29 December, 2009

The eternal virginity and sinlessness of the blessed mother discussed with "Ernie"

(Ernie) Again and again, if I am speaking a false teaching, then what does the Catholic bible teach? Mary is not sinless either, as Romans 3:23 says. What does the Catholic bible teach about Mary being sinless? This is even bigger than the false teaching about Mary's virginity. Only one ever born is sinless, and He is Jesus. For Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist to be sinless, God would have lied in Romans 3:23, because all is all, and both Mary and John had both a man and a woman for parents, and Jesus did not. That is why He is sinless, and they are not, because no one born of both parents is sinless, because we are born into sin.

(Cristoiglesia) It appears that the reason that you are making errors in your understanding of Romans 3:23 is because of your lack of hermeneutical training, You are using a proof text methodology and not coming to the Bible to learn but to support already decided suppositions. This is called eisegesis and almost always results in exegetical error. Let us reason together on the following verse:

Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

It seems as if you are focusing on only one word in this verse which is “all”. So, that being your focus, if we can find only one exception to this then it would change your whole understanding.

All Christians will agree that there is at least one person who never sinned and that is our Lord and Savior. Being an exception means that there may be other possibilities of exceptions although we can agree that the circumstances of our Savior are unique being fully man and fully God. No other person future or past can make such a claim. As you know the Bible says that the blessed mother is "full" of God's grace at the Annunciation. We believe that God had prepared her for that moment of saying yes to be the God bearer. The womb that bore and nurtured our Lord is the Ark of the New Covenant which is Christ our Lord. God cannot dwell within sin so the blessed mother was saved by God's grace before she was even conceived in the womb immaculately. She was in need of a Savior as we all are and our Lord provided for her salvation and indeed her sanctity even before her conception. Being and remaining full of grace means that the blessed mother of God never sinned but would have been tempted to sin as the new Eve just as the original Eve was tempted. But just as her Son withstood temptation, her grace was so great that she was able to overcome all temptation.

Just for the record, the Bible also says that St. John the Baptist was saved from original sin but he was saved at birth and not conception. The blessed mother was unique in her immaculate conception.

Now, you also stated that you do not believe that the blessed mother of God was forever virgin and base this on a mistranslation of scripture.

From a historical standpoint, in regards to the perpetual virginity of the virgin mother, no one believed that she had other children until the last two hundred years or so due to widespread mistranslation of Scripture and the non-scriptural practice of Sola Scriptura using improper hermeneutics.

When studying Scriptures as a body of work, in context pointing towards the atonement of humanity there is no other reasonable conclusion that one can come to other than the fact that the blessed mother had no other children than Jesus. Also the historical and the Biblical accounts confirm that the blessed mother was forever virgin. St. Joseph was not chosen as a husband in the normal sense but as the protector of the blessed mother's virginity. He was a much older man, likely a widower, chosen by God for this purpose. Let us look at the verses in question....

(Mat 12:46 DRB) As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him.

(Mat 12:47 DRB) And one said unto him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee.

(Mat 12:48 DRB) But he answering him that told him, said: Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?

(Mat 12:49 DRB) And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren.

(Mat 12:50 DRB) For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

The Greek noun used here is adelphoi which means brother and it is spelled exactly the same way both times it occurs in these Scriptures. One should note also that there is no such thing in Koine Greek grammar as a familial form of adelphoi. Now it is important to note that the language used here is in itself a translation from Aramaic for adelphoi used in the familiar way. In Aramaic there is no word which would distinguish ones biological brothers from other relatives such as cousins or even step brothers or sisters. The more acceptable term in proper translation would probably be something like brethren instead of brother. When Christ spoke he also used the Aramaic equivalent to adelphoi in the Greek, in a non-familiar sense when he said the following in verse 50, “he is my brother”.

As you can see with proper exegesis there is nothing in these verses to support the theory that St. Mary was not forever virgin and that she had other children besides Jesus. Please note that in all of Scriptures, no one is specifically called a child of the blessed mother other than Jesus.

