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more questions

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by lookinguptoo, Aug 10, 2003.

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  1. JeffreyLloyd

    JeffreyLloyd Ave Maria, Gratia plena! Supporter

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    But the OC church does regard the Bishop of Rome as "greatest among equals," or am I worng??

    :help:
     
  2. Oblio

    Oblio Creed or Chaos

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    Should we ever :pray: reunite, it is my understanding that he would be first among equals, with primacy of honor.
     
  3. nyj

    nyj Goodbye, my puppy

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    Well perhaps I was mistaken. Wouldn't be the first time. Thanks for the info.
     
  4. CopticOrthodox

    CopticOrthodox Member

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    According to the Cannons of Nicea, Rome has first honour, Constantinople second, and Alexandria third. The isn't doctrinal and can change, before Nicea Rome had first honour, and Alexandria. Constantinople became more popular when it became the second Rome, and imperial city. In the early Church Rome had first honour as the see of the capital of the Empire. If we were to have reunion, Rome would again have first honour as the largest see and as the historical holder of that position, but while we remaine separate this position is meaningless. Pope Shenouda has said to Pope John Paul, if we're even one Church, you can have the big chair if you want & I'll call you boss. (I'm guessing that's my priest's way of paraphrasing it rather than an exact quote)
     
  5. nyj

    nyj Goodbye, my puppy

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    Let us pray for the reunion of the Holy, Apostolic Faith!
     
  6. lookinguptoo

    lookinguptoo Member

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    My, this again has been interesting to read. I can understand how it is easier for a protestant to become an Orthodox than a Catholic because for me, I could never accept the Catholic beliefs of the Pope, but I could accept the Orthodox beliefs. So far most of your beliefs I too believe. I do differ on hell though where I believe it is a literal place, but I think we both agree that it hell is a terrible condition. Do you believe in pergurtory? Also do you have a rosary and say hail Mary's? Your explanation on marriage is really beautiful. I can not tell you how that touched my heart because I believe that too. I believe God marries us and we become one and unseperatable. I also think marriage is taken too lightly in the church. If church leaders would stand up for truth more, it would help solve a lot of problems. Now, many churches don't want to offend anyone so they say divorce is okay or marrying a nonbeliever is okay, etc. I could go on and on about this subject because it really breaks my heart when I think about it.
    No, I never wondered where the origins of the tradition of the bride and groom taking the cake and wine came from, but the information you gave is really beautiful.
    You wrote that even babies take communion but what if they spit it out? That seems unbearable to me to have the potential of it being spit out.
    As for Mary's death, I would agree that it is very possible that Mary had a death as you described. However, I don't know that because the Bible does not say it. Where do you get such a long story of her death when the Bible does not say it?
    Also, in regards to Mary, do you believe as the Catholics do that she had no sin? Also, why do you believe she stayed a virgin when she was married and had other children?
    Finally, CopticOrthodox wrote "Rome has first honor". This is surprising to me since Rome is the one that persecuted so many Christians and has such a brutal history. Why does not Israel have first honor since it was God's chosen land and Jesus was a Jew? It seems to me giving Israel 1st honor would be upholding the ancient ways better than anything else.
    Please do not take my questions as argumentative. I am just curious. Again thank you for your time and I will read the link later.
     
  7. MariaRegina

    MariaRegina Well-Known Member

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    We believe that hell will be a literal place after the Final Judgment. Then people will have bodies - Those who are confined in hell will suffer bodily torments.

    No, we don't believe in the Catholic definition of purgatory. However, we do believe that people will be purified either on this life or in the next. How we don't know. Except that God is a consuming purifying fire. When we face Him in heaven we will be purified of all our sins because nothing defiled can enter heaven.

    No we don't use a rosary - but the Rosary came from the Orthodox prayer ropes and prayer beads. We say the Jesus prayer on our prayer ropes: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

    We do have the Hail Mary in a different format.

    "Hail Mary, Virgin Theotokos, the Lord is with Thee,
    Blessed art Thou among women,
    And blessed is the fruit of Thy womb.
    For Thou has borne the Savior of our souls."

