Is the blessed Mary the Mother of God?
Today we will take a brief look at the origins of this teaching that Mary is the Mother of God.
“And Mary said:
‘My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.’”
In the Orthodox Church, Mary, mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, is called the “Most Holy Mother of God” (Theotokos), “Immaculate” Mary (the “Perpetual Virgin”), the “Most Powerful Protector and Patron” of the Christian family, and the crowned “Queen of Heaven”, which sits on the throne of God.
A brief history of the doctrine:
The cult of the Mother Goddess entered the Christian Church in typically Christian categories, such as the Ecclesia [church], represented as the spiritual mother of Christians, or as “the Second Eve,” whose divine motherhood is responsible for mankind’s rebirth. It was through such Christian concepts that the idea of the divine feminine took root in Christianity, and it was a long, and often confusing process until Mary was declared to be the Mother of God. But it is the primordial mystery of generation and childbirth, the appearance of life, and the age-old belief that motherhood is part of a cosmic order upon which both the pagan and the Christian versions of the cult of the theotokos [“God bearer”, i.e., “Mother of God”, Council of Ephesus, 431 A.D.] rest. This reverence for motherhood and childbirth is the basic principle of Mariology, a principle which Christianity inherited from its pagan forerunners.
Stephen Benko (1993) The Virgin Goddess: Studies in the pagan and Christian roots of Mariology. Leiden: E.J. Brill. p. 5
The Lateran Council of 469 under Pope Martin I declared: “if anyone does not confess in harmony with the holy Fathers that the holy and ever virgin and immaculate Mary is really and truly the mother of God, inasmuch as she in the last times and without semen by the Holy Spirit conceived God the Word himself specially and truthfully, who was born from God the Father before all ages, and she bore him uncorrupted, and after his birth her virginity remaining indissoluble, let him be condemned.” The perpetual virginity of Mary thus became an official teaching of the church: Mary was a virgin before, during, and after the birth of Jesus. In 1555, the Council of Trent confirmed this dogma in the Constitution of Pope Paul IV known as “Cum Quorundam.” Here the pope warns against teaching that “the same blessed Virgin Mary is not truly the Mother of God, and did not remain always in the integrity of virginity, i. e., before birth, in birth, and perpetually after birth.”
Stephen Benko (1993) The Virgin Goddess: Studies in the pagan and Christian roots of Mariology. Leiden: E.J. Brill. p. 203
18 times in the Encyclical “Munificentissimus Deus” (1950), Pope Pius XII entitles Mary, “Mother of God”.
So! Was Mary the “Mother of God”?
The Son of God preexisted Mary as He dwelt with the Father before the earth was created. Mary cannot be the Mother of God.
“The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens,
I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;” Proverbs 8:22-30
Jesus was the Divine Son of the Father before He created the Heavens and the Earth.
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Colossians 1:16-17
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” Ephesians 3:9
“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with [the Father] God, and the word was [divine, a] God.” (John 1:1).
The Son of God came into the world in the form of a man.
Jesus: “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phi 2:7-8).
“Jesus was made a little lower [or, for a little while lower] than the angels for the suffering of death.” (Heb 2:9).
“Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” (1 John 4:2)
The conclusion is undeniable; Jesus Christ, the Son of God preexisted Mary as He dwelt with the Father before He created the earth.
Therefore Mary cannot possibly be the Mother of God.
Note carefully the following verses where Jesus speaks of Mary.
“And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” John 2:3-5
In this way, the Lord showed that He was the One who would decide whether to perform messianic signs, instead of submitting to requests from His earthly relatives about the execution of God’s work.
Also the following!
“…Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.: Mark 3:32-35
“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!…” John 19:26-27
It is clear by the words of Jesus that He honored the 5th Commandment as He made provision that His mother should be taken care of after His departing, but it is also evident that He was careful not to raise her higher than any other woman or mother; so that we might not be ensnared by idolatry by doing that which He did not do.
On another occasion, after delivering a series of lessons to the people who were listening to him; a woman thrilled by the revelation of divine truth commented to Jesus that His mother must be very blessed and pleased to have such a son. Jesus however replied to her by saying that those who observe and obey the will of God enjoy a much greater blessing; thus giving greater evidence that his mother does not enjoy any privileged status in God’s people:
“But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:28
“…My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.” Luke 8:2
Please visit the following page for more information on “Mary as Mediatrix,”