The World's First Love by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Part 16.

No great triumphant leader makes his entrance into the city over dust-covered roads, when he could come on a flower-strewn avenue. Had Infinite Purity chosen any other port of entrance into humanity but that of human purity, it would have created a tremendous difficulty namely, how could He be sinless, if He was born of sin-laden humanity? If a brush dipped in black becomes black, and if cloth takes on the color of the dye, would not He, in the eyes of the world, have also partaken of the guilt in which all humanity shared? If He came to this earth through the wheatfield of moral weakness, He certainly would have some chaff hanging on the garment of His human nature.

Putting the problem in another way: How could God become man and yet be a sinless man and the Head of the new Humanity? First of all, He had to be a perfect man in order to act in our name, to plead our defense, and to pay our debt. If I am arrested for speeding, you cannot walk into the courtroom and say; "Judge, forget it, I will take the blame" If I am drowning, I cannot save anyone else who is drowning. Unless Our Lord is outside the sin-current of humanity, He cannot be Our Saviour. "If the blind lead the blind, then both fall into the pit," said Our Lord. If He was to be the new Adam, the new Head of Humanity, the Founder of a new corporation or Mystical Body of regenerated humanity, as Adam was the head of fallen humanity, then He also had to be different from all other men. He had to be absolutely perfect, sinless, the Holy of Holies, all that God ever conceived man to be.

Such is the problem: How could God become man and yet be sinless man without original sin? How, in the language of St. Paul, could He "be like unto us in all things save sin?" How could He be a man, by being born of a Woman? He could be a sinless man by being born of a Virgin. The first statement is obvious; that He is born of a woman, then He shares in our humanity. But how would being born of a Virgin make Him free from original sin?

Now, it must never be thought that the Incarnation would have been impossible without the Virgin Birth. Rash, indeed, would be the human mind to dictate to Almighty God the methods that He should use in coming to this earth. But once the Virgin Birth is revealed, then it is proper for us to inquire into its fitness, as we are now doing. The Virgin Birth is important because of its bearing upon the solidarity of the human race in guilt. The human race became incorporated to the first Adam by being born of the flesh; incorporation to the new Adam, Christ, is by being born of the spirit, or through a Virgin Birth. Thanks to it, we see how Our Blessed Lord entered in to the sinful race from the outside. Therefore, upon Him the curse did not rest, save as He freely bore it for those whom He redeemed by His Blood. Nowhere do the New Testament writers argue from the Virgin Birth to the Godhead of the Virgin-born. Rather do they argue from it His sinless humanity.

To sum up: in order that Jesus Christ might be a descendant of Adam, he had to be born of a daughter of Adam. But the process of generation and birth of any individual is invisible. The only way to show that this process in the birth of Christ was miraculous was to have its invisible workings develop in a woman agreed by all to be incapable of having experienced the process - a virgin. Joseph, the just man, stood for all humanity when in his heart he questioned the fidelity of Mary. More than any other person he knew how cruel it was to place that doubt even in the face of the most incontrovertible evidence. He witnessed to Mary's immaculate life and her amiability even before her Son was born. His doubt was settled by Heaven itself. St. Joseph, more than any other human being on this earth, had a right to know the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus. And just as any husband is the prime witness of the fidelity of his wife, so, too, is Joseph in the case of Mary, his espoused; his testimony establishes for all men her virginity and the miraculous nature of the generation and birth of her Son.