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When reading the verse regarding the miraculous birth of Jesus, there are certain terms used which I find very confusing.

How do you understand the terms:

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

If you say Jack will come up thee and over shadow thee it certainly brings certain thoughts to the mind. How do Catholics understand this verse?

Luke 1:30-36 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+1%3A30-36&version=KJV

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.

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

And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

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Please see this answer: Did Mary have other children? –  FMShyanguya yesterday

1 Answer 1

Lets take a look at that Scripture and see if we can determine what God means for us to derive from it.

Luk 1:35 KJV And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

let's take the phrase "the Holy Ghost shall come upon you.

This is the interlinear phrase:

Pneuma Hagion epeleusetai epi se

Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ

[the] Holy Spirit will come upon you

So let's take a look at how those words Holy Ghost have meaning in English language.

πνεῦμα

pneuma (pnyoo`-mah) n.

  1. a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze

  2. (by analogy or figuratively) a spirit

  3. (humanly) the rational soul

  4. (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc.

  5. (superhumanly) an angel, demon

  6. (divinely) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit

KJV: ghost, life, spirit(-ual, -ually), mind

In this usage the one definition which makes sense is 6. (divinely) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit.

As for the phrase 'and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, the operative word we need to clarify is overshadow.

This is the interlinear phrase:

kai dynamis Hypsistou episkiasei soi

καὶ δύναμις Ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι ;

and power of [the] Most High will overshadow you

ἐπισκιάζω

episkiazo (ep-ee-skee-ad'-zo) v.

  1. to cast a shade upon

  2. (by analogy) to envelop in a haze of brilliancy

  3. (figuratively) to invest with preternatural influence

KJV: overshadow

considering the word preternatural:

PRETERNAT'URAL, a. [L. proeter and natural.] Beyond what is natural, or different from what is natural; irregular. We call those events in the physical world preternatural, which are extraordinary, which are deemed to be beyond or without the ordinary course of things, and yet are not deemed miraculous; in distinction from events which are supernatural, which cannot be produced by physical laws or powers,and must therefore be produced by a direct exertion of omnipotence. We also apply the epithet to things uncommon or irregular; as a preternatural swelling; a preternatural pulse; a preternatural excitement or temper.

along with the word influence, the only definition which fits is 3. (figuratively) to invest with preternatural influence.

And so we can read the Scripture as:

And the angel answered and said unto her, God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall to invest with preternatural influence thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Since the child to be born is Christ we can eliminate "Christ's Spirit, and since the next clause says the power of the highest which is a separate being from the afore mentioned, and can only mean God we can eliminate God, as the one being coming upon her. That leaves us with only the Holy Spirit, and obviously God causing her pregnancy.

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Orthodox Christianity says the Holy Spirit is God, so how can you rule out God? –  user1361315 Feb 13 at 21:14
    
@user1361315 I subscribe to the concept of a tripartite God and as I read Luke 1:35 it is differentiating between the Holy Spirit and God the Father (power of the highest). Perhaps I was in error by not saying "God the Father" as a separate part of the trinity. –  Bye Feb 13 at 22:45

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