Christ’s true birth from Mary by Basil of Caesarea

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“Joseph, speaking with the other prisoners of their own dreams (cf. Gen 40:8), clearly uses the expression: “by means of (diá) God” . instead of the expression: “of (ek) God”. Paul, to the contrary, uses the preposition (ek) in the place of (diá), when he says, for example: “Born of (ek) woman” (Gal 4:4), instead of: “Born by means of (diá) a woman.”

Indeed, he clearly explained to us elsewhere how it is proper for a woman to be born of man and for a man to be born by means of woman, in the place where he states: “As woman is born of man, so man is born by means of woman” (I Cor 11:12). Here, however, the apostle makes clear the difference in the usage of these two expressions and simultaneously corrects, in passing, the false doctrine of those who held that the Lord’s body was spiritual.

He wants to show that the flesh that became the bearer of God (theophóros sárx) was molded out of human material; and for this reason he prefers to use the more meaningful term. For the expression: “by means of a woman” could give rise to the suspicion that it refers to Christ being born by passing through a woman. Instead, speaking of generation “of a woman” indicates with sufficient clarity the communion of nature between the Son and his Mother.

There is no contradiction, then. The apostle simply demonstrates with what facility the terms can be substituted for one another.”

Basil of Caesarea, On the Holy Spirit 5, 12; PG 32, 85 B-C.

If we believe that Jesus was a real human, we can relate all our lives to His life. St. Athanasius said that God became man so the sons [and of course daughters] of man might become sons [and daughters] of God.

If you are interested in more quotes on Virgin Mary, you can find them in Mary and the Fathers of the Church on Amazon in both in Kindle and paperback formats.


Gambero, L., 1999. Mary and the Fathers of the Church 1st ed. Translated by Buffer, T., San Francisco: Ignatius Press. p. 149.

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