Virgin birth of Jesus

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The virgin birth of Jesus is a tenet of Christianity and Islam which holds that Mary miraculously conceived Jesus while remaining a virgin. While the term "virgin birth" is common, "virgin conception" would be more accurate. This doctrine was a universally held belief in the Christian church by the second century,[1] and is upheld by Anglicanism, the Church of the East, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. It is included in the two most widely used Christian creeds, which state that Jesus "was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary" (the Nicene Creed in what is now its familiar form)[2] and was "born of the Virgin Mary" (Apostles' Creed),[3] and was not seriously challenged, except by some minor sects, before the Enlightenment theology of the eighteenth century.[1]

The canonical gospels of Matthew (Matthew 1:18)[1:18] and Luke[1:26-35] say that Mary was a virgin and that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. These gospels, later tradition and current doctrine present Jesus' conception as a miracle involving no natural father, no sexual intercourse, and no male seed in any form, but instead brought about by the Holy Spirit.[4][5][6][7]

In Roman Catholic and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox usage, the term "virgin birth" means not only that Mary was a virgin when she conceived and gave birth, but remained a virgin throughout her life, a belief attested since the second century.[8] (See Perpetual virginity of Mary).

The general Christian doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus (i.e., Mary's virginal conception of Jesus) is not to be confused with the Roman Catholic doctrine of her Immaculate Conception, which concerns instead her mother's conception of Mary. This is thought to have occurred in the normal way, not miraculously. What the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception holds is that, when Mary herself was conceived, she came into existence without the "stain" (Latin, macula) of original sin.

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