Please note the following:

(Mat 1:20 DRB) But while he thought on these things, behold the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost.

(Mat 1:21 DRB) And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. For he shall save his people from their sins.

(Mat 1:22 DRB) Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying:

(Mat 1:23 DRB) Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

St. Mary was a virgin when she conceived and was a virgin after giving birth.

(Luk 1:26 DRB) And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,

(Luk 1:27 DRB) To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin's name was Mary.

(Luk 1:28 DRB) And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

(Luk 1:29 DRB) Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.

(Luk 1:30 DRB) And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

(Luk 1:31 DRB) Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus.

(Luk 1:32 DRB) He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.

(Luk 1:33 DRB) And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

(Luk 1:34 DRB) And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?

(Luk 1:35 DRB) And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

The verses preceding show that she intended to remain a virgin when she said to the angel Gabriel, “I know not man”. Please notice in the following verses in St. John’s account of the crucifixion of the blessed mother being put into the care of St. John. If she had other children and especially other male children the Jewish tradition would be that she would have been cared for by them. Jesus knowing the hardship of a childless widow placed her in good hands with St. John.

(Joh 19:26 DRB) When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son.

(Joh 19:27 DRB) After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

Last of all there is the difficulty of history and Sacred Tradition to overcome, which has always, without exception, called her the Blessed Virgin.

(Ernie) According to your teaching, Mary and John could have died for the sins of the world, and that is an impossibility. Also, if what you teach is true, Jesus didn't die for the sins of Mary and John, seeing they are sinless. this is false doctrine.

(Cristoiglesia) Jesus was not the Lamb of God just because He was sinless but because He was God. It was His divinity that made Him perfect. Where in the Bible does it say that being sinless makes one divine? It does not so your theory has no biblical basis.

Now let's look at the issue of blessed mother's sinless nature. Consider that when the angel addresses the blessed mother at the annunciation, the greeting is almost a name change:

"Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1:28, KJV).

Mary (Miriam in Hebrew) means "beloved." In biblical times a person's name reflected what they were. Name changes have great theological significance in the Bible and this is almost as if her name is being changed from "beloved" to "thou that art highly favored." Since this is before Jesus has been conceived, to what is the angel referring? No doubt to her singular devotion to God, forsaking all earthly distractions and desecrations, and the fact that she had been conceived without sin in preparation for this event.

Being conceived without sin does not mean that the blessed mother had no need of a redeemer. In fact, like every descendant of Adam, the blessed mother had vital need of a redeemer. The blessed mother's freedom from original sin was an unmerited gift of God in that she was redeemed by Christ at the moment of her conception. It is at the moment of conception that God creates the soul and hers was created in a state of sanctifying grace. If you had the opportunity to create your mother, wouldn't you make her perfect in every way? This is why there are the doctrines of the perpetual virginity and Immaculate Conception of Mary.

Jesus refers to the blessed mother's sinless nature when He addresses her as "woman" in John 2:4 and 19:26. Today, one looks at Him addressing her in this manner and thinks this is disrespectful or that He is admonishing her. In fact, the blessed mother was not the first sinless woman, Adam's wife was also created sinless. When she was first created, Adam named her "woman" (Genesis 2:23). It was after the fall, when she was no longer sinless, that her name was changed to "Eve" (Genesis 3:20). By referring to the blessed mother as "woman," Jesus is recognizing her sinless nature. Like I said earlier, name changes in Holy Scripture are important.

(Ernie) I truly believe the Catholic church will be around after the Christians are raptured out of here, and become part of the one world religion, serving the one world government. I didn't know how much false doctrine the Catholic church is teaching, but now I see why you have your own bible, so you can teach these deceptions as truth.

(Cristoiglesia) Of course the “rapture” is not a biblical teaching but a doctrine of men. I do not subscribe to all the nonsensical conspiracy theories as well.

