In Luke 1:32, why isn’t the breath/spirit considered Jesus’ father?


The gospels seem to attribute the conception of Jesus to holy breath (το γαρ εν αυτη γεννηθεν εκ πνευματος εστιν αγιου):

ISV Mat 1:20 After he had thought about it, an angel of the Lord appeared
to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” he said, “don’t be afraid
to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is
from the Holy Spirit

ISV Luke 1:34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen, since I have not
had relations with a man?” Luk 1:35 The angel answered her, “The
Holy Spirit will come over you, and the power of the Most High will
surround you.
Therefore, the child will be holy and will be called
the Son of God.

Yet Jesus’ father is not “the power of the most high” but rather the most high himself AND David:

KJV Luk_1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the
: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his
father David

Why isn’t the breath/spirit considered Jesus’ father? In these gospel passages is the breath/spirit a person? Or God’s “power” and creative “organ”?


This is the BDAG entry for the verb which appears in Matthew 1:20 as “conceived”:

γεννάω fut. γεννήσω; 1 aor. ἐγέννησα; pf. γεγέννηκα. Pass.: fut. pl.
γεννηθήσεσθε Sir 41:9; 1 aor. ἐγεννήθην; pf. γεγέννημαι (Pind.,
Hdt.+).—See ARahlfs, Genesis 1926, 39. Gener., to cause someth. to
come into existence, primarily through procreation or parturition. ①
become the parent of, beget ⓐ by procreation
(oft. LXX, fr. Gen 4:18
on) Mt 1:2–20 (cp. Diod S 4, 67, 2–68, 6, the genealogy of the
Aeolians: 67, 4 Ἄρνη ἐγέννησεν Αἰόλον κ. Βοιωτόν; 67, 7 Ἱππάλκιμος
ἐγέννησε Πηνέλεων; 68:1 Σαλμωνεὺς ἐγέννησε θυγατέρα … Τυρώ; 68, 3
Ποσειδῶν ἐγέννησε Πελίαν κ. Νηλέα; 68, 6 Νηλεὺς παῖδας ἐγέννησε
δώδεκα. Interchanged with ἐγέννησε are ἐτέκνωσε, ἦν υἱός, παῖδες
ἐγένοντο, etc.; cp. PMich 155, 7. The continuity is not formalized to
the degree in Mt, but in Diod S 4, 69, 1–3 ἐγέννησε is repeated six
times in a short space, and 4, 75, 4f ἐγέννησε occurs four times with
the names of fathers and sons; Did., Gen. 144, 27); Ac 7:8, 29. ἐκ w.
gen. of the mother (Hdt. 1, 108, 2; Diod S 4, 2, 1; 4, 62, 1; Palaeph.
44; PLond V, 1730, 10 οἱ ἐξ αὐτῆς γεννηθέντες υἱοί; Tob 1:9; 2 Esdr
10:44; Demetr.: 722 Fgm. 2, 2 Jac.; TestJob 1:6; Jos, Ant. 12, 189) Mt
1:3, 5f.—Pass. be fathered (Orig., C. Cels. 8, 66, 23) ἐκ τῆς
παιδίσκης κατὰ σάρκα w. the slave-woman, according to the flesh (i.e.
in line with human devising; opp. διʼ ἐπαγγελίας) Gal 4:23. ὁ κατὰ
σάρκα γεννηθείς he that was fathered by human design, opp. ὁ κατὰ
πνεῦμα he that was fathered by the Spirit’s design, i.e. in keeping
with the divine promise, vs. 23) vs. 29. τὸ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ
πνεύματός ἐστιν that which is conceived in her is of the Spirit Mt
1:20 (τὸ γεννηθέν of that which is yet unborn: Diod S 17, 77, 3). Here
the male principle is introduced by ἐκ (Lucian, Dial. Deor. 20, 14 ἐκ
κύκνου γεγεννημένη; Phlegon: 257 Fgm. 36, 2, 4 Jac.; Ps-Callisth. 1,
30, 3 ἐξ Ἄμμωνος ἐγεννήθη; TestSim 2:2) as J 1:13 (ἐγενήθ. P75et al.);
but in 3:6 the imagery is complex, involving a maternal aspect in vs.
4. W. ἀπό (En 15:8 οἱ γίγαντες οἱ γεννηθέντες ἀπὸ τ. πνευμάτων κ. σαρκός) ἀφʼ ἑνὸς ἐγεννήθησαν they were fathered by one man Hb 11:12
(numerous edd. ἐγενήθησαν). ἐκ πορνείας οὐ γεγεννήμεθα (v.l.
ἐγεννήθημεν) J 8:41 (cp. StudPal XX, 4, 30 ἐξ ἀγράφων γάμων
γεγεννῆσθαι). ἐν ἁμαρτίαις σὺ ἐγεννήθης ὅλος you’re a born sinner,
