Was Mary still a virgin or did she have other children?

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Was Mary still a virgin or did she have other children?

Post by Admin on Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:41 pm

The idea that Jesus did not have any “biological” brothers or sisters is often a point that is stressed by those who are attempting to support belief in the perpetual virginity of His earthly mother, Mary. One of the most frequently used Biblical arguments used to justify this view is the suggestion that the Greek word used for “brother” in the New Testament context of Christ and His earthly family would be better translated as “cousin” or “distant relative.” This, however, goes against the clear teaching of Scripture. The gospel of Matthew (written directly by one of Jesus’ disciples) records this incident from Jesus’ life: Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous power?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”—Matthew13:54-56. This is just one passage; Matthew also records this moment during Christ’s ministry: While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you”—Matthew 12:46-47 (paralleled with Mark 3:31-32 and Luke 8:19-20). The disciple John recorded this moment from early in Christ’s ministry, following His miracle of changing the water to wine at the marriage feast at Cana: After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days—John 2:12. John also tells us of the initial reaction of His brothers to Him in this passage: After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him—John 7:1-5. Following His resurrection and His ascension into heaven, we find this moment recorded by Luke in the book of Acts, telling us of the immediate moments following Christ’s physical return to heaven: Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers—Acts 1:12-14. Paul, though not the primary focus, mentions “the Lord’s brothers” in I Corinthians 9:5 and, specifically, the Lord’s brother James (the writer of the epistle that bears his name) in Galatians 1:19. One of the principles of Biblical interpretation is, very simply, what is the passage saying on its face? In other words, what is the common-sense understanding of the passage in question?
The fact is, there is no Biblical precedent for rendering the Greek word “adelphos” (brother) or “adelphae” (sister) as cousin or distant relative. In fact, the Greek word for cousin is very specific: “anepsios.” In fact, Paul uses that word in wrapping up his letter to the Colossian church: My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas—Paul, Colossians 4:10a. And, in final addition to that argument, Matthew specifically tells us this about Joseph, the husband of Mary and earthly father of Jesus: When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus—Matthew 1:24-25. The clear implication is that, following the birth of Jesus, Joseph had normal sexual relations with his wife, ultimately producing the offspring to which the gospel writers and Paul refer.
Does it matter? In some sense, maybe not. However, to come to the conclusion of Mary’s perpetual virginity (as if becoming an earthly mother in the normal course of marital relations somehow stains and demeans her) goes against the notions of common-sense Biblical interpretation. It also lends credence to the false doctrine of veneration of Mary, who has been elevated within Catholic doctrine to even being referred to as a “co-redemptrix” alongside Jesus Himself—literally making her an equal with Christ. She can be prayed to and she can save sinners—ideas completely contrary to Biblical Christianity. Mary was a human being, a sinner like everyone else according to Scripture, who was chosen by God to perform an incredibly amazing role. But she, along with Joseph, performed that role in the context of ordinary human beings, totally dependent on a great and gracious God to guide them as parents in the early days of Christ’s life on earth.

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