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Catholic doctrine asserts that Mary the Mother of Jesus was not only without sin and ever-virgin, but that she also ascended into Heaven. Some Eastern traditions hold that she even died, then was raised on the third day.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church States, in paragraph 974:

The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son's Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of His Body.

From Wikipedia:

Eastern Christians believe that Mary died a natural death, that her soul was received by Christ upon death, and that her body was resurrected on the third day after her death and that she was taken up into heaven bodily in anticipation of the general resurrection. Her tomb was found empty on the third day. "...Orthodox tradition is clear and unwavering in regard to the central point [of the Dormition]: the Holy Virgin underwent, as did her Son, a physical death, but her body – like His – was afterwards raised from the dead and she was taken up into heaven, in her body as well as in her soul. She has passed beyond death and judgement, and lives wholly in the Age to Come.

What is the biblical basis for this doctrine?

  • possible duplicate of Was the Assumption of Mary a belief in the early church? – The Freemason Jun 11 '15 at 20:13
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    @TheFreemason that question says "the Bible is silent about this matter" in the body of the question which is, I suppose, the answer to this question, but it offers no support. I'm asking for a supported answer. So, while they are certainly related, this question is certainly not a duplicate. – Andrew Jun 11 '15 at 20:28
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    @Marc... When I originally asked, I was unaware that this was one of two doctrines established by papal decree, the other being the immaculate conception of Mary. Your question "what is the biblical basis of biblical basis?" isn't relevant here, but perhaps you can ask a question about the motivation and support of the Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura. – Andrew Jun 15 '15 at 14:27
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    @MattGutting Indeed. Those teachings along with their accompanying damnations for those who doubt and challenge them were dogmatically established as infallible by papal ex cathedra statements, though they had been held by the magisterium for some time proceeding. Ergo (Re. Marc's comment), they need not be supported scripturally to be held in the Catholic Church, and indeed must be held. I am still, however, asking about their biblical support. – Andrew Jun 16 '15 at 19:35
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There is no obvious basis for the Assumption of Mary in the Bible. Mary is mentioned a few times outside the birth narratives of Luke and Matthew:

Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary... (Mark 6:3)

Is he not the carpenter's son? Is not his mother named Mary ... (Matthew 13:55)

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother ... (John 19:25)

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. (John 2:1)

His mother and his brothers arrived. (Mark 3:31)

While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared (Matthew 12:46)

Then his mother and his brothers came to him (Luke 8:19)

All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus (Acts 1:14)

Nothing is said about Mary's death specifically. However, it appears from this link given in another answer that the Church traditionally has interpreted the vision of the woman in Revelation 12 as referring to Mary taken up into heaven:

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. ... The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God ...

(Revelation 12:1,6a)

This may be as close as we get to a biblical basis for the belief in the Assumption.

Since you specifically do not ask about the history, I am not including another review of that.

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Are the Marian Doctrines explicitly mentioned in the Bible? The answer is "no". It is worth remembering, however, that every Christian believes something not explicitly mentioned in the Bible. We are thus brought to the interrelated questions of authority and interpretation. In other words, we must ask: Who has the ultimate authority to interpret Revelation?

However, before I say anything about these issues, I would like to address the charge of idolatry. The Marian Doctrines, though not strictly Biblical, are emphatically not pillars of idolatry. If the Catholic Church taught that Mary is equal to God, it would be guilty of idolatry. While the Catholic Church does teach that Mary is the new Eve, and while Mary does enjoy a privileged position within Catholic theology, the Church has never taught that Mary is God.

Concerning the question of authority, it is worth noting at the outset that the existence of the Church far predates the existence of a canonical Bible. Nevertheless, the Bible is crucial to Christian life as we know it -- and anything which contradicts the Bible should be thrown away. Still, we should not commit the heresy of believing that the Word can be reduced to the Bible. After all, the Word of God is Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus is Revelation made flesh. Having said that, who has the authority to interpret Scripture? You? Me? Your Pastor? Who gets to declare what is really God's saving truth?

Some Christians feel there is no need for interpretation. Aren't things pretty clear? Let's consider an example:

If I washed your feet -- I who am Teacher and Lord -- then you must wash each other's feet. What I just did was to give you an example: as I have done, so you must do. (John 13:14)

This seems pretty clear! Where is the need for interpretation? But how many Christians wash the feet of others? Some Christians claim that Jesus was acting symbolically: Washing feet represents service to others. This is an alright view -- but it is an interpretation. Where in the Gospels does it explicitly say that Jesus was acting symbolically? Some would argue it's implied. Fine. But again, we come against the issue of interpreting Scripture, which always involves ideas not explicitly mentioned in the Bible. If you interpret this passage symbolically, you make use of an authority outside the Bible. Maybe it's your own interpretation. Maybe it's your Pastor's. In any case, we begin to see that referring to the Bible in and of itself as the ultimate authority is questionable.

Catholics know this. Catholics admit this. They see the ultimate authority as residing with the Church. After all, the Church not only interprets the Bible -- it gave us the Bible.

And this does tie in with what we know about Jesus' ministry. After all, one of His first acts (with respect to His ministry) was to gather the 12, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus never promoted individualistic spirituality; but sought to bring the People of God together to properly hear God's Word.

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There is no Biblical basis to the Assumption of Mary.

the Bible seems to be silent about it, and even the early fathers of the Church say nothing about it.

It was an apocryphal belief established in the 4th century, and later added to Catholic canon in the 1950's.

Although the Assumption (Latin: assumptio, "a taking") was only relatively recently defined as infallible dogma by the Catholic Church, and in spite of a statement by Saint Epiphanius of Salamis in AD 377 that no one knew whether Mary had died or not,[7] apocryphal accounts of the assumption of Mary into heaven have circulated since at least the 4th century.

There are no remaining records of the belief from before that time, and it appears to have originated from the pagan beliefs of the areas Christianity had spread into.

The origin of this idolatry had its root in ancient mythology. Astarte of the Assyrians, Ashtoreth of the Sidonians and Bowaney of the Hindoos held the place that Mary occupies in the church of Rome. Greece had her Venus and Rome her Juno. The Diana of the Ephesians was a female, from whose body in every part there seemed to be issuing all the various animals of creation, symbolizing the conception and creation of all things.

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    Thank you for your answer. I believe this is correct, and your the sources you cite support your answer well. However, general practice here is to quote the supporting document in the body of the answer, instead of just the link. If you edit the answer to do so, I'm happy to accept this as the preferred answer. – Andrew Jun 11 '15 at 20:34
  • I agree with Andrew. Here's +1 in advance. – fredsbend Jun 11 '15 at 21:57
  • @Andrew Here you go. – Slacklord the Terrible Jun 12 '15 at 19:40
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    quite a lot of speculation irrelevant to the question – Geremia Jun 12 '15 at 22:31
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    @Axelrod The question asks for biblical basis, not pagan basis. – Geremia Jun 16 '15 at 0:01

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