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Why was Christ born of a Virgin? By Fr. Gabriel Wissa

December 4, 2019

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; One God, Amen Why was Christ born of the Virgin St. Mary? Why did she have to be a virgin? Is marriage dishonorable and that is why she needed to be a virgin? Or, is sexuality within marriage frowned upon? We will tackle all those questions in this video. Marriage is a sacramental gift from God and it mirrors the love within the All-Holy Trinity. Evidently, it is an honorable gift. St. Paul says in Hebrews: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled…” So not only is marriage honorable, the bed is pure.

Sexuality within marriage is an expression of the love between the two spouses. Marriage is, therefore, natural and holy. That is why God created them at the beginning male and female and He also blessed the wedding of Cana of Galilee by His Presence. But why is He born of a virgin then? Was He seeking to avoid a natural human birth derived from a marital sexual union? No, that’s not what is at stake hereIn fact, St. Cyril asked the same question, he said: “…why did the Word, who is God, make a virgin the mother of his own flesh with a conception straight from the Holy Spirit?” Then, he began to answer: “…the Son came, or rather was made man, in order to reconstitute our condition within Himself; first of all in his own holy, wonderful, and truly amazing birth and life.” So, before answering specifically the reason of the virgin birth, he emphasizes, here, a theological truth which could be seen throughout the writings of the Alexandrian Fathers. This truth is that salvation is synonymous with recreation. God was incarnate to recreate us. To heal us. To restore us. This recreation is as needed as the forgiveness of our sinsSo salvation is not only about paying a ransom for our sins, but, it is all the more about recreating humanity and bringing us back to our original stateA state of purity, of wisdom, of true joy, free from sin, reunited with Him through His Holy Spirit within us.   

 

So, the reason Christ was born of a virgin, lived a full human life, was baptized in the Jordan river, was crucified, resurrectedascended to heaven, and sent us His Holy Spirit, wato recreate us. Now, let us go back to the virgin birth. St. Cyril continues and says: “…This was why He himself became the first one to be born of the Holy Spirit (I mean of course after the flesh) so that He could trace a path for grace to come to us. He wanted us to have this intellectual regeneration and spiritual assimilation to himself, who is the true and natural Son, so that we too might be able to call God our Father, and so remain free of corruption as no longer owing our first father, that is Adam, in whom we were corrupted.” So, Christ is born from a virgin to trace a path of grace for us (meaning it is done for our salvation). Since Christ, who is the natural Son of the Father, was born of the Holy Spirit rather than from a human father, us too, when we are baptized, or born again from above through the same Holy Spirit, we become sons and daughters of God the Father. In other words, Christ liberated us from the bondage of being children of the first Adam and, instead, made us children of God the Father through adoption. And He did this shift by avoiding having a father on earth, and by being born, in His humanity, directly from the Holy Spirit instead. So, since He has no share in the humanity of the first Adam, we too, when we are baptized, we will not have any share in the corrupted humanity of the first Adam anymore, but have a share only in the second Adam, who is Christ. As St. Paul says: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And by being in Christ, the natural Son of the Father, we have access to the Fatherhood of God the Father and only then can we say with St. Paul: “[we] received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” This is precisely why, in Matthew 23, He says: “call no man on earth your father.” As we have seen in a previous video entitled “Should you address a priest as ‘father’?” (the link will be in the comments below) that these words were not meant literally but had a greater significance: there is a good fatherhood that is found in God and a bad one that is linked to the first Adam and it is corrupt and outside of God. Also, when He met Mary Magdalene the day of the resurrection, He told her “I am ascending to My Father and your Father.” He is differentiating between our sonship and His Sonship. He says: “I am ascending to My Father” since He is the natural Son of the Father. And then He continues: “…and your Father” because we are the Father’s children through adoption. And, this was possible because of the virgin birth.

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