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The Gospels & Acts discuss Was Mary a virgin? in the The Scriptures forums; This came up in class the other day and was wondering about it. Is the specific word "virgin" mentioned in the Greek NT? Is there ...

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    Scott Shahan's Avatar
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    Was Marry a virgin?

    This came up in class the other day and was wondering about it. Is the specific word "virgin" mentioned in the Greek NT? Is there a greek word for virgin? I was told the word in the greek, just suggest's , or means "a young girl". How do we really know that she was a virgin? Does the Vulgate mention "virgin"?
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    There are other indications in the text besides the word "virgin." The word itself could be taken to mean virgin or just a young woman. But more detailed descriptions are given by both Luke and Mark. They both use the word "know" (Hebrew idiom for sexual relations) to further clarify her state.

    Luke 1

    30 Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
    34 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
    35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.


    Matt 1

    21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."
    22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."
    24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. and he called His name JESUS.

    [Edited on 9-26-2006 by Puritan Sailor]
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    Excellent point!
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    Scott Shahan's Avatar
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    excellent point indeed.
    Thanks guys
    They were arguing that the text doesn't say virgin, that's true but it implies virginity. You are RIGHT, to "know" does refer to sexual relations. The Genesis account would also show that I assume. "Adam knew his wife."
    4:1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have gotten [1] a man with the help of the Lord."
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    Yep, I was just about to mention the fact that Mary was a virgin until Christ was born.

    One would think that it's not an important point to make except that the idolatrous in the Church of Rome want to claim that she is ever-Virgin.
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    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    The perpetual virginity question is a point which Scripture does not decide. As Calvin says on Matt. 1:25, no well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words as to what took place after the birth of Christ.
    Yours sincerely,
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    Mary's wonder, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" makes more sense if she was to remain a virgin. It seems to be a rather silly question if she was soon to enjoy sexual relations.

    I'm not sure the perpetual virginity question can be answered.
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    VirginiaHuguenot is offline. Puritanboard Librarian
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    Some thoughts on this subject from Matthew Poole:

    Isaiah 7.14

    A virgin; strictly and properly so called. The Jews, that they may obscure this plain text, and weaken this proof of the truth of Christian religion, pretend that this Hebrew word signifies a young woman, and not a virgin. But this corrupt translation is easily confuted, 1. Because this word constantly signifies a virgin in all other places of Scripture where it is used, which are Gen 24:43, compared with Isa 7:16; Exod 2:8; Ps 68:25; Song 1:3; Song 6:8; to which may be added Prov 30:19, The way of a man with a maid, or a virgin: for though it be supposed that he did design and desire to corrupt her, and afterwards did so; yet she may well be called a virgin, partly because he found her a virgin, and partly because she seemed and pretended to others to be such, which made her more careful to use all possible arts to preserve her reputation, and so made the discovery of her impure conversation with the man more difficult, whereas the filthy practices of common harlots are easily and vulgarly known. 2. From the scope of this place, which is to confirm their faith by a strange and prodigious sign, which surely could not be not a young woman should conceive a child, but that a virgin should conceive, etc. Bear a Son; or rather, bring forth, as it is rendered, Matt 1:23, and as this Hebrew word is used, Gen 16:11; Gen 17:19; Judg 13:5. And shall call; the virgin, last mentioned, shall call; which is added as a further evidence of her virginity, and that this Son had no human father, because the right of naming the child (which, being a sign of dominion, is primarily in the husband, and in the wife only by his consent or permission, as is evident from Gen 5:29; Gen 35:18; Luke 1:60,63, and many other places of Scripture) is wholly appropriated to her. Immanuel; which signifies, God with us; God dwelling among us, in our nature, John 1:14, God and man meeting in one person, and being a Mediator between God and men. For the design of these words is not so much to relate the name by which Christ should commonly be called, as to describe his nature and office; as we read that his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, etc., Isa 9:6, and that this is said to be his (the Messiah's) name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness, Jer 23:6, although he be never called by these names in any other place of the Old or New Testament; but the meaning of these places is, He shall be wonderful, and our Counsellor, etc., and our Righteousness; for to be called is oft put for to be, as Isa 1:26; Isa 4:3, etc.
    Matthew 1.24-25

