Need help answering questions on Mary

Well, this probably isn’t the right forum, so please move it if you feel the need to do so.

I am debating with some Protestants and they have asked me two questions that I could use your help on. I am sure I could find the answers if I had more time to do research, but I am rather busy today so, I would be grateful for any help.

How did Mary not get ‘stained’ by original sin?

and

why did she remain a virgin? Is sex a sin or more sinful than virginity? What purpose did it serve, her remaining a virgin?

Thanks!

We believe that this was a special, unmerited gift of God to Mary.

It was not strictly necessary that the mother of Jesus be free from the stain of Original Sin but it was a fitting preparation for the woman who was to be his mother.

It seems to have been God’s plan to restore mankind in a manner similar to the way it fell. The fall of mankind involved a sinless man (Adam) and a sinless woman (Eve) who later sinned; the restoration of mankind was to involve a sinless man (Jesus) and a sinless woman (Eve) who never sinned. From the earliest days of the Church (St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus of Lyons), Christians have viewed obedient Mary as the counter to disobedient Eve, as the Bible describes obedient Jesus was the counter to disobedient Adam.

why did she remain a virgin?

From the earliest days of the Church (Protoevangelium of James), Christians have believed that Mary had taken a perpetual vow of virginity.

Is sex a sin or more sinful than virginity?

No. Sex within marriage is a very good thing. Consecrated virginity is a better thing.

What purpose did it serve, her remaining a virgin?

Thanks!

It was consistent with other miraculous conceptions mentioned in the Bible (Sarah/Isaac, Hannah/Samuel, and St. Elizabeth/St. John the Baptist) that were not followed by subsequent natural conceptions. So, it served to maintain biblical precedence.

The womb of Mary was made holy by the presence of God the Son (Jesus). Subsequent common, natural conceptions would have profaned her holy womb. So, it served to avoid profaning a holy thing.

If Mary had had other children, they would have had a claim on the royal throne of David. Mary remaining a virgin strengthens the claim that Jesus was the one and only rightful heir to the royal throne of David. So, it served to strengthen Jesus’ claim to the throne of David.

the story as it goes is that Mary took a vow of virginity as a young girl.

This is a wonderful post (I’m Protestant and started my walk towards Catholicism (still walking) with these same questions - this is about as articulate and honest response to this question as I’ve seen.

Blessings,

Brian

While the Bible doesn’t teach anything about “original sin”, it does teach about having a sin nature and we know that she had a sin nature because Romans 5 makes it clear that all men (and women are born with one). Even she acknowledged this when she called Christ her “Savior”.

why did she remain a virgin? Is sex a sin or more sinful than virginity? What purpose did it serve, her remaining a virgin?

She didn’t remain a virgin. She and Joseph had at least two other children.

This is a classic Protestant response/position (I know - I used to say the same thing). You are correct about original sin, generally, but the fact that Mary called Christ her “Savior” doesn’t mean she had original sin - He was her Saviour of course because absent God’s plan to become incarnate in Mary’s womb from the beginning of time, she would have been born in sin.

She didn’t remain a virgin. She and Joseph had at least two other children.

Again - the Bible doesn’t say that - it does talk about Jesus’ brothers - but we don’t know whether that meant “brothers” or “cousins” as was reference to cousins and brothers was a common practice (so I’ve read) in that era. In addition, its possible that those brothers were sons of Joseph from a prior marraige not recorded in scripture.

So the Bible doesn’t prove either way the ongoing virginity of Mary. The fact that this was an early tradition was quite interesting. Also, if Jesus had brothers, why did Jesus say to Mary of John, behold your son, and to John, behold your mother?

Blessings,

Brian

Yes, I know. That only makes it more glaring that Catholicism continues to teach it.

generally, but the fact that Mary called Christ her “Savior” doesn’t mean she had original sin

Of course not. There’s no such thing as original sin. However, it does mean that she recognized her sinfulness and need for a savior.

Again - the Bible doesn’t say that

Actually, it does.

it does talk about Jesus’ brothers - but we don’t know whether that meant “brothers” or “cousins” as was reference to cousins and brothers was a common practice (so I’ve read) in that era.

