Why is Mary the “Mother of God”?
The reason for Mary being called the Mother of God is actually quite simple:
Mary is the mother of Jesus.
Jesus is God [the Son].
Therefore, Mary is the mother of God [the Son].
We find this truth proclaimed in Scripture. Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, calls Mary the mother of the Lord:
NABNew American BibleThe translation used at Catholic Mass in the United States
RSVRevised Standard Version Catholic EditionThe translation used in the English edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
ESVEnglish Standard VersionA Protestant translation of the Bible
NIVNew International VersionA Protestant translation of the Bible
KJVKing James VersionA Protestant translation of the Bible
What this tells us about Jesus
The Catholic Church’s doctrines on Mary always point to truths about Jesus. Mary’s title as Mother of God is a very succinct way of conveying an important Christological truth:
Jesus is one divine person with two natures.
The divine person of God the Son took on a human nature at a specific point in history. From that point forward, God the Son — i.e. Jesus — was one divine person who was both God and man at the same time. At the time when this occurred, Mary truly became the Mother of God, because she became the Mother of Jesus who is God.
The pope, and the bishops in union with him, clarified this in the year 431, in order to combat what we now call the Nestorian heresy. This heresy claimed that Jesus was a fusion of two persons, i.e. that God the Son fused himself to the human child of Mary. Nestorians denied that Mary was Mother of God, and claimed she was only the mother of a human child who was joined to God.
As an antidote to this heresy, the Catholic Church formally declared Mary to be the Mother of God in the year 431. From that time forward, the title “Mother of God” has been a litmus test and a safeguard of orthodox Christology.
|“Mary is the mother of Jesus”||“Mary is the mother of a human being”||“Mary is the mother of God”|
|According to the
Calling Mary “the Mother of God” is an incredibly succinct and effective way to communicate the truth about Jesus.