Musings of an avid, amateur genetic genealogist

  • I am an avid, amateur genetic genealogist. I’ve been doing genealogical research on multiple ancestral lines for about 30 years, and became a novice genetic genealogist around 13 years ago, when genealogical DNA testing began to be popular. I have researched related and unrelated lines, and have had the pleasure of applying my experience in tracking down biological connections of just short of 10 “orphans”.
  • DNA is neat stuff.
    • There are four kinds of DNA. Briefly:
      1. Mitochondial DNA (mtDNA) - inherited by sons and daughters from their mothers. mtDNA is found only in mitochondria in cells, but outside of a cell’s nucleus. A mother’s mtDNA is passed to her children in her eggs. A father’s mtDNA leaves his body in the base of the tails of his sperm; however, the tails drop off during egg fertilization and never get passed on to children.
      2. Autosomal DNA (atDNA) - inherited by sons and daughters from their fathers and their mothers. atDNA of previous generations diminishes from generation to generation, and typically ceases to get passed on in any genealogically-useful quantity by the 7th generation. atDNA is located in cellular nuclei. (atDNA testing is the most popular and common kind of DNA test.)
      3. X-DNA is inherited by sons and daughters from their mothers, and–in daughters–from their fathers. Fathers do not normally contribute any X-DNA to their sons. X-DNA is located in cellular nuclei.
      4. Y-DNA is inherited by sons only, and is only inherited from their fathers. Y-DNA is located in cellular nuclei.

My understanding is that there are some cases in which a human embryo has mtDNA, atDNA, and X-DNA contributed by their mother, atDNA contributed by their father, and both X-DNA and Y-DNA contributed by their father. These cases fall into the “intersex category”: technically, the embryo is neither male nor female, but an intersex human. I have encountered one intersex person, within the last few years, who had sufficient male anatomy to conceive a son and a daughter, divorced, and chose to undergo surgical transition to “be a female”, sometime in middle age. For more information, explore:

So far as I know, there is no documented case in which a human inherited mtDNA, atDNA, and X-DNA from their mother and nothing from any purported father.
These bits of “scientific” information evoke a good number of questions about the biology of Jesus, chief among which is: where’d he get the Y-DNA needed to be “fully human”?

I have my own thoughts on the matter, but I’ll keep them to myself for the time being.

That is a good time to defer to a miracle. Seriously. Not a scientific answer, but I have thought about it also, and can really find no answer other than accepting the mystery.


Agreed. It seems to me that if one accepts the miracle of the Incarnation, then haggling over the mechanisms of how the DNA came to sort itself out seems like a secondary concern, at best.

As an aside, this somewhat parallels what I’ve long thought would be a better overall stance for YEC’s to take. Christians believe a number of things that are not backed up by science, and are — frankly — kinda nuts if we’re honest. Pretty much line-by-line in the Apostles’ Creed: the Incarnation, the Resurrection, the ascension into heaven, the second coming, the life everlasting. It’s all crazy. We don’t believe anything of the sort in any other aspect of our lives. If your neighbor’s teenage daughter gets pregnant, and out in the driveway one day he says something like, “Yeah, I don’t quite know what to make of it. Because you know, our little Janie’s still a virgin.” You know what you’re going to think about that. And I’ve never read a serious attempt by any Christian to offer a biochemical mechanism for how Jesus’ body sprung back to life there in the tomb…or how our own bodies will be resurrected one day down the road.

So I think YEC’s would be generally better off by effectively taking the position that: “I can’t explain the mechanisms. I just hold firm to the position that the universe is only several thousand years old, because I earnestly believe that that is what God’s holy word states. And I’m not gonna try to otherwise explain how all those scientists are so wrong; nor am I gonna offer up a competing naturalistic explanation to bolster my position.” It would be more consistent with what all of us as Christians do more broadly, and with the realization that we’ve all made a number of claims which conventional science would not otherwise support, mostly because we trust what we understand has been written in the Bible.

Sorry to kinda hijack the thread, there OP.


Well the Holy Spirit is referred to with masculine pronouns xd.

But i agree with just chalk it up as a miracle related to something the Holy Spirit was able to do when he conceived Jesus inside of Mary.

I don’t think there is any reason for me to assume Jesus was a female. Jesus definitely seemed to describe himself as a male and so did God by calling him his son.

I don’t think God was using gender in place of sex by calling him a he.

So it just leaves the miracle option on the table for me.

Just a limitation of English where ‘he’ has traditionally been the default because we don’t have a gender system for nouns. Ruach (spirit in Hebrew) is feminine and the spirit of wisdom is personified as a women in Proverbs. So feminine pronouns are used in Hebrew. Pneuma (spirit in Greek) is neuter in Greek so neuter pronouns are used.

