Could Mary have said No?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Zenas, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Zenas

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    On another thread in this forum, Dr. Walter has opined that Mary had no choice in whether to give birth to Jesus. Specifically, he said:
    There isn't much scriptural evidence one way of the other, although it is abundantly clear that her conception was not a fait accompli at the time of the Annunciation by Gabriel. It was to happen in the future--maybe one minute, maybe several weeks--but definitely a future event. Luke describes it this way:
    The angel decribes an event that is going to happen. Mary wonders how it is going to happen because she does not "know" a man and the angel explains it to her. Then Mary says, "Be it unto me according to thy word."

    Is this last statement of Mary an act of consent or merely one of approval? Would it have made any difference if Mary had said, "No, I don't want to do this right now."
     
  2. Crabtownboy

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    Yes, she could have said, "No." She had free will.
     
  3. padredurand

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    And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
    Luke 1:38 NAS77

    Can I suggest another choice beside consent or approval? I do not believe the verse allows for any reluctance on Mary's part. She calls herself a bond servant of the Lord. What devoted young Jewish woman wouldn't want to be the mother of Messiah? It is obvious Mary loved the Lord. Folk who love the Lord love to serve Him. Mary received the announcement with great humility.

    Could she had said no? Could she have eaten ham on the Sabbath? Yes she could but there is nothing to indicate she would.
     
  4. Zenas

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    What I'm getting at is whether Mary could have said No. If Mary had said No, do you think God would have selected another virgin or would the angel have said, "Too bad Mary, this is something you are going to do whether you like it or not"?
     
    #4 Zenas, Sep 18, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2010
  5. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    No theologian here - but it seems to me she could have but God knew she wouldn't.
     
  6. padredurand

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    Your post reminded me of Esther....

    Esther 4:13-14 NASB
    13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews.
    14 "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"
    Mordecai is telling Esther that God's plan will not be thwarted by her refusal or reluctance to respond to His call on her life. Esther's obedience will save the Jews. Mary's will play a vital role in saving man.

    Fait accompli? No.

    Luke 1:35 KJV
    35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
    Look what Webster's has to say about the word shall, "In the present tense, shall, before a verb in the infinitive, forms the future tense." I'm no Greek scholar (I have enough trouble with English) but all the Bibles I have render this verse in future tense. Fait accompli infers a completed and irreversible action.
     
  7. Dr. Walter

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    The Angel did not come presenting a conditional option. The angel did not come presenting a proposition. The angel did not come asking permission or even asking a question or to give it as a consideration. The angel told Mary matter of factly what "shall" be without conditioning upon her permission or approval.

    Mary's first response was not "I will have to think about it" but rather "how" can this be? She assumed it was the case but wondered how could it be possible without intercourse with a man.

    Her last words "Be it according to thy word" cannot be construed to be granting permission as no request for permission was made. Indeed the Greek term "thy WORD" is not the common "logos" but rather "rhema" or word of command. Thus again, reinforcing the fact that this was not a request being made for permission but acknowledgement of God's purpose.

    Paul had been called to his vocation by such a command and yet he acknowledged:


    1 Cor. 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

    Neither Mary or Paul were given a request. They were told what God's purpose was. However, it was God who worked in them "both to WILL and to DO of His good pleasure" (Philip. 2:13) as this is the root cause for all "good works."

     
  8. Jim1999

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    I am with Roger here: No theologian here - but it seems to me she could have but God knew she wouldn't.

    ------------------------------------------------

    Humanly she could have said no. Because of the divine acclamation, no was not an option.

    Joseph was given options, wasn't he? The thought must have crossed his mind or it wouldn't be in passage as it is. He, however, recognized the divine message and responded accordingly.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  9. glfredrick

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    From a pragmatic point of view, if God approached any one of us in a similar manner -- making it clear that it was indeed God doing the approaching -- all of us would say yes. In the face of Almighty Sovereign God, no man or woman would say no, even if they could.

    Is that not the concept behind "every tongue confess and every knee bow..?" When confronted with the reality of Almighty God, we all say yes! It is only in our very human and sinful condition that we even have the rebellious thought of saying no to the King of all kings.
     
  10. billwald

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    How is the "Mary" case different from the "Noah" case?
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    And that made it impossible that she would make any other choice. Whether it was God's sovereign decree or his knowledge of her response, the outcome was fixed from eternity.
     
  12. Gwyneth

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    this is my opinion too.
     
  13. Agnus_Dei

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    Yes, Mary had a choice just as Eve had a choice...What Eve did in freely rejecting God's grace, Mary undid by freely consenting to it.

    As an Orthodox Christian our text of the Kanon from Matins for the Great Feast of the Annunciation, we see a beautiful dialogue between Mary and the Archangel Gabriel in which she debates whether or not to accept the archangel's news, only in the end accepting that which he announced.

    In XC
    -
     
  14. Dr. Walter

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    What difference would it have made if she would have said "no thank you"? She was never consulted with in the first place but matter of factly told this is what "shall" occur! When she asked "how" she was again matter of factly told how it shall occur! Not once was she ever asked whether or not it suited her or if she was in agreement.

    In regard to Eve, she was told bluntly not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She knew she was not to eat of it. There is no comparison here between Eve and Mary.

    Mary was a born again sinner and thus given a willing disposition to obey God as she claimed a relationship with God that Jesus never once claimed - "God MY Savior." Jesus was sinless and never in need of salvation by God. The fact is that Mary was one of those whom believed in the coming Christ (Acts 10:43) and for whom Christ came to provide redemption (Mt. 1:21).
     
  15. Thinkingstuff

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    Again your contention for what occured during the discourse between Gabriel and Mary resembles a rape. Also it would make Mary's statement to Gabriel irrelevant
    In otherwords it hadn't occured yet which corrisponds with how the angel replies.
    It also makes irrelevant this statement by mary
    Since according to you she did not have a choice in the matter.
     
  16. SBCPreacher

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    I agree with this. But imagine the blessing she would have missed out on if she said no. Could it be that we miss our on some blessings too when we say no to God?
     
  17. RAdam

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    The angel came to declare the coming birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, not to ask Mary's permission. This doesn't mean that God was going to do this against her will. She was willing and thankful to be the mother of the Messiah. But she wasn't asked whether it was ok.

    Mary's declaration wasn't a yes answer, because she was never asked. Her response showed her great delight in being chosen by God to bear the Messiah.
     
  18. Dr. Walter

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    Well said and to the point!
     
  19. Thinkingstuff

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    Actually, its not. You either Make of Mary a Robot or a victim. You've both implied that no matter what Mary's disposition with regard to the incarnation, you've implied she had no input. Thus not only does her statement become irrelevant God then is the creator who forces his will upon the young virgin. So, if she was not ameniable it becomes a violation.
     
  20. Dr. Walter

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    The problem is that you are approaching this from an unbiblical inference. There is no MARRIAGE between Mary and God the Father. She is a human and He is a Spirit - no marriage can occur.

    God gives conception to YOUR WIFE and He is not MARRIED to her. He didn't RAPE her when giving conception and He didn't REQUEST you or your wife's permission did he!

    God can use any vessel He has created for whatever use he deems appropriate. He declared what He would do without requesting Mary's permission. That is no more rape than God failing to request your wife's permission to conceive a child. Many attempt to avoid having children by taking all the precautions they can and yet end up with conception. IS THAT RAPE???
     

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