Skip to comments.Mary, the Mother of God (a defense)
Posted on 01/02/2010 3:07:57 PM PST by NYer
For this reason, sometime in the early history of the Church, our Blessed Mother was given the title "Mother of God." St. John Chrysostom (d. 407), for example, composed in his Eucharistic Prayer for the Mass an anthem in honor of her: "It is truly just to proclaim you blessed, O Mother of God, who are most blessed, all pure and Mother of our God. We magnify you who are more honorable than the Cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim. You who, without losing your virginity, gave birth to the Word of God. You who are truly the Mother of God. "
However, objection to the title "Mother of God" arose in the fifth century due to confusion concerning the mystery of the incarnation. Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople (428-431), incited a major controversy. He stated that Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ, a regular human person, period. To this human person was united the person of the Word of God (the divine Jesus). This union of two persons the human Christ and the divine Word was "sublime and unique" but merely accidental. The divine person dwelt in the human person "as in a temple. " Following his own reasoning, Nestorious asserted that the human Jesus died on the cross, not the divine Jesus. As such, Mary is not "Mother of God," but simply "Mother of Christ" the human Jesus. Sound confusing? It is, but the result is the splitting of Christ into two persons and the denial of the incarnation.
St. Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria (d. 440) refuted Nestorius, asserting, ''It was not that an ordinary man was born first of the Holy Virgin, on whom afterwards the Word descended; what we say is that being united with the flesh from the womb, [the Word] has undergone birth in the flesh, making the birth in the flesh His own..." This statement affirms the belief asserted in the first paragraph.
On June 22, 431, the Council of Ephesus convened to settle this argument. The Council declared, "If anyone does not confess that the Emmanuel is truly God and therefore that the holy Virgin is the Mother of God (Theotokos) (since she begot according to the flesh the Word of God made flesh), anathema sit." Therefore, the Council officially recognized that Jesus is one person, with two natures human and divine united in a true union. Second, Ephesus affirmed that our Blessed Mother can rightfully be called the Mother of God: Mary is not Mother of God, the Father, or Mother of God, the Holy Spirit; rather, she is Mother of God, the Son Jesus Christ. The Council of Ephesus declared Nestorius a heretic, and the Emperor Theodosius ordered him deposed and exiled. (Interestingly, a small Nestorian Church still exists in Iraq, Iran and Syria.)
The incarnation is indeed a profound mystery. The Church uses very precise albeit philosophical language to prevent confusion and error. Nevertheless, as we celebrate Christmas, we must ponder this great mystery of how our divine Savior entered this world, taking on our human flesh, to free us from sin. We must also ponder and emulate the great example of our Blessed Mother, who said, "I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word." May we turn to her always as our own Mother, pleading, "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
Is it proper to call Mary’s father the grandfather of God?
We have these arguments over and over but the facts don't change. Scripture does not support the Catholic's dogma about this. Why must Mary be exalted this false way?
Finding and prosecuting the idiot who defaced the church would be a start. Writing a detailed theological response to the statement is useless... the perp isn't listening and doesn't care.
You apparently missed another thread posted earlier today.
in 431, the Council of Ephesus met, under Cyrils leadership, and solemnly proclaimed that Mary is indeed rightly to be honored as the Theotokos, the Mother of God. It proclaimed that from the moment of his conception, God truly became man. Of course Mary is a creature and could never be the origin of the eternal Trinity, God without beginning or end. But the second person of the blessed Trinity chose to truly become man. He did not just come and borrow a human body and drive it around for awhile, ascend back to heaven, and discard it like an old car. No, at the moment of his conception in the womb of Mary, an amazing thing happened. God the Son united himself with a human nature forever. Humanity and divinity were so closely bound together in Jesus, son of Mary, that they could never be separated again. Everything that would be done by the son of Mary would be the act both of God and of man. So indeed it would be right to say that a man raised Lazarus from the dead and commanded the wind and waves, that God was born that first Christmas day and that, on Good Friday, God died.
Calling Mary Mother of God Tells Us Who Jesus Is
She is therefore his human mother.
By this statement, you, like freeper flowerplough, have fallen prey to one of the oldest christian heresies - Nestorianism.
Nestorianism is the error that Jesus is two distinct persons. The heresy is named after Nestorius, who was born in Syria and died in 451 AD, who advocated this doctrine. Nestorius was a monk who became the Patriarch of Constantinople and he repudiated the Marian title "Mother of God." He held that Mary was the mother of Christ only in respect to His humanity. The council of Ephesus was convened in 431 to address the issue and pronounced that Jesus was one person in two distinct and inseparable natures: divine and human.
Nestorius was deposed as Patriarch and sent to Antioch, then Arabia, and then Egypt. Nestorianism survived until around 1300.
The problem with Nestorianism is that it threatens the atonement. If Jesus is two persons, then which one died on the cross? If it was the "human person" then the atonement is not of divine quality and thereby insufficient to cleanse us of our sins.
I have no objection to mary being called the mother of god, if i did they would not count for anything anyway.
