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Nicene Nerd

The Immaculate Conception, And Other Mariology

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Per request, I'm starting this thread on Mariology. Initial charge to Catholics, reworded: provide reasons from trans-Tiber sources (i.e. Scripture and dogma common to Catholics and Protestants) for the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

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And here's a particular question to start with, if you like. I've repeatedly heard it said that Mary needed to be without original sin for Jesus to be born this way. I don't know if this is a pop argument or a real one, but either way, it gives me two questions: "Why?" and "Why was not that the case throughout Mary's lineage?"

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And here's a particular question to start with, if you like. I've repeatedly heard it said that Mary needed to be without original sin for Jesus to be born this way. I don't know if this is a pop argument or a real one, but either way, it gives me two questions: "Why?" and "Why was not that the case throughout Mary's lineage?"

I think that's a poor understanding of an argument I've heard. It's not that Mary had to be born without original sin for Jesus to be born without original sin, but rather Mary had to be born without original sin for Jesus to exist within her. I always think of it this way, sin is, by definition, separation from God. If Mary was born with original sin (and was born in depravity) then she could not have been able to be completely in union with God's Will and with God in a way that allowed her to carry Jesus inside of her. 

 

I know you're not a stranger to the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth Caleb, so think of it this way. The very blood that coursed through Mary's veins coursed into Jesus. They were as close to one flesh as possible for 9 months. This sort of total and complete union with God seems impossible for one who was born in a fallen nature. I simply can not imagine someone who lived in the unfiltered grace of God be one who had to struggle with the fallen nature of man. It's like say we'll be sinful in heaven. It simply doesn't make sense.

 

There are also two other arguments for the immaculate conception that I can think of off the top of my head. I don't know if you want to hear them or not.

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I think that's a poor understanding of an argument I've heard. It's not that Mary had to be born without original sin for Jesus to be born without original sin, but rather Mary had to be born without original sin for Jesus to exist within her. I always think of it this way, sin is, by definition, separation from God. If Mary was born with original sin (and was born in depravity) then she could not have been able to be completely in union with God's Will and with God in a way that allowed her to carry Jesus inside of her. 

 

I know you're not a stranger to the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth Caleb, so think of it this way. The very blood that coursed through Mary's veins coursed into Jesus. They were as close to one flesh as possible for 9 months. This sort of total and complete union with God seems impossible for one who was born in a fallen nature. I simply can not imagine someone who lived in the unfiltered grace of God be one who had to struggle with the fallen nature of man. It's like say we'll be sinful in heaven. It simply doesn't make sense.

 

I feel like this is all a bit backwards. Though that's probably because I don't think Jesus took on an "unfallen" nature, so to speak. In that case this would all, I think, be moot.

 

What are you other arguments, though?

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Guest JAG

I think that's a poor understanding of an argument I've heard. It's not that Mary had to be born without original sin for Jesus to be born without original sin, but rather Mary had to be born without original sin for Jesus to exist within her. I always think of it this way, sin is, by definition, separation from God. If Mary was born with original sin (and was born in depravity) then she could not have been able to be completely in union with God's Will and with God in a way that allowed her to carry Jesus inside of her. 

 

I know you're not a stranger to the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth Caleb, so think of it this way. The very blood that coursed through Mary's veins coursed into Jesus. They were as close to one flesh as possible for 9 months. This sort of total and complete union with God seems impossible for one who was born in a fallen nature. I simply can not imagine someone who lived in the unfiltered grace of God be one who had to struggle with the fallen nature of man. It's like say we'll be sinful in heaven. It simply doesn't make sense.

 

There are also two other arguments for the immaculate conception that I can think of off the top of my head. I don't know if you want to hear them or not.

 

So basically it's through deductive reasoning that the doctrine exists?  Sort of like, we have evidence for A, but A wouldn't really be possible without B, so B must be true too?

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I feel like this is all a bit backwards. Though that's probably because I don't think Jesus took on an "unfallen" nature, so to speak. In that case this would all, I think, be moot.

 

What are you other arguments, though?

I think in order to accept one of the other arguments you have to also accept Jesus being born into the world without the stain of original sin. Honestly, I'm quite baffled that you don't believe that because I've never heard a Christian claim before that Jesus had original sin. So much of that sentence just does not make sense to me. I hope you don't find it annoying if I list why.

 

1) Sin, including original sin, is a state of separation from the Will of God and the life of God. Because Jesus was fully man and fully God, it doesn't make sense that sin could dwell within him.

2) The burden of original sin is taken away through the death of Christ at the cross. It was because he was a completely innocent victim. Christ had not a single bit of sin of his own to offer up on the cross. He did not die to save himself, but others. If he partook of the fallen nature of man, he would have original sin within him and then he would have died to get rid of his own original sin as well and thus reuniting him with the love and full communion of God. In my mind this cheapens the sacrifice of the cross.

3) It completely undermines the typology of Christ being the new Adam. Adam was a man without sin who disobeyed God. Jesus was a man without sin who obeyed God to the point of death on a cross. One sinless man's sacrifice to make up for another sinless man's mistake. If Jesus had been bounded by original sin, the typology would not have been strong.

4) Jesus would have had to work towards Christian perfection. I guess this speaks to solely Catholic theology on salvation, but when we are baptized and made new in the blood of Christ, we begin our journey of sanctification. Our end goal is full communion and union with God (salvation aka heaven). It is through the process of sacrifice, fasting, prayer, studying, and charity that we bend our souls and wills from their fallen, broken state to become more in line with the will of God and his desire for our lives. Christ did not have to go through the process of sanctification to repair the damage of the fall and having a sinful nature. He was born in a perfect state, hence his ability to live his life without sin. 

 

I'm sure there's more, but these are only the first things that jump out at me when someone claims Jesus was born with original sin.

 

 

So basically it's through deductive reasoning that the doctrine exists?  Sort of like, we have evidence for A, but A wouldn't really be possible without B, so B must be true too?

No, through deductive reasoning this explanation for the doctrine exists. I am not well researched enough in the doctrine or the history of the Church to be able to say that this is how the doctrine came to be. I have a lay-person's (in both senses of the word) understanding of most Catholic doctrine, including this one. 

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So basically it's through deductive reasoning that the doctrine exists?  Sort of like, we have evidence for A, but A wouldn't really be possible without B, so B must be true too?

 

Purgatory is justified in the same sense. It is a necessary consequence of the Catholic understanding of salvation.

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I think in order to accept one of the other arguments you have to also accept Jesus being born into the world without the stain of original sin. Honestly, I'm quite baffled that you don't believe that because I've never heard a Christian claim before that Jesus had original sin. So much of that sentence just does not make sense to me. I hope you don't find it annoying if I list why.

 

1) Sin, including original sin, is a state of separation from the Will of God and the life of God. Because Jesus was fully man and fully God, it doesn't make sense that sin could dwell within him.

2) The burden of original sin is taken away through the death of Christ at the cross. It was because he was a completely innocent victim. Christ had not a single bit of sin of his own to offer up on the cross. He did not die to save himself, but others. If he partook of the fallen nature of man, he would have original sin within him and then he would have died to get rid of his own original sin as well and thus reuniting him with the love and full communion of God. In my mind this cheapens the sacrifice of the cross.

3) It completely undermines the typology of Christ being the new Adam. Adam was a man without sin who disobeyed God. Jesus was a man without sin who obeyed God to the point of death on a cross. One sinless man's sacrifice to make up for another sinless man's mistake. If Jesus had been bounded by original sin, the typology would not have been strong.

4) Jesus would have had to work towards Christian perfection. I guess this speaks to solely Catholic theology on salvation, but when we are baptized and made new in the blood of Christ, we begin our journey of sanctification. Our end goal is full communion and union with God (salvation aka heaven). It is through the process of sacrifice, fasting, prayer, studying, and charity that we bend our souls and wills from their fallen, broken state to become more in line with the will of God and his desire for our lives. Christ did not have to go through the process of sanctification to repair the damage of the fall and having a sinful nature. He was born in a perfect state, hence his ability to live his life without sin. 

