Unofficial Notes from
International Conferences for Clergy Questions And Answers
ICC - Questions And Answers - Virgin Birth
QUESTION: 1. Was the original sin of Mary forgiven? If yes, when? If no, why?
ANSWER: The Divine Principle makes no comment on the doctrine of the immaculate conception. However, we fully affirm the sinless nature of the birth of Christ, His divine nature, as well as the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in His conception.
QUESTION: 2. Why do you, or Unification Theology, totally ignored or downplay the arrival of the Messiah by conception of the Holy Spirit (God), outside of original sin, an assumption of great significance to many Christians?
ANSWER: The Divine Principle fully affirms the conception of Christ as the work of the Holy Spirit, the birth of Christ as free from the stain of the original sin, and the nature of Christ as divine.
QUESTION: 3. I have read that the Unification Church members believe that Zachariah was the human father of Jesus. Is this true? If not do you believe in the Virgin Birth, that is, that Christ was conceived in Mary (a virgin) by the Holy Spirit?
ANSWER: The theory of Zachariah's parentage of Jesus is not a new theory in theological history, although certainly one of the more controversial ones. This theory was mentioned on a Unification Church publication on comparative theologies written by one of our Church Theologians in which she was comparing various theological views with the view of the Divine Principle. Though she reported on this theory, she was not representing this as the Divine Principle view. The Divine Principle makes no comment on the virgin birth. The Divine Principle, however, does affirm that the conception of Christ was indeed the work of the Holy Spirit and that Jesus was born under complete sinless conditions. The Divine Principle contribution to the issue of Christ's birth is the theory of restoration through indemnity and that the restorational events in the lineage of Jesus are as equally important in effecting sinless birth as is the mode of his conception.
QUESTION: 4. Was Mary the Mother of Jesus a direct descendant of Tamar through one of her sons or was she chosen be a similar divine conceptual experience?
ANSWER: The Divine Principle makes no comment on the Immaculate Conception of Mary. For us, it is enough that Mary was chosen by God to give birth to the Son of God.
We see two lineages of Jesus recorded in the Gospels; one in Matthew and one in Luke. One puzzling aspect or the two lineages is that when they are compared there are marked differences in several areas. The two most noticeable differences is at King David. Matthew's lineage goes from David through Solomon; Luke's lineage goes from David through Nathan. The other marked difference is with Joseph the husband of Mary. Matthew declares that Joseph's father's name was Jacob, while Luke's rendering states that Heli was the father of Joseph. One theory tries to resolve this by suggesting that Heli was in fact the father-in-law of Joseph, and therefore, the father of Mary. If this is so, than Mary would in fact be a direct descendant of Tamar. Though the Divine Principle makes no comment of the birth of Mary, we certainly are not offended by the theory of the immaculate conception and find Mary to be a person worthy of reverence. We also would regard the appearances of Mother Mary (as at Fatima) as wholly valid and significant experiences for all Christians.
QUESTION: 5. If sin is transferred through the lineage of Adam and Eve, how is Christ born without sin from Mary?
ANSWER: Satan needs a condition in order to claim man. That we are the living descendants of the dead Adam is the condition by which satan claims all mankind. 1Cor. 15:22 tells us, in Adam all die. Jesus' birth as the son of God means that satan was unable to exert his claim over Jesus because he had no condition to do so. The nature of Jesus conception is not the only reason that satan had no condition. The whole history of the Old Testament and of the lineage of Jesus is the story of how God liquidated that condition so as to provide, at the right time, a worthy womb which could receive the invocation of the Holy Spirit and produce a sinless son. To understand this requires an in-depth study of the Principle of Restoration through Indemnity, a key component of the Divine Principle revelation.
QUESTION: 6. Was Tamar aware of her role or was she fulfilling the Levitical law?
ANSWER: As this was before the Levite custom was established (Deut. 25), probably Tamar was following a patriarchal custom of her day. It is not conclusive whether or not Tamar is fully aware of her providential role. The actual significance is found in that the spirit of God worked to preserve what, externally, looks like a sordid affair and keep such a record on His Holy Word.
QUESTION: 7. What does the event described in Genesis 38 really mean in terms of our present day relationship?
ANSWER: The providence that unfolded in the lineage of Jesus was not established so as to provide a general guideline for the conduct of personal morality. This was a dispensation that was an exclusive, one time only event, that is: The birth of the sinless Son of God.
QUESTION: 8. How does the Unification Theology on marriage and the place of Tamar in the lineage of Jesus and, thus, the Biblical statements regarding marriage work together?
ANSWER: I'm not sure I understand the question fully, but again, Tamar's conduct is significant with regard to the single purpose of bringing forth the sinless Son of God from a lineage that is in need of cleansing. This in no way becomes relevant to our own responsibility with regard to personal morality.
QUESTION: 9. What is the Unification view on the conception of Jesus?
ANSWER: The Divine Principle makes no comment on the virgin birth of Christ other than that it was the work of the Holy Spirit and that Jesus was born as the sinless Son of God. The Divine Principle , however, does include the conditions in Jesus lineage as also a part of the work of the Holy Spirit that led to the sinless conditions of Jesus birth (such as I touched on in the dispensation centering on Tamar and Judah).
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