The Strange Science Behind Virgin Birth

The Strange Science Behind Virgin Birth
Matthew 1:18-25King James Version (KJV)

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

This teaching is about the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son. The doctrine of eternal generation has been called into question in the interests of maintaining the Son's absolute, ontological equality with the Father. Yet, ironically, it was this same concern that moved the church fathers to stress the doctrine in the first place. Hilary of Poitiers, commenting on the term "consubstantial" (homoousion) in the Nicene creed, writes: Is not the meaning here of the word consubstantial that the Son is produced of the Father's nature, the essence of the Son having no other origin, and that both, therefore, have one unvarying essence? As the Son's essence has no other origin, we may rightly believe that both are of one essence, since the Son could be begotten with no substance but that derived from the Father's nature which was its source.

What was the exegetical basis of the Early Church doctrine that the Son's nature is derived from the Father? Were the fathers correct in their handling of the biblical data? How should we conceptualize this eternal generation - as a communication of essence, or merely of personal properties?

Traditionally, the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son was supported by an appeal to the five Johannine texts in which Christ is identified as being the only one of His kind (Jn 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; I Jn 4:9). As early as Jerome's Vulgate, this word was understood in the sense of "only begotten" (unigenitus), and the tradition was continued by the KJV Version.

After searching my estimate is that there are approximately 120 such words in the Greek vocabulary. A mere 11% involve meanings related to "kind" (e.g., homogenes means "of the same genus"). The sheer preponderance of the evidence would indicate that being the only one of His kind in the Johannine literature could very well mean "only begotten." At least, it cannot be ruled out on the basis of etymology.

If this meaning is now considered a very live possibility, then an inspection of some of the Johannine texts will render that possibility all the more likely. Being the only one of His kind is used as a substantive: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn 1:14). The NIV completely misses the point ("God the One and Only has made him known"), for it is not the fact that the Son is the only God (as opposed to another god) but the fact that he is begotten of God (and thus truly God) which enables him to make God known. On balance these passages provide strong support for the interpretation "only begotten."

Further support may be marshaled from I John 5:18, which, though it does not use the word, shows that John taught that the Son is begotten of God: "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who is born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him." It seems reasonable to suppose that "the one who is born of God" is the Son of God. It seems likely that John is pointing to the similarity between two sonships - that of the believer and that of Christ. Christ, of course, is the Son by nature, and we are sons by grace. But the point is that the ontological Son of God will protect the adopted sons of God from the evil one

Some have felt that the New Testament interpretation of Psalm 2:7 ("You are my Son; today I have begotten you" - a traditional proof-text) requires that the begetting of the Son be seen as occurring in time - at his resurrection (cp. Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5). However, I would suggest that the historical begetting of the Son (at the resurrection) is organically related to and, in fact, founded upon the eternal begetting. If we take it as a given that the Son was always the Son even before his incarnation, then those passages which speak of the resurrection as the moment when he was "designated (or appointed) the Son of God in power" (Rom. 1:4) cannot be pressed into the service of a conclusion which would contradict the eternality of his sonship.

What do these passages mean, then? My suggested solution is to take note of the request of Christ to his Father: "And now glorify me, Father, in your presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was" (Jn 17:5). There is continuity between the primeval, pre-incarnate glory of the Son and his redemptive historical, resurrection glory.

Having thus seen some of the biblical data which compels us to affirm the eternal generation of the Son, let us examine more carefully what we mean by it. First, it should be obvious that we are using an analogy from human experience to describe something about the eternal, immutable God. Clearly, then, the manner in which a human father begets a son differs significantly from the manner in which the Father begets the Son. For one thing, in human begetting, there is a time when the son does not exist; but in the divine original of which the human begetting is but a pale reflection, there never was a time when the Son did not exist. Furthermore, human begetting involves a mother and a father, whereas the Son is begotten of the Father alone. And a human father's begetting is a free and voluntary act, while the Son's begetting is an eternal and necessary act.

Nor is the Son's generation like a man's from his parent, involving His coming into existence after the Father. Rather He is God's offspring, and since God is eternal and He belongs to God as Son, He exists from all eternity. It is characteristic of men, because of the imperfections of their nature, to beget in time; but God's offspring is eternal, His nature being always perfect.

