1 June 2003
John 1:14, Luke 1:31, Hebrews 2:14, Matthew 26:38 & Galatians 4:4
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 22. How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.22. How did Christ, the Son of God, become man?
A. Christ, the Son of God, became man by assuming a real body and a reasoning soul. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, who gave birth to Him; yet He was sinless.
1. Was Christ’s birth a voluntary act of Christ?
Yes, it was a voluntary act. He took upon himself the human nature so that he might be fitted to be our Redeemer.
2. Did he assume the nature of a real man?
Yes, he assumed the nature of a real man. He had the two essential parts of a man, possessing a real body of flesh and blood and bones and that of possessing a soul.
3. How can we prove that he had a real body?
The Bible tells us that he is called “Man”. He was subject to hunger, weariness and thirst like other men. He was also crucified, dead and buried and rose again in his body. Luke 24:39 teaches that his was a body, not just mere spirit.
4. How can we prove that he had a soul, a reasonable soul?
The Bible tells us that he had such and that his divine nature did not take the place of, or supply the place of, a soul. Matthew 26:38 teaches that his “soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”
5. Was the birth of Christ like the birth of other men?
No, his birth came about by the miraculous power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
6. Why was Christ born of a virgin?
Christ was born of a virgin in order that he might be conceived and born without sin, that he might be free of the original sin which was passed on to all Adam’s posterity by natural generation.
7. Is it really important that we believe Christ was born of a virgin?
Yes, this is very important. Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield answers these important questions regarding the virgin birth when he says, “It is only in its relation to the New Testament doctrine of redemption that the necessity of the virgin birth of Jesus comes to its full manifestation. For in this Christianity the redemption that is provided is distinctly redemption from sin; and that He might redeem men from sin it certainly was imperative that the Redeemer Himself should not be involved in sin.” Could it be stated in a clearer fashion that the redemptive work of Christ depends upon His virgin birth?