Was Mary, mother of Jesus a virgin when she conceived? Well, according to the gospels of Matthew and Luke she was: although, very strangely Mark and John seem not to think so; or even more unlikely, they don’t think it important – because they don’t mention the matter at all.
The gospel of Luke tells of Mary being visited by an angel who told her that she was pregnant. “How can this be?” she wondered, for she had slept with no man.
The holy ghost has come upon thee, she was assured.
Luke tells us that Mary goes to stay with her very old cousin, Elizabeth, who has also conceived. Mary abode with her for three months.
Picture the scene : Mary goes back to husband Joseph noticeably expectant by now. But the problem for him is: they haven’t lain together – he hasn’t had as much as a sniff – and now the little minx stands before him with a bun in the oven.
Matthew tells us: Joseph being a just man, and not wanting to make a fuss, was minded to put her away privily (divorce her). But according to Matthew; guess what? the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, explaining that the Holy Ghost had come upon her.
Interestingly, Jesus makes no such claim in the bible; he never ever says that he was born of a virgin, certainly not to Matthew or Luke.
We don’t hear much from Joseph in the bible. We don’t hear of him and Jesus spending any time together. He just disappears by around the time Jesus reaches twelve. Maybe he thought: each year that passes, this boy grows more and more to resemble my best mate Zacharias – virgin birth my arse – I’m outta her!
So where did Matthew get his facts from? Jesus was around thirty years old when they met; and he didn’t tell him anything about his birth. Matthew wasn’t present watching Mary’s conception was he (we hope not)? Matthew’s gospel was written at least seventy years after the fantasy of the virgin birth; of which he had no knowledge.
The bible’s authors – mere mortal men; decided that their Messiah should have a virgin birth. And why not?: it certainly was nothing new. The ancient world was awash with virgin birth myths, the holy ghost was a very busy spirit.
We have the great god Buddha. We have Zoroaster; conceived by a shaft of light. In Hinduism, we have Krishna; born of the virgin Devaka. In Egyptian myth we have Horus, born of the virgin Isis. The list is endless. Almost everyone believed in virgin birth in those fantastic days: except apparently Jesus, and Mark and John.