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--- --- --- The rest of the intro is from Nichael Legna --- --- ---
I promised in another thread to provide this defense of Mary's Immaculate Conception based on scriptural support and the archetypes from the Old Testament
We can see that at least at the time of the Annunciation Mary is without sin. This is evident by the words that the Angel Gabriel speaks to Mary in Luke 1:28. The Angel, a messenger, is not speaking his own words, rather he is delivering God’s message to her. He says in Luke 1: 28 "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women." In the Greek the word for "full of grace" is "kecharitomene." She is full of grace so there is no room for sin in her.
The word "kecharitomene" is a perfect passive participle of the verb "charitoo."
This is a recognition of her sinless state. The newer English translations leave out something that the original Greek conveys. This is something the older translation does convey. That is that this grace is at once permanent and of a singular kind. The Greek indicates a perfection of grace. A perfection must be perfect not only intensively, but extensively. The intent of the term is that the grace Mary enjoyed must not only have been as "full" or strong or complete as possible at any given time, but it must have extended over the whole of her life, from conception. That is, she must have been in a state of sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence to have been called "full of grace" or to have been filled with divine favor in a singular way.
Some have argued that this says nothing unique about Mary since Saint Stephen, just before he is martyred for the faith, is said to be full of grace in Acts 6:8. However a different word form is used to describe Saint Stephen. In the Greek the conjugated form of "charitoo" that is used to describe him is "charitos" not "kecharitomene" that is used in reference to Mary.
Some who oppose the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception have attempted to argue that the use of the verb "charitoo" in Luke 1:28 says nothing special about Mary since this same verb, although in a *different* form, is used to refer to all Christians in Ephesians 1:6.
However, Luke 1:28 uses a special conjugated form of "charitoo." It uses "kecharitomene," while Ephesians 1:6 uses "echaritosen," which is a different form of the verb "charitoo." Echaritosen means "he graced (bestowed grace.) Echaritosen signifies a momentary action, an action brought to pass. (Blass and DeBrunner, Greek Grammar of the New Testament, p.166.) Whereas, Kecharitomene, the perfect passive participle, shows a completeness with a with permanent result. Kecharitomene denotes continuance of a completed action (H. W. Smyth, Greek Grammar (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968 ) 108-109, sec 1852:b also Blass and DeBrunner p.175.
It might help to consider other instances of the perfect tense being used.
Another example of a verb used in the perfect tense is the word "is" in
John 19:30 "It is finished."
The work of the redemption is complete and forever enduring.
Examples of the perfect participle are the following:
The word "beloved" in Ephesians 1:6 " … for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved." Jesus is perfectly and enduringly loved by His Father.
The word "Blessed" in
Luke 1:42 "… Blessed is the fruit of your womb." Jesus is perfectly and endlessly blessed by God the Father.
Therefore, Luke 1:28 points to Mary being without sin. So, at this point the only question is at what point in her life is Mary made without sin.
Later we see this idea supported further in Luke 1:42 where Elizabeth greets Mary as "blessed among women." Since neither the Hebrew nor Aramaic languages have superlatives, a speaker of those languages would have said, something like "You are tall among men" to mean "You are the tallest". Thus we see the original import of this phrase is lost in an English translation and so can see that Elizabeth's words mean Mary was the holiest of all women.
Additional to the grammatical analysis we can see that Mary is foreshadowed as sinless by the reference to her in the account in Genesis.
Mary's Immaculate Conception is foreshadowed in Genesis 1, where God creates the universe in an immaculate state, free from any blemish or stain or sin or imperfection. This is borne out by the repeated mention in Genesis 1 of God beholding his creations and saying they were "very good." Out of pristine matter the Lord created Adam, the first immaculately created human being, forming him from the "womb" of the Earth. The immaculate elements from which the first Adam received his substance foreshadowed the immaculate mother from whom the second Adam (Romans 5:14) took his human substance.
