[I]t is an article of our faith: “I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.” Women call it “becoming pregnant”; the article of faith calls it “conceived.” Mary’s impregnation or conception was by the agency of the Holy Spirit. This article of faith must forever remain a part of Christian doctrine, a truly excellent, wonderful article of faith, against which, first of all, the devil contends, and then, also, all those who side with the devil. We Christians are called upon to believe and to confess a teaching which by the world is considered to be rank foolishness.

From the standpoint of reason, it does indeed appear to be a foolish concept for Christians to believe and confess. Women, no matter how high or low their station, become pregnant in only one way, namely, as it is written in Genesis 1:27-28: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” But with Mary, God made an exception, something that had never happened before before in the world, or would ever again happen as long as the world endures.

She conceived a child and became a mother not by virtue of a man, but by the Holy Spirit. Preposterous to human reason, and to every thinking person! And the more learned and wise they are, the more foolish they find it that Christians believe and confess this, something so totally unacceptable and impossible to human reason! In German we are accustomed to say, If I do as other people do, I won’t end up a fool. It’s a rule of thimb commonly accepted as making good sense. However, in the matter of confession of the articles of faith we need to shove the proverb into the corner and say, If you’re going to be a Christian, you will perforce believe and do things which other people do not believe or do. Yes, I’ll have to appear odd and strange to other people who are vexed and offended because of my faith. (Complete Sermons of Martin Luther, Vol. 7, 285)

Martin Luther