Mary Mother of God

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liv3ordie

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I had a little problem with the previous version of this post and I don’t know if it “took” so please forgive me if it shows up twice.

Can someone tell me why the Church has given the human mother of Jesus this title? I know it was originally used in the early years to address a heresy which denied the divinity of Jesus. All the same it seems a little over-the top 🙂 to me. I agree Mary does have a very special place in our redemption plan since she was the “God-Bearer” but this title has always made me uncomfortable.

Also, are Catholic obliged to agree with the title?
 
To my mind if Elizabeth called her that, it is good enough for me.
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, 42 cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
As for Catholic obligation to accept this title, my guess is yes.
 
Jesus is God. mary is his mother. This does not imply that mary is the mother of the Trinity. Jesus is the incarnation of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity whoc took on a human nature, but He is a Divine Person.

As you indicated the title Theotokos, God Bearer or Mother of God was about refuring the heresy that said Jesus was not Divine. All Marian doctrines are in essence really Christological doctrines. They are all about her relationship (and ours) with Jesus. You may find this link of some help.

bcpl.net/~spohl/MarianDoctrinesChristologicalDoctrines.htm
 
Mothers give birth to persons, not natures. Although the Son eternally pre-existed her, Mary gave human birth to the Incarnation of that Divine Person. If we deny that Mary is the mother of God, we deny that Jesus is God. That is what the Nestorian heretics were doing.

And yes it is an article of Faith. Even many well educated Protestants understand the logic of this doctrine and accept it along with the Virgin birth while rejecting other Marian doctrines.

The Reformers Luther and Calvin also accepted it though many Protestants today are unaware of that fact. The anti-Mary movement came several generations later in the development of Protestantism and were often related to rejecting what was perceived as being a Catholic thing. Protestants often identified and still often identify themselves by what they reject as much as by what they affirm. Of course to a certain extent this could be said about almost any group including Catholic. But I see catholicism more as an integrater of faith while Protetantism seem to divide and separate. For example, Faith Alone, Scripture, Alone, Grace Alone, the Holy Spirit and me alone with the Scriptures alone finding the truth. In practice even for Protestants theses things all work together, but theologically and because of their history they are like people who don’t want their peas, potatoes and meat to touch on the plate, even though they are all head into the same mouth and stomach. Catholics say “Gimme that beef stew!”
 

  1. *]Mary is the mother of Jesus.

    *]Jesus is God the Son Incarnate.

    *]Mary is the mother of God the Son Incarnate.
 
I suggest reading Aquinas’ treatise on communication of idioms at:

newadvent.org/summa/401600.htm

A person who does not believe Mary as the mother of God does not hold, in my opinion, the historic Christian faith. It all comes down to the propostion “Jesus is God”. Any person who knows his Christology knows that Christ is two natures in one suppositum. This is the historic Christian faith and the only way to deny that Mary is the mother of God is to deny this truth (unless a person denies Mary is the mother of Jesus).
 
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liv3ordie:
Can someone tell me why the Church has given the human mother of Jesus this title? I know it was originally used in the early years to address a heresy which denied the divinity of Jesus. All the same it seems a little over-the top 🙂 to me. I agree Mary does have a very special place in our redemption plan since she was the “God-Bearer” but this title has always made me uncomfortable.

Also, are Catholic obliged to agree with the title?
The Church is only reiterating what is found in Scripture and Tradition. Jesus only has one mother - a human one.

The story starts in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Father promises a redeemer for mankind after the Fall. He makes covenants with the Hebrew people to bring about the Messiah. In prophecy, a Virgin was said to conceive and bear a Son that would be God (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2, 3). This indeed sounds over the top already for non-Christians but it is the truth (a virgin giving birth?? God becoming man??)! [Fast forward hundreds of years later. . . .] An angel appears to a Virgin named Mary to fulfill the prophesy regarding a virgin giving birth to the Son of God (Matthew 1:18-22; Luke 1:26-35). Mary accepts. And that’s how it happened.

Now you are probably looking for the term Theotokos in Scripture. Let me tell you that it isn’t in there. The Scriptures only take us to a certain point; it makes us proclaim what is there in spirit but not in letter. The closest we come is Luke 1:43. If you read the first chapters of Luke, you will notice that “Lord” is only used to designate God. Therefore, when Elizabeth says “Mother of my Lord” she means “Mother of my God.” And this she said under inspiration (Luke 1:41).

You may be having trouble because the term Theotokos can be misunderstood. Mary became the Theotokos at the point of Jesus’ conception. She is not eternal. The Church has always safeguarded the proper definition of this word. The Church means that Mary gave birth to and is the mother of the God-man Jesus Christ (not the Father or the Holy Spirit). Another example may help explain this. We frequently say that the soul is eternal. But what do we mean by this. We mean that the soul exists forever once it is brought into existence. We do not mean that it has existed from eternity like God. Yet, because we place restrictions on our definition of the term, we continue to use it without problems.