So with all of these vast differences between human and divine begetting, wherein lies the point? Just as a human father communicates his essence (humanity) to the son, so the Father communicates his essence (deity) to the Son

But is it really? In John 8 (Jesus' claim to that divine name), we read this interesting statement: "So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM. And I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for Jesus expounds I always do what pleases him.'" (vv. 28f). Self-existence and family subordination are compatible, for Jesus seem to expound "I AM" in terms of his being taught of, sent by, and pleasing to his Father? It is clearly his relationship of dependence upon his Father that Christ wishes to highlight.

Origin of essence is not essential to the concept of sonship. Thus, the title "Son of God" and the claim "I and my Father are one" seem to mean the same thing. There is an ontological and not a merely social (or relational) element in Christ's claim to be the Son of God.

Although the Son is from the Father, nevertheless he may be called God-of-himself (autotheos), not with respect to his person, but essence; not relatively as Son (for thus he is from the Father), but absolutely as God inasmuch as he has the divine essence existing from itself and not divided or produced from another essence.

In a word, the generation of the Son, and procession of the Spirit, however mysterious, are unavoidable consequences from two facts. The essence of the Godhead is one; the persons are three. If these are both true, there must be some way, in which the Godhead multiplies its personal modes of subsistence, without multiplying its substance.

This involves something of a paradox: the notion of derived deity. Although this may be perceived as a problem for the view maintained here, several comments can be made to help alleviate the tension. First, let us not forget that this is a paradox embraced within the Nicene Creed itself. The Son's divine essence is from the Father, as the Nicene Creed says,

Second, such language is unavoidable in any sound doctrine of the Trinity. For we do not maintain that there are three divine beings, but one God in three persons. We cannot argue that the three persons of the Godhead each had its own divine essence independently of the other two. The divine essence in which all three share must be underived, if it is to be truly divine.

It is a paradoxical notion that a divine person whose derived deity partakes of the quality of being underived! The Son's divine essence is not from himself, yet that essence is not from another essence but from the Father, such that the Son's essence is from the Father at the same time. Hence, the Son derives the divine attribute of (aseity) refering to the property by which a being exists in and of itself, from itself from the Father! "Just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself" (John 5:26).

Having looked at the exegetical and theological justification of the doctrine of eternal generation, we return to the thought with which we began. Eternal generation, far from detracting from the Son's l equality with the Father, actually provides its most profound logical ground. The original Creed of Nicea (325) appeals to the Johannine being the only one of His kind in support of the Son's being the only one with the Father:

And [I believe] in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father as only begotten, that is, of the substance (ousia) of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father...

The fathers of the Nicaea Creed understood this generation of the Son to involve a communication of the divine essence, for the very next clause reads, "that is, of the ousia of the Father, God of God, etc." Therefore, the fathers of Nicea seem to have believed that the biblical teaching regarding the generation of the Son (pertaining to being the only one of His kind) was powerful evidence that he is of one being with the Father!

John 1:18, which speaks of Christ as "the only begotten God," strongly supports the Nicene position that the Son's being begotten of the Father demonstrates his co-equality and consubstantiality with the Father. Note the context: "No one has ever seen God, but the only begotten God, who is in the Father's bosom, has made him known." How is the incarnate Word able to make the invisible God known? Because he is essentially God (cp. Jn 14:7). John expresses the essential, ontological identity of the Father and the Son by calling the Son "the only begotten God."

And so God Only-begotten (monogenes theos- pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique in kind" ), containing in Himself the form and image of the invisible God, in all things which are properties of God the Father is equal to Him by virtue of the fulness of the true Godhead in Himself.

To conclude, the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son, understood as involving the communication of the divine essence, is not only the historic position of the church, but it is a biblical doctrine essential to an orthodox formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity.

