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Monday, January 17, 2011

Where is the Assumption of Mary in the Bible?

 “Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37
Question:  Where is the Assumption of Mary in the Bible?
Firstly, the question "Where is it in the Bible?" assumes one thing:  all we believe about God must be found in the Bible.  That is, we must look to the Bible as our foundation for Truth.

The irony in this assumption (haha!  no pun intended!) is, however, that Scripture never says that all we believe about God must be found in the Bible.  In fact, Scripture says that the sure norm for our understanding of what God has revealed is...the Church, not the Bible!  (
"the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth" 1 Tim 3:15)
This self-refuting belief (the Bible-alone is our sole foundation of faith) is found in many Christian circles.  In other words, it's a non-biblical tradition they've created:  "show me where this is in the Bible" is not ever stated in Scripture.

As Catholics we believe that all that God has revealed can be found in Sacred Scripture AND Sacred Tradition (the oral teaching of the Apostles, handed down through the bishops and teaching authority of the Church.)

It has been the constant teaching of the Apostles that Mary was assumed into heaven, body and soul. (This is different than Jesus' Ascension, in which he ascended into heaven on his own power.  Mary was assumed only by God's grace and command, not of her own authority).

That this dogma was defined later (1950) does not mean it was "created" by a pope.  It simply means that the Church in her wisdom saw fit to formally declare something, which was believed from the earliest days of Christianity, as a dogmatically revealed truth of God.
Fundamentalists often use Luke 1:47 (in this Sunday's reading) as an objection to Catholics' veneration of Mary.  That is, Mary said her "spirit rejoices in God my Savior" and only a sinner needs a Savior.

However, the Catholic Church teaches that Mary did indeed need a Savior. Like all other descendants of Adam, she was subject to the necessity of contracting original sin. But by a special intervention of God, undertaken at the instant she was conceived, she was preserved from the stain of original sin and its consequences. She was therefore redeemed by the grace of Christ, but in a special way—by anticipation.

Consider an analogy: Suppose a man falls into a deep pit, and someone reaches down to pull him out. The man has been "saved" from the pit. Now imagine a woman walking along, and she too is about to topple into the pit, but at the very moment that she is to fall in, someone holds her back and prevents her. She too has been saved from the pit, but in an even better way: She was not simply taken out of the pit, she was prevented from getting stained by the mud in the first place. This is the illustration Christians have used for a thousand years to explain how Mary was saved by Christ. By receiving Christ’s grace at her conception, she had his grace applied to her before she was able to become mired in original sin and its stain.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that she was "redeemed in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son" (CCC 492). She has more reason to call God her Savior than we do, because he saved her in an even more glorious manner! source

Another objection made is that Scripture says in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned" yet the Church teaches that Mary was preserved from sin.

Have all people committed actual sins? Consider a child below the age of reason. By definition he can’t sin, since sinning requires the ability to reason and the ability to intend to sin. This is indicated by Paul later in the letter to the Romans when he speaks of the time when Jacob and Esau were unborn babies as a time when they "had done nothing either good or bad" (Rom. 9:11).

We also know of another very prominent exception to the rule: Jesus (Heb. 4:15). (so clearly, "ALL" have sinned is not a literal "ALL")  So if Paul’s statement in Romans 3 includes an exception for the New Adam (Jesus), one may argue that an exception for the New Eve (Mary) can also be made.
(source:  ibid)

Finally, off topic, but a reminder of a prior apologetics email in which some Christians object to Mary's perpetual virginity because of a Scripture verse that says St. Joseph "knew her not UNTIL she bore a child".   Scripture often uses the word "until" to mean, only, "to a point"; it does not indicate that something occurred afterwards (like Joseph having relations with Mary after she gave birth).  From 1 Corinthians 15"he must reign UNTIL he has put all his enemies under his feet". Certainly, no Christian believes that Christ stops reigning after his enemies have been overcome.  So, "until" just means up to that point. 

For more in-depth study visit these websites:

Catholic Bible online

Catechism of the Catholic Church online

Article on the Assumption

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15


  1. John 1:1, Ephesians 1:20-23, Jeremiah 17:5, Romans 3:10-23
    1. Sola Deo Gloria! (For the Glory of God Alone!)
    2. Solus Christus (By Christ's Work Alone are We Saved)
    3. Sola Gratia (Salvation by Grace Alone)
    4. Sola Fide (Justification by Faith Alone)
    5. Sola Scriptura ( The Scripture Alone is the Standard)
    If the Word is God, how can a church be above the Word. Therefore the Word alone should be the foundation for Truth.

    1. Thanks for your comments.

      Firstly, the Catholic Church does not proclaim to be "above the Word" but rather its servant.

      From the Catechism: "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."--86

    2. Regarding your first 3 "solas", the Catholic Church gives a hearty amen! to those.

      As far as #4, that is unsupported by Scripture. In fact, James 2:24 says the very opposite of what you proclaim: we are NOT saved by faith alone.

      And #5: there is no verse to support that, either.

      Finally, regarding "the Word alone should be the foundation for Truth", the Catholic Church says yes! We just don't believe that the Word of God is contained in the Scriptures alone.

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