I recently wrote a small essay on a facebook comment. It was in a Christian blogger group I'm in where someone was fishing for our perspectives on the Christmas story for a "progressive reflection" upon that story, including in his prompt asking if we believed in aspects such as the virgin birth. I went really theological with it and wanted to share it with you:
I'm wondering what you mean by "progressive."
I was a religion minor and a rabbi professor of mine once challenged Christians in his class around Christmas time saying the virgin birth was too preposterous because it was really two miracles: that there was the idea of a virgin conceiving in the first place, but then also that with today's science we know that DNA wise Mary had no Y chromosomes, and yet she had a son, not a daughter. Apparently that there was both the miracle of virgin conception and also the miracle of the creation of a Y chromosome was too much for him. And yet this is supposed to be the God who created all of mankind: no Y chromosome that ever existed was made without Him. Why is it so preposterous for a man who not only believes in that God but dedicated his life to him (as I said, a rabbi professor)? Does faith boggle us if it goes "too far"? Or is it that as Jesus said we are all people of "little faith"?
In another class during my religion studies days I was reading a text by Christian scholars who reported to believe in Christ and yet they were saying obviously there wasn't both a feeding of the 4,000 and a feeding of the 5,000. They said instead there must have been one event but two contradictory accounts so they both got recorded instead of the authors of the NT deciding one over the other... but why? Why would a man capable of the miracle of feeding the 4,000 then *not* be able to feed 5,000 on another occasion? What about that is too hard to believe? If you make the leap of faith to believe it happened once, why is it so hard to have the faith to believe that it happened twice?
I know and believe Jesus said he is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." He is the Truth. He is not a shadow of the Truth or a partial Truth: Jesus is Truth. And so I believe in Him, heart and soul. Why would I put one foot in and say I "kind of" believe in the Christmas story? I do understand it's a huge thing to believe in the gospel and some lack the faith. But once you take that leap of faith to believe in Him who gives Life, well I don't really understand only being "in" for a penny when you can be in for the whole pound.
I believe in Him who was born of a virgin, who died for my sins, who rose again. Who was with God in the beginning and is God and is in me and is with the Father on His throne. I believe in the ability of the Holy Spirit to have preserved the Truth in scripture throughout the centuries and I believe in His ability to illuminate that Truth to me as I read it. If I have the faith to believe in any of it at all, why not assume God to be the all powerful, all loving being He claims to be that such preposterous and wonderful miracles are true?
In fact, if I maintain to believe in Him but not in they who He sent (the writes of the Bible) do I really believe in Him, in His ability to communicate to man, to do miracles in a creation of His own creation? Do I believe in His ability to preserve my soul if I don't believe in His ability to preserve Truth? And if I do believe in a God who is bigger than me, whose thoughts are ever larger than my own and for whose Truths I must abandon leaning on my understanding then who am I to decide what I believe in or not?
When faced with the Truth of who He is, I choose to be His, I choose to believe in Him, not pick and choose what I want any longer but surrender instead to Him I acknowledge as *Lord*. For me that is not a platitude of Old English but an acknowledgement that He is the one in lordship above me, the one with authority to declare what is True, and I do not have the authority to disagree with that, but instead to acknowledge that since He *is* True that what He says is True even when I don't understand it. And in return for that love and humility He has grown my understanding so that the longer I have faith the stronger are my spiritual eyes to understand the nuances and implications of Truths that once were merely words on a page.
I end with a C.S Lewis quote: “The great difficulty is to get modern audiences to realize that you are preaching Christianity solely and simply because you happen to think it true; they always suppose you are preaching it because you like it or think it good for society or something of that sort. Now a clearly maintained distinction between what the Faith actually says and what you would like it to have said or what you understand or what you personally find helpful or think probable, forces your audience to realize that you are tied to your data just as the scientist is tied by the results of the experiments; that you are not just saying what you like. This immediately helps them realize that what is being discussed is a question about objective fact — not gas about ideals and points of view.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I probably went overboard... haha. But it's good to think about such things sometimes.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." -Philippians 4:8