Skip to comments.How could Mary be the Mother of God?
Posted on 01/02/2010 3:32:55 PM PST by NYer
The title "Mother of God" is offensive to some Protestant Christians because they believe that this title raises Mary to an inappropriate, even idolatrous, level -- the level of God Himself. There is also genuine confusion on the part of others -- including Catholics -- about how a finite creature (Mary) could be the "mother" of an eternal being. "Wouldn't Mary have had to exist before God in order to be His mother?", they reason.
Referring to Mary as "Mother of God," however, does not imply that she existed from all eternity (like God) or that she is the source of Jesus' divine nature. Mary was and is a human being. She is the Mother of God because she gave birth to the God-Man, Jesus, "the Word made flesh" (John 1).
The reality of Mary's divine maternity was proclaimed a dogma of the faith by the Council of Ephesus in 431, and this teaching contains two important affirmations:
1) Mary is truly a mother. Since Jesus had no human father, Mary contributed all genetic material to the formation of His human nature. As Pope John Paul II states in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater, "[Jesus] is the flesh and blood of Mary!" (see Catechism 485)
2) Mary conceived and bore the Second Person of the Trinity. Echoing the Nestorian heresy (which denied the inseparable unity of two natures of Christ in one Person), some Protestant Christians hold that Mary was the mother of Jesus' human nature only. But a mother does not give birth to a nature; she gives birth to a person. Since Jesus is a divine Person, it is logical that Mary be called the "Mother of God" (in Greek, Theotokos), even if this mystery has aspects that exceed our human understanding.
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) teaches
Called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus," Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord." In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos). [CCC 495]
The word Theotokos also helps us to understand this teaching a little better. The word literally means "God bearer," not "God generator." To "generate" God would imply that one is His origin, but this cannot be true because God exists from all eternity. To "bear" God means to hold him in one's womb. Historic Christianity (i.e., the Catholic and Orthodox churches) believe that Mary actually bore God (in the person of Jesus Christ) in her womb. Jesus didn't "become God" when He left her womb.
To deny Mary's divine maternity is to cast doubt on the reality of Jesus' divinity. Mary's divine maternity is, then, essentially a "Christological" dogma in that it affirms the divine Personhood of Jesus. To emphasize the profound importance of this teaching, the Church has restored the ancient feast of Mary, Mother of God on January 1.
Since we have been reborn as children of God in baptism and now share in the divine life through grace, Mary has become our mother as well. By drawing near to her as our mother, we draw near to Jesus Himself, the source of our salvation. This is why devotion to Mary is so essential to the life of the Christian, and why the Church encourages us to foster a greater love for the Blessed Mother in our lives.
One final point. It is interesting to note that two of the early Protestant leaders, Martin Luther and John Calvin, taught Mary's divine maternity and even condemned those who denied this essential truth.
Hey, I don’t question God. Mary is the “Woman of the Promise” prophesied in the Old Testament. God wanted to come among us, and chose to do so in the form of a baby, who grew to manhood enduring the trials and tribulations of humans, and giving us tenets to live by, along the way. She was chosen by Him, not by any of us, and Jesus revered and respected her, so I figure we should do the same.
Excuse me PEOPLE ... OUR ENEMY is islamist TERRORIST MURDERERS. and maybe the Westboro baptist Cult
our enemy is NOT the CATHOLICS, Protestants, or the MORMONS.
If you wanna fight over religious grounds.. lets get to the REAL ENEMY..
C’mon PEOPLE... I don’t want to be carrying a PRAYER RUG around with me.
I think this is the critical statement: “The word literally means “God bearer,” not “God generator.” To “generate” God would imply that one is His origin, but this cannot be true because God exists from all eternity. To “bear” God means to hold him in one’s womb.”
A human mother generates a new being, so calling her “Mother of God” is both accurate and misleading. The norms break down for a totally unique event.
Well said. Christian unity is paramount in battling the beast.
“The reality of Mary’s divine maternity was
proclaimed a dogma of the faith by the Council
of Ephesus in 431, ...”
