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I've known that Protestants denied Mary as the Mother of God, and whenever I have heard this I just mention that Mary is the Mother of Jesus, Jesus is God, Mary is the Mother of God.  The whole title is a reaffirmation that Jesus is God Incarnate.

So, I was debating (or just asking a question) with a Protestant group who dishes out a lot of nonsense about the Church.  Normally, I just tend to ignore these guys, one because they can be very annoying an tiresome, and two because I have and argumentative bone in me that can get pretty nasty. But I thought I noticed an inconsistency.  They had an article which denounced Mary as Theotokos, the Mother of God, and then one which said Nestorius was a heretic because he denied the hypostatic union. 

Quote:Question: Hello, I am a Christian (a convert to Catholicism from Baptist). I was reading some of your articles about the Virgin Mary. I noticed in one of you articles, specifically that about the heresy of Nestorianism, that there are two persons in Christ and not one which would be the orthodox Christian view of the hypostatic union, that a eastern Bishop of the Church stated publicly that Mary was Christotokos, that is mother of Christ, and not Theotokos, that is mother of God. Your site stated the truth, the Christ is God and Man, two natures in one person, that is the Person of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. But then, I read another of your articles about the Virgin Mary, which asked whether she was really the Mother of God, that is the Theotokos. Your article stated she was not the Mother of God. If Mary is the mother Jesus Christ, if He lived in her womb, took is mortal flesh from her, and she gave birth to him (that would be a mother to me), and Jesus Christ is the Second person of the the Most Holy Trinity, then how is Mary not the Mother of God? If we were to say that, we would implicitly be saying Jesus isn't God, but He is! My question is how do you reconcile this apparent inconsistency? Thank you for your response, God bless

Answered by: Lincoln

Answer:  Hello, my brother, I am so glad you asked this because it is a real issue. First I am going to draw a distinction from the Bible, between Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Jesus Christ, God the Son. We definitely read that the Bible says Jesus Christ is 100% God, and 100% Man. The Son of God, began His earthly ministry as God in human flesh (which is not mortal, and He didn’t get His flesh from Mary. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, while as God the Son, He has always existed, never created or birthed by anyone because God has no beginning. In other words, Mary was used as an incubator for the Man Christ Jesus who became a human, but again, could no way be the mother of God the Son.

Luke 1:35 (NASB) “The angel answered and said to her, `The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and for that reason, the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” The Holy Spirit will come upon you. The Incarnation was accomplished by this creative act of the Holy Spirit in the body of Mary. The Virgin Birth was an extraordinary miracle performed by the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, whereby the Second Person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God, took upon Himself a genuine, though sinless, human nature and was born as a man, without surrendering in any aspect His deity. John 1:1-4 (NASB) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him, nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” In the beginning was the Word. He did not have a beginning Himself but existed from all eternity. As far as the human mind can go back, the Lord Jesus was there. He never was created. He had no beginning. (A genealogy would be out of place in this Gospel of the Son of God.) The Word was with God. He had a separate and distinct personality. He was not just an idea, thought, or some vague kind of example, but a real Person who lived with God. The Word was God. He not only dwelt with God but He Himself was God. The Word became flesh when Jesus was born as a Baby in the manger at Bethlehem. He had always existed as God the Son with the Father in heaven but now chose to come into the world in a human body.

Question: `Is Mary the mother of God (Theotokos)?` (From the GotQuestions website)

Answer: The phrase “mother of God” originated with and continues to be used in the Roman Catholic Church. One of the topics at the Council of Ephesus in AD 431 was the use of the Greek term Theotókos, or “God-bearer,” as it relates to Mary. That council officially proclaimed Mary as the “Mother of God,” and the doctrine was later included in the Catholic catechism. The idea behind calling Mary the “Mother of God&rdquo ; is that, since Jesus is God and Mary is the mother of Jesus, she is the mother of God.

