By RAVI ZACHARIAS
In the book”Jesus Among Other Gods” RAVI ZACHARIAS address the
"In a world with so many religions, why Jesus?"
In the following excerpt, Ravi Zacharias addresses the conception and the purity
You will find that this is just the beginning of his argument for choosing Jesus
in a world with so many religions.
Conception without Consummation
If Jesus had no beginning, then His very birth must explain how He could be
"born" and yet not have a beginning. The virgin birth of Jesus most
certainly addresses that.
When one is searching for evidence to confirm a startling claim, it is necessary
to look for some other source that gives credence to it, even though it would
not be in its own best interests to do so. The virgin birth is certainly in
that realm, both for those who experienced it and for those inimical to the
gospel. For Mary herself to claim such an outlandish conception would have been
to not only risk her own life, but also to have put Jesus' life at risk.
Though I have quoted this numerous times before, I would like to repeat it here.
The popular talk-show host Larry King was once asked whom he would choose,
if he had the choice to interview one person across history. Larry King replied
that he would like to interview Jesus Christ and that he would ask Him just
one question: "Are You indeed virgin born?" "The answer to that
question," said King, "would explain history for me."
Larry King is right. The virgin birth at the very least points to a world unbound
by sheer naturalism. The claim is lofty, but think it through even in its original
and early context. Jesus' virgin birth was claimed while giving it the clear
possibility of being verified along many lines.
Of any influential life that you have witnessed or studied, ask yourself how
this person would justify a virgin birth and an eternal existence, if such an
assertion were being made. This would be a particularly significant question
if it had been predicted before the person was born. How do you perfectly fit
together prophecy-in fact, hundreds of prophecies-and its fulfillment? For Jesus'
antagonists, it would have been easy to measure, generation by generation, whether
this claim to be the Messiah could possibly have withstood the scholars' scrutiny
and the Scriptures' test. That is why the genealogies were far more important
for the early disciples than the furniture in the house.
Apart from Mary and Joseph, consider the testimonies of Zacharias the priest
and his wife, Elizabeth (the parents of John the Baptizer), for whom it would
have been natural not to want their son to play "second fiddle" to
a cousin, especially a younger cousin. In a culture rife with power and position,
where the home bespoke volumes, shame would not be the path of choice for anyone.
Had the virgin birth not been true, to assert its truth was the path of cultural
ostracism, if not suicide, for all of them. For Elizabeth to lose her son, John,
to the sword of Herod and for Mary to be told by the angel that a sword would
pierce through her heart would not have been desired by any mother. Mary, Joseph,
Zacharias, Elizabeth, John, and then the disciples risked everything for this
But even beyond the Hebrew disposition and the family's claim, possibly the
most astounding affirmation of the virgin birth comes from one religion that
for centuries has attempted to stand against the Christian gospel, Islam. Even
the Koran, written six hundred years after Jesus, affirmed His virgin birth
(see Surah 19.19-21). This would serve Islam no self-glorifying purpose.
Here, then, is the man from Nazareth, who claimed that His origin was from
heaven and that His Father is none other than God Himself-a Son not born out
of physical consummation nor out of a need for communion, but the consummate
expression of God in the flesh, in eternal communion with the Father.
His birth was not by natural means. This cannot be said of Mohammed, Krishna,
or Buddha. Islam, while defending the virgin birth, denies that Jesus was the
Son of God. It has, therefore, never been able to break free from a contradiction
of its own making on the matter of Jesus' sonship. Its assertion that it is
blasphemous to suggest that God could have a Son is based on their notion that
sexual union is necessary for a child to be born, and of course, that would
demean God. So there is a half-truth here, with an ironic twist for a religion
whose founding prophet had numerous sexual unions, all, they claim, instigated
by God. But that aside, if they have already granted the virgin birth, then
they have acknowledged that God, in His infinite power, can initiate life without
In the beginning, communion and the power to give life existed in God Himself.
In His infinite being, relationship was intrinsic, without the fleshly prerequisite
of physical consummation. God, who is Spirit, is, in fact, Being-in-relationship.
In Christ, the Word became flesh. He alone, who dwelt in eternity, could consecrate
the flesh while differentiating between the inherent power of creation and the
bestowed power of procreation, even as He transcended the means by which we
A Life without Blemish
But there was a second way in which Jesus proved His absolute and eternal existence.
