Original Research

The doctrines of original sin and the virgin birth: divine revelation or human construct?

I. J. J. Spangenberg
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 30, No 1 | a71 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v30i1.71 | © 2009 I. J. J. Spangenberg | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 July 2009 | Published: 17 July 2009

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Two South African theologians, Ben du Toit and Anton van Niekerk, recently published books in which they argued that postmodern believers can no longer subscribe to the doctrines of original sin and the virgin birth. According to them both these doctrines reflect a pre-modern world-view which should be regarded as outdated. However, they would not like to take leave of the grand narrative of Christianity. There are some fundamental flaws in the reasoning of both scholars. The doctrine of the virgin birth is intertwined with the doctrine of original sin, and both are important to the orthodox doctrine of salvation. As it is not viable or consistent to tamper with some of the orthodox doctrines and try to keep the rest intact, we are left with two options, either to discard the whole system and start afresh, or to try and keep the whole package intact. However, biblical research since the Enlightenment has ruled out the second option. The paper argues in support of this case and attempts to offer a different way forward for Christians living in the twenty-first century than the one offered by Du Toit and Van Niekerk.


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