    Matt 1:24-25. The will of God (as we heard) was revealed to Joseph in a dream. It is God that giveth a power to sleep, and a power to awake; therefore it is said, being raised from sleep, he showed both his faith and obedience; his faith in the Divine revelation, a certainty of which he had doubtless by some extraordinary Divine impression, and his obedience to the Divine precept. He took unto him his wife, that is, he took her unto his house, (for betrothed virgins used to abide at their own friends' houses till the consummation of the marriage,) and owned her as his wife, yet not fully using her as such, for the text saith he knew her not (a modest phrase used from the beginning of the world, as appears from Gen 4:1, to express the conjugal act) till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. Some make a great stir in determining whether he knew her afterwards, yea or no. Some of the ancients were stiff in their opinion that he did not, so are the popish writers, and many protestant interpreters. Mr. Calvin I think determines best, that none will move such a question, but such as are unwarrantably curious; nor contend for either part, but such as are unreasonably quarrelsome. For as, on the one side, none can conclude that she had more children from the word till, further than they can conclude, from Ps 110:1, that Christ shall not for ever sit at his Father's right hand, (the word until being a particle only exclusive of a preceding time, not affirming the thing in future time,) nor doth the term firstborn conclude any born afterward; so, on the other side, there are no cogent arguments to prove that Mary had no more children by Joseph. We read of the brother of our Lord, Gal 1:19, and of his mother and his brethren, Matt 12:47; and though it be true brethren may signify kinsmen, according to the Hebrew dialect, yet that it doth so in these texts cannot be proved. The Holy Ghost had made use of the virgin for the production of the Messias; why after this her womb should be shut up, and Joseph take her home to be his wife, and not use her as such I cannot tell, nor yet what reproach it could be to Mary or to our Saviour, marriage being God's ordinance, and the undefiled bed honourable: and those who think our Saviour would have been dishonoured in any others lying in the same bed after him, seem to forget how much he humbled himself in lying in that bed first, and then in a stable and a manger. We know he knew her not till Christ was born, whether he did afterward or no we are willingly ignorant because God hath not told us. And he called his name Jesus: this is added to declare his obedience to the command received by the angel. We shall meet with more circumstances relating to the birth of Christ when we come to the two first chapters of Luke.
    Andrew

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    Cuirassier is offline. Inactive User
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    Brethren,

    As to Mary's state at Christ's earthly conception, I see no ambiguity - she was a virgin in the sense we all understand. Patrick's references from Matthew and Luke amply prove this very basic Scriptural truth. Furthermore, it was a necessary fulfillment of prophesy from Isaiah 7.14.

    Originally posted by armourbearer
    The perpetual virginity question is a point which Scripture does not decide.
    I completely disagree brother - Scripture is amply clear on this erroneous Roman heresy. The use of the term "know" of Matt 1.25 is the same term used in reference to Adam in Genesis 4.1, 17, 25, I Samuel 1.19, etc. There is no other interpretation of "know" here other than sex.

    Even clearer evidence comes to us from Matt 27.56, Mark 6.3, Mark 15.40 - all of which name her other other sons (James, Joses, Judas, Simon and some unnamed sisters).

    I believe Mary's wonder had to do with her initial inability to understand Divine conception - ie: how she would conceive given she was not yet fully married to Joseph - and thereby able to conceive naturally, as she would have otherwise expected. That is why it was not a silly question - because she was trying to figure out how this would happen BEFORE she would be married to Joseph. To assume she intended to remain a virgin is not only outlandish speculation, but contrary with the accounts of Christ's earthly family.

    Perpetual virginity is a popish heresy that clearly contradicts Scriptures and serves only to give Mary a pseudo-divine status rather than the Bible tells us she herself acknowledged - that He (Christ, her Saviour) had done great things for her - a fallen sinner (Luke 1.46).

