Skip to comments.Following The Truth: What If Mary Said “No”? (Catholic or Open)
Posted on 12/23/2011 9:48:45 AM PST by Salvation
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Gary Zimak is the founder of Following The Truth Ministries (http://www.followingthetruth.com), a lay apostolate created to assist Catholics in learning more about their Faith. He is a regular guest on EWTN Radios Son Rise Morning Show, Ave Maria Radios Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo and appears frequently on several other Catholic radio programs. In addition to writing for CatholicLane. Mr. Zimak hosts a daily program on BlogTalkRadio and posts frequently on his blog, Facebook and Twitter. He is a member of Catholics United For The Faith and the Knights of Columbus and resides in New Jersey.
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Well...since you asked. Some people just have too much time on their hands!
Little known fact, Martha actually said no first and then the angel went to Mary.
The interesting question for me is what if Martha said yes?
I believe it is the wrong question altogether.
It is like asking: “If Mary had said ‘No’ would God have been surprised?”
Let’s try to think in terms of God and not in terms of finite Man — it got us in trouble since Adam and Eve.
You’ve got the wrong “Mary” I believe.
But Christ is true God as well as true Man.
Well there was Mary’s Immaculate Conception. How would that be if Mary said no?
No, you got the wrong Martha.
She really didn’t have a choice in the matter.
God chose Mary.
That be a pretty good point there
Scriptural references for this, please.
What IF... it didnt happen at all the way it is reported to have happened.. from conception to birth..
but in a miraculous way instead of a normal(natural) way..
A way worthy of a God not David Copperfield.. What if?..
How “it” happened was to convince Joseph and Mary not anyone else..
What if “there are no words” to explain how Jesus arrived on this planet..
So the first sound byte was invented.. a cover story..
How Jesus got here can be and is in some places a distraction(a diversion) to who Jesus “IS”..
meaning the spiritual Jesus not the flesh Jesus..
Wonder which republican candidate the spiritual Jesus is for NOW...
He may be for Barack Obama to punish America for abortion..
Oh, where to start?! First of all, Gabriel told Mary that she WILL give birth to th Savior. It was a done deal. No permission or assent was requested. Mary of course gave her assent anyway, and her faith and obedience is to be commended and emulated. But to suggest that she could have thwarted the redemptive plan of God is ludicrous, perhaps even heretical. It elevates a human above God. Second, following you reasoning, the same “hyperdulia” (worship lite?) should be given to the multitudes of Jesus’ ancestors who (by your logic) could have prevented the incarnation by disobedience and thus breaking the Davidic line. Take Noah, by your logic he is every bit as responsible for the appearance of the Messiah as Mary. No ark- no Jesus. Why no hyperdulia for poor Noah? Of course the fallacy here is that God cannot cary out His plan absent our obedience. Scripture is replete with examples of God carrying out His plan despite human disobedience and sin, even using sin to advance His plan. Mary was no different.
No references necessary. Its tradition which trumps scripture. Sure the tradition started 2,000 years after the fact but scripture must be interpreted by the traditions that began centuries and millennia after the events recorded in scripture.
I’m pretty sure God knew what Mary’s answer would be. After all, He IS omniscient.
I couldn’t imagine it would have been any other way, could you?
So, you’re completely making things up out of thin air and saying they trump truth?
You must be either a Protestant or a public school grad or both.
I believe you are confusing Mary's Immaculate Conception (which occurred when she was conceived) with the conception of Jesus.
Every heard of these two simple words “free will” ? Even God respected a person’s free will to say either “yes” or” no.” It is as simple as that.
“I believe you are confusing Mary’s Immaculate Conception (which occurred when she was conceived) with the conception of Jesus.”
Nope. No confusion. That’s the point. When Mary was conceived without sin, does it make sense that God expected her to say NO?
“No references necessary. Its tradition which trumps scripture.”
Not for me it doesn’t.
It is a pretty silly question. The paradox of how we can have free will and still make choices which are already known to God is one of many brain twisters in Catholic dogma. It’s best not to think about it.
“So, youre completely making things up out of thin air and saying they trump truth?
“You must be either a Protestant or a public school grad or both.
“Tradition trumping scripture? Sounds Catholic to me.”
