Mother of God


Catholics often refer to Blessed Virgin Mary as "Mother of God" (Latin: 'Mater Dei'). We do this because we acknowledge that Mary gave birth to Jesus (cf. Matthew 1:18 &c), and that Jesus is God (cf. John 1:1, John 1:14).

Common Objections

In the following section I will address common objections to the Catholic use of "Mother of God" when referring to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

God is Triune

The most common objection I come across when discussing The Blessed Virgin Mary as the "Mother of God" argues that, since God is Triune, Mary cannot rightly be called the Mother of God, for she is not the Mother of the Father, nor is Mary the Mother of the Holy Spirit. This argument fails however for anyone who admits that Jesus Christ is God. Christians readily admit that Jesus is God, but in doing so they are not claiming that Jesus is the Father, nor does the claim amount to saