Did God Seduce Mary?
Recently we received an e-mail at Apologetics Press from a skeptic who accused God of breaking one of His own commandments. The skeptic cited Exodus 20:17, which is the final commandment in the list of the Ten Commandments, that states: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” The skeptic then stated that “God most certainly wronged Joseph when He seduced Mary, the betrothed of Joseph.” Did God violate His own laws of morality when the Holy Spirit came upon Mary so that she conceived Jesus? Not in any way.
First, it must be stated emphatically that there was no sexual seduction of any kind involved in the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb. In fact, that is just the point of the miraculous, virgin birth of Christ. Hundreds of years before Christ was conceived in the flesh, the prophet Isaiah had stated: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear and Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The New Testament writers stressed the fact that Mary was a virgin when Christ was conceived (Matthew 1:23). When the angel announced to Mary that she would conceive a child, she said: “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” Mary’s response makes it clear that there was no seduction involved. Instead, it was a miraculous conception that had nothing to do with sexual intercourse. Mary remained a virgin until after giving birth to Jesus, at which time Mary and her husband Joseph came together in marital relations and conceived several other children (Pinedo, 2009).
Notice the skeptic attempts to lump Jehovah God in with the grotesquely immoral pagan gods whose seductions and sexual perversions fill the pages of ancient mythology. Zeus, the “father of the gods” was a mythological deity whose sexual appetite and rapine seductions were all too well known. During some of his more infamous escapades he seduced Europa by turning himself into a white bull, running off with her on his back, and ravishing her on the isle of Crete. He had an affair with Io and then turned her into a heifer. He seduced Semele and eventually killed her by showing her his full, godly glory. These are but a few of Zeus’ “conquests” (Hunt, n.d).
Only the most prejudiced reader would attempt to relate the conception of Jesus to the seductions perpetrated by the pagans gods. In the historical account of Jesus’ conception there is no contact by God in any type of physical form with Mary. Mary was completely aware of how babies are normally conceived, yet she stressed the fact that she had been involved in no physical, sexual activity that would bring about pregnancy. The biblical text emphatically states that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and gave birth to Jesus. Mary was not seduced, violated, ravished, or involved in any sexual way with Jehovah. In a miraculous event that had nothing to do with sexual seduction, the Holy Spirit “came upon her” (Luke 1:35), and brought about the conception of the Messiah. The skeptic has no legitimate grounds to accuse Jehovah God of immorality in His interaction with Mary. Such an accusation truly reveals more about what is in the sinful heart of the skeptic than it does about God’s character.
Hunt, J.M, (No date), “Zeus Lovers,” http://edweb.sdsu.edu/people/bdodge/scaffold/gg/zeuslover.html.
Pinedo, Moisés (2009), “Was Mary a Virgin Her Whole Life?,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=105&article=2665.