Luke 1:46—Was Mary born sinless as Roman Catholics claim?

Problem: Roman Catholics claim that Mary the mother of Jesus was immaculately conceived (i.e., conceived without sin). However, with the exception of Christ, the Bible asserts that every human being is born in sin (Ps. 51:5; Rom. 5:12). Was Mary immaculately conceived?

Solution: Mary the mother of Jesus was the most blessed among women (see comments on Luke 1:28ff). However, she was not sinless, and the Bible makes this clear in many ways. First, David declared for all human beings, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5).

Second, Paul affirmed that every human born of natural parents since Adam’s time sinned in Adam, for “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned [in Adam]” (Rom. 5:12).

Third, there is absolutely no trace anywhere in the Bible that Mary was an exception to the rule that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). In Christ’s case, however, it points out repeatedly that He was human, yet without sin (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 3:3).

Finally, Mary proclaimed her own sinfulness when she confessed, “my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46). Like everyone else, Mary too needed a Savior.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.