Bell on the Virgin Birth of Christ (1)

What if tomorrow someone digs up definitive proof that Jesus had a real, earthly, biological father named Larry, and archaeologists find Larry’s tomb and do DNA samples and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the virgin birth was really just a bit of mythologizing the Gospel writers threw in to appeal to the followers of the Mithra and Dionysian religious cults that were hugely popular at the time of Jesus, whose gods had virgin births? But what if as you study the origin of the word virgin, you discover that the word virgin in the gospel of Matthew actually comes from the book of Isaiah, and then you find out that in the Hebrew language at that time, the word virgin could mean several things. And what if you discover that in the first century being “born of a virgin” also referred to a child whose mother became pregnant the first time she had intercourse?

What if that spring was seriously questioned?

Could a person keep jumping? Could a person still love God, Could you still be a Christian?

Is the way of Jesus still the best possible way to live?

Or does the whole thing fall apart? (Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 26-27)

To those of you who’ve read the book, yes, I know that in the next sentence Bell affirms that he believes in the virgin birth. That’s good. But what he says here is that the virgin birth doesn’t really matter– we don’t lose anything if it turns out not to be true. To begin a response to this question, I’ll just quote the first part of Mark Driscoll’s reply, as only Driscoll could say it.

First of all, Mary said she was a virgin. And if she was really a lying whore, that does change the story. Because if the lying whore raises a young boy who says he’s God, why believe the extravagant claims of the child of a lying whore? Following the Resurrection, Jesus’ own mother Mary was with the disciples, worshiping him as God as part of the early church, and why would we believe the testimony of the resurrection of Jesus from a lying whore? Furthermore, two of the NT books, James and Jude, were written by Jesus’ brothers, and why should we believe the testimony of the other sons of a lying whore?

Secondly, it says that Scripture is lying about Jesus. Let me submit to you that if we lose the testimony of Scripture about Jesus, we lose Jesus. So what do we lose [if we lose the virgin birth]? Jesus. Now I went to public school, and even I know that Jesus is huge for Christianity. (Address at the 2007 Convergent Conference @ SEBTS)

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