Yeah, that’s a very common Catholic argument. Unfortunately, it’s baloney. They knew the difference between a brother and a cousin.

In addition, its possible that those brothers were sons of Joseph from a prior marraige not recorded in scripture.

Then why didn’t they accompany Joseph and Mary to Jerusalem?

So the Bible doesn’t prove either way the ongoing virginity of Mary.

Actually, the fact that it tells us that she had at least two other children does prove that she was not a virgin.

Also, if Jesus had brothers, why did Jesus say to Mary of John, behold your son, and to John, behold your mother?

One has nothing to do with the other. We have a very close family friend who has been “adopted” by our family and my mother has said many times that she considers her a daughter and we all consider her a sister.

However, that does not make my two biological sisters any less my biological sisters.

Gen 3:15

God says he will put enmity between the woman and her seed and the devils seed.

This enmity is extreme hatred for one another. The devil’s seed is temptation and sin, the woman’s seed is Christ. Each one hates it. If Mary was a sinner then God could not have placed this enmity between her and Satan as she would been tempted towards sin as we who have been born of original sin are, and not extreme hatred and rejection of it.

Her continual virginity is because scripture doesn’t say that she had more children after Jesus. When Jesus was put on the Cross and gave Mary to John as our Mother, this would of been an insult to Jesus’s real brothers had Mary had other children and would not be very Christ like of him.

You might get into the part of the Gosples that Mary shows up to where Jesus is preching and someone in the crowd shouts out your mother and your brothers are here and want to speak with you, then Jesus asks who are my mother and my brothers and my sisters, but those who do the will of God.

At first glance this appears that Jesus might be blowing off his mother and brothers who came to see him, but back at the wedding feast at Canna, Jesus calls Mary Woman as in Gen 3:15 and at the moment he began his public ministry, Mary was with him during that time that is why she knew where to find him.

Mary the blessed mother who has lived her entire life in service of God, would she, now that God is in the flesh, abandon him?

The brothers that Mary brings to Jesus are either relatives of their family or they are men who want to do the will of God.

As Mary brought men to Christ in the gospel she does so even today.

Also read each account of that brothers of Christ, is the crowd standing or sitting?

In Mark they are sitting, so if Mary just wanted Jesus’s attention she could of just waved at him to get his attention to call him over, but she waited without making a sceen.

However, she would had to ask someone “could you tell my son that I have brought his brothers to speak with him”.

Mary knowing that Christ’s brothers are those who want to do the will of God would of used that terminology, and Jesus corrected those might think they were actually his blood brothers and lose faith in him, as he couldn’t perform miracles in Nazarath because the people there didn’t have faith in him, since they only knew him by his blood.

Actually, she was tempted toward sin and did sin. Keeping Mary sinless wouldn’t have done one thing because Romans 5 is very clear that sin comes through the father’s line, not through the mother’s.

Her continual virginity is because scripture doesn’t say that she had more children after Jesus.

Actually, it does.

It tells us that she and Joseph had at least two more children.

When Jesus was put on the Cross and gave Mary to John as our Mother, this would of been an insult to Jesus’s real brothers had Mary had other children and would not be very Christ like of him.

Only if your interpretation of that verse is correct, and it is not.

You might get into the part of the Gosples that Mary shows up to where Jesus is preching and someone in the crowd shouts out your mother and your brothers are here and want to speak with you, then Jesus asks who are my mother and my brothers and my sisters, but those who do the will of God.

Irrelevant.

The brothers that Mary brings to Jesus are either relatives of their family or they are men who want to do the will of God.

I believe the Bible when it says that they’re her sons.

As Mary brought men to Christ in the gospel she does so even today.

Actually, Mary is dead. She’s not bringing anybody to anything.

However, she would had to ask someone “could you tell my son that I have brought his brothers to speak with him”.

And what is the word that’s commonly translated as “brothers” here?

I would like to thank those who have replied thus far, especially Todd Easton, your post was very helpful.

And as the OP, I would like to add (I guess I should have put this in my first post, but didn’t know it was necessary), I would only like Catholic, Church supported answers please. This was not intended to be a debate thread.

Thanks.

KB

Could you please show me two things that you have said, One where is the scripture where is says Mary and Joseph had 2 more children, And could you also tell me where is say they are Marys sons.

Greek Word: ἀδελφός
Transliteration: adelphos
Phonetic Pronunciation:ad-el-fos’http://forums.catholic.com/about:Linked/images/nuspkr.png
Root: from (as a connective particle) and delphus (the womb)
Cross Reference: TDNT - 1:144,22
Part of Speech: n m
Vine’s Words: Brother, Brethren, Brotherhood, Brotherly

Usage Notes:

English Words used in KJV:
brethren 226
brother 113
brother’s 6
brother’s way 1
[Total Count: 346]

from (a) (as a connective particle) and delphus (the womb); a brother (literal or figurative) near or remote [much like [URL=“http://www.crossbooks.com/book.asp?strongs=H1”]

('ab)] :- brother.
** —Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary**

This is the definition of *brethren *from Mt 12:46 KJV; the Strong’s number is G80.

Note that it says “(literal or figurative) near or remote”. It does not mean *only *a sibling.

Ruthie

If our Blessed Mother, after the birth of her ONLY Son Jesus had had sexual relations with St. Joseph which would more then likely produce other children,there might always be a question as to the Fathership of Jesus.

This is a great thread.

It is a pity discussion was not originally intended.

However there does seem to a denigration of marriage in Catholicism, as shown by its excessive regard for virginity.

This is perhaps indicated in the usual title of Mary as the Blessed Virgin rather than by her higher title the Mother of God.

Mary had a spouse - the Holy Spirit through whom Our Lord was conceived.
And Joseph, a holy man, knew this before he took her into his home as his wife.
Matt 1: 20 …“Joseph, son of David, have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child.”

I particularly like the Old Testament passage in Ezekiel that some of the early Church fathers saw as applying to Mary (eastern gate=Mary):
Ezek 44:1 Then he brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, which faces east; and it was shut.
44:2 And he said to me, "This gate shall remain shut; it shall not be opened, and no one shall enter by it; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut.

Nita

There is a great deal of wistful thinking here. Mary was the mother of Jesus but not the mother of God. Mary had sinned because we are told by Scripture that “all” have sinned and that has to include Mary.

Mary called Christ her saviour, so she knew she needed a saviour.

The Bible lists brothers and sisters of Christ so there is no other indication that they were anything other than brothers and that Joseph and Mary were their mother and father. Anything else is must speculation. We have no reason to believe Joseph had been married previously. That is again, wistful thinking only.

James the brother of the Lord is mentioned several times in Scripture and there is nothing to indicate he wasn’t the brother of the Lord. Even in the early church leaders letters, it is stated that James looks exactly like Jesus and must have come from the same womb.

We are told that Joseph had sexual relations with Mary after the birth of Jesus and that he waited “until” then.

The only reason Jesus gave his mother to John’s care at the cross was that none of hs brothers were present and he wanted to be sure she was taken care of.

Psalm 69 tells us Mary had other children.

To believe that Mary remained a virgin is speculative only and a fabrication of the church. There is no evidence at all to support this—just wistful thinking…

I challenge anyone to provide any Scriptural support for this false idea put forth by the RCC. Why did it not get mentioned in Scripture or by the very early church leaders and not hundreds of hears later???

Doesn’t this mean that Jesus was not God?

The title Theotokos is more important because of what it says about Jesus than because of what it says about Mary.

Mary had sinned because we are told by Scripture that “all” have sinned and that has to include Mary.

Have the unborn also sinned? If so, what do you make of Romans 9:11?

Mary called Christ her saviour, so she knew she needed a saviour.

Mary was saved from the stain of original sin, but this would not have been possible without Christ’s death; hence, Christ is Mary’s savior, but this doesn’t preclude her from being immaculately conceived.

The Bible lists brothers and sisters of Christ so there is no other indication that they were anything other than brothers and that Joseph and Mary were their mother and father.