    In Him,

    dl

    [Edited on 9-26-2006 by Cuirassier]

    [Edited on 9-26-2006 by Cuirassier]
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    VirginiaHuguenot is offline. Puritanboard Librarian
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    A good book on this overall subject is J. Gresham Machen's The Virgin Birth of Christ. I would be strongly inclined to agree with his argument that the perpetual virginity of Mary is a forced and unnatural interpretation of the texts (requiring Joseph and Mary to live together as man and wife without performing conjugal duties and contrary to Scriptural evidence for the children that they had), and plays into the hands of Popish asceticism. But I appreciate the wisdom of Calvin and Poole in refraining from a dogmatic position on this issue, and so I will likewise refrain further on that point. But contrary to the Auburn Affirmation of 1924, I would affirm that the virgin birth of Christ is a cardinal doctrine of Christianity about which all Christians should be dogmatic (cf. The Apostles' Creed, et al.).
    Andrew
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    I was surprised to discover that Ryle believed in perpetual virginity.
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    All I know is that if the P.V. of Mary is true, Joseph would have resented Jesus at certain levels.

    Paul's injunctions regarding whose bodies is whose regarding husband and wife and that people should only refrain from sexual relations for a short season for prayer should be treated as normative. If that is the clear portion of scripture and Mary is unclear then I will interpret Mary as following the norm. Besides, there is no special injunction that shows her to remain that way and brothers to deal with. I am surprised that so many reformers take a vow of silence on this one.
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    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    Mary's perpetual virginity was generally accepted amongst earlier Protestants, and it finds confessional status in the second Helvetic Confession.

    In the "Reformed Catholic," under areas of consent on the question of traditions, William Perkins wrote:

    We hould that the Prophets, our Sauiour Christ, and his Apostles, spake and did many things good and true which were not written in the scriptures: but came either to vs, or to our ancetours onely by tradition. As 2. Tim. 3. 20. it is saide, that Iannes and Iambres were the Magitians that withstood Moses: nowe in the books of the old testament we shall not finde them once named, and therefore it is like, that the Apostle had their names by tradition, or by some writings then extant among the Iewes. So Hebr. 12. 21. the author of the Epistle recordeth of Moses, that when he sawe a terrible sight in Mount Sinai, he saide, I tremble and am afraid: which wordes are not to be found in all the bookes of the old testament. In the Epistle of Iude mention is made, that the deuill stroue with Michaell the Archangel about the body of Moses: which point (as also the former) considering it is not to be found in holy writ, it seemes the Apostle had it by tradition from the Iewes. That the Prophet Isai was killed with a fullers clubbe is receiued for truth, but yet not recorded in Scripture: and so likewise that the virgine Marie liued and died a virgine. And in Ecclesiasticall writers many worthy sayings of the Apostles and other holy men are recorded, and receiued of vs for truth, which neuertheles are not set downe in the bookes of the old or new Testament. And many things we hold for truth not written in the word, if they be not against the worde.
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    Cuirassier is offline. Inactive User
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    Originally posted by armourbearer
    Mary's perpetual virginity was generally accepted amongst earlier Protestants, and it finds confessional status in the second Helvetic Confession.
    I have no problem believing that some did. For me, however it doesn't alter the fact that Scripture does not seem in the least bit ambiguous on the matter. That settles it for me.

    Secondarily - and as I think more about it, I think it a very valid point, is Chris's normative argument. Naturally, I believe the clear Biblical reference carries more weight, but this little bit of exegesis is very compelling. (thanks, Chris)



    dl
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    That's interesting Rev Winzer, thank you. In light of Jesus' rebuking the Pharisees for their traditions I thought that Karaite Jews with their rejection of the alleged Oral traditions of Moses and insistence upon the scriptures were closer to the truth then orthodox Jews. Doesn't this view militate against sola scriptura and the RPW? Don't the Papists defend their superstitious doctrines by saying that they received them from traditions handed down from the apostles?
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    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    Originally posted by Cuirassier
    I have no problem believing that some did. For me, however it doesn't alter the fact that Scripture does not seem in the least bit ambiguous on the matter. That settles it for me.
    The Scripture nowhere states that Mary engaged in sexual relations; it is merely assumed on the basis that all married people engage in such relations. But it is clear for all to see that this was no ordinary marriage. It was made for the sole purpose of giving respectability to the virgin; and the Scripture expressly says that Joseph did not engage in sexual relations, as an ordinary married couple would do.
    Yours sincerely,
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    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    Originally posted by Peter
    That's interesting Rev Winzer, thank you. In light of Jesus' rebuking the Pharisees for their traditions I thought that Karaite Jews with their rejection of the alleged Oral traditions of Moses and insistence upon the scriptures were closer to the truth then orthodox Jews. Doesn't this view militate against sola scriptura and the RPW? Don't the Papists defend their superstitious doctrines by saying that they received them from traditions handed down from the apostles?
    Concerning the first question, we recognise the power of the church to make decisions with respect to the circumstantials of worship. As one who ministers in a church with a strong Scottish Presbyterian background, I appreciate the traditions which have come down to us, especially in relation to addressing the Most High in thee and thou.

