There are many layers that one can wade through when dealing with the claim that the Virgin Mary had more children after she gave birth to God in the flesh. But I believe that I have presented here, one of the most convincing arguments against that claim. In fact, it seems to me, that anyone who takes the Bible and History seriously, has no reason to reject Mary’s perpetual virginity, aside from their bias against the Catholic Church. The evidence, to an unbiased observer, weighs heavily in the favor of that doctrine. So let’s begin.
To keep it short and simple, we only need to review two resources. 1. The Gospel of Matthew. 2. The History of the Church by Eusebius.
1. The Gospel of Matthew
Let’s begin with the most relevant passages:
Matthew 13:55 — Jesus at Nazareth
“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
- Jesus’ “brothers”: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas
Matthew 27: 55 — The Crucifixion
“Among them were Mary Magdalene and MARY THE MOTHER OF JAMES AND JOSEPH, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.”
This “Mary” is obviously the mother of the same James and Joseph mentioned in Matt 13:55.
At this point we have simply established the unlikelihood that James and Joseph are sons of the Virgin Mary simply because another Mary is attributed to being their Mother.
That alone seems to make the case that these men were not Jesus’ biological brothers. There’s no need to argue from the Greek, or find some elaborate defense. It’s right there in Matthew.
We also know from John 19:25 that Mary (the mother of James and Joseph) is married to Clopas.
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”
I could use the other gospels to substantiate these facts, but for the sake of space we will move on.
So why is this significant? Let’s look at what Eusebius the historian says in his History of the Church.
The following was written in 340A.D.
Book IV 22:4
And after James the Just had suffered martyrdom, as the Lord had also on the same account, Symeon, the son of the Lord’s uncle, Clopas, was appointed the next bishop. All proposed him as second bishop because he was a cousin of the Lord.
Chapter 11. Symeon rules the Church of Jerusalem after James.
- After the martyrdomof James and the conquest of Jerusalem which immediately followed, it is said that those of the apostlesand disciples of the Lord that were still living came together from all directions with those that were related to the Lord according to the flesh (for the majority of them also were still alive) to take counsel as to who was worthy to succeed James.
- They all with one consent pronounced Symeon, the son of Clopas, of whom the Gospelalso makes mention; to be worthy of the episcopal throne of that parish. He was a cousin, as they say, of the Saviour. For Hegesippusrecords that Clopas was a brother of Joseph.
Notice how Eusebius recounts that Symeon(or Simon) replaced James as the Bishop of Jerusalem, and that his Father is Clopas “the Lord’s Uncle”! Clopas was considered to be Joseph’s brother.
Eusebius is not writing a defense of any particular doctrine, he is simply giving an account of the history of the church as it has been passed down over the previous 300 years by the Apostles and their successors as well as other Christians of the Church.
In Conclusion, the evidence supporting the perpetual virginity of Mary, and the teaching that Jesus did not have biological brother and sisters is strongly supported in both the bible and church history. Unfortunately, there are many popular protestant christians spreading the false teaching of Jesus having biological brothers.
God Bless Your Journey!