Augustine wrote:

It is by these manners of speech, when we speak of things that do not happen to God as though they did, that we acknowledge it is he who makes them happen to us, those things at least that are praiseworthy, and these only to the extent that scriptural usage allows it. I mean, we certainly ought not to say anything of the sort about God, which we do not read in his scriptures.

Latin Text: His locutionum modis, cum ea quae non accidunt Deo tamquam illi accidant loquimur, eum facere agnoscimus ut nobis accidant; ea duntaxat quae laudabilia sunt: et haec quantum Scripturarum usus admittis. Neque enim nos temere aliquid tale de Deo dicere debemus, quod in Scriptura eius non legimus.

– Augustine, Commentary on the Literal Meaning of Genesis, Book IV, Chapter 9, Section 17 (PL34:302); translation in The Works of Saint Augustine: a Translation for the 21st Century, Part I (Books), Volume 13, On Genesis, p. 251 (New City Press, Hyde Park, NY: 2002)

Augustine would say that we should not say things about God that we do not read about in His Scriptures, yet we see Rome trying to create extra-biblical traditions about God and what God has done, all the time.

We see it in the Immaculate Conception dogma and the Assumption of Mary dogma. These dogmas cannot be defended from Scripture. Nevertheless, Rome (through many of her apologists) attempts to defend these dogmas on the grounds of fitness.

It is very nice to say that something would be “fitting,” but would it not be as “fitting” to preserve Mary entirely from having to watch her firstborn child (Matthew 1:25 & Luke 2:7) be crucified? Would it not be “fitting” for God to preserve Mary from the sword piercing her heart (Luke 2:34-35 & Mark 3:21-35)?

If you think it would not be fitting for his mother to be a sinner, how much less fitting that his maternal grandparents be sinners? How much less fitting that he be descended from the illicit tryst of Judah and Tamar (Matthew 1:3 & Genesis 38:6-30), or from the illicit union of Lot and his eldest daughter (Matthew 1:5; Ruth 4:10; and Genesis 19:29-38) ?

If you think it would not be fitting for such a great woman as Mary to be assumed into heaven, how does the end of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:6-11 & Mark 6:21-28) square with you? To have his head lopped off as the prize for an exotic dancer? Why should not the greatest of all the prophets (Matthew 11:11 & Luke 7:28) meet an end like Enoch (Genesis 5:21-24 & Hebrews 11:5) or Elijah (2 Kings 2:9-14)?

Man’s ideas of “fitness” are an untrustworthy and reliable measure of things. God himself declares, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) The proper measure is God’s revelation of himself through Scripture. Even so, let us measure, rather than harkening unto fables and judging things according to our weak sense of “fitness.”

– TurretinFan

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