Sunday, August 15, 2010

Question and Answer

The following are questions/claims about the Catholic faith and the Bible that I have encountered and answered.
Q1. Only God may be called "good" since Jesus says, " Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." Calling someone good means they are God.

A1. Christ is most likely saying this to say Goodness comes from God. He could not be saying we cannot call men good, and He is definitely not saying being called God means you are God. Here is the verse in the Greek, with the word "good" in bold:

ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῶ, τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; εἷς ἐστιν ὁ ἀγαθός. εἰ δὲ θέλεις εἰς τὴν ζωὴν εἰσελθεῖν, τήρησον τὰς ἐντολάς.
Now here is Acts 11:24, speaking about Barnabas in the Greek:

ὅτι ἦν ἀνὴρ ἀγαθὸς καὶ πλήρης πνεύματος ἁγίου καὶ πίστεως. καὶ προσετέθη ὄχλος ἱκανὸς τῶ κυρίῳ.
Here is the translation of Acts 11:24 into English:

for he was a good [ἀγαθὸς] man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.--Acts 11:24
Hence we conclude it is not wrong to call a man "good" since the Holy Scriptures themselves call a man "good". We just need to understand God is the source of Goodness.
Q2. Men can never do good works since our "righteousness is as filthy rags." [Isaiah 64:6]

A2. Usually it is a Calvinist or Reformed person that will make this assertion. However, it is based on isolating the verse from the previous verse. Here is how the whole passage reads:

You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved? For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.--Isaiah 64:5-6
Notice the Prophet Isaiah writes in the previous verse that God meets "him who rejoices in doing righteousness." The reason their righteousness was called "filthy rags" (or menstrual rags as some say) is because the people fell into sin and stayed there. In Catholicism we call this being in a state of mortal sin. Doing "good works" in mortal sin does not help your salvation and God does not remember to your favor the righteous deeds you once did as Ezekiel 18 and 33 point out. In short, righteous deeds is called filthy rags here because they became that way by falling into sin.
Furthermore, throughout the Scriptures we are told to do good deeds, not filthy rags. Christ said do good deeds in private and your Father will reward you. And we were ordained unto good works (Ephesians 2:10) not filthy rags.

Q3. Mary was a sinner because she called Jesus her Savior! (alluding to Luke 1:47)
A3. Protestants often believe this verse is a silver bullet against the Catholic doctrine of her Sinlessness and Immaculate Conception. However, the solution to this was solved before Protestantism even existed by people such as Dun Scotus.
Yes, God is the Savior of the Blessed Virgin, but this does not require her to have sinned. In Catholicism we do not hold that sinning is necessary in order to have a savior. The Virgin Mary had God as her savior because He gave her the sufficient grace so as to not sin. Essentially, Jesus is Mary's savior since He prevented her from sinning.
The analogy is that a group of men can walk into quicksand, then a man throws them a rope so he can pull them out of the sand. However, one person comes and the man with the rope escorts them around the quicksand.  The man that threw the rope is the savior, but he is still a savior by making it so the one person that walked around the quicksand did not fall in. The latter is the Immaculate Conception, where God made it so that the Virgin Mary did not inherit the Sin of Adam from her mother and father.
No man can be saved by his own power, God's grace is necessary for everyone. Had Adam and Eve not sinned, they would have only been able to do so by the Grace of God, making God even in this case their savior.
There is an example of a preventative savior in the bible--Joseph. Joseph was called "savior of the world" by the Egyptians because Joseph interpreted the dream of the Pharoah and told them how to avoid dying away in a future famine.

Q4. The Vatican has a room full of gold that raises to the ceiling! Why don't they give it to the poor!

A4. I have heard this claim a few times, I ask them to send me some pictures of it, or some form of evidence...they give none. Furthermore, the Vatican has been in debt. People can make any claim they want...and will be enraged if they are asked to provide evidence.

Q5. The Immaculate Conception is the Catholic belief that Mary was born of a virgin!

A5. An anti-Catholic women, who used to be Catholic, made that claim to me! However, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is that Mary was born without original sin. Catholics believe Mary was born of her mother Anna and father Joachim (aka Heli, Eliakim) and was NOT born of a virgin, her mother however, was barren, and they were in the same situation as Zechariah and Elizabeth, Abraham and Sarah in dealing with the woman's barrenness. Here is a link to the Papal Definition of the Immaculate Conception. Here is what the Catechism says:

Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:
The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135
Q6. It would be a great blasphemy to imagine God in any form honoring Mary....God is not an idolater.

