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.
No, I am saying that the selection of new testament writings occured in the 4th century, after the first century witnesses were dead.
Here are some homework questions for you:
The councils were convened when?
The Emperor retained the position and authority of Pontifex Maximus until when?
The Bishop of Rome was given the authority of Pontifex Maximus by who, and in what year?
LOL. Scientism is excommunicates scientists who question the orthodoxy of faith-based macro evolution.
Then why argue this? Why not argue something basic, like Intellegent Design, or Jesus vs. world religions?
An interesting book is “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross” by John Allegro. He asserts that Mark is a text that encodes and protects the secret of how to prepare and consume the aminita muscaria mushroom (fly agaric) to have religious experiences (see sounds and hear colors type).
John Allegro was one of the less productive members of the committee that produced the “Revised Standard Version” and was just in time to justify some of the drug cultures of the 1960s.
Scientism only excommunicates those who have not done their experments yet.
Would you be so kind to spell out your abbreviations?
I have read every post up to yours, and I have yet to see anyone claim Mary is divine.
And are there no connections to humanity through Mary? None whatsoever, however miraculous that seems? I would think that Jesus's life and birth are both a combination of miracle and natural, it seems to be the way God often worked in scriptures. Any theophany in the OT is an example.
I presume you mean “Intelligent Design”...
That is another interesting subject, but I rarely start these threads. I believe that the Catholic position on Evolution is that it is a correct statement of how G-d created the current diversity of species. I actually agree with Evolution, but coming up with valid experiments is quite challenging.
But we have it on good authority that she is free of original sin...
On the other hand when Pelagius promulgated his list of people who were free of sin (Mary, Elijah, Elisha, Enoch, who was translated, others) he was excommunicated.
Oh gosh, sorry for being so far off the mark! LOL!
And Tertullian was a heretic as well, yet much of his writing is used in the Church. This sounds like the nazi-phallacy. Not everything a heretic says is untrue, if I asked Pelagius who the emperor was at the time of his reign I'm sure he'd give an honest answer.
The other fun heresy is Arianism. According to Wikipedia, “Of all the various disagreements within the Christian Church, the Arian controversy has held the greatest force and power of theological and political conflict”.
We all have to believe Wikipedia, don’t we?
Well, not on this site.
Nice obfuscation. No experiments are necessary to doubt the unproven faith article of macro evolution.
Excuse me but my post was not directed to you.
In Science, you are supposed to doubt.
Descartes said “I think, therefore I am.” But that was his second syllogism. The first was “I doubt, therefore I think.”
All scientific truths are subject to doubt, and the really interesting part is when something you thought would be true ain’t so.
Other than the general principle of scriptural inerrancy, there is no defined Catholic position on Evolution. There is only private opinion of individuals.
Don’t use potty language on the Religion Forum
Well, they say even a blind pig finds a few acorns every now and then.
You are corrct that scripture doesn’t refer to evolution directly. It has other matters that are worthy of interest.
I beg your pardon. I think it is customary to use “Private Reply” if you don’t care to have your thoughts reviewed by others.
Again, sorry if I offended.
What offends me is to see people take what others say and twist it to fit their own agenda.No one on this post claimed Mary is divine.In fact, it was stated very clearly that Jesus received ONLY his human nature from Mary.His divinity comes from Himself.Yes she was born without original sin,but that was only possible because of Christs’ work upon the Cross. She needed a savior just as much as you or I do, hence she is Not divine and no true Catholic would claim otherwise.
The campaign of which I speak is not of scriptural origins. Mary understood well her mortality, and that she, like all we mortals, stood in need of forgiveness and redemption.
“The campaign of which I speak is not of scriptural origins.”
The ‘campaign’ of which you speak is a product of your imagination.
“Mary understood well her mortality, and that she, like all we mortals, stood in need of forgiveness and redemption.”
Mary acknowledged that Jesus was her Savior. He just saved her from the beginning of her existence.
If you can’t document this supposed ‘campaign’ for the last 1500 years I suggest you stop creating things out of whole cloth.
I have been wrong before though.
“The old testament selection was performed by the council of Rabbis after the Christians did their selection of authoritive books of the New Testament.”
The scrolls were in the Temple before the Church came into
existence, therefore I believe you are incorrect in you assertion. They were available hundreds of years before the
Church. This comprises 2/3 of the Word of God.
I also affirm and appreciate that God used the early,
historic church to prevent the corruption of many books
We have the Word of God in written form as a result of
GOD’S superintending the process through varying human
agency. For this I am thankful.
There was the point at His baptism when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove (as opposed to the form of a flame at Pentacost), but not divine? Hmmm. Considering our salvation is only from God, I cannot see God not being involved from the genetic start. Jesus must have had the perfect combination of genes, with no illness or degradation, and actually without His murder, should have lived forever.
