I used to hear all the time on “Catholic Answers Live” praise for Mary’s fiat, how important her ‘yes’ was “because God is a gentleman and doesn’t force Himself on anyone.” Today’s first reading (Jonah 1) finally incited me to post asking about it, because it implies the opposite.
Basically, I see two Biblical problems with this interpretation of Mary’s Fiat being “all important” and “praiseworthy”. (Well, three, but let’s focus on two for the sake of clarity in discussion.)
*]Mary was never asked permission. Gabriel says “you will conceive” (Luke 1:31); he does not ask whether she would like to.
*]The point raised by today’s reading: Jonah illustrates someone charged with a task who initially refused. God hounds the person and torments him until he consents (or dies). This is hardly “taking no for an answer.” Moreover, as Jesus suggests in the New Testament, if someone dies in this state of refusal, God doesn’t have mercy on them, but instead casts them out into eternal torment. (Or, at least, the worms that do the tormenting are eternal, though it’s not clear from the text that the suffering person is.) We see this principal generally played out by God’s design of nature, summarized in the maxim “Vice is its own punishment, virtue its own reward.”
Now, I understand that we can simply disregard Sola Scriptura as a shortcut to upholding the Church’s doctrine (whatever it happens to be), but I’m wondering if you can argue from the Bible against either of these points in favor of Catholic Answers’ position that Mary was asked permission, and that a contrary declaration from her would have led to our deprivation of the Incarnation. If you cannot, then where in Sacred Tradition is the position of Catholic Answers vindicated?
My conclusion is that one can argue anything from the Bible, hence the Catholic Church is necessary not only for a unified Christian faith, but also to be able to claim that the Bible reflects God’s Wisdom. (Also, if Catholic Answers is correct in their estimation of Mary’s fiat, I do not think it can be shown from the Bible alone.)