Mary’s pregnancy was not a normal situation, for it did not result from natural means. It was miraculous—like salvation! And God initiated it with a promise so that he could then accomplish it by his power. The Bible is full of miraculous stories. If you’re going to isolate a biblical miracle and say, “That didn’t happen,” then how long will it be before you’re getting rid of other miracles too? As Christian readers of the Bible, we should embrace the reality of the miraculous. There is a God, and he does wonders.
God’s acts are purposeful. If the Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit overshadowed the womb of the virgin Mary so that she conceived and bore a son, we should reflect on reasons for this virginal conception.
First, there seems to be a connection between the virginal conception of Jesus and the sinlessness of Jesus.
Exactly how that connection exists is debated. According to the angel Gabriel’s words in Luke 1:35, “the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”
The human nature of Jesus is without corruption, without sin, like Adam’s nature when God created him in Genesis 2. The sinless and uncorrupted nature of Jesus is important to the New Testament authors (see Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22), and it’s normal to wonder about an explanation for this teaching. The doctrine of the virgin birth has explanatory power for the sinless nature of Jesus.
The language of Luke 1:35 doesn’t mean that sin is only biologically transmitted through a human father. Mary was a sinner with a sinful nature. However, the work of the Holy Spirit ensured that the human nature of Jesus in the womb of Mary was holy and without corruption.
Second, the virginal conception ensures that Jesus was not born “in Adam.”
This second point builds on the first. Because the conception in Mary’s womb was not the result of intercourse between a man and a woman, the lack of a human father seems significant. In fact, no conception in the history of humanity had occurred in the manner of Luke 1:35.
Something distinct was evident in Jesus’s birth. He was not born “in Adam” like we were. Everyone before us had descended from Adam and “in Adam.” But Jesus was not “in Adam,” spiritually speaking.
Jesus was a new Adam.
Third, the virginal conception brings together both deity and humanity.
According to the angel’s words to Mary in Luke 1:26–38, Jesus is the “Son of God” (1:35). And, at the same time, Jesus is someone who will be born—and offspring are born. The virginal conception invites us to reflect on the presence of true deity and true humanity.