    The Orthodox Church severely penances those who divorce or separate because these actions can lead to loss of salvation. A couple either goes to heaven or to hell together. They must pray daily for the grace of salvation. Of course, if one spouse is innocent, and the other abuses, that is a different story.

    I hope this helps.

    Will continue.

    Lovingly in yours,
    Elizabeth
     
  8. MariaRegina

    MariaRegina Well-Known Member

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    Dear Looking:

    When anyone in the Orthodox Church receives Holy Communion, the deacons or altar boys place a red communion cloth under the chin of the communicant. I've seen babies spit out Holy Communion. When they do so, it's not vomit, they just don't want it. The priest will scoup it up and consume it. Incidentally, no priest has ever become ill with AIDS or any other infectious disease because this is the real Body and Blood of Christ.

    If someone does vomit after receiving, then the deacons will scoop it onto paper towels and burn it. The Deacons and Priest are very careful with Holy Communion. If we are nauseated, we are instructed not to receive.

    Those who do not receive Holy Communion are given antidoron or blessed bread after the end of the Divine Liturgy.

    Again, hope this helps.

    Yours in Christ, Elizabeth
     
  9. MariaRegina

    MariaRegina Well-Known Member

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    There were historians who wrote about the life of the early Church. Some oral traditions were also written down by these historians. In those days, people developed their memories because few could write.

    Hopefully some of our other Catholic and Orthodox posters might have the exact references available. I just quoted from memory from reading the Orthros and Vespers services of the Orthodox Church.

    Personally, I do believe that the Blessed and Ever Virgin Mary was without sin from her infancy. St. Silouan, a recent Russian Orthodox saint, questioned this. Our Lady the Theotokos appeared to him and told him that she always was without sin.

    However, it is not a dogma of the Orthodox Church. Again, I ask our other brethren on this forum to please give references.

    The Immaculate One was betrothed to Joseph and before they were married she was conceived the Child Jesus in her womb. Tim (Bastoune) has a great essay on this. I'm going to PM him and see if he has posted it anywhere on this forum. He can do a much better job than I can on explaining why we believe she was ever a Virgin and never had any other children.

    Christ went to the Jews first and announced the Good News of Salvation to them. The Jews were given this first honor. Lately, there have been a lot of Jews converting to Christianity more than at any other time in history. God still loves the Jews (Read Hebrews). The Jews have been blessed as Jesus Christ is Jewish.

    Hope this helps.

    Yours in Christ,
    Elizabeth

    We have a Jewish Orthodox Christian pastor in Washington State. Jeff the Finn can tell you more about him. His name is Father Bernstein and he's written some great articles in Again Magazine along with a booklet that should interest you very much.
     
  10. JeffreyLloyd

    JeffreyLloyd Ave Maria, Gratia plena! Supporter

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    I won't address this (I'm fighting not to), but can one of my dear Orthodox brothers or sisters address this question.

    Why does Rome have "first honor," when Rome is so evil :rolleyes:

    (sorry I coudn't help it)
     
  11. MariaRegina

    MariaRegina Well-Known Member

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    Jeff, you can answer this. It has to do with Rome being the major city of the known world. Constantinople was chosen as New Rome because it was considered to be a more defensible position. That historically was true, because after the capital moved to the New Rome, the Old Rome was sacked by the Germanic tribes from the north.
     
  12. MariaRegina

    MariaRegina Well-Known Member

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    Anyone else care to make a comment ...
     
