What is the “Immaculate Conception”?


By BibleAsk Team

Definition and Origin

The “Immaculate Conception” is a doctrine of the Catholic Church. It teaches that Mary was conceived without sin. The Catholic Church believes God made Mary immune from imputed or inherited sin; that she was the “second Eve” that gave birth to the “second Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45); that through God’s grace she had supernatural redemption. And because of the immaculate conception, she remained sinless.

Pope Pius IX first declared the doctrine of the “Immaculate Conception” to be infallible in 1854. He stated:  “We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful.” -Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854

The Catholic Church observes the Feast of the “Immaculate Conception” of Mary on December eight. And the Eastern Orthodox Church, celebrates the Feast of the Conception by St. Anne (Mary’s mother by tradition) of the Most Holy Theotokos on December nine.

The Virgin Birth – Biblical

The “Immaculate Conception” is different than the Virgin Birth. Many incorrectly think that the “Immaculate Conception” points to the conception of Savior. Jesus’ conception was most definitely immaculate – without sin. But the “Immaculate Conception” does not point to Jesus but to Mary.

The story of the virgin birth is found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke (Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-7; Matthew 1:20-25). The virgin birth is an obvious fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:22-23). Mary’s conception of Jesus through the Holy Spirit sets Jesus as both fully man and fully God (Hebrews 4:14-16) who will reign forever (Philippians 2:10-11).

The “Immaculate Conception” – Not Biblical

Whereas the doctrine of the Virgin Birth is Biblical, the doctrine of the “Immaculate Conception” is not. It is based on human tradition. Mary the mother of Jesus was a godly woman (Luke 1:28) but she was not sinless. The Scriptures says that all have sinned (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10; Ecclesiastes 7:20) except Jesus (John 8:46; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26). Jesus “had no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He is the Lamb of God, “without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19 also 2:22). Sin constantly encircled Him, yet it found no response in Him (John 14:30; 1 John 3:5).

On the other hand, Mary was a sinner. And she herself declared that God was her Savior. In Luke 1, she says, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (verse 47). Similar to every other human being, she was in need of salvation. It never occurred to her that she had been born sinless, as some have unbiblically taught. In fact, Mary declared that God is her Savior from sin: “And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47). Like every created human being, she was in need of salvation.

In addition, the Catholic Church claims that the reference to Mary being “highly favored” (Luke 1:28) and one who was “blessed . . . among women” (Luke 1:42) backs their concept of her being sinless. But these verses don’t say that. For it is possible to be blessed and have God’s favor without being sinless. Catholic teaching also describes Mary as “full of grace,” as support to her being sinless but that phrase is mentioned only two times in the Scriptures. Once referring to Jesus as “full of grace” (John 1:14) and also to Stephen His disciple (Acts 6:8). These passages don’t refer to Mary.

Also, the Roman Catholic Church bases its teaching of the Immaculate Conception on another verse found in Genesis 3:15, where God says to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed.” The church teaches that the enmity between the serpent and the woman is the same enmity between the serpent and the woman’s Offspring and this is why Mary must be as equally sinless as Christ.

The Roman Catholic Church places the doctrine of the “Immaculate Conception” of Mary as an essential basis for why they should venerate, worship and pray to Mary. This doctrine exalts Mary to the divine state of Christ the Creator as equal when she was merely a human being. The Church adopts other unbiblical doctrines relating to Mary such as: The Divine Motherhood, the Co-redeemer, the Perpetual Virginity, and the Assumption…etc.

According to the Bible, Jesus is the only divine Creator (Colossians 1:16), Redeemer (John 3:16) and Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) between God and man. The Immaculate conception is a man-made teaching. Jesus rebuked people for following their own doctrines when He said, “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


The contents of this article and website are not intended to be against any individual. There are many priests and faithful believers in Roman Catholicism who serve God to the best of their knowledge. They are seen by God as His children. Thus, the information contained herein is directed only towards the Roman Catholic religio-political system which has reigned in varying degrees of power for nearly two millennia. This system has established an increasing number of doctrines and statements that directly go against the Bible.

It is our purpose to lay the clear Word of God before you, the truth-seeking reader, to decide for yourself what is truth and what is error. Therefore, if you find anything here contrary to the Bible, do not accept it. However, if you desire to seek for Truth as for hidden treasure, and find herein something of that quality and feel that the Holy Spirit is revealing Truth to you, please make all haste to accept it.

We'd love your feedback, so leave a comment!

If you feel an answer is not 100% Bible based, then leave a comment, and we'll be sure to review it.
Our aim is to share the Word and be true to it.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments