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More On The Perpetual Virginity Of Mary

The doctrine of Mary's perpetual virginity is unquestioned by most of the world's Christians. That doesn't settle the matter, but it should cause Lutherans to examine both sides of it.

Objectors give Matthew 1:24-25 as evidence against the possibility, "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus." On the surface things would seem to be so.

But the word "until" is used in different ways. It can refer to a condition that exists for a period of time, after which time a it no longer exists. Or it can refer to a condition that obtains during a period of time, and still persists beyond the concluding event named. This second usage of "until" serves as a device to highlight the matter in question; in this case the Lord's virgin conception and birth.

An example of the former is Mark 13:30 "This generation will not pass away until all these things take place." At which point the generation will pass away, and things will be different.

An example of the latter is Luke 1:80 "And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel." After John's public appearance he still lived and worked in the wilderness. The latter condition was no different than the former.

Also Luke 24:49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." The disciples remained in Jerusalem until Pentecost. But remained there after Pentecost as well. Nothing changed.

But apart from such technicalities we should realize that certain persons in Scripture are "icons," and that critical analysis of them is wholly beside the point. The Blessed Virgin is one such personage. Simeon predicts that a sword will pierce her heart, but no specific event is ever tied to this prediction. Based on human experience we can imagine how Mary felt when she stood before her son's cross. But no connection is made because such analysis is beside the point. Scripture notes the dismay and despair of other mothers at the loss of their sons, but not so Mary. She is an icon to be venerated by all generations for her singular! role in the salvation of the world. She is at one and the same time the mother of God (theotokos), the New Eve, and an image of the church who is ever virgin, bride, and "mother of us all" (Galatians 4:26).

John the Baptist is, likewise, an icon. When John sends his disciples to ask the Lord: are you the one who is to come, or should we expect another, John had not lost his faith as preachers sometimes like to posit. He sent them to the Lord for their benefit, not his; and it is not meet, right or salutary to psychologize him.

Many of Peter's foibles are displayed in the gospels, but he is never presented as anything but a great man.

For your further consideration I include this link with which I concur

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