    Concerning Popish abuse, they make such traditions "necessary to salvation," whereas Protestants affirm that all things necessary for faith and life are either expressly set down in Scripture or may be deduced by good and necessary consequence. Because we allow for a deductive system of Christian theology, tradition is a key element of the interpretative process for Protestants, and hence we have historically placed a great emphasis on creeds and confessions.
    Yours sincerely,
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    mgeoffriau is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    Originally posted by armourbearer
    Scripture expressly says that Joseph did not engage in sexual relations, as an ordinary married couple would do.
    What passage do you take to mean that Joseph never in his life engaged in sexual relations?
    Mark Geoffriau
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    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    Originally posted by mgeoffriau
    Originally posted by armourbearer
    Scripture expressly says that Joseph did not engage in sexual relations, as an ordinary married couple would do.
    What passage do you take to mean that Joseph never in his life engaged in sexual relations?
    That is an interesting straw man. I say, he did not engage, and you add, never in his life.

    I have already stated above that Scripture does not determine the issue of Mary's perpetual virginity. What it does teach is that Joseph abstained from sexual relations with his wife, Matt. 1:25. Hence there is no basis upon which to make the assumption that this was an ordinary marriage, with the usual sexual relationship.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
    Australian Free Church,
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    "Illum oportet crescere me autem minui."

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    mgeoffriau is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    Well, I asked that question because it would seem that purpose of specifying Joseph's abstinance prior to Jesus' birth would be to establish Mary's virginity as it pertains to Jesus' birth -- and to assume that this continued after Jesus was born would stretch the intent of the language, it would seem to me.

    But I'm no biblical scholar.
    Mark Geoffriau
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    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    Originally posted by mgeoffriau
    Well, I asked that question because it would seem that purpose of specifying Joseph's abstinance prior to Jesus' birth would be to establish Mary's virginity as it pertains to Jesus' birth -- and to assume that this continued after Jesus was born would stretch the intent of the language, it would seem to me.
    But can you see that an assumption is being made in the opposite direction, which the Scriptures likewise provide no warrant for? Nowhere do the Scriptures assume that this was an ordinary marriage. Having satisfactorily proved that point from Matt. 1:25, we have no basis for assuming that Joseph and Mary ever had sexual relations.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
    Australian Free Church,
    Victoria, Australia

    "Illum oportet crescere me autem minui."

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    mgeoffriau is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    So you reject that Jesus had any siblings?
    Mark Geoffriau
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    mgeoffriau is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    Also, why does the writer specify that Mary was kept a virgin until she gave birth to a son?

    Is there a reason to specify "until" unless the expectation is that after that point she was no longer kept a virgin by Joseph?
    Mark Geoffriau
    Redeemer PCA
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    armourbearer is offline. Moderator
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    Originally posted by mgeoffriau
    So you reject that Jesus had any siblings?
    Knowing the manner in which the Hebrews referred to wider relations as brethren, I can only say that Scripture does not give us any definite reason to affirm that Jesus had siblings.
    Yours sincerely,
    Rev. Matthew Winzer
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    "Illum oportet crescere me autem minui."

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    Cuirassier is offline. Inactive User
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    I was about to ask Rev Winzer the these very questions - "the until" part of Matt 1.25 serves, in my view no other purpose but to denote a partition in time - ie the time leading up to, and that following Christ's birth. If her virginity was perpetual, it seems to me the rest the clause (until she brought forth her firstborn son) is rendered moot.

    Insofar as siblings are concerned, their reference is not merely as "brethren" but are actually named. Furthermore, Matthew 27.56 Mark 16.1, Mark 15.40 frames the relationship - as James', Salomes' and Joses mother. These same individuals are in the texts mentioned above are identified as His brothers -

    If I have to make an assumption, as Rev Winzer feels is necessary - one way or the other, than am I not safer to assume a literal translation - in the absence of of any reason to do otherwise but to allow for the possibility of this Roman tradition?