Again in Genesis 3:15 and the "proto-evangelon" there is scripture which points to another archetype. Genesis 3:14-15 "And the LORD God said unto the serpent … I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." KJV
If Mary was not completely sinless this prophesy becomes untenable. Why is that? The passage points to Mary's Immaculate Conception because it mentions a complete enmity between the woman and Satan. Such enmity would have been impossible if Mary were tainted by sin....
Identity of the Woman
All Christians agree that this is a prophecy about the Messiah, Jesus Christ, coming to strike the head of the serpent, Satan. - Actually the Hebrew word that is translated as "seed" is being used in a very unusual way. Normally it applies to the male, but here it is being used in reference to a woman. It is referring to Jesus’s birth through the Virgin Mary. - So, looking back at this Scripture we should appropriately ask ourselves, of which woman’s seed was He born ? The answer of course is Mary. Jesus even goes on to identify Mary as the "Woman" in John 2:4, 19:26, and also see Revelation 12: 1, 5.
Despite this you will find that in most modern Protestant bibles, you will find the second part of this first gospel Genesis 3:15 changed to "... he will bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel." But if we examine the thoughts of three Jewish scholarly giants: Josephus (d. 101 A.D.), Philo (d. 40 A.D.) and Maimonides (d. 1204 A.D.) we will see their understanding of the original text to match that of the Catholic Church.
To begin with, Josephus states, "He ordained that the woman should inflict wounds on his head." This becomes evident that Josephus in his day read the word "aute", that is to say, "she." (It is important to note, Josephus and Philo both wrote in Greek but also knew Hebrew, so their testimony is a common witness that the Greek of the Septuagint of their day was aute, and that the Hebrew pronoun was pronounced HI or HEE, all meaning "she.") Later witness of this fact is given by another Jewish philosopher, Moses Maimonides, who did not believe in the Messianic or Mariological content of the prophecy but nevertheless had this to say:
"But what must be admired most of all, is that the serpent is joined with Eve, that is, its seed with her seed, its head with her heel; that she (Eve) should conquer it (the serpent) in the head, and that it should conquer her in the heel."
It is also important to note that the creation of the enmity between Satan and the woman is not something that the woman does, rather it is what God does, and He does it in the most perfect way. Unfortunately some Christians in their misguided attempts to defend the glory of God actually insult Him by denying Him the credit that is due for this miraculous work He did in Mary.
Enmity is a determined, enduring and extreme hostility that exists between enemies.
Every Christian once in heaven will be perfected by God’s grace. However, only of Mary, and of "her seed," which is Jesus Christ, is it said that there will be enmity between them and Satan. Since Jesus is God and since holiness is an aspect of His Nature, he has that enmity by nature. Where as with Mary, she has it as a gift.
If there had ever been a time when Mary was under Satan’s domination through personal or original sin, then there would not be a real enmity between her and Satan. Therefore, by virtue of the grace He gave her, God put Mary in opposition to Satan from the beginning and throughout her life. Notice that God the Father says that *He will put* the enmity between her and Satan. Only in God, and by His gift of grace, also in Mary, can it be said that there is enmity with Satan because only in them is their entire life opposed to Satan.
Therefore, since Mary had an enmity between her and Satan, and even though she was a descendant of Adam and would have contracted Original Sin, she was saved from the stain of it by the merits of Jesus Christ from the first moment of her life.
The first parallel of this sinlessness we can draw has to do with the fact that God took such great pains to make sure the Ark was properly constructed (see Ex 25).
God wanted the ark to be as perfect and unblemished as humanly possible so it would be worthy of the honor of bearing the written Word of God. How much more so would God want Mary, the ark of the new covenant, to be perfect and unblemished since she would carry within her womb the Word of God in flesh.
Consider also the exhortation in Exodus 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother …" Jesus came to earth and fulfilled the Old Testament Law perfectly and completely. And this Law is especially manifested in the Ten Commandments. Now, the fourth commandment says that He is called to honor His Father and His mother. However, to allow His mother to participate in the Fall would be to allow her to be dishonored. If He is to honor her, then He can not allow this.
