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Kateri89

Immaculate Conception Pt. 2

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Kateri89

Since it's not possible to reply in this forum unless you're a Church scholar I'm adding more to my last post in this new one.  I'd like to say that I spent more time researching and simply thinking about the immaculate conception logically and I think I finally got the answer but I'd like to know if my theology is sound.

So in the last post I stated that Mary was filled with sanctifying grace prior to the annunciation but I was stuck on the issue of when God filled her with that grace.  The Church teaches (with the help of Bl. Duns Scotus) that Mary was infused with grace at the moment of her conception and that the immaculate conception was a "pre-redemption" by Christ because everyone is in need of a Savior per scripture. Christ redeemed us from our sins by His death on the cross but he redeemed Mary by preserving her from the stain of original sin at the moment of her conception.

Church teaching states that original sin is the deprivation of sanctifying grace, thus to be "full of" sanctifying grace would mean that one is without original sin.  The Church also teaches that we receive the stain of original sin at the moment of our conception so if Mary was full of sanctifying grace, without the stain of original sin, it would logically follow that she was conceived and sanctified simultaneously in order to avoid that stain of original sin.  That all seems like fairly reasonable conclusions but of course it sparked two more questions:

1) Adam and Eve were also immaculately created but they sinned so why does Mary's immaculate conception mean that she was perpetually sinless?

2) If Adam and Eve were the first created beings, immaculate in soul and existing in the world prior to the entry of sin, how did they fall into sin?  Our predisposition to sin comes from original sin but Adam and Eve were the cause of original sin so why were they predisposed to fall into sin in the first place?

The simplest answer I could come up with for my first question was this: there is strong biblical evidence to support Jesus and Mary being the "second Adam and Eve".  Eve was the woman who introduced sin into the world by her disobedience to God because she gave into the serpent's temptation.  Mary is the woman who introduced salvation into the world via the conception and birth of Christ, and Mary is the woman whose heel will crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15).  If Eve was created immaculately and so was Mary, then it would follow that Mary was the antithesis of Eve.  She was brought into the world to right the wrongs of Eve.  Thus, Mary's sinlessness counterbalanced Eve's sinfulness.  After all, why would God bother to conceive Mary immaculately only to have her fall into sin?  If He was going to immaculately conceive Mary for the purpose of being the mother of His only begotten Son, surely it was with the intention of preserving her from both original sin and any subsequent sin she might be tempted to.

As to my second question about Adam and Eve falling into sin in the first place, I still have yet to come up with an answer.  So is there any doctrinal flaw in my reasoning behind Mary's immaculate conception and perpetual sinlessness?

 

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CatherineM

We are born with free will. Parents know the mistakes their kids are going to make, but we still let them make them. God knew that Mary could remain sinless. 

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LittleWaySoul

I see no flaw in your theology! It's sound and systematic, and a lot of your conclusions are ones I've heard before from theologians and specialists in Mariology. :) 

As for the Adam & Eve vs. Mary questions, I don't think that any of them having a plenitude of sanctifying grace necessitates an entire life free of sin. Yes, one of the results of original sin is concupiscence, and therefore a tendency (or predisposition) to sin, but it has always been my understanding that even in spite of Adam and Eve's "immaculate creation," they were able to make the free choice to sin. This strengthens your Mary-as-antithesis-to-Eve argument because it means that both Eve and Mary were able to sin. Mary's virtue in this case would be highlighted all the more. As you mentioned in your previous question, I have no doubt that actual graces were involved in helping Mary to remain sinless, but as you also pointed out, the fullness aspect of grace is applicable only to sanctifying grace, and therefore this is what's being addressed when speaking of her immaculate conception.

On a somewhat tangential note, Adam and Eve's sin was all the more grave because of their lack of concupiscence in addition to all their sanctifying grace and other preternatural gifts that the Church maintains them to have had. When we think of it as a mere bite of forbidden fruit, it doesn't seem all that serious. But when seen in the light of their graces  and the relationship with God that they had, it is evident that their sin was of the gravest magnitude. I believe there is a tradition in the Church that they spent the rest of their lives atoning for this original sin, and I think in the old calendar of Saints, their feast day is on December 24, the day before Christmas. :) 

N.B.: I very recently graduated with an undergraduate degree in theology, but this by no means makes me an expert in Mariology (though I did take a class on it a couple years ago), Soteriology, or any other specific realm of theology which might address your questions. Nevertheless, I hope I understood them and my answer helped a little! 

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Theoketos
On 5/24/2016 at 7:45 PM, Kateri89 said:

 

1) Adam and Eve were also immaculately created but they sinned so why does Mary's immaculate conception mean that she was perpetually sinless?

2) If Adam and Eve were the first created beings, immaculate in soul and existing in the world prior to the entry of sin, how did they fall into sin?  Our predisposition to sin comes from original sin but Adam and Eve were the cause of original sin so why were they predisposed to fall into sin in the first place?

As to my second question about Adam and Eve falling into sin in the first place, I still have yet to come up with an answer.  So is there any doctrinal flaw in my reasoning behind Mary's immaculate conception and perpetual sinlessness?

 

 

1. Mary's immaculate conception does not necessarily mean that she could not have thus sinned or denied Christ. Though her sinlessness does point back to the immaculate nature of her soul even before birth. Her assumption (without death in a certain sense) also point to her complete sinlessness. 

2. Adam and Eve sinned knowing full well the consequences and without being disposed to sin. It really is an awful action that only God could undo. As to how they fell into sin, we could ask the same thing of ourselves. They were tempted and choose their own will above God's. Here is some crazy reading on that. http://readingthesumma.blogspot.com/2014/01/question-94-state-of-first-man-with.html

Further. Adam and Eve were not predisposed to during their original innocence. Concupiscence only persisted in their flesh and in ours afterwards after the fall (expecting of course by a special Grace: Jesus and Mary).

I was going to type more, but my to-do list on the farm includes tasks like cleaning out the Augean stables. http://purgatoryranch.blogspot.com/

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