Discussion: -It is an official dogma of the Roman Catholic Church that Mary never had any children after the birth of Jesus Christ. Various theories have been made in an effort to explain the references to His brothers and sisters in the gospels. The Roman Catholic Catechism makes reference to Augustine in supporting this teaching:
“Mary “remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin” (St. Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is “the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38).” (CCC # 510)
The term “knew” was a modest way of describing sexual relations. That is how it is used in various places throughout the Old Testament (Genesis 4:1; 17; 25; Judges 11:39). To know carries with it connotations of people being intimate with each other. This idea of “knowing” is also expressed in the context of the covenant relationship between God and Israel (Amos 3:2; Hosea 2:14-23).
Children in Jewish culture were viewed as blessings from God (Psalm 127:3-5; 128:3). In fact, women who were unable to bear children felt humiliation and attributed their condition to some underlying sin or wrongdoing. Rachel preferred death over childlessness (Genesis 30:1). These considerations make improbable the Roman Catholic understanding of Matthew 1:25.
If we understand the clause “until” in Matthew 1:25 to indicate a change in the virginity status of Mary, then that reading would lend support to the virgin birth. It would further emphasize the fact that Jesus was not born as a result of sexual relations. The New King James Version Study Bible has this footnote: “Joseph could not have had children by a previous marriage, as some suppose, for then Jesus would not have been heir to the Davidic throne as the eldest son of Joseph.”
The Catholic dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity is preposterous. Why would a man abstain from sexual relations with his wife? How do Roman Catholics even know if Mary did not have such relations with Joseph? God created sex, and everything that He creates is good (Genesis 1:31). The act when done within the confines of marriage does not spiritually defile a person.
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