Saturday, September 24, 2011

Response to Jerome's Response to Helvidius - Part 4a

Jerome wrote a response to Helvidius regarding the virginity of Mary.  This post is the first part of a fourth in a series of responses to what Jerome wrote.

Jerome wrote:
4. Let us take the points one by one, and follow the tracks of this impiety that we may show that he has contradicted himself. He admits that she was betrothed, and in the next breath will have her to be a man’s wife whom he has admitted to be his betrothed. Again, he calls her wife, and then says the only reason why she was betrothed was that she might one day be married. And, for fear we might not think that enough, “the word used,” he says, “is betrothed and not intrusted, that is to say, not yet a wife, not yet united by the bond of wedlock.”
We should definitely seek to avoid self-contradiction.  But is this a self-contradiction?  Why else is a woman betrothed except in order to become a wife?  Moreover, Joseph was minded to put her away, which is what one does with an unfaithful wife, but was encouraged to "take" her by the angel of the Lord,

Jerome seems to be attempting to score some kind of rhetorical points here, but it isn't working.  Helvidius' and our position is pretty straightforward and non-contradictory.  Mary was betrothed to Joseph, which was - at that time and in that culture - the first stage of the marriage, but it was prior to cohabitation.  Nevertheless, as set forth in the previous sections, the legal status of a betrothed woman was like that of a married woman, in that any fornication would be adultery.  Thus, Mary is sometimes called Joseph's wife even though they had not yet come together.  It may be imprecise, but it is not really self-contradictory.

Jerome doesn't attempt to revitalize the "intrusted" alternatively, seemingly granting that Helvidius is right.  Mary was betrothed (not intrusted) to Joseph.  She was to be his wife.

- TurretinFan

1 comment:

Natamllc said...

Just a couple of points on the scoring to be legally bound and betrothed and intrusted.

First to Jeremiah and second to Christ's own knowledge about entrusting to man the Words of God.


Jer 17:5 Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.
Jer 17:6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.
Jer 17:7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.
Jer 17:8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Well, now what?

God understands!

Treat the Word of Prophecy in light of this Truth or intrust Joseph to do the right thing being legally bound?

I think not the latter seeing Christ did observe this about us, too:

Joh 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.
Joh 2:24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people
Joh 2:25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Having an Angel guide you straight doesn't seem to me God was intrusting His Word to any man, not even Joseph?

The marvel to me is Joseph was a man of His Faith, too, like Mary, and did what he was told to do!

What is even more marvelous to me is just how "off" the radar these things were as they were happening?

One gets a sense of this by these Words written about those events so many years later:

Mat 2:3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;

But I digress.

Oh what joy just to realize what is happening by these parts in light of these Words of Malachi:

Mal 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name.
Mal 3:17 "They shall be mine, says the LORD of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him.
Mal 3:18 Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.