Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas, Mary

Merry Christmas, Mary

By Michael Hoffman
www.revisionisthistory.org

“Merry Christmas, Mary” is the title of a lovely bucolic song performed and recorded by the late Johnny Cash, an American Country and Western singer of international repute.

Mary is often less honored among some Christians than saints of the Old Testament such as Sarah, Rebecca, Judith and Deborah. 

On Christmas Eve, while the mentally sick rabbis of Hasidic Judaism are making toilet paper intended to insult Jesus and Mary, our thoughts turn to Jesus and His mother, Mary. Outside of Catholic circles, we rarely see the respect accorded to her which she deserves.

Most non-Catholic churches believe that she was born, like the rest of humanity, stained with what is known as “Original Sin,” stemming from the disobedience of our first parents. Romans 3:10 (“None are righteous, not even one”) is the “proof” text cited in this regard.

The better Protestant theologians have nonetheless wrestled for centuries (mostly intra muros) with a profound dilemma: Adam was born on the undefiled soil of Eden. Jesus Christ is the New Adam. Would He have been conceived on defiled “soil”, the allegedly sin-stained body of the Blessed Mother?

The ancient Catholic doctrine that she was conceived without sin would seem to correspond to the requirement of a New Adam being born under the same circumstances as the first Adam: in an undefiled Eden; that “Eden” being the body of Mary. She had a role in the incarnation of Jesus Christ that would be difficult to underestimate, for she was the perfect vessel chosen by God as the “soil” upon which His Divine Son would incarnate.

In 1950 Pope Pius XII angered Protestants (and sent rabbis into paroxysms of rage) when he declared the dogma of the Assumption  that the Blessed Virgin Mary had not been buried on earth where Her body— the one that had carried within her the infant Lord Jesus Christ —would be subject to decay, but “assumed” into heaven.

We anticipate the guffaws and cackles of our science-minded readers who will shake their heads in derision. Of course we cannot establish to the agnostic or atheist mind that such a thing is possible, but we can remind the world of a recently discovered scientific fact which confirms the dignity of the body of Mary:

“Microchimerism is the presence of a small population of genetically distinct and separately derived cells within an individual. Microchimeric fetal cells migrate into the mother from the fetus during pregnancy. Fetomaternal transfer occurs in all pregnancies and in humans the fetal cells can persist throughout the life of the mother.”

As a result of this discovery we now know that the DNA of Jesus Christ was implanted in His mother during her pregnancy through microchimerism. The awesome fact is that throughout her life Mary bore within her the DNA of God.

Pius XII was right. God would not allow such a human vessel to decay and rot on earth. The discovery of microchimerism gives new significance to the words of the angel in Luke 1:28, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

Merry Christmas, Mary!

Copyright 2015 by Revisionisthistory.org

Michael Hoffman is the editor of Revisionist History newsletter
__________

26 comments:

aferrismoon said...

Is then the expulsion from Eden a Birth rather than a casting-out?

The 40 days and 40 nights of the Ark may resonate with Jesus' 40days and nights in the Wilderness.

The sacrifice of the Ram , caught in thorns , a forerunner of the crucifixion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjRt-o0XwZ4

Christmas greetings
and
Cheers

Clayvessel said...

In Luke 1:47 Mary calls Jesus her Savior. You here are making the claim that she didn't need a savior. You are also claiming, based on your own extrapolations in science, that she was equal with God with His human DNA. The real problem is that you take the word of a sinful man over the Word of God.

Michael Hoffman said...

Making what claims? Where have I made such “claims”?

Of course Jesus is her savior. No, Mary was not equal to God.

I am asking certain Protestants to reconsider their thesis that Mary was soiled with sin and that her body could be treated like any other on earth. Everything else is a fantastic extrapolation of yours.

Clayvessel said...

While Mary was indeed a remarkable, exemplary person, blessed among women, she was not without sin. You are making the claim that she was. She recognized her need for "my Savior" because she recognized her sin. If she had no sin, she had no need for a savior. Proper exegesis would take all the Scriptures regarding sin- that "ALL have sinned" Rom. 5:12, Rom. 3:23,Rom. 3:10, etc. No one, not even Mary, is exempted from these. But of course, in Roman Catholicism, traditions and the declarations of popes take precedence over the infallible Word of God.

