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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Miraculous Conception

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By this is meant, that the human nature of Jesus Christ was formed, not in the ordinary method of generation, but out of the substance of the Virgin Mary, by the immediate operation of the Holy Ghost. The evidence upon which this article of the Christian faith rests is found in Matthew 1:18-23 , and in the more particular narration which St. Luke has given in the first chapter of his Gospel. If we admit this evidence of the fact, we can discern the emphatical meaning of the appellation given to our Saviour when he is called "the seed of the woman," Genesis 3:15 ; we can perceive the meaning of a phrase which St. Luke has introduced into the genealogy of Jesus, Luke 3:23 , and of which, otherwise, it is not possible to give a good account, ων , ως ενομιζετο , υιος ‘Ιωσηφ ; [being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph;] and we can discover a peculiar significancy in an expression of the Apostle Paul, Galatians 4:4 , "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman." The conception of Jesus is the point from which we date the union between his divine and human nature; and, this conception being miraculous, the existence of the person in whom they are united, was not physically derived from Adam. But, as Dr. Horsley speaks in his sermon on the incarnation, the union with the uncreated Word is the very principle of personality and individual existence in the son of Mary. According to this view of the matter, the miraculous conception gives a completeness and consistency to the revelation concerning Jesus Christ. Not only is he the Son of God, but, as the Son of man, he is exalted above his brethren, while he is made like them. He is preserved from the contamination adhering to the race whose nature he assumed; and when the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, was made flesh, the intercourse which, as man, he had with God, is distinguished, not in degree only but in kind, from that which any prophet ever enjoyed, and, it is infinitely more intimate, because it did not consist in communications occasionally made to him, but arose from the manner in which his human nature had its existence.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Miraculous Conception'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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