Friday, February 05, 2010

Debate on the Perpetual Virginity of Mary: Part 5

Brandom hasn't responded to Part 4 yet, but he has responded to Part 3. So, this post will be my comments on that response.

  • Nice set up with typical and atypical. Why should it allow my mind to entertain this dogmatic construction? It appears from Matthew’s account that he “knew her not until she had given birth to a son”. Does it not seem reasonable to conclude that after the conception of the child that he “knew” her in the typical sense?
The Greek word for "until" (he├Ás hou) need not connote the cessation of the action in the main clause. This conjunction is often used simply to indicate a select period of time, without implying change in the future. In other words, just because it says "until" that does not mean that Joseph necessarily knew her after Jesus was born.

There are many examples in Scripture in which this is the case (OT references are from the Septuagint):

Gen 8:7 and sent forth a raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth.

Did the raven cease to fly once the waters dried up?

Deut 34:6 and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-pe'or; but no man knows the place of his burial to [or "until"] this day.

No one knows it after that day either!

2 Sam 6:23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

She had no child after her death either.

2 Chron 26:15 In Jerusalem he made engines, invented by skilful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and great stones. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong.

Was he no longer helped once he became strong?

Psa 57:1 Be merdiful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in thee my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

Will David cease to take refute in the Lord once the storms pass by?

Mt 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to [or "until"] the close of the age.

Jesus will always be with us, not just up to when the age closes.

Jn 9:18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight

They didn't believe him after they called his parents either.

Rom 11:8 as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear, down to this very day."

Paul is quoting Moses in Deut 29:4 and applying it to his own generation. That means Israel was stubborn both in Moses' day and in Paul's day.

2 Cor 3:15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds;

Yet even now the veil remains over the eyes of the Jewish people. So, yea, you get the idea. You're making way too much out of the word "until" in Mt 1:25. If you look at the context of the passage, you'll see that Matthew is simply affirming that Mary remained a virgin during this time before the birth of Christ so that she can be seen to truly be the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy: "A virgin shall conceive and bear a son" (7:14). He's not attempting to make any type of statement about what happened afterward.

  • Also…can you prove that because this was not the “typical” family that they would not have the “typical” sex? What is in the word “typical” that disqualifies it’s subjects from having sex?
I've seen you do this several times now. You split hairs over the definition of words and you miss the overall point that a person is trying to get across to you. All I'm saying is that, with so many other extraordinary features of their family life, it should not be so surprising that Mary and Joseph would not have sex.

  • What indication is there in scripture that the betrothed woman lives with her soon to be husband? You say that he’s already taken her into his home…but where is this found? All the scripture says is that she is found to be with child before they came together.
I stand corrected. They were betrothed, and according to Mt 1:18, Joseph had not yet taken her into his home when Gabriel appeared to Mary. He didn't take her into his home until after he had the dream (cf. Mt 1:24). So, you're right, but I don't think that destroys the point I was trying to make, as I explain below:

  • And you are mixing being betrothed with being married in your conclusion, “Typically, once this happens, the couple begins marital relations with each other”. But they were not married yet. The reason she asks this question is simply because they had not come together yet.
But, the angel did not say that she would conceive at that moment. He said this was something that would take place in the future. If Mary was planning on having marital relations with Joseph in the future, then there would have been no question in her mind as to how the conception would take place. She simply would have thought to herself, "Oh, I guess once I enter Joseph's home and we have sex, the resulting child will be the Son of the Most High, and he will reign over the house of Jacob, etc." But, Mary was confused. The only plausible explanation for this confusion is that she never intended to have sex. She does not and never will know a man.

  • How do you go from…I do not know man to I do not ever intend to know man.
Mary doesn't know a man. That's not something she does. This state of not knowing (or, to state it positively, of being a virgin) is the reason that she gives for her question. She is confused about how she will conceive because of her virginity. Her virginity would not cause her to question how she was to conceive unless it were of the life-long kind. If at some future moment she was going to lose her virginity, then her current state of virginity would not have caused her to wonder how she would conceive at some future point in time. See what I mean?

  • What were Joseph’s intensions? You mean to tell me that she wasn’t going to sleep with him even though he wanted it before the angel appeared to them? If you believe that then I’m the sole heir to the throne of Zumunda and I will sell you my property for only $10,000 and you can have it all!
He "wanted it"? Good grief, try to speak of these things in a more dignified manner. Scripture never says he "wanted it." Joseph's intentions were always to treat her respectfully. "Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly" (Mt 1:19). If he "wanted it" so bad, why didn't they have sex while she was pregnant? In Mt 1:24-25, Matthew takes great care to show that, even though Joseph took Mary into his home, that does not mean that they had sex. Assuming Jesus was brought to term, that's 9 months that Joseph did not avail himself of the typical husband's prerogative. So, I'll be looking for that $10,000 check.

  • I do not swim and I do not eat meat does not mean that I’ve never swam, never ate meat or never will do them. That is the problem with you disdain for logic. I do not deep sea dive…but that doesn’t mean that I won’t in the future.
It can mean that, just not necessarily. It can and it does, because it's the only plausible explanation for her confusion.

