Skip to comments.Why Was Christ Born of a Woman?
Posted on 12/21/2016 9:57:37 AM PST by Salvation
As Christmas draws closer, we continue to ponder the approaching mysteries. Today we will consider some of the things St. Thomas Aquinas taught regarding the Incarnation.
Why did the Lord choose to come to us through a woman, Mary? He could have come in any manner He pleased. Yesterday, we pondered why He took true flesh and a human nature to Himself rather than just coming as a kind of ghost or simply as God. But even in becoming truly and fully man, He could have chosen to bypass conception, gestation, birth, infancy, and youth entirely. He could have appeared suddenly on earth as a grown manbut He did not. Why not?
Remember, too, that although He chose to come through an earthly mother, he bypassed the participation of an earthly father (in the physical sense). If the biological role of a human father was bypassed in His taking flesh, why was the role of a human mother not similarly bypassed?
St. Thomas pondered this question in his Summa Theologica (part III, question 31, article 4) and set forth three reasons. St. Thomas commentary is shown in bold italics, while my poor remarks appear in red.
[First,] Although the Son of God could have taken flesh from whatever matter He willed, it was nevertheless most becoming that He should take flesh from a woman. First because in this way the entire human nature was ennobled. Hence Augustine says (QQ. lxxxiii, qu. 11): It was suitable that man’s liberation should be made manifest in both sexes.
So, in this manner both sexes were ennobled. The male sex was ennobled because the Word became flesh and was male. The female sex was ennobled because it was from Mary that Christ took His humanity.
Secondly, because thus the truth of Incarnation is made evident. Wherefore Ambrose says (De Incarnation vi): Thou shalt find in Christ many things both natural, and supernatural. In accordance with nature he was within the womb but it was above nature that a virgin should conceive and give birth: that you may believe that He was God, who was renewing nature
Both the natural and the supernatural are evident in Christs conception and incarnation. St. Thomas emphasized the elevated need for the natural so that we might avoid the heresy of thinking that Christs humanity was not real due to its wholly supernatural origin.
And [as] Augustine says (Ep. ad Volus. cxxxvii): If Almighty God had created a man formed otherwise than in a mothers womb, and had suddenly produced him to sight would He not have strengthened an erroneous opinion, and made it impossible for us to believe that He had become a true man? But now, He, the mediator between God and man, has so shown Himself, that, uniting both natures in the unity of one Person, He has given a dignity to ordinary by extraordinary things, and tempered the extraordinary by the ordinary.
So it was fitting that Christ should be born of a woman, Mary, so as not to lose the natural in the supernatural, but that both the natural (because He is true man) and the supernatural (because He is true God) should balance and complete each other.
Thirdly, the first man was made from the slime of the earth, without the concurrence of man or woman: Eve was made of man but not of woman: [though since], other men are made from both man and woman. So [it] . remained as it were proper to Christ, that He should be made of a woman without the concurrence of a man.
In other words, it seems fitting or proper that because Adam and Eve were both created outside of the usual order of things, the New Adam, Christ, would be made in a unique manner. Eve was made without the help of another woman, but was drawn by God directly from the man, Adam. In a kind of balancing parallelism, the New Adam was made by God directly from the woman, Mary, without the help of a man.
St. Thomas seems to point to a kind of poetic balance, not a necessary balance. Saying that something is fitting does not mean that it is necessary or required, only that it is well suited to the situation. On the one hand, something can be fitting because, by it, we humans can more easily understand it. On the other hand, something can be fitting because it best suits Gods own purposes.
Christ Born of a Woman ping.
Monsignor Pope Ping!
No mention of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, the fulfillment thereof written in Matthew 1:23?
Because it would have been really weird to have him born of a man?
Or the prophecy of Genesis 3.15
Not to mention, the miracle is that the Messiah was to be born of a virgin woman. It was specifically meant to be a sign from God.
5 Replies. It took that many to come up with the obvious answer.
Because that’s where babies come from.
Sorry to be such a smart alec, but I just couldn’t resist.
In that era they knew better.
It was going to be my answer if you hadn’t posted it.
That and the promise that Jesus would come from the line of David, a branch of Jesse, and therefore be the proper lineage for the Messiah.
Jesus is the Branch:
I always thought it fitting that the solution to sin would come from a source of sin’s origination. Eve was first to bite the apple, Christ came with the final solution to sin propagated through man.
The reason why Christ had no earthly father is thus.
There are two types of sin, original and natural. Original sin is the sin that is imputed to us through Adams sin. Because Adam sinned we all bear his sin, and that sin is imputed to us through our earthly fathers. Natural sin is that which we give to ourselves by not being holy and by violating Gods holiness, sins such as lust, theft, etc.
So, just by being born, we are sinners; assuming we had an earthly father.
Jesus, in order to be the perfect sacrifice for your sins, had to be perfect; no original sin or natural sin. For Jesus to have no original sin, he had to be born with having an earthly father, “the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary.”
For the reason Jesus had to be born at all is thus.
Jesus had to be fully man and fully God in order to satisfy the demand for the perfect sacrifice. In order to fully man He had to be born.
“he had to be born with having an earthly father, “
WITHOUT not With
Because he had to be fully human.
Whew... Read the title incorrectly the first time as “Was Christ born a Woman?” (Laughing at self)
Christ needed to be born of a woman as He had to lower Himself to our level to become our Savior. In my humble opinion, Christs greatest sacrifice was not dying on the cross, but lowering Himself to our level to help us... (and we are still slow learners even with such a great teacher)
So yes, Christ was born of a woman as that was the required entry into a human body to help us.
There is another question I have. Was the body prepared for Jesus to enter or did He enter at conception. My thoughts are at conception as His Father in Heaven created the zygote for Jesus to enter the physical body.
I know that life begins at conception as if a new soul were not present, the zygote would not form. Just as the physical body is dead when the soul departs.
Some people would say that I think way too much. However, I remember my own life prior to birth and it doesn’t fit what I understand per above.
God could have made a physical body for Jesus just as He made man... However, that was not His plan according to the Old Testament which were His earlier words.
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