Skip to comments.The Church Fathers-Mary: Without Sin
Posted on 04/14/2011 9:21:51 AM PDT by marshmallow
The Ascension of Isaiah
[T]he report concerning the child was noised abroad in Bethlehem. Some said, The Virgin Mary has given birth before she was married two months. And many said, She has not given birth; the midwife has not gone up to her, and we heard no cries of pain (Ascension of Isaiah 11 [A.D. 70]).
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])
[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]).
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 husbandfor 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 multiplyhaving 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 Eves 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 [i.e., the cross]. Furthermore, the original deception was to be done away withthe 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]).
And again, lest I depart from my argumentation on the name of Adam: Why is Christ called Adam by the apostle [Paul], if as man he was not of that earthly origin? But even reason defends this conclusion, that God recovered his image and likeness by a procedure similar to that in which he had been robbed of it by the devil. It was while Eve was still a virgin that the word of the devil crept in to erect an edifice of death. Likewise through a virgin the Word of God was introduced to set up a structure of life. Thus what had been laid waste in ruin by this sex was by the same sex reestablished in salvation. Eve had believed the serpent; Mary believed Gabriel. That which the one destroyed by believing, the other, by believing, set straight (The Flesh of Christ 17:4 [A.D. 210].
If therefore it might come to pass by the power of your grace, it has appeared right to us your servants that, as you, having overcome death, do reign in glory, so you should raise up the body of your Mother and take her with you, rejoicing, into heaven. Then said the Savior [Jesus]: Be it done according to your will (The Passing of the Virgin 16:217 [A.D. 300]).
Ephraim the Syrian
You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is no blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these? (Nisibene Hymns 27:8 [A.D. 361]).
Ambrose of Milan
Marys life should be for you a pictorial image of virginity. Her life is like a mirror reflecting the face of chastity and the form of virtue. Therein you may find a model for your own life . . . showing what to improve, what to imitate, what to hold fast to (The Virgins 2:2:6 [A.D. 377]).
The first thing which kindles ardor in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater [to teach by example] than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose? What more chaste than she who bore a body without contact with another body? For why should I speak of her other virtues? She was a virgin not only in body but also in mind, who stained the sincerity of its disposition by no guile, who was humble in heart, grave in speech, prudent in mind, sparing of words, studious in reading, resting her hope not on uncertain riches, but on the prayer of the poor, intent on work, modest in discourse; wont to seek not man but God as the judge of her thoughts, to injure no one, to have goodwill towards all, to rise up before her elders, not to envy her equals, to avoid boastfulness, to follow reason, to love virtue. When did she pain her parents even by a look? When did she disagree with her neighbors? When did she despise the lowly? When did she avoid the needy? (ibid., 2:2:7).
Come, then, and search out your sheep, not through your servants or hired men, but do it yourself. Lift me up bodily and in the flesh, which is fallen in Adam. Lift me up not from Sarah but from Mary, a virgin not only undefiled, but a virgin whom grace had made inviolate, free of every stain of sin (Commentary on Psalm 118:2230 [A.D. 387]).
Our Lord . . . was not averse to males, for he took the form of a male, nor to females, for of a female he was born. Besides, there is a great mystery here: that just as death comes to us through a woman, life is born to us through a woman; that the devil, defeated, would be tormented by each nature, feminine and masculine, as he had taken delight in the defection of both (Christian Combat 22:24 [A.D. 396]).
That one woman is both mother and virgin, not in spirit only but even in body. In spirit she is mother, not of our head, who is our Savior himselfof whom all, even she herself, are rightly called children of the bridegroombut plainly she is the mother of us who are his members, because by love she has cooperated so that the faithful, who are the members of that head, might be born in the Church. In body, indeed, she is the Mother of that very head (Holy Virginity 6:6 [A.D. 401]).
Having excepted the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom, on account of the honor of the Lord, I wish to have absolutely no question when treating of sinsfor how do we know what abundance of grace for the total overcoming of sin was conferred upon her, who merited to conceive and bear him in whom there was no sin?so, I say, with the exception of the Virgin, if we could have gathered together all those holy men and women, when they were living here, and had asked them whether they were without sin, what do we suppose would have been their answer? (Nature and Grace 36:42 [A.D. 415]).