You quote that the fetal cells "can persist throughout the life of the mother.” Can. That doesn't mean that any absolutely did. You and Pius XII are making a claim to know the mind of God by saying " God would not allow such a human vessel to decay and rot on earth." How do you know what God would or would not allow regarding Mary? We are not told.

The issue with the elevation of Mary in these ways (her supposed sinlessness and assumption, but also praying to her instead of to the Father) is that she distracts believers from the central figure of the Christian church- the Savior Jesus Christ.

Incidently, last year I was on a tour in Italy to twenty cities and dozens of churches (as well as Dante's tomb). I noted that in churches that were built before the Middle Ages (such as the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna) Jesus Christ was the central figure of artworks, mosaics, etc. while Mary was placed properly with the saints. In the later churches Mary became the central figure and Jesus became secondary. Eventually even dead popes were more prominent than Jesus Christ.

And here, on your blog, on Christmas, you give Mary the spotlight, not the Savior of our fallen world, Jesus Christ.

Michael Hoffman said...

I am taking nothing away from Jesus when I point to the major dilemma for your theology: if Mary was sin-stained then the New Adam did not incarnate on undefiled ground, as did the first Adam.

Because she was without sin when she conceived Jesus through the intercession of the Holy Ghost does not signal that she would not be tempted by the Enemy throughout her life, even as Jesus had been. Mary would have called upon her Savior-Son in those circumstances.

It is not reasonable for you to recite the familiar Protestant “Mariolatry” charges merely because I am asking all Christians to have a new appreciation of Blessed Mary.

The neglect of Mary is seldom an issue in Protestant churches. There is little focus on that neglect, just as there is avoidance of the issue of the New Adam and His incarnation inside the Blessed Mother and what vessel she would have had to have been for Christ to be the New Adam.

James said...

Thank you very much Mr. Hoffman for your correct and powerful defense of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.

Liberty Bell said...

I sojourned through Protestantism before reverting to the Catholicism of my family. The Protestant worries about "elevating" Mary are understandable, but ill-founded.

Clayvessel's central concern is "the claim that [Mary] didn't need a savior." The centerpiece of the argument advanced Mary's sinlessness is the statement: "If [Mary] had no sin, [then] she had no need for a savior." This is simply incorrect.

Consider this question: Why, on the Catholic view, was Mary born free from the stain of Original Sin?

There are two relevant answers that may be given.

On the one hand, someone might think that the Catholic claim is that Mary's freedom from Original Sin was not owed to anything but to her own Good nature. Let us call this the idea that Mary was "necessarily free" from Original Sin.

As far as I can tell, this is not, nor has it ever been, the Catholic claim.

For on the other hand, Catholics answer that Mary's freedom from Original Sin was owed to God's Grace. On this view, the Catholic view, Mary was "contingently free" from Original Sin.

This is no mere verbal jousting. If the claim were indeed that Mary owed God nothing in virtue of her freedom from Original Sin, then the notion that Mary "had no need for a savior" would be obviously true.

On the actual claim, Mary owed her preservation from Original Sin to God. Thus, Mary certainly did need - and had - a savior.

Merry Third Day of Christmas.

Clayvessel said...

You are not "merely" asking all Christians to have "a new appreciation" of Mary. In your blog post you were clearly making a case for her sinlessness and assumption and asking people to believe those dogmatic foundations for- indeed- Mariolatry. If you want people to truly appreciate her, you would rightly point out how her faith is an example to us. When she was told extraordinary things by an angel, she believed without doubt or question (unlike Zacharias or Abraham's wife Sarah) and accepted God's will with humility. That humble faith is an example all Christians should try to follow.

You state that there is a "requirement" that the New Adam "be born under the same circumstances as the first Adam." From whence comes such a requirement? It is absurd and no dilemma whatsoever. The Holy Ghost had no obligation to meet any human "requirements" in the incarnation- not science, not biology, and not human logic and reason as you attempt to apply here that Jesus had to be born on "undefiled ground." It appears that human reason and logic are getting in the way of a humble faith in and acceptance of the inspired and infallible revelation and Word of God in His Holy Book.

The savior of humankind had to be a human but a mere (sinful) human could not pay for his own sins, much less the sins of the whole world. It was a requirement that the human savior be without any sin. Jesus was born without sin for that reason. To apply human logic and say that it was also required that His mother be without sin then the same requirement becomes necessary for her mother, and her mother, etc. This is what happens when a person tries to use human logic to explain divine miracles.

And finally- Jesus Christ is the Savior from SIN and condemnation, not a savior from temptation.

Liberty Bell said...

Catholics and Protestants have differed on this issue for hundreds of years. To some extent, this thread will probably unfold like a game between chess players retracing a classic opening sequence. Still, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17, New Intl. Vers.).

>>In your blog post you were clearly making a case for her sinlessness and assumption and asking people to believe those dogmatic foundations for- indeed- Mariolatry.<<

Clayvessel, you neither define "Mariolatry" nor *argue* that said beliefs imply the "worship" of Mary. You merely label the Catholic position a species of "idolatry." However, Catholics deny that they worship Mary. Therefore, you are being uncharitable when you assert that belief in Mary's sinlessness and Assumption are tantamount to "Mariolatry." Let's traffic in arguments, not in labels.

>>If you want people to truly appreciate her, you would rightly point out how her faith is an example to us.<<

Scripture gives us a ready explanation for Mary's exemplary faith. Even the King James Version (Luke 1:28) faithfully reports that Mary is "thou that art highly favoured," the one "the Lord is with" and who is "blessed ...among women."

As Catholic apologist David Armstong has observed, "highly favored" translates the Greek word "kecharitomene," meaning "full of grace [charis]." Catholics commemorate this Biblical truth in the prayer that affirms: "Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. ..."

In this case, it is not obvious that it is the Catholics for whom "human reason ...[is] getting in the way of ...acceptance of the inspired and infallible revelation and Word of God in His Holy Book."

Which stream of Christianity - Catholicism or Protestantism - faithfully fulfills the Scriptural pronouncement: "From now on all generations will call [Mary] blessed" (Luke 1:48, NIV)?

>>You state that there is a "requirement" that the New Adam "be born under the same circumstances as the first Adam." From whence comes such a requirement? It is absurd and no dilemma whatsoever. The Holy Ghost had no obligation to meet any human "requirements" in the incarnation...<<

Hoffman nowhere stated that "[t]he Holy Ghost had [any] obligation to meet any human 'requirements'...". If the parallelism between the First Adam and the Second Adam point toward a "requirement" (strictly so-called), then said requirement would have been established by God Himself.

Hoffman's argument is probably best understood as an argument from analogy, and not a modal argument (i.e., an argument having to do with concepts like possibility and necessity/"requirement"). The early Church expounded upon at length upon the symmetry between Eve (Adam's virginal - at the time of the Fall - wife) and Mary. I haven't the space to rehearse these parallels, here. Suffice it to say that the point Hoffman is making goes back to the Apostolic Fathers - including heroic martyrs such as St. Justin, who had received personal instruction from John the Evangelist.

No one need believe that the early Church Doctors were themselves infallible in order to grasp the significance of the fact that many of these persons heard the Gospel message directly from the lips of the Apostles.

Liberty Bell said...

I see that part one of my reply was posted successfully. I'm afraid the second part must have gotten lost in transmission. Here it is again.

***

>>It was a requirement that the human savior be without any sin. Jesus was born without sin for that reason. To apply human logic and say that it was also required that His mother be without sin then the same requirement becomes necessary for her mother, and her mother, etc. This is what happens when a person tries to use human logic to explain divine miracles.<<

There is a confusion, here. The argument should *not* be construed as follows. Call this Argument A.

1. If a person, s, is born without sin, then s's parents are sinless.
2. Mary was born without sin.
3. Therefore, Mary's parents were sinless.

At least one reason to think that Argument A is a failure can be summarized using the distinction that I drew earlier between "necessary"-sinlessness and "contingent"-sinlessness. Just briefly, on my somewhat idiosyncratic usage, s is "necessarily-sinless" if s’s sinlessness is essential and could not be otherwise. Moreover, if s *is* necessarily-sinless, then s does not need a savior. If, on the other hand, s is "contingently-sinless," then s's sinlessness could have been otherwise.

Taking these distinctions into account, we could formulate Argument B:

4. If a person, s, is necessarily born without sin, then s's parents are sinless.
5. Jesus was necessarily born without sin.
6. Therefore, Jesus's parents (Mary and God the Father) were sinless.

But Argument B is not extended to Mary. Consider Argument C:

4. If a person, s, is necessarily born without sin, then s's parents are sinless.
7. Mary was necessarily born without sin.
8. Therefore, Mary's parents (Joachim and Ann) were sinless.

Argument C is unsound - even by Catholic lights - since premise 7. is false. It is not the case that "Mary was necessarily born without sin." Mary was contingently born without sin. Her sinlessness was entirely at the Grace and pleasure of God. Jesus's sinlessness was essential. As the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, his paternity conferred sinlessness to Him. But since, again by Catholic lights, Mary was contingently-sinless, Jesus's maternity also conferred to sinlessness to Him.

Hence, Jesus was necessarily-sinless because both of his parents were sinless. His thus being essentially sinless secured His status as our savior who did not need saving Himself.

Still, Mary's sinlessness partially secured Jesus's sinlessness. Although, as has been stated, Mary's sinlessness was neither due to her own nature nor to anything that she had accomplished. Mary was, in other words, saved as the rest of us are: "...by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from [herself], it [was] the gift of God - not by works, so that [she cannot] boast". (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV.)

This is why Mary exclaimed: "[M]y spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Luke 1:47, NIV).

It is simply that in our cases, the grace comes after our births, while hers came before. But I ask you, where does God's Written Word set forth the "requirement" that all of those who are saved by Grace can be so-saved only after birth and not before? I put it to you that there is no such "requirement" to be found in Scripture; I therefore encourage you to conclude - along with the early Church Fathers and their Catholic heirs - that Mary was (contingently) sinless and that we all have God's wondrous plan of salvation to thank for it.

***

Erratum: Justin Martyr was not an associate of the Apostle John. St. Ignatius of Antioch was.

Clayvessel said...

Well, Liberty Bell, my intention in commenting on Hoffman's blogpost was to have a conversation with him about his own words. I tried to be brief and to the point. My first comment was not conveyed clearly enough so I subsequently tried harder to address only MH's own wording and his points as I understood them. I am not interested in re-arguing these other doctrines with you because as you said, they have been debated for hundreds of years. The accusations of misunderstanding is a two way street. Don't presume to know what I was saying beyond my actual words. Also, I am not interested in an exchange that leads to "I said the most words therefore I win."

In brief response- firstly, Hoffman brought up Mariolatry, not I. Secondly, the summary of all your points and arguments includes only two things- human logic and human traditions. You have gone beyond the scope of the blog post and my comments and I don't have time nor interest in debating with you.

What you hopefully understand is that non-Roman Catholic Christians recognize that the only infallible revelation from God is His Holy Word. Any other revelation is weighed against it. If it in any way contradicts God's Word it is not embraced as doctrine. (Gal. 1:6 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.")

The Scriptures do not support the doctrines of Mary's sinlessness or assumption or the idea that the New Adam had to be born on undefiled ground. No doubt you and MH know that which is why you don't offer any and resort to St. Ignatius. I can call Mary "blessed" (as I did in my comment above) without directing my prayers to her. (Catholics deny that they worship Mary. So? I see them bow on bended knee and pray to her "Hail!" The use of semantics or denial coupled with ad hominem remarks makes the argument empty and ingenuous.) You will not convince non-Roman Catholic Christians of your doctrines of tradition as long as there are no Scriptural supports.

Michael Hoffman- I hope if nothing else you will see that not all "Protestants" (I do not count myself as a Protestant btw) are not the same. Many have much worse doctrinal issues than their failure to "appreciate" Mary.

Peace.

Liberty Bell said...

PART ONE OF THREE

>>[M]y intention ...was to have a conversation with [Hoffman] about his own words.<<

Hoffman's personal email address is posted on the right-hand side of the page. I would respectfully suggest that you use that convserational method if you wish to discourage the entry of other discussants. If you post publicly, then you invite public replies.

>>...I am not interested in an exchange that leads to "I said the most words therefore I win."<<

Nor am I interested in such an exchange. Albert Einstein reportedly once said, "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." What I write about at length (and I deny that these comment-sections of 1,400 characters are "lengthy") I do so because either: I believe no fewer words can clearly communicate the point that I am making; or, what is perhaps more likely, (to paraphrase Blaise Pascal) "I haven't the time to make my replies shorter" by editing them down.

>>If [any other revelation] in any way contradicts God's Word it is not embraced as doctrine.<<

I appreciate and agree with this. But what you apparently do not consider it that most Catholics, myself included, deny that Catholicism embraces doctrines that "contradict God's [Written] Word".

Before I address your parting shots, however, I have to say a few words about your recurring use of phrases such as "human logic" and "human reasoning."

You provide no definition for these terms, possibly in the (mistaken) belief that no definition is required. I will therefore suggest one for you. In the broadest sense, "human reasoning" (and the like) would merely be "reasoning carried out by human beings."

Unless, Clayvessel, your responses were dictations from On High, your replies - no less than any Catholic's - were the products of "human reasoning" - namely, your own. The majority of your words are not Scripture quotations, and of the words that *are* Bible quotations, they are not given as they are in the Bible.

You have therefore used human reasoning to join together various Scripture passages in order to make your points - just as have the other responders used human reasoning to join together Bible verses to make their points.

To deny this is simply disingenuous. Those who cast aspersions on "human reasoning" only seem to protest when the reasoning issues from a camp other than their own. Their own reasoning is either, and fallaciously (since it would be special pleading), immune from this "criticism," or else, and implausibly, it poses as non-human (or perhaps, outrageously, as divine) reasoning.

(END 1/3)

Liberty Bell said...

PART TWO OF THREE

>>The Scriptures do not support the doctrines of Mary's sinlessness or assumption...<<

Catholics deny this. I cited several supports from Luke (1:28 and 1:48). I furthermore deny that you have even remotely demonstrated what you pretend, namely, that the Bible "contradicts" the idea that Mary was sinless.

You cited Luke 1:47, to which citation both Hoffman and I explicitly replied by noting that the Catholic affirmation of Mary's sinlessness in no way militate against Mary having had a savior. (For the details, see above.)

To this you added a hand-waving remark about "all hav[ing] sinned," alluding to "Rom. 5:12, Rom. 3:23,Rom. 3:10, etc."

This is a case-study in the disingenuous assertion that only one side in this debate is using "human reasoning," while the other side is merely quoting Scripture.

No Christian should hold that "contradicting God's [Written] Word" should always and everywhere be decided by a woodenly-literal reading of Biblical passages. One flippant example may be found in Mark 4:31, where Jesus Himself is recorded as having asserted that "a mustard seed ...is the smallest of all seeds on earth." Should readers merely attend to the face-value of this verse and conclude that either Jesus or the Bible is in flagrant error? Is there no explanation that can keep both a high-view of the Bible and a high-regard for Christ intact? This is the comeuppance for those who bandy about words like "contradiction."

Or, more seriously, according to James "God cannot be tempted by evil..." (James 1:13b). But the author of Hebrews attested that Jesus was "tempted in every way, just as we are - yet he did not sin" (Hebrews 4:15).

When resolving prima facie difficulties such as these, Christians of all stripes employ what Clayvessel disparagingly calls "human reasoning" - as, I presume, she would also. This is what the respectable and time-honored discipline of apologetics is all about.

Those who denigrate "human reason" might as well deny that theology has any place in Christianity. And forget about homiletics. Without "human reasoning" sermons and homilies would merely consist of direct biblical quotation. It would be dubious for any preacher to so much as string together verses from different parts of the Bible - for in doing so (unless string in question received direct divine sanction) they depart from one-dimensional quotation and beginning mixing in their own dreaded "human reason."

Happily for Christianity, this is a cartoonish and ahistorical view. Besides being false, it is simply unpractical. To my knowledge, no sub-sect of Christianity functions this way.

(End 2/3)

Dakota said...

Very welll said Clayvessel! :-)

Clayvessel said...

Liberty Bell, your amusing verbosity which grows with every response spurns me to move on to other more profitable tasks, yet I can't help myself....

