Bible Question:

You say that there is historical proof of Jesus. Why is it that after his death there are no contemporary works of his existence? How do you explain the similarities between Jesus and older pagan myths? I have seen a website that says the virgin birth is a myth to lure pagans into Christianity. It is a fascinating argument.

Bible Answer:

The response to your inquiring about the similarities between Jesus and older pagan myths will be broken into two sections:

Historical Proof

Jesus’ contemporaries did write about Jesus. For example, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (AD 37-97) and the Roman governor Pontius Pilate (1 BC – circa AD 37) wrote about Jesus. All of the New Testament writers were contemporaries of Jesus. Even the Jewish holy book called the Talmud has a statement about Him. You can find statements that they made and references to some of their writings at this website.

Virgin Birth

You are correct that there is a website that claims the virgin birth was a myth and claims that that the concept of a virgin birth was created to lure pagans into Christianity. One website claims that the Greek religions invented the concept of a virgin birth and that Christians borrowed the idea from them. Where is the author’s proof? Without proof the website is guilty of slander and being less than scholarly. The author of the website was not present when Jesus’ apostles walked the earth. He was not a contemporary. These other writers were.

It is important to note that the book of Isaiah (740-680 B.C.) predicted that a child would be born by virgin birth about 300-400 years before the rise of the Greek Empire (331 – 146 B.C.) which paralleled the rise of the Greek religions. This is important because the book of Isaiah, which is part of the Old Testament, was written before the Greek and Roman cult religions appeared. Most biblical scholars, conservatives and the vast majority of liberals, agree that Isaiah was written as early as 740 B.C.

As we have already stated, the book of Isaiah introduced the concept of a virgin birth first. Christians did not borrow the concept. God invented the idea of a virgin birth. Listen to these words,

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (NASB) Isaiah 7:14

In fact, the concept of a virgin birth may have been communicated thousands of years before that, since the promise of the future Messiah, Jesus Christ, had been made in Genesis 3:15. Since the Bible does not record everything that occurred or was spoken, the fact that the coming Messiah would be of virgin birth could have been known for thousands of years.

Conclusion:

In short, the book of Isaiah is the first recorded documentary proof the Messiah would be born by virgin birth. Therefore, it is more likely that the Greek religions copied the idea from Isaiah’s ancient prophecies about Jesus Christ than the reverse. The claim that the virgin birth was adopted to lure pagans cannot be supported with historical evidence. Maybe the Greek religions adopted it as a lure!

Reference Links:

Historical Jesus
Prophecies About Jesus' Birth - Born of a Virgin
Is Isaiah 7:14-16 talking about Jesus?