Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated on December 8, nine months before the Nativity of Mary, which is celebrated on September 8. It celebrates belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the patronal feast day of the Philippines and other countries, celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church as well as a few other closely related Christian churches.
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain (in Latin, macula or labes, the second of these two synonymous words being the one used in the formal definition) of original sin.
It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology. It is completely distinct from the Virginity of Mary and the virgin birth of Jesus, though it is a popular mistake to confuse them. Mary is sometimes called the Immaculata (the Immaculate One), particularly in artistic contexts.
The proclaimed Roman Catholic dogma states “that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin”. Being always free from original sin, she was from the start filled with the sanctifying grace that would normally come with baptism after birth.
Many people mistakenly believe that the immaculate conception refers to the conception of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ conception was most assuredly immaculate…but the immaculate conception does not refer to Jesus at all. The immaculate conception is a doctrine of the Romans Catholic Church in regards to Mary, Jesus’ mother. An official statement of the doctrine reads, “…the blessed Virgin Mary to have been, from the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Christ Jesus the Savior of Mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin.” Essentially the immaculate conception is the belief that Mary was protected from original sin, that Mary did not have a sin nature, and was, in fact, sinless.
The problem with the doctrine of the immaculate conception is that it is not taught in the Bible. The Bible nowhere describes Mary as anything but an ordinary human female whom God chose to be the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary was undoubtedly a godly woman (Luke 1:28). Mary was surely a wonderful wife and mother. Jesus definitely loved and cherished His mother (John 19:27). The Bible gives us no reason to believe that Mary was sinless. In fact, the Bible gives us every reason to believe that Jesus Christ is the only Person who was not “infected” by sin and never committed a sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21;1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).
The doctrine of the immaculate conception originated out of confusion over how Jesus Christ could be born sinless if He was conceived inside of a sinful human female. The thought was that Jesus would have inherited a sinful nature from Mary had she been a sinner. In contrast to the immaculate conception, the Biblical solution to this problem is understanding that Jesus Himself was miraculously protected from being polluted by sin while He was inside Mary’s womb. If God was capable of protecting Mary from sin, would He not be able to protect Jesus from sin? Therefore, Mary being sinless is neither necessary or Biblical.