His life has always been regarded as the purest that has ever been lived. On
numerous occasions, His antagonists were challenged to bring some contrary proof
against Him. They were never able to besmirch His pristine life. He challenged
His adversaries to lay any charge of sin at His feet. As we progress in this
book, we will see how hard they tried.
By contrast, no other individual has ever elicited such accolades. By their
own admission, this includes Mohammed, Buddha, and Krishna. Their lives and
their struggles are recorded within their own scriptures.
Throughout the Muslim world today the belief is held that all of the prophets
were sinless. One marvels at this doctrine, as it was never a view of the prophets
presented in the Old Testament nor is it evident in their own scriptures.
The shortcomings of two of the most renowned and respected prophets in Islam,
Abraham and Moses, are plainly stated in the Koran. For example in Surah 28,16
Moses asked for forgiveness after slaying the Egyptian. In Surah 26,82 Abraham
asked for forgiveness on the Day of Judgment. The word used here, which Muslims
translate as "fault" rather than "sin," is the same word
that in other contexts they translate as "sin."
In Surahs 47 and 48, Mohammed himself was told to ask for forgiveness for sin,
once again translated as "faults" rather than "sin." Again,
the word that is used in Surah 47,19 is the same word that is translated as
"sin" in Surah 12,29, where it is applied to Potiphar's wife in her
attempted seduction of Joseph. Numerous linguists see this attempt to bypass
what is really being said as nothing short of the development of a tradition
so that Mohammed's life did not suffer in contrast to Jesus'.
There is great diversity in the attempts to explain this away. But what is a
"fault" that needs forgiving? Is it something that ought to be a certain
way but is not? Is it a thought that was entertained in error?
There is much more that can be said by way of contrast between the lives of
Mohammed and Jesus. Mohammed's marriages to eleven wives have been a fascinating
subject for Muslim scholars to explain. Whatever else a marriage does or does
not prove, it clearly establishes the gradual need to die to one's self so that
the two can become one. It is a process of failing and picking up, never one
of perfection. But even if one were to grant all of the strained explanations
for Mohammed's practices, included in which is the embarrassing Koranic description
of heaven as "wine and women" (Surah 78.32ff, which Muslims dismiss
as metaphorical), there is never even a hint in the life of Jesus that He was
ever driven by sensuality or needed to seek forgiveness for anything. Jesus
alone emerges as the spotless One, untainted by any error of omission or commission.
It should also be noted that this contrast is not only evident in the way Jesus
and Mohammed lived, but also in the way they understood their call. So different
is this sense of origin and call that, by Islam's own accounts, when Mohammed
first claimed to have received revelations, he was confused and not sure what
it meant. It was others who told him that this could be the voice of God speaking
to him. Jesus, on the other hand, knew exactly who He was and from whence He
Hinduism is not exempt from this scrutiny. The playfulness of Krishna and his
exploits with the milkmaids in the Bhagavad-Gita is frankly an embarrassment
to many Hindu scholars.
How does Buddha measure up against the standard of personal purity that Jesus
set? The very fact that he endured rebirths implies a series of imperfect lives.
When he left his home in the palace, turning his back on his wife and son, it
was in search of an answer. He did not start with the answer. His "Enlightenment"
was an attainment. Even taken at face value, it was a path to purity, not purity
Jesus did not begin His mission by leaving more comfortable surroundings in
order to gain enlightenment so that He would find the answer to life's mysteries.
That was the origin of Buddhism.
He did not come to give a certain group of people ethnic worth so that they,
too, could have an identity as others around them did; Islam had its beginnings
for such reasons.
He did not give any people a reason to boast of particular privilege because
of the age of their culture or the perceived strength of their society's cohesion;
virtually all pantheistic cultures pride themselves on how long they have been
He did not come to affirm a people who boasted in the strength of their military
power, as the citizens of Rome did in claiming their city to be the eternal
He did not come to compliment the Greeks for their intellectual prowess.
In fact, He did not even come to exalt a culture because it was the recipient
of God's moral law, a boast the Hebrews delighted in.
His strong and unequivocal claim was that heaven was His dwelling and earth
was His footstool. There never was a time when He was not.
There never will be a time when He will not be.
His was a positing of truth from an eternal perspective that uniquely positioned
By RAVI ZACHARIAS