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Out of the Question

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What would our Lord's DNA have shown? [ Answers, 23 December 2005, 13 January 2006]

"I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham" (Matthew 3.9). These are the words of the Lord himself on the question of his human DNA. Thus, in the end, the debate over the Virgin birth as myth or fact is irrelevant. (For the record, I am in the "fact" camp.)

For the Holy Spirit, who sustains all the life-giving dynamics of the universe, is directly responsible for the being of all DNA. Whether God took Christ's from Joseph (either by miracle or by the usual manner) or whether he just whipped it up out of thin air, it just does not matter. Yes, of course, Christ's DNA was fully human, because (perfect divinity notwithstanding) Christ was fully human; that's what unites him to his creation. But this was not down to one method of DNA transfer over against another; for the truth is: God whipped all of our DNA up out of thin air. That's what creation ex nihilo means.

No, Christ and his DNA are human, because God willed it so; indeed, many argue that he made creation in the first place precisely because he had Christ' s presence in mind.
(The Revd Dr) W. C. Ingle-Gillis
Rogiet, Gwent

The Revd John G. Reeves ( 13 January) states that a literal understanding of the Virgin birth smacks of semi-monophysitism. No need for the "semi-" when describing his position, which leaves little room for Christ to be the incarnate Son of God.

The incarnation is a miracle and a mystery. The Christian faith, expressed in the Creeds, which the Anglican Communion accepts without reservation, insists that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father, and born as a human of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.

His full humanity requires human DNA like any other human being, but, unless one wants to discount the miraculous and deny Christ his unique status as true God and true man, there is no reason why part of his DNA must come from a human father.

What exactly that DNA would have shown is a question we simply cannot answer.
Matthew Bemand
Oxford


Your questions

What are the ramifications for a parish if only one or no churchwarden is appointed at the annual parochial church meeting ? D. S.

Does anyone know of the custom that the Prophecies or Old Testament lessons (four or 12, take your pick) after the Exsultet at the Easter vigil are read by women, and why this should be so? R. H.

Address for answers and more questions: questions@churchtimes.co.uk

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