The Immaculate Conception
Essentially, this dogma claims that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born without a sin nature (original sin) and was without sin her entire life. Pope Pius IX proclaimed this dogma in 1854, although Catholic.com claims it was “already existing belief.”
In defense of the 1854+ years that passed before the dogma was made official, Catholic.com contends that papal proclamations are often made to “emphasize” an existing dogma to “help the faithful.” This begs the question, Who proclaimed this belief to be truth in the first place?
In terms of the virgin birth of Jesus, there is no need to “emphasize” this belief because the Bible clearly indicates, in both Old and New Testaments, that He was born of a virgin and that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. No proclamation of man is necessary to substantiate the proclamation of God. However, with regard to Mary’s immaculate conception, it’s all the proclamation of man and NO proclamation by God.
In Romans 3:23, we read, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The verse says “all.” It doesn’t say “some” or “with the exception of Mary.” A sin nature is our inheritance from Adam and therefore, all those descending from Adam, including Mary, are sinners.
Here is Catholic.com’s argument in defense of the position that Romans 3:23 does not apply to Mary: “We also know of another very prominent exception to the rule: Jesus (Heb. 4:15). So if Paul’s statement in Romans 3 includes an exception for the New Adam (Jesus), one may argue that an exception for the New Eve (Mary) can also be made.”
Let’s examine this argument. It’s true; Jesus is an exception to the rule. However, this is the very reason why Jesus had to be born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit. If He were conceived in the conventional manner, He would have inherited the sin nature from Adam.
The Catholic Church does not claim that Mary was born of a virgin, nor conceived by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Mary too inherited a sin nature and was a sinner like the rest of us.
This erroneous dogma that Mary was sinless, may stem from the misguided belief that God would never, could never allow a common sinner to bear His Son. The Pharisee (Simon), who invited Jesus to dine with him (Luke 7:36-50), made this same miscalculation regarding the character of Jesus.
Such thinking reflects an ignorance of the nature and character of God. You might be surprised to know that a harlot (Rahab) was in the ancestral line of Jesus (Matthew 1:5).
Throughout the centuries, God chose many despicable people to carry out His will. Consider Abraham (an idolater), Jacob (a liar), Moses (a murderer), David (an adulterer) to name a few. And, let’s not forget Saul of Tarsus (Paul), whose personal ambition it was to wipe out the early church.
Of course I’m not implying that Mary was guilty of any of these sins. However, Mary did recognize her need for a savior and said so in Luke 1:47, “And Mary said: My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”
It’s difficult to make the argument that Mary was without sin, when in her own words she acknowledges God as her savior. Like all of us, Mary needed salvation because of her sins.
The above quote from Catholic.com also makes this statement: “So if Paul’s statement in Romans 3 includes an exception for the New Adam (Jesus), one may argue that an exception for the New Eve (Mary) can also be made.” If Jesus is the “New Adam” and Mary is the “New Eve,” couldn’t one conclude that they are therefore, man and wife?
I know the Catholic Church does not believe this, but you can see how taking license with God’s Word can lead to all sorts of distortions. The Bible does say that Jesus is the “last Adam” (1Corinthians 15:45). However, nowhere in Scripture does it refer to Jesus as the “New Adam” and in the entirety of Scripture it’s not mentioned nor implied that Mary (or anyone else) is the “New Eve.”
Because of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, it was necessary to go further and proclaim that Mary was a virgin her whole life. This dogma is in direct contradiction to Matthew 13:55: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?”
In explaining Matthew 13:55, some claim that these were children from an earlier marriage by Joseph or that “brothers” meant “cousins” at that time. What’s not explained is, Why would God expect Mary to remain a virgin the rest of her life? If this is what God desired, then why have Mary marry at all. You would think it was sinful for Joseph and Mary to engage in normal, God-ordained relations, after the birth of Jesus.
Another dogma of the Catholic Church claims that Mary was “assumed” into Heaven. She couldn’t just die like the rest of us because this would prove she was a sinner (“The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23)
These further erroneous dogmas have to be introduced so as not to box the Catholic Church into a corner because of the first erroneous dogma. Again, none of these dogmas are even hinted at in the Bible.
Next, Mary is held out to us as Mediatrix (intercessor). Never mind that the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus has this role solely, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1Timothy 2:5)
Satan has been very effective in displacing Jesus’ rightful position in the minds of so many Catholics by elevating Mary, a mere creature, to a position that is nothing short of preposterous. I’m reminded of the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
© 2013 Heaven Assured Intellectual Property. All rights reserved.