****>>The Scriptures do not support the doctrines of Mary's sinlessness or assumption...<<

Catholics deny this. I cited several supports from Luke (1:28 and 1:48). I furthermore deny that you have even remotely demonstrated what you pretend, namely, that the Bible "contradicts" the idea that Mary was sinless.*****

Here you are executing a burden of proof reversal. Your "several" citations (exactly TWO) do not in any way say that Mary was sinless ("blessed" is not a synonym for "sinless". Look it up.) nor that she was assumed into heaven.

The doctrine of the sinful state of all mankind is found all throughout the Bible and has not ever been in dispute to my knowledge. Please support your stance that there is even one human exception (except Jesus Christ of course) to that well understood Christian doctrine with any verses you can find. I hope you can find more than two. Or even two. There are 30,102 verses to choose from.

***>>...or the idea that the New Adam had to be born on undefiled ground.<<

That Adam *was* born on undefiled ground may be inferred from the numerous analogies between the First Adam and First Eve and the Second Adam (Jesus) and the Second Eve (Mary), as has now been mentioned several times. If Jesus's birth on undefiled ground was indeed a "requirement," then it was a requirement instituted by God and, in any case and as far as I can tell, is nowhere contradicted in the Bible.***

"Numerous" analogies? Where? (Not on this page.) Bonus points if you can cite one actually from the Bible. It's not contradicted because the idea didn't exist!

And regarding human reason and logic- Catholics use it to create extra-Biblical doctrines by extrapolating beyond the clear words and proper exegesis of the Scriptures. See Hoffman's blogpost above.

Michael Hoffman said...


Clayvessel wrote: "And regarding human reason and logic - Catholics use it to create extra-Biblical doctrines by extrapolating beyond the clear words and proper exegesis of the Scriptures.” (end quote)

Protestants use human reason and logic to create (or at least uphold) the doctrine of the Trinity.

The truthful dogma of the Trinity was arrived at by using the exegetical tools and methods Catholics use to declare Mary conceived without sin. The Trinity is true, but how did Protestants arrive at this truth?

Furthermore, tens of millions of Protestant Fundamentalists subscribe to an extra-Biblical doctrine of Judaizing which is wildly popular throughout the American South. Protestantism is no bulwark against "human inventions.”

aferrismoon said...

" Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece as white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
The Lamb was sure to go"

cheers

Clayvessel said...

Michael Hoffman, I fully agree with your last sentence, the best example of which I think is the Rapture.

However, I'm quite surprised that you would use the doctrine of the Trinity since the Trinity defies all human reason and logic! The truth of the Trinity is derived from the Scriptures (and not tradition if that is what you are implying) where it is clearly set forth- the Creation and the baptism of Jesus being two examples.

GodSend said...

Tens of millions of Protestant Fundamentalists can be wrong (DECEIVED) - just as tens of millions of Catholics are wrong (DECEIVED)! CUFI self-proclaimed "Christians" are wrong in thinking that Zionist Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people - instead of the homeland of Zionist Satanists who love to spit on real Christians!

"I know the blasphemy of THEM which say THEY are Jews and are not, but are the Synagogue of Satan". (Revelation 2:9). I know the blasphemy of THEM which say THEY are Christians and are not, but are the MEGA-churches and Roman Catholic (Vatican) basilicas of Satan!

Liberty Bell said...

PART THREE OF THREE

7. Therefore, Mary did not lack grace at any time. (From 2 and 6 by modus tollens.)
8. Therefore, Mary did not lack the Saving power of Jesus's sacrifice at any time. (By 1 and 7.)

However, in its basic form, the doctrine of Mary's sinlessness just is the declaration that Mary was saved - by Grace - from the moment of her birth.

I have to add that "Mary sinned" is also a positive assertion and, by this standard, would also place a burden of proof on its asserter. What is your evidence that Mary sinned? Here you have given verses such as those well-known passages in Romans indicating that "all have sinned." (E.g., 3:23 and 5:12.)

The problem, here, is straightforward.

9. All [humans] have sinned. (Romans 3:23.)
10. Jesus was fully human. (From Christian theology.)
11. Therefore, Jesus sinned. (From 9 and 10.)

Obviously, 11. is unacceptable. As you point out, we have good reason - from other Bible passages such as 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15 and so on - to think that "all" in passages like Romans 3:23 (et alia) really does not mean "each and every human without exception."