That is the problem with elevating tradition to doctrine -
it never ends.... even where it is in conflict with the Bible.
Saying that Mary was chosen to bear Christ is vastly different
than saying she is the Mother of God. Christ was God the Son
before His incarnation into Mary’s womb. Mary contributed to
Christ’s human nature. Not His divine nature, which He always
One reflects a fact, as a result of God’s divine choice.
The other says more than it should.
not that any of that would change your belief. Just a comment.
It would be an issue if it was said Mary was:
the mother of all Gods.
Surrogate Mother? God the Son (one third of the Holy Trinity) had to come in the flesh and Mary was chosen to be his flesh mother. Both Mary and Joseph could trace their ancestors back to King David. Thus Jesus was born of Royalty, and will soon sit on the thrown in Jerusalem.
This thing called the “Trinity” includes the Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost. That would necessarily include Mother Mary as the vessel of Christ’s birth.
I agree - and please also note that the question and answer of how could Jesus be Divine (God) and still be human is the same question being posed concerning Mary’s Motherhood in the title “Mother Of God”. With God anything is possible, since He is infinite and operates both outside and within the limits of time. I’m not a theologian - this is just my opinion.
I will never believe Mary was a virgin...I will believe that GOD put a soul in Jesus.
Mary: Holy Mother
Mary: Mother of Divine Life: Model of Pro-life Apostles [Catholic Caucus]
The Mother of God [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
The Mother of God calls us to be 'Bearers of God'
HE INCREASES AND SHE DECREASES [Mary, Mother of God]
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - Mary, Full of Grace
Happy Mother's Day to Mary - the Mother of God
Catholic beliefs about Mary, the Mother of God
Mary, Mother of God
The Early Church Fathers on The Mother of God - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
Mary, Mother of God
Mary in Feminist Theology: Mother of God or Domesticated Goddess?
Mary: True Mother of God
Feast of Mary, Mother of God (not a Holy Day of Obligation this year)
MARIAN DEVOTION - Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God
It sounds to me as if we are arguing 2000 year old techniques of MARKETING...MOTHER OF GOD has a much better RING to it.
There are CHRISTIAN Groups today who Clearly Proclaim the CHRIST iS GOD.. and I’m talking other than the Originators of the Mother of God bit.
I’m not going to bother repeating ... my othe post still stands.
“Mary contributed all genetic material to the formation of His human nature. As Pope John Paul II states in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater, “[Jesus] is the flesh and blood of Mary!” (see Catechism 485)”
Don’t know how accurate it is, but many years ago, Dr. M.R. De Haan, the originator of The Radio Bible Class from Grand Rapids, MI stated that a baby gets its FLESH from its mother, but its BLOOD from its FATHER.
To my little six-volt mind; in order for Christ’s blood to be sinless, perfect, and acceptable to purge our sins, that would have to be the case.
Obviously, the Pope would attribute it ALL to Mary, as he did in the cited Encyclical, because he is/was involved in Maryolitry! IMHO
Thank you for the cites. You wrote, “Not that any of these would change your mind, but you might discover some more truths.”
True enough. I came to a conviction about who Mary is
and who she is not after studying God’s Word. I have
also examined the writings from the first century.
As I’ve posted before... Protestants make too little of
Mary, Catholics too much.
So, was Mary a hermaphrodite? If Mary contributed all the genetic material, then where did the Y chromosome come from?
From Joseph, despite scripture?
By a miracle of G-d? in which case not all the genetic material came from Mary’s DNA.
Or, was the Y chromosome a Roman soldier....despite scripture?
Or was Jesus a woman, in which case artificial parthogenisis would be an added alternative?
Well said. The divinity of Jesus, the Christ, inheres in him because of his co-equal sharing of the divine godhead, and does not in any sense depend upon or flow from the mortal woman through whose womb he was made incarnate. This heresy is part of a campaign to elevate Mary to the status of co-redemptrix, absent any scriptural authority for so doing.