  13. lookinguptoo

    lookinguptoo Member

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    If you are getting tired of my questions just let me know, and I will be silent, but I have some more. If a divorcee who has remarried or someone who has divorced 3-4 times and wants to convert to Orthodoxy, will the church accept such a person even if that person does not consider his/her divorces a sin?
    I believe we do agree on hell afterall. From reading Lotar's thread, I was under the impression that hell was considered an eternal separation from God knowing the person rejected God's love but not an actual place of physical torment, but you are saying is really a physical place of torment and I believe that too.
    In the case of marriage, if one spouse is devoted to God and the other is devoted to the world even though they both consider themselves Orthodox, do you still believe they will go to the same eternal place or separate places?
    Next, CopticOrthodox said Rome has "first honor" (what is first honor anyway?) and Chanter said the Jews have first honor so is this just a difference in different Orthodox church doctrines or is there one official doctrine and individuals are left to have their own opinions?
    I know this may be a touchy subject but it is my understanding that death is the result of sin. If we were sin free then we would not have to die, but because we all sin, we all have to die. Jesus died because He took on the sins of all the world, not because He had any personal sins but because He mercifully became a sacrifice for our sins. Considering death is the result of sin, if you believe Mary died, then would that not confirm she sinned at some point in her life, maybe it was just a small sin but it was sin nonetheless?
     
  14. Oblio

    Oblio Creed or Chaos

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    Christ was fully God and sinless, therefore, even though He was fully man, his death had to come at the hands of sinful man. The Theotokos, while preserved from sinning by the grace of God, was still born into a fallen world ruled by death and corruption. As she was not Divine, she was subject to the consequences of the fall, namely death. The Orthodox view the fall and sin more as a disease that infects this world rather than the Western judical emphasis; Christ is the Great Physician and the Church is the Hospital.
     
  15. lookinguptoo

    lookinguptoo Member

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    Oblio, I am still confused on this because it seems to me if Mary "was not divine" and was "subject to the consequences of the fall, namely death", and she was infected like a disease by the fall and sin, then in fact she would have sin. However, I don't understand and can not possibly see how she could be sinless since she died a sinners death, but I accept the fact that you believe somehow God spared her from sin and will leave it at that because I have more questions. Also, it does not really matter since someone previously said each Orthodox member has the freedom to believe as they wish on this subject so I imagine there are other Orthodox people that believe as I do.
    1. I think it was Chanter that said the Orthodox have prayer beads, but not a rosary. I wonder where the prayer beads came from since we never heard of Jesus wearing them or anyone else in the Bible? It is not that I find anything wrong with prayer beads since many people wear crosses, salvation bracelets, etc. as reminders of God. I am just wondering where this tradition began from.
    2. Are the Orthodox allowed to read the Bible freely on their own?
    3. Are you allowed to visit other people's churches?
    4. It was written that one could lose their salvation. I wonder if you believe once salvation is lost that is the end. It is over for that person since there was only one final sacrifice for sins and only one baptism?
    Thank you again.
     
  16. Oblio

    Oblio Creed or Chaos

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    Of course :) The Orthodox Church has even given natives their own written alphabet to facilitate the spreading of the Gospel. St. Cyril gave the Slavic people Cyrillic in the 10th c AD, and St. Innocent did the same for the natives of North America in the late 19th c. We are always encouraged to read on our own.

    Yes, but we may not take part in communion outside the Orthodox Church. We are not to visit in place of our worship, but in charity towards others that are not Orthodox (e.g. family, friends, funerals, weddings, Mother day etc.)

    We look at salvation as a process that continues throught our life on earth, so to lose our salvation would be to imply that it is a discrete event or one that is complete before our death. We do not believe this to be the case. As St. Paul teaches us, we run the race until its finish, persevering to the end.
     
  17. Bastoune

    Bastoune Well-Known Member

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    As per Elizabeth's request:

    Under Mosaic Law, the term "first-born" was given to the first child regardless of if there were other siblings afterwards. It is the child who would be ritually cleansed (cf. Exodus 34:20). The "first-born" child is the one who opens the womb (cf. Exodus 13:2; Numbers 3:12). It is a title regardless of if there are other children or not, and thus, not exactly the most overwhelming argument "proving" Mary had other children after Jesus.

    Interestingly enough, Sacred Tradition is one reason to believe in the perpetual virginity (certainly a grace bestowed by God, no? -- cf. 1 Cor. 7; Matt. 19:12), as well as mere LOGIC. It is essential to remember that the belief that Mary was ever-virgin in no way exalts her beyond any human status, in that it is a grace from Christ.

