By Steve Kearney
The Scriptures forthrightly teach that Mary is the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. “And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus'” (Lk. 1:30-31).
It is also clear, from the word of God, that Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus. “And Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ And 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 offspring shall be called the Son of God'”(Lk. 1:34-35).
As the Son of God, Jesus was God in the flesh. Colossians 2:9 states, “For in him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” The Twentieth Century New Testament translates the verse, “For in Christ the Godhead in all its fulness dwells incarnate.” It was just as the angel said to Joseph, “Behold the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us’ (Matt. 1:23).
There are many sincere religious people who believe that, because Jesus is God in the flesh and because Mary is his mother, Mary is therefore the Mother of God. It is the intention in this lesson to demonstrate, that the title “Mother of God” is: (1) scripturally untrue; (2) scripturally illogical; and (3) scripturally condemned.
Saying the title “Mother of God” is scripturally untrue, will in the minds of some, cast a shadow over our belief in Jesus as true God and true man. But there is no “mental reservation” on our part when we teach that Jesus is God with us (Matt. 1:23). Like Thomas, I declare Jesus to be “My Lord and my God!”
As God, Jesus existed long before he was born of a virgin in a stable at Bethlehem. In his gospel (1:1), under the influence of the Holy Spirit, John reveals, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is here called the Word. We know the Word is Jesus from verse 14, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” To get the full impact of John 1: 1 in relation to Jesus, let us substitute the name Jesus every time “the Word” is used. “In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.” Jesus existed before the worlds were created, he worked as one with the Father and the Holy Spirit in creating everything. Colossians 1:15-17 says, “And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created by him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Jesus says of himself in Revelation 22:13, “1 am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Psalms 90:2 gives us a measure on Jesus’ claim to being the beginning and the end, “From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.” Because God has no beginning and no end, the Word – Jesus Christ – has no beginning and no end.
Since the God part of Jesus had no beginning, can Mary be the mother of the God part of Jesus? The answer is no! Philippians 2:6-11 makes obvious that Mary did not bring the God part of Jesus into existence. Using the Amplified Version of the New Testament the verses read, “Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God (possessing the fulness of the attributes which make God God), did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained; but stripped himself (of all privileges and rightful dignity) so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that he became like men and was born a human being. And after he had appeared in human form he abased and humbled himself (still further) and carried his obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of (the) cross! Therefore (because he stooped so low), God has highly exalted him and has freely bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue (frankly and openly) confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Hebrews 10:5, “Therefore, when he comes into the world, he says, ‘Sacrifices and offerings Thou hast not desired, but a body Thou hast prepared for Me.'”
The body was prepared when the “Power of the Most High overshadowed Mary” and she conceived in her womb and brought forth a Son and called his name Jesus. Truly, Mary is the mother of Jesus. She is called the mother of Jesus in the Scriptures; but the Scriptures, no where, call her the mother of God. The everlasting God has no mother!
To counteract the force of that truth, The Teaching of Christ, a Catholic catechism for adults says (p. 117), “The traditional teaching about Christ is that the Word, the second Person of the Trinity, became incarnate from the first moment of His conception in Mary’s womb. Since the woman who conceives and gives birth to a person is that person’s mother, Mary is truly the mother of God because the Son of God took His human flesh from her.
“We cannot call our own mothers just, ‘the mother of our bodies,’ even though our souls are directly created by God Similarly, we cannot say that Mary is only the mother of Christ’s humanity, even though she did not beget His divinity. Although the divine nature of Christ is eternally begotten by the heavenly Father, by the incarnation He was conceived and born of Mary. She is, therefore, truly the mother of God.”
Although the writer admits that Mary could not be the mother of Christ’s divinity, he nevertheless wants to call her the Mother of God. He thinks that calling Mary the Mother of God is equivalent to calling my mother, the mother of Steve. The following chart should demonstrate the difference.
|As a person Steve is composed of two parts, body and spirit.||As a person Jesus is composed of two parts, his humanity and his Deity.|
|God is the Father of my spirit.||The Divine part of Jesus came from the Father.|
|My mother has given me my body.||Mary, the mother of Jesus, gave him his body.|
|To call my mother, the mother of Steve, does not confuse my spirit which comes from God and my body which comes from my mother.||In the same way, to call Mary the mother of Jesus, does not confuse the Divine part of Jesus which has always existed, with the body of Jesus which came from his mother.|
|If however you call my mother the mother of my spirit, it will confuse the distinction between my spirit and body. Such confusion is unscriptural and untrue.||To call Mary the Mother of God also confuses the distinction between his Deity and his humanity. Such confusion is unscriptural and untrue.|
Scripturally we can call Mary, the mother of Jesus. To call Mary the Mother of God is unscriptural and untrue!
In 2 John 9 we read, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.” 1 Peter 4:11 says, “Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God.” Galatians 1:8 says, “But even though we or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”
By keeping ourselves within the confines imposed upon us by these passages we are constrained by the teaching of the Bible to make a distinction between the flesh and divinity of Jesus.
