I must say that I’ve never found a more fascinating and surprising theory of the virginal conception of Jesus than that of Andrew Lincoln, Professor at University of Gloucestershire (published in the November/December of the Bible Archaeology Review). He maintains that the virginal conception of Jesus should be considered from the point of view of Jesus’ contemporary “biology”. For ancient hebrews the menstrual blood of women provided the “raw material” for the fetus, while the male sperm transmitted the “life force”. Therefore, the pre-eminent role in the physical conception of a new human being is played by women and not by men.
Applying this human biology’ vision to the virginal conception of Jesus Lincoln argues that: “In terms of ancient biology, even without a human father, Jesus would have been seen as fully human. His mother, Mary, provided his human substance, and in this case God, through the agency of the divine Spirit, supplied the animating principle instead of a human father.”
In this way, Jesus would be truly man and truly God. However, it remains the problem of Jesus’ soul, who was also instilled by God? In fact, the explanation of Lincoln is attractive because it provides an hypothesis for the virginal conception of Jesus from an “ancient biology” point of view. But today what kind of scientific explanation could be given to the virginal conception of Jesus? This will probably remain one of the faith’s mysteries. It is only by faith that we can accept the virginal conception of Mary, maybe looking for some explanations, but without trying to solve the mystery.
In my book I grandi misteri irrisolti della Chiesa, I suggest to draw a parallel between the the accounts of the Risen Jesus’ apparitions (Luke chap. 24) and the Luke’s account of the conception of Mary (Luke chap. 1). In fact, the risen Jesus’ body – that could be touched – it may have been the same body as that entered into the womb of Mary. If Jesus went behind closed doors he could also be entered into the womb without changing the structure of the female genitalia that in the Bible are also called “doors” (cf. Job chap. 3, verse 10) … but who knows!