A bible skeptic once made the argument that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was raped by God because she didn’t give consent for Jesus’ birth. Is this true? Is there any evidence to the contrary?
First of all, Mary gave clear, verbal consent, ie. “be it unto me” in Luke 1:38 after Gabriel told her how it would happen and gave an example of another miraculous conception among her relatives (Elizabeth and Zechariah) in Luke 1:35-37.
In the Old Testament, God selected righteous obedient people to pour his spirit on because he knew they would trust in him and obey his instructions. The spirit of the Lord came upon certain judges, warriors, kings, and prophets in a way that allowed them to see visions of God, speak for him, or do amazing feats. Some examples are Joshua (Num. 27:18-21), Samson (Judg. 14:5-6, Judg. 15:14-15), Daniel, (Daniel 5:10-12), Elijah (1 Kings 18:46), and Ezekiel (Ez 2:1-5). God’s spirit came upon Saul when he was anointed king and he even prophesied (1 Sam 10:1-13). However after he messed up, God’s spirit left Saul and fell upon David as he was anointed by Samuel to be King in 1 Sam 16:13-14.
This same spirit of God came on Mary in Luke 1:35 and in this case God use her to give birth to the Messiah. God already knew about her obedient heart beforehand and just like the others, he didn’t need consent he already had it because she had faith and trusted God. She gave verbal consent when she said “be it unto me” in verse 38 as an act of her trust in God’s plan. None of the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets give God-specific consent to giving prophecy or being rescued from dire situations, does the logic that they were abused still apply? Does God need people’s consent to save them from immediate danger or to get a message out? The same spirit came upon Mary and God would know her consent status because he is God, he didn’t need to ask, he often uses people whose answer would have already been yes.
God could have selected any Jewish virgin woman who was a descendant of David. Was Mary the only woman that met these physical qualifications? No, but God needed someone who would have been obedient. God chooses righteous people to put his spirit on to fulfill his purpose. People aren’t perfect and they make mistakes, so Mary wasn’t a special sinless person, but she was righteous because she trusted what God was doing with her (Luke 1:26-38). This is in contrast to Zechariah who received a message from the same angel (Gabriel), that his barren wife would conceive in their old age, but doubted God’s ability to do it. In response, Gabriel shut his mouth until his miracle baby was born (Luke 1:18-20). Zechariah doubted but Mary had faith. The Bible says the righteous shall live by faith (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38), so her faith and righteousness are an indicator of her consent to the will of God. I don’t believe she even needed to verbally consent since her heart’s desire was that God’s will be done.