Divine DNA – Did Jesus Have the Perfect Genome?
As a physician, when Christians talk about the Virgin Birth, my mind goes to the science of the matter. Is a virgin birth a physical possibility in Homo sapiens? Certainly it has been proven in other species, but my understanding of human genetics makes me believe this is highly doubtful if not impossible, barring divine intervention.
Before I go on, let me say that I do believe in the virgin birth, whether I understand it or not. Some theologians argue that a virgin birth is an unnecessary detail in the story of the Christ, and many religious teachers dismiss all miraculous explanations of Biblical history. Perhaps no miracles are required – the universe is a miracle unto itself. Perhaps God set things rolling then took a hands-off approach. If so, why pray at all? If God does not intervene in the lives of men, then were on our own to muddle by, and prayer merely an irrelevant deception. If its each man for himself, whats the point of morality?
Regarding the virgin birth, why is this detail important?
One answer goes to the question of the perfect genome. Evolutionists say that humanity is physically evolving toward a more perfect level. consequently by definition, Jesus would not have had perfect DNA. Creationists, by contrast, would argue that Adam was produced with a perfect genome which has degraded over the generations. Seeing the state of mankind and the myriad genetic diseases within the population, I favor the latter explanation.
But what about the DNA of Jesus? Did Mary provide his X-chromosome? Did she also provide his Y-chromosome, as those who claim she was a hermaphrodite suggest? Did the Holy Spirit visit Mary and fertilize her ovum with a holy sperm? Or did He supply the complete egg? If so, does this negate the lineage of David?
Did Jesus have perfect DNA? If not, was he truly perfect? Does physical perfection already matter if the spirit within is perfect? If his X-chromosome came from Mary, does that average at the minimum one of her X-chromosomes was perfect? If so, is it nevertheless floating around in the population? If he had perfect DNA, would that matter in a fallen world?
Would Jesus have lived forever if he hadnt been murdered? Was his DNA the same as that of Adam? Would his non-fatal wounds have healed more quickly than ours? Did he ever have a cold or stomach flu? Would his confront show signs of aging? Could his body regenerate new parts, as stem cell research is suggesting may now be possible?
With each question comes another. For myself, I have decided the only logical answer (if one believes in the Virgin Birth, which non-believers would argue is illogical from square one) is that Jesus did have perfect DNA. Since I dont believe Mary was physically perfect, that would suggest the Holy Spirit provided all the genetic material. Alternatively, perhaps God rearranged Marys raw material to generate a perfect genome. Maybe he re-ordered her nucleic acids. Or perhaps he started from scratch, disrupting the order of the universe by creating new matter altogether.
At the end of the day, I just dont know. Shortly before he died, my father claimed he knew nothing – sometimes I think Im heading in the same direction.
But as I enjoy the annual candlelight Christmas Eve service, Ill be pondering the genetics of the Virgin Birth once again. Perhaps one day Ill know the answer to the mystery.
Copyright 2010 Cynthia J. Koelker, MD
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