Friday, August 30, 2019

The Divine Embryo

The Archangel Gabriel appears to Mary

 The cosmic event that shakes our world.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? Luke 1:34 KJV

[Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" Luke 1:34 NAS]

Two translations, the King James Version and the New American Standard, both conveying the same meaning.

Perhaps this statement spoken by Mary and recorded by the Apostle Luke is the most controversial in the New Testament. It seems to be an enigma. Within this short sentence is a challenge to the rational mind and an assault to our understanding of time and space.

The man who would be known first as Jesus and later Lord Christ born to a woman was the Son of God and the King of the Universe. This man who changed the course of history for the last two millennia was the product of a birth by a virgin, a woman who had not had sexual relations. “How can this be…”?

This human event that has never been duplicated continues to fascinate the believer and perplex the atheist. It has taken us over two thousand years of natural history study to finally glimpse the root of this awesome occurrence.

In the last half century the study of human embryos has unwittingly shed light on this mystery of the Virgin Birth. Modern scientist were perhaps the last people who would have wanted to help the world understand the testimony of Mary. More interested in establishing a “Brave New World” than casting light on an ancient conundrum the idea of cellular embryology verifying a Christian truth was not in the mind of the molecular biologist of the XXth Century.

Yet in this field of study we get a glimpse of a deeper truth that surrounds the Virgin Birth. In the 1970’s Dr. Patrick Steptoe and Dr. Robert Edwards introduced the concept of “in vitro fertilization”1 as a fertility aid2.. Their research lead to what is now called the In-Vitro Services Industry (IVF) which is a multi-billion dollar business. Its theory and practices are well understood and used throughout the globe.

By studying this process it became obvious to me that the question asked over two thousand years ago could be part. The embryo that would develop within the womb of Mary was implanted by God. There was no genetic material from her or her (soon to be) husband Joseph involved. The event was complete unique. The blood ties to history were broken. Jesus the Lord Christ was born of a woman as every other human on Earth but had no hereditary linkage to anyone except God.

As this idea developed in me a question was generated. Yes an embryo from outside the body can be successfully implanted into the lining of the womb but where did the embryo come from?

After some further research I found the answer in Luke 1:35, “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.” There the answer was in plain sight. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee...” The embryo was a material manifestation of a Divine entity delivered through the Holy Ghost of God [the Highest] into the uterus of Mary.

That explained the delivery system but still left the big question open of how was the Divine Embryo created. Of course I do not pretend to know the internal process of God. Jacob Boehme tells us about the continuous process of Creation being generated around us so I knew there would be an indication for us to follow3. What I was looking for was in John 1:1-5.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

God creates material objects out of nothing (darkness) through the use of His Divine light (supernatural energy).

I can imagine that even for God the creation of a viable embryo and implanting it in a human womb was perhaps a challenge and that is why it does not seem to happen everyday. Yet in this case the operation went flawlessly.

1“in vitro fertilization”
noun, a specialized technique by which an ovum, especially a human one, is fertilized by sperm outside the body, with the resulting embryo later implanted in the uterus for gestation.

2In this essay by Tian Zhu is a brief history of “in vitro fertilization” and embryo implantation.

3 Jacob Boehme, Aurora: the Day Spring, 1612, transcribed Wayne Kraus, Online Edition, 2:77

*Researchers: You may use this essay as a resource.  Please credit the source.*
David S Reif

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