John the Baptists and His Sinless Birth/Life


#1

OK I am coming from a varied protestant background. I have read about the immaculate conception of Mary and read many apologetics on the subject and am practically convinced that Mary was given special graces for her position as Mother of Jesus. However last night the layman running my RCIA class in discussing John the Baptist said he too was born without sin and lead a sinless life. He said this was the churches position because it said so in his RCIA manual/ instructors book. I realise there is the scripture that he too recieved the holy spirit while still in the womb. Luke 1:15 But my protestant background keeps coming back to the scripture that “All men have sinned and have come short of the glory of God”. Also it was always my understanging (From the 20 years spent in Protestant/Bible Christian territtory) that Christ became human so as a human face everything we face etc and still lead a sinless life and that is how he was worthy to die on the cross for our redemption and become the New Adam. If others as mere humans could lead a perfect sinless life why did we need Christ to come and die for our sins and be the sacrifice. The way I was taught was that that was imopossible for us mere humans, that it was Christ who wasGod/man was the only one able to do it.(Note the previous statement was what I was taught- thats the Bible Christian argument I guess argument) Anyway It does seem to take away something special and unique to Christ alone if there is another human that was able ti rest all sin. So somehow I am trying to reconcile all this with Romans 3:23. Also something else I noted last night it says in Luke 1:6 That John the Batists parents were blameless before God. So I am assuming they were sinless but i am going to assume that they did sin in their lifetime but made the necessary reparation to God so any of their sins if there were any had been forgiven. Anyway this would be a big sticking point with the husband of I tried to explain it. Can someone enlighten me has to how to reconcile this notion of John being sinless. It bothered me all last night. Thanks in advance


#2

The value and necessity of Christ’s Sacrifice comes from His Divinity, not His sinless humanity.

Every sin is an offence against God, who is an Infinite being. Therefore the offense is infinite, requiring, in Justice, an infinte reparation.

Humans, even sinless ones, cannot offer that. The only source of reparation for our infinite offense is infinite Good, in other words, God Himself.

There is no doubt that God could endow a human with such a level of Grace that they could not sin. ( God is an infinite source of Grace)

But that person is still a finite creature, no better than an angel at best. That person cannot offer an infinite sacrifice if they are strictly finite.


#3

There was no immaculate conception in the case of John the Baptist. He was conceived in original sin but was born free from original sin. It was removed from him while he was in the womb.


#4

Why? For what purpose, I mean?


#5

Hi cpayne,

It is obvious from all Scripture that John the Baptists position before God is a very special one. In that context, it is not surprising that he should start his life before the world with a clean slate as far as God was concerned. This was God’s decision, and his decisions are always wise.

Verbum


#6

I’ll buy this, I suppose, though it seems odd to me. Can anyone refer me to where this is taught? Is it in the CCC?


#7

I’ve never heard or read any such thing, and I went through our parish RCIA class. The fact that John was holy is indisputable from the New Testament, however look at your verse here. 15: for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb IMO “from …womb” would indicate after he was born. He heard Mary’s greeting and leaped for joy, but unless my memory fails me I know of nowhere where it says he was filled with the Spirit. Elizabeth was…hence her cry of, “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

41: And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
42: and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43: And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44: For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.

Also something else I noted last night it says in Luke 1:6 That John the Baptists parents were blameless before God. So I am assuming they were sinless but i am going to assume that they did sin in their lifetime but made the necessary reparation to God so any of their sins if there were any had been forgiven

.A valid premise since you point out that they were obedient to God.

Anyway this would be a big sticking point with the husband of I tried to explain it. Can someone enlighten me has to how to reconcile this notion of John being sinless. It bothered me all last night. Thanks in advance

I hope I have helped a bit.

John’s conception was not immaculate.
He was not filled with the Holy Spirit while in the womb, only after he was born.

I suspect that your teacher has misread his materials…or misinterpreted it. You might give your pastor a call and ask for clarification one on one with you.
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.


#8

Sorry Thistle, but I know of nothing that substantiates that either in scripture or Church teaching.

Where’d you get that?:shrug:


#9

15: for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

  • Luke 1:15

41:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit

  • Luke 1:41**

#10

We were taught in RCIA that at the moment John lept in his mother’s womb at Mary’s greeting he was cleansed of original sin, but I’ve never heard that he led a sinless life.

“…even from his mother’s womb.” could easily be meant to be read as “…even while still in his mother’s womb”.


#11

Your RCIA instructor is wrong.


#12

What does the scripture means that says “None born of women is greater than you–but the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than you” when referring to John the Baptist?

Were the angels in Heaven greater than John the Baptist?

Was Melchizedek greater than John the Baptist?

Was Enoch or Elijah who went straight to heaven without death greater than John the Baptist?

Were they able to indeed go striaght to heaven beofre Calvary?

And lastly the angel said “Hail Mary Full of grace.”

If the angel said “Hail” does that indicate that regardless of whether any of these other people were greater than the angels or not–that the angels spoke the truth that Mary was indeed greater than them when they used the word “Hail”?

Or are all men and women greater than the angels in some respects and less great in other respects?


#13

The document Ineffabilis Deus, which defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, says:

“We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful.”

Previous declarations on original sin say that it extends to all men (except Christ), but these definitions do not include the Blessed Virgin Mary.

St. John the Baptist had original sin.


#14

Hi cpayne

I’ll buy this, I suppose, though it seems odd to me. Can anyone refer me to where this is taught? Is it in the CCC?

My bible commentary attributes this interpretation of Luke to “ecclesiatical tradition”. In other words, it is the widely held opinion of theologians. I don’t think it is found in any official statement of doctrine. In my view, you can respectfully doubt this interpretation of the Bible.

Verbum


#15

According to this article , the church does believe that St. John the Baptist was the recipient of preservative redemption.

John the Baptist was sanctified in the womb prior to his birth (Luke 1:15),

catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0102sbs.asp


#16

In addition the Catholic Encyclopedia also agrees.

Now as the presence of any sin whatever is incompatible with the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the soul, it follows that at this moment John was cleansed from the stain of original sin.

newadvent.org/cathen/08486b.htm


#17

Thanks, everyone. I’ll look this up.


#18

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