Immaculate Conception is a doctrine most people are uninformed about, believing that it pertains to Jesus, not Mary. This is the beginning of error, but not the end. The correct answer is that Mary was born with original sin; she was not born through Immaculate Conception. Sin is transferred through the male, thus the Protoevangelium, or “First Gospel” recorded in Genesis 3:15 states:
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
In this account, God is telling us – even at the time of Adam, that the Seed of the woman (whom we know to be Jesus) would destroy the serpent’s head. Sin, is the problem and is the result of the devil’s work. If Mary were born without original sin, there would have been no need for Jesus – His birth and work would have been pointless. Further, if God were to have kept Mary without sin, then He could have kept Adam from sin – or any other human along the line. But the Bible says that “all have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.
The rite of circumcision foreshadowed the work of Jesus Christ in that sin is transferred through the male, not the female. It was a symbol of the cutting away of the sin nature (as is pictured in the foreskin of the male). The sin was not actually cut away though; it was only a picture of the work of Jesus to come. As sin is transferred through the male, but not the female, Mary inherited the sin of her father who in turn received it from his father, etc all the way to the first man – Adam. It is not only bad doctrine to state Mary was born sinless, it is impossible and even – yes – blasphemous as it diminishes the work of Jesus Christ.
Jesus, on the other hand, was born of a woman and of the Holy Spirit. No sin was transferred to him as sin comes through the male. Thus the God/Man, Jesus Christ, was fully qualified as man without sin to tackle the sin problem. As it says in 1 John 3:8 –
“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
This leads us to the important aspect which pertains to all men and why Paul says, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”
All men (and women born of men) are bound under the law of sin which results in condemnation for all. Jesus confirms this in John 3:18 when he says that when someone doesn’t believe in Him they are “condemned already.” The devil had complete and absolute control over the world. This is evidenced by his statement in Luke 4:6 “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” The devil acknowledged his authority over the world at that time.
To see this clearly, we need to understand our position in Adam. When Adam sinned, we all sinned in Adam even though we didn’t exist at the time. This is because we are legally, potentially, and seminally in Adam. The moment he was created, we were created in him in these three ways –
LEGALLY - Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— Romans 5:12
And thus all died. Just as Obama is our federal head and we all are under him, when he signs a law, whether we voted for him or not, we have to obey that law. Jesus however, was not legally in Adam because sin was not transferred to Him through a father – the legal heir of sin.
POTENTIALLY - When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. Genesis 5:3, 4
In the same way, I could have had more children or no children. Every person who comes after me is potentially in me and a million other possible people could come from me – providing they meet the other criteria, that of both a human father and a mother. Jesus was not potentially in Adam because He was not born of a man and a woman. One cannot be potentially in someone unless they bear the mandatory markings of that potentiality – in this case, both a father and a mother. As Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit, who is not in Adam, then Jesus was never potentially in Adam.
SEMINALLY - …and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, Acts 17:26
All people are descendants of Adam and are seminally in Him. This refers to the transfer of what is potential to become that which is actual. However, as Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit and a woman. He alone was not seminally in Adam when Adam was created. His body was actualized through the female, but not the male.
Having resolved our state, we can look at what Paul says about circumcision –
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. Romans 2:28, 29
Even those under the law, the Jewish people, weren’t saved by circumcision (as noted above). Rather, a change was necessary in their souls – a change necessitated by faith in God’s promises…all of which point to a coming Redeemer. From Genesis 3:15, all the way through the Old Testament, God points to One who would fulfill this role. Even Job, outside of the covenant people of Israel understood what he was lacking –
“For He is not a man, as I am,
That I may answer Him,
And that we should go to court together.
Nor is there any mediator between us,
Who may lay his hand on us both. Job 9:32, 33
What was lacking was One who could lay His hand on God and on man to bridge the infinite gap caused by sin. As the God/Man, Jesus alone is capable of doing this. Isaiah 9:6 tells us who this would be –
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
A Child refers to Jesus’ manhood; a Son to His divinity. Once His nature was established, the titles of the God/Man were given – Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Mary could not and does not meet the requirements of co-Mediatrix. Paul clearly claims as much when he writes – “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,…” 1 Timothy 2:5, 6
Either Paul was mistaken or a liar, or he spoke that which is reasonable, discernable, and the very words of God as breathed out by Him.
The question which must be asked then is “Why would anyone – any person or denomination – teach that Mary was sinless and capable of mediation if it’s contrary to the very Word of God?” The question is valid and can be summed up in one verse –
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
When we take our eyes off of Jesus, we take our eyes off of God. Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). Our faith, our hope, our thoughts, our attention, or allegiance, and our honor belong to God and to God alone. The devil has used numerous ways of stealing precious souls from salvation – to include the adoration and worship of Mary. To worship, pray to, or idolize any thing, any person, or any being apart from God is to deny Him the glory that He alone is due. This is the message and the admonition of the Bible – to God be the glory.
To credit authenticity to the sinless state of Mary by citing those in the church of antiquity, such as Augustine and other “Church Fathers” is to commit a genetic fallacy. Truth is not reliant on a claim dating to antiquity, but is reliant on what corresponds to reality. The pages of the Bible, if true, are the rule and guide of the Christian faith, not later teachings of man or men. As the Bible claims to be God’s revealed word to man and as it was sealed by the writings of the apostles (those who were first-hand witnesses of the Risen Christ) then it alone is to guide the Christian faith. Jesus’ strongest words of condemnation were to those who held the teachings of man on the same level as the Word of God. To reintroduce men’s teaching as authoritative, regardless of how long ago from our present time, is to act in the same manner which received Jesus’ words of peril and woe. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception infiltrated the church early, but it was never considered dogma until Pope Pius the IX published his constitution in 1854.
Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ, a soul who rejoiced in the coming of her Savior (Luke 3:47) and who, when her time was complete, returned to the earth to await the call of her Lord – when the trumpet sounds and the dead in Christ shall be raised. Mary is mentioned about two dozen times in the Bible. Most of these are overlapping accounts in the Gospels and none of them are more than walk-ons or bit-parts in the great account of the life and actions of Jesus. Never is she held in any esteem beyond being blessed for having bore Jesus in His human state – a blessing no greater than the blessing promised to any and all who receive Jesus Christ (and Him alone) by faith. She is mentioned for the last time in Acts 1:14. In this and the surrounding verses, many others are mentioned, none being exalted above the other and all remaining in prayer and supplication as they awaited the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Shavuot/Pentecost.
Jesus, on the other hand, is mentioned by name almost 1000 times and indirectly (Christ, the Lord, Him, etc.) probably twice as many times – maybe more. He is the focus of the Bible and it is Jesus, the Lord God, to whom our honor is due. Truly – Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…