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How did Mary become pregnant by the Holy Spirit?


Thank you for your very interesting question about Mary conceiving.

The story of Mary being told of her pregnancy can be found in Luke 1:26-38. I encourage you to read this story before you continue with this answer. 

To begin this answer it is important for us to understand that God is Trinity, three person united together as one. We see the Trinity evidenced throughout scripture, with a notable example being at the baptism of Jesus: 

And when Jesus was baptised, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17)

Although here we see the individual nature of the persons, Jesus makes it clear that "the Lord our God, the Lord is one" (Mark 12:20). These three persons, Father, Son and Spirit have always existed in perfect unity and community and will continue to do so. Our introduction video on the website tries to explain this.

The second thing to understand is that Jesus, as the second member of the Trinity, member of the eternal Godhead, has always existed and therefore took on flesh as a human, the Holy Spirit worked in Mary (John 1:14). The union of both God and man continues today and will for all eternity (Hebrews 13:8). It is not clearly explained in the scriptures how this happened; it is a divine mystery how God would become man, but without it, it is impossible for man to be reconciled to God.

It's also important to understand that this union did not restrict the power of God. It is true that while Jesus the man became hungry, tired and thirsty, the power of God was not limited. The power of God was clearly displayed in the ministry of Jesus and has continued to be shown though the work of the Holy Spirit. The Bible talks about Christ being in us (Colossians 1:27), even though he continues to be seated on his heavenly throne. This is because the power of God cannot be restricted. 

For the scriptures to mention that Mary was a virgin shows that God prizes sexual purity. One of the Ten Commandments is "you shall not commit adultery" (Genesis 20:14) and the laws in Deuteronomy and Leviticus cover all sexual conduct. Mary had not already had children, neither was she married and struggling to have children. Rather, she was a virgin who had never slept with a man. We know this from her own confession: "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:34). God's favour was upon her because of her conduct, and she was chosen to bear the Saviour of the world. The fact that God commands humans to not have sexual relations before marriage also shows that it was not a sexual act that allowed Mary to become pregnant. If you are seeking to know if God had sexual relations with Mary then this is not true. It would cause God to be a liar, which is impossible. 

If Mary were not a virgin, then the claim of Jesus being the Son of God falls down as any man could be the father. Rather, because of Mary's virginity, the only explanation for her pregnancy is a unique work of God. 

What happened to Mary is a wonderful reflection as to what happens in our own lives. Mary, in her own ability by herself, was not able to conceive, and she knew this. It was as a result of and only by the work of the Holy Spirit that she was able to bear life. 

The same happens to us today. Due to our sin, each one of us are dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:5) and are therefore separated from God the Father. We, by our own efforts, are not able to save ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9). However, it is as a result of the Holy Spirit working in us that new life comes to us (Titus 3:5), that our sin is forgiven and our relationship with God is restored. 

So I want to ask you, have you followed Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Have you been given new life through the power of the Holy Spirit working in your life? I encourage you today to call out to God for the forgiveness of your sins, that the Holy Spirit will give you new life and lead you to walking in the way of Christ. 

In summary, God is a Trinity of three persons united as one. The second member of this Trinity, the Son, came to earth taking on the humanity and being born by Mary. The work of this was done by the power of the Holy Spirit. When God the Son was born as Jesus, God's power and authority was not restricted. The work of the Holy Spirit in Mary for her to bear life is a reflection of the work he does in our life; bringing us to new life and a new relationship with God. 

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church

Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at

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