Today I finish up talking about G. C. Berkouwer’s reflection on the Christmas event in his book, The Work of Christ.
There is a real problem with the way popular and theological understandings of the virgin birth have developed. The root of the problem goes to the influence of St. Augustine. Berkouwer quotes Augustine as saying that Jesus was “generated and conceived without any lust or carnal desire and therefore without original sin.” (the quote is for Augustine’s Enchiridion).
Berkouwer points out that even John Calvin denied that this was true. He quotes from Calvin’s Institutes, “We do not hold Christ to be free from all taint merely because he was born of a woman unconnected with a man, but because he was sanctified by the Spirit. . .” This is how Calvin interpreted Luke 1:35 where the angel tells Mary that she will conceive because of the…
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