Birth Begins At Conception

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

We have no better English word to translate this Greek word than born… but it still is not a full translation. Let me explain. Bible writers used the same basic word for conception and the birth itself. We use the word birth or born for the process of a child exiting the birth canal. But in the Bible the word born can include the act of conception and all that results from it. This usage includes everything involved in bringing a baby into the world.

Here are a couple of examples:
  • Matthew 1:18 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Note the explanation of the “birth” of Jesus takes in the context and conception of His bodily existence before Mary delivered Him. In the Bible way of thinking the exit of the child from the mother's body was not the beginning of the child, it was the result of the context of the being of the child, just like every other experience of the child will be the effect or result of the context of its life, which began as a relationship between the child's parents. There is also a sense in which the Jewish context of birth includes the child's ancestors as well.
  • 1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” The word translated “born” includes a completed paternal action (begat and begotten) which happened at conception.
The notion that the Bible teaches anything but human life beginning in the context of conception would have been foreign to the writers of the New Testament. I think someone espousing that notion would have had to explain it to the Biblical authors first, because it would be so alien to them, then the proponent of that position would have been met with bewildered faces wondering how anyone could be so incomplete in their thinking. For them it would be the same as someone thinking a child has no parentage or context of being, as if the child had been individually created. Birth and, therefore, life begins in the context of conception.

I have addressed this in the context of Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus in two posts: Jesus Opened The Gates To Let The Trash Blow In and Jesus' Kingdom Immigration Policy

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