The "Until" Argument against Mary's Perpetual Virginity

As I was reading my Bible, I came across a peculiar passage over-looked by Protestants when they use the “Until” Argument against Mary’s Perpetual Virginity (and perhaps even Catholics who are defending against this argument).

In fairness to their argument, I will post the Scriptural verse here from Matthew 1:25.

"He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus."

  1. They say that “until” implies that the action actually happened either at the event or after the event. Quotidian usage says that we do in fact say “until” to denote doing something on or after the event considered. So, their argument, according to them and contemporary usage, implies the action actually happened. In this case, the position is that Mary and Joseph had relations after Jesus was born.

  2. There are even some who argue that the Greek use of “until” when followed by a negation (“had no relations” is a negation) implies that the action did happen some time after. I have no response to that though. As the saying goes, it’s all Greek to me. :slight_smile:

Obviously, the Catholic position is that the word “until” neither implies normal marital relations nor does it exclude it.

Here is what I found in Luke 9:27.

"Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God."

According to argument #1 and #2, that would mean that they would in fact taste death after seeing the kingdom of God, that is, they will die after being in Heaven. This goes against ETERNAL LIFE!

Now, I can see some objections to this objection:

  1. “Kingdom of God does not necessarily mean Heaven. It just means the church.” Well, then why did Jesus say in John 18:36 “My kingdom is not here”? (See also Romans 14:17, 1 Thessalonians 2:12, 2 Peter 1:11 and Revelations 11:15.) Revelations 21-22 should also shed light on His Bride and the Kingdom. (I think Kingdom of God can and does mean both. But, this is just speculation.) And according to John 3:5, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without Baptism. (If one makes the above argument, then one concedes that the Catholic Church is the true Church because she is the only one who makes Baptism a requirement for salvation. If I am wrong about this, just correct me. But do NOT call me ignorant. That is my job.)

  2. “To ‘see’ the kingdom does not necessarily imply BEING in Heaven.” Fair enough. Then, what DOES it mean? Would God allow one to “see” Heaven and then send them to Hell? I cannot imagine anything more cruel. Especially when Jesus is talking to His own disciples! Revelations 20:15 says that those not in the Book of Life will be thrown into the pool of fire. Even literal Fundamentalists would agree that neither “seeing Heaven” nor “seeing the Kingdom of God” are written in this verse.

  3. “I still disagree. Jesus had brothers.” Well, that is another argument for another thread. I am not using this to prove Mary’s Perpetual Virginity. I am just objecting an argument.

Now, if there are more objections, we can discuss those, obviously. If there are none, then Matthew 1:25 actually helps our side a LITTLE more than not. Matthew was just stressing the virgin part. That we know. But, paired with Luke 9:27, it gives more hint TO her Perpetual Virginity!

As always,
God bless! :slight_smile:

P.S. - Catholics, do you think that Luke 9:27 could be a little more support to Mary’s Assumption?

Since none of it affects our salvation in the slightest, these distortions and man-made arguments exist solely for the purposes of anti-Catholic bigotry. They are put forth by those who seek to justify and defend their separation from the One True Church. What do they care if Mary was ever virgin or not? What do they care if Mary was the immaculate conception? But, just let the Catholic Church teach that she was and it’s automatically wrong.

Hi, GreggAlvarez,

From all I can tell, one of the biggest problems with ‘private interpretation’ is that we read the words of Scripture - in our native language (I am totally ignorant of biblical languages) and as such understand the words used within the framework of our own experiences. The idea that God has a special plan for Mary in His Plan for our salvation is truely amazing - and one that most Protestant groups are not accepting.

I think Po18Guy hit the nail on the head with the continuing antagonism of Protestants against all Catholic doctrine. For them, it really makes no difference if it is in Scripture (there they simply ‘personally interpret’ the meaning they want) or not in Scripture (SS comes in very handy at that point.)

Here are a couple of interesting link:

As I understand it, Luther and Calvin did not have a problem with the perpetual virginity of Mary - but, through the on-going … dare I say ‘perpetual’ splintering of Protestantism, I guess that this belief in Mary has gotten lost, too. :rolleyes:

God bless

A lot of Protestant groups are actively against anyone remaining unmarried or anyone being celibate, particularly ministers. Many assume that there’s no way men can possibly live chaste without being married. So you can see where Mary remaining virgin and Joseph living with her without having sex with her would be threatening.

Some believe (much like many ancient Jews) that having many children is blessed and not having many children is not, and that therefore Jesus has to have lots of younger brothers and sisters. These folks usually go from the “firstborn” and “brothers and sisters” thing, though, not an explicit denial of Mary’s virginity. The funny thing is, these folks don’t seem to believe this would make a Holy Family, probably because then they have to believe that the “brothers and sisters” who came to take Jesus away were really his brothers and sisters. But how they think a house with Jesus in it for twenty years could possibly be just like everybody else’s, I’ve never understood.

Others find Mary threatening to Christian egalitarianism. If some people – or even one person – isn’t as guilty of sin as everybody else, somehow this just isn’t fair. (Of course, Jesus isn’t really about fair, as he told his disciples it was none of their business to complain if he should decide to make one of the apostles immortal, and that they just had to follow and not worry what other people were called to do.)

