Mary, the Immaculate Conception: Why?


#1

Shalom!

Hey, I was talking to a friend/pastor the other day (if you haven’t already seen some of my other questions), and a certain point was brought up. When discussing the Immaculate Conception (it was not really a “discussion”; he shot it down pretty quickly), I told him to me it seemed like a necessity when one takes into account Original Sin. He quickly replied,

“You’re dealing with bad Augustine theology here: that Inherit Sin is transferred physically, not spiritually.”

He actually was a bit more graphic than that, pointing out that Augustine viewed procreation as the means by which Original Sin was transferred, but it left me wondering: “Well, how can sin be transferred physically? Maybe it isn’t physical …” If it isn’t physical, why was it necessary Mary be preserved?

(I’m familar with typology in this area: The Ark of the New Covenant, the Second Eve, etc., but I’m really just wondering why it is she HAD to be preserved.)


#2

In an analogous sense, the state of original sin at birth signifies that our native condition is not of itself compatible with friendship with God or effective participation in God’s divine life. This participation is conferred after birth by filial rebirth in Jesus Christ, brought about by the sacrament of baptism or what is supplied by that sacrament.
The doctrine of original sin at least affirms that all human beings at birth come into the world affected by original sin by reason of the sin of Adam, in other words through solidarity with humanity which has universally and in solidaity been sinful from the beginning.
So original sin, at birth, is not a kind of stain which is removed by baptism. It is a deprivation of the sanctifying grace effectively given to the child by baptism.

To say Mary was preserved from original sin from her conception onwards is thus to make the positive statement that from the first moment of her existence she was sanctified by the grace of the divine life which is given to others only after their birth.

By reason of her future divine motherhood Mary was given divine grace at the time of her conception; this grace anticipated baptismal grace.


#3

Thank you.

Original Sin is, loosely, the lack of sanctifying grace in man from the time of his conception until his baptism …? Is that right?

Could you explain to me briefly what exactly it means to have “sanctifying grace”? If baptized people possess it, and yet sin, what does it mean? (I understand a mortal sin cuts off the flow of sanctifying grace, however.)


#4

The Catholic Church does not teach that it was “necessary” and that Mary “had” to be preserved but only that it was “fitting” and “proper” that she be preserved Original Sin.

So why was she preserved? We can only guess at the motives of God but it seems that, from all the various ways He could have done it, God chose to restore mankind in a manner similar to that which caused mankind’s ruin. Since the ruin of mankind came about through the disobedience of a previously sinless man and woman, Adam and Eve, God chose to restore mankind through the obedience of another sinless man and woman, Jesus and Mary. Mankind was given a second chance to do the right thing and obey God’s commands with Jesus acting as Adam’s advocate and Mary as Eve’s. To this end, Jesus and Mary were given the same advantages that Adam and Eve enjoyed prior to their Original Sin.


#5

To answer the “why” portion of your question, search the Scriptures. Every a mortal human being came into contact with God physically, they all cried out in fear, because they knew they would die due to God’s holiness and their sinfulness. Think of Uzziah, who was killed for touching the Ark of the Covenant, the presence of God. How could Our Lady carry God in her womb without dying if she was covered in sin?


#6

Let me perhaps oversimplify it. Do we clean the chalice before we put the wine in it. To we consecrate it while in a dirty chalice. Of course not. Original sin makes us filthy. So just in a practical sense. Why would the Word of God be in something unclean. I think the better question is why not? Would the Lord dwell in a dirty palace?


#7

She was created in a perfect state because God Incarnate was to truly take His human nature from her. Christ is the union of the perfect Divine nature and the perfect human nature. Mary’s nature thus had to be perfect or Christ would not really have taken his (perfect, obviously) nature from her, but would have been “faking” it, creating for himself a perfect nature in place of the imperfect nature which would have come from an imperfect Mary.

Which is to say, the entire Incarnation would have begun as a lie.


#8

The dogma of Original Sin says simply this in regards to grace: all men, without exception, need God’s grace to be saved–and Jesus is the only source of that grace–one must come to Him in some way to be saved (normatively through Baptism).