 

I'm not saying precisely that Jesus was born with the stain of original sin, only that He did inherit the one and only human nature (as opposed to there being two: a fallen and unfallen) and did inherit contact with sin.

 

I'm working from the Patristic axiom that "the unassumed is the unhealed." Jesus did not commit sin, obviously, nor was His soul twisted by sin, but I would argue He did take on flesh that inherited the damages of sin, in a way, and that He overcame them from the moment of conception through the Spirit, thereby winning the redemption of our own sinful state even from conception.

 

If I make no sense, I'll use an analogy. Jesus had a body susceptible to weakness. It could be injured and even killed. Yet when He came into contact with infectious diseases, He did not succumb to them but healed them in the place whence they came. This, I think, is a good understanding of Jesus' conception vis-à-vis original sin. While He was in contact with sin, in the situation in which He ought to have succumbed to it, He did not suffer its corruption but healed it, not only in protection of Himself but for all mankind.

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I'm not saying precisely that Jesus was born with the stain of original sin, only that He did inherit the one and only human nature (as opposed to there being two: a fallen and unfallen) and did inherit contact with sin.

 

I'm working from the Patristic axiom that "the unassumed is the unhealed." Jesus did not commit sin, obviously, nor was His soul twisted by sin, but I would argue He did take on flesh that inherited the damages of sin, in a way, and that He overcame them from the moment of conception through the Spirit, thereby winning the redemption of our own sinful state even from conception.

 

If I make no sense, I'll use an analogy. Jesus had a body susceptible to weakness. It could be injured and even killed. Yet when He came into contact with infectious diseases, He did not succumb to them but healed them in the place whence they came. This, I think, is a good understanding of Jesus' conception vis-à-vis original sin. While He was in contact with sin, in the situation in which He ought to have succumbed to it, He did not suffer its corruption but healed it, not only in protection of Himself but for all mankind.

I think I agree with you here, but I wouldn't phrase it this way. Jesus was born in a fallen world, a world who feels the effects of original sin, but he himself was born without original sin. He was born with an imperfect, unglorified body, but his soul was spotless. Jesus was not born with an inclination to sin so great that His will could not overcome it and thus He needed extra grace from God. 

 

I think that the necessity of Mary being born the same way is still there. I have to frame this in Catholic theology or else it probably won't make sense.

 

Mary, mother of Jesus, was a woman who could not commit sin before the conception of Jesus because there was no means for the sin to be truly forgiven before she became pregnant with Jesus. I mean, yes we could talk retroactively about Christ's future sacrifice applying to her and we could discuss how God could be so big that He could forgive Mary regardless, but we're missing a major point, and again that is sanctification. If Mary committed a sin, she would not only be separated from God, but she would also have harmed her soul and harmed people around her (again Catholic theology, your soul is harmed when you sin and you sin not only against God, but against others). Sure, God could have forgiven Mary easily, but that does not repair the damage to her soul nor does it repair the damage to her community. Without a perfect soul, Mary would not be able to stand to have God dwelling in her. The fullness of experiencing God in such an intimate way as having him in her womb probably would have been harmful and terrifying if she still had a twisted soul stained by original sin. It just simply doesn't seem possible for her to be united with God in that way, but still having to face her own journey of sanctification to create a union with God.

 

Also for a second argument, potentially compelling. I submit typology for you. Christ is the New Adam, he is born without original sin and obeys God in order to save us. This is clear from scripture. Adam was not the only one who betrayed God though. Eve also was tempted and ate of the forbidden fruit. I submit that Mary is the new Eve. Being born without original sin, and her submission to God counteracted the sin that Eve gained for mankind when she disobeyed God and ate of the fruit. A man and a woman in the story of salvation, just as there is a man and a woman in the story of the fall. 