The irony is that more liberal groups, which aren’t really concerned with their members maintaining any level of Christian chastity, are just as threatened by the perpetual virginity of Mary. If she and Joseph can manage to maintain standards, somebody might actually expect their congregations to live clean lives too.

Hi, Mintaka,

I am concerned about your statement concerning Protestants feeling ‘threatened’ by Mary’s virginity…and, living that way although married to Joseph.

Christ remained a virgin and was not married - yet, they are not ‘threatened’ by Him - at least I do not think they are. The only Apostle we know of who had anything dealing with marriage was Peter who had a sick Mother-in-Law (Matt 8:14, Luke 4:38). We have nothing on Peter’s wife - or the marital status of any of the other Apostles. My guess is that unless they were identified as married, then they were single. Paul says nothing about himself being married (now, he was a Pharisee, and you would have thought he would be setting the example here… but, he advocates for celibacy (1Cor 7:25)… and this does not seem ‘threatening’ to Protestants.

Do you really mean that Protestants feel ‘threatened’?

God bless

Not only do words have meaning, authors had intent. In nearly every case, “bible” Christians are attempting to “reverse engineer” Christianity.

Hi, Po18guy,

I must admit, I never thought of it quite like that - but, really, trying to ‘re-form’ Christ and the message of salvation into the image created by Luther, Calvin and the rest of the ‘de-formers’ sounds like ‘reverse engineering’ to me!

Good call! :thumbsup:

God bless



You frame the argument well…regarding "kingdom"

If one says

*]“kingdom” or “kingdom of God” = the Church
*]“kingdom” or “kingdom of God” Heaven

BOTH the Church and heaven are refered to as “kingdom”, or “kingdom of God”.

Especially when one considers Jesus bestowing the keys of the kingdom of heaven [Mt 16:19] to Peter. "Whatever you bind… whatever you loose… will be bound and loosed in heaven. One can’t disconnect then, Church and Heaven with regards to kingdom of God on earth (the Church) and kingdom of God in heaven (the Church triumphant).

I also like your point re: "until"

Here is what I found in Luke 9:27.

"Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God."

Yeah… I agree… It is quite peculiar that most Protestants agree totally with Church doctrines on Christ… That is, everything the Church teaches ABOUT Christ is in harmony with most Protestant denominations. Incarnation, Crucifixion, Atonement, Resurrection, Ascension, etc…

But, when it comes to most of the teachings of Christ and the Apostles, they disagree. What’s the deal with that? All they want to agree with us on is what He did. Everything else is apparently wrong because the Church teaches it.

When was Mary’s Perpetual Virginity “lost”? Is there any records of somebody just saying “Ok, she is not a perpetual virgin as those Catholics say?” I know that in the 1600’s, statues and glass windows of Mary were destroyed, but is that due to Her Virginity or just Marian doctrine in general?

This is all out of curiosity. Obviously, somewhere along the lines, an anti-Catholic changed something. I am just curious as to where.

One wonders… If the Church is right about everything Christ is, did and does, then why do people assume the Church can and is wrong in almost everything else?

That is the definition of “picking and choosing”.

People even disrespect the Church because we “consider women low and men high” or something like that. Yet, when we talk about Mary and the female saints, all we do is praise them for their kindness and bringing our petitions to Our Lord! Especially Mary! We consider Saint Bernadette and Saint Agnes saints just as much as Saint Thomas Aquinas. Yet, these women knew very little about doctrine, if any at all. Yet again, they lived out these doctrines better than most who KNOW the doctrines, which goes to prove the doctrines as ways of life instead of just official proclamations of sets of words.

In any case, if I remember correctly, it was nuns who started universities and hospitals! It is nuns who teach in the Catholic schools (from what I have seen here in Louisville, KY anyway). According to the Bible, it is always the woman that brings about some sort of salvation. God is our salvation. Mary brought Him into this world!

We are the ones that respect women the most. The early Christian women converted to Christianity because of how the men treated the women. No secret there.

Thanks! I completely missed that part. I thought that is what the Church taught, but I did not want to make assumptions. According to the context of the Bible, they are the same indeed. That even more fortifies the objection. And even more fortifies the fact that the Catholic Church is Christ’s Bride!

God bless!

P.S. - Not that I was not convinced before, but reading Revelations has convinced me even more of the Truth of the Catholic Church. The past few weeks have been dedicated to me and Revelations. Although, I am not ignoring the Gospels. Admittedly, my way of reading the Bible is a little unorthodox, but it works for me and I really do not think God cares HOW I read the Bible. It is really hard to explain how I read it. My system is unsystematic. :slight_smile:

This “until” arguement is so contrived, and misappropriated concerning Mary Ever Virgin that one really has to feel more sad than angry at it’s proponnents, especially when we apprehend the void which they insensibly must struggle in rather than accept the full embrace of their Heavenly Mother; however, free will is also a gift from God and this is how they choose, so…so be it until they have a change of heart.

