Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Catholic Apologists And The Perpetual Virginity Of Mary

  • Discussion:
          -Roman Catholic apologist De Maria attempted to refute my comments relating to the perpetual virginity of Mary. Following are excerpts from the author along with a critique of his assertions:

          "The New Testament was originally passed on in Tradition. This is what Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:18-21)."

          First of all, those teachings were written down in epistles. Secondly, the Great Commission is about the preaching of the gospel (which is identified in Scripture). For a more in-depth examination of claims regarding "Sacred Tradition," see this article:


          "The original Scriptures were not written in English. Nor were they written in modern Greek. They were written in ancient Greek and Latin. And they were written by Catholics who were simply writing down Catholic Doctrine. The same Doctrine which Jesus Christ passed down."

          The original New Testament was not composed in Latin. The Vulgate was a translation of the original manuscripts, and not without textual defects. Moreover, it is not as though the overwhelming majority of New Testament scholars who know Koine Greek would affirm the perpetual virginity of Mary. They will merely say that it is possible that she was.

          Notice how De Maria argues in a circle as he fights tooth and nail for the Roman Catholic dogma of Mary's perpetual virginity. This is cult-like behavior.

          "You're reading the New Testament in modern English 2000 years removed from the ancient Jewish culture which gave birth to the Christian faith."

          The real problem is that the Roman Catholic Church has derived its dogma from extra-biblical apocryphal sources. See this article for more details:


          The following excerpt from the Jewish Encyclopedia is also helpful here:

          "In post-Biblical literature Jewish opinion stands out clear and simple: marriage is a duty, and celibacy a sin. "The world was created to produce life; He created it not a waste, He formed it to be inhabited" (Isa. xlv. 18; Giṭ. iv. 5 = 'Eduy. i. 13). "Be fruitful, and multiply" (Gen. i. 28) is taken as a command; marriage with a view to that end is a duty incumbent upon every male adult (according to some the duty devolves also upon woman; Yeb. vi. 8; Maimonides, "Yad," Ishut, xv.; Shulḥan 'Aruk, Eben ha-'Ezer, 1, 13)...Abstention from marital intercourse on the part of the husband exceeding a legitimate limit, which varies with the different occupations, may be taken by the wife as ground for a divorce (Ket. v. 6, 7). A single man who is past twenty may be compelled by the court to marry (Shulḥan 'Aruk, l.c. i. 3)."

          "[in response to Matthew 13:55-57 and Mark 6:3-4] Only if you follow the traditions of men which Protestants believe. However, Tradition and Scripture tell us that Jesus was an only child. Therefore, any use of the word "adelphoi" must be in the general sense that we use the word "brother" today. As in good friend, cousin, church companion, and many other senses."

          Nowhere does Scripture expressly state that Jesus Christ was an only child or that Mary remained a virgin for her entire life. Never in Scripture do we see the Angel Gabriel or some other messenger sent by God to tell Joseph that he was not to consummate his marriage. The basis for Mary's perpetual virginity is uninspired legends and unreasonable inferences that go far beyond Scripture.

          Adelphoi does not always mean physical brothers. Nonetheless, the New Testament does not use the Greek word to mean cousin. The context of these passages demands that we understand the brothers and sisters to mean blood relatives. British Methodist theologian and scholar Adam Clarke said the following in his commentary on Matthew 13:55:

          "Why should the children of another family be brought in here to share a reproach which it is evident was designed for Joseph the carpenter, Mary his wife, Jesus their son, and their other children? Prejudice apart, would not any person of plain common sense suppose, from this account, that these were the children of Joseph and Mary, and the brothers and sisters of our Lord, according to the flesh?"

          If a person wants to argue that the brothers and sisters of Jesus are from a previous marriage, then one question that needs to be answered is why they were nowhere mentioned during the escape to and return from Egypt (Matthew 2). The context only presents Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. Why were the relatives not mentioned when Joseph traveled with Mary to Bethlehem for the census (Luke 2)?

          "And the writer knew that Catholics would understand the true meaning of the word. And if they didn't, they have an infallible Teacher to correct them."

          The point being stressed here is that the New Testament uses language in such a precise fashion that the Roman Catholic dogma of Mary's perpetual virginity is rendered unlikely. Why would the Holy Spirit move people to write in a way that contradicts our common sense? If the inspired writers of the New Testament actually believed this dogma, then why did they not forthrightly proclaim it as truth?

