Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Debunking Catholic Apologist De Maria's Rebuttal Of My Paper On The Perpetual Virginity Of Mary

  • Discussion:
          -Roman Catholic apologist De Maria once attempted to refute in the comments section of an article of his, where he had a dispute with a fellow blogger, to my main post addressing the perpetual virginity of Mary. My intention in sharing that article was only to clarify matters, but only resulted in more feisty objections that are addressed as follows:

          "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 Comission is about the preaching of the gospel (which is identified in Scripture). For a more in-depth examination of De Maria's claims regarding "Sacred Tradition", see this article:

          https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2017/09/refuting-de-maria-on-roman-catholicism.html

          "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.

          It is not as though the vast majority of New Testament scholars who are acquainted with Koine Greek would be in disagreement with my assessment.

          Notice how De Maria continually argues in a circle as he fights tooth and nail for the Roman Catholic dogma of Mary's perpetual virginity. The Roman Catholic Church is infallible because the Roman Catholic Church has just got to be infallible.

          "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:

          https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-spurious-origin-of-marys-perpetual.html

          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.

          Nobody claims that adelphoi always means physical brothers. That is obviously untrue. Nonetheless, the New Testament does not use the Greek word to mean cousin. It uses a separate word for cousin (Colossians 4:10). 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.

          "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 highly improbable. Why would the Holy Spirit move people to write in a way that contradicts our common sense?

          If the inspired writers actually believed this teaching, 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."

          There is no reason to believe that a husband and a wife would not consummate their marriage. Relations between marital partners is commended in Scripture (Genesis 2:22-24; Matthew 19:5-6). Children in Jewish culture were in fact viewed as blessings from God (Psalm 127:3-5).

          According to Jewish Law, one could not be considered married without consummation. Celibacy was not the norm, although it was advocated by the some who were part of the Essenes. Intimacy is a part of God's design for marriage. It is a measure that brings about sanctity and honor.

          The author of Hebrews said the following to believers who were in a pagan culture that was consumed by perverse lusts:

          "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (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."

          The meaning of these passages of Scripture is plain and obvious, unless we have a previous commitment to something else.

          Matthew 1 speaks of being betrothed but not yet having slept together. As a result, Joseph thinks Mary has committed adultery until he hears from Gabriel that the conception is miraculous. Consider also the words of Mary as she was given the news of being in God's favor:

          "How will this be,"Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:34)

          If Mary was to be a perpetual virgin, then the aforementioned points would not make any sense. The details provided by the gospel narratives strongly indicate normal marital relations between Mary and Joseph. The reading of Matthew 1:18 (the phrase "came together" is a reference to consummation rather than cohabitation) that is so heavily disputed by Roman Catholic apologists offers further support for the virgin birth.

          "[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 can be applied to Jesus Christ. Psalm 69:9 was quoted by Christ in John 2:17. Reading the context of Psalm 69 gives us the imagery of Him being alienated. That is exactly what has been reported in the gospel accounts (John 7:5). The text is troublesome 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."

          It would seem that one would be reading a prior assumption about the status of Mary's perpetual virginity onto the text and allowing that to be the controlling principle in interpretation rather than understand the meaning of the text on its own terms. 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. The statements that there were Jews who were polygamous and that firstborn children received a greater inheritance are true of themselves, but are beside the point and incidental.

          How come Luke did not simply eliminate the potential for future controversy by simply saying "only born" (especially knowing that he was a physician who was organized and also used that exact phrase in relation to the birth of children elsewhere)?

          "[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 an entirely man-created idea. 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, which makes that reasoning logically impossible, not merely theologically inaccurate. Mary was simply "overshadowed" by the Holy Spirit and His divine power created Jesus 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."

          In all those passages, the context shows that they were, as the passage would indicate, the half-siblings of Jesus. There is simply no reason to assume that these passages mean anything other than precisely what they say, except if there is some peculiar system of doctrine one is trying to project that those passages of Scripture are in conflict with. Unfortunately, that strongly appears to be the nature of the situation for Roman Catholics here. There is simply no valid reason to believe that the siblings of Jesus were cousins or from some previous marriage. Those theories are bereft of a truthful foundation and are only designed to serve an obsessive desire to make Mary seem as if she were a goddess.

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