    On February 2, 1546, Martin Luther wrote that Mary was "a virgin before the conception and birth, [and] she remained a virgin also at the birth and after it."

    Zwigli wrote in January 1528 to "the holy Church in Zurich" that in his sermons and writings, "I recognize Mary as ever-virgin and holy."

    Calvin held the same belief. In his "Commentary on Matthew" he called "pig-headed and stupid" anyone who believed or implied the Virgin Mary gave birth to other children, citing that "we have already said in another place that according to the custom of the Hebrews all relatives were called 'brethren.'"

    These three men (who upheld their personal interpretations of the Bible, and theologies which contradicted each others', due to "Sola Scriptura") agreed from a BIBLICAL perspective that Mary was ever-virgin.

    There is nothing in the Biblical texts to say that Mary had other children. For we already know ("Protoevangelium of James" aside -- that is HARDLY the basis of the belief in her perpetual virginity, mind you!) that nowhere is it said that the children who are brothers of the Lord are the children of Mary! Just "brothers of the Lord."

    You already know that the term "brother" ("adelphoi") can be translated to mean "kinsmen" just as "brethren" in English has a broader definition than "brother." We don't have to elaborate on that speculation (cf. Luke 1:36; Luke 22:32; Acts 1:12-15, 7:26; 11:1; 13:15,38; 15:3,23,32; 28:17,21; Rom. 9:3; Gen. 11:26-28("anepsios") / Gen. 13:8; 14:14,16; Gen. 29:15; Deut. 23:7; 1 Chron. 15:5-18; Jer. 34:9; Neh. 5:7; 2 Sam. 1:26; 1 Kings 9:13, 20:32; 2 Kings 10:13-14; 1 Chron. 23:21-22; Neh. 4:14; 5:1,5,8,10,14; Tobit 5:11; Amos 1:9)

    Hebrew and Aramaic have no word for "cousin" and this is carried over into the way the Greek is expressed.

    What's more, opponents of the perpetual virginity of Mary also point to Matt. 1:25 - this verse says Joseph knew her "not until ("heos", in Greek)" she bore a son. Some Protestants argue that this proves Joseph had relations with Mary after she bore a son. This is an erroneous reading of the text because "not until" does not mean "did not...until after." "Heos" references the past, never the future. Instead, "not until" she bore a son means "not up to the point that" she bore a son. This confirms that Mary was a virgin when she bore Jesus (see also: Matt. 28:29; Luke 1:80; Luke 2:37, 20:43; 1 Cor. 15:25; 1 Tim. 4:13 ; Gen. 8:7, 28:15 ; Deut. 34:6 ; 2 Sam. 6:23; 1 Macc. 5:54; Revelation 2:24-25).

    Matthew 1:25 tells us that Joseph did not have relations with Mary before the birth of her Son. Why not? There was no ban on intercourse during pregnancy under the Jewish Law under normal circumstances, and if he was going to have intercourse with her after the pregnancy why not before?

    It was because in Jewish culture this would have meant that Joseph acknowledged biological fatherhood over Jesus. Because he refused to do this he was saying in essence that he did not accept Jesus as his biological son though he would accept him as his legal son. By refusing to consummate his marriage with Mary he was in conformity with the Jewish Law. By not having intercourse with Mary before the birth of Jesus he is acknowledging in principle that he was also forbidden to have intercourse with her thereafter. A woman found to be with child that is not her husband’s is forbidden forever more to him and to the man who impregnated her. (In fact, a woman caught in adultery is likewise penalized.) Under Jewish law, because Mary was found to be with child before she had consummated her marriage to Joseph she was forever forbidden to him. He could keep her as his wife but he was not allowed intimate relations with her. Had Mary born any children after Jesus she would have been stoned to death under the Law. Had Joseph claimed those children to be biologically his, he would have been stoned to death also.

    When Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant, he was going to give her a 'get' or paper of divorce from their betrothal. When he elected not to do so, she remained LEGALLY his betrothed. After they lived together she was considered his wife. But under Jewish law, since Jesus was not his biological son, Joseph was forbidden to have relations with Mary.

