The virgin birth of Jesus is the Christian doctrine that Jesus was conceived by his mother, Mary, through the power of the Holy Spirit and without sexual intercourse. Christians regard the doctrine as an explanation of the mixture of the human and divine natures of Jesus. The Eastern Orthodox Churches accept the doctrine as authoritative by reason of its inclusion in the Nicene Creed, and the Catholic Church holds it authoritative for faith through the Apostles' Creed as well as the Nicene. Nevertheless, there are many contemporary churches in which it is considered orthodox to accept the virgin birth but not heretical to deny it.
The narrative appears only in and , and the modern scholarly consensus is that it rests on very slender historical foundations. The ancient world had no understanding that male semen and female ovum were both needed to form a fetus; this cultural milieu was conducive to miraculous birth stories, and tales of virgin birth and the impregnation of mortal wome