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Spiritual Conception

"For He has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of His will, according to His purpose which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Him, according to the purpose of Him Who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His will, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of His glory. In Him you also, who have heard the word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation, and have believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it" (Ephesians 1:9-14 RSV)

People Everyone Is Still Mortal Human, Nothing More

Physically, there is no difference between the most righteous person and the most evil person (although righteous people do tend to live healthier lifestyles). Both are still completely mortal human, all subject to the grave:

"one fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil" (Ecclesiastes 9:2 RSV)

The difference is what awaits them, whether eternal life for the righteous, or oblivion for the unrepentant wicked. But neither has received their due, yet:

The righteous:

"These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth." (Hebrews 11:13 RSV) (see The Elect)

The wicked:

"And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says The Lord of hosts." (Malachi 4:3 RSV) (see Planet On Fire!)

Conceived, Not Yet Born, As Spirit

There is however a spiritual difference between the righteous and the wicked; the righteous have been "sealed with the Holy Spirit," which has engendered a potential new life within them, a life which may be "born again" if (as in if they don't fall away from the Truth) they are resurrected as spirit, as Jesus Christ explained to Nicodemus:

"Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see The Kingdom of God unless he is born again."

"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

"Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:3-8 RSV)


The New Testament was written mostly in Greek, and then translated into the many languages of the world. The Greek word pronounced gen-aw-oh is often translated as "born," but the original Greek word has a much broader literal meaning - it covers the entire process from conception to birth. Unlike (in certain areas of) the modern world, in ancient times there was no absurd debate about "when life begins" - in God's eyes, it begins at conception (see When Does "Life" Begin?).

Gen-aw-oh translated as "born"

"Now when Jesus was born [i.e. the Greek gen-aw-oh] in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king" (Matthew 2:1 RSV)

Gen-aw-oh translated as "conceived"

"Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived [i.e. again, the Greek gen-aw-oh] in her is of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 1:20 RSV)

When "Born" Actually Means "Conceived"

There are a number of verses in English-language Bibles that, although technically correct (keeping in mind that the original Greek word of the Scriptures meant the process from conception to birth) should have specifically been translated as conceived (i.e. growing in knowledge of the Truth and developing righteous character while awaiting birth), rather than born. Some examples:

"But to all who received Him, who believed in His Name, He gave power to become [i.e. in the future] Children Of God; who were born [i.e. gen-aw-oh, conceived], not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13 RSV)

"And now, little children [spiritually speaking, unborn little children], abide in Him, so that when He appears [i.e. in the future] we may have confidence and not shrink from Him in shame at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you may be sure that every one who does right is born [i.e. gen-aw-oh, conceived] of Him" (1 John 2:28-29 RSV)

"Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born [i.e. gen-aw-oh, conceived] of God and knows God." (1 John 4:7 RSV)

"For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments. And His Commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born [i.e. gen-aw-oh, conceived] of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith." (1 John 5:3-4 RSV)

Fact Finder: Why will some be resurrected to spirit, and some as physical again?
See Resurrections

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