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Jesus, Incarnate Embryo

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

By Patricia L. June, MD

 

At Christmas, we generally think about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but the incarnation actually occurred 9 months earlier when “the Holy Spirit [came upon Mary] and the Most High will overshadow [her]" (From Luke 1:35). Why, then, is Christmas celebrated rather than the actual conception? It may be that at His birth Jesus Christ was revealed to the world, even if initially to a limited number of people, or that a newborn babe is easier to visualize than a zygote.

 

Nevertheless, just as the world often denies the Virgin Birth, it even more ignores the Virgin conception. 


As a scientist, I wonder about the scientific technicalities involved – what was Jesus’ genome?  In humans, it is the presence or absence of a Y chromosome that determines whether a person is male or female and, in His human nature, Jesus was male.  But God who created all things, certainly could create the haploid portion of the genetic component supplied by the Holy Spirit.

 

The Scottish theologian Thomas F. Torrance has written on the significance of Jesus coming as an embryo. God did not choose to have Him incarnate as an adult, or toddler, or newborn, but He came as an embryo and went through gestation just as we all do, becoming an embryo for the sake of all embryos.

 

Mary went to visit her relative Elizabeth while Jesus was still in the first month of gestation, and the 6-month fetus John was filled with the Holy Spirit at hearing Mary's greeting.  He recognized the embryo Jesus as his Savior – or at least Elizabeth recognized Him as her Savior. This strongly argues against any delayed incarnation, and gives evidence of interrelations between persons even this early.


While in utero, studies show babies come to prefer music their mother listens to (Mozart better than discordant sounds), her voice and their father’s voice, and loving tones rather than marital discord.


What is a person? 

An unborn child is an embodied human soul, a person loved by the Lord Jesus who is the Savior of the human race. 


The fetus is sanctified by our Lord Jesus (Who always called for compassion and care for children) as an embryonic person. Interestingly, according to Torrance, the Greek word compassion is used to render the Hebrew rahamim which means womb, harking back to the compassion that a mother usually has for her unborn child. 

 

In Matthew 25, Jesus states that whatever one does to one of the least of these My brothers, he does unto Me. If we kill or allow one of these little ones to be killed, then we are killing Jesus.

 

The Didache, written in the first century to instruct Christians, understood this and had forbidden infanticide and abortion. (Also refer to Exodus 1:15-20 and Amos 1:13.)


Psalm 139 tells us that God saw our unformed bodies (the beginnings of the spinal cord is visible at 14 days) and that He knew all of our days before one of them came to be.

 

To kill the child in the womb is a sin against the Lord Jesus himself.    

 

As we remember the incarnation of our Lord this Christmas, let us resolve to treat all those whom He loves with compassion. 


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