We read an account of the Annunciation at Lk 1:30-35 (NRSVCE):

30 "The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God

We see the reference to the Most High being made twice - first at Verse 32 and secondly at Verse 35. Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus witnessing, communicating with and praying to God the Father whom he fondly calls Abba Father (Mk 14:36). That implies that by the term the Most High, the angel meant God the Father. Verse 35 also points to the role of the Most High in the promised conception of Jesus . Now, the Creed says that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, apparently ignoring the role of the Most High. One wonders why the Church limits the conception of Jesus to the power of the Holy Spirit in the Creed . My question therefore, is: Why does the Creed mention only the role of Holy Spirit in the conception of Jesus ? What explanation does the Catholic Church offer for the same?

  • Welcome to SE-Christianity. Question up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 13:34

2 Answers 2


On your first question: the text (Luke 1:35) says that the pregnancy of Mary is by the power of the Holy Spirit, but that behind his work ("overshadowing") is the work of God the Father. So I would suggest that this means the initiative is from God the Father, but the Holy Spirit is the one who accomplishes the work. (Who can explain the inner workings of the Trinity?)

Compare with what the angel says to Joseph in Matthew 1:20:

"Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit."

No mention in this verse of God the Father - yet of course that does not mean he was absent.

Saying, as the creeds do, that Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, does not in any way diminish the role of the Father. I think they are just affirming that Jesus was conceived not by a human Father but by the agency of the Holy Spirit.

On your second question - I do not have expertise in Catholicism, so perhaps someone else could answer from that angle.

  • Thanks. But the Creed could not have been unfair if it said : " conceived by the Will of the Most High and the Power of the Holy Spirit .."" Commented Dec 31, 2020 at 6:56
  • @KadalikattJosephSibichan it doesn't need to make that distinction. The Will of God is appropriated to the Holy Spirit.
    – eques
    Commented May 7, 2021 at 14:25

John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. So here John's intention is to show Jesus have a character that was Godly but he also refers to Jesus as 'The only begotten Son'. I think any quick reference to all the 'begats' in the Old Testament are strong evidence that John want the reader to accept God the Father as the literal father of Jesus conceived through the working of the Holy Spirit.

In Matthew 11:27 we read Jesus' words; 'All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.' The use of the singular 'Father' and singular 'Son' suggest more than a kind of spiritual relationship as declared in 1 John 3:2 'Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.'

In John 17:24 Jesus says; "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." Which supports the theology of a pre-creation Christ who became Jesus for God's purposes (John 3:16) Hebrews 1:2-3 says; [God] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:' The phrase 'express image' is compelling as the only other persons described in that way are God's (the Father) first children in Genesis created 'in the image of God'

Finally 1 Corinthians 6:19 I think clearly marks out the relationship between our human form (as in 'born') and how it relates to the Holy Spirit who is always sent as God or Christs agent. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?' The Holy Spirit does not act independently from God,(John 14:26) just as Jesus did not act independently of God (John 4:34) and God revealed Himself in spirit form (John 4:24)

Therefore, in terms of the birth of Jesus Christ' both God the Father and thr Holy spirt were involved.(Matheww 3:16,17)

  • Hello and welcome to the site. I've edited your post to add paragraph breaks, but there are still many typos, please edit it to fix them.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 0:43

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