Timothy of Jerusalem
Therefore the Virgin is immortal to this day, seeing that he who had dwelt in her transported her to the regions of her assumption (Homily on Simeon and Anna [A.D. 400]).
John the Theologian
[T]he Lord said to his Mother, Let your heart rejoice and be glad, for every favor and every gift has been given to you from my Father in heaven and from me and from the Holy Spirit. Every soul that calls upon your name shall not be ashamed, but shall find mercy and comfort and support and confidence, both in the world that now is and in that which is to come, in the presence of my Father in the heavens (The Falling Asleep of Mary [A.D. 400]).
And from that time forth all knew that the spotless and precious body had been transferred to paradise (ibid.).
Gregory of Tours
The course of this life having been completed by blessed Mary, when now she would be called from the world, all the apostles came together from their various regions to her house. And when they had heard that she was about to be taken from the world, they kept watch together with her. And behold, the Lord Jesus came with his angels, and, taking her soul, he gave it over to the angel Michael and withdrew. At daybreak, however, the apostles took up her body on a bier and placed it in a tomb, and they guarded it, expecting the Lord to come. And behold, again the Lord stood by them; the holy body having been received, he commanded that it be taken in a cloud into paradise, where now, rejoined to the soul, [Marys body] rejoices with the Lords chosen ones and is in the enjoyment of the good of an eternity that will never end (Eight Books of Miracles 1:4 [A.D. 584]).
But Mary, the glorious Mother of Christ, who is believed to be a virgin both before and after she bore him, has, as we said above, been translated into paradise, amid the singing of the angelic choirs, whither the Lord preceded her (ibid., 1:8).
I’m thinking this one has at least 500 posts in it, if not more. Put me down for 500 posts by Sunday morning, say 10:00 AM.
That same writing, which was breathed by God Himself, is read and understood by us but interpreted by the Holy Spirit, who authored the original document The Holy Spirit, not the Church, is infallible
Would the infallible Holy Spirit interpret the same scripture in very different ways?
If you and I say the Holy spirit interprets a particular passage in different ways, which is then to become the Christian faith?
Is it now? Have you ever attended a Pentecostal snake service? I have.
Pentecostals don't worship snakes and you full well know it. Next time, try an attack that's at least somewhat rooted in reality.
Here's what I full well know: no Catholics worship Mary. I also know that the regard for Mary goes back right to Apostolic times, including the early Church Fathers. I know that the Eucharistic celebration goes back to the Apostolic Fathers as well. I know that the Gospel and Acts writer Luke wrote the first icon of Mary. I know that the Septuagint was the OT of choice of Jesus and the Apostles, as well as the Church to this day. I know that those who reject the Church given full authority by Christ differ from Simon Magus, those who rejected Jesus after being told about eating His body and drinking His blood, those who create or listen to another gospel not told to them by the Church and those who attack the Church incessantly and with the vilest untruths, only in degree and tactics, but not in motivation.
In dealing with those who spurn the Church, especially those who were of the Faith and then rejected it, I have normally seen at least 4 of the 7 deadly sins indulged in, and sometimes all seven. I shall list them for you:
Pride. Envy. Gluttony. Lust. Anger. Greed. Sloth.
To take this to the impersonal, I will say that I think that Martin Luther only showed six. Calvin, arguably five. I don't think that Calvin indulged in either gluttony or sloth. But he more than made up for it in the remainder...
There is a difference between personal sin, which is what I was talking about, and the sin inherited from Adam (original sin).
Actually its good you can now see that the passage in Romans is better understood as not referring to personal sin, but rather the collective sin of Adam. I believe marshmallow was trying to make that point to you before. At any rate, from this understanding you now seem to posess, it’s quite simple for you to find agreement with the Church on this point. To whit:
Yes Mary needed a Savior like all of us, but he Original Sin was never allowed to affect her. So, even if one is a rigid absolutist when it comes to Rom 3:23 et al, one can still agree with the Church. (so long as one does not confuse that sin with personal sin, as so many critics of Mary do while gleefully posting references such as Rom 3:23)
Now, if for example you and I disagree upon the interpretation of Scripture, that means one of three possible things has happened.
1. You have incorrectly interpreted Scripture. 2. I have incorrectly interpreted Scripture. 3. We both have incorrectly interpreted Scripture.
