Some Random Thoughts on God’s Nature

"So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; And yet they are not three Gods, but one God."

"So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God."

This post is just basically a bit of an info dump, some scripture and some St. Thomas Aquinas quotes.  Just things on my mind.

“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent.” – Numbers 23:19
“For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” – Malachi 3:6

“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” – Hebrews 6:17,18

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – James 1:17

St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, giving his first arguement for God, showing that He is the unmoved mover, a being of Pure Act:

“The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is in motion is put in motion by another, for nothing can be in motion except it is in potentiality to that towards which it is in motion; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in a state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.”

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/ 1…02.htm#article3

More St. Thomas, regarding whether it is possible to know God:

“It is written: “We shall see Him as He is” (1 John 2:2).

I answer that, Since everything is knowable according as it is actual, God, Who is pure act without any admixture of potentiality, is in Himself supremely knowable. But what is supremely knowable in itself, may not be knowable to a particular intellect, on account of the excess of the intelligible object above the intellect; as, for example, the sun, which is supremely visible, cannot be seen by the bat by reason of its excess of light.

Therefore some who considered this, held that no created intellect can see the essence of God. This opinion, however, is not tenable. For as the ultimate beatitude of man consists in the use of his highest function, which is the operation of his intellect; if we suppose that the created intellect could never see God, it would either never attain to beatitude, or its beatitude would consist in something else beside God; which is opposed to faith. For the ultimate perfection of the rational creature is to be found in that which is the principle of its being; since a thing is perfect so far as it attains to its principle. Further the same opinion is also against reason. For there resides in every man a natural desire to know the cause of any effect which he sees; and thence arises wonder in men. But if the intellect of the rational creature could not reach so far as to the first cause of things, the natural desire would remain void.

Hence it must be absolutely granted that the blessed see the essence of God.”

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1012.htm

More St. Thomas, regarding change in God:

“I answer that, From what precedes, it is shown that God is altogether immutable.

First, because it was shown above that there is some first being, whom we call God; and that this first being must be pure act, without the admixture of any potentiality, for the reason that, absolutely, potentiality is posterior to act. Now everything which is in any way changed, is in some way in potentiality. Hence it is evident that it is impossible for God to be in any way changeable.

Secondly, because everything which is moved, remains as it was in part, and passes away in part; as what is moved from whiteness to blackness, remains the same as to substance; thus in everything which is moved, there is some kind of composition to be found. But it has been shown above (Question 3, Article 7) that in God there is no composition, for He is altogether simple. Hence it is manifest that God cannot be moved.

Thirdly, because everything which is moved acquires something by its movement, and attains to what it had not attained previously. But since God is infinite, comprehending in Himself all the plenitude of perfection of all being, He cannot acquire anything new, nor extend Himself to anything whereto He was not extended previously. Hence movement in no way belongs to Him. So, some of the ancients, constrained, as it were, by the truth, decided that the first principle was immovable.”

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1009.htm

Perhaps more importantly, St. Thomas on the love of God:

“It is written: “God is love” (John 4:16).

I answer that, We must needs assert that in God there is love: because love is the first movement of the will and of every appetitive faculty. For since the acts of the will and of every appetitive faculty tend towards good and evil, as to their proper objects: and since good is essentially and especially the object of the will and the appetite, whereas evil is only the object secondarily and indirectly, as opposed to good; it follows that the acts of the will and appetite that regard good must naturally be prior to those that regard evil; thus, for instance, joy is prior to sorrow, love to hate: because what exists of itself is always prior to that which exists through another. Again, the more universal is naturally prior to what is less so. Hence the intellect is first directed to universal truth; and in the second place to particular and special truths. Now there are certain acts of the will and appetite that regard good under some special condition, as joyand delight regard good present and possessed; whereas desire and hope regard good not as yet possessed. Love, however, regards good universally, whether possessed or not. Hence love is naturally the first act of the will and appetite; for which reason all the other appetite movements presuppose love, as their root and origin. For nobody desires anything nor rejoices in anything, except as a good that is loved: nor is anything an object of hate except as opposed to the object of love. Similarly, it is clear that sorrow, and other things like to it, must be referred to love as to their first principle. Hence, in whomsoever there is will and appetite, there must also be love: since if the first is wanting, all that follows is also wanting. Now it has been shown that will is in God (19, 1), and hence we must attribute love to Him.”

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1020.htm#article1

And more on love, because it is awesome:

“It is said (Wisdom 11:25): “Thou lovest all things that are, and hatest none of the things which Thou hast made.”

I answer that, God loves all existing things. For all existing things, in so far as they exist, are good, since the existence of a thing is itself a good; and likewise, whatever perfection it possesses. Now it has been shown above (Question 19, Article 4) that God’s will is the causeof all things. It must needs be, therefore, that a thing has existence, or any kind of good, only inasmuch as it is willed by God. To every existing thing, then, God wills some good. Hence, since to love anything is nothing else than to will good to that thing, it is manifest that God loves everything that exists. Yet not as we love. Because since our will is not the cause of the goodness of things, but is moved by it as by its object, our love, whereby we will good to anything, is not the cause of its goodness; but conversely its goodness, whether real or imaginary, calls forth our love, by which we will that it should preserve the good it has, and receive besides the good it has not, and to this end we direct our actions: whereas the love of God infuses and creates goodness.”

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1020.htm#article2

In conclusion: God is pure act, without any potentiality, yet he is not static and is a knowable, personal and loving God. This is the account of the Bible as well as the philosophers. Pascal was wrong: The Unmoved Mover is Love, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the great I AM THAT I AM.

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~ by Sam Urfer on October 29, 2009.

12 Responses to “Some Random Thoughts on God’s Nature”

  1. How can you honestly believe in the teachings of the RCC?

    They happen to be true, for starters.

    Purgatory

    “He will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15) It’s not laid out explicitly in Scripture, but it is there.

    Prayers directed to Mary

    No problem here. A special application of praying to glorified saints in general, unique due to her status as the Mother of God.

    The Papacy is of pagan origin. [The title of pope or universal bishop, was first given to the bishop of Rome by the wicked emperor Phoca.]

    “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19)

    Worship of the cross, images and relics.

    Only God is worshiped. Relics, images, and the cross are venerated. There is a principled difference, even if you want to ignore it. http://www.catholic.com/library/Saint_Worship.asp

    Holy Water??

    “For the unclean person, put some ashes from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water over them.” (Numbers 19:17)

    Canonization of dead saints

    As God intended.

    Celibacy – Jesus imposed no such rule, nor did any of the apostles.

    The New Testament is very clear that celibacy is the higher standard. Anti-celibacy attitudes are the height of un-Biblical distortion. If it’s good enough for Jesus and for Paul…This also relates to the Apostolic power to loose and to bind, which the Bishops of the Apostolic (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian) have to this day from Christ Himself.

    The Rosary

    Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

    Indulgences

    An oldie but a goodie.

    Transubstantiation?!?

    Now we come to the foundation of the Christian Faith. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53)

    Referring to Mary as the Mother of God

    Well, shoot, she’s His mom. She bore the Creator of the universe in her womb. That’s an unavoidable Fact. To deny this is to repudiate Christ and Christianity entirely.

    and the list goes on and on and on………………

    And everything you listed is far, far more important to the Christian Faith than an un-biblical concept such as “justification by faith alone”.

  2. “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” – Proverbs 26:4

    “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” – Proverbs 26:5

  3. How strange it is that YHWH Sabaoth, the Unmoved Mover, Who was and is and is to come, the Alpha and the Omega, Lord God and Creator of the entire universe and the final end of all things should have pooped Himself and had His diapers changed by a poor Jewish girl in the backwoods of Galilee.

  4. Popery has … a saviour of its own -the Church, to wit.

    This is a lie. The Church teaches, and has always taught, that Christ alone is the savior of the world, including the Blessed Virgin Mary (who continues to pray for you, Matt). Also, “Popery”? Wow, good one.

    It has a sacrifice of it own -the Mass. It has a mediator of its own -the Priesthood. It has a sanctifier of its own -the Sacrament.

    Again, this is all factually incorrect, easily dispelled by the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

    IV. THE SACRAMENTS OF SALVATION

    1127 Celebrated worthily in faith, the sacraments confer the grace that they signify.48 They are efficacious because in them Christ himself is at work: it is he who baptizes, he who acts in his sacraments in order to communicate the grace that each sacrament signifies. The Father always hears the prayer of his Son’s Church which, in the epiclesis of each sacrament, expresses her faith in the power of the Spirit. As fire transforms into itself everything it touches, so the Holy Spirit transforms into the divine life whatever is subjected to his power.

