Mainstream Christians believe that Jesus was the son of God the Father and Mary, a virgin. From a scientific perspective, this means that he would have had no genetic material provided from a male parent. So my question is, have there been any Christian writings on how this worked genetically, i.e. what we would find if we had a DNA sample of Jesus?

One possibility is that God might have arranged Jesus to be genetically like what a biological son of Joseph and Mary would have been like. Are there any Christian writings that suggest that Jesus physically resembled his adopted father Joseph? Or did he only bear a resemblance to Mary?

Note that I don't want speculation, I just want to know what Christians have already said about this subject.

closed as too broad by Lee Woofenden, curiousdannii, Dan, KorvinStarmast, Ken Graham Jun 12 '17 at 23:02

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  • I seem to recall reading something where the author had speculated that Jesus's paternal DNA was that of Adam (or possibly King David), but I do not recall the source. See my answer below for another idea that does have a source. – Robert Columbia Jun 10 '17 at 14:20
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    This is highly speculative open Q, and there are no such writings or speculations made by well known theologians. This speculation that Jesus did not had male chromosome itself is a conjecture. If God can make the virgin pregnant, he must have used Joseph's sperm miraculously for the conception. We shouldn't assume Jesus was genetically anomaly, since he was like us in every aspect, see Hebrews2. – Michael16 Jun 10 '17 at 16:58
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    @Michael16 Do we have any information about whether Jesus physically resembled Joseph? – Keshav Srinivasan Jun 10 '17 at 17:19
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    No. Any such info has to be pure imagination and baseless conjectures. – Michael16 Jun 11 '17 at 5:00
  • As Jesus is not dead (leaving no bones, etc.), and as nobody has seen him physically since DNA technology has existed, any attempt would be purely speculation, so there can't be an answer to this question. We can never know Jesus' genetics. However, we can know several things about his appearance, including the fact that he looked so much like the other Jews he was with that Judas had to betray him with a kiss. – DKing Jun 12 '17 at 17:28

Ron Wyatt, a researcher who was a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, claimed that he had discovered the blood of Jesus on the Ark of the Covenant and that it had only 23 chromosomes (i.e. that Jesus was haploid and literally didn't have any DNA contribution from a father).

Wyatt's claims seem to not be very well respected in mainline and even fundamentalist Christian circles. For example, Answers in Genesis, a Creationist organization, rejects Wyatt's findings.

Regardless of whether you accept Wyatt's actual findings as true, the fact that he has a following indicates that the idea that Jesus might have been haploid has been considered plausible by some Christians.

  • Wouldn't lacking chromosomes be a sign of disease? Jesus certainly was not a diseased man. – Geremia Jun 10 '17 at 15:55
  • @Geremia in a normal circumstance, yes, but the question is about religion, not science. In Christianity, God can presumably do mostly whatever he wants, including creating beings with unusual chromosomal makeups and giving them the powers and abilities that he wants. – Robert Columbia Jun 10 '17 at 17:26
  • To the downvoter, why? Are you downvoting because you disagree with Ron Wyatt's findings or because you feel that I did not answer the question? What do I need to do to fix the answer? For what it's worth, I don't agree with Wyatt's research - I am only referencing it because it is a notable claim. – Robert Columbia Jun 10 '17 at 17:27
  • Yes, I completely agree with your first comment. Re: your 2nd comment: Because the asker said "Note that I don't want speculation" – Geremia Jun 12 '17 at 14:53

Addressing "Whether the Mother of God was a virgin in conceiving Christ?," St. Thomas Aquinas gives the following objection in his Summa Theologica III q. 28 a. 1 arg. 4:

…things of the same species have the same mode of generation [i.e., procreation; e.g., cats make cats in the same way; humans make humans in the same way; etc.]: since generation is specified by its terminus [end] just as are other motions. But Christ belonged to the same species as other men, according to Phil. 2:7: "Being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man." Since therefore other men are begotten of the mingling of male and female, it seems that Christ was begotten in the same manner…

To which he responds (ad 4):

This argument is true of those things which come into existence by the way of nature: since nature, just as it is fixed to one particular effect, so it is determinate to one mode of producing that effect. But as the supernatural power of God extends to the infinite: just as it is not determinate to one effect, so neither is it determinate to one mode of producing any effect whatever. Consequently, just as it was possible for the first man to be produced, by the Divine power, "from the slime of the earth," so too was it possible for Christ's body to be made, by Divine power, from a virgin without the seed of the male.

Notice that he says "without the seed (semine) of the male"—thus, without St. Joseph's DNA. But that doesn't necessarily imply Jesus only had half the chromosomes of other humans.

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