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.
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)
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