VIRGIN BIRTH Essay Example

  • Category:
    Biology
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Masters
  • Page:
    3
  • Words:
    1889

Abstract

Although many biblical scholars have suggested that the birth of Jesus was strictly a miraculous virgin birth, several scholars have attempted to put the assumption to doubt using various scientific theories and concepts that explain the possibility of parthenogenesis in humans. This paper discusses the question as to whether the birth of Jesus was biological or simply an illogical. Parthenogenesis in humans, animals as well as Tipler’s theory and Tomohiyo’s experiment are explored to explain whether Jesus’s virgin birth was Parthenogenetic (Science of God, 2011). This essay however observes that the virgin birth of Jesus was not Parthenogenetic as the assumption can be explained sufficiently by science as having been a natural process (McElroy, 2010).

Task: Might Jesus been a biological one-in-a-billion like that kid? Not according to Christian belief, which holds that the virgin birth of Jesus was not parthenogenesis, but strictly miraculous and not explainable by science as a natural process. What’s your opinion?

Introduction

In demonstrating the birth of Jesus, Christians believe that Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit while Mary remained a virgin (Luke 1:26-38 and Matthew 1:18-25). Mary is said to have been impregnated by the Holy Spirit while still a virgin. The concept was universally acknowledged in the Christian church from the 2nd Century, and was never challenged until the 18th century, when scientific discoveries of parthenogenetic fertilization were made. Parthenogenesis in itself refers to a form of asexual preproduction where the embryo grows and develops without fertilization (Rougier & Werb, 2001). Today however, it still remains the fundamental article of belief among Christians and the Muslims. This paper argues that there has never been a natural parthenogenetic birth in humans (non-miraculous) and therefore there is no scientific logic that explains the virgin birth of Jesus. To understand the basis of the argument, it is crucial to first understand the meaning of parthenogenesis, parthenogenetic fertilization in humans, parthenogenetic fertilization in the animal kingdom, Tipler’s Theory and Tomohiro’s experiment of mammal parthenogenesis (RJS, 2012).

Parthenogenetic fertilization in humans

parthenogenetic fertilization took place. Even if parthonogenetic fertilization took place, it would be an extra-ordinary case, to the point of defeating the logic in science. In any case, the only documented case was a half- parthenogenetic in 1995 where a child was born with 50 percent of cell consisting of genetic materials derived from the mother, and several normal cells consisting of a DNA from both the father and mother. 2007). According to this argument, since Jesus was male is enough proof that no natural et al,Liu (The males have the XY chromosome, consisting of female chromosome X and male chromosem Y) (parthenogenetic birth in humans. In any case, it is not biologically feasible given the amount of complex errors that would need to take place resulting in a normal ‘fetus” without a father, hence such babies would suffer serious deformities. In any case, the sex of the baby resulting from the parthenogenetic birth would be a female, as the mother lacks the Y chromosome to pass to the offspring Indeed, no discoveries have been made of natural and complete

Parthenogenetic fertilization in the animal kingdom

In biological sense, natural parthenogenesis occurs in the animal kingdom such as among some species of lizards called the New Mexico whiptail lizard (Aspidoscelis neomexicana). Researchers have discovered some species that reproduce without the assistance of the opposite sex (Arakelyan & Danielyan, 2000; Arribas, 1999; Castanet & Smirina, 1990; Fu, 1998).  Virgin birth takes place when an embryo grows an egg that has not been fertilized (Pianka, n.d.). For this to happen, genetic material from the sperm and egg and a series of chemical changes triggered by fertilization must take place (Arnold, 2012; Chung, 2008).

In such parthenogenetic species, egg cells do not experience halving of the chromosomes of the cell into new cells, also known as meiosis (Adams & Davis, 1967). In such species, the offspring are of the female gender and are typically clones of the mother. Other parthenogenetic fertilizations have also been discovered to take place when two egg cells fuse subsequent to fertilization. In both cases however, the offspring are all female (Rougier & Werb, 2001). If this logic is right, then the mystery of the virgin birth of Jesus could be solved if Jesus belonged to the animal kingdom as well as if he was female (Geber, Winston & Handyside, 1995; Heindryckx et al, 2007).

Tipler’s Theory

Frank Tipler, an American scientist, attempted to explain the virgin birth of Jesus. According to him one gene of the Y-Chromosome called the SRY-gene determines whether the offspring will be a male. In some cases (however rare), mutation may cause the SRY-gene to be inactive, hence a female would be produced. In some rare cases also, the XX-individual would not be a female but a male since the SRY-gene became one of the X-chromosome through translocation (Deutsch, 1997). According to Tipler theory, the most sensible explanation of the virgin birth of Jesus was that, Jesus had been an XX-male. The theory however brings the idea of an XX-individual with SRY-gene on one of his X-chromosome in body cells, a condition referred as the ‘SRY-negative Male syndrome.” Although this is feasible in the natural world, the males tend to be sterile. Conversely, the theory has some shortfalls since it is not possible for an XX-individual to develop into a male when there is no translocation to activate the inactive SRY-gene. In addition, despite many scientific researches, the gene has not been found, thus at the present state of speculation, it can only be argued that the SRY negative XX-male is not biologically feasible although it does indeed exist (Salleh, 2004). If Tipler’s theory is given consideration, then the mystery of the virgin birth of Jesus is therefore no longer considered as a question of how a male can come into a being without the male “gene” or SYR-gene, but should simply be set on the “virgin birth” (Sandberge, n.d.)