The biggest problem with this logic is that the term “God” implies the totality of Yahweh, and we know that Yahweh has no beginning and no end (Psalm 90:2). First Timothy 6:15-16 says that God is immortal. Being immortal, God never was “born” and never had a “mother.” The second Person of the Trinity, Jesus, did have a beginning to His earthly ministry when he was conceived in Mary’s womb and was born, but from eternity past He had always been the Son of God.

Philippians 2:6–7 gives us a bit more insight on what transpired when Jesus left heaven to become a man. The New Living Translation says, “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.” Jesus was already one with the Father, but He set aside His rights as Divinity and took the form of a baby (John 1:1). He went on to live the average life of a Jewish boy, obeying His earthly parents (Luke 2:51).

A mother by definition precedes her child and at some point is stronger than her child. So to call Mary the “Mothe r of God” gives the misleading implication that Mary preceded and at one time was stronger than the Lord God Almighty. Although Catholic doctrine tries to deny this suggestion, it is inescapable.

It is biblical to say that Mary was the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ during His incarnation on the earth. However, Catholics believe it is not enough to say that Mary was the mother of Jesus. Pope John Paul II, in a speech in 1996, encouraged people “not only to invoke the Blessed Virgin as the Mother of Jesus but also to recognize her as Mother of God” (L`Osservatore Romano, 4 December 1996, p. 11). This is not biblical. The Lord God Almighty has no mother since He has no beginning and no end (Genesis 1:1; Revelation 4:8).

Question: I received your answer to my question. If I understand correctly, you stated that Jesus Christ is of two natures in one Divine Person. That is true yes, the nature of God, totally God, and the nature of man, totally man. But, you seem to say that Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ's nature, and not his Person (the heresy of Nestorianism). Mary now seems to do something that no other mother does, and that is birth a nature and not a person. Our mothers gave birth to people, you and I. We may have taken our flesh from them our parents, and God may have given us our immortal souls, but they still gave birth to the persons Justin and Lincoln. Mary gave birth to the Person of Jesus Christ, God made man, God incarnate, God born of a virgin. Jesus, the Son of God and Jesus, God the Son are the same Person, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 1:42-43 "And she (St.Elizabeth) cried out in a loud voice 'Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the MOTHER of MY LORD should come to me?" The Holy Ghost inspired St. Elizabeth to say these infallible inerrant words of Holy Scripture. He also inspired St. Thomas to say in St. John's Gospel "My Lord AND My God" (John 20:28). Jesus is Lord and God, Mary is the Mother of Our Lord, Our God, Jesus. And I also see a confusion, which implies that if Mary is God's Mother, she existed before him. Well that's just not true. Mary is a creature, plain and simple, she was a created being. But Jesus Christ, God, by the Holy Ghost incarnated in her. He was an embryo in His Mother's womb, the Godhead resided there within her for 9 months, and was born of her. He was a baby held in her arms, she adored her God in her arms, He was feed his mother's milk. In plain, she was His true mother, which in no way implies she created him! How is it then that you cannot call her as who she really is, God's Mother? Also, thank you for your patience and taking the time to answer! May God bless you!

Answered by: Lincoln

Answer:
My brother I will try to make this very simple. When Jesus took on human flesh, He did so as the Son of God, who came through Mary`s womb. He already had a divine nature as God the Son, who has always existed as God. God simply wrapped Himself in flesh, but never ceased being God. Think about it, Mary couldn`t be the mother of God the Son. If we understand that Christ has always existed as God the Son, we should be able understand that the incarnation represents the birth of the Son of God in human flesh. Again my brother, when Christ died on the cross, it was as a sinless man, and not as God, because God cannot die. Again, she is the mother of the Son of God,  and not of God the Son.

Again please read the following very carefully; The phrase “mother of God” originated with and continues to be used in the Roman Catholic Church. One of the topics at the Council of Ephesus in AD 431 was the use of the Greek term Theotókos, or “God-bearer,” as it relates to Mary. That council officially proclaimed Mary as the “Mother of God,” and the doctrine was later included in the Catholic catechism. The idea behind calling Mary the “Mother of God” is that, since Jesus is God and Mary is the mother of Jesus, she is the mother of God.


