Question: What is the immaculate conception?


#1

:shrug:
Question: “What is the immaculate conception?”

Answer??: Many people mistakenly believe that the immaculate conception refers to the conception of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ conception was most assuredly immaculate…but this concept does not refer to Jesus at all. The immaculate conception is a doctrine of the Romans Catholic Church in regards to Mary, Jesus’ mother. An official statement of the doctrine reads, “…the blessed Virgin Mary to have been, from the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Savior of Mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin.” Essentially the immaculate conception is the belief that Mary was protected from original sin, that Mary did not have a sin nature, and was, in fact, sinless.

        The problem with the doctrine of the immaculate conception is that it is not taught in the Bible. The Bible nowhere describes Mary as anything but an ordinary human female whom God chose to be the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary was undoubtedly a godly woman (Luke 1:28). Mary was surely a wonderful wife and mother. Jesus definitely loved and cherished His mother (John 19:27). The Bible gives us no reason to believe that Mary was sinless. In fact, the Bible gives us every reason to believe that Jesus Christ is the only Person who was not “infected” by sin and never committed a sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).

        The doctrine of the immaculate conception originated out of confusion over how Jesus Christ could be born sinless if He was conceived inside of a sinful human female. The thought was that Jesus would have inherited a sinful nature from Mary had she been a sinner. In contrast to the immaculate conception, the Biblical solution to this problem is understanding that Jesus Himself was miraculously protected from being polluted by sin while He was inside Mary's womb. If God was capable of protecting Mary from sin, would He not be able to protect Jesus from sin? Therefore, Mary being sinless is neither necessary or Biblical.

        The Roman Catholic Church argues that the immaculate conception is necessary because without it, Jesus would have been the object of His own grace. The thought goes like this – for Jesus to have been miraculously preserved from sin, which itself would be an act of grace, that would mean God essentially “graced Himself.” The word grace means “unmerited favor.” Grace is giving someone something he or she does not deserve. God performing a miracle in preserving Jesus from sin is not “grace.” In no sense could Jesus possibly be infected with sin. He was perfect and sinless humanity joined with sinless divinity. God cannot be infected or affected by sin, as He is perfectly holy. This same truth applies to Jesus. It did not take “grace” to protect Jesus from sin. Being God incarnate, Jesus was in His essence “immune” from sin.

        So, the doctrine of the immaculate conception is neither Biblical or necessary. Jesus was miraculously conceived inside Mary, who was a virgin at the time. That is the Biblical concept of the virgin birth. The Bible does not even hint that there was anything significant about Mary’s conception. If we examine this concept logically, Mary’s mother would have to be immaculately conceived as well. How could Mary be conceived without sin if her mother was sinful? The same would have to be said of Mary’s grandmother, great-grandmother, and so on. So, in conclusion, the immaculate conception is not a Biblical teaching. The Bible teaches the miraculous virgin conception of Jesus Christ, not the immaculate conception of Mary.

Last paragraph has a point… Someone “out there” able to shed any light on this for me? Thanks for the enlightenment.


#2

The Catholic understanding of the Immaculate Conception is based on the early tradition of the Church. The Immaculate Conception of Mary oficially made it a dogma in 1854 by the Pope at the time.

The Early Church Fathers said:

The Odes of Solomon

"So the Virgin became a mother with great mercies. And she labored and bore the Son, but without pain, because it did not occur without purpose. And she did not seek a midwife, because he caused her to give life. She bore as a strong man, with will . . . " (Odes of Solomon 19 [A.D. 80]).

Justin Martyr

“[Jesus] became man by the Virgin so that the course which was taken by disobedience in the beginning through the agency of the serpent might be also the very course by which it would be put down. Eve, a virgin and undefiled, conceived the word of the serpent and bore disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary received faith and joy when the angel Gabriel announced to her the glad tidings that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her, for which reason the Holy One being born of her is the Son of God. And she replied ‘Be it done unto me according to your word’ [Luke 1:38]” (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew 100 [A.D. 155]).

