When a modern writer says, “We should not now, h priori, expect that the Incarnate Logos would be born without a human father,"+ we may reply that we are hardly in a position to expect anything a priori in the matter; but when once we have learnt that this Incarnate Logos was to be the Second Head of the human race—the sinless Son of Man—and that in Him humanity was to make a fresh start, it is indeed difficult to see how this could be without the miracle of the Virgin-Birth.
— * Liddon, Christmas Sermons, p. 97. + See Contentio Veritatis, p. 88. —
I should like to say, in conclusion, that I cannot disguise my conviction that just as in the early days we find no denial of the Virgin-Birth except among those who denied and objected to the principle of the Incarnation (on the ground, apparently, of the essential evil of matter), so, conversely, that the attempt now being made (or the suggestion put forward) to separate the Incarnation and the Virgin-Birth will prove to be an impossibility. Once reject the tradition of the Virgin-Birth, and the Incarnation will go with it. For a few years, indeed, men will use the old language, the word “Incarnation” will be on their lips; but it will be found before long that by that term they do not mean God manifest in human flesh, but they mean a man born naturally of human parents, who most clearly manifested to men the Christian idea of a perfect human character. Such a conception as this brings no solace to human hearts. No saint, however great, could be our Saviour; no saint could have atoned for sin; and assuredly no saint could be to any of us the source of our new life—the well-spring and fountain of Divine grace.
The word for “the Virgin” in the Hebrew text is ha-almah. It is an ambiguous word, and does not necessarily imply, though it certainly does not necessarily exclude, the idea of virginity. Etymologically it means puella nubilis—a maiden of marriageable age.