Think of it this way–what is the difference between someone who is grafted in as a member of the Body of Christ and one who is not–the one who is not is cut off from the supernatural life found only in Christ. We are born in a natural state, not a supernatural one–it takes supernatural grace to be saved.

Mary, on the other hand, was already infused with this supernatural life from the moment of her conception–she was essentially already a member of the Body of Christ.

Heresy, schism, and apostacy cut one off completely from the Body. Mortal sin cuts off the life, but you remained attached to the Body, a dead lifeless member or a branch that does not produce fruit.

Also, sin isn’t literally transferred physically, besides concupiscience which is in the flesh (which wars agains the Spirit). Original sin is a deprivation of supernatural grace, which is not something we are owed, but is a gift. It was one of the gifts provided to Adam. Due to his sin, God no longer bestows this gift on men–this is not unjust because it was a gift in the first place, not something owed or deserved. However, God did bestow this gift on Mary, the new Eve, who would bring forth His Son, who would redeem the world, by His merits justly earning us supernatural grace, which He freely bestows on those who seek it.

This is a great Trinitarian paradox, Jesus merited the grace and yet it is a free gift, because it was truly God who freely came down and merited it for us. Therefore, His justice is perfectly satisified and His mercy also is perfect.


#9

The words “Original Sin” apply to two situations:

  1. (Original Man and Woman.)
    The actual sin committed in the Garden of Eden by Adam & Eve - resulting in their loss of Sanctifying Grace and a human nature that was “wounded” as a result.
  2. (All descendants of Adam and Eve)
    We are born in the “state of Original Sin”, that is, the state Adam and Eve were in after they sinned. Specifically:
    absence of Sanctifying Grace in the soul,
    wounded human nature - weakened will, and darkened intellect; disordered passions (concupiscence), body subject to pain and death].

Sanctifying Grace was never a “part” of human nature, but was a supernatural gift imparted by God; an added gift so to speak.
Baptism restores Sanctifying Grace to our souls, but it does not remove/heal the defects in our human nature that resulted from Original Sin. It is the supernatural life of Sanctifying Grace that strengthens our weakened nature and aids us in overcoming these defects/sinful tendencies.

As a meditation, you might think of what physical life means in regard to the body. (Allows it to move, eat, grow in strength, …) Then think supernatural life doing something spiritually similar for our soul/spirit (intellect and will) - strengthening it. helping us use the gifts of the Holy Spirit and grow in virtue; etc.

Nita


#10

Original Sin is physical in a sense that we die a physical death.

Peace,
David


#11

I believe your definition of “Original Sin” is a bit watered down. We have inherited a much deeper problem than a “lack of sanctifying grace”. We’ve inherited condemnation (spiritual death). Water baptism cannot make you right with God. It cannot give you spiritual life. Only Faith on Jesus can do that. It is impossible to please God without Faith.

Rom 5:18
Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.

Hbr 11:6
But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.


Water baptism cannot make you right with God
#12

Hmmmmm…

Only Faith on Jesus can do that. It is impossible to please God without Faith.

But yet Faith alone doesn’t get you any where.

Rom 5:18
Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.

OK, this has nothing to do with the Faith statement. It simply reaffirms that Adam brought Original Sin into the world.

Hbr 11:6
But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

But it doesn’t say Faith alone. Faith is necessary of course, but it’s like trying to bake a cake with only flour. Although the cake is nothing without the flour (faith), the flour alone won’t produce a cake.

When Peter was asked during the Pentecost what you should do, he said, “Repent and be baptized, for the forgiveness of your sins”. Repent means to turn away from sin. And he stresses that Baptism is necessary. You could call baptism the eggs in my cake!!!


#13

Faith alone is the key. However, you must have the correct faith… even atheists have faith.

You are saved by grace THROUGH Faith. To be saved by grace you must have nothing but the correct faith which is the belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. You must believe that He is risen. You must believe you are risen with Him. Your belief in purgatory negates that. We, who are in Christ, are risen with Him too.

1Cr 15:12
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? (insert purgatory)

1Cr 15:13
But if there be no resurrection of the dead (insert purgatory), then is Christ not risen:

1Cr 15:14
And if Christ be not risen, then [is] our preaching vain, and your faith [is] also vain.