Its also based off of how they refer to him as the father and Jesus as the son and the fact that for thousands of years it’s how Jewish men and women referred to god in general. Same for Angel names and so on.

The Bible says, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will conceive a son.” The church has never taught that the Holy Spirit fathered Jesus or that God somehow procreated with a human. God the Father is not the same member of the Trinity as God the Holy Spirit.

I was making joke obviously wasn’t I?

But let’s be serious now.

Did any significant amount of Jews or Christians ever consider God the father to be a woman? No.

Did any significant movement of Christians throughout its history ever consider the Holy Spirit as a feminine aspect of God? No.

So what all does scripture say?

Matthew 1:18
New American Standard Bible
Conception and Birth of Jesus
18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit.

By here is ek which means out of, and even the concordances state it’s an opposition to eis “ into”.

So what it’s saying is that the the son is out of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was not the son of Joseph. It makes sure to make that clear by noting Mary did not know Jospeh until after Jesus was born.

It also states that Jesus is the only begotten son of God. Begotten is monogenés “ one stock “ implying the only one of his kind. Whose kind? Gods. Jesus is the only son of God’s stock which is different from saying we are sons and daughters of God.

So yes, scripturally, and historically, the church has believed that Jesus was the son of God not only in random saying but that his birth was unique and special.

Now if you think by my joke I was seriously suggesting god banged Mary with a spiritual penis you would have greatly misread the implications of my joke. I don’t think god has testicles and a penis or even literally has a mouth or eyes.

I also don’t know of anyone who has ever believed that. I did not even need to type xd to make it as clear as day that it’s a joke but I did.

The joke was clearly based off of the content of the conversation about where did Jesus get a Y chromosome.

And yes historically , regardless of gender pronouns, the holy spirit has been associated with masculinity. That’s part of how we know the joke was lined out.

And just in case we are really tapping into anything I don’t believe that God is actually a male or female biologically. But he definitely self identified as one and now days that seems to be good enough.

Septuagint, The Book of Wisdom (New Revised Standard Version):

  • 1:16. But the ungodly by their words and deeds summoned death; considering him a friend, they pined away and made a covenant with him, because they are fit to belong to his company.

  • 2:1. For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves,
    “Short and sorrowful is our life,
    and there is no remedy when a life comes to its end,
    and no one has been known to return from Hades.
    2:2 For we were born by mere chance,
    and hereafter we shall be as though we had never been,
    for the breath in our nostrils is smoke,
    and reason is a spark kindled by the beating of our hearts;
    2:3 when it is extinguished, the body will turn to ashes,
    and the spirit will dissolve like empty air.
    2:4 Our name will be forgotten in time,
    and no one will remember our works;
    our life will pass away like the traces of a cloud,
    and be scattered like mist
    that is chased by the rays of the sun
    and overcome by its heat.
    2:5 For our allotted time is the passing of a shadow,
    and there is no return from our death,
    because it is sealed up and no one turns back.
    2:6 “Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist,
    and make use of the creation to the full as in youth.
    2:7 Let us take our fill of costly wine and perfumes,
    and let no flower of spring pass us by.
    2:8 Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither.
    2:9 Let none of us fail to share in our revelry;
    everywhere let us leave signs of enjoyment,
    because this is our portion, and this our lot.
    2:10 Let us oppress the righteous poor man;
    let us not spare the widow
    or regard the gray hairs of the aged.
    2:11 But let our might be our law of right,
    for what is weak proves itself to be useless.
    2:12 “Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
    because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;
    he reproaches us for sins against the law,
    and accuses us of sins against our training.
    2:13 He professes to have knowledge of God,
    and calls himself a child of the Lord.
    2:14 He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;
    2:15 the very sight of him is a burden to us,
    because his manner of life is unlike that of others,
    and his ways are strange.
    2:16 We are considered by him as something base,
    and he avoids our ways as unclean;
    he calls the last end of the righteous happy,
    and boasts that God is his father.
    2:17 Let us see if his words are true,
    and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;
    2:18 for if the righteous man is God’s child, he will help him,
    and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.
    2:19 Let us test him with insult and torture,
    so that we may find out how gentle he is,
    and make trial of his forbearance.
    2:20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death,
    for, according to what he says, he will be protected.”

Gee, what’s that? The righteous professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord; he calls the last end of the righteous happy and boasts that God is his father.

Of course its a miracle. If we take away the incarnation,and ressurection just because they cant be proven by science then we are left with nothing. No christianity.