    1128 This is the meaning of the Church’s affirmation49 that the sacraments act ex opere operato (literally: “by the very fact of the action’s being performed”), i.e., by virtue of the saving work of Christ, accomplished once for all. It follows that “the sacrament is not wrought by the righteousness of either the celebrant or the recipient, but by the power of God.“50 From the moment that a sacrament is celebrated in accordance with the intention of the Church, the power of Christ and his Spirit acts in and through it, independently of the personal holiness of the minister. Nevertheless, the fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them.

    1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.51 “Sacramental grace” is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature52 by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior.

    V. THE SACRAMENTS OF ETERNAL LIFE

    1130 The Church celebrates the mystery of her Lord “until he comes,” when God will be “everything to everyone.”53 Since the apostolic age the liturgy has been drawn toward its goal by the Spirit’s groaning in the Church: Marana tha!54 The liturgy thus shares in Jesus’ desire: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you . . . until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”55 In the sacraments of Christ the Church already receives the guarantee of her inheritance and even now shares in everlasting life, while “awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus.”56 The “Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come . . . Come, Lord Jesus!'”57

    St. Thomas sums up the various aspects of sacramental signs: “Therefore a sacrament is a sign that commemorates what precedes it – Christ’s Passion; demonstrates what is accomplished in us through Christ’s Passion – grace; and prefigures what that Passion pledges to us – future glory.”58

    If you don’t actually know anything about Catholicism except what you get from fools and bigots (which is readily apparent), you might want to actually figure out the truth.

    It has a justification of its own -that even of infused righteousness.

    If by “of it’s own”, you mean “the clear teachings of the Bible and Christianity”, then sure, absolutely.

    More from the Catechism, to help you learn what the Church teaches, and has always taught:

    I. JUSTIFICATION

    1987 The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ” and through Baptism:34

    But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.35

    1988 Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ’s Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of his Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is himself:36

    [God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature. . . . For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.37

    1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus’ proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. “Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.39

    1990 Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God’s merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals.

    1991 Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or “justice”) here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us.

    1992 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:40

    But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.41

    1993 Justification establishes cooperation between God’s grace and man’s freedom. On man’s part it is expressed by the assent of faith to the Word of God, which invites him to conversion, and in the cooperation of charity with the prompting of the Holy Spirit who precedes and preserves his assent:

    When God touches man’s heart through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, man himself is not inactive while receiving that inspiration, since he could reject it; and yet, without God’s grace, he cannot by his own free will move himself toward justice in God’s sight.42

    1994 Justification is the most excellent work of God’s love made manifest in Christ Jesus and granted by the Holy Spirit. It is the opinion of St. Augustine that “the justification of the wicked is a greater work than the creation of heaven and earth,” because “heaven and earth will pass away but the salvation and justification of the elect . . . will not pass away.”43 He holds also that the justification of sinners surpasses the creation of the angels in justice, in that it bears witness to a greater mercy.

    1995 The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the “inner man,”44 justification entails the sanctification of his whole being:

    Just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification. . . . But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.45

    It has a pardon of its own -the pardon of the Confessional

    As is seen in the Bible, yes: Scriptural Basis for Confession as a Sacrament More on Confession

    and it has in the heavens an infallible, all-prevailing advocate unknown to the Gospel -the “Mother of God.”

    Who said the Blessed Virgin Mary was infallible? She’s not a second Pope: Mary is Queen of Heaven, Not Pope

  5. Mary was NOT a perpetual virgin. Jesus had brothers.

    A baseless assertion:

    John Calvin wrote of Mary’s perpetual virginity: “Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ’s ‘brothers’ are sometimes mentioned.” {Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562), vol. 2 / From Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. William Pringle, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, p.215; on Matthew 13:55}

    Oh and while we are at it – saints are alive! Saints are all those who are saved – not once they have been declared as such by men.

    Sure. Of course. This is part and parcel of praying to the Saints.

