In the gospels, it is declared that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20-25, Luke 1:34-35). In original Christianity, Jesus was declared to be the "Son of God" simply because he was born of a virgin:
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God. (Luke 1:35).This is the first mention of the phrase "Son of God." Christianity would later become corrupted by later traditions which declared that Jesus was a Son of God "born from eternity." But original Christianity was simple: Jesus was the Son of God because He was born of a virgin. There was no concept of a tri-personal God whatsoever. The true faith of Christianity is a faith in Jesus Christ alone, no other.
So, this brings us to the question: why was Jesus born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit? Many Christians believe this, but why did Jesus have to be born this way?
THE SOUL IS FROM THE SEED OF THE FATHER
In the 18th century Emanuel Swedenborg received numerous heavenly revelations. He was also a brilliant scientist estimated to have an IQ over 200, but his knowledge was limited to the science of his day. An interesting answer was given as to why Jesus was born of a virgin: the soul of the body originates from the seed of the father. The ovum of the mother simply provides the body. This is similar to what Aristotle had said in his work on biology (see the article on Generation of Animals). Swedenborg declares this in several passages:
"...the soul is from the father and the body from the mother; for the soul is in the seed of the father, and it is clothed with a body in the mother; or, what is the same, all the spiritual that man has is from the father, and all the material is from the mother." (True Christian Religion, n. 92)And another:
"From his father a man receives all that is internal, his soul itself or life being out of the father; but he receives from his mother all that is external. In a word, the inner man, or the spirit itself, is from the father; but the outer man, or the body itself, is from the mother; which every one can comprehend merely from this, that the soul is itself implanted from the father, and this begins to clothe itself in a little bodily form in the ovule. Whatever is afterwards added, whether in the ovule or in the womb, is of the mother; for it has no increase from anywhere else." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1815)Moreover, Swedenborg specifically declares that he received this particular information by revelation:
"...I will add this arcanum. The soul which is from the father is the man himself, and the body which is from the mother is not the man in itself, but is from him. The body is only a covering of the soul, composed of such things as are of the natural world; but the soul is of such things as are in the spiritual world" (True Christian Religion, n. 103).The word "arcanum" means secret and Swedenborg only uses this word for something that was revealed from heaven. From this, it is revealed that the soul of Jesus Christ was Divine. In his lower state of humiliation he prayed to the Father as another person, but in His glorified state He acknowledged that the Father was inside Him. He said this because the "Father and Son" is simply the relationship between the soul and body in Jesus Christ. Jesus had to be born of a virgin as this was the only way God Himself could descend and assume a human form to communicate with us directly.
EVIDENCE FROM MODERN BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE
An obvious problem arises with the above explanation as it appears to disagree with the our modern scientific knowledge on genetics. The seed of the father contributes 23 chromosomes and the ovum of the mother contributes another 23 chromosomes, and both merge to form the first cell which then rapidly divides to form a human and each pair forms the physical characteristics of the body. While Swedenborg does say the internal soul arises from the seed of the father, and the external body from the mother, in other passages he states that descendants do acquire physical characteristics from their father (see True Christian Religion, n. 103).
As for the soul, or life, it originates from spiritual influx into the seed and ovum (see Heavenly Arcana, n. 4322, Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 204), and thus the seed is merely a receptacle of life from spiritual influx (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 220, 269, 310, 315, 344). Also, the soul is composed of a spiritual substance that does not interact with light:
"What is man's beginning or primitive form in the womb after conception, no one can know, because it cannot be seen; and also it is of spiritual substance which substance is not visible by natural light" (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 432)The soul is thus something invisible, outside of space, which acts upon the natural form of the sperm. Sperm or semen happens to have an unusual property: sperm carries electrical charge. From Does sperm have an electrical charge? -
Sperm can actually have different electric charges depending on their chromosome status, whether they are X (+ve charge) or Y (-ve charge). The sperm of infertile men frequently have an isoelectric point (neither + or -) set consistently higher compared to fertile men.Not only does sperm carry electric charge, its positive if its female and negative if its male. Also, it was shown to Swedenborg that one's sex is intrinsic to the soul and does not change in the afterlife (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 32). Thus it is quite possible that the spiritual influx of the soul manifests in the sperm as electric charge, especially since infertile sperm do not have electric charge. What is interesting is that this association of positive charge with the female and negative charge with the male corresponds to the atom: the protons which form the nucleus (similar to the ovum) have positive charge while the electrons which orbit it (similar to the sperm that wish to fertilize the ovum) have negative charge:
Swedenborg was shown that this male/female duality pervades all of creation, even in its natural dead forms, and yet he had no idea about the science of any of this.
