2. The consequences of the Fall are such that all human beings (given that they live long enough and have the capacity to understand right from wrong) are born into such a state that at some point they will choose to sin.
This is true for me and for you and for every person who ever lived except
for the Theotokos, which is why she was found worthy to become the Mother of God. I'm sorry you do not see the exceptionalism of the Virgin Mary. Is not the fact that she alone is the Mother of God exceptional? I think your stumbling block is because you think such exceptionalism would necessarily mean that she had no need for salvation through Christ. This is the root of your misunderstanding. You admit that an infant who has not sinned still dies, correct? That they feel hunger and pain and all the other effect on account of the fall? The Theotokos was born in the same vein, in the same fallen condition, and thus, without Christ, the Theotokos could not be saved from death. He is her Lord and Savior. At the same time she is His mother, the same mother whom He obeyed in the wedding at Cana even as He said "My hour has not come". If you can't see the exceptionalism in the person of the Theotokos, then it is very unfortunate. It was, after all, her flesh He assumed. It was her breasts He fed on. It was her arms He was coddled in and was nurtured. It was she alone who saw Him come into the world in the manger and leave the world on the cross. It was her intercession for the guests at the wedding which prompted Him to perform His first public miracle and turn the water into wine (even as He said His hour had not yet come).
4. Being born into a state of immortality (as in Adam all die), the human race is subject to sin.
The human race is subject to death from the fall. This is the ultimate effect of the fall - estrangement from God. In addition, as a consequence of the fall and because of such estrangement from God, our potentiality to sin has become a propensity to sin. However, acting
on sin is NOT natural to us. It is in fact, that which is NOT natural to us and why we are said to 'miss the mark' when we sin. It is on account of our free will that we choose to sin (regardless of what Calvinists believe), and our subjection to sin is 'natural' to us only in that our will has been weakened because of the fall. This weakening does not mean however that we could not willfully always choose the good and never sin, for the potentiality to do this also exists, as rare as it would be. So rare, in fact, that only one person born of a mother and father was able to do this, and that is the person who gave birth to the Son of God.
5. Christ bore the sins (the last Adam became a life-giving spirit) of ALL the human race at Calvary including the Theotokos.
Christ bore the sins of all the human race on the Cross. Yes, of course. And because He did, He destroyed the power of death over the human race. This, however, is not any less true if the Theotokos had never sinned. The power of death still ruled over her even as she never chose to sin. Think about it: if this was not the case, then why do people die even after having confessed and received forgiveness on their death bed? If they received confession for their sins or are baptised on their death bed, why do they still die? Is not a person's sins cleansed at baptism and at confession? You are confusing our nature to die with our nature to sin. Death was introduce by sin, yes, but if one lives an entire life without sin, this does not overcome death. Think about Christ! We can both agree that Christ never sinned, but even still He died. His death, however, was different, because only by Christ, Who came from above
, could death be destroyed, and that is why even as the Theotokos lived a life without sin, this was not enough to overcome the power of death, and why only by the work of Christ is she saved from death.
How I may perceive God's economy of salvation is one thing, and I grant you that I still need to mature and come to a better understanding. However, this subject has no bearing on the sinlessness of Mary.
If you confess that you still need to mature and come to a better understanding, then why are you so quick to throw away any progress you have made because of something that you can't understand? If the sinlessness of Mary is a stumbling block to you, then put it aside for now and pray for understanding.
One can have a Scriptural understanding of salvation and be living in such a way as to attest to that very reality of what it is to be a Christian. Yet, the same person may not affirm the teaching of the sinlessness of Mary and that will have little bearing on their soteriology and the manner in which they live their faith.
You think this may be true, but I would disagree. Such soteriology you speak of would not be orthodox and could very well affect the way one live's their faith. For example, ordained clergy members who speak against the sinlessness of the Theotokos are not only affecting their faith (even as they sing the hymns of the Church which profess this and serve in the feasts which celebrate this), but are affecting the faith of those they have been called to serve.
I have no doubt that there have been many faithful, devout Christians who have lived exemplary lives of what it means to love God, yet have not believed Mary to be sinless.
There have been many faithful, devout Christians who have lived exemplary lives of what it means to love God who have believed in all KINDS of things, some of which should not be mentioned. This, however, does not mean we should separate ourselves from the Church so that we can justify in our minds our own personal beliefs and understandings over the explicit teachings of the Church.
Edited by Antonios, 26 September 2011 - 09:48 AM.