The Immaculate Conception:

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  • Tom R

    I would imagine that, for a Catholic, it would be frustrating that the Apostles either knew nothing of this doctrine or else (what I understand to be the Eastern Orthodox view) considered it a sacred mystery that was not to be shared lightly with unbelievers. The Gospel writers put great stress on historical facts and on repeating that “these things were not done in a corner” – that there were witnesses to events like the miracles and the resurrection. Imagine if the Apostles had preached, in 40 or 50 AD, that “No only was Jesus resurrected from the dead, but his Mother was also taken up to heaven before she died, in the presence of these witnesses, on this day and in this place.” Or, a few years earlier, while she was still alive: “Not only was Jesus not born of an adulterous liaison with a Roman soldier, as some claim, but his Mother is still alive and living in this house, in the care of Jesus’ disciple John, and she is still a virgin. Not only was she a virgin when he was conceived (which is why her late husband Joseph did not ‘put her away’ when she became pregnant), but she is still a virgin now. Go have some respected female elders examine her in private, and they can attest to this. Moreover, everyone who has ever known her can attest that she has never sinned.”
    While the resurrection and the ascension were attention-grabbing enough, by 35 or 40 AD they would have been hearsay, but Mary would have still been around and would have been a powerful confirmation of Jesus’s divine mission.
    From a Catholic point of view, the silence of the Bible on this point is probably no great problem, but for Evangelicals, who believe that of all the myriad data about Jesus’s life “these things were written” so that Christians could know them and be saved, it remains a major obstacle.