So what about the electric charge in the ovum from the female? Now for another interesting surprise. From Baby Gender Selection - Scientific Review -
the ovule membrane has an alternating charge which draws or rejects an X (girl) or Y(boy) sperm chromosome. This alternation of polarity occurs on a predictable cycle for each mammal, a woman having polarity periods of between 1 to 10 days per month and 70 days per year for each different polarity. The ovum membrane's alternating polarity is nature's way of selecting sperm with different gender determining chromosomes.Swedenborg constantly said that our internal soul is from the seed of the father, while our external form is from the mother. And this corresponds perfectly with how the sperm fertilizes the ovum (this was unknown to Swedenborg), where the electric charge of the sperm will become internal to the ovum. The electric charge of the ovum is in the membrane, the external portion of the cell. Electric charge plays a large role in our biology, and the study of it is known as bioelectricity:
bioelectricity refers to the regulation of cell, tissue, and organ-level patterning and behavior as the result of endogenous electrically-mediated signaling. Cells and tissues of all types use ion fluxes to communicate electrically. The charge carrier in bioelectricity is the ion (charged atom), and an electric current and field is generated whenever a net ion flux occur. Endogenous electric currents and fields, ion fluxes, and differences in resting potential across tissues comprise an ancient and highly conserved communicating and signaling system. It functions alongside (in series and in parallel to) biochemical factors, transcriptional networks, and other physical forces to regulate the cell behavior and large-scale patterning during embryogenesis, regeneration, cancer, and many other processes.Swedenborg was shown that there is a spiritual influx of the soul into the body, which pervades the entire body and acts upon it:
"the soul flows into the human mind, and through this into the body, and carries life with it, which it continually receives from the Lord, and thus transfers it mediately into the body, where by the closest union it makes the body as it were to live" (Interaction between the Soul and Body, n. 12)It is my opinion that the effect of the spiritual influx of the soul into the body is observable in terms of electric charge and fields in the body, which begins at conception and ends upon our death. These recent discoveries in biology is in line with Swedenborg's revelations concerning the origin of the soul and spiritual influx into the body. The Latin word for "influx" corresponds perfectly with electro-magnetic fields that pervade our body, a field known as bioelectricity. Research continues in this area, especially in regards to cancer treatment.
MODERN SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE ON THE VIRGIN BIRTH
While many reject the testimony of the virgin birth in the gospels, there is some scientific evidence that may explain how this occurred. Virgin births do in fact occur in the animal kingdom and this is known as Parthenogenesis. However, the offspring will always be female as the X chromosome from the female ovum is duplicated. In combination with this fact, it is now known that some women are born with a Y chromosome. This is a genetic defect, and normally the female's sexual organs do not develop properly. However there is a case of a girl who has a Y chromosome who has normal sexual organs - see Girl with Y chromosome sheds light on maleness.
So what happened with Mary? We won't know for sure, but my opinion is that the Holy Spirit of the Divine acted upon the ovum causing it to divide, and this particular ovum happened to carry a Y chromosome causing the birth of Jesus Christ. This was a unique event. It implies that Mary was otherwise infertile, as women with a Y chromosome normally cannot reproduce. This could have led to the early tradition of the perpetual virginity of Mary, despite the fact that the New Testament does mention the brothers and sisters of Jesus. Another early tradition states that the brothers and sisters of the Lord were children that Joseph had by a prior marriage.
The Gospels of Matthew and Luke contain two genealogies of Jesus, and one theory is that Matthew contains the genealogy through Joseph and Luke contains the genealogy of Mary who like Joseph was also a descendant of David. If Mary carried a Y chromosome, this would also fulfill the Old Testament prophecies that the Messiah would be born of the "seed of David" (see also Rom. 1:3, 2 Tim. 2:8).
THE THEOLOGY OF THE VIRGIN BIRTH
So why was Jesus born of a virgin? As Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and as the Divine is One, Jesus is in fact Jehovah Himself in human form:
"Every man's internal is from his father, and his external from his mother; or what is the same thing, the soul itself is from the father, and the body with which the soul is clothed is from the mother. The soul and the body together still make a one; for the soul is the body's, and the body is the soul's; they are therefore inseparable. The Lord's internal was from the Father, and thus was the Father Himself." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2005)
"The Divine Itself which is the Esse of all things was in the Lord alone, for He was conceived of Jehovah; and every man has from his father the esse of his life, which is called his soul. Hence it is evident that the Divine good of the Divine love was in the Human of the Lord, as the soul of a father in a son. And because with man nothing lives but his soul, for the body without the soul does not live, and because everything of the body is produced from the soul, thus to the image of it, in order that the soul may be in adequate condition and adapted to functions in the ultimates of order, which are in the world, it hence follows that the Esse itself in the Human of the Lord was Jehovah, which is the Divine good of the Divine love" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10125.2)
"So was it in the Lord as to His Human; yet concerning His Human it cannot be said that it was regenerated, but that it was glorified, for His inmost, which with man is called the soul from the father, was the Divine Itself, as He was conceived of Jehovah." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 10052.2)
"Whence is the soul of a son but from the father? and whence is his body, but from the mother? We speak of the Divine of the Father, and mean the Father Himself, since He and His Divine are the same; this also is one and indivisible. That it is so, is evident also from these words of the angel Gabriel to Mary: The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, and the Holy Spirit come upon thee, and the Holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God; and just above He is called the Son of the Highest, and elsewhere, the only-begotten Son" (True Christian Religion, n. 112)
In the course of His life, the Divine within Him fought against all of hell by being tempted through the human body that had been inherited from the human mother. And this is why Jesus rose from the dead, for He emerged victorious against the power of hell and had shed off His external human form and became a Divine Human, derived from the soul within Him, who is Jehovah Himself.