The Bible has been translated into almost every language and dialect in the world. The King James translation is a secular one that lacks any semblance o being inspired. There are hundreds of translation errors in the King James translation. It is suitable for reading but not for serious study. Serious scholars study the Bible in the original languages. The most accurate of the English translations that is comfortable to read is the Revised Standard Version. We do not have our “own” Bible in the context that you make the allegation. Your Bible, the King James Translation, is translated from the Bible that we canonized in the late fourth and early fifth century. In fact, it was Catholic Christians that wrote the New Testament. So you use a Bible that came from the authority that Jesus gave to His Church, the Catholic Church. This will explain how we got the Christian Bible:

In first century Jerusalem there were at least four OT Canons in use by different Jewish Groups. There was the Canon of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Ethiopian Jews and the Diaspora/Essene Jews. Jesus and the disciples used the Septuagint which was the Canon of the Diaspora/Essenes. We know this because it is quoted in the New Testament. This Canon continued to be the Canon of Christians until after the Reformation and, in fact until about 200 years ago when the Protestants adopted a condensed version of the Canon eliminating the Deuterocanonicals from their Bibles. Even the AKJ originally contained the complete Christian Canon. It has been said by critics of Christ’s Church that the Deuterocanonicals were never believed to be inspired and just the opposite is true. The decision by Christians as to which books are inspired and useful for teaching was decided at the African Synods in the late fourth and early fifth century. There was never a question about their inspiration.

The OT Canon chosen by the Protestants is actually a Jewish Canon not chosen by the Jews until after the establishment of Christianity as a result of the spread of Christianity to slow the growth of the new group in Jerusalem after the fall of the Temple in 70AD. Until then as I said previously there were many Canons in use. The adoption of the Canon missing the Deuterocanonicals united the Jews against the Christians was decided in the Jewish Council of Jamnia because the Deuterocanonicals referred too strongly to the Messiah fulfilled in Christ.

Some Protestants will claim that only the Jews have the authority to choose Canon but the Church deferred that decision to Christ and the disciples and it is clear through biblical research, that the Septuagint is the Bible used by the first century Church and quoted in the NT Scriptures. The fact that Protestants choose to adopt the Canon that was approved by the same Jews that accused our Lord that resulted in His crucifixion suggests the source of this confusion as from the father of lies who led the Pharisees to accuse Christ and petition for His punishment. It is another way that Satan divides the body of Christ and separates the faithful denying Christ’s prayer that we all be one in Christ through His Church. The Christian Church has always used the Septuagint as Canon and never the truncated version of modernist Protestants.

Some Protestants erroneously believe that Catholics added to the Bible with the Deuterocanonicals but this shows an ignorance of their own history and the history of Christianity as witnessed by Christ’s Church. The facts are that the Protestants removed the Deuterocanonicals and even considered strongly to remove some of the NT books currently in use by Protestants and Catholics. Fr. Martin Luther was in favor of removing the book of James because it conflicted with His heretical man made doctrines of the “Solas”, Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide. The heretic Ulrich Zwingli wanted to remove the Gospel of John because of its teaching of the commandment to Eat Christ’s Body and drink His Blood which contradicted his view of a real absence of Christ instead of a real presence in the Eucharist. Even Fr. Martin Luther could not endorse such a departure from Scriptures and deny that Christ is truly and really present in the Eucharist in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

(Ernie) If I have been a stumbling block I will repent, and God will forgive me. Same is true for you. But, some of your teachings do not agree with the bible I read, nor what bible teachers have taught me. To say anyone was sinless besides Jesus to me is blasphemy, because only Jesus is sinless. That is a very dangerous doctrine, and I cannot accept it as truth.

(Cristoiglesia) We are all born with original sin which was caused by our original parents bringing sin and death into the world. We have inherited that sin nature from the original fall from grace.

