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Mother of God?

3

September 13, 2012 by mattfradd


Yesterday, as you may be aware, I posted a blog entitled “3 Shocking Quotes on Mary.”  This generated a lively discussion on why Catholics refer to Mary as the Mother of God. Because of this I have decided to post an article from www.catholic.com  entitled Mary: Mother of God

Mary: Mother of God

Protestants are sometimes horrified when the Virgin Mary is referred to as the Mother of God. However, their reaction often rests upon a misapprehension of not only what this particular title of Mary signifies but also who Jesus was, and what their own theological forebears, the Protestant Reformers, had to say regarding this doctrine.

A woman is a man’s mother either if she carried him in her womb or if she was the woman contributing half of his genetic matter or both. Mary was the mother of Jesus in both of these senses; because she not only carried Jesus in her womb but also supplied all of the genetic matter for his human body, since it was through her—not Joseph—that Jesus “was descended from David according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3).

Since Mary is Jesus’ mother, it must be concluded that she is also the Mother of God: If Mary is the mother of Jesus, and if Jesus is God, then Mary is the Mother of God. There is no way out of this logical syllogism, the valid form of which has been recognized by classical logicians since before the time of Christ (Learn about what constitutes a sound argument here).

Mother of His Divinity?

Although Mary is the Mother of God, she is not his mother in the sense that she is older than God or the source of her Son’s divinity, for she is neither. Rather, we say that she is the Mother of God in the sense that she carried in her womb a divine person—Jesus Christ, God “in the flesh” (2 John 7, cf. John 1:14)—and in the sense that she contributed the genetic matter to the human form God took in Jesus Christ.

Neo-Nestorianism

To avoid this conclusion, Protestants often assert that Mary did not carry God in her womb, but only carried Christ’s human nature. This assertion reinvents a heresy from the fifth century known as Nestorianism, which runs aground on the fact that a mother does not merely carry the human nature of her child in her womb. Rather, she carries the person of her child. Women do not give birth to human natures; they give birth to persons. Mary thus carried and gave birth to the person of Jesus Christ, and the person she gave birth to was God.

The Nestorian claim that Mary did not give birth to the unified person of Jesus Christ attempts to separate Christ’s human nature from his divine nature, creating two separate and distinctpersons—one divine and one human—united in a loose affiliation. It is therefore a Christological heresy, which even the Protestant Reformers recognized. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin insisted on Mary’s divine maternity. In fact, it even appears that Nestorius himself may not have believed the heresy named after him. Further, the “Nestorian” church has now signed a joint declaration on Christology with the Catholic Church and recognizes Mary’s divine maternity, just as other Christians do.

What the Earliest Christians Believed

Since denying that Mary is God’s mother implies doubt about Jesus’ divinity, it is clear why Christians (until recent times) have been unanimous in proclaiming Mary as Mother of God.

The Church Fathers, of course, agreed, and the following passages witness to their lively recognition of the sacred truth and great gift of divine maternity that was bestowed upon Mary, the humble handmaid of the Lord. Click here to see what the earliest Christians had to say on the topic.

And click here if you have not yet read the 3 shocking quotes about Mary and join the discussion!

3 thoughts on “Mother of God?

  1. And all the icons proclaim it to be true! In the picture at the top of the article you can just about make out two sets of letters either side of Mary:

    ΜΡ ΘΥ

    These letter abbreviate the words ΜΗΤΗΡ ΘΕΟΥ (“Meter Theou”) which mean….”Mother of God”

  2. […] that it is therefore wrong to say that God was born of Mary, that God is Mary’s Son, and that Mary is God’s mother.” – Martin Luther “But the other conception, namely the infusion of the soul, it […]

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