Exactly. It would be like saying a Democrat wants to reduce taxes and the size and scope of the federal government.
One might say Mary was predestined as a result, wouldn't one?
My goodness, Presbyterians and Catholics have so much in common.
How was the idea of Mary’s immaculate conception introduced in the catholic church? The doctrine was not a tradition in the early centuries of the church. Some Church Fathers taught that Mary led a sinless life, but they did not teach that she was conceived without original sin. On the contrary the Fathers opposed the heresy of Pelagius who insisted that Adam’s sin was not imputed to the human race. For instance, Augustine writes: “He [Christ], therefore, alone having become man, but still continuing to be God, never had any sin, nor did he assume a flesh of sin, though born of a maternal flesh of sin” (De Peccatorum Meritis, Bk II, Ch 38). Christ alone never had any sin.
A feast of Mary’s conception was celebrated in the Eastern church as early as the seventh century (and later in the West), but that does not imply a belief in “immaculate” conception. In fact, to this day the Orthodox Church does not accept the doctrine.
In the 13th-century, John Duns Scotus promoted the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Franciscan monks continued to preach and defend the doctrine, but it was opposed in the 12th-century by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, by St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th-century and subsequently by the Dominican friars.
In the 15th-century the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV established a feast of the Immaculate Conception to be celebrated on December 8.
Finally in 1854 Pope Pius IX issued a solemn decree, Ineffabilis Deus, declaring the Immaculate Conception an essential dogma for all the church.
Catholic scholars acknowledge that this doctrine is not explicitly revealed in Scripture. The Catholic Encyclopaedia admits, “No direct or categorical and stringent proof of the dogma can be brought forward from Scripture.”
The Catechism refers to Luke 1:28 for scriptural support. But “full of grace” could not possibly mean conceived without sin, for the very same word is used in Ephesians 1:6 referring to ALL believers. Certainly no-one would argue that all Christians are conceived without sin!
Contrary to the Roman Catholic teaching, the Scripture plainly teaches that all Adam’s descendents share his sinful nature: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). Therefore all Adam’s children need to be saved. Mary herself, a natural descendant of Adam, calls God “my savior” (Luke 1:47). Evidently she did not know the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception!
Of Christ alone, the eternal Son who was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin woman, it is ever expressly stated that He was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Christ alone is immaculate from conception; therefore He alone is qualified to die in the place of sinners. Christ, who knew no sin, “bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24).
In Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX also appealed to Genesis 3:15 as “unmistakable evidence that she has crushed the poisonous head of the serpent.” He also states that with and through Christ, Mary was “eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot.”
But the Bible does not say that Mary crushed the serpent’s head. Speaking to the serpent, the Lord says:
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.
The woman’s Seed, the Messiah, not the woman, bruised the serpent’s head.
The paintings of the Immaculate crushing the serpent’s head were inspired from a incorrect translation of Genesis 3:15 based on the Latin Vulgate: “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” (Douay-Rheims Bible). Modern Catholic Bibles, such as the New American Bible, correct the mistake: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.”
Yet Mary is still portrayed crushing Satan’s head. Let us not be misled by false images and false doctrine. Nobody but Jesus fulfilled the great prophecy and overcame our deceptive enemy. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Through His death, Jesus destroyed “him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release[ed] those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Hebrews 2:14,15). Let us therefore trust in Him alone to give us victory over Satan, sin and death.
Shipwreck in the Faith
The implications of the Catholic dogma are very serious. Pope Pius IX solemnly warned: “Hence, if anyone shall dare — which God forbid! — to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart” (Ineffabilis Deus).
The Roman Catholic magisterium would have us believe a novel doctrine (that is neither taught in the Scriptures nor in the writings of the Church Fathers) as an essential article of the Christian faith. But we are convinced that the Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15). We don’t need any extra-biblical doctrines for our salvation. In fact, it is the Roman Church that has suffered “shipwreck in the faith” by embracing a doctrine that is contrary to the Bible; and “separated from the unity of the Church” which for centuries knew nothing of the theological inventions of Rome.
(Geez, the writer must be a native English speaker!)
“Tradition trumping scripture? Sounds Catholic to me.”
That would just be a reflection of how little you know since tradition does not trump scripture. They always work together.
Public school grad?