  6. Matt, nothing you say has anything to do with what the Catholic Church teaches. Mary does not prexist God qua God, and is not a goddess but a human woman. The Catholic Church teaches, most emphatically, repeatedly, and clearly, that she needed Christ as a savior. You keep talking about all these “problems” which do not exist, because you have no idea what you are talking about. The strawman you have built up might be fun to throw stones at in order to stroke your own ego, but it is not an effective argument against the real Church.

    See this vital point (for one thing, Mary is called “the Mother of my Lord”, so you are wrong about your assertion of a Biblical foundation for your view. Any view other than Mary being the Mother of God is, in fact, completely baseless):

    Mary’s divine motherhood

    495 Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus”, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother of my Lord”.144 In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos).

    Regarding your flawed Christology that denies the full unity of the person of Jesus Christ, see the Catechism on that point:

    IV. HOW IS THE SON OF GOD MAN?

    470 Because “human nature was assumed, not absorbed”,97 in the mysterious union of the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course of centuries to confess the full reality of Christ’s human soul, with its operations of intellect and will, and of his human body. In parallel fashion, she had to recall on each occasion that Christ’s human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it. Everything that Christ is and does in this nature derives from “one of the Trinity”. The Son of God therefore communicates to his humanity his own personal mode of existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, Christ thus expresses humanly the divine ways of the Trinity:98

    The Son of God. . . worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin.99

  7. The Roman Catholic Church claims to have started in Matthew 16:18 when Christ supposedly appointed Peter as the first Pope. However, the honest and objective student of the Scriptures and history soon discovers that the foundation of the Roman church is none other than the pagan mystery religion of ancient Babylon.

    This is a satanic lie with no basis in reality, as Ralph Woodrow himself has admitted.

    While enduring the early persecutions of the Roman government (65-300 A.D.), most of professing Christianity went through a gradual departure from New Testament doctrine concerning church government, worship and practice. Local churches ceased to be autonomous by giving way to the control of “bishops” ruling over hierarchies. The simple form of worship from the heart was replaced with the rituals and splendor of paganism. Ministers became “priests,” and pagans became “Christians” by simply being sprinkled with water. This tolerance of an unregenerate membership only made things worse. SPRINKLED PAGANISM is about the best definition for Roman Catholicism.

    I didn’t know you were a Mormon, Matt. Nice bit of wacky conspiracy mongering, nice and tidy. Too bad it has nothing to do with the real Catholic Church.

    The Roman Emperor Constantine established himself as the head of the church around 313 A.D., which made this new “Christianity” the official religion of the Roman Empire. The first actual Pope in Rome was probably Leo I (440-461 A.D.), although some claim that Gregory I was the first (590-604 A.D.). This ungodly system eventually ushered in the darkest period of history known to man, properly known as the “Dark Ages” (500-1500 A.D.). Through popes, bishops, and priests, Satan ruled Europe, and Biblical Christianity became illegal.

    Absolutely no basis in reality.

    Throughout all of this, however, there remained individual groups of true Christians, such as the Waldensens and the Anabaptists who would not conform to the Roman system.

    This would be Landmarkism. Pure fabrication.

    In the Bible there are no popes or priests to rule over the church. Jesus Christ is our High Priest (Heb. 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:5; 8:1; 9:11), and all true Christians make up a spiritual priesthood (I Pet. 2:5). Jesus Christ has sanctified all Christians who believe on Him (Heb. 10:10-11), so all priests today are unnecessary and unscriptural. Furthermore, the practice of calling a priest “father” is forbidden by Jesus Christ in Matthew 23:9. There is only ONE mediator between God and men (I Tim. 2:5).

    Wrong on the priesthood, wrong on apostolic Succession, and very wrong on the Papacy. The Bible is not on your side. We are the ones, after all, who wrote it.

    The Catholic church teaches that Peter was the first Pope and the earthly head of the church, but the Bible never says this once. In fact, it was Peter himself who spoke against “being lords over God’s heritage” in I Peter 5:3. Popes do not marry, although Peter did (Mat. 8:14; I Cor. 9:5). The Bible never speaks of Peter being in Rome, and it was Paul, not Peter, who wrote the epistle to the Romans. In the New Testament, Paul wrote 100 chapters with 2,325 verses, while Peter wrote only 8 chapters with 166 verses. In Peter’s first epistle he stated that he was simply “an apostle of Jesus Christ,” not a Pope (I Pet. 1:1). The Roman papacy and priesthood is just a huge fraud to keep members in bondage to a corrupt pagan church.