The biggest problem with this logic is that the term “God” implies the totality of Yahweh, and we know that Yahweh has no beginning and no end (Psalm 90:2). First Timothy 6:15-16 says that God is immortal. Being immortal, God never was “born” and never had a “mother.” The second Person of the Trinity, Jesus, did have a beginning to His earthly ministry when he was conceived in Mary’s womb and was born, but from eternity past He had always been the Son of God.

Philippians 2:6–7 gives us a bit more insight on what transpired when Jesus left heaven to become a man. The New Living Translation says, “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.” Jesus was already one with the Father, but He set aside His rights as Divinity and took the form of a baby (John 1:1). He went on to live the average life of a Jewish boy, obeying His earthly parents (Luke 2:51).

A mother by definition precedes her child and at some point is stronger than her child. So to call Mary the “Mother of God” gives the misleading implication that Mary preceded and at one time was stronger than the Lord God Almighty. Although Catholic doctrine tries to deny this suggestion, it is inescapable.

It is biblical to say that Mary was the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ during His incarnation on the earth. However, Catholics believe it is not enough t o say that Mary was the mother of Jesus. Pope John Paul II, in a speech in 1996, encouraged people “not only to invoke the Blessed Virgin as the Mother of Jesus but also to recognize her as Mother of God” (L`Osservatore Romano, 4 December 1996, p. 11). This is not biblical. The Lord God Almighty has no mother since He has no beginning and no end (Genesis 1:1; Revelation 4:8).


So, these guys are Nestorians right, and a bit lazy with the cutting and the pasting? And what is this nonsense about Jesus being the Son of God and God the Son?  I have never heard this distinction before?
(02-19-2017, 05:49 PM)Justin Alphonsus Wrote: [ -> ](snip)
So, these guys are Nestorians right, and a bit lazy with the cutting and the pasting? And what is this nonsense about Jesus being the Son of God and God the Son?  I have never heard this distinction before?

This guy's nuts. And yes, a Nestorian heretic.

The heretic Wrote:First I am going to draw a distinction from the Bible, between Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Jesus Christ, God the Son. We definitely read that the Bible says Jesus Christ is 100% God, and 100% Man. The Son of God, began His earthly ministry as God in human flesh (which is not mortal, and He didn’t get His flesh from Mary. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, while as God the Son, He has always existed, never created or birthed by anyone because God has no beginning. In other words, Mary was used as an incubator for the Man Christ Jesus who became a human, but again, could no way be the mother of God the Son.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on Nestorius and Nestorianism:

...Nestorius was a disciple of the school of Antioch, and his Christology was essentially that of Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, both Cilician bishops and great opponents of Arianism...

...The word person in its Greek form prosopon might stand for a juridical or fictitious unity; it does not necessarily imply what the word person implies to us, that is, the unity of the subject of consciousness and of all the internal and external activities. Hence we are not surprised to find that Diodorus admitted two Sons, and that Theodore practically made two Christs, and yet that they cannot be proved to have really made two subjects in Christ. Two things are certain: first, that, whether or no they believed in the unity of the subject in the Incarnate Word, at least they explained that unity wrongly; secondly, that they used most unfortunate and misleading language when they spoke of the union of the manhood with the Godhead — language which is objectively heretical, even were the intention of its authors good....

...In particular he [Vox: Nestorius] denounced those who employed the word Theotokos, though he was ready to admit the use of it in a certain sense: "Ferri tamen potest hoc vocabulum proper ipsum considerationem, quod solum nominetur de virgine hoc verbum hoc propter inseparable templum Dei Verbi ex ipsa, non quia mater sit Dei Verbi; nemo enim antiquiorem se parit." Such an admission is worse than useless, for it involves the whole error that the Blessed Virgin is not the mother of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. It is therefore unfortunate that Loofs and others who defend Nestorius should appeal to the frequency with which he repeated that he should accept the Theotokos if only it was properly understood. In the same letter he speaks quite correctly of the "two Natures which are adored in the one Person of the Only-begotten by a perfect and unconfused conjunction", but this could not palliate his mistake that the Blessed Virgin is mother of one nature, not of the person (a son is necessarily a person, not a nature), nor the fallacy: "No one can bring forth a son older than herself."
The Katolikos of teh Assyrian Church of the East met with Pope Saint John Paul II and signed a document renouncing the Nestorian heresy.
Thanks Vox, that helps clear up some grey areas!  I kind of tuned out after he just copied twice what they had already written, and said that Catholics obviously believe Mary came before God!

Also, the incubator thing just made me laugh!
(02-19-2017, 05:49 PM)Justin Alphonsus Wrote: [ -> ]Answer: The phrase “mother of God” originated with and continues to be used in the Roman Catholic Church. One of the topics at the Council of Ephesus in AD 431 was the use of the Greek term Theotókos, or “God-bearer,” as it relates to Mary. That council officially proclaimed Mary as the “Mother of God,” and the doctrine was later included in the Catholic catechism. The idea behind calling Mary the “Mother of God" is that, since Jesus is God and Mary is the mother of Jesus, she is the mother of God.

The biggest problem with this logic is that the term “God” implies the totality of Yahweh..."

That last sentence is where his error is.

The word "God" in the term "Mother of God" does not imply "the totality of Yahweh."  It is just a shorthand version of saying "God the Son."

There are three Persons in "God": God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.

It's no different from saying "God died on the cross" or "God rose from the dead."  In saying something like that, Catholics don't mean that the Holy Trinity did those things.  We mean only God the Son, with the words "the Son" being implied.

Because there are three Persons in one God, we can refer to one of the Persons with the term "God" but mean only that Person.  How do we know this? 

The Bible. 

In fact, one of the most famous passages, beloved by Protestants, reflects the Catholic usage.

John 3:16.  "For God so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him  may not perish but may have life everlasting."

If the word "God" reflects "the totality of Yahweh," that is, the entire Trinity, then that passage would mean that the Holy Trinity has a Son, which is absurd. 

The only Person that the term "God" in that passage refers to is "God the Father."  The biblical examples could be multiplied.

That's number 1.

Number 2.  The Bible refers to the Blessed Virgin as "the mother of Jesus."  John 2:1.  However, the name "Jesus" means, in Hebrew, "God saves."

Thus, Our Lady is the mother of "God saves."

Number 3.  Another name for Jesus is Emmanuel.  Mathew 1:23.  It would be absurd for your correspondent to deny that Mary is the mother of Emmanuel.  Jesus is Emmanuel, and She is His mother.

Matthew 1:21:  "And she shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for He shall save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:23:  "Behold a virgin shall be with child and bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with us."

We know from the Bible that the term "Emmanuel" means "God with us." 

Hence, if Mary is the mother of Emmanuel, and if "Emmanuel" is translated as "God with us," that means that Mary is the mother of "God with us." 

In using the expression "Mother of God," Catholics merely drop the last two words.  If the Protestant fellow wants us to retain them, we'd be more than happy to do so.  It doesn't change a thing.

Mary is the mother of "God with us."

Anyone who denies that, is denying Sacred Scripture.






(02-20-2017, 02:44 AM)Poche Wrote: [ -> ]The Katolikos of teh Assyrian Church of the East met with Pope Saint John Paul II and signed a document renouncing the Nestorian heresy.

The Church of the East never believed Nestorianism as the term is usually used; they actually condemned such a belief in antiquity. The charge that they believe in "two Persons in Christ" or even "two Christs" is effectively calumny. They have historically had reservations about the "communication of idioms," but that seems to have been laid to rest in the agreement you reference.

The controversy was always largely a linguistic one, hinging on the Syriac term qnoma, which is often translated "person," but does not really mean that, especially in Trinitarian and Christological use. The linguistic controversy was complicated by the fact that the East Syrians were not part of the Roman empire, but rather the Persian empire, which made it very easy for the imperial Church to write them off.