Luke 1: 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. v.29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. v.30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou has found favor with God. v.31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. v. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: v.33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. v.34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? v.35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. v.36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. v.47 For with God nothing shall be impossible. v.38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. v.39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; v.40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. v.41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: v.42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.”
Modern science has revealed to us what happens at conception, and how our physical bodies are formed. We know that we receive 23 chromosomes from our father and 23 from our mother. Our genetic code or DNA is shared equally from both parents. A fascinating bit of science relates to the mitochondrial DNA that our cells contain. This DNA is passed to us maternally, and by using this DNA, forensic scientists are able to trace our parentage through our maternal bloodline. Although we readily admit the ability of God the Creator to create in any way He chooses, we clearly see by the above scriptures coupled with science that Jesus was OF Mary.
It should be noted here that the 18 articles of faith drawn up at Dordrecht, Holland on April 21, 1632, more than 75 years AFTER Menno wrote his thesis, are less specific on this point, stating as follows: “But as to how and in what manner this precious body was prepared, and how the Word became flesh, and He Himself man, in regard to this we content ourselves with the statement pertaining to this matter which the worthy evangelists have left us in their accounts, according to which we confess with all the saints, that He is the Son of the living God, in whom alone consists all our hope, consolation, redemption, and salvation, which we neither may nor must seek in any other.”
We now come to the question of what is gained or lost by our understanding of the incarnation. Is it important? Much is said in scripture about Christ’s shared humanity and the fact that we can share of the divine nature. Therefore we must conclude that it is of great importance. Although this article does not spend much time with how the divine nature is imparted to us, we want to look at a profound truth.
God was present in His son in a spiritual sense. John 14:10 “Believest thou that I am in the Father, and the father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” We want to consider the dwelling place of God. This is important to the incarnation because we see a supernatural being (God) dwelling in a physical or human body (Jesus). To understand this better we will look at how God has manifested or shown His presence throughout history. He has always clearly showed His dwelling place to His people.
In the Garden of Eden God walked in the garden in the cool of the day and spoke with Adam and Eve. He spoke with the patriarchs like Noah, Abraham and Moses so that there was no doubt of His presence. He showed Himself to them in a way they could perceive and understand. He spoke to Moses from a burning bush and from Mount Sinai in a cloud and in a fire. God revealing Himself through fire, cloud and light is referred to by ancient Hebrew writers as “Shekinah.” In Hebrew Shekinah means “Divine Manifestation.,” “Divine Presence,” “Divine Power,” “Glory,” and “Grace,”
He revealed Himself to the Children of Israel in a special and continual way. In Exodus 13:21-22 we read “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”
The pillar of fire and cloud was so prominent that even their neighbors were aware of the fact that God was with them. Numbers 14:14 “And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou LORD art among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.”
to be continued.