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I would like to bring up a topic that fits well in the Marioligy thread.  The perpetual virginity of Mary.  My challenge on this subject (Mary's perpetual virginity) is for anyone to find a BIBLE VERSE that says Mary never sinned and never lost her virginity.  It is not that the Bible doesn't say anything on this topic.  The Bible simply says the opposite.  It says that Mary had several other sons (through Joseph of course) and it also says that ALL HAVE SINNED AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.  Please tell me if you find any verses that you think dispell what I just said.

 

God Bless You All!

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I would like to bring up a topic that fits well in the Marioligy thread.  The perpetual virginity of Mary.  My challenge on this subject (Mary's perpetual virginity) is for anyone to find a BIBLE VERSE that says Mary never sinned and never lost her virginity.  It is not that the Bible doesn't say anything on this topic.  The Bible simply says the opposite.  It says that Mary had several other sons (through Joseph of course) and it also says that ALL HAVE SINNED AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.  Please tell me if you find any verses that you think dispell what I just said.

 

God Bless You All!

Bro, no Catholic is going to talk with you because of the way you've presented your theories. Please be more generous when presenting things like this or else people may get offended and not want to engage in discussion with you. Remember that Catholics hold their beliefs as deeply and believe them to be the full truth, just like you do with yours.

 

The problem with your request is that Catholics don't get the entirety of their theology from Scripture. We're a denomination that pre-dates a set cannon of the Bible, so we have a sense of Sacred Tradition being just as important as Sacred Scripture. To tell a Catholic that they need to prove a piece of theology using only Scripture is like telling a Protestant to prove a piece of theology using only the Old Testament. It won't make sense and it won't be doing justice to the full scope of the theology.

 

If you're interested, we can discuss how those Scripture passages do not contradict Mary's perpetual virginity and sinless life, but we can not provide Scripture that completely contradicts your claims because that is not how the theology was generated.  

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I think I agree with you here, but I wouldn't phrase it this way. Jesus was born in a fallen world, a world who feels the effects of original sin, but he himself was born without original sin. He was born with an imperfect, unglorified body, but his soul was spotless. Jesus was not born with an inclination to sin so great that His will could not overcome it and thus He needed extra grace from God.

So I think we mostly agree, the difference being semantics.

I think that the necessity of Mary being born the same way is still there. I have to frame this in Catholic theology or else it probably won't make sense.

Mary, mother of Jesus, was a woman who could not commit sin before the conception of Jesus because there was no means for the sin to be truly forgiven before she became pregnant with Jesus. I mean, yes we could talk retroactively about Christ's future sacrifice applying to her and we could discuss how God could be so big that He could forgive Mary regardless, but we're missing a major point, and again that is sanctification. If Mary committed a sin, she would not only be separated from God, but she would also have harmed her soul and harmed people around her (again Catholic theology, your soul is harmed when you sin and you sin not only against God, but against others). Sure, God could have forgiven Mary easily, but that does not repair the damage to her soul nor does it repair the damage to her community. Without a perfect soul, Mary would not be able to stand to have God dwelling in her. The fullness of experiencing God in such an intimate way as having him in her womb probably would have been harmful and terrifying if she still had a twisted soul stained by original sin. It just simply doesn't seem possible for her to be united with God in that way, but still having to face her own journey of sanctification to create a union with God.

Framing this in terms of Mary's sanctification and the union with God she'd experience in pregnancy makes more sense than anything I've heard before. But I still see two problems. First, it seems to me that ontological union with God through ontological union with Jesus is precisely the cause and ground for all sanctification. So I would think that Jesus' descent into Mary, body and soul, would be precisely what makes her uniquely able to bear God. I might argue that Jesus' conception in Mary creates the sanctifying space in her to make her fit to bear Him. And it would appear to me that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers with sin is every bit as extraordinary of a union as Mary's pregnancy.