Another point to consider is that Jesus is the only person who was able to chose His own mother. He was able to chose the holiest human woman. And being a perfect Son, He loved His mother more than any other son. And being a loving Son, He would not want His mother to spend one second in Satan’s domination.
The following women all serve as archetypes of Mary in their roles of crushing the head of the enemy.
The woman came forth and prayed, "Strengthen me, O Lord God, at this hour. And she struck twice upon his neck, and cut off his head..." (Judith 13:9-10). And the Jewish nation was saved and the head of that wicked ruler Holfernes crushed. And they all adored the Lord, and said to her, "The Lord hath blessed thee by his power, because by thee he that brought our enemies to nought." Was this the singular woman prophesied? No, Judith was only a foreshadowing, a glimpse of the great Lady to come.
But, in time, the voice of another great woman raised up to God, "O God, who art mighty above all, hear the voice of them that have no other hope, and deliver us from the hand of the wicked..." Just when the Jewish people were about to be destroyed again by the instrumentality of the wicked Aman, the voice of a woman found favor with the King of Kings and King Artzerxes. Needless to say, when it was all over, Aman's head was hanged on a gibbet fifty cubits high. The king's words spoke clearly, " For which crime both he himself that devised it, and all his kindred hang on gibbets, before the gates of this city Susan: not we, but God repaying him as he deserved." (Esther 16:18) Was this the woman prophesied? No, Esther was only a mere shadow of the great Lady to come.
Judges 5:24-27 24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. 25 He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. 26 She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. 27 At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
Such it was in that early day of Jewish history when those women crushed the head of the evil one and his seed again and again. Yet, these women, too, were only prefigurements of that singular woman who was to come.
Finally in Revelation we see "a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." (Rev 12:1)
The devil has declared war not only on the woman Mary, but on her seed, which is primarily Jesus, but all of us as well, in a special way, as her children. For it is written in Revelation (please note how remarkably similar this is to Genesis 3:15), "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman, who brought forth the man child.... And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Rev 12:13,17)
As further support for this sinlessness we have to look at Mary's Assumption and the corresponding archetypes as well.
There is support in the Scriptures for Mary's assumption based on recognizing Mary in the archetypes of the Old Testament such as the second Eve, and the Ark of the Covenant.
The idea of Mary as the second Eve comes from the contrast between Eve's disobedience and Mary's obedience - just as Jesus' role as the second Adam comes from the contrast with the first Adam. These are not newly devised ideas but were put forward by the Early Church Fathers.
The first idea I will present is from Justin Martyr (120-165 AD)
Eve a virgin and undefiled brought the word of the serpent into the world by consenting to his lie.
Mary a virgin and undefiled brought the word of God into the world by consenting to His will.
Tertullian (160-240 AD) points out that
Eve believed the serpent and the word which crept into Eve brought for death
Mary believed Gabriel and the word which was placed within Mary brought forth life
The fault which began with Eve by believing had its ending begun by the believing of Mary.
Irenaeus (115-155 AD) confirms the ideas that
Eve was disobedient and that disobedience was the cause of death
Mary was obedient and that obedience became the source of salvation
This comparison extends to their respective conceptions.
Eve was created in a state of grace, born without even original sin; and the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception mirrors that for Mary in that it interprets the Scripture to say that she was declared full of grace by the angel and was in that state from the moment of her creation - just as Eve was. Is this so different than the state we are forced to admit was possible for John the Baptist who was filled with the Spirit and recognized the presence of his Lord while still in the womb.
Mary is also foreshadowed as spotless by the archetype of the Ark of the Covenant
Originally the Ark of the covenant contained the word of God etched on stone by God's own hand. The Ark was not the Word itself but it was nevertheless very important. Mary carried the "word made flesh" inside her the same way the Ark carried the 10 commandments which were the Word of God manifest in the real word. (Jn 1:1)
The Ark turns up in Revelation 11:19. It is presented as Mary, the mother of Jesus.
19 Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; and there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. 12 :1 A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pangs, in the agony of giving birth… Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne.… 13 So when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child… But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent … Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus.