Have you read St. Jerome’s treatise on the perpetual virginity of Mary? If so, what did you think of his arguments?

James the brother of the Lord is mentioned several times in Scripture and there is nothing to indicate he wasn’t the brother of the Lord.

This James is identified as a member of the Apostolic college in Galatians 1:19. Which of the Twelve was he: James, the son of Alphaeus, or James, the son of Zebedee? Where does Scripture indicate that Mary was unfaithful to Joseph and that either Alphaeus or Zebedee was unfaithful to his wife?

Even in the early church leaders letters, it is stated that James looks exactly like Jesus and must have come from the same womb.

I’ve never seen this mentioned in any of the writings of the Early Church Fathers. Do you have a source I can look at?

We are told that Joseph had sexual relations with Mary after the birth of Jesus and that he waited “until” then.

When Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always, until the very end of the age,” are we to take Him to mean that He won’t be with us after the end of the world?

The only reason Jesus gave his mother to John’s care at the cross was that none of hs brothers were present and he wanted to be sure she was taken care of.

Was Mary not smart enough to figure out who her next eldest son was on her own?

If this was a temporary arrangement, why did Jesus say, “Behold, your mother,” and “Behold, your son,” rather than “Behold, your caretaker until you are delivered into the care of my siblings”?

Psalm 69 tells us Mary had other children.

Where is Mary mentioned in Psalm 69? Surely you aren’t referring to verses 8 and 9 – otherwise, Jesus must have sinned, because the Psalmist also uses the first person to refer to his follies and wrongs in verse 5.

To believe that Mary remained a virgin is speculative only and a fabrication of the church. There is no evidence at all to support this—just wistful thinking…

I challenge anyone to provide any Scriptural support for this false idea put forth by the RCC. Why did it not get mentioned in Scripture or by the very early church leaders and not hundreds of hears later???

Again: St. Jerome demolished the idea that Mary was not a virgin so thoroughly in response to the heretic Helvidius that even the Reformers were willing to admit that she had remained a virgin after the birth of Our Lord. Virtually every argument I’ve made here (except for the ones about the Immaculate Conception, which are irrelevant to the discussion of Mary’s virginity) was originally advanced in that tract. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do; we’d all be interested to hear where you think Jerome erred.

We have no reason to believe that Mary waited until Jesus was 12 to sleep with Joseph and have so many children. Luke never says that Jesus was with His supposed siblings in His childhood. More, it was apparently not a coincidence that the evangelists talked of Jesus’ brothers and sisters “all of a sudden” after He had started His prophetic ministry.

What about the other siblings? Why the need to focus on James alone? Some cousins also look like one another.

The deliberate use of the word “until” did not mean that Mary had affair with Joseph after Jesus’ birth. Your interpretation makes one presume that Matthew was aware of the teaching about Mary’s perpetual virginity and added that adverb only to debunk it. I would like to ask you the question why Matthew does not talk about Jesus’ siblings throughout the infancy narrative if he really aims to refute the claims for Mary’s perpetual virginity.

Luke 24:49
And I send the promise of my Father upon you: but stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high.

In the verse above Jesus asked His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until the day of Pentecost, but this did not mean that Jesus ordered them to leave Jerusalem as soon as the Holy Spirit descended on them! The disciples remained in Jerusalem even after the Pentecost! Do you think they went against Jesus’ commandment? :wink:

Since this is a speculation, now it is my turn to ask you for scriptural evidence. :shrug:

Could you please give a reference and detailed explanation?

Why are you Protestants so much concerned with Mary’s virginity? What if she remained a virgin? Why this much hatred towards the Lord’s mother?? Ironically, what you are trying to do is to declare a new dogma that only aims to rebut the dogma of the RCC.

I am challenging you to provide scriptural evidence for your new Protestant dogma of denial. Please tell me when Mary had those “children” after Jesus and where were all those children when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover?

You are the one making the claim that they did not exist. I will give you the Scripture that tells us they did: Matt. 13:54-56

:slight_smile:

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