    See the above links, Matt. You are wrong.

    Roman Catholics believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus, remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus and was sinless all of her life. She is worshiped in the Catholic church as the “Mother of God” and the “Queen of Heaven.” St. Bernard stated that she was crowned “Queen of Heaven” by God the Father, and that she currently sits upon a throne in Heaven making intercession for Christians.

    True, though the proper term is not “worship”, but rather veneration.

    The Bible teaches otherwise. In the Bible, Mary was a sinner just like the rest of us. She said herself that she needed a “Saviour” (Lk. 1:47), and she even had to offer a sacrifice for her sins in Luke 2:24.

    As the Catholic Church teaches, and always has taught. this is not an argument against the Immaculate Conception.

    The Immaculate Conception

    490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”.133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

    491 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

    492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.137

    493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.138 By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

    Jesus was only her “firstborn” son, according to Matthew 1:25, because she later had other children as well (Mt. 13:55; Gal. 1:19; Psa. 69:8). There’s only ONE mediator between God and men, and it isn’t Mary (I Tim. 2:5). The last time we hear from Mary in the Bible she is praying WITH the disciples, not being prayed to BY the disciples (Acts 1:14). The Bible never exalts Mary above anyone else. Neither should we.

    Mary – “ever-virgin”

    499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary’s real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man.154 In fact, Christ’s birth “did not diminish his mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it.”155 And so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin”.156

    500 Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus.157 The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus”, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls “the other Mary”.158 They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.159

    501 Jesus is Mary’s only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: “The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother’s love.”160

    The Catholic Church teaches that a Christian’s soul must burn in purgatory after death until all of their sins have been purged. To speed up the purging process, money may be paid to a priest so he can pray and have special masses for an earlier release.

    Indulgences haven’t been given for almsgiving since the Council of Trent banned it, actually. You really don’t know anything about this topic, do you?

    This heresy began creeping into the Roman Church during the reign of Pope Gregory around the end of the sixth century, and it has no scriptural support. In fact, Jesus warned us about this pagan practice in Matthew 23:14 when He spoke of those who devoured widows houses and made long prayers for a pretence. Psalm 49:6-7 tells us that a person couldn’t redeem a loved one, even if such a place did exist: “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:”

    On the contrary: “Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.” (2 Maccabees 12:43-45)

    Peter addresses this issue in Acts 8:20 when he says, “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” God’s word is clearly against the doctrine of purgatory.

    Good job taking a verse out of context, there. How about the Biblical evidence of Purgatory linked to above?

    By perverting the Christian practice of the Lord’s Supper (Mat. 26:26-28; I Cor. 11:23-27), the Catholic Church has created the Mass, which they believe to be a continual sacrifice of Jesus Christ:

    “Christ…commanded that his bloody sacrifice on the Cross should be daily renewed by an unbloody sacrifice of his body and blood in the Mass under the simple elements of bread and wine.” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 10, Pg. 13, Article: “Mass, Sacrifice of”)

    Jesus never made such a command. If you’ll check the above references in Matthew 26 and I Corinthians 11, you’ll see for yourself that the Lord’s Supper is a MEMORIAL and a SHOWING of Christ’s death until He comes again. It is not a sacrifice.

    Careful, lest you blaspheme the LORD.

    “In the celebration of the Holy Mass, the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. It is called transubstantiation, for in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the substance of bread and wine do not remain, but the entire substance of bread is changed into the body of Christ, and the entire substance of wine is changed into his blood, the species or outward semblence of bread and wine alone remaining.” (Vol. 4, pg. 277, Article: “Consecration”)

    You’d better believe it. This is central to Christianity.

    The Catholic Church teaches that the “Holy Mass” is a LITERAL EATING AND DRINKING OF THE LITERAL FLESH AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST. The priest supposedly has the power to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

    Amen and alleluia! Without that, there is no point to Christianity whatsoever.

    Now, what does God’s word say about such practices? If you’ll read Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:11-12, and Acts 15:29, you will find that God absolutely FORBIDS the drinking of blood all through the Bible.

    He also forbids the eating of pork quite consistently. Do you eat pork, Matt?