1Cr 15:15
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

1Cr 15:16
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

1Cr 15:17
And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins.

Anyway, the correct faith as the Word of God explains comes from HEARING the Word of God. This correct faith naturally produces works.

Faith in water baptism to get you right with God is the wrong faith. You must place your faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He has done it all.


#14

There’s actually a second part to that.

Rev 20:6
Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Rev 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.


#15

Rom 5:18, Hbr 11:6,Your last sentence is one that Catholics will agree with, however. The Word of God disagrees with you on the rest of the stuff I have bolded.

John 3:3: Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
4: Nicode’mus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?"
5: Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6: That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Acts 2:38-39
38: And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39: For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.”

Acts 22:16: And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

We, who are in Christ, are risen with Him too.

1Cr 15:12-17Dead wrong here because you choose to ignore the Word of God where this implied teaching resides.
Biblical and Jewish Traditional Beliefs About Purg…

Anyway, the correct faith as the Word of God explains comes from HEARING the Word of God. This correct faith naturally produces works.

Catholics hear the Word of God at every Mass and read it on their own. Just because we do not agree with your interpretations of any given passage does not make yours correct and ours not.

Faith in water baptism to get you right with God is the wrong faith.

As I showed above, this is an unscriptural belief.

You must place your faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He has done it all.

Catholics do, and we are taught this by the Catholic Church.


#16

believers, your erroneous teaching about the salvific nature of baptism is off topic in this thread.


#17

Why do you think Lack of Sanctifying Grace is not as bad as, is other than, Spiritual Death? What do you think* Lack of Sanctifying Grace* is? What do you think Catholics mean by Mortal Sin?

Water baptism cannot make you right with God.

Yes, Water baptism makes you right with God–you are saved out of Original Sin and adopted into life in God’s family in the moment of your baptism. Then you are saved as you live, responding daily to God’s life in your soul, living out your salvation in fear and trembling; then you must perservere in your salvation til the end, dying in His Grace, so that you can rise with Him.

In God’s generosity, we participate in His perfect act of salvation; wounded by Original Sin as we are, we yet have that dignity. We are not heaps of dung masked from the Father’s sight by the snow of Christ. Even here on earth we are raised up by Christ, invited to enter into our own salvation by entering into Him. What He does as our Head, we do as His Members. The Head and the Members are One Body.

All your bible verses are fine–Catholics love and rejoice in them. They just don’t mean what you think they do.

Come back home, brother, to the fullness of the Faith.


#18

Sorry, I guess I am missing something, but I am not getting the connection between
HOW Original Sin transfers from parent to child, and
WHETHER it was necessary for Mary to be preserved from Original Sin.

But as to HOW: In Humani Generis (Of Human Generation), we are taught that we must accept that mankind is born of two individual human parents–and the reason given why we have to accept this is because otherwise the doctrine of Original Sin cannot be held.

This tells me there is a definite physical aspect to the transfer of OS from one generation to the next. It may help to remember that OS is not itself a thing, it is a lack of a thing. It is a defect in our nature–Catholics understand it as a woundedness. We say that, while humans are basically GOOD, we do have an inborn wobble (a vulnerability to evil) which afflicts us lifelong, and against which we fight with the help of God’s grace received, first of all, through the Sacrament of Baptism (which washes away the separation from God caused by OS though not removing the scars), and next through the other Sacraments.

To return, then, to the OP: It was at least fitting that Mary not be vulnerable to evil, as she was designed by God from all eternity to give her flesh to His Son, to house Him as the New Ark of the New Covenant, to be associated with Him forever in all that Jesus is.

Maybe we cannot say it was necessary, since God can do anything. But the emphasis God put on the exact perfect construction of the Ark–that emphasis is there for a reason extending forward into the New Testament. God seems to consider it pretty darn important that that Ark be precisely thus and such–even though being constructed by imperfect human hands–in order to House Him…


#19

The fact that you greatly mistaken aside, what does this have to do with a discussion of the Immaculate Conception.

Chuck


#20

It has nothing to do with the Immaculate Conception…


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.