    Here are some sites that speak to this further:

    http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Homiletic/2001-10/orchard.html

    http://www.udayton.edu/mary/resources/documents/RC.html

    http://www.geocities.com/~eingedi/joseph.html

    http://www.geocities.com/~eingedi/maryandjoseph.html
     
  18. Bastoune

    Bastoune Well-Known Member

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    Theologian and Old Testament scholar Br. Anthony Obisspo wrote in his essay "The Perpetual Virginity of Mary" (http://www.cin.org/users/james/files/talmud.htm):

    "We also have to take into consideration that when Mary was told by the archangel Gabriel 'Behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus' (Lk 1:31), he also added that this was to come about because 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Holy one to be born shall be called the Son of God' (Lk 1:35).

    "By stating it in those terms the archangel declared to Mary that God would enter into a marital relationship with her, causing her to conceive His Son in her womb, For 'to lay one's power (reshuth) over a woman' (Targum to Dt 21:4) was a euphemism for 'to have a marital relationship with her.'

    "Likewise 'to overshadow' (Lk 1:35) by spreading the 'wing' or 'cloak' over a woman was another euphemism for marital relations. Thus, the rabbis commented (Midrash Genesis Rabbah 39.7; Midrash Ruth Rabbah 3.9) that Ruth was chaste in her wording when she asked Boaz to have marital relations with her by saying to him 'I am Ruth you handmaid, spread therefore your cloak ( literally, "wing": kanaph) over your handmaid for you are my next-of-kin' (Ruth 3:9).

    "Tallith, another Aramaic-Hebrew word for cloak, is derived from tellal = shadow. Thus, 'to spread one's cloak (tallith) over a woman' means to cohabit with her (Kiddushin 18b, see also Mekhilta on Exodus 21:8). Did not the Lord say to His bride Israel: 'I am married to you' (Jr 3:14) and 'your Maker is your husband'? (Is 54-5:5; Jr 31:32)? And what is more intimate than what the Lord said to His bride: 'You developed, you grew, you came to full womanhood; your breasts became firm and your hair grew... you were naked... and I saw that you were now old enough for love so I spread my cloak over you... I gave you My oath, I entered into a covenant with you and you became Mine, says the Lord God' (Ezk 16:7, 8).

    "Having been enlightened by an angel in a dream regarding her pregnancy, and perhaps further by Mary concerning the words of the archangel Gabriel to her at the Annunciation, Joseph knew that God had conducted himself as a husband in regard to Mary. She was now prohibited to him for all time, and for the sake of the Child and Mary he could only live with her in an absolutely chaste relationship."

    But if you also look at the "contractual" agreement which betrothal was, Joseph and Mary were more than likely never "lovers" -- given the age difference (this is not based on "Sacred Tradition" but rather secular historians maintain that Mary must have been around 12-13 when betrothed, and the man was usually much older; it was a "business deal" between him and the father of the Jewish girl being betrothed). Therefore, there is no evidence that he and she would have had romantic, passionate sexual attraction period. Especially when you know that the woman you are supposed to marry is carrying the Messiah in her womb, that in itself changes your whole outlook. Your entire focus would shift to God, worshiping Him constantly, as you (Joseph) are guardian of the New Ark of the Covenant (who is Mary) and the Lord Incarnate, her Divine Son.
     
  19. Bastoune

    Bastoune Well-Known Member

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    Is it too bold to consider Mary the "New Ark of the Covenant"?

    Hardly. It is fitting...

    The New Testament records that she first received the Holy Spirit when she conceived Jesus, thus making her the first recipient of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Gabriel announced that "the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; hence the holy offspring to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). The language of this announcement is very similar to the image of "power of the Most High" overshadowing the Ark of the Covenanat in Exodus 40:34-35, or the Temple in 1 Kings 8:10. Through the power of the Spirit, Mary became the new Ark of the Covenant and the new Temple because God dwelt fully within her in Jesus.

