who turned the first humans against God’s rule. This gave Jesus the most important reason for wanting to be born as a perfect human Son of God. What was that?
It was to prove that his heavenly Father has the right to rule the universe. By remaining faithful from his birth till his death on earth, Jesus demonstrated his willingness to subject himself to Jehovah’s way of ruling His creatures. Before his death at the hands of God’s enemies, Jesus clearly stated the reason for his willingness to go through with the course of sacrificial death. He said that it was in order for the world to know that he loved the Father. (John 14:31) If the first two humans, Adam and Eve, had developed such love, they could have proved faithful under their much easier test.—Genesis 2:15-17.
Jesus’ faithfulness also exposed the wicked angel, Satan, as a liar. Satan had slandered God and man by stating in front of the angels in heaven: “All that a man has he will give up for his life.” (Job 2:1, 4, Tanakh—The Holy Scriptures) Satan wrongly charged that all humans would disobey God to save their lives.
The foregoing issues challenged the righteousness and rightfulness of God’s rulership. To settle them, Jesus was willing to be born as a human and prove himself faithful to death.
Thus, the main reason for Jesus’ birth on earth was, as he himself said, that he “should bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37) He did that by showing in word and in deed that God’s rulership is altogether righteous and that submission to it results in lasting happiness. Jesus also explained that he had come into the world to give his human life as “a ransom in exchange for many,” opening the way for sinful humans to gain perfection and everlasting life. (Mark 10:45) For mankind to grasp these vital matters, a record of Jesus’ birth was necessary. Additionally, events surrounding Jesus’ birth contain other important lessons, as the next article will show.
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How could Adam’s descendants be saved from sin?