Let’s be honest, the virgin-birth is ridiculous sounding. It’s not believable. However, when you look at the bible in its totality, from start to finish, it fits so perfectly in the narrative as a whole. There are some especially cool parallels between creation and the incarnation. God loves to revisit themes and Scripture brings them out consistently if we look closely enough.
Now, let me put my cards on the table. I believe that God created the entire universe. To me, the simplest reading of Genesis is that God created the world in 6 literal days. More than anything else, I am an exegete. That means I study Scripture in order to discover the original intended purpose of the passage. As best I can, I try to let God’s Word speak for itself without any of my own preconceived ideas messing up the interpretation. So the phrase, “there was morning and there was evening” seems to explicitly describe a 24-hour day. Are there some complications to that belief? Yep. Do I have answers to the most common objections? Sure do. Are there Christian (like real, Born-again Believers) that believe differently from me? Of course there are. Do I like to ask myself questions and then answer them? Obviously.
There are several “biblical” theories that all center around some sort of evolutionary creationism (the idea that God started everything and then “guided” His creation through evolution.) Can the Bible be interpreted to encompass such theories? Yeah, I guess so. It certainly would not be the most “straight-forward” interpretation, but not impossible. Such Christians find the “evidence” of evolution compelling enough to try to mesh it with the Biblical account. I personally do not find anything compelling enough to alter the plain-and-simple statements that Genesis 1 makes. I believe that God created an “adult” universe, meaning everything in this universe had the appearance of age. He made trees and not seeds. He made fish and not caviar. He made a grown-up Adam, and not a little baby fetus Adam. Adam is clearly the most important and unique of God’s creation, and I would argue, that theologically, my evolution-loving brothers and sisters need to adjust their anthropology (study of mankind.) If God did not create man specifically and intentionally in His image then the rest of Scripture is thrown out-of-whack on the way it talks about mankind and Jesus (the 2nd Adam).
Since we’re shooting straight with each other, I believe that God became a man during the incarnation. The incarnation is specifically the event where God intersects with his creation and literally becomes a human being. God the Son has always existed but He became human the moment Mary conceived Him in her womb. I believe that Jesus is fully God and fully Human. There is nothing about Him that isn’t God. Whatever it “means” to be God, Jesus is that. He definitely “emptied” Himself as it says in Phil 2:7. I just don’t believe that means “setting aside His deity” as some have suggested, but rather He added the limitations of humanity. If He’s truly God, He is powerful enough to do that. Likewise, Jesus was/is fully Human. He’s biologically human, emotionally human, psychologically human, and even spiritually human. Some people think of Jesus as a man on the outside and God on the inside, like some sort of jelly donut or Gusher. But that would fail to live-up to the standard of fully God and fully Human. He’s not half-and-half; He’s whole-and-whole.
Now that all the preliminaries are out of the way, let’s get into the fun stuff. The parallels between the creation at the start and the incarnation at Christmas:
Breath and Spirit
God created everything with just His Words until it came time to create mankind. He formed him from the dust of the earth and then breathed life into him (Gen 2:7). From this moment, God’s “breath” put into mankind a living “spirit.” Even the Greek word for “breath” is the exact same as the word for “spirit.” So when Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and conceive in her womb a Son (Luke 1:35), this is essentially the parallel to how the first Adam was created. The breath of God brought him human life, and in the second Adam, Jesus, the Spirit of God brought Him the same human life.
Unity between God and Man
God had a perfect relationship with His creation. There was nothing separating them. They were in perfect communion. But then, Adam sinned and he and Eve hid from God. The union was broken because of man’s sin. That kind of intimate fellowship could not be matched until the incarnation. Jesus is the actual bridge between God and man. He could literally connect the two because He is both (1 Tim 2:5.)
Image of God
In Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let us make man in Our image, in our likeness.” Now, I have lots of ideas on what that means, but don’t fully know its extent. I think humans get a shadow of everything that God has. I feel confident in saying that one aspect is that God gave us an eternal soul, a reflection of his all-existent eternality. God has complete intelligence, power, and will; and we have shadows of them. God has holy emotions, senses, creativity, and love; and we have a likeness of all of them. What God has in infinite supply and in perfection, we humans have incomplete and imperfect. Jesus, however, completes the circle of the image of God. First, man was made in the image of God; then God was made in the image of man. Circle complete.
Every human is connected through Adam. We are all human because of him. We all are related because of him. We all have a sin nature because of him (thanks a lot Super-Great-Grandad). Jesus makes a new branch off that family tree. Jesus is human because of His mother Mary and thus is connected to humanity as a whole, but he doesn’t have a human father. His Father is God. We are the same thing as our father, and Jesus is the same thing as His Father. So Jesus also creates a separate lineage. His lineage is not a biological one, but a spiritual one, because God is a Spirit. All Christians are connected through Christ. We are all Born-again because of Him. We are all sons of God because of Him. Our old nature is gone, and our new nature is formed – a new nature in the image of our spiritual father – the sinless Jesus. C.S. Lewis put it this way, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God.”
A Matter of Life and Death
Adam was made Good – not neutral, but Good. He was designed to live forever. But then he sinned and deserved death and was kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Yet God in His infinite mercy only condemned him to physical death, but all his descendants would face the same punishment. Jesus is Good – He is God, thus He is Good. He already had eternal life and it was His to keep. It was in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus chose to leave and face physical death. God in His infinite judgment poured out His wrath on Jesus to pay for the sins of all mankind, and it brought Him physical death. But not even death could stop Jesus for He rose from the dead, defeating the undefeated champ. Thus all of Christ’s “descendants” will get to share in the same life that Christ earned on the cross. In Adam, we all died, and in Christ we can all live (Romans 5.)
Christmas is just another birthday celebration if we don’t see it as a universe-altering event. The incarnation makes perfect sense actually when compared with the rest of Scripture. If the virgin-birth really happened then the rest is not only true, but reasonable in comparison.