From there, Meacham goes into how the virgin birth was a cause of ridicule in the early church times since people thought poorly of Christianity for it. He then introduces the claim that maybe Jesus was born to Mary and Panthera, a soldier. The account continues that Jesus picked up magic tricks in Egypt that he then used to proclaim to be God. He recounts a gospel passage in John that speaks of the belief that Jesus was illegitimate. This would, Meacham explains, make the virgin birth a good cover story for Joseph having a child with Mary before they were married or covering up for an affair. Meacham then goes on to say that Matthew and John did a lot of work of attaching biblical prophecy to Jesus, taking passages from the Old Testament to authenticate the birth.
It is certain that Jesus virgin birth would be ridiculed and attacked– hey, 2000 years and this author is still doing it. This would have been a problem even more for the Israelites of their day. They certainly didn’t have human cloning, and their history was such that the last time a person came from another without physical relations between a man and a woman was at Creation– God created Adam and then Eve from his rib. If God could do that, He could certainly have a virgin birth.
McDowell states that the Panthera solution was around at the time of Jesus life– since there were altered genealogical records. We know that there were extensive records until AD 70, and that Matthew used some in generating his record at the beginning of Matthew. Thinking realistically, why would any religious leader of the time want to have a virgin birth in the records to make Jesus look like the Messiah? Even despite that, there are many records– some of which I have written before– where people refer to him as the son of Mary, not the son of Joseph. It seems that if someone could have found a father, they would have.
It seems interesting to me that he thinks the virgin birth makes a good cover story for either Joseph and Mary having physical relations before they were married or for Mary having an affair. If it was a good story, how many other people could have tried it? Certainly, without a vision from Gabriel, we read that Joseph was ready to divorce her. But then again, it seems that Meacham considers all biblical accounts made up since there were no eye witnesses– something that I debunked a couple of posts ago.
Meacham’s arguments are falling apart and getting more and more obscure as he has for his basis a faulty premise. I mean, one doesn’t need to think that Jesus’ birth needed help of created editing on Matthew and John’s part if Jesus really fulfills those prophecies!