This is a letter I’ve written to Most Holy Family Monastery, a sede vacantist group who’s tracts on the popes and protestantism are really fascinating. However, in reading their tract on Mary, I had to respond to it. I hope to receive a reply from them- if I do, I will post it.
My biggest stumbling block in accepting Roman Catholicism has always been Marian doctrine, but in light of your other tracts addressing Protestantism, I was very much looking forward to reading your tract on her. However, it has left me with even bigger doubts than I had to begin with, particularly regarding her immaculate conception.
In the tract, you state “God saved Mary by preventing her from contracting original sin. Suppose that a man falls into a deep hole in the forest, but is pulled out by his friend. It is true to say that the friend saved the man. Now suppose a man sees a woman walking toward the deep hole, and catches her just before she falls in. He stops her from falling into the hole in the first place, so that she doesn’t get injured or dirty at all. Did he save the woman? Certainly he did. He saved her in a greater way, by preventing her from falling into the hole and suffering any of the harmful consequences.” Now, when I first read this passage, I accepted it. “Well, I guess that makes sense.” But upon reflection, it really didn’t, because it completely cheapens Christ’s redemptive death!
It has been established from the Garden of Eden that “the wages of sin are death.” God performed the first sin sacrifice when He clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins. The entire Old Testament is based on the concept that People Cannot Save Themselves; even when God tells them what needs to be done, they forget, or don’t care, or don’t do it right, etc. God does not preserve His prophets, or even David, whom He loved. Each of them screws up, and then has to make an atonement for it. There are entire books of the New Testament dedicated to explaining that without Christ dying for us, we die. It is a scriptural fact that Sin has to be equaled out for with Death.
Therefore, how would Mary get out of sin if Jesus did not die for her? Mary was born of Adam (Luke 3 is nearly always cited as Mary’s geneology; some say that it is Joseph’s actual geneological line, whereas Matt 1 is his legal line, but regardless, it is common sense that Mary (a human) was born of 2 other humans, who were descended from the first 2 humans.) She would then be expected to be born under Adam’s curse like every one else. Now, if you maintain that Jesus’ death reached back and retroactively saved her, then what was the point of all of those animal sacrifices? Why didn’t God save all of His chosen people, rather than letting them get smote over and over ad nauseum for not keeping up on their sacrifices? Under that logic, no one should have been born under original sin, if Jesus’ death was able to wipe it away before they were even concieved. The thought of this makes me sick, because it changes God from selflessly giving Himself to resolve the metaphysical quandry that has prevented Him from being with His creations, to God randomly deciding that He was tired of dead goats, preserving one backwater Judean girl, knocking her up, trashing her and her fiancees reputations, then murdering their offspring (which is actually Him) for no good reason at all because He clearly could’ve saved anyone He wanted to at any time. This basically validates all of those stupid “If God really was omnibenevolent and omnipotent no one would ever go to hell!” arguments, because it means that rather than original sin being an insurmountable gap between us and God, it becomes something that can be crossed at any time, with no action at all on the saved persons part, based entirely upon the whim of God.
What are we, Calvinists?