Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Virgin Birth and the Immaculate Conception

Lots of people get these confused. The Virgin Birth of Christ, which is 
taught in Matthew and Luke, says that Christ was conceived in
Mary’s womb without sexual intercourse, through a divine miracle. It is 
accepted by Catholics and conservative Protestants.

The immaculate conception of Mary is the doctrine that Mary herself was
conceived in her mother’s womb free of the stain of original sin. It’s a 
Catholic doctrine that Protestants deny on the ground that the Bible teaches
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”


Starhopper said...

The Bible sometimes uses the word "all" where it does not mean "every last person". Just look at Matthew 3:5. "Then went out to [John] Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan." Really? Is Matthew telling us that the entire population of Judea went out to see John the Baptist? I think not. He means rather that there was no part of Judea that was not represented in the crowds that did go out. And Mark 1:5 uses the same phraseology. "And there went out to [John] all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem." Again, Mark is not telling us that Jerusalem emptied itself down to the last soul to listen to John.

In like manner, the phrase "all have sinned and fallen short" merely means that there is no segment of humanity that is perfect. We're "all" sinners. The sinlessness of Mary is in no way incompatible with "all" being sinners.

bmiller said...

The common complaint is that the doctrine implies that Mary did not need a Savior. That's not the case. She still needed God's saving grace. Wikipedia gets that right here:

The doctrine teaches that from her conception Mary, being always free from original sin, received the sanctifying grace that would normally come with baptism after birth.

Starhopper said...

Good point, bmiller. Just as Mary is, like all of us, a creature, she requires a Creator. In the same manner, being the recipient of the fullness of Divine Grace at conception, she is in need of a Savior.

Protestants also generally do not notice that in Catholic prayer, we say to God "Lord have mercy" but to Mary (and the other saints) we say "Pray for us." Just as we would ask any fellow Christian for their prayers.

I think it's significant that Mary's last words in the Bible are "Do whatever he [Jesus] tells you" and her last (Earthly) appearance is at the descent of the Holy Spirit. (Her first Earthly appearance is all the way back in Genesis as the prophesized woman who is to crush the head of the serpent, and her last (Heavenly) one is in Revelation as the woman "clothed with the Sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars". So Mary "bookends" the story of salvation, as well as appearing at its climactic moments - the birth of Christ, at the foot of the Cross, and at the birth of the Church.)

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

things fall through the cracks

The Question of other realms is a good test for the limits of science. Up to this point in human history science had no way to tell if there were other realms or not. For most of the life of modern science the idea of other realms, conjuring in the popular mind images of heaven, hell, Dante’s Inferno, and Superman’s Phantom zone were a laughing stock. With the advent of the twentieth century, relativity,

Kevin said...

Things do fall through the cracks. I recall dropping the cap of a 2 liter in my parents' kitchen, and when I finished pouring and went to pick the cap up, it was gone. I never did find it. Did someone in another dimension suddenly have a Pepsi cap appear in their floor? Who knows?

jdhuey said...


It is the same dimension that has all those mismatched socks that disappear in the dryer.

Kevin said...

That would be a great dimension. "I keep gaining socks in the dryer, don't know how it happens."

bmiller said...

But the socks would still be mismatched :-(

John W. Loftus said...


Starhopper said...

Good to see you back here, John! Haven't seen anything by you in years. Hope this isn't just a one-off.

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks! I stop in every month or so. I don't find much here that interests me enough to comment on. Cheers.