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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Miraculous Conception

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a term used to denote the supernatural formation of the human nature of Jesus Christ, i.e., that it was brought forth 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 Luke has given in the first chapter of his Gospel. If we admit this evidence of the fact, we can discern the emphatic 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 Luke has introduced into the genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:23), "being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph," and of which, otherwise, it is not possible to give a good account; and we can discover a peculiar significance 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 says 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. (See INCARNATION); (See JESUS CHRIST).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Miraculous Conception'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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