I offered to enter into a discussion with an “informed” catholic who has questions and doubts on a number of issues. This is the First part of the discussion.
Unless directed otherwise I’ll take the issues as you listed them.
Of the issues listed this may be the easiest to explain and among the more difficult to understand. WHY?
Because it does not have direct and many topical specific reference in the bible.
To grasp this reality one must apply some logic; combined with some understanding of God’s very Nature.
So let’s begin with the latter and pray that it leads to the former. God can briefly be described as “All Good things perfected”
“ALL” Exodus 3:14 “God said to Moses: I AM WHO AM. He said: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.” … Revelation 1:8 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. … Revelation 21:6 “And he said to me: It is done. I am Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end. To him that thirsteth, I will give of the fountain of the water of life, freely.”
These two “Catholic” terms seem to have been hijacked by Protestants. I don’t mean this in a derogatory sense; only that they are more commonly used outside the CC; than within her “laity ranks.” These are known and assumed by Catholics; which in turn aids out Faith-Understanding.
From Father Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary. [he was a noted Theologian and my former mentor]
The almighty power of God. He can do whatever does not deny his nature or that is not self-contradictory. Since God is infinite in being, he must also be infinite in power. (Etym. Latin omnis, all + potentia, power: omnipotens, all-powerful.)
God’s knowledge of all things. Revelation discloses that the wisdom of God is without measure (Psalm 146:5). And the Church teaches that his knowledge is infinite.
The primary object of divine cognition is God himself, whom he knows immediately, that is, without any medium by which he apprehends his nature. He knows himself through himself.
The secondary objects of divine knowledge are everything else, namely the purely possible, the real, and the conditionally future. He knows all that is merely possible by what is called the knowledge of simple intelligence. This means that, in comprehending his infinite imitability and his omnipotence, God knows therein the whole sphere of the possible.
He knows all real things in the past, present, and the future by his knowledge of vision. When God, in his self-consciousness, beholds his infinite operative power, he knows therein all that he, as the main effective cause, actually comprehends, i.e., all reality. The difference between past, present, and future does not exist for the divine knowledge, since for God all is simultaneously present.
By the same knowledge of vision, God also foresees the future free acts of the rational creatures with infallible certainty. As taught by the Church, “All things are naked and open to His eyes, even those things that will happen through the free actions of creatures” (Denzinger 3003). The future free actions foreseen by God follow infallibly not because God substitutes his will for the free wills of his creatures but because he does not interfere with the freedom that he foresees creatures will exercise. (Etym. Latin omnis, all + scire, to know.)
“Good things” God Himself is capable of only doing “Good things.” Some folks struggle a bit with this, given the of the God-Inflicted acts of the Old Testament. When I encounter this view, I ask: are “Justice and Fairness Good things?” OF COURSE they are In each and every instance where severe chastisements are expressed, a bit of investigation shows that God was doing what God MUST do. Act fairly and justly. Evil has its own rewards as does good.
God can and does permit “evil.” BUT it is never God’s Desire; or Gods preferred Will. Death, sickness, problems, Crosses and chastisements are permitted always for two possible reasons.
1. For the Possible Glorification of God. Enacted Justice is a form of this.
2. For the Possible sanctification of man. If man repents and coverts; then God is Glorified and man is sanctified.
“Perfected” Genesis 17:1 “And after he [Abram] began to be ninety and nine years old, the Lord appeared to him: and said unto him: I am the Almighty God: walk before me, and be perfect.”
Matt, this is the critical part of the explanation of Mary’s absolutely necessary “Immaculate Conception.” and yes; “absolutely necessary” is not a typo. Nor is beyond the capabilities of our Good and Perfect God.
Matthew 19:21 “Jesus saith to him: If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me. Luke 6:40 “The disciple is not above his master: but every one shall be perfect, if he be as his master. 1 Corinthians 1:10 “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment. 2 Corinthians 13:11 For the rest, brethren, rejoice, be perfect, take exhortation, be of one mind, have peace; and the God of peace and of love shall be with you. 2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work. James 1:4 And patience hath a perfect work; that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing. John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me. Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish, that, whereas you began in the Spirit, you would now be made perfect by the flesh? Matthew 5:48 Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Because God is, and has to be, and must remain “Perfect”;
God once it was determined that the Incarnation would take place; that the worlds Redemption would be one of the end results of it, as would be Gods precisely Conditional Salvation for those who would agree fully with it and embrace it fully; God gave Himself no option BUT to insure that Mary; His Mother-to be, was like He Himself “Perfected.”
Simply stated it is a Theological and a Moral impossibility that God could permit Himself to born from and THROUGH a imperfect Mother. Because God is “perfect” Mary too HAD to be “perfect” also.
This required two steps:
First: the OMNIPOTENCE of God; literally “had too” in anticipation of choosing Mary to become the Mother of God; through the [future] merits of Jesus [for God time does not exist. Everything is “present” to God,] perform a miracle and PERMIT Mary to be conceived without the Stain of Original sin.
http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Anne%2C_Saint This site gives some historical information about the parents of Mary, who were past the normal age for child-bearing and through the DIRECT intervention of God became pregnant and conceived Mary. In gratitude they offered Mary back to God and she became a “Temple Virgin.” I don’t want to veer too far from our topic. [This is historical legend]. Back to Mary.
Luke 1:26-35 “And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’ s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: [verse 28] Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
FYI: The King James, as well as some “more progressive catholic bibles”, changed this verse 28 to read: “
verse 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
This sort of translations distorts the truth and the magnitude of what actually TOOK Place. The Douay Bible superseded the original King James Bible by about Fifty years. And the Douay, is taken from Saint Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, [around 400 AD] which say’s: “28 et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit have gratia plena Dominus tecum benedicta tu in mulieribus” = “FULL of GRACE.” This condition of “FULL” means NO room for sin!
: The second condition is, IMO, more amazing than the first because it is wrought not by a miracle, but by Offered Grace, accepted fully and correctly applied. Mary HAD to freely choice Never to sin! This IS possible through God’s grace, BUT requires Mary’s Freewill assent and sacrifices. Mary HAD TO and DID, freely choose to never; even in the slightest manner, sin; EVER!
So Matt, that’s the explanation. And this is where the LOGIC has to come in to play. Because Mary Was [is] Full of grace; there was NO room for any sin. Amen?
If you have questions, please ask. There’s not a lot more that I can add to this however.
God Bless you and grant you His Faith and His Wisdom.