Catholic simply believe that we have good reason to think that Mary is an exception also. Mary is not on the "same level" as Jesus. As I argued previously, Jesus's sinlessness was essential to him, whereas Mary's was (on the Catholic view) contingent. Jesus was the savior. Mary was saved by Grace (it's just that she was so caved from the moment of her birth).

Why is the New Testament not more explicit about this? I should say that there is a fairly straightforward reason. The New Testament is primarily about Jesus (in the Gospels) and about Jesus's church (from Acts onward). Therefore, we receive the most information in the New Testament regarding Jesus and the Church. However, I am a Catholic because I do not believe that the New Testament is entirely silent about Mary's sinlessness. I believe that the New Testament's clear references to Mary as the "highly favored daughter" who is "full of Grace" and who will, by all future Christians, be called "blessed" are best-explained by the doctrine that Mary was sinless.

Still, for me anyway, no Catholic "convinced" me of this so long as I still believed in sola scriptura. So I understand your hesitation and can only recommend to you that you pray and think about the doctrine of sola scriptura.

All the best to you, Clayvessel. Sincerely, Matthew J. Bell

P.S. I do not think that there is any good reason to think that the Trinity "defies" logic - human or otherwise.

(End 3/3.)

Liberty Bell said...

I have been causing a lot of confusion (in addition to some frustration), I'm afraid, due to my multi-part replies. This is an unfortunate side effect of at least three things: my wordiness, the complexity of the topics and the 1,400-character limit of the weblog comments.

Due to this confusion, some of my earlier, 3-part reply has been inadvertently deleted. For any who care (and I am not presuming), the complete 3-parter is online here: http://bellofchurch.blogspot.com/2015/12/rejoinder-to-clayvessel.html

Concurrently, some of my new 3-part rely to Clayvessel's response to me was apparently mistaken for my older 3-part reply and also removed. That new reply, which was never actually posted in its entirety, can be read here: http://bellofchurch.blogspot.com/2015/12/surrejoinder-to-clayvessel.html

Dakota said...

Just to add fuel to the fire perhaps re the Trinity example. I--along with many other Christians who wouldn't classify themselves in either the Catholic camp or the Protestant camp--personally don't believe the Godhead is a trinity. I believe the Holy Spirit is the power or force of the Most High God, but not an independent entity, person or being like God the Father or Christ Jesus the Son. Likewise I don't believe Mary, the blessed mother of Christ, was sinless or a virgin for life as Catholicism teaches.

Michael Hoffman said...


“Can Mary’s Sinlessness Be Defended?”

http://bellofchurch.blogspot.com/2015/12/can-marys-sinlessness-be-defended.html

messianicdruid said...

It seems that a new word to describe telegony was needed since it was supposedly disproved over a hundred years ago.

It also seems that a new appreciation for "they two shall become one flesh" is in order.

I need more reason to accept that "blessed" equals "sinless", as well as the idea that an undefiled environment was needed for aw-dawm to inhabit and this somehow becomes a requirement for Christ.

"Blessed is he whosoever is not offended in me." All that are washed in the blood are blessed. Mary is blessed "among women" for obvious reasons, not for the esoteric.

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/telegony_(pregnancy)

MaryC said...

Clayvessel: I assume that you believe that Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the New Covenant, which makes Mary, who carried Him in her womb for 9 months, the Ark of the New Covenant.
In the Old Testament, God gave very specific instructions regarding the original Ark of the Covenant and no-one, on pain of death, was allowed to defile it.
If God was so concerned about the perfection of a wooden chest designed to contain His written Commandments, how much more so must He have been concerned about the vessel designed to carry His own Son, THE Word.

Innocent Smith said...

Very interesting article, Mr. Hoffman. Although I do not need this new information regarding microchimeric fetal cells to understand that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived without sin, is full of grace and is the Mother of God, I find it fascinating to think about how this pertains to all of us vis a vis the Eucharist.

When we receive the Eucharist we have God's DNA inside of us for about 15 to 20 minutes. Or so I have heard. It also gives new understanding to the great grace one can receive if he is fortunate enough to receive Viaticum, or food for the journey, right before the moment of death. And beyond those ideas, let us contemplate the idea of the Eucharist in our everyday lives, which most of us take for granted to one degree or another.