See larger imageThe Watchers (Paperback) By (author): CK Quarterman

One of the most fascinating and interesting ancient texts is the Book of Genesis. The entire Bible rests on its foundation because it forms part of all subsequent inspiration. Genesis is the true account of Divine creative actions and a book of origins of the universe, life and man. It s not myth or the corruption of primitive truth handed down by tradition, but rather the authentic record of fallen angels and giants. Genesis is shrouded in mystery and belongs to the age of pyramids and other great wonders of the world. It is the epoch of a world once destroyed by God's judgment, later recreated, and then again destroyed by a worldwide flood. Genesis provides evidence matching the information found in tales, folklore, and traditions of many cultures around the world. Genesis tells us of a race of Nephilim (giants that were fathered by the Watchers). Strangely and interestingly for our generations, the Lord declares that this conspiracy of evil is to be repeated before His return. Consequently, it is important from the standpoint of both understanding history and our future that we understand the events of Genesis. In this book, the author draws back the curtain concealing some of life's greatest mysteries. He endeavors to place man in his cosmic setting, shows his particular uniqueness, and begins to trace the flow of Divine revelation through space and time. This analysis offers clear and concise answers to every major dilemma within Genesis while staunchly defending the authority of Scripture. It s also a clear exposition of Scripture and has excellent readability. A storm is gathering which will lead to the end of the world as we know it. This culmination will be so terrifying that fear alone will one day cause mens hearts to fail them. We must not approach this coming apocalypse unaware or unarmed. Surprisingly the secrets and clues for our survival are found in Genesis!

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Matisyahu Opens Up About Religious Journey Substance Abuse

Matisyahu Opens Up About Religious Journey Substance Abuse
Formerly Orthodox singer-songwriter Matisyahu (A.K.A. Matthew Paul Miller) has penned a heartfelt, raw, honest essay for Medium about his religious journey, musical development, and struggle with substance abuse-which started when when he was just 14.

"I found company in Bob Marley and his music," writes Matisyahu of his high school years. "I was depressed and alone, feeling misunderstood by kids, coaches, teachers and parents, so I retreated into the confines of my room in the attic with weed and music. I began to search. Summer of junior year I went into the wilderness out west and felt the gnawing gaping hole in my chest more vast then ever, and I began to think about God in relation to the void. Am I alone?"

The answer, he decided, was no. God "was with me always like an all-powerful invisible friend." He became a Phish groupie, experienced homelessness, went into rehab, saw numerous therapists, but still "couldn't seem to get it right." Eventually he fell into Orthodox Judaism, got married, committed himself to his music, and became an alt-rock reggae superstar-and darling of the Hasidic-hipsters the world over. But all was not well. Dissatisfied, he chafed against the restrictions the of movement, until he found his guru-"an anti-establishment renegade Russian therapist/original thinker/Chassidic and Kabalistic creative wiz with a heart of gold and no fingers"-and a shul where he could "scream and sing during prayers and not be judged."

It's a compelling piece of writing, which neatly ties in with the release of his latest single, "Hard Way," from his 2014 album "Akeda" ("binding")-an allusion to the biblical story of the binding and near-sacrifice of Isaac. Read the rest here.

"(Image: Matisyahu performs in Park City, Utah, January 2014. Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty.)"

Wiccan Sabbat Incense Recipes Ostara

Wiccan Sabbat Incense Recipes Ostara

Ostara is also called Eostra, Eostre, Eastur, and Easter. It was orginally celbrated on March 21st or thereabouts, when the Sun entered the Sign of Aries on the Spring Equinox. Ostara is a Lesser Sabbat Day, and marks the height of Season of Spring, which started on Imbolc. However in modern times, this date is now used to mark the beginning of Spring.

This Wiccan Sabbat incense recipe is to be compounded on the day of the Sabbat, preferably in circle. Pound the ingredients together into a rough form or a good powder, depending upon your preference. Consecrate your incense before use, if desired. Focus your will and intent. Store the result in a dark jar, sealed tight. Store somewhere dry.

From Scott Cunningham:

Frankincense: 2 parts

Benzoin: 1 part

Dragon's Blood: 1 part

Nutmeg: 1/2 part

Violet Flowers: 1/2 part

Violet Oil: a few drops

Orange Peel: 1/2 part

Rose Petals: 1/2 part

From unknown source:

Primrose: 1/4 part

Cherry: 1 part

Rose: 1 part

Sandalwood: 1/2 part

Lilac Oil: a few drops

Rose Oil: a few drops

Strawberry Oil: a few drops

From Keith Morgan:

Fennel: 3 parts

Rue: 3 parts

Cinnamon: 4 parts

Red Sandalwood: 5 parts

Rose Oil: 10ml per 8oz of above mixture

Experiment and make your own Wiccan Sabbat incense today!

Spell For Spring Equinox March 20 2012

Spell For Spring Equinox March 20 2012
The Wiccan festival of Spring Equinox will take place on March 20, 2012. Eostre or Ostara was the Goddess of Spring and in ancient times, old fires were extinguished, grates cleaned and new fires were lit. This is the origin of our modern tradition of spring cleaning.

At the Spring or Vernal Equinox, the hours of light and darkness are of equal length. Now is the perfect time to perform spells to find balance in your life or to cleanse your mind, body and home of old, negative influences and replace them with fresh, positive ideals.

Decorate your altar with spring flowers, like crocus, tulips and daffodils and light pastel-coloured candles, like mauve, pink and pale green. Burn lavender incense and use lily of the valley oil.

Celebrate this Wiccan festival by serving a meal with eggs, fresh greens, lamb and barley stew and hot-crossed buns.

My eBook Simple Wiccan Magick Spells & Ritual Ceremony, is an introduction to the Wheel of the Year and contains correspondences, recipes and a spell to find balance in your life.

Blessed be!

(c) 2012, Holly Zurich. All rights reserved.

(c)2012 Simple Wiccan Magick Spells. All Rights Reserved..


Opening Your Heart Affirming And Emotional Balancing Bath

Opening Your Heart Affirming And Emotional Balancing Bath

Opening your heart affirming bath

This bath is for when your heart feels shut down, closed and withdrawn (especially from a lover) but you should know when it's time to reopen your heart to love.

7 drops pure rose oil. Roses have represented love thoughout the centuries in many cultures. The inhalation of their scent brings the feeling of love into the heart, and lifts one out of


3 drops lily of the valley oil Lily of the valley can strengthen the heart and emotions to embrace love without feeling vulnerable.

Optional: Coconut oil.

Mix the lily of the valley and rose oils with a base of coconut oil, and you always have lovely soft skin. I have been doing this for fifteen years and people always comment about the softness of my skin.

Fresh flowers

Pink of aquamarine candles

uplifting music

For this bath I suggest creating a beautiful atmosphere with fresh, fragrant flowers, pink or aquamarine colored candles and uplifting music such as Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Once in the but allow your senses to speak to you eloquently. Inhale the fragrance of the flowers and let them permeate your entire being. Imagine the fragrance circulation within your body starting in your heart and spreading outward until you are completely filled with its essence. Listen carefully to the music and let it's mood flow through you.


I now welcome love into my life unconditionally and joyously

I trust in the powers of love

Practice being in the moment. Feel the heat in your toes, and feel the muscles relax in your feet, and concentrate on how the rest of your body is relaxed as well. Forget the past and the future. Breathe in the now. Let the fragrant oils work their magic and before you know it your faith in life and love will be restored. If you wear a pink

tourmaline crystal over your heart it will help heal the pain that is stored there


For matters of the heart this bath is very healing and soothing. When you have an emotional upset that makes you feel helpless, her is a bath that will heal and deeply soothe your nervous system.

5 drops rose oil

5 drops rosemary oil

5 drops lily of the valley oil

5 drops sandalwood oilcandles

This is a magic combination. Rose opens the heart and lifts your out of depression, lily of the valley gives the heart strength both emotionally and physically. These can be worn together as a perfume on those dog days when life gets you down. Sandalwood calms the nervous system and relaxes the entire body. (And according to the ancients it's the only incense pleasing to all the gods). Rosemary has been

used over the centuries in may rituals to attract love. It has the reputation of being a love stimulator. Before preparing the bath, light some candles and unplug the phone. You can even put a do not disturb sign on the door. Once immersed in the bath concentrate on your breathing and do the emotional bath meditation.

Be aware of your body and your breathing. Feel your heart expand. Imagine there is a prize rosebud in the center of your chest. With your imagination, watch it open slowly and expand, bathing your entire being in loving pink light. Feel the pink light heal your emotions and restore your spirit.

While in the tub inhale the scent of the rosemary and say to yourself

"My relationship with "is filled with harmony, understanding and trust."

While filled with the pink rosebud light, imagine the upset in your relationship dissolving and filling with positive warm feelings of understanding, compassion, and love. This love can be with apartner, parent, child or friend.


