The Differences Between the Doctrines of

Both the doctrine of the "Virgin Birth" and the doctrine of the "Immaculate Conception" are Roman Catholic doctrines.  However, the doctrine of the "Immaculate Conception" is unrelated to the doctrine of the "Virgin Birth," and is not accepted by most Protestant Christians, but it is often confused with it.  Many believe that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states that Jesus was without original sin from the moment of his conception by Mary and the Holy Spirit.  This is not correct - that is part of the doctrine of the Virgin Birth.  The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states that when Mary herself was conceived, she was also without original sin. 

The doctrine of Original Sin produced a conflict concerning the "sinlessness of Jesus."  According to it, every human being was a carrier of the "Original Sin," because it was passed down to all through Adam.  Since the doctrine of the Virgin Birth stressed the fact that Jesus' mother was human, this presented a problem - Mary would have been a carrier of the Original Sin.  There wasn't a problem from the father's side since the Holy Spirit wasn't human.  This problem of Mary's sin produced many challenges to the doctrines that stated that Jesus was sinless in all ways. 

Pope Pius IX finally solved this problem by introducing the doctrine of the "Immaculate Conception" in his Bull Ineffabilis:

"...We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, was preserved free from every stain of original sin is a doctrine revealed by God and, for this reason, must be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful."

When did the Pope solve this theological problem?  It was issued just before the American Civil War in 1854.  For almost 1500 years Mary's human nature had been a serious problem, but with the Pope's declaration the problem was solved - at least for Catholics.  Now, both Jesus and Mary were sinless and without even the "stain of Adam's sin."  By the way, when was the first time that anyone had heard of Adam's "Original Sin"?  It wasn't until the 5th century CE when Augustine, through another declaration, that created the doctrine of "Original Sin."  It should be noted that Original Sin was unknown during the time of Jesus and for centuries thereafter.  It should also be noted that without the doctrine of Original Sin, the doctrine of the Virgin Birth would not be so important - and there would be no need for a "universal" savior.  Remember, it didn't exist until after 400 AD (CE).  





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