Question: Was The Virgin Conception Of Jesus Necessary?

Answer: The virgin birth is an important doctrine. This is because the Bible teaches that this is the way that Jesus became human. However, there is a related question, “Was the virgin birth necessary?” Some argue that is was absolutely necessary. Others point out that there are a number of ways that Jesus could have come into the world apart from the virgin birth. They include the following.

1.    He Could Have Come To Earth Fully Grown

There is the possibility that Jesus could have come to earth as a grown man. However, if God the Father had decided to send Jesus to earth in this manner, He would not have predicted in the Old Testament that the Messiah would have been from David’s family. If this had happened, He would not have had any human parents.

Consequently, He would have bypassed all the experiences that humans have until adulthood.  Thus He could not really identify with humanity. While it is theoretically possible Jesus could have come to earth in this manner, it would not have allowed Him to experience humanity as the rest of us. For all intents and purposes this does not seem to be a real option.

2.    He Could Have Come As A Result Of Normal Conception

There is also the argument that Jesus could have come about through normal conceptions. This assumes that Jesus could have been sinless without being conceived by a virgin. Those who argue this way say that the Bible never clearly states that sin is transferred merely by conception. Therefore, Joseph could have been the actual father of Jesus without passing along a sin nature to Jesus.

Yet if this were the case then some sort of miracle would have had to have occurred from keeping Jesus from inheriting a sinful nature like the rest of us. Thus, some miracle was necessary for Christ to born into our world with a sinless nature.

Whatever the case may be, we know that the God the Father decided to send Jesus into the world by means of a virgin conception. Indeed, Scripture is clear that Joseph was not His biological father.

Therefore, any speculation about how God may have accomplished it some other way is really a waste of time. The virgin conception is the way in which God the Father chose to bring God the Son to us.

Summary To Question 32: Was The Virgin Conception Necessary?

Some have argued that the virgin birth, while true, was not absolutely necessary. It is claimed that Jesus could have entered into our world in one of two other ways.

It is argued that God could have sent Jesus into the world as a grown man. This would bypass the need for the virgin conception.

However, if this were the case then the Lord would not have specified the genealogy or family line of the Messiah in a number of Old Testament predictions. Indeed, people such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David were promised that the Messiah would be one of their physical descendants. If Jesus entered as a grown man, then none of these predictions would have taken place.

Furthermore, if Jesus did enter into the world as a grown man He would not have been able to personally identify with each of us who have to go through the process of growing up. Consequently, there would be many human experiences with which He could not sympathize with us.

In addition, the Bible seems to teach that our sin nature is passed on through conception. While this is not specifically taught, it does seem to be inferred. Even if this is not how the sin nature is transferred to each of us, it would still have been necessary for some miracle to take place to bring Jesus into our world as a sinless human being.

However, there is really not much to gain from speculating as to the different ways in which God might have sent Jesus into the world. The Scripture is clear. Jesus was conceived in a supernatural way without the aid of a human father.

This question is from our forthcoming book “Who Is Jesus Christ?”


Don Stewart is an internationally recognized Christian apologist and speaker. He graduated cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary and the International Seminar in Theology and Law in Strasbourg, France, as well as from Biola University. Don is also a best-selling and award-winning author/co-author of over seventy books. [ read more ]


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