Tomohiro experiment: Mammal parthenogenesis

Biologically, mammal parthenogenesis has been proved to be feasible. This was discovered in 2004 when Kaguya, a mouse, was conceived through parthenogenesis. The experiment was carried out by Tomohiro Kono, a Japanese scientist (Moore & Ball, 2004). The female Kaguya was produced through fusion of two eggs, where one was manipulated and the other was a normal ovum. This also brings to doubt the questions of whether natural parthenogenesis in mammals. Indeed, it just boils down to the reality that for the fetus and the placenta to develop, particular genes are required from the mother and father. Tomohiro’s experiment however only showed that by manipulating the DNA of the ovum, a healthy offspring can be produced without a father. This again does not explain the virgin birth of Jesus, as strongly believed by the Christians and Muslims. Paranormally, Tomohiyo’s concept of manipulating genes however can support the theological concept that since God is omnipotent, He could have transported Joseph’s (Jesus’ father) sperm cell to Mary via teleportation (psycho-kinesis) (McElroy, 2008).

Conclusion

In conclusion, although parthogenesis is biologically feasible in humans, as a male offspring can be produced without a father, the virgin birth of Jesus still defeats scientific logic. In addition, the assumption is at variance with traditional wisdom, which considers it impossible on biological grounds. Indeed the existence of SRY negative Male syndrome comprises proof for the validity of the assumption. Whereas Tomohiyo’s findings show the father’s role is not necessary (can be redundant), it also implies that the concept of parthenogenesis is not feasible in mammals is untrue. Simply put, parthenogenesis in humans is only possible in principle but not practicable in real life. This supports the premise of this essay that the virgin birth of Jesus remains a mystery (Cibelli , Cunniff & Vrana, 2006).

In Christianity, the Apostle’s Creed explains that Jesus was born virginally is biblically explained in the book or Matthew and Luke, which state that Mary became pregnant with Jesus while still a virgin. The doctrine is termed the ‘virgin birth’, which has been used invariably to support the belief that Jesus’ birth was miraculous, as he had no earthly father. The virgin birth doctrine is not only about biology, as the Christian understanding has often recognized that the birth was a biological miracle. In conclusion therefore, the virgin birth of Jesus cannot be dismissed as having resulted from parthenogenetic fertilization, as the virgin birth cannot be explained away by science as having been a natural process (Science of God, 2011).

References

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Arnold, C. (7 Dec 2012). Virgin Birth In Animals: Parthenogenesis Is No Miracle In Animal Kingdom. Huffingpost. Web. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/27/virgin-birth-in-animals-parthenogenesis_n_2372246.html

Arakelyan, M. S., and F. D. Danielyan. (2000). “Growth and age composition of some parthenogenetic and bisexual species of Armenian Rock Lizards.” Entomological Review 80:161–166.

Arribas, O.  (1999). “Phylogeny and relationships of the Mountain Lizards of Europe and Near East (Archaeolacerta merttens, 1921, sensu lato) and their relationships among the Eurasian lacertid lizards.” Russian Journal of Herpetology 6:1–22.

Castanet, J. & Smirina, E. (1990). “Introduction to the skeletochronological method in amphibians and reptiles.” Annual Record of Science Natural Zoology 4:191–196.

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Fu, J., R. D. MacCulloch, R. W. Murphy, I. S. Darevsky, L. A. Kupriyanova, and F. D. Danielyan. (1998). “The parthenogenetic Rock Lizard Lacerta unisexualis: an example of limited genetic polymorphism.” Journal of Molecular Evolution 46:127–130. 

Geber S., Winston R. & Handyside A. (1995) “Proliferation of blastomeres from biopsied cleavage stage human embryos in vitro: an alternative to blastocyst biopsy for preimplantation diagnosis.” Hum Reprod 10: 1492–1496.

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Liu J., Zhu J., Liang X., Yin S., Ola SI, et al. (2008) “Diploid parthenogenetic embryos adopt a maternal-type methylation pattern on both sets of maternal chromosomes.” Genomics 91: 121–128

McElroy, S., Byrne, J., Chavez, S., Behr, B., Hsueh, A., Westphal, L., Reijo Pera, R. (2010) Parthenogenic Blastocysts Derived from Cumulus-Free In Vitro Matured Human Oocytes. Web. http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0010979

McElroy S., Kee K., Tran N., Menses J., Giudice L., et al. (2008). “Developmental competence of immature and failed/abnormally fertilized human oocytes in nuclear transfer.” Reprod Biomed Online 16: 684–693. 

Moore, T. & Ball, M. (2004). “Kaguya, the first parthenogenetic mammal – engineering triumph or lottery winner?.” Journal of the Society for the Reproduction and Fertility. 146(1)

Pianka, E. (n.d.). Virgin Birth in Human Females?.Web. http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/THOC/VirginBirth.pdf

RJS. (27 Jan 2012). Why Would a Scientist Believe the Virgin Birth? .Patheos. Web. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2012/01/27/what-about-the-virgin-birth-rjs/

Rougier N., & Werb, Z. (2001) Minireview: Parthenogenesis in mammals. Mol Reprod Dev 59: 468–474.

Salleh, A. (22 April 2004). Virgin birth backs dads’ role. ABC. Web. http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2004/04/22/1091904.htm#.Ucq_cDuSA3w

Sandberge, A. (n.d.) My Thoughts And Comments on the Omega Point Theory of Frank J. Tipler. Web. http://www.aleph.se/Trans/Global/Omega/tipler_page.html

Science of God. (2011). God: The Science of Christ and the Unseen. Web. http://www.scienceofgod.eu/chapters/chapter19.htm