As was prophesied in the Old Testament a virgin will bear a son called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). That Son is to become the Lamb of God and a replacement for the Paschal Lamb of Passover which is emblematic of Christ as the feast of the New Covenant. This prophecy is important in that it illustrates the necessity of the perfect sacrifice. Not one of a perfection of the flesh as the Paschal Lamb refers but the perfection of the soul which requires a divine nature as no human alone could fulfill the perfection required by the Father but only the God-man in Jesus. Being fully God, He could not dwell and be nurtured in a vessel containing sin nor could the Lamb of God inherit the original sin of our original parents. So, out of necessity and in preparation to the blessed mother’s obedience she was saved by Christ at her conception. The blessed mother was in such a state of grace before conceiving and nurturing the unborn Jesus that she is described as being “full of Grace”. Of course being full of God’s grace leaves no room for sin.

Now keep in mind that some may argue that Jesus does not qualify as a type of the Paschal Lamb because the Paschal Lamb was required to be without any physical blemish. Certainly the wounds of Jesus, by His scourging, left Him as anything but a physically unblemished sacrifice. It is significant to acknowledge that the Paschal Lamb of the Passover saved one from physical death while Jesus being emblematic saves one from the death of the soul into sin. Therefore, the Lamb of God had the perfection of the soul necessary to atone for sin which causes spiritual death.

Furthermore, while the obedience of the Israelites at Passover instituted a special kinship of the people as the family of God so too does the new kingdom instituted by Christ’s atoning sacrifice institute a new kinship or Covenant signified by the fact that we are to eat the Lamb in all its Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity just as the Israelites had to eat the Lamb to be saved. Just like them it could not be a symbolic Lamb but its real flesh consumed; so too are we to partake of the reality of the feast provided by our Lord.

People may argue that it is not possible for Christ to save the blessed mother at her conception as the atoning sacrifice on the Cross has not yet occurred; this same argument by critics of the Eucharist argue similarly. But the fact is that God dwells outside of time where everything is in the eternal present without future or past. In the Scriptures according to St. Johns account of Jesus’ Colloquy at Capernaum in chapter 6 he said, “do this in remembrance of me” as translated into English but this is often a misunderstanding as to what Jesus was really saying because in English “remembrance means to recall a past event which is an approximation of the Greek meaning since there is no corresponding English equivalent. . However, the Koine Greek word used was “anamnesis” which has in its meaning an expectation of a miracle which transcends time and place. So what was truly being conveyed by Jesus’ words recorded by St. John is that the disciples truly ate the sacrificed flesh and drank the spilt Blood of our Lord just as we do today sharing in that one sacrifice presented by our Lord and shared by the entire Church in all its glorious manifestations. Therefore His atoning sacrifice provides for all humanity past, present and future.

(Ernie) I would never teach Jesus isn't the Lamb of God, because John said that in John 1:29. There you go trying to put words in my mouth I didn't say.

(Cristoiglesia) We must be aware that people come to conclusions by our teaching. If you give the impression that Jesus was corrupted by sin in the womb of His mother then you are asking for one to come to the conclusion that Jesus is not the perfect sacrifice but one that is a sinful creature like is described in Romans 3:23. Clearly He is not and I do not expect you to disagree and say that He is described in Romans 3:23 like everybody else. Clearly He is an exception and even though He was fully God and fully man He lacked our sinful nature which He inherited from His mother that provided Him the fullness of humanity without the stain of original sin as she had been prevented from receiving at her own conception.

(Ernie) I still believe you are on very dangerous ground, and when you have to give an account, everything will be made known. Like I said earlier, I stick by what I have believed, and you can continue to teach what you believe; but in the end, Jesus will judge us at the judgment seat of Christ, and I am ready for my judgment concerning what I have and will teach. All I'm saying to you is don't let man's teachings come out of your mouth to others, because once you teach someone, God takes it very serious what you have taught him/her.

(Cristoiglesia) Are you so blind that you cannot see either by pride or ignorance that it is you who is in protest of Christ’s Church and worship in a wholly man made sect based entirely on the doctrines of men. You are over 2000 years away from the formation of His Church which still exists today as the Catholic Church and is testimony to Christ’s veracity as the enduring Church just as He promised. The gates of hell have never prevailed against His Church and never will and it remains the shining city on a hill (Mat 5:14) and the “pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

1 comment:

  1. Great work illustrating the logical fallacy of the straw man argument!