Does the Bible teach that Mary is the mother of God – Theotokos?

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Mother of God – Theotokos

The Council of Ephesus in AD 431 used the Greek term Theotókos, which means “the one who gives birth to God,” to refer to Mary. The term was used to counter the Nestorianism heresy, which taught that in the incarnate Christ, there were two separate persons, one human and one divine. Nestorius taught that Mary gave birth to Christ the human but not to Christ the divine. The Council of Ephesus confirmed the full deity of Christ and unity of His person. Only in that sense, the Council viewed Mary as the “mother of God.”

The term “mother of God” could be incorrectly understood to mean that Mary was the originator of God. But the Bible clearly teaches that God is eternal and that Jesus Christ has a pre-existent, divine nature. Therefore, the concept that Mary is the mother of God and his originator is unbiblical. Theotokos basically explains the incarnation of Christ. It means that Mary was only an agent through whom the divine Son of God came in the flesh. This is how the Council of Ephesus interpreted the term Theotokos.

Unfortunately, some use the term Theotokos, or “mother of God,” to deify Mary. And this is what happened 350 years after the Council of Ephesus, when the Second Council of Nicaea stated, “We honor and salute and reverently venerate . . . the image of . . . our spotless Lady the all-holy mother of God.” Thus, the Roman Church adopted the veneration and worship of Mary. Such adoration was clearly not meant by the term Theotokos.

The human nature of Mary versus the divine nature of Christ

The Roman Catholic Church holds an erroneous reasoning. It says that Mary was the mother of Jesus and since Jesus is God, therefore, Mary is the “Mother of God.” But the Bible rejects this reasoning. For it teaches that Christ is God (Hebrews 1:8) and since He became flesh (John 1:1,14), therefore, Mary is merely the mother of Jesus in the flesh (Romans 9:5).

The Bible declares that Christ is eternal and Mary is only human. The Son’s existence did not begin with His conception in Mary’s womb. He was alive in eternity (Micah 5:2). “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4, John 1:1,14). And speaking to the Son, the Father said, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8).

Christ Himself declared, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,…who is and who was and who is to come” (Revelation 1:8). For “He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). And “He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17). The Bible declares that Christ is the “eternally blessed God” (Romans 9:5).

Jesus explained His divine nature when addressing the Pharisees, “‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord’…. If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?’” (Matthew 22:42-45). While Christ was a physical descendant of David (Luke 1:32; Matthew 1:1), according to His divine nature, He did not have a physical father, since He Himself is before all (John 8:58).

In the same way that David could not be the father of the divine Messiah since he called Him “Lord,” Mary cannot be the “Mother of God” since she calls Him “Lord” in Luke 1:38,46-47. The truth is, as Paul explains, “according to the flesh, Christ came” through humans (David and Mary) but according to His deity, He is the “eternally blessed God” who is over all (Romans 9:5).

The Biblical status of Mary

There is not a single verse in the Bible that says that Mary is divine and the “Mother of God” as his originator. The concept that Mary is the mother of God is based purely on falsehood. In fact, Mary regarded herself as a “maidservant of the Lord” (Luke 1:38) and confessed God as her “Savior” (Luke 1:47).

About her status, Mary professed: “For He [God] has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant” (Luke 1:48). The phrase “lowly state” is certainly not fit for the “Mother of God.” Further, the Bible declares that God the Son took the form of a man (John 1:14) and was born of a woman (Galatians 4:4) not that the woman became “divine” so that she may give birth to the Son of God in the flesh. Mary was the mother of Jesus, but never the “Mother of God” (Luke 8:19; Acts 1:14)

Mary should not be worshiped as the “Mother of God”

Catholics worship Mary, claiming that she has “divine maternity” (“Dogmatic Constitution on the Church” (1964), Second Vatican Council,” 1964, 8.3). But there is no Bible support for this claim. When the heavenly messenger announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah, he himself did not worship her (Luke 1:26-38). And the shepherds, who came to the stable, praised God not Mary (Luke 2:16-20). Also, the wise men “saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him” not her (Matthew 2:11). Simeon and Anna in the temple did not offer praise to Mary (Luke 2:21-38). Similarly, Jesus’ disciples never gave Mary any preeminence or worshiped her as the “Mother of God” (Acts 1:14-26).

When Mary asked for Jesus’ help at the wedding in Cana, He said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me?” (John 2:4). Jesus simply used the word “woman” not “mother” thus placing her in the right standing in relation to Himself (Matthew 15:28; John 19:26; 20:15).

Jesus made sure that Mary had no supremacy among His followers. On one incident, “He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers!’” (Matthew 12:49). And on another time, “a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!’” (Luke 11:27). But Jesus replied, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (v. 28). Jesus didn’t give a special status for Mary. Thus, the title “Mother of God” is a blasphemy and a clear violation to the teachings of the Bible.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

Disclaimer:

The contents of this article and website are not intended to be against any individual. There are many priests and faithful believers in Roman Catholicism who serve God to the best of their knowledge. They are seen by God as His children. Thus, the information contained herein is directed only towards the Roman Catholic religio-political system which has reigned in varying degrees of power for nearly two millennia. This system has established an increasing number of doctrines and statements that directly go against the Bible.

It is our purpose to lay the clear Word of God before you, the truth-seeking reader, to decide for yourself what is truth and what is error. Therefore, if you find anything here contrary to the Bible, do not accept it. However, if you desire to seek for Truth as for hidden treasure, and find herein something of that quality and feel that the Holy Spirit is revealing Truth to you, please make all haste to accept it.

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