What is the Church attitude to the belief that Jesus had a biological father Josef or another man and that divin conception was only a metaphor?

Allegedly there was an ancient prophecy that the future king of Israel should be from the king David's lineage, so as I heard, there were some ancient Christian authors who claimed that Jesus descended from king David and even brought the genealogy.

I wonder what is the position of the Church and various Christian groups to those Jesus genealogies which trace Jesus' earthy ancestry towards king David?


2 Answers 2


To most of Christianity it's understood that Joseph wasn't Jesus' biological father. He had no earthly biological father. Instead, he played the role of father like a step-father or adoptive father would. The significance tracing His genealogy on Joseph's side deals with inheritance if the familial right to claim the title of King.

Being a step-father to one, an adoptive father to another, and a biological father to three more, I can assure you that not being a biological father doesn't necessarily mean anything when it comes to familial belonging, inheritance, and rights afforded to the children, even today. It's been that way historically in most cultures as well.

As for those who believe that Joseph was the biological father, I'd borrow Caleb's answer on your previous question.

Every rule has an exception, and there are certainly fringe cases. It should be stressed that such views are not mainstream, majority or orthodox in any way.

  • 1
    Jinx :) ....... Commented Dec 6, 2012 at 13:03

All Christians that subscribe to the doctrine of the Virgin Birth believe that Joseph was Mary's husband and Jesus' guardian, but that he had no biological material from Joseph. It is a very, very widely held belief - most Evangelicals (including myself), Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox subscribe to it, but it is not accepted by many more liberal denominations.

The idea is suggested by Isaiah, in which it was (posibly mis-)translated "Behold a Virgin shall conceive." The famous phrasing of 7:14 is "Behold, a virgin shall conceive." The immediate context, however, is a King who is being told that his enemies shall be defeated very, very soon - so soon in fact, that if a young girl gets pregnant, she will be "delievered" before the child is born. That said, by the time of the early Christians, it was popularly accepted that this also spoke of the birth of the Messiah, who would be of a girl who had not had intercourse. The Hebrew of the OT could be young maiden, but the Greek of the NT clearly presupposes a girl who had never lain with a man.

In any case, the narratives of Matthew (1:18) and Luke explicitly say that the child was put in her by the Holy Spirit, not Joseph.

  • In your first paragraph, are you saying there are entire denominations that don't accept the virgin birth? Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 19:49
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    Yes. Unitarians, for example, deny the Virgin Birth. Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 20:25

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