The way we solve this issue is, as Scripture instructs, to interpret Scripture with Scripture. Whichever of our ideas agrees with the rest of Scripture is the one which is right. Tradition has no place here.
No you're not. Not unless he's on the phone to you.
You.......that's right ......you, are reading Scripture and filtering its words through your mind. Just as when you read any document.
What is understood, is the work of your intellect. That's where the Church Fathers come in. They don't replace Scripture. They help to shed light on it. Instead of our own feeble minds, we have the help of these holy men.
St. Peter himself says (regarding some of St. Paul's letters)......
And account the longsuffering of our Lord, salvation; as also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, hath written to you:  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. 2Peter 3: 15-16
Hard to be understood!
Look for enlightenment amongst those men who immediately followed the Apostles.
That's the cloud of witnesses who are ready to intercede on our behalf. Because we are all members of the family of Christ, we can ask the Blessed Virgin, or St. Padre Pio, or St. Paul, or St. Therese, to pray for us. The prayers of a righteous man (or woman - the Greek says "a righteous (one)") avail much. How much more so one who is already a saint?
Only when dealing with men.
Did you sleep through debate class or are you just this intellectually stunted?
Nope, I just consider the opponent.
Can you not make a clear, concise attack on the points or are you just relegated to using talking points.
What points are you making? I only see a mindless regurgitation of 150 year old antiCatholic screeds. Were there actual points in there?
Alinsky, is that you? I didn't know we had such a liberal great amongst us here.
The company you look like you are keeping represents the finest minds ever to come crawling out of the unelectrified swamps forgotten even by the revenooers.
The way we solve this issue is, as Scripture instructs, to interpret Scripture with Scripture.
But how do we do this? We cannot put Scripture, or the Holy Spirit, on the witness stand.
Do we reason it out or does the Holy Spirit interpret?
So, in other words, you can’t find any Christians claiming sinlessness for Mary until nearly 400 years after the fact?
I'm going to call your bluff here. Time, date and location or it didn't happen. I, personally, have grown up around Pentecostals and even snake-handlers and I know, from 30 years of personal experience, that you're lying about Pentecostals worshiping snakes.
The rest of your post is, frankly, Roman Catholic claptrap unfit for lining a birdcage. I never said that we, as Christians, shouldn't call Mary blessed, just that she wasn't sinless. Your little screed about Simon Magus, Calvin and Martin Luther matter little to me as well, since I'm not a Calvinist, Luthernist or any other type of traditional Reformed Protestant. If you actually did know as much as you claim to know about Pentecostals and other Fundamentalists like myself, you'd know we reject Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant doctrines equally if they don't line up with Scriptures.
So until you come back with something more than that, I'm finished with you. You've proven that you have no clue as to what you're talking about and debating you is, literally, throwing pearls before swine.
Somewhere along the line, after the Reformation, the Saints in Heaven portion of the Communion of Saints (as in the creeds) became lost among some Christian churches.
The new variations include the dead are asleep, or the Saints in Heaven are not in communion or can't hear, etc. As long as this difference remains, even after agreeing on the meaning of pray and the efficacy of intercessory prayer, there will still be a divide.
thank you both for your posts.
Discuss the issues all you want, but do not make it personal.
I see it like this. If you and I disagree but honestly approach the Holy Spirit with the matter and allow Him to straighten us out, He will do so and there will be no disunity. If we still disagree, then we need to go back to my earlier logic tree and see where we were in error. This is why I see good things, as well as error, in all denominations. We've all fallen short, it's our nature.
There are over 117 different versions of Jesus and only one of them is correct. ;) It’s the Catholic version.
I’m not making it personal, I’m challenging his account of events. Logic dictates that those who bring an accusation hold the burden of proof in the matter. He’s provided no proof, therefore his accusations are false until such a time as he provides that proof. There are clearly visible falsehoods in his testimony and I’ve challenged him on those grounds.
Oh, you are mistaken. It is a general truth that protestantism causes and perpetuates socialism and Communism.
Were you thinking of this?
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle." 2 Thessalonians 2:14.
I understand it very well. Nothing in those passages means that Christ would have had inherited a sin nature had he not been born of a virgin. Jesus is, was and always shall be God.
Perhaps ‘angry’ isn’t the term used but it is clear they were unhappy with Jesus. They did admonish him because they did not know where he was. If you consider this to be a typical parental reaction to a teen-aged child disappearing on his parents, who were heading out of town from the temple, and had to come back and search for him to find him. They were searching for him for 3 days!
Luke 2:41-50. 48 “And when they (Mary and Joseph) found Him, they were astonished, and His mother said to Him, “Son why have You treated us this way? Behold your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.”
49 And He said to them, “Why is it that you were looking for me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”
50 And they did not understand the statement which He had made to them.
Mary claims Jesus has not treated them well by disappearing on them, and causing her and Joseph to worry about him and anxiously searching for Jesus for 3 days. Sinless people do not bring false charges against another person, much less the perfect and sinless Son of God. Doing that would also show they had not lived a perfect life.
They also failed to recognize Jesus’ reference to the temple being His heavenly Father’s house and that it was the logical place for Him to be.
Fact is Jesus was telling his earthly parents they should have known where he was and not have acted the way they did, and the next verse explains they did not understand his explanation as to why they should not have acted that way. It wasn’t righteous anger like God’s pure and perfect righteous anger because God reacts to the fact and truth of what people do, not incorrectly like regular people do.
My other larger point, that the Bible in multiple places states ALL people are sinful and need a savior, Mary herself saying so, shows beyond rebuttal that Mary was sinful and did not lead a perfect life. Some in the church over time have elevated her attributes far above the biblically historical Mary is.
Is that too late? It's still over a thousand years before the Reformation.
How soon would be convincing? 100? 50?
The point here is that it was not a contentious issue. The Church Fathers had no idea they would need to convince several generations of skeptics who would arise over a millenium later.
At that time there were numerous other heresies doing the rounds and causing havoc. That's where their energies were often directed.
Telling another Freeper that he has no clue is also mind reading.
And making the thread "about" individual Freepers is also "making it personal."
Ignore the messenger, discuss the message.
I wonder if gambling may be a no-no on the religion forum :)
Thanks for your reply.
I agree that the essentials are, well, essential. However, God according to Calvinism is quite foreign to the Christian God - in my view. So, this is an essential to me. And, arguments from scripture never have settled it.
We end up often, as you put it, at the logic tree. Yet better logicians than you or I still disagree.
And, I agree in general with the Protestant Principle that the reader of scripture should honestly approach scripture seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
My problems are primarily in the practical aspects, both individually and collectively.
Is each individual tasked to work out the Christian faith through scripture on their own?
As individuals differ on what the Christian faith is n its essentials and otherwise, what is the Christian faith for the Body of Christ in unity?
If there is no authority but the individual then, in practice, the Body of Christ is hopelessly divided.
Using the logic tree, I conclude that this is why Our Saviour instituted His Church and gave it authority.
Thanks again for your posts.
And Catholics don't worship Mary and you full well know it.
Never said He wasn’t fully God, but at the same time He didn’t inherit the sin nature because His father wasn’t a descendant of Adam.
I bet it isn't.
I disagree that catching another FReeper in a lie is making it personal, but I can agree that accusations without evidence is wrong. Would evidence that his accusations are incorrect be admissible towards building a case towards intent?
Further, I agree that I stepped over the line with the "no clue" remark. I would, however, appreciate some reciprocal attention towards this FReeper's claims which are so easily debunked as to be laughable. Intentionally misleading claims are strictly forbidden are they not?
Finally, I'm trying to ignore the messenger and keep to the message.
I don’t know, but I’ll take 10:1 that it ain’t. ;)
I never said that you did, I said that Mary wasn't sinless and to say she was is heresy. If you're going to accuse me of something, make sure I said it first.
I really fail to understand why you feel that is a credible or even useful line of attack.
Are you now? Mighty civil of you. 1988, late summer or early fall, Detroit in the Mound / Gratiot area. Taught me everything I ever wanted to know about Pentecostals and helped start me back on the road to Christ. That, and a few other fringe cult experiences of similar import, and equal resemblence to Christianity.
Do you get a crown and robes and a throne with that? I just got an image of Queen Elizabeth waving her hand to the proles. Will your mommy let you up to watch the royal wedding? ..have grown up around Pentecostals and even snake-handlers and I know, from 30 years of personal experience, that you're lying about Pentecostals worshiping snakes.
I'm lying, now? You know that I am lying? Are antiCatholic noobies brought in and taught that I lie, or is this something that you've picked up like the last time you walked through a dog park?
The rest of your post is, frankly, Roman Catholic claptrap unfit for lining a birdcage.
Izzat so? It is Christianity brought to the heretic, the apostate, the pagan and the ungrateful. You're welcome. The facts that I presented are just that - facts. My opinions were stated as opinions ie what I have 'seen'. I don't know what you profess as to faith but if that is what you bring, it sure isn't Christianity.
I never said that we, as Christians, shouldn't call Mary blessed, just that she wasn't sinless.
You know better than St Augustine, who wrote much on the subject, right? You know better than Ephraem, Ephiphanus, Theodotus, Proclus, Ambrose, Anastasius, Basil, and all the Eastern and Western Fathers who not only believed it, but wrote much about it? Ah, my mistake at not perceiving your authority. And when will you rewrite not only Scripture, but come up with a new Canon of Scripture, since, if these yoyos were unable to do something as simple as see the state of Mary's soul, how on earth could they come up with a canon of Scripture?
Your little screed about Simon Magus, Calvin and Martin Luther matter little to me as well, since I'm not a Calvinist, Luthernist or any other type of traditional Reformed Protestant.
To a bacterium, no doubt other bacteria appear different.
If you actually did know as much as you claim to know about Pentecostals and other Fundamentalists like myself, you'd know we reject Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant doctrines equally if they don't line up with Scriptures.
Izzat so? Can you give me your authoritative position on the Eucharist as the real Presence (the Catholic doctrine). As a side show, how about wine versus grape juice?
So until you come back with something more than that, I'm finished with you.
I'd be so hurt.
You've proven that you have no clue as to what you're talking about
You may wish to lessen the methanol content before proceeding further.
...and debating you is, literally, throwing pearls before swine.
A moron topping on the moron cake. Do you have a clue as to what 'literally' means?
Thank you for such a well reasoned post. I'll try to answer you as well as possible.
Would it surprise you to learn that I too believe that Calvin was, to put it lightly, off in his doctrine to the point that I begin to suspect the validity of the other areas of his life? I'm not one to dismiss doctrine simply on the grounds of who claims it, but more on the grounds of what Scripture says about the matter.
To answer you honestly though, I believe, after having studying the Scriptures, that the individual is to work out, or work to understand, his own salvation on his own but with guidance from his local body of believers, also known as the Church. I agree that Our Savior instituted His Church and gave it authority. What I disagree with is the idea that the authority of the Apostles over the first Churches was passed down to others after the Apostles deaths. I believe that this apostolic authority remains with the original Apostles' writings in dealing with our issues. As I can find no evidence within their writings to support the passing down of their authority, I reject the Roman Catholic view of their Apostolic authority.
That one obviously belongs in a Catholic Caucus thread. :)
I believe that the only way to salvation and eternal life is through Jesus. Huge difference.
You (collective not personal) modern day Protestants are the ones who belong to an upstart sect that came up with man made innovations that contradicted the constant witness of the faith. Not Catholics not Orthodox.
Even the Reformers would not recognize your disdain for the Virgin Mary and your denial of her role in the economy os Salvation.
Sinless people do not bring false charges against another person, much less the perfect and sinless Son of God.I don't understand the meaning here of "false charge." What did Mary say that was false? What did she accuse (charge?) Jesus of? I'm asking this with reference to my curiosity about equating sinlessness with omniscience. If, as the Bible translation explicitly states, Mary did not understand, how could anyhthing that she said be construed as sinful?
If Mary thought she was without sin, she wouldn’t have called God her savior because she wouldn’t have needed one.
So by calling God her savior when she never sinned, she lied, which is a sin, which means she DID sin and need a savior.
Catholics just don’t think through what they believe.
Who cares what those the Catholic church calls its church fathers may have thought?
Wide is the road and broad is the path that leads to destruction and many there are that find it. Consensus does not make truth.
You seem to reject the Word of Elohimshalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
and follow the religion of man (i.e. church fathers)
All created beings need a Messiah for salvation.
It is in YHvH's Word.
Repent and seek the face of YHvH.
Learn how to properly divide The Word and, in the meantime, leave it to those who do. Remaining unteachable is not a conservative trait.