    The Gospel according to Luke alludes to several Old Testament passages in regards to the Ark of the Covenant:

    Luke 1:39 / 2 Sam. 6:2 - Luke's conspicuous comparison's between Mary and the Ark described by Samuel underscores the reality of Mary as the undefiled and immaculate Ark of the New Covenant. In these verses, Mary (the Ark) arose and went / David arose and went to the Ark. There is a clear parallel between the Ark of the Old and the Ark of the New Covenant.

    Luke 1:41 / 2 Sam. 6:16 - John the Baptist / King David leap for joy before Mary / Ark.

    Luke 1:43 / 2 Sam. 6:9 - How can the Mother / Ark of the Lord come to me?

    Luke 1:56 / 2 Sam. 6:11 and 1 Chron. 13:14 - Mary / the Ark remained in the house for about three months.

    Rev 11:19 - at this point in history, the Ark of the Old Covenant was not seen for six centuries (see 2 Macc. 2:7), and now it is finally seen in heaven. The Jewish people would have been absolutely amazed at this. However, John immediately passes over this fact and describes the "woman" clothed with the sun in Rev. 12:1. John is emphasizing that Mary is the Ark of the New Covenant and who, like the Old ark, is now worthy of veneration and praise. Also remember that Rev. 11:19 and Rev. 12:1 are tied together because there was no chapter and verse at the time these texts were written.

    Just as the Lord took Flesh and dwelt among us, the new Ark of the Covenant, it is fitting, would be more perfect than the previous.

    If Mary is indeed the "New Ark of the Covenant" how could it be that any other child would come out of her womb? It doesn't make sense.

    Many early Christian writers noted that God allowed this whole plan of salvation to hinge on Mary's free response to Gabriel's message. Because of her "yes" to God, Mary is the New Eve, reversing the first Eve's "no." By the disobedience of Eve, all mankind became immersed in the bondage of sin. Mary's obedience to God opened the way for the saving work of Jesus. As St Irenaeus explained late in the second century in his famous work "Against the Heresies", "The knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. What the virgin Eve had bound in unbelief, the virgin Mary loosed through faith."

    Indeed, the Virgin Mary is a great example of Faith. It should be noted that titles and and honors bestowed upon her (like "the Mother of God") all stemmed from the Church's valiant efforts to preserve sound doctrine against heresies in regards to Christ's dual nature, being both human and divine. Mary always comes up since it is uniquely from Mary that Jesus took His human flesh (Mary's "seed": cf. Genesis 3:15; Rev 12:17; Romans 16:20). So indirectly BECAUSE of her close association with our Savior and our salvation, she is indirectly given great honor through the merits of her Son Jesus Christ, and by her unshaken faith.

    In this way, the Church has fulfilled Mary's spirit-filled prophecy: "From now on all generations will call me blessed" (Luke 1:48).

    Mary, a simple Jewish girl, from a little town with a bad reputation ("Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" - John 1:46), would become the most famous woman in history!

    In Exodus 25:11-21, the ark of the Old Covenant was made of the purest gold for God's Word. If Mary is the ark of the New Covenant, carrying the true Word of God (John 1:3) it can be reasoned she would be the purest vessel for the Word of God made flesh.

    In 2 Sam. 6:7 we see that the Ark is so holy and pure that when Uzzah touched it, the Lord slew him. 1 Chron. 13:9-10 shows another account of Uzzah and the Ark.

    These verses show that the Ark is undefiled. Mary the Ark of the New Covenant is even more immaculate and undefiled, spared by God from original sin so that she could bear His eternal Word in her womb. For God to dwell within Mary the Ark, Mary had to be conceived without sin. For Protestants to argue otherwise would be to say that God would let the finger of Satan touch His Son made flesh. This is incomprehensible.
     
  20. Oblio

    Oblio Creed or Chaos

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    She would suffer the consequences of 'Original Sin', but this does not mean that she herself would personally sin, but rather that she, like all of us living in this world will die. Our natural death does not come from our personal sin, but rather from the fact that we are separated from God because of the fall. If we were not separated from Him, death would not reign over this world.
     
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