Baby Zygote, Take 2

Posted by Matt Postiff December 29, 2011 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology 

An esteemed theology professor contacted me with some concerns about my previous post. In particular, he questioned what I was saying about the beliefs of the believers at the Institute for Creation Research. It seemed that I should make a couple of clarifications.

What the ICR video was doing was rehearsing Henry Morris's special creation view of the virgin birth:

The Necessity of Special Creation

Therefore, even though He was nurtured in Mary's womb for nine months and born without her ever knowing a man, it was also necessary for all this to have been preceded by supernatural intervention, to prevent His receiving any actual genetic inheritance through her. The body growing in Mary's womb must have been specially created in full perfection, and placed there by the Holy Spirit, in order for it to be free of inherent sin damage. Christ would still be "made of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Romans 1:3), because His body was nurtured and born of Mary, who was herself of the seed of David. He would still be the Son of Man, sharing all universal human experience from conception to death, except sin. He is truly "the seed of the woman" (Genesis 3:15), His body formed neither of the seed of the man nor the egg of the woman, but grown from a unique Seed planted in the woman's body by God Himself.

That is, God directly formed a body for the second Adam just as He had for the first Adam (Genesis 2:7). This was nothing less than a miracle of creation, capable of accomplishment only by the Creator Himself. "That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).

The special creation view says that there is no "actual genetic inheritance" from Mary to Jesus. This is the main point to which I objected in my previous post. I believe that there is a real, organic connection between Jesus and Mary so that Jesus is a son of Adam, a son of Abraham, a son of David, a human being in the line of Davidic kings.

But I also listed three other objections. The first one was as follows:

First, it [the video] does not make clear that Joseph had absolutely no role in the parentage of Jesus. He was a bystander in that sense. Jesus was conceived and born of a virgin.

In this first objection, I did not intend to suggest that ICR denies the virgin birth by including the involvement of Joseph. I understand that the believers at ICR do indeed champion the virgin birth and it seems obvious that they do deny any procreative involvement of Joseph. That said, my intention was to critique the special creation view by referring to the words used in the video. The video said:

While Joseph and Mary were his earthly parents, the Bible says that Jesus was God's only begotten Son.

To the theologically uninformed viewer of the video, to say that Jesus' earthly parents were Mary and Joseph leaves just a little bit to be desired. They were his earthly parents, but did not come to be so through the normal earthly means. The video, unfortunately, does not make explicit that Mary was a virgin, and I believe that it would have been better if it had.

I could eliminate this objection, but maybe I should rather reword it: "The video should make clear that Jesus was born of a virgin and that Joseph was his adoptive father." There is no question that the late Henry Morris and the ICR folks believe this proposition. But it gets lost in the video's scientific discussion of zygotes and all the rest.

My third objection included this sentence:

They have no Biblical warrant to talk about a fully formed zygote with no connection to Mary or Joseph.

Now, it is true that ICR has Biblical warrant to talk about the lack of connection to Joseph, but my point was not to suggest that they were implying a connection there. Rather, the point was again to use their own words and say that, on the whole, they have no warrant to talk about the virgin birth like that. The mention of zygotes, and the idea that there is absolutely no connection to Mary, seems to go beyond what the Bible teaches.

So, I still would like to see ICR revise the video. They could say something like this:

"But what about Jesus? The Bible says that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. Joseph was the adoptive father of Jesus, but God was His real Father. Since Jesus had to be sinless in order to die for our sins, the only thing He inherited from Mary was His human-ness. The Spirit of God ensured that, concerning His connection with Mary and the human nature and body that He received, that none of these contaminated Him with sin. This humanity added alongside His deity rendered Him the perfect God-man. Because of His connection to Mary, He could be a real human with a real connection to Adam, Abraham, David, and the Jewish nation from which He came. Jesus thus "inherits" characteristics from both God and Mary and has a resemblance to both God and humanity. His birth was a miraculous and unique event in history. And so we can celebrate Christmas knowing that our creator and savior arrived by miraculous means to live a miraculous life and accomplish a miraculous purpose."

Hopefully all this wordiness does not make things worse! --MAP

© 2004-2018 Fellowship Bible Church | 2775 Bedford Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 | 734-971-2837 | Privacy Policy | Sitemap

Home | Connect | Learn | Grow | Community | Bible | Members

Facebook  Twitter  YouTube  Google Plus