Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Fact, or Fiction? -- Peter A. Black
In the midst of the flood of seasonal holiday jingles and Christmas carols, sweet lines float in the air, many of them extolling the virtues of the Virgin Mother and Child. They pass though our heads from one ear to the other, but do they engage our thoughts and cause the significance of the words to touch our hearts?
Away from bright mall lights and decorative illuminations of main street, however, thought is given to the Virgin Mother and Child. Christmas inevitably brings the conception and birth of Christ into focus. Whether it happened the way the Bible says is a rather controversial issue in some theological circles.
It is not at all surprising to me that some people who make no claim of being Christian believers, treat as incredulous, the biblical claim that Jesus Christ was conceived in and born of a virgin by a specific act of God, without human sexual relations. What might be considered surprising is that numerous ministers and theologians also disbelieve that account as written. Most often they would hold to a liberal view of the biblical scriptures.
Such a view typically considers that the Scriptures contain creatively written accounts of historical events with elements of fact mixed with myth or legend, which provide allegorical or metaphorical explanations of events.
The approach tends to suggest that God – if He exists – teaches us, through the Scriptures, lessons about the realm of spirituality and the spiritual nature of human beings. The Scriptures certainly do teach those things.
Conservative Christians, on the other hand, more often hold the view that the Bible, in its original manuscripts, was completely free from error, and comprised the actual Word of God. And also, that the collective testimony of the large body of ancient manuscript copies still available to us, comprises God’s Word. The Bible, when faithfully translated from the manuscripts and correctly applied, still speaks to us as God’s Word.
Some scholars, holding the first view mentioned, accept the statements from Matthew and Luke’s gospels, about Jesus’s being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a young Jewish virgin, as a myth imported from the mythologies of other cultures.
The other view holds that the teaching is true and that a divine conception was necessary in order for the Christ Child to be born completely untainted by original sin and free of a sin nature.
But why? Because His earthly mission was to live a life of perfect purity and obedience to the will of God, qualifying Him to give His life up to death on the Cross as the perfect sacrifice to redeem us from our sins – the crowning task of His earthly mission.
What a wonderful story! The biblical account of Jesus’ birth is given so beautifully. A transparent purity is naturally fitting – in a supernatural way – to the bringing of the Saviour and Redeemer into the world.
I don’t find it incredulous at all. Why would the Divine Creator not put this significant part of His plan into action in a miraculous way? Don’t you love it?
Here are the first and last verses of Silent Night:
Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon Virgin Mother and Child,
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, Love’s pure light,
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.
Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children's / family book." Another edition of the above article will be published in his weekly column in the December 13, 2012 issue of The Watford Guide-Advocate. His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario.
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