totally! 9:34.—Lk 1:35 (where mng. 2 is also prob. [as in τὸ
γεννώμενον Philo, Plant. 15]. S. AFridrichsen, SymbOsl 6, 1928, 33–36;
HAlmqvist, Plut. u. d. NT ’46, 60f). ⓑ by exercising the role of a
parental figure, ext. of 1a (Philo, Leg. ad Gai. 58 μᾶλλον αὐτὸν τῶν
γονέων γεγέννηκα), of a teacher on pupils ἐν Χ. Ἰ. διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου
ὑμᾶς ἐγέννησα I became your father as Christians through the gospel 1
Cor 4:15; Phlm 10 (s. Ltzm. and JWeiss on 1 Cor 4:15; ADieterich,
Mithraslit. 1903, 146ff).—Pass. ἐκ (τοῦ) θεοῦ γεννᾶσθαι J 1:13 (on the
rdg. of the Lat. ms. b, s. JPryor, NovT 27, ’85, 296–318); 1J 2:29;
3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18. On γεννᾶσθαι ἐξ ὕδατος κ. πνεύματος J 3:5 cp.
1QS 4:20–22 and s. YYadin, JBL 74, ’55, 40–43. Also ἄνωθεν γ. J 3:3,
7. πᾶς ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὸν γεννήσαντα ἀγαπᾷ τὸν γεγεννημένον ἐξ αὐτοῦ everyone who loves the father (=God) loves the child (=Christ or one’s
fellow Christian) 1J 5:1 (on γεννᾶσθαι ἐκ θεοῦ s. Hdb. on J 3:3 and 1J
3:9 and the sources and lit. listed there; s. also παλιγγενεσία). Cp.
σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε (Ps 2:7) 1 Cl 36:4; GEb 18, 37; Ac 13:33 (held by
some to have been the orig. rdg. Lk 3:22 v.l.; s. JHillmann, Die
Kindheitsgesch. Jesu nach Lucas: Jahrbücher f. Protestantische
Theologie 17/2, 1891, 192–261; HUsener, D. Weihnachtsfest2 1911,
38ff); Hb 1:5; 5:5. p 194 ② to give birth to, bear (Aeschyl.,
Suppl. 48; X., De Rep. Lac. 1, 3; Lucian, Sacrif. 6; Plut., Mor., 3c;
Ps.-Callisth. 1, 9, 2 ἐκ θεοῦ γεννήσασα παῖδα=a woman who has borne a
child to a god; BGU 132 II, 5; Judg 11:1 B; Is 66:9; 4 Macc 10:2) Lk
1:13, 57; 23:29; J 16:21 w. τίκτειν; AcPl Ha 8, 28 εἰς δουλείαν
γεννῶσα who bears children for slavery Gal 4:24. Pass. be born (ἐκ
παρθένου Did., Gen. 96, 13) ἐγεννήθη Μωϋσῆς Ac 7:20; cp. Hb 11:23.
γεγεννημένος ἐν Ταρσῷ Ac 22:3; μήπω … γεννηθέντων Ro 9:11; πρὶν ἡμᾶς
γεννηθῆναι before we were born 1 Cl 38:3. εἰς τὸν κόσμον come into the
world J 16:21; Mt 2:1, 4; 19:12; 26:24 (=1 Cl 46:8); Mk 14:21 (cp. En
38:2); Lk 1:35 (1a is also prob.; a v.l. adds ἐκ σοῦ, which can be
rendered ‘the child to whom you give birth’). ἐκ Μαρίας ἐγεννήθη
AcPlCor 1:14; 2:5 (cp. Mt 1:16); J 3:4; 9:2, 19f, 32; IEph 18:2; ITr
11:2; ἀληθῶς γ. be in fact born (in opp. to Docetism) 9:1. γεγεννημένα
(v.l. γεγενημένα) εἰς ἅλωσιν 2 Pt 2:12. εἰς τοῦτο for this purpose J
18:37. διάλεκτος ἐν ᾑ ἐγεννήθημεν the language in which we were born
i.e., which we have spoken fr. infancy Ac 2:8. ἐγὼ δὲ καὶ γεγέννημαι
but I was actually born a Roman citizen 22:28. οὗτος ἐγεννήθη βασιλεύς
born a king GJs 20:4 codd. γεννῶνται και γεννῶσιν Lk 20:34 v.l. ③ to
cause someth. to happen, bring forth, produce, cause, fig. of various
kinds of production (Pla. et al.; Polyb. 1, 67, 2 στάσις ἐγεννᾶτο;
Philo, De Jos. 254; Jos., Ant. 6, 144) 2 Ti 2:23.—γ. καρπόν produce
fruit (Philo, Op. M. 113) ITr 11:1. Forged writing γεγεννημένον for
γεγενημένον GJs 24:3.—B. 280. DELG s.v. γίγνομαι p. 222. M-M. TW.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon
of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.,
pp. 193–194). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

1 Comment

  • Reply December 23, 2016

    Charles Page

    only if breath contains sperm Holy heavenly sperm entered Mary’s womb and a supernatural conception occured.

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