    Not trying to be difficult - just looking to see why a literal translation in this case is not sufficient.

    Thanks,

    dl
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    General theological question...so what?

    I don't see that either way the situation is more holy/special/whatever. Virgin until the birth. Gotta have that. Non-negotiable. After birth? If she did what does it add to/take away? If she didn't what does it add to/take away?

    With the Romanist institution making Mary co-mediatrix etc., I'm surprised that we are so willing to presuppose that she remained a virgin. I know some of the refomers etc. did. I have to wonder if Calvin et.al would have seen what the Romanists did with Mary after they were dead if they would have been more guarded. I know, that's a non sequitir or some other latin phrase.

    I'm not trying to make an airtight argument either way, just wondering aloud.
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    Semper Fidelis's Avatar
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    Originally posted by armourbearer
    Personally I am inclined to think the fact of perpetual virginity has little relevance -- much like knowing the names of Jannes and Jambres. It does have some relevance in terms of traditional information, and how we are willing to receive it; this becomes quite significant in canonical questions. I think it also shows that we can sometimes simply assume things about the historical situation which Scripture records, without first investigating the facts for their own sake, apart from some theological agenda.
    While I agree with this general idea, I think it stretches the imagination to suggest that the use of the word "until" would not be normally taken to mean that they did have a normal marriage after the birth of Christ.

    It seems that, for someone who views it as indifferent, you want to argue vigorously against a plain reading of the text.
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    Puritan Sailor's Avatar
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    If she remained a virgin, then it would have been interesting to grow up in a home where parents did not engage in normal marital behavior. I wonder what kind of tensions would have existed? Is it not a sin for married people to refuse each others due benevolence? Even mutual abstinence is only allowed temporarily.
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    Semper Fidelis's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Puritan Sailor
    If she remained a virgin, then it would have been interesting to grow up in a home where parents did not engage in normal marital behavior. I wonder what kind of tensions would have existed? Is it not a sin for married people to refuse each others due benevolence? Even mutual abstinence is only allowed temporarily.
    Exactly. The whole argument against it has always struck me as Platonic - the idea that Joseph and Mary having sex would somehow "taint" them as holy enough to be Jesus' parents. Frankly, I believe it would be sinful, a facade of a marriage, if they never consummated their marriage.

    How were Joseph and Mary "one flesh" otherwise?
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    Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3 indicate that Jesus had natural half-siblings (same mother). In the Old Testament when "brother" refers to someone in the wider clan, such as a cousin, the necessary information about the actual relationship is always given somewhere in the immediate context. In other words, "brother" means brother unless clues in the context point to a more distant kind of relationship. Neither Matthew 13 nor Mark 6 has any clue of that sort. These verses talk about Jesus' (legal) father Joseph, his mother Mary, and his brothers and sisters. That constitutes a nuclear family. Protestants read these verses in the natural sense.

    In Matthew 1:25 the preposition "until" by itself doesn't imply much, but taken in the context of the overall statement it does. Joseph did not know her (as a husband normally would do) "until" she brought forth a son. If what is expected did not happen "until" some point in time, the presumption is that the expected thing did begin to happen after that point. The verse teaches that Joseph and Mary remained virgins until after Jesus was born, then had a normal marriage. Matthew 13 and Mark 6 add that they had a family. Ever afterwards, the church spoke of Jesus as having "brothers" (e.g. Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5).

    Between the 2nd and the 5th centuries certain sectors of the patristic church imbibed ascetic ideas from the religious environment of North Africa and became prudish about even marital sexuality. It was during those centuries that the legend developed about Mary remaining an ever-virgin.
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    "While I agree with this general idea, I think it stretches the imagination to suggest that the use of the word 'until' would not be normally taken to mean that they did have a normal marriage after the birth of Christ."

    "'The Lord said to my Lord,
    Sit at my right hand,
    until I put your enemies under your feet'?"
    --Matt. 22:44

    So he is sitting at his right hand up until that point and afterwards he departs?
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  33. #33
    satz is offline. Puritanboard Senior
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    Originally posted by SRoper
    "While I agree with this general idea, I think it stretches the imagination to suggest that the use of the word 'until' would not be normally taken to mean that they did have a normal marriage after the birth of Christ."

    "'The Lord said to my Lord,
    Sit at my right hand,
    until I put your enemies under your feet'?"
    --Matt. 22:44

    So he is sitting at his right hand up until that point and afterwards he departs?
    That's kind off apples and oranges though.There is a plain presumption in scripture that married couples should have sexual relations. With no evidence that it would be somehow wrong for Mary and Joseph to do so, I can't understand why we wouldn't assume that they did, irregardless of how you construe the word 'until'.
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    Eeeek!

    "Irregardless" - ouch ... like fingernails on the chalkboard .... Sorry - couldn't resist!

    I believe that if there indeed ends up being such a thing as purgatory, mine will be a room where people use "like" every 4th word, "supposably" and "irregardless" at least once a minute, and pronunce nuclear as "nuke-uh-ler" ...

    On topic - Excellent point, Mark. In the absence of any Scriptural record to the contrary, presuming their marriage conformed to what God intended seems like a safer presumption than that theirs was a unique marriage in this respect.

    I'm still not convinced that the kin from the Matthew and Mark passages can be interpretted as other than step-brothers/sisters, though I respect my brothers whose opinions dissent on that point.

    I've flagellated the deceased equus sufficiently on this one!

    blessings to all,

    dl

    [Edited on 9-27-2006 by Cuirassier]
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    For those that argue Mary was perpetual virgin, you must also take the position that Mary, daily, was disobeying God's law to not withhold one's body from the other except on short agreed upon times.

    Mary would then be the perfect model of a disobedient wife, would she not?.
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    Originally posted by mangum
    For those that argue Mary was perpetual virgin, you must also take the position that Mary, daily, was disobeying God's law to not withhold one's body from the other except on short agreed upon times.

    Mary would then be the perfect model of a disobedient wife, would she not?.
    But she was commanded to for at least a time before the birth. Was she disobeying then?
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    mgeoffriau is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    except on short agreed upon times
    That should answer it.
    Mark Geoffriau
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  38. #38
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    Originally posted by armourbearer
    Patrick, the text explicitly says that abstinence took place for a prolonged period of time -- at least nine months -- and there is no presumption of guilt.
    I agree. But as you say, it was temporary, which was allowed. The law forbids the withholding of due benevolence permanently. As upright folks they would obey the law would they not? We do not read of anything physically debilitating which would prevent normal and godly marital affection after the birth of Jesus. The fact of brothers and sisters in the picture would seem to imply that they did have an obedient marriage afterward. Otherwise we have to find loopholes in the law to allow Mary to remain a perpetual virgin and yet still legally married.
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    Semper Fidelis's Avatar
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    Originally posted by armourbearer
    Rich, the word heos (until) does not have a prima facie meaning of ceasing at that time. So there is no natural understanding of the text which suggests a terminating point to what Matthew is describing.

    Patrick, the text explicitly says that abstinence took place for a prolonged period of time -- at least nine months -- and there is no presumption of guilt.

    Scott, even if brother means brother, there is no basis for alleging that this was a natural as differentiated from a legal relationship. As Joseph was "supposed" to be the father of our Lord, there is nothing to say that these men were not merely "supposed" to be the brothers of our Lord.

    [Edited on 9-28-2006 by armourbearer]
    OK Matthew. Then, in the English, what would be a better translation of the text rather than until?

    Until implies something in the text in the English. What is a better word there that the translators should have considered.

    Why even mention sex at all? The text has already established that she became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. It's already established that Joseph didn't know his wife prior to his discovery of her pregnancy.
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    Semper Fidelis's Avatar
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    I'm deriving the idea of the use of until from the English meaning of the phrase:

    un·til (n-tl) Pronunciation Key
    prep.
    Up to the time of: We danced until dawn.
    Before (a specified time): She can't leave until Friday.
    Scots. Unto; to.

    conj.
    Up to the time that: We walked until it got dark.
    Before: You cannot leave until your work is finished.
    To the point or extent that: I talked until I was hoarse. See Usage Note at till2.
    Are you aware of another English usage of the word? What I would like to know from you is how should the translators have put the verse if the Greek does not imply the meaning that the English word "until" gives it.
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