Paul, in Romans 9:4-5, identifies his kinsmen according to the flesh. “Who are Israelites, to whom belong the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, andfrom whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all. God blessed forever. Amen.”
By refusing to acknowledge the distinction between the God part of Jesus and the fleshly part of Jesus, we are forced into this illogical stand.
Mary is a descendant of Israel.
Mary is the Mother of God.
Therefore, God is a descendant of Israel.
In logic this is called a syllogism. It’s a form of argument in which a conclusion is deducted from two propositions.
Every pious Jew delighted in Abraham as his father. They seemed to have believed that just being a child of Abraham was sufficient to get one into the kingdom of God. John the Baptist had to correct such superstition. In John 3:7-9 he said, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our Father’; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.”
Every Jew identified with Abraham as “our father.” Jesus even admitted John 8:37, “I know that you are Abraham’s offspring.” By refusing to make a distinction between what Jesus was according to the flesh and what he was according to the Spirit (which is what is done by insisting that Mary is the Mother of God) we end up with this absurd proposition: Mary is the offspring of Abraham. Mary is the Mother of God. Therefore Abraham is the father of God. How could Jesus possibly say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am” (Jn. 8:58). Scripture does not contradict itself, nor is it illogical. Scripture harmonizes all these truths about Jesus, Mary and Abraham. Mary is the mother of Jesus. Abraham is Christ’s forefather according to the flesh. As God, Jesus could say, “Before Abraham was born, I am.”
Jesus shows again and again that he is the Son of God and the Son of Man. Without this duality we would not be able to answer the difficult question Jesus asked the Pharisees about himself and David recorded in Matthew 22:41-46. Jesus is David’s son according to the flesh. He is David’s Lord through his divine pre-existence.
By accepting that, on occasions there has to be a distinction made between the fleshly side of Jesus and his divine side (simply because the Holy Scriptures make that distinction), then we can see that Jesus as a man has a genealogy which can be traced back from Mary through David and Abraham, even as far back as Adam (Lk. 3:38). By calling Mary the Mother of God we are forced to believe that God has a genealogy which can be traced back through David and Abraham. It would also mean that Adam is the father of God.
The term Mother of God is scripturally illogical!
Let us not be fooled by such a seemingly innocent title as Mother of God. This notion is the Trojan Horse for Mariolatry. It contains all the other titles and honors bestowed on Mary. I am even convinced that it allows for her full deification sometime in the future. Michael O’Carroll, in a Theological Encyclopedia of the Blessed Virgin (p. 257) admits, “It is not stated explicitly in Sacred Scripture that Mary is the Mother of God.” The term theotokos (meaning Mother of God) was first officially recognized at the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D., far too late for it to be apostolic.
Yet, once it was accepted everything else followed naturally: Queen of Heaven, Mother of the Church, Coredemptorist, Mediatrix, Mother of Mercy. In DeMontfort’s book, The True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, the author brings what is the unofficial conception of Mary’s greatness (p. 3); “Yet they exclaim that the height of her merits, which she has raised to the throne of Divinity cannot be perceived . . . that the greatness of her power, which she possesses over even God Himself, is beyond understanding.” Officially she is a created being, who was preserved without sin. Unofficially she has even the Father himself under her control.
Janus, was a Latin god represented with a double face looking both in front and behind. The Catholic Church can, like Janus, hold two totally opposite views at one time. This is definitely so on Mary. In a book called Father Smith Instructs Jackson (p. 83), Jackson remarks, “Then Catholics do not worship the Virgin Mary?” The priest answers, ‘No, that would be idolatry.'”
Yet Mary is worshiped in the same way Christ is worshiped. In some cases she is worshiped with more devotion. She has her own prayers, the Hail Mary, the Hail Holy Queen, the Rosary. People kneel before her statue and pray to her. People make altars to worship her. She has her own forms of religious services such as Sodalities, Hymns, Rosaries, wearing of the scapulars. Her special devotees belong to the Legion of Mary.
Peter would not accept worship from Cornelius (Acts 10:25-26). The angel would not accept worship from John (Rev. 22:8-9). When Satan tried to get Jesus to worship him, Jesus replied, “Begone Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”‘ By worshiping Mary people have got themselves into an unscriptural and idolatrous practice. They have unwittingly fulfilled the words of Romans 1:25, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
The teaching that Mary is the Mother of God, and all that is implies is condemned by the Scriptures as “going too far and not abiding in the teaching of Christ” (2 Jn. 9). It is condemned by 1 Peter 4:11 because it is not a teaching which is according to the utterances of God. It is another gospel!
We have demonstrated that the title Mother of God is scripturally untrue, because the God part of Jesus is from everlasting to everlasting. We have shown it to be scripturally illogical because it would make Adam the father of God. The title Mother of God is also scripturally condemned because it causes us to worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen!
We conclude by this reminder from Deuteronomy 4:35: “To you it has been shown that you might know that the Lord, he is God; there is no other besides him.”
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 11, pp. 339-341
June 7, 1990