A6. To give honor does not necessarily require worship, such as the command to "honor thy father and thy mother." Certainly Christ, being a man and having a mother would have done so. Regardless, this concept of God giving honor to righteous humans is Biblical as we see here Christ says:

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.--John 12:26
Here the word for honor is τιμήσει, which is typically translated "honor" or "value," it is the same exact word Matthew 15:6 uses for honoring your mother and father. The same word in different form is also used various times throughout the New Testament simply to mean giving honor to God, or to your parents. The KJV always translates the word with "honor" except in one verse in the New Testament, where it says the Children of Israel valued Christ at 30 pieces of silver.(Matt 27:9)
Regardless, Biblical, according to Jesus God will "value" or "honor" the servants of Christ, among of which include the Virgin Mary.

Q7. When the Bible says baptism is for the remission of sins, it does not mean forgiveness, it means remission in the sense cancer can be in remission.

A7. The word remission can mean both forgiveness and the alternate meaning. However, forgiveness/pardon is the meaning when dealing with sins. Here is the origin of the word remission itself:

early 13c., "forgiveness or pardon (of sins)," from O.Fr. remission, from L. remissionem (nom. remissio) "relaxation, a sending back," from remiss-, pp. stem of remittere "slacken, let go, abate" (see remit). Used of diseases since c.1400.
But, this is not so helpful since this is just a translation of the Greek. The Greek word used in Acts 2:38 that bibles like the King James Version and the Douay Rheims for what the translation as "remission" is λήμψεσθε. λήμψεσθε simple means to let something go. Mark 3:29 uses this Greek word in the sense the eternal sin can never be "forgiven" it would not make much sense if this eternal sin were only suppressed or whatever other secondary sense exist in English. In fact the King James Version translates λήμψεσθε as "forgiven" a few times Acts 5:31, 13:38, 26:18, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14. It means forgiven.

Q8. Polygenesis is not condemned and can be believed by Catholics

A8. It was condemned and popes have said we have no right to believe in it. (Also, polygenesis is hard to reconcile with Original sin, but insists it is possible)
St Paul in Acts 17:26 describes how God:

...made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions--Acts 17:26
The prayer of Tobiah and his wife says:

“You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve to be his help and support; and from these two the human race descended.”—Tobit 8:6
Papal Statements:

“For I confess that all men from Adam, even to the consummation of the world, having been born and having died with Adam himself and his wife, who were not born of other parents, but were created, the one from the earth, the other [al.: altera], however, from the rib of the man [cf. Gen. 2:7, 22],”—Pope Pelagius, Humani Generis to Childebert I, April, 557, Denz 228
“When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which through generation is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.”—Pope Pius XII, Humanae Generis Paragraph 37 August 12, 1950
Furthermore even the Catechism teaches monogenesis.
For those trying to justify polygenesis by the fact that Cain had a wife, who's parents are not noted, they need to answer as to why the Holy Scriptures say otherwise. Simply, Cain married his sister, that's how it is traditionally understood, and must be assumed based on the Scriptures.

Q9: An ex-Catholic named Suzanne44, who attended a "bible college" (that caused her to be filled with much false information) on Paltalk claimed the reason the Catholic Church made Mary immaculate was because a pope did not know how to explain how Jesus did not get Mary's sinful blood.

A9. This woman holds to the view that blood is sinful, not metaphorically as in the bible where people like Abel had "innocent blood," but rather she believes that sin is LITERALLY passed down in the blood. She assumed the Catholic Church taught this, however, the Church, nor the popes taught this. Suzanne44's view of original sin seems GNOSTIC, because it teaches that a part of the material world is inherently evil. The Catholic Church does not claim to know how original sin is transmitted other than by propagation, we do not claim the blood itself is sin. Mary's Immaculate Conception was proclaimed because of Scripture and tradition. One of the verses she uses to justify this false doctrine is Acts 26 where it says "from one blood..." The problem with this is that most bible manuscripts do not use the word "blood" and furthermore it would be another assumption that the blood was the means of transferring sin.

Q10. Same ex Catholic claimed the descendants of Adam and Eve were no longer made in the Image of God because of the Fall, and because Genesis 5:3 has Adam begetting Seth "after his image," she says that proves its not after God's.

A10. Man was and still is made in the Image of God. Notice Genesis 9:6
If anyone sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; For in the image of God has man been made.
That verse should be good enough.

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