The founders of Protestantism all believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary. I bet most of the Protestants today don’t even know that. Whichever Protestant does not should be asked why they disagree with their founding leaders.


Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that.
{Luther’s Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan (vols. 1-30) & Helmut T. Lehmann (vols. 31-55), St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House (vols. 1-30); Philadelphia: Fortress Press (vols. 31-55), 1955, v.22:23 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }
Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that ‘brothers’ really mean ‘cousins’ here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers.
{Pelikan, ibid., v.22:214-15 / Sermons on John, chaps. 1-4 (1539) }

A new lie about me is being circulated. I am supposed to have preached and written that Mary, the mother of God, was not a virgin either before or after the birth of Christ . . .
{Pelikan, ibid.,v.45:199 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523) }
Scripture does not say or indicate that she later lost her virginity . . .
When Matthew [1:25] says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom.

{Pelikan, ibid.,v.45:206,212-3 / That Jesus Christ was Born a Jew (1523) }


Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ’s ‘brothers’ are sometimes mentioned.
{Harmony of Matthew, Mark & Luke, sec. 39 (Geneva, 1562), vol. 2 / From Calvin’s Commentaries, tr. William Pringle, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1949, p.215; on Matthew 13:55}
[On Matt 1:25:] The inference he [Helvidius] drew from it was, that Mary remained a virgin no longer than till her first birth, and that afterwards she had other children by her husband . . . No just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words . . . as to what took place after the birth of Christ. He is called ‘first-born’; but it is for the sole purpose of informing us that he was born of a virgin . . . What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation.
{Pringle, ibid., vol. I, p. 107}
Under the word ‘brethren’ the Hebrews include all cousins and other relations, whatever may be the degree of affinity.
{Pringle, ibid., vol. I, p. 283 / Commentary on John, (7:3) }


I have never thought, still less taught, or declared publicly, anything concerning the subject of the ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our salvation, which could be considered dishonourable, impious, unworthy or evil . . . I believe with all my heart according to the word of holy gospel that this pure virgin bore for us the Son of God and that she remained, in the birth and after it, a pure and unsullied virgin, for eternity.
{Thurian, ibid., p.76 / same sermon}


‘The Virgin Mary . . . completely sanctified by the grace and blood of her only Son and abundantly endowed by the gift of the Holy Spirit and preferred to all . . . now lives happily with Christ in heaven and is called and remains ever-Virgin and Mother of God.’

{In Hilda Graef, Mary: A history of Doctrine and Devotion, combined ed. of vols. 1 & 2, London: Sheed & Ward, 1965, vol.2, pp.14-5}

From the the Lutheran confessions; Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration:

On account of this personal union and communion of the natures, Mary, the most blessed Virgin, bore not a mere man, but, as the angel [Gabriel] testifies, such a man as is truly the Son of the most high God, who showed His divine majesty even in His mother’s womb, inasmuch as He was born of a virgin, with her virginity inviolate. Therefore she is truly the mother of God, and nevertheless remained a virgin.


Many modern Christians do not take into account linguistic and cultural differences between then and now. Thus, “brothers” to them means children of a common mother and within a nuclear family. This is modernism and revisionism. Their insistence upon Mary having other children simply reveals that they exist in a sex-obsessed culture - which is the opposite of holiness, actually.

In the Middle East and Africa, for instance, even today a “brother” is someone from your same town, or even your same nation if you are abroad. But, with only a bible, and no Magisterial Church, they have no way of knowing this. Thus, it has become “truth” to so many, even though it is a very recent revision. Simply put, even Luther and Calvin argued strongly for Mary’s perpetual virginity. There was no “until” argument for some time, when reasons not to be Catholic had to be found. “Until” arose only after the reformers kept splitting from each other and many new and heretical doctrines appeared.

And, not one of them has a solid explanation as to why Jesus on the cross gave John to Mary and vice versa (John 19:26-27). Remember that john and James already had a mother (Matthew 20:20-28). Again, they cannot explain why, in Luke 2:41-52, Mary and Joseph looked for Jesus among their kinsmen, but no mention is made of searching for Him among her other children. They apparently see no connection to Luke 7:11-17 and following, regarding the widow of Nain, whose only son had just died. Jesus restored her son to her, as well, just as He did in giving John to Mary.

As Catholics, we have not only the great comfort and advantage of a Magisterial Church, but also that we use the entire bible, not merely selected verses in support a particular modern opinion.

I know I am getting off topic on my own thread, but does anybody know when the heresy actually came about? That is, when people brought the heresy that Mary did not remain a virgin?

Obviously, it was sometime after the Reformation. But, exactly when did it happen?

*Mary’s role was such that there was no need for her to lead a family life like other women. She is the Mother of us all. When Protestants speak of her as being a mere vessel I cringe.

Yes, such inferences are vulgar, worldly. They come from those who still reflect the perverse culture they live in. Did not God choose the mother of His own flesh?

This is an interesting point, however, the context seems to imply witnessing the second coming rather than being in Heaven itself. Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1 (and respective previous verses) add some clarity and seems to confirm that…

Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (Mt. 16:28)

And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” (Mk 9:1)

To me, the most interesting part of those verses is the usage of “standing here”.