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.
Up until your post, I haven't seen any disagreement. I'm a Protestant and have no problem with the title "Mother of God". Jesus is God. He called her his mother. If I ever disagree with Him it's because I'm wrong.
**What we also all agree on is that we don’t kill those who disagree with us**
Then how about we “CHRISTIANS” GET our heads out of our BUTTS... we have an enemy the WANTS to KILL US.. and if we don’t KILL THEM .. THEY WILL make the Inquisition look like a baseball game.
C’mon, folks, you are overthinking this. You gotta have FAITH, first, then the inconsistencies resolve themselves.
Some things had to be transformed down to a very basic level for wide numbers of folks to believe in God, angels, the afterlife, and redemption. If it takes what may only be termed a “miracle” to change the hearts and minds of the multitude, then God has got to do what it takes.
God, or one of the manifestations of God, born through a mortal woman? Why should that be an unpopular idea, especially in these days of welcoming secular idols whose image is spread via an electromagnetic medium that a couple of hundred years ago would have been denounced as “magic” or worse, “Satan’s handiwork”?
You work with what you have at hand. Two thousand years ago, communication traveled about as fast as a man could walk, run, or ride a horse at full gallop. So it took a while for the message of God to travel, and only extraordinary events would make this transmission of the word of God widespread as quickly as it was.
Well said..you Catholic hater /sarcasm
“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.”
That is not accurate in any normal meaning of Flesh and Blood. Flesh and blood of a new child grown from the fertilized egg, in accordance with the genetic instructions, in the environment of the mother’s womb. Children often have a different blood type than the father, and organ transplants from mother to child, or child to mother may, or may not be a match.
My enemy is tyranny over the mind of man, no matter what the source.
My enemy is tyranny over the mind of man, no matter what the source.
She did not contribute the genetic material for his human spirit, which is discernible from God the Holy Spirit.
Man was originally formed in body, soul, and spirit. Original sin separated the human spirit from God. An immediate spiritual death ensued.
The campaign to elevate Mary was once intended to compete to fill the niche of ancient female goddesses (Diana/Artemis, Athena/Minerva, Ceres/Demeter, Hecate, Juno/Hera). Modern attempts are intended to provide a heresy that corresponds with the feminist heresy.
Anything to keep the donations flowing in, and provide secular tax breaks.
Gitmo... excuse me... but over the last week or so..there has been a series of POSTS her on FRee Republic .. Excoriating the MORMONS.. another batch doing the same with CATHOLICS, and another tho smaller batch bashing sections of the Protestants.
Which is why my post was #3... we have enough problems in the world without Christians going after each other.
On the contrary. You are both subscribing to the Heresy of Nestorianism - 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.
**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.**
Let’s hear it for Luther and Calvin!
Are you parting ranks with Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and other Reformers? Strange.
“On the contrary. You are both subscribing to the Heresy of Nestorianism - the error that Jesus is two distinct persons.
Occasionally, I wonder what you’re smoking...
This is one of those times.
Jesus Christ existed as God in eternity before He was born
and received a human nature. That isn’t Nestorianism, NYer.
What are Mary’s last words in the Bible?
“Do whatever HE tells you.”
She fades out the Bible there after the Wedding at Cana. Christ is the center of the Catholic faith.
your comment makes sense.
Well, unto you showed up, no one has been “hating” on anyone around here, just discussing whether Mary is divine (she’s not). We know who the fanatical Muslims are and the military will deal with them as they are allowed according to those in charge. I support my country by paying my taxes, praying for the leadership to do the right thing and having raised a son who is in the military.
Even Mary says in Luke 1:46,47 that she’s in need of a savior. She gave birth to Jesus but that doesn’t make her divine; blessed and very special, yes. The Holy Ghost covered Mary with a “shadow” in Luke 1:35. What this shadow was or is or does is just the mystery of God. Not everything can be or should be explained to us lest we take that explanation and bastardize it and make it mean what WE want it to mean. Peace to everyone and love for all good things.
What we call the Bible are sacred books and letters assembled and so recognized and authenticated by the Catholic Church.
Mary bore a Son, the Christ. He is both divine and human, and She is therefore the Mother of Christ as He Himself recognized her in one of his last seven words from the cross.
“Mother, behold your son.” (John 19:26-27)
The idea that Mary is divine has no basis in scripture. Mary was a virgin chosen by God to bear Jesus. and nothing more.
This difference in doctrine is in fact a major difference between the Catholics and say the Baptists.
Therefore, Mary is mother of God. Problems?
You cannot receive human nature if you are divine and eternal unless you've assumed nature present in creation. Mary is simply the person whom God receives human nature from. Otherwise, He has not taken on, nor assumed any part of His creation.
What is not assumed by God's divinity is not saved.
“What we call the Bible are sacred books and letters assembled and so recognized and authenticated by the Catholic Church.”
What I call the Bible are writings inspired by God,
spoken through men as they were moved by God, 2/3
of which were given to God’s people, the Jewish nation,
which the early Christian Church recognized and accepted.
To this were added the books written by Apostles, and
a couple that had the ring of authority and truth.
“He Himself recognized her in one of his last seven words from the cross.”
Could you also share a passage where Christ refers to Mary
as Mother of God?
The Church recognizes that Christ has two natures, joined
in one hypostatic union in one person. Nestorianism did not.
I hold the same position as the historic Church.
In this discussion, I am pointing out that Christ’s divine
nature existed before His birth - He did not receive it from
Are you advocating that Christ did not have a divine nature
or existence before his human birth?
Here’s how I see it. All babies look like Winston Churchill.
Churchill had an English father and American mother. Jesus was half human, though without sin. The Son of Man, and God.
And he had a number of siblings: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his BRETHREN, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his SISTERS, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” Matthew 13:55-56
Common experience tells us that the birth canal is not a one way street—there’s no such thing, at least in our species, as parthenogenesis. Mary was “intact” when she became pregnant with Him—if you ignore the passage about what a swell guy Joseph was for marrying her even though she was, um, in a `delicate condition’—because she was artificially inseminated by an Angel, right? So Jesus had to be the oldest and, well, there it is.
I hope that clears things up for you all.
What is not assumed by God is not saved, unless God takes on human nature, he cannot purify his creatures. This is the mystery of the incarnation. God "emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;" (ASV Phil 7:2)
If Jesus did not assume his humanity from his creation, namely from Mary, how did he get it? How can Jesus assume the nature of man without assuming the nature of man? Only in Jesus is sin obliterated, do not we believe this? That the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins?
What if Jesus popped right out of thin air? Why go through the trouble of birth?
Because, he wanted to be intimately united to man, this is why he shares a genealogy in Matthew's Gospel.
In Jesus the divine and the creature are united, and by that, our humanity is saved by the obedience of one sinless man.
Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ. All of Him. His natures are not and cannot be separated.