Was Mary a Victim of Rape in War?
Was Jesus the "illegitimate" son of a Roman soldier, as is claimed in the Talmud? If so, then it is highly unlikely that his mother Mary would have consented to having sex with a soldier of an occupying force that was oppressing her people. No, what happens in situations like this, as has been repeatedly documented, is that women in occupied countries become victims rape in war. If Mary was a victim of rape in war, she would not have chosen to have sex at the time she became pregnant with Jesus, so in a very real sense, in the moral sense, she would still have been a virgin, even though she had conceived a child. This would nicely explain Joseph's initial attitude of wanting to divorce Mary quietly, and his change of heart, after coming to realize, with the aid of a dream, that she was really not the slightest bit at fault, and that the soul of the child to be born, the real person, would be fathered through the Holy Spirit, and have nothing to do with the Roman soldier.
Throughout history, millions of women have been raped in war. Recently, in Yugoslavia, tens of thousands of Bosnian women were raped by the Serbian army to their great shame and humiliation, as in their society it is seen as permanently defiling them. The world is greatly in need of a new attitude to victims of violent crimes: to consider they are not defiled by them, even though they may be badly hurt by them, and that this is true even to the extent that a virgin who is raped and conceives a child should still be considered a virgin until such time as she chooses to have sex. To consider that the Virgin Mary may have been among their number would be of immense consolation to women who are victims of rape (in war or otherwise), and of immessurable help to their feelings of self-worth, just as knowing Jesus was among their number has always been a tremendous support to the persecuted and tortured of the world.
Without interfering with the free will which makes our lives meaningful, God cannot prevent crimes like rape being perpetrated, but if Mary, like so many others, was a victim of this age-old form of violence, what God could do was to honor her goodness, and make a point of illustrating that she and others in her position are not defiled by being the victim of a crime, by putting the soul of His divine son into the body of the baby so conceived.
Mark Mason examines this theory, and the implications just touched on, in the chapter on miracles in his book In Search of the Loving God. You can find out more about this book, and read three complete chapters from it, by visiting the author's web site: