MANKATO, Minn. — A professor at Minnesota State University tweeted this past week that the story of the virgin birth is about God impregnating a teenager without her consent, generating pushback from hundreds of commenters.
“The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario,” wrote Eric Sprankle, an associate professor of psychology and sexuality studies at the university.
The tweet has generated nearly 1,500 likes as of press time, but also much backlash.
“Sorry. Luke 1:26-38 states clearly that the angel communicated God’s plan for Mary, and in verse 38, she agreed. Whether you believe or disbelieve, it helps if you actually read the text,” wrote commenter Tom Cleary.
The Scriptures state that after the angel Gabriel told Mary that “thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus … and of His kingdom there shall be no end,” Mary asked, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”
“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore, also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible,” Gabriel answered.
“And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word,'” verse 38 outlines.
Sprankle, who, according to his website, “leads the Sexual Health Research Team at MSU examining sex work stigma” and is also a certified sex therapist, replied to Cleary that God would have punished Mary if she had not agreed, and that He consequently domineered over her in the matter.
“The biblical God regularly punished disobedience. The power difference (deity vs. mortal) and the potential for violence for saying ‘no’ negates her ‘yes,'” Sprankle wrote. “To put someone in this position is an unethical abuse of power at best and grossly predatory at worst.”
His remarks generated much controversy in the hours and days that followed, with some claiming that Mary was raped by God, and others proclaiming that such a notion is both blasphemous and incorrect.
“This is blasphemy against Almighty God! You have zero business teaching young minds. Minnesota State clearly lacks integrity,” wrote Stacey Paige.
“A psych degree does not equal biblical competency. First, Mary consented to becoming the mother of Jesus. Second, no early Christian believed the Holy Spirit had physical relations with Mary,” also stated commenter Benjamin Sanchez. “The emphasis is Jesus, the incarnation of the eternal Son of God…”
“Hmmm, let’s see. If I create a clay pot, and decide after I made it that I wanted to add another smaller pot inside it, how does the 1st pot have any sayso?” asked Oze McCallum.
Sprankle also shared tweets over the past week from The Satanic Temple, American Atheists and Planned Parenthood.
1 Corinthians 2:14 states, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
1 Corinthians 1:20-21 and 27-29 also declares, “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. … But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.”