Editor’s Note: The list of questions is long enough that I have interspersed the questions and the answers.
Questions and Answers:
1. Are there any early church fathers preferably from 1st mid-century to the 2nd century who discussed the virgin birth of Jesus in their letters or literature?
Yes, definitely. Ignatius in his Letter to the Smyrnians in AD 103 said, “He was truly born of a virgin” Both Justin (around AD 150 and Irenaeus (around AD 170) mentioned the virgin birth. The virgin birth was believed from the very earliest time of the Christian Church.
2. Marcion’s Gospel of Luke did not have the Account of the Virgin’s birth of Jesus, Does it mean the Virgin’s birth of Jesus was a fabrication?
The fact that Marcion cut out part of the Gospel of Luke does absolutely NOTHING to even remotely undermine the reality of the virgin birth, or, more properly, that it was believed by the early church and contained in the gospels. Saying that Marcion removed the virgin birth being evidence that it did not happen would be like saying that stealing someone’s death certificate is evidence that that person did not die. This is nonsense.
3. Are there any early manuscripts that contain the Account of the Virgin Birth of Jesus?
Yes. Every early manuscript of the appropriate parts of Luke and Matthew mention the virgin birth. Of course, the Codices Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus in the 4th century include this passage. There is no ancient manuscript of the New Testament which does not support the conclusion that the virgin birth was always contained in these gospels. Of course, many partial manuscripts do not have the appropriate sections of Matthew and Luke, but those which do, contain the mention of the virgin birth.
4. What was the First canon and when it was formed?
There was no “first canon.” The canon developed organically and over decades, beginning around AD 90. The Muratorian fragment of AD 170 has been mentioned, and the evidence is that it included a nearly identical list to our current 27 books. Irenaeus, in the second third of the second century, mentioned all 27 books. This is a complex subject, but my research has caused me to conclude that by AD 100 the canon was already being collected, but did not exist in its whole yet. By about AD 150 the canon was virtually set, but there was at least a small amount of debate about a small number of books. By AD 180, the list was complete, but some still discussed certain books. By AD 200 the canon was accepted by all as the current 27 books, even if some did still engage in some discussion about the process which had already been completed.
5. does the first canon contain all the NT books that we see now and the content
6. Do we have any evidence for the oral account of Jesus’ virgin birth being preached in the first century?
Yes. That evidence is called the books of Matthew and Luke, both of which were written by the late 60s AD. Both gospels relied highly on oral tradition. It would have been impossible for anyone to publish a gospel which diametrically opposed the accepted oral traditions about Jesus.
There was NO TIME in the early history of the Christian Church when the virgin birth was not accepted as fact. There is no evidence of early controversy on this doctrine. None that I have ever heard of, anyway, and I have done a lot of research on the early church.
Whether the birth was in fact a virgin one can be reasonably debated by skeptics of Christianity, but that it was taught and believed by the early church is a settled matter.