Is that conclusion indicating that you think Jesus had a human father and hes saying that " God is his father" etc is symbolism of some sort? If so Origen have to say a word for it. He wrote a whole apologetic on someone who claimed that Jesus came from a human soldier.

When Jospeh was worried that Mary had cheated on him and so he was going to divorce her a Angel came and told him not to that she had conceived a child by the Holy Spirit and it points out he did not sleep with her until after she gave birth. Jesus had no physical father. His father was God and that’s why Jesus was called the only begotten. The fact that many Christians and Jews referred to God as father does not take away from what Jesus was saying when he called god his father.

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Right on. Origen done an incredible job inciting this

Of course, since Jesus is the second Adam, his Y chromosome is the same as Adam’s. (Just kidding, but that is where poor interpretation would take us.)


Of course its a miracle.

The marvelous thing about “being an ambassador of Christ” is that a person who affirms that

  • 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

can believe a great number of false things and still be an ambassador of Christ and a minister of reconciliation. Such a person could believe that the earth is flat, that relativity is “true”, that God created space and time, or the contrary. But I say, with Paul, that an ambassador of Christ cannot believe that God was not in Christ reconciling the world to Himself nor deny the resurrection of the one in and through whom God was reconciling the world to Himself. Mainstream science is far less tolerant of “impermissible opinions”.

My biological parents were married, but not to each other. When I was born, my bio-mother sought refuge with a sister and realized that she was unable to to nurture me adequately, so she delivered me to my bio-father’s home and left. That is when my bio-father’s wife and I first met: she was 63 years old and I was 3 months old. In spite of the revelation of her husband’s unfaithfulness, my stepmother prayed and believed that God wanted her to keep me, and so she did, until just before my 12th birthday.
Those years, in my stepmother’s home, are among my happiest memories.

In my 10th and 11th year, Social Services took an increasing interest “in my case”, primarily because my parents and step-parents were Deaf and poor, my bio-mother and stepfather were not a part of my life, and my bio-father had left my stepmother. The State authorities did not deem my childhood home adequate for a growing hearing boy, and proposed removing me from my stepmother’s care and placing me in foster-care. Alarmed over that possibility, my stepmother turned to her Lutheran pastor and told him that she wanted him to take me, in order to ensure that I was raised in Christian home. He discussed the matter with his wife and, after prayer, in spite of the fact that the couple already had five children, they consented. I was consulted and the proposal that I join the Pastor’s family was put to me. The Pastor had received “a call” to Nevada, and it was suggested that I move with them. I had, in the previous two years, become acquainted with the Pastor’s wife and children and was comfortable with them, so I consented to the move. And so, two months before my 12th birthday, I moved from Oklahoma to Nevada, ceased to be an only-child, and found nurture in another home and family. Eventually, I was formally adopted and my name was changed, with my consent.

To be clear, what I know of God, love, and mercy, I learned from my stepmother, adoptive parents, and five other people who loved me more than I deserve. Of the eight, only my wife remains; the seven who have died had this in common: they devoutly believed that God was in Christ reconciling them to Himself and they believed in the Resurrection, first of Jesus and, eventually, theirs.

Actually, XXY humans are characteristically phenotypically male (though with certain unusual features, commonly including infertility). The key factor (for practically all therian mammals, i.e. marsupial or placental except a couple of voles) is whether the sry gene, characteristically found on the Y chromosome, is functioning. That turns on the directions to proceed with making testes, which make testosterone, which further directs making a male. (Before that point in development, there is some formation of both male and female ducts; one set or the other gets developed further and the other is broken down during normal development.) If something in the genetic system is not fully working, whether due to a genetic abnormality or to environmental factors such as endocrine-disrupting chemicals, then it is possible for someone to be born with ambiguous sexual features. Rarely the sry gene region gets onto an X chromosome, leading to an infertile individual with male features.


Often called Kleinfelter’s syndrome. And XO individuals are phenotypically female, with Turner’s syndrome. The default is interestingly female, with male being the derivative. What does that say about Adam and Eve? Hum…

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I am acquainted with a guy in another forum who raised eyebrows more than once, as when he opined that Ha-Adam was androgynous and that Eve was the parent of us all.

P.S. I await the official announcement, with great curiosity, that an XXY or an XO have “come out” and are serving in a pulpit somewhere.

JP and @paleomalacologist, the novel Middlesex which came out in 2002 by Jeffrey Eugenides gave a fascinating look at such conditions in a captivating story. (I’ll bet the Bible doesn’t cover this!) :wink:

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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