Some non-Catholics have suggested that woman crowned with stars in this passage is Israel and that the 12 stars represent the tribes of Israel. They say the woman is not Mary. The problem with this interpretation is that the passage clearly says her children are those who "hold the testimony of Jesus" (Rev 12:17) which the children of Israel clearly have not done, but the children of Mary surely have. Catholics believe this started with John at the foot of the cross when Jesus presented Mary to him as his mother. (Jn 19:26)
Catholics believe this passage of Revelation makes clear several important points:
1. The Ark of the Covenant has been restored to the temple
2. The temple is now heaven (See also Heb 9:1-12)
3. A woman with a crown is there - the new Ark
4. She gave birth to the son who will rule the nations and is at God's throne
5. The devil is very interested in destroying her but she is safe
6. Her children are all faithful Christians.
Let us now compare the Ark of the covenant in the old testament to Mary, who Catholics believe is the new Ark. It will be laid out in the following format:
The Arc of the Old Testament
Mary - The New Testament
The Word was written by God on Tablets of Stone (Ex 25:10)
The Word became Flesh (John 1)
The Ark carried the Word of God (Deut 10:1) The Ark carried the Old Covenant.
Mary carried the Word of God (Lk 2 38) Mary carried the New Covenant
The Ark carried the manna within itself
Mary carried the manna within her in the form of Jesus
The Ark carried the rod of Jesse which budded
Mary carried the rod that budded in the form of Jesus
The Ark was covered by the glory cloud of the Lord (the Shekinah Glory) and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34–35; Num. 9:18, 22). The verb for “to cover” or “to overshadow” and the metaphor of a cloud are used in the Bible to represent the presence and glory of God.
Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and filled with the glory fo the Lord.
David says "Who am I that the Ark of my Lord should come to me?" (2 Sam 6:9)
Elizabeth says "Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me" (Lk 1:43) (Mary, was pregnant with Jesus)
When the Ark returned "David was leaping and dancing before the Lord" (2 Sam 6:14)
The baby leaped for joy in Elizabeth's womb when Mary came into Elizabeth's presence carrying Jesus in her womb. (Lk 2 38)
There I have set the ark in which is the covenant of the Lord that he made with his people Israel (2Ch 6:11)
Elizabeth's husband said "He has remembered his holy covenant (Lk 1:22) ...The cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood (Lk 22:20)
Joshua summoned the twelve men from the Israelite, whom he had appointed, one from each tribe. Joshua said to them "Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God." (Josh 4:4) There were 12 stones like the 12 stars in Rev.. The ark of his covenant was seen within his temple; ... 12 :1
A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman ...and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (Rev 11:19) representing the tribes of Israel.
The ark of the Lord is a blessing to the house (2 Sam 6:11)
Mary goes into the hills and blesses Elizabeth's house (Lk 2 38)
The Ark is captured (1 Sam 4:11) and brought to a foreign land and later returns (1 Sam 6:13)
Mary is exiled to a foreign land (Egypt) and later returns
The Ark disappears (Jer 3:16) never to return until the New Testament Revelation story
The Ark reappears as a lady (Mary) who bears a son who is seated at the right hand of God . Her children are Christians. (Rev 11:19)
It will not be like the covenant that I made...that they broke though I was their husband (Jer 31:31) The Holy spirit shall overshadow you; therefore the son to be born to you ...will be called the Son of God (Lk 1:35)
If we accept the idea that Eve would not have become dust had she not sinned, then if Mary was kept from sin (by the power and grace of God) it is reasonable to conclude she would not suffer corruption, she would have retained the gift Eve lost through sin.
We also have to ask if Mary's body is still here on earth - where is it? The relics of the Saints, including the Apostles were highly valued and collected and venerated by the faithful. In fact Protestant Reformers made light of how many pieces and parts were claimed around the world for many of these men. Yet no one, no Church, no congregation anywhere claims to have any relic of Mary. None - Zero Zip. If Mary is dead and buried here on earth why has no one ever in the entire history of the world claimed to have relics of the body? Why are the only claims for her burial site empty tombs?