Irenaeus

“Consequently, then, Mary the Virgin is found to be obedient, saying, ‘Behold, O Lord, your handmaid; be it done to me according to your word.’ Eve, however, was disobedient, and, when yet a virgin, she did not obey. Just as she, who was then still a virgin although she had Adam for a husband—for in paradise they were both naked but were not ashamed; for, having been created only a short time, they had no understanding of the procreation of children, and it was necessary that they first come to maturity before beginning to multiply—having become disobedient, was made the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race; so also Mary, betrothed to a man but nevertheless still a virgin, being obedient, was made the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race. . . . Thus, the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosed through faith” (Against Heresies 3:22:24 [A.D. 189]).

“The Lord then was manifestly coming to his own things, and was sustaining them by means of that creation that is supported by himself. He was making a recapitulation of that disobedience that had occurred in connection with a tree, through the obedience that was upon a tree *. Furthermore, the original deception was to be done away with—the deception by which that virgin Eve (who was already espoused to a man) was unhappily misled. That this was to be overturned was happily announced through means of the truth by the angel to the Virgin Mary (who was also [espoused] to a man). . . . So if Eve disobeyed God, yet Mary was persuaded to be obedient to God. In this way, the Virgin Mary might become the advocate of the virgin Eve. And thus, as the human race fell into bondage to death by means of a virgin, so it is rescued by a virgin. Virginal disobedience has been balanced in the opposite scale by virginal obedience. For in the same way, the sin of the first created man received amendment by the correction of the First-Begotten” (ibid., 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).

((continue))*


#3

spike,

It is also in Scripture in the Latin Vulgate, Archangel Gabriel greeted Mary, Hail, gratia plentia, in the original Greek the word used is kecharitomene.

The traditional translation, “full of grace,” is better than the one found in many recent versions of the New Testament, which give something along the lines of “highly favored daughter.” Mary was indeed a highly favored daughter of God, but the Greek implies more than that (and it never mentions the word for “daughter”). The grace given to Mary is at once permanent and of a unique kind. Kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle of charitoo, meaning “to fill or endow with grace.” Since this term is in the perfect tense, it indicates that Mary was graced in the past but with continuing effects in the present. So, the grace Mary enjoyed was not a result of the angel’s visit. In fact, Catholics hold, it extended over the whole of her life, from conception onward. She was in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence.

Source: catholic.com/library/Immaculate_Conception_and_Assum.asp

The Catholic also interpret the Bible in typology. In the Old Testament, the Word of God is contained in the Ark of the Covenant, which carried the Aaron’s rod, the Tablet of the Ten Commandments. The Ark is made of casia wood, and painted in gold. Gold is pure. No one can touch the Ark for they will surely be struck dead.

In the NT, we Mary is the type of Ark. How? Well, she carried the Living Word of God, the Word made flesh, Jesus. Since she is full of grace, God have created her free from original sin, and preserved her so yes, God saved her. Just as the Ark is pure so too Mary is pure so she can carry the Son of the Living God.

In the Book of Revelation in Revelation 11:19, we see the Ark appeared again.

It said, 19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven: and the ark of his testament was seen in his temple, and there were lightnings, and voices, and an earthquake, and great hail. After this sign, we see an amazing sign in Revelation 12.1 19 1 And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars

A Jew, or Christian in the first century would see this woman as Mary. Since this woman clothed with the gave birth to a male child who will rule all nations. This child is Jesus since he was taken up to God to his throne.

Just as the Ark is pure, so is Mary. Mary is pure or Immaculate because God wanted a worthy mother for his Son. If Mary had sin it would mean that Satan conquer the Mother of the Lord.

Mary and Jesus were already prophecy in Genesis 3:15, which made it pretty clear that Mary is the enemy of Satan.

Genesis 3:15 I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

We see God put enmity between the serpeant and the woman. From the seed of the serpeant, and the woman’s seed (who is Jesus), she shall crush the head of the serpeant. The serpeant’s head is crushed by Jesus’ death and resurrection.


#4

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