Also for a second argument, potentially compelling. I submit typology for you. Christ is the New Adam, he is born without original sin and obeys God in order to save us. This is clear from scripture. Adam was not the only one who betrayed God though. Eve also was tempted and ate of the forbidden fruit. I submit that Mary is the new Eve. Being born without original sin, and her submission to God counteracted the sin that Eve gained for mankind when she disobeyed God and ate of the fruit. A man and a woman in the story of salvation, just as there is a man and a woman in the story of the fall.

I can kind of see how this would work, but this parallel isn't drawn out in Scripture, so it seems somewhat speculative. Plus, there is definitely ontology behind the Jesus/Adam relation, whereas it is not clear if there is any between Eve and Mary. And in addition to all that, neither Eve nor Mary receives in Scripture any mention in soteriological texts.

This last point brings me to one of my biggest issues with Catholic Mariology in general, mainly that her role in Catholic dogma is drastically out of proportion to the role she is given in Scripture. To my knowledge she is not mentioned once outside the Gospels, and even within them receives very little attention beyond the Nativity. The Apostles don't appear to have given her much or any special esteem.

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Caleb, before I start saying something I don't understand/regret. Is there any way you can briefly define or point to a definition of ontological that you use in your post. I have a "working" understanding of the world, but I don't want to misinterpret you. 

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Caleb, before I start saying something I don't understand/regret. Is there any way you can briefly define or point to a definition of ontological that you use in your post. I have a "working" understanding of the world, but I don't want to misinterpret you.

Just in the sense of pertaining to real actuality, the deepest levels of what "is."

I also freely admit that I overuse the word these days, because it makes me sound more smarticles.

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Alright kids, here's the deal. Don't bump old threads. Unless you have something massively intelligent to contribute. Which is what I hope this is.

 

----------------------------------------

 

An Argument For Mary's Immaculate Conception

 

Premise 1: Mary is the Mother of God. It is fitting to honor one's mother according to one's power. It is fitting for God to honor his Mother with that which is most honorable.

Premise 2: To do what is fitting is most honorable, what is fitting is perfect obedience to God, perfect obedience is allowed by the removal or, in this case, prevention, of the stain of original sin.

 

Therefore: It would be fitting that she was enabled to do that which was most fitting because such is the greatest honor.

 

------------------------------------------

 

This has been a really weird argument for me to wrestle with. Initially I'd intended to post a much longer article but I keep coming back to just how much really needs to be said about this to make the argument relatively airtight. So this is what it is for now and maybe we can tease out other elements as we go.

 

EDIT: Not to give Caleb any help or anything, =P But one of the things that I've had a hard time with here is how to speak about what is fitting for God. Wherever that question itself goes, it almost certainly leaves us in territory where sola scriptura becomes a prime piece of strategic real estate.

Edited by C. Ingram

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I think you're very right to have a hard time with speaking about what is fitting for God. "Fitting" becomes a very difficult concept when dealing with a free and transcendent God. Moral issues aside, God frequently sees "fit" to do things which no one but God would think is fitting. Examples: King of Kings born in overflow stable housing, electing to save the world through the descendants of a random Semite, actually saving the world by letting His Son become a Jewish handyman and die by crucifixion, taking 2000 years and counting to conclude world history after the ascension of said Son, using a buff guy's weakness for the ladies and violent temper to rescue His people from their enemies, putting humanity's downfall right before them in a tasty-looking tree, etc.

 

That said, just saying that fitting is a rough concept doesn't prove that this particular argument is bad, so I'll address what you've said itself.

 

Premise 1: Mary is the Mother of God. It is fitting to honor one's mother according to one's power. It is fitting for God to honor his Mother with that which is most honorable.

There's not much to argue here, though I would only say cautiously that we can make this judgment so straightforwardly.

Premise 2: To do what is fitting is most honorable, what is fitting is perfect obedience to God, perfect obedience is allowed by the removal or, in this case, prevention, of the stain of original sin.

I'd argue in this case that, if there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends, then God has already performed the greatest possible act of love for all people indiscriminately. While clearly love and honor are not identical concepts, I think the primary reason for honoring one's parents would be filial love. So could preserving Mary from original sin actually be superior honor to the atonement (not the mention the Incarnation) He has already accomplished for all?