There must be thousands of books on His divinity that you need to read. It doesn’t mean that Jesus couldn’t transcend the space time continuum, I have dabbled in thought about this with the fact that ‘EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM’ when He returns (does He return throughout time???). Fun to think about! Not spending a lifetime on, though. :)
All of God’s servants and children who give their lives to God are therefore co-redemptrix? Are we not all called to portray God in our lives and bring others to redemption? Bearing the Son of God did not guarantee Mary’s salvation. It was the gift of faith from God in that baby as Savior that saved Mary.
Does God overreach? Or does He give insight to us as to the past and why things happened the way they did. Fulfilled Biblical prophecy is well documented, so if God used a past human life to portray a future divine redemptive life, so be it. We understand things better that way. Try teaching a child without pictures or hands-on learning. Try teaching an adult HVAC without it!
That's the problem right there. Talk to any PC liberal and they think they're following Christian teaching, even though they're usually "agnostics". Christians are not told they can't defend themselves or defend what's right and any religion that tells its followers that their [moon]-god instructs them to kill infidels is not a religion of God, but one of Satan. God in his infinite wisdom created all people so why would he want some to kill others in a twisted perversion of his teaching.
Bottom line, it's like you said we need to as a country get our heads out of our butts.
The decision of Christ to choose Mary, from her conception onwards is what kept her from sinning, and granted her salvation. This is different from anyone else.
Certainly they were all dead. And so were the second century people; they had died as well. I am familiar with the councils and the progression that they made towards the selection of Canon of the Scripture.
I am also familiar with the title of Pontifex Maximus. Ca. 300 BC, it was the title of Roman priests (a selection of them), and it wasn't until Julius Caesar, that it was relegated to one man. This passed on until the Emperor Gratian in 378 refused the title and passed it to the bishop of Rome since he was a devout Christian and thought that a priestly title belonged with the Church, and not the Emperor.
Not unless it was permitted by Him. The NT is full of His predictions and general discussion of the Crucifixion. I'm sure that you are familiar with them. Then, to Isaiah.
Isaiah 53: 4 3 Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed. 6 We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; But the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all. 7 Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. 8 Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away, and who would have thought any more of his destiny? When he was cut off from the land of the living, and smitten for the sin of his people, 9 A grave was assigned him among the wicked and a burial place with evildoers, Though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood.
Thus we have John telling us that Jesus is God; we have the predictions of Jesus' death and Resurrection all throught the NT, and we have some OT predictions. Pretty telling, really.
“Contrary to many people’s understanding ( even
some Roman Catholics) that means that MARY was
conceived without sin ; an entirely unscriptural
and illogical proposition.”
What part of scripture does the doctrine contradict? Rather, it solves the problem as to how Christ was free from sin and yet still inherited a human nautre.
“The old testament selection was performed by the council of Rabbis after the Christians did their selection of authoritive books of the New Testament.”
Wrong, completely wrong.
The Septuagint, which included the so-called deuterocanonical books, was in use well before.
The reason many of them (1,2 Maccabbees) in particular were challenged is because they were quite a bit newer than the rest of the Septuagint, having been written within a century of the Septuagint.
“The Catholic Church had some theological things that they could not justify in the rabbinically selected old testament, and so added what are known as the apocrapha.”
Wrong. The Catholic church used the Septuagint throughout, and then St. Jerome did his own Latin translation of the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT, and published the Vulgate which was the first time they were both published together. St. Jerome included the deuterocanoncal books, and appended a notation that he did not possess hebrew originals (which isn’t surprising given that Maccabees was written so late).
The Vulgate was in use from 500 for close to a thousand years. It’s only when Luther who didn’t like the deuterocanonical books, that he excised them and other protestants followed suit.
The only one who’s taken books out is Luther and his followers. The Catholic church did not add the books, they were there before there even was a Church at all, in the Septuagint.
What is the scripture that supports this proposition?
And to this day, orthodox Protestants agree. Only fringe groups part ways on this.
On the other hand, since there is no example in scripture, Protestants do not accept that a human in Heaven can hear and answer prayers--only the all present, all knowing and all powerful God can do that.
You know, don’t you, that the “extra books”
(old testtament period) are not accepted
by the Jews. Interesting, no ?
Yes, but that was not always so. Jews back in the time of Christ accepted them.
“What is the scripture that supports this proposition?”
You said it was unscriptural. I take that to mean that it contradicts scripture, not merely that it isn’t explicitly stated in scripture.
For example, would you consider the Trinity to be unscriptural?
Interesting Scripture you have there.
I don’t know.......you know men.....
Not to mention, utterly unnecessary. The divinity of Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Messiah, is not in any sense dependent upon how Mary, his mortal mother, was conceived, or how she lived her life as a wife and mother after having given birth to Jesus, or the manner of disposal of her mortal remains upn her death.
Having read and studied the Gospels, and indeed the entire Christian Bible, it is difficult for me to comprehend, intellectually and logically, why it should be necessary to write a statement such as I just did for the edification of people who profess to be Christians.