  • It can become anything you want it to become…but it doesn’t mean that that’s what the intent of Scripture is.
The parallels between Mary and the Temple, the Tabernacle, and the Ark are too numerous to simply be overlooked. You resist them only because you resist Catholic teaching, not from any solid exegetical basis.

  • Is she also the Garden? That was where Elohim first tabernacled. You’re arguing that she is likened to the temple made with hands that our Lord destroyed in 70AD? You’re arguing that the Son destroyed His mother?
Oh come on, you know that doesn't logically follow. It's a metaphor. There isn't supposed to be 100% correspondence between the sign and the thing signified. Jesus likened himself to the bronze serpent that was raised up on a pole to heal the people (cf. Jn 3:14). Does that mean we should be punished for worshiping Christ, like the Israelites were for worshiping the snake? (cf. 2 Ki 18:4). Of course not.

  • What about the temple that is made without hands that is said to come down from Heaven? That’s the only temple that the former shadowy temples pointed to…not to Mary.
For someone who prides himself on his logic, you are being very illogical here. An image can apply to more than one person. So Jesus likened himself to the temple. Does that mean Paul was wrong to say that each one of us are temples of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 6:19)? Christ is also called the "foundation" (1 Cor 3:11). Does that mean Paul was wrong when he said that the apostles and the prophets were the foundation? (cf. Eph 2:20). Of course not.

  • That’s eisegesis to say that Ezek 44:1-2 has anything to do with Mary. It’s a joke…not even worth a rebuttal.
My reading of that passage is no different than Matthew's reading of Isa 7:14. Literally speaking, Isaiah was referring to the birth of King Hezekiah. But, Matthew read it and saw how it could also pertain to Christ. I -- and for that matter, much of the historical Christian Church that you have so cavalierly divorced yourself from -- am utilizing the same hermeneutical principle. Try to approach the passage objectively, without any preconceived notions. Pretend that you have yet to make up your mind about Mary. Is it really that hard to see how this could apply to her? "The Lord, the God of Israel" has entered Mary, like He entered the Temple Gate. Her body becomes the Temple of the Lord, her womb the Holy of Holies.

  • How does any of the rest of this language therefore mean that she remains a virgin?
Because, the Temple, the Tabernacle, the Ark, these were all holy places consecrated to the Lord, set apart for Him and Him alone. Mary, who parallels these holy places in so many ways, is thus similarly set apart for Him and Him alone.

  • All this is foretold by moses and the prophets that His dwelling would be with man (and woman) in the New Heavens and Earth and we would have what were to have with Adam. Paradise Restored. What was lost in the garden is now fulfilled in Christ…the relationship has been restored with Saviour…and Mary just like you and I need that salvation.
I'm not sure what your point was in saying that. I have no doubt that Mary depended on Christ for her salvation.

  • All your doing is based on church dogma reading something back into the text that wasn’t there or wasn’t even hinted at.

    The leaping doesn’t make anything here certain. Doesn’t make her the ark any more than it makes John David. This is all eisgesis.
Like I said earlier, the parallels are far too numerous for anyone (without an axe to grind) to ignore. You see no link whatsoever between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant? Parallels have been made with much less correspondence then the parallel I have revealed between Mary and the Ark. Perhaps if there was only one similarity, or two even, you could possibly be justified in simply waving your hand at it, as you have done here. But I've given you five very clear similarities between the two. This is only "eisegesis" to you because you refuse to believe it.

  • Her womb was set apart for Holy “PURPOSES” but it does not make her womb holy in the sense that no other child could dwell there. Only if Joseph thought like you (irrationally) might he come to that conclusion. A first century Jew? What would they be thinking? I’m curious. A first century Jew would reason from the scriptures. And there is nothing in scripture that would suggest to this Jew that he not know his wife. So now you know how Joseph feels about what he would do with his wife? There’s no way huh? She was consecrated for a higher purpose and she served that purpose.
God doesn't just consecrate something for a time. You're telling me that once you take the manna, the tablets, and the rod out of the Ark, that the Ark no longer becomes a consecrated vessel? Now we can just carry our random crap around in it? That's absurd. The long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of the entire world, dwelt within Mary. That's a much more profound presence than that which existed in the Ark, the Temple, or the Tabernacle. The only "irrational" conclusion is one which would hold that Joseph would not consider her just as set apart as the previous vessels of the Lord.

  • Matthew 12:47-50
    While he was still speaking to the people, behold,(BR) his mother and his(BS) brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.[a] 48But he replied to the man who told him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 50For(BT) whoever(BU)does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

    It can be reasonably inferred from the text that Yeshua had brother and sisters. That his mother and his brothers were waiting to speak with him. Were they her children…the text does not say that they were…but there is no reason also to assume that they weren’t. Atleast not enough to build the fanciful dogma of her perpetual virginity!
There's no reason to assume that they weren't? Yes there is! The broad meaning of adelphos and a cursory understanding of Jewish culture gives us plenty of reason. Extended family members and tribesman often lived under the same roof in Jesus day. They would have been referred to as his brothers and sisters, even thought they weren't technically his siblings.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

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