General Questions About Wicca And Magick Re Covens

General Questions About Wicca And Magick Re Covens
Have your checked your local library for coven centric witchcraft books? While books aren't going to be as good as getting to know an actual coven, you'll at least get your toes wet if you're curious but can't find a group in your area to contact. "Coven Craft: Witchcraft for Three or More" by Amber K is rather good. It's more for help in creating and running a coven, but is helpful if you're looking to see what goes on on the inside.

If there is a metaphysical shop in your area, try getting to know the workers there and the regular costumers and you might get pointed in the direction of a local coven or other group.

Some of the basic coven functions are for members to get together and study, to celebrate the sabbats and esbats, and/or to raise energy together for magickal workings.

Here are a couple links that might be helpful:

witchcraft-wicca-101-table-contents-t27774.html Living.htm stings.htm

Statistics: Posted by Echo of shadows - Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:08 am


Dear television professionals,

It has come to our attention that there is a remake of the 1960's television show Bewitched in the works. I am sure that you all believe that this is a fail proof plan given the recent success of some other remakes like Hawaii Five-O (which is is due to it featuring sexy men making sexy poses and, oh yeah, crime is involved somehow). If you plan on keeping Bewitched in it's retro time frame, it will ride on the coattails of other stylish shows like Mad Men and Pan Am. I hate to be a party-pooper, but on behalf of the Neo-Pagan community I'm going to let you know that we're dubious.

Perhaps you are not aware of what a history making and vitally important television show this was for us. But first let's start with the name of it's heroine, Samantha. No one is quite sure where Samantha (pronounced "sah-MAN-thah") came from, but it's believed to have been invented in America sometime in the late 1700s. It seems like a pretty good bet that it's a feminine form of Samuel, a Hebrew name meaning "God helps." Also, the suffix -antha is Greek for "flower." In the year before Bewitched aired in 1963, Samantha was a complete obscurity. The original writers of Bewitched knew that this character couldn't have any ordinary name. They were looking for something that was quirky and unusual, and Samantha fit the bill. On 1964, Bewitched premiered on television and the name skyrocketed into a classic almost immediately. It peaked in the 1990s all the way up to #4, and in 2010 it ranked #15.

Around this time, Wicca was just starting to be introduced to America. So although this new movement had been making headlines in the United Kingdom for a decade or so before hand, it had not yet penetrated into the American consciousness. Therefore Bewitched, a comedy about a witch trying to lead the life of a normal suburban housewife, isn't really about Witchcraft. Instead, Samantha embodies the bubbling feminist tensions of the early 1960s while she struggles to be the "perfect" wife by denying who she is.

Nevertheless, the show wound up being eerily prophetic. For example, the first season featured an episode called "The Witches Are Out." In this episode, Samantha and her witch committee are trying to combat negative images associated with witches. Meanwhile, a client of her husband Darrin wants his Halloween candy represented by an ugly, wart-nosed witch. When Samantha stumbles upon Darrin's illustrations, she is shocked and appalled. Darrin doesn't understand her reaction, but changes it to a sexy witch anyways. The client shoots down the idea, but has a change of heart after he is visited during the night by protest-sign-carrying witches. Not only was this one of the first media pieces that presented witches as a minority group, it was one of the first television shows to tackle issues like intolerance and prejudice before it was considered acceptable to do so. A decade later, real Neo-Pagans like Laurie Cabot made headlines for staging similar protests to the one depicted in "The Witches Are Out."

So now I'm going to explain why remaking this show might not be the best idea in the world. If you are going to feature Witchcraft and magick in you're stories it is best if a) the author is incredibly familiar with Neo-Paganism or b) the Witch is a fantasy figure symbolizing something else. I can understand how Neo-Paganism might be rich, virgin territory for television, ripe for exploitation. But, like an actual virgin, once you have us you have no idea what to do with us. This has become abundantly clear in shows like True Blood and The Secret Circle, where there is no clear firewall between fantasy Witches and real Witches. There was no such temptation in the early 1960s.

Don't get me wrong, we really hope you succeed. We hope that you blow all our expectations out of the water and get the tone of the show just right. But we kind of doubt it. We can only hope that you are aware of what a burden of responsibility you will have in attempting to breath new life into our Samantha.

Blessed Be,

The Neo-Pagan community (via Isadora Vega)


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