For my own argument against the immaculate conception of Mary, I'd say that this doctrine seems to function very similarly to a Calvinist election. How so?

  • Since being immaculately conceived and preserved from sin would alter the entire course of Mary's life, she could not be chosen on the basis of any foreseen merit. Thus the role of theotokos seems to be an unconditional election.
  • Could this gift have been thwarted? Could Mary have committed actual sin comparable to Eve's? If not, what happened to her free will? It would appear in that case that she was given irresistible grace. Moreover, she would also have been given the perseverance of the saints.
So what gives? Did God elect Mary as theotokos in a Calvinistic way? If so, why could He not do something similar to all people to fulfill His universal salvific will?

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For my own argument against the immaculate conception of Mary, I'd say that this doctrine seems to function very similarly to a Calvinist election. How so?

  • Since being immaculately conceived and preserved from sin would alter the entire course of Mary's life, she could not be chosen on the basis of any foreseen merit. Thus the role of theotokos seems to be an unconditional election.
  • Could this gift have been thwarted? Could Mary have committed actual sin comparable to Eve's? If not, what happened to her free will? It would appear in that case that she was given irresistible grace. Moreover, she would also have been given the perseverance of the saints.
So what gives? Did God elect Mary as theotokos in a Calvinistic way? If so, why could He not do something similar to all people to fulfill His universal salvific will?

Thank you for posting this.  I was raised Catholic, and and only recently considered this question.  I was shocked to find such a big blind spot after so long.  It seems to me that the Immaculate Conception significantly and unnecessarily complicates the concept of original sin. 

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This hinges on the statement that the Immaculate Conception is materially equivalent to Calvinist election (represented by A), thus implying that God, who has universal salvific will (represented by B), has the means to save everyone and, so, will save everyone (C).

 

Your statement is as follows,

 

(A.B)>C

 

We, normally, deny that God will save everyone.

 

~C

 

Which leaves us with

 

/~(A.B)                 (Modus Tollens if the observers are that interested)

 

Therefore, either we admit that God does save everyone which is controversial, or we deny that God has universal salvific will which is likewise controversial, or we deny that the Immaculate Conception is materially equivalent to Calvinist Election.

 

We might also shift gears and say that, no matter whether A is true or not, more needs to be said before we can acquiesce C follows unquestionably from A and B

 

Thence two objections:

  • Immaculate Conception is not materially equivalent to Calvinist Election; though Mary is unconditionally elected (or we could get into "possible worlds" talk -- that God saw what she would have done in another world -- but that's more trouble then I want to get into at the moment), it would be inaccurate to say that Mary could not have committed sin comparable to Eve's. However we are also not saying that she persevered on her lonesome, but that gratuitous Grace should be seen as enabling rather than coercing in her sinlessness (c.f. CCC 490-493)
  • God cannot be said to have unconditional universal salvific will. 

 

Now to defend my own position, Caleb's objection was this,

 

I'd argue in this case that, if there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends, then God has already performed the greatest possible act of love for all people indiscriminately. While clearly love and honor are not identical concepts, I think the primary reason for honoring one's parents would be filial love. So could preserving Mary from original sin actually be superior honor to the atonement (not the mention the Incarnation) He has already accomplished for all?

 

to which my response is,

 

Although you make the allowance that love and honor are not identical concepts, it would be my position that they, infact, are substantially the same. Or, more accurately, that filial love and honor are not usefully distinguishable -- the acts of filial love and the acts of honor are fundamentally the same and predicated on a respect for persons and duty.

 

And, in either case, whether love and honor are different or not, it is not clear to me why the Immaculate Conception would be less superior or equal to the Atonement if the primary reason for honoring one's parents were whatever you're calling filial love.

 

 

EDIT: Dang emoticons, man. Messin' up my little formulas ...

Edited by C. Ingram

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This hinges on the statement that the Immaculate Conception is materially equivalent to Calvinist election (represented by A), thus implying that God, who has universal salvific will (represented by B), has the means to save everyone and, so, will save everyone (C).

 

Your statement is as follows,

 

(A.B)>C

 

We, normally, deny that God will save everyone.

 

~C

 

Which leaves us with

 

/~(A.B)                 (Modus Tollens if the observers are that interested)

 

Therefore, either we admit that God does save everyone which is controversial, or we deny that God has universal salvific will which is likewise controversial, or we deny that the Immaculate Conception is materially equivalent to Calvinist Election.

 

We might also shift gears and say that, no matter whether A is true or not, more needs to be said before we can acquiesce C follows unquestionably from A and B

 

Thence two objections:

  • Immaculate Conception is not materially equivalent to Calvinist Election; though Mary is unconditionally elected (or we could get into "possible worlds" talk -- that God saw what she would have done in another world -- but that's more trouble then I want to get into at the moment), it would be inaccurate to say that Mary could not have committed sin comparable to Eve's. However we are also not saying that she persevered on her lonesome, but that gratuitous Grace should be seen as enabling rather than coercing in her sinlessness (c.f. CCC 490-493)
  • God cannot be said to have unconditional universal salvific will. 

So, two questions come to mind. First, is it an agreed fact of Catholic Mariology that she could have sinned? Second, if Mary could have sinned despite the Immaculate Conception, would this have any troubling implications for the doctrine as a whole?

Also, I'm curious what specifically you mean with the second point about God's salvific will.

 

Now to defend my own position, Caleb's objection was this,

 

to which my response is,

 

Although you make the allowance that love and honor are not identical concepts, it would be my position that they, infact, are substantially the same. Or, more accurately, that filial love and honor are not usefully distinguishable -- the acts of filial love and the acts of honor are fundamentally the same and predicated on a respect for persons and duty.

 

And, in either case, whether love and honor are different or not, it is not clear to me why the Immaculate Conception would be less superior or equal to the Atonement if the primary reason for honoring one's parents were whatever you're calling filial love.

If we're willing to make no distinction between acts of love and honor, I'm okay with that. So it seems to me that Jesus' statement in John 15:13 rules out any kind of honor being greater than the act of sacrificial death. Therefore at best the Immaculate Conception would have to be an equal honor, which would make it redundant to honor Mary. Of course, there is the potential objection that I'm taking Jesus too literally in John 15:13, but I find that unlikely and seems the better side to err on.

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to answer something minor, I am fairly sure Catholics believe Mary was 100% conceived without sin. She was born without original sin, therefore she was not a sinner and could be mother of the Messiah.

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to answer something minor, I am fairly sure Catholics believe Mary was 100% conceived without sin. She was born without original sin, therefore she was not a sinner and could be mother of the Messiah.

I'm aware of this, though I still don't see much reason why she needed to be sinless to mother Jesus.

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Bro, no Catholic is going to talk with you because of the way you've presented your theories. Please be more generous when presenting things like this or else people may get offended and not want to engage in discussion with you. Remember that Catholics hold their beliefs as deeply and believe them to be the full truth, just like you do with yours.

 

The problem with your request is that Catholics don't get the entirety of their theology from Scripture. We're a denomination that pre-dates a set cannon of the Bible, so we have a sense of Sacred Tradition being just as important as Sacred Scripture. To tell a Catholic that they need to prove a piece of theology using only Scripture is like telling a Protestant to prove a piece of theology using only the Old Testament. It won't make sense and it won't be doing justice to the full scope of the theology.

 

If you're interested, we can discuss how those Scripture passages do not contradict Mary's perpetual virginity and sinless life, but we can not provide Scripture that completely contradicts your claims because that is not how the theology was generated.  

Matthew 15:6b-9

Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 [Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

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Matthew 15:6b-9

Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 [Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

Can you prove that the same thing is going on in Catholicism as was here? (I actually think it is for some doctrines, but you should still prove it.)

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