          "[In response to Matthew 1:24-25] The entire idea presented there is "knew her not". This is a perfect example of you treating ancient Jewish speech patterns the same as modern English. But you assume too much. heos hou, or "until", was used differently by Jews than by modern English speakers. So, let's look at the Scripture. Matthew "knew her not until". To, English speakers, that means that Matthew did not know her until a certain point in time and then he did. But to an ancient Jew, that isn't the case. Let me give you an example (2 Samuel 6:23)."

          As an answer to the above quibbles, this excerpt from a paper by Wayne Jackson has been cited:

          "Matthew declares that Joseph “knew not” (i.e., was not sexually intimate with; cf. Gen. 4:1) Mary “until [heos hou] she had given birth to a son” (1:25).While the expression heos hou does not absolutely demand that Joseph and Mary were intimate after Jesus’ birth, that would be the normal conclusion, unless contextual considerations indicated otherwise (cf. 2 Sam. 6:23). In fact, “elsewhere in the New Testament (17:9 24:39; cf. John 9:18) the phrase (heos hou) followed by a negative always implies that the negated action did take place later” (Lewis, 1.42).There is no valid reason why Matthew 1:25 should be the exception."

          "Even that doesn't show a change of status after the wedding day, if read in the culture of the ancient Jews."

           Relations between marital partners is seen as normal in the Old Testament (Genesis 2:22-24). According to Jewish law, one could not be considered married without consummation. Celibacy was not the norm, except among certain members of the Essenes. Sexual relations are a part of God's design for marriage. It is a measure that brings about sanctity and honor (Hebrews 13:4).

          "[In response to Matthew 1:18] Again, since Catholics have always knows that they never came together sexually, then we know that there must be an alternate meaning. That meaning must be "before they came together in one household."

          Matthew 1 speaks of being betrothed but not yet having slept together. The details provided by the gospel narratives strongly indicate normal marital relations between Mary and Joseph.

          "[In response to Psalm 69:8-9] Lol! Really? That is a prophet saying that he has alienated himself from the entire nation of Israel. Have you ever heard that Israel killed the prophets. Come on."

          Psalm 69 is obviously messianic in nature, although not every detail is pertinent to Jesus Christ. Psalm 69:8 was quoted in John 7:3-5. Psalm 69:9 was quoted in John 2:17. Psalm 69:21 was quoted in Matthew 27:34. Psalm 69:25 was quoted in Matthew 23:38. Reading the context of Psalm 69 gives us the imagery of one being alienated. That is exactly what has been reported in the gospel accounts regarding Christ. The text is a problem for the Roman Catholic dogma of Mary's perpetual virginity because it refers to "my brothers" and "my mother's sons."

          "[Responding to Luke 2:7] Read about Jewish culture. It would do you a world of good. Ok, let's see. OT Jews were polygamous. Let's say that Jew#1 had two wives. One of them had the Firstborn son and that's all. The other had the rest of the children. All boys. The Firstborn would receive double the inheritance of the other boys. That's all. It doesn't mean that wife #1 had any more children. Jesus was Mary's first and only son."

           We are not given any indication that 1.) most Jews were polygamous, 2.) that Joseph was polygamous, or even 3.) that Joseph could afford to have multiple wives. Even if any of these points are true, they are beside the point and incidental.

          "[Responding to the question of how marriage consummation would defile Mary] One of the main reasons is that we know that Joseph was a righteous man. In Scripture, righteous men do not have sexual relations with other men's wives. Joseph knew that the Holy Spirit had brought about the birth of Christ. And that means that Mary had become the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Joseph would not dare come to know her physically."

          Scripture never affirms or even hints at the idea that the Holy Spirit "married" Mary or she became His spiritual wife. That is a man-made concept. The Holy Spirit is not like a Roman or Greek god who has sexual relations with a human being and a god-man is born. The Holy Spirit is not physical. Mary was simply "overshadowed" by the Holy Spirit. His divine power created the physical body of Jesus Christ in her womb.

          "[In Response to John 7:1-10, Acts 1:13-14, and Galatians 1:18-19] In all those passages, the context shows that they were either some other relative or close friends, but in context with the Traditions which were passed down by Jesus Christ, we know that they were not the children of Mary."

          There is simply no valid reason to dogmatically assert that the siblings of Jesus were cousins or from some previous marriage. Those theories are bereft of a truthful foundation.

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