Sometimes what is meant or plainly stated in Scripture sounds difficult to hear. However, since the Scriptures are of God, we must be willing to accept whatever the Lord saith. For example, Acts 20:28 states that God purchased the Church with His blood! It doesn’t say Christ or Jesus but God. In the same sense that God can shed His blood for us, He can also have a mother.

Peace.
 
I agree with Emmaus that Marian doctrines are essentially Christological. The doctrine of Mary as Mother of God has to be about Who Jesus is. If He is not God, then Mary is not the Mother of God.

Mary does not “create” divinity; she simply consents to be the human mother of God the Son who wishes to become incarnate, taking on a human nature like ours.

In a similar way, I have an immortal soul as part of my human nature. My mother did not create my soul; God did. But I don’t say that my mother is the mother only of my body; no, she is MY mother, because natures don’t have mothers, persons do.

Consider also: Jesus is the only person in all of history who chose his mother.

JimG
 
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Mathetes007:
Therefore, when Elizabeth says “Mother of my Lord” she means “Mother of my God.” And this she said under inspiration (Luke 1:41)…The Church means that Mary gave birth to and is the mother of the God-man Jesus Christ (not the Father or the Holy Spirit). QUOTE]

Thank you all for your thoughful responses, especially the verse from Luke, which I’d forgotten. I’m still having a logical disconnect. Maybe I should just pray more about it. We know Jesus is one of a three-“person” God. We are also able to refer to, pray to and worship each “person” individually. But to say that Jesus is God (Yes!) and Mary is his mother (Yes!) does that make Mary the mother of God? Not in my mind, because God is a three-“person” God and Mary is only the mother of Jesus. Would it not be more correct (and still serve its purpose) to call Mary the Mother of God Incarnate?

I don’t believe this question is the same one the Nestorians raised.

May Christ’s Peace be with you all; this is a GREAT forum!
 
This was decided at the Council of Ephesus to deal with the Nestorian heresy. Nestorius, the Archbishop of Constantinople, was teaching that, because Mary was a mere human, she could not have borne Him who was God. The Council declared that Nestorianism attacked a basic dogma of the Church - Jesus’ very nature as True God AND True Man.

It has nothing to do with glorifying Mary as the Fundies think, but all to do with Jesus as the Divine Person with both a Divine and a Human Nature who was truly born of a human mother.
 
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liv3ordie:
We know Jesus is one of a three-“person” God. We are also able to refer to, pray to and worship each “person” individually. But to say that Jesus is God (Yes!) and Mary is his mother (Yes!) does that make Mary the mother of God? Not in my mind, because God is a three-“person” God and Mary is only the mother of Jesus. Would it not be more correct (and still serve its purpose) to call Mary the Mother of God Incarnate?
We could say that Mary is the Mother of God Incarnate, which is the same as saying that Mary is the Mother of God the Son. But God the Son is still God.

The Trinity is Three Persons in One Nature–the One divine nature of God; whereas Jesus is One Person with two Natures–one human, one divine. Because there is only one Divine Nature, One God, and Jesus possesses the Divine Nature, it is proper to call Mary the mother of God.

The whole doctrine, as mentioned before, is intended to preserve the idea of Who Jesus is, and not divide his human nature from his divine nature, because he is one Person, not two.

Jesus, son of Mary—son of Man, son of God, who chose his own Mother from all eternity, knowing that she would answer, “Let it be done unto me according to your word.”

JimG
 
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liv3ordie:
But to say that Jesus is God (Yes!) and Mary is his mother (Yes!) does that make Mary the mother of God? Not in my mind, because God is a three-“person” God and Mary is only the mother of Jesus. Would it not be more correct (and still serve its purpose) to call Mary the Mother of God Incarnate?
“Mother of God Incarnate” is the same as “Mother of God”, when you consider how these terms function in the communication of idioms.

“God” in “Mother of God” is a “concrete” term. In other words, “God” here designates the *person * of the Son, not the *natures * (divine and human) that this person possesses.
 
livordie-
I love yourquestion I had the same myself. On others levels as well. Why do many catholics give Mary so much attention, Catholics seem to over emthasize Mary. Those were some of my deeper concerns as well as the one you expressed.
at the adivce of a wise person, I spent time in front of the blessed sacrament and begged Jesus for a greater understanding of these issues. Matthew 7 …ask and you shall recieve. Jesus wants us to know his mother. That stagety worked great for me. I have way past an intelectual understanding now. There is NOTHING like being in the arms of a loving mother!
 
Christ (God the Son) is eternally begotten of God the Father without a mother.
Christ (God the Son) is temporally begotten of the Virgin Mary without a father.

There was a time when God the Son had no mother, however since the incarnation, Mary is and will always be His mother :).

John.
 
Mary is Mother of God the son, Daughter of God the Father and Spouse of God the Holy Spirit, what other creature has such a place in history or creation…not even the angels have such a place…

and Yes if you believe in the triniyt you must beleive Mary is mother of God
 
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