Discusing religion always comes to a dead end unless the discusion directly comes from the Bible.
But i think it is wrong to worship mary.
God told her that she was blessed, but she was not blessed because she was the mother of Christ, but being the mother of the saviour was her blessing, she was already blessed, thats what her blessing was.
Blessed be the mother of God so many times in order is just mans religion.
So Im a Nestorian heretic, then, in your eyes? Brand me twice, I guess...
As a revert to Catholicism I had the opportunity to work in the spiritual guidance department of the Billy Graham Association both as a Protestant and then as a Catholic. Many many Protestants do not understand the name Theotokos, Mother of God. They could if they wanted to but alas many are content to be spoonfed their beliefs about Church and History by those believing that Real Church History begins with the Reformation. all the rest is to them error that began at the end of the Canon of Scripture (for those who don't know - That is what they called it when the Catholics compiled the books of the Bible).
So any theological jargon that was not picked up by the "reformers" is therefore ignored and called false. Little do they know that Theotokos fought off the heresy that Jesus was not both human AND divine. Or that most of what they believe as tenents of the faith was determined by the Catholics they consider heathen.
Scriptures and Catholic dogma are remarkably in agreement on Mary.
So I suppose “God’s baby momma” is out too, huh?
>>>Is it proper to call Marys father the grandfather of God?
At the end of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Mary’s parents (Joachim and Anna) are referred to as the “Holy Ancestors of God.”
I maintain a Catholic Ping List for articles of interest to Catholics. Freepmail me if you would like to be added to the list.
How interesting that you accuse Nestorianism of threatening the act of atonement. When scripture says in Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
If Christ lived a sinless life wholly by the power of being God, what was the point of temptation? Jesus was able to die in our place because he was fully human and that fully human nature lived his life free of all sin. We learn in Philippians 2:5-8
In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death even death on a cross!
Do you actually believe Almighty God was/is ever subject to death? Jesus Christ, when we say he was fully man and fully God, emptied himself and took upon himself the nature of man. God cannot die, he always was and always will be, in order for him to die in our place and to make propitiation for all sin, he became a man and lived a sinless life and gave this life for the sins of all mankind. Still the triune God never stopped existing.
We know from Scripture as well, that Jesus will forever exist in a glorified bodily form complete with the nail scars on his hands and feet. They will forever be a reminder of the sacrifice he made for us and the grace he lavished upon us so that we will dwell with him for all eternity.
This is what's known as the Hypostatic Union. It is the perfect union of the Divine and human natures in the one Person of Jesus Christ. This, and ONLY this, is what is meant by the phrase "true God and true man," or as you said, "fully God and fully man."
If the Divine and human natures were not so completely unified in the Person of Christ, He would either be a half God/half man, or at least not fully God.
If you've ever read Shakespeare, and run across the phrase "Odds Bodkins," here is a recognition of the Hypostatic Union, which means literally "God's Body."
But this is Biblical:
 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
 And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
Luke 1:41-43 RSV
 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
When the Apostle Thomas exclaimed, "My Lord and my God," did the "my Lord" part only address the human "side" of Jesus, and the "my God" part only address the Divine "side?"
Mary, the Blessed Virgin, derives her identity as the Mother of God by virtue of the Hypostatic Union. This High Priest we have is truly like us in all things except sin. He isn't just God in a human body, or any variation thereof that would make Him less than Who He is.
My immediate reaction to hearing Mary called "Mother of God" is hold on there, God always was, how could he have been preceeded by a mother? If you look at this objectively, you may see why people object. They aren't hearing all the further explanations and are taking the title at face value.
My point is, why cause the confusion in the first place? Why seem to exalt Mary above Jesus Christ, because that is what our human experience interprets this as saying? A mother comes before a child.
BTW...I like your postname. :o)
Acts of vandalism are not "objections". Respond with pity.
Of course I understand the reaction. It sounds so foreign to the faith as some have learned it, and seems to make Jesus' Divinity have "less status."
However, that's how great a Lord and King Jesus is, that He Himself, in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit, elevates His Mother to such a high degree:
 And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord,
 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
Luke 1:46-49 RSV
I think that some people are afraid that honoring and loving Mary takes away from loving, honoring, and worshipping Jesus, but such is not the case. The more one honors her, the more one honors Christ. Solomon had his own mother sit at his right hand - can Jesus be any less loving and gracious to *His* mother? It is His Holy Will that we revere His mother, as the above scripture illustrates.
She always points the way to Him saying, "Do whatever He tells you," just as she said at Cana. The closer we let ourselves come to her, the closer we become with Christ, just as Christ draws us to the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. She is the easy way to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
This is not a name taken from Scripture but arrived at in the fourth century by some teachers within the Catholic Church in Rome.
By the way, this was not just any gathering, but rather an Ecumenical Council (the world-wide Church), which was guided by the Holy Spirit. Councils do not come up with new doctrine, but rather define, i.e., come to understand more fully, Divine Revelation.
I wonder why some people have a problem with this Council, it having occurred so much earlier than the Reformation.