Adversus Marcion Chapter 13
Well, but nature, says he (Marcion), does not permit "a virgin to conceive,"
and still the prophet is believed. And indeed very properly; for he has
paved the way for the incredible thing being believed, by giving a reason
for its occurrence, in that it was to be for a sign. "Therefore," says he,
"the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive,
and bear a son." Now a sign from God would not have been a sign, unless it
had been some novel and prodigious thing. Then, again, Jewish cavilers,
in order to disconcert us, boldly pretend that Scripture does not hold
that a virgin, but only a young woman, is to conceive and bring forth. They
are, however, refuted by this consideration, that nothing of the nature of a
sign can possibly come out of what is a daily occurrence, the pregnancy
and child-bearing of a young woman.
A virgin mother is justly deemed to
be proposed by God as a sign
, but a warlike infant has no like claim to
the distinction; for even in such a case
there does not occur the character
of a sign. But after the sign of the strange and novel birth has been asserted,
there is immediately afterwards declared as a sign the subsequent course
of the Infant, who was to eat butter and honey.