He knew her heart thats for sure. As scripture tells us He knows our thoughts.
Otherwise this would be Forced instead of Love.
John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)
16For God so Loved?/Forced the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Brain twister? There’s no conundrum there at all. I know exactly what some people will do or say (anti-Catholics bigots here at FR are extremely predictable at times, for instance), and yet those people still have free will. Even though God is omnipotent, the principle is the same. God knows what we will choose, but He allows free will.
It's an amazing trick. Everyone should see how it works!
I knew what you would do, but you still freely chose it.
God made men to be free. And they are.
Don’t you believe that God knew Mary’s answer ever since the beginning of creation?
Again, the original question should never have been asked. Are we, little insignificant human beings, trying to “pick God’s Brain”?
Our arrogance is laughable. (I do not mean you, but in general.)
Does it combine the determinate side with the free will side? No more schizophrenia!
Start with Luke 1:26 and keep reading.
The answer is still not "helicopter".
“The answer is still not “helicopter”.”
Right, the answer is “denial of the Annunciation”.
AMEN to that!
"Amen" to a cheap carny mindreading act?
“Martha actually said no first and then the angel went to Mary.”
LOL! Guess the chapter and verse on that are in the book of Hezekiah.
It is a freely offered gift from God, the gift of faith and of saying “yes” to Him. I just do not understand what you said.
It's easily resolved. Imagine that you sit down with a deck of cards to play a game of Klondike Solitaire. Once you've dealt out the first 28 cards, you notice that among the face up cards are the Diamond Five and the Spade Jack. Can you place the Spade Jack on the Diamond Five? Why or why not? What would possibly prevent you from doing so? If you were to attempt to place the Spade Jack on the Diamond Five, would the two cards develop such strong electric charges that the Spade Jack wouldn't sit flat on the Diamond Five? Or would the Solitaire Police burst into your home for placing a card on another card whose rank is not numerically one higher than the card being placed? Unless you have a very odd deck, or live in a place with really weird cops, neither of those things would happen. In what sense, then, could one really say that one "can't" place a Spade Jack on a Diamond Five?
The answer is that there is nothing physically that would prevent one from arranging the cards however one would want, or peeking at any cards he sees fit. The player is in some sense omnipotent and omniscient when it comes to the cards on the table before him. In another sense, however, the player is comparatively powerless: the player, despite his omnipotence, cannot act in a way contrary to the rules of Klondike Solitaire while still playing the game. The moment the player behaves in ways not permitted by the rules, the player would cease to be playing Klondike Solitaire.
When God decided to give Man free will, He decided that He would run the universe, and allow it to run itself, according to certain rules. He would have the capability, at any time He chose, to disregard those rules, but only at the expense of abandoning the "game". The moment he would decide that it was okay to disregard any rule in any way, all of the rules would become meaningless. If He follows the rules, then many of the things that happen in the world would happen as a result of man's free will. Were God to intervene in ways not permitted by the rules he set for himself, that would imply that anything bad that happened would be a result not of man's free will, but of God's decision not to intervene.
With regard to the question in the original post, I don't think there's any great mystery. Mary received a calling to play a part in God's plan, as do many other people. Some people answer their callings; others do not. If God calls to someone to do something for Him and that person refuses, God usually doesn't push the issue. He simply finds someone else. If Mary had decided to refuse God's calling, that wouldn't have been a major obstacle to His "plan": she'd simply have joined the throng of forgettable and forgotten people throughout history while some other woman was chosen to be the Mother of Christ. Indeed, while it's possible Mary was God's first choice, she wouldn't have to have been. Perhaps God called to someone else first, but that person said "no", and thus Mary was called upon. She's the first person who history remembers as having been called upon in that way, because anyone who had said "no" would have long since been forgotten.
God gave humans free will. Individuals are free to either participate in God's plan, or to resist it. If God's plan calls for someone to play a particular role, and that person refuses, that portion of God's plan will not proceed as intended, and alternate arrangements will have to be made. That does not imply that humans are above God, however. An individual standing in the ocean can push his hands through the water, and the water will get out of his hands' way. That does not, however, mean the individual is more powerful than the ocean. Likewise, if individuals want to resist God's plan, they will be free to do so, but God will call upon other individuals to do what needs to be done.