    Rome teaches that the Mass is a continual “sacrifice” of Jesus Christ, but God’s word states that Jesus made the FINAL sacrifice on Calvary! This is made perfectly clear in Hebrews 10:10-12:

    “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”

    The Catholic Church teaches that Christ’s Sacrifice is once and for all. The Mass is the one sacrafice being made present in the species of the bread and the wine. Again, you don’t seem particularly well educated on this topic.

    The mass is unnecessary and unscriptural.

    Absolutely wrong, as shown above.

    The Catholic religion is filled with all sorts of symbols, images, and relics. The Catechism of the Council of Trent states these words:

    “It is lawful to have images in the Church, and to give honor and worship unto them…”

    It’s lawful to honor and worship images? Not according to God’s word. Exodus 20:4-5 says, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” Image worship is unscriptural and will end with the eternal damnation of those who practice it (Rev. 14:11).

    No problems here.

    Salvation by Works

    We’ve been over this, but here’s some more homework.

  8. “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.”

    So we see that justification is by works, and not by faith alone, James 2:24. The clear reason for how this disproves the Sola Fides nonsense is readily apparent.

    “Faith, if it is to be sure and steadfast, must lay hold upon nothing else but Christ alone, and in the conflict and terrors of conscience it has nothing else to lean on but this precious pearl Christ Jesus. So, he who apprehends Christ by faith, although he be terrified with the law and oppressed with the weight of his sins, yet he may be bold to glory that he is righteous. How? Even by that precious jewel Christ Jesus, whom he possesses by faith.”

    Well, that’s not such a bad Catholic sentiment, on the main. Believing in the Sacrifice of the Mass and venerating the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Heaven do not conflict with faith in Christ, indeed they are part and parcel of this faith.

  9. Well, Reformed Baptists aren’t exactly who I’d go to for advice in canon law, Matt. The Catholic Encyclopedia was published a hundred years ago, so “still in force” is not talking about now. The most relevant document is “PONTIFICIUM CONSILIUM
    AD CHRISTIANORUM UNITATEM FOVENDAM”
    , propagated by Venerable Pope John Paul II in 1993, is the set of guidelines determining ecumenical dialogue today:

    174. On the local level there are countless opportunities for exchanges between Christians, ranging from informal conversations that occur in daily life to sessions for the common examination in a Christian perspective of issues of local life or of concern to particular professional groups (doctors, social workers, parents, educators) and to study groups for specifically ecumenical subjects. Dialogues may be carried on by groups of lay people, by groups of clergy, by groups of professional theologians or by various combinations of these. Whether they have official standing (as a result of having been set up or formally authorized by ecclesiastical authority) or not, these exchanges must always be marked by a strong ecclesial sense. Catholics who take part in them will feel the need to be well informed about their faith and to deepen their living of it, and they will be careful to remain in communion of thought and desire with their Church.

    Your informant is deeply mistaken. See also my latest post on the relevant Vatican II document. The current Code of Canon Law only went into effect about 26 years ago, and is a complete revamp of canon law (canon law being discipline, distinct from dogma, of the Chuch is open to reform; such as the possibility of married priests, as opposed to the Church’s stance on the impossibility of ordaining women as priests).

  10. “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53)

    The Real Presence of the LORD in the Eucharist is basic, Biblical Christianity.

  11. Oh right so Jesus is really literally a door?

    When the Jews asked Jesus if He was being metaphorical, he responded “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” (John 6:55) He was clear about when He was using similies, such as the door, but in this instance He was quite insistent, to the point of alienating many of His own followers. They responded to Christ’s words much as you have, “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:60)

    And Jesus is literally a loaf of bread?

    No, the accidental features of the loaf of bread become substantially Jesus. There is a difference.

    That would be the case of we remained true to your logic…..

    No, because the door was clearly metaphoric, while Jesus was quite clear what He meant regarding His flesh and blood.

    Instead it is a symbol. Done in “rememberance of Him”.

    The peculiar instance where the “Clear Meaning of the Bible” Protestant resorts to insisting that a passage he or she finds uncomfortable is symbolic.

    RCC’s [yours] view on the Lord’s supper is absurd I tell you.

    “unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness”

    But, I better watch out you may just burn me at the stake if I do not conform! re: Bloody Mary [Foxes book of Martyrs]

    George Fox was a government toady, nothing more nothing less.

  12. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”

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