I know the Church says that Mary was always a virgin so I believe it. But I was reading Mt 1:25 "he had no relations with her UNTIL she bore a son and named him Jesus. This seems to imply they had relations after Jesus. Please give me an explanation of the passage or another passage that defends her ever virginity. Thanks
Until sometimes implies that but I don’t think it is the case here. I think the context of the statement is whether she was a virgin when Jesus was born, not whether they had sex before hand. The statement is meant to confirm the virgin conception, which is undeniable if she was a virgin at the birth of Jesus.
She ate no meat until the day of her death.
Does that imply she ate meat after her death?
It is merely a quirk of the English language.
Thanks for the replies. I appreciate it. I never was that good with english.
It is idiomatic. It stresses that Jesus was born of the Virgin; but does not mean to imply they began afterwards.
It’s no different than saying that someone was a great person until their dying day. Does that mean that after they died they were not a great person? Of course not. It’s the same here. Plus the fact that there was no word(s) for uncle or cousins in Aramaic that also leaves out the passage about Jesus’s brothers and sisters were with him. This does not supporting him having siblings. Don’t go looking for things that are not there. This has been the teaching of the Catholic Church for almost 2000 years. Hope that helps.
Other posters have mentioned that the phrase “until” does not always imply a change.
Sometimes it is used to imply permanence, e.g. “Michal the daughter of Saul had no children until the day of her death.” 2 Samuel 6:23.
In this case, I think the phrase “until she gave birth to her firstborn Son” is being used to introduce a new topic: the birth of Christ. The “until” verse is the last verse of chapter 1, and it transitions nicely into chapter 2, which relates Jesus’ birth.
Regarding your request for other passages that defend Mary’s ever virginity, consider these:
Bible Passages that Support Mary’s Perpetual Virginity
- Luke 1:34 - “Then Mary said to the angel, How shall this be, for I do not know man?”
There are two reasons this supports Mary perpetual virginity. First, the phrase “I do not know man” carries a sense of permanence, like “I do not smoke.”
Second, there is the context. Mary was betrothed to Joseph when the angel told her she would conceive a child. But her question shows that she knew she would not conceive a child with him. By asking how she was to conceive, she shows that she was not planning to.
- John 19:25-27 - “When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, Woman, this is your son! Then He said to the disciple, This is your mother!”
There are three reasons this supports Mary’s perpetual virginity. First, Jesus’ dying action was to do something to provide for Mary. That suggests that He had no brothers and sisters to take care of her.
Second, the fact that he chose St. John instead of a brother or sister suggests the same thing.
Third, in Greek the words Jesus uses contain a definite article: “This is the son of you,” not “this is a son of you,” suggesting that Jesus was Mary’s only son.
- Isaiah 7:14 - “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
There are two reasons this supports Mary’s perpetual virginity. First, Mary’s virginity is supposed to be a “sign.” The reason God chose a woman who didn’t have children is because the presence of other children would obscure Jesus’ divine origin. That same reason would continue if the children were born either before or after Jesus.
Second, the passage says she will still be a virgin once she has given birth to Jesus. That can only happen by a miracle. But this supplies us with an argument for Mary’s perpetual virginity: why would God have used a miracle to preserved Mary’s virginity at the time of Christ’s birth, if she was only to lose it soon after? This suggests she was not going to lose her virginity.
Anyway, I hope that helps. I think those are solid reasons to believe in Mary’s perpetual virginity, and I hope they build your faith. God bless!
Matthew 1:25: Until she brought forth her firstborn son
The Catholic Church teaches that Mary remained a perpetual virgin and that Jesus did not have any brothers and sisters. Many non-Catholics doubt these claims, and they frequently cite Matthew 1:25 in support of their views that Mary and Joseph had normal sexual relations after they were married and that Jesus was only the first of many children that resulted from their union. Let’s examine this important verse more closely using two popular Protestant translations.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (KJV)
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (NIV)
In verse 25, the Greek heôs, “until,” does not necessarily contrast “before” to “after.” It means that up to a certain moment, something happened or not, without considering what happened after that moment. For example, the Greek text of the Septuagint says, in 2 Samuel 6:23, that “Mikal, daughter of Saul, had no children until (heôs) the days of her death.” This obviously does not suggest that she had children after her death. Matthew is interested in underlining that Jesus’ birth and conception were carried out without the intervention of any man.
Remove the word “until” from the verse, and you have the following:
“Joseph had no relations with her…she brought forth her firstborn”
Two simple statements. Protestants really disagree with the first of these two; therefore, the word “until” is the whole argument. Either Joseph held off “until” and then proceeded to have relations (the Protestant position) OR Joseph had no relations with her. Period. (the Catholic position).
Naturally, Protestants argue for a simple reading of the text, but Catholics counter that “until” doesn’t actually imply the cessation of past action (namely, holding off). Although things look intuitively obvious for the Protestant point of view, in actual fact, the Catholic position is not harmed at all by the word “until” because that word implies nothing…and other verses in scripture PROVE that point.
The raven “did not return TILL the waters were dried up…”
Did the raven ever return?
Deuteronomy 34:6 (Knox)
No one knew the location of his grave “until this present day”
But we know that no one has known it since that day either.
“And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.” The Greek word translated “until” in this passage is heos, the same word used in Matthew 1:25. The child spoken of is John the Baptist who also lived in the desert after he appeared in public (cf. Matt. 3:1, Mark 1:3,4; Luke 3:2).
1 Timothy 6:14
“…that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless UNTIL our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing…”
May this commandment be disobeyed after Jesus returns?
Because “until” does not require a cessation of activity, Matthew 1:25 cannot be used to disprove the perpetual virginity of Mary.
Many non-Catholics assume that Mary had a second child because Jesus is referred to as her “firstborn son”. However, “firstborn” is merely a term applied to the first child that “opened the womb”. The term does not imply a “secondborn”. In ancient times, a woman who only had one child during the course of her lifetime still called that child the “firstborn”. Scripture also supports this understanding:
And the LORD said unto Moses, Number all the firstborn of the males of the children of Israel from a month old and upward, and take the number of their names.
Note here that a child as young as one month old was called the “firstborn”. Given the length of the human gestation period, it is not possible for a month old infant to have a younger sibling. Thus, we see clearly that “firstborn” was a technical term that did not prove that additional children had been born.
St Jerome wrote a treatise on this subject against helvidius. You can probably find it on newadvent.com or somewhere else online.