The Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception. A wonderful truth, often misunderstood. Many people think that “Immaculate Conception” refers to the Virgin Birth. This is a misunderstanding. The Virgin Birth refers to, well, the Virgin Birth. The Immaculate Conception is a reference to Mary and her having been conceived without sin in order to prepare her as a proper mother for Jesus, God in the Flesh. This idea, that Mary came into being without sin, draws criticism from some. There are questions about it that sometimes seem to disprove the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. The questions are valid. The real issue is: Are there valid answers to the valid questions? Lets see …

Question #1: “The Bible says that all have sinned. So how could Mary be exempt? It says “all”. To say anything else denies God’s word.”

Answer: Several things come to mind here. First, when a person uses the word “all” do they always mean to be taken literally? An example here. Lets say that when I was 8 years old I got up at 7 a.m., got ready for school, went to school, got back home about 3:30 and went to bed at 8. Later, lets say around 9 p.m., my Grandmother (my grandparents raised me) tells my Grandfather that I’d been a bad boy all day. I’d gotten into trouble twice at school, had been smart with her, hadn’t eaten my vegetables and THEN used a dirty word. I had been bad ALL day long! (Just a note here. All of this is nowhere near far-fetched. You should have known me when I was 8.) Now my Grandfather would understand her meaning. Obviously I hadn’t been bad every second of the day. And the day wasn’t over and I was asleep when she said it. She used “all” to make a point. So we can see that it’s not always meant to be a literal thing or usage. But did Paul mean it to be taken literally? He is the one who wrote it. See Romans 3:23.

It’s important to remember here that there are two kinds of sin aside from mortal and venial. The first is original sin inherited from our first parents Adam and Eve. The second type of sin is personal sin. This isn’t something we inherit, it’s what we do ourselves. So lets take them one at a time.

Did Paul mean original sin? Well, what can we learn from the Bible? Does it teach that everyone is born with original sin? Think about it. Was Jesus born with original sin? No. But someone will say, “That’s not a fair comparison because Jesus is God and besides that Paul says that He was just like us in ALL things EXCEPT sin.” (See Hebrews 4:15.) Ok, that’s reasonable. But was there ANYONE in the Bible born without original sin? And the answer is yes there was. Adam and Eve were created perfect. They never knew original sin, only personal sin. So Paul couldn’t have been speaking literally about original sin.

“Ok, so he wasn’t talking about original sin, he meant personal sin.” Really? Remember that personal sin is a sin that the individual commits. Has there ever been a person who never committed a personal sin? No? What about aborted babies, murdered in the womb? What about people who’ve never had the right use of their mind, aka human “vegetables”?

So the Bible does not teach that everyone, ALL, literally have sinned. There are exceptions. Remember also what the Angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Hail, full grace.” (Luke 1:28.) Full of grace doesn’t leave room for anything else. Which raises another question …

Question #2: If Mary was sinless why did she need to be saved? She said, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:47.) Why would anyone without sin need a Savior?” Good question. Consider the following example …

You and I are standing next to the street. I step off the curb and I’m hit by a car. You rush me to the hospital and I live when otherwise I’d have died from the injuries. Did you save me? Yes, you did. OK, back on the curb again. I start to step off the curb, you see the car, you pull me back just in time and I escape injury. Did you save me? Yes.

The point to the above is that salvation can be of two kinds. Both are from God, Jesus. One is “curative”. This is what He does for sinners, what He’s doing for me right now. The other is “preventative”. This is what He did for Mary by keeping her FROM sin. He is a needed Savior either way. He was and is her Savior. But that doesn’t have to mean He saved her “in” sin. It could just as easily mean He saved her “from” sin. Either way its HIM Who is the Savior and does the saving. And in either case there is the need to be saved.

So, given the above, we can see the validity (or at least I would hope folks can see the possible validity) of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Just don’t read all this and get the wrong idea about me. I’m not smart and I’m not right. It’s not about me and never has been. Everything I know I’ve been taught. It’s about God who is all-knowing and its His Church, the One Holy Roman Catholic Church, that’s right.

Amen and amen.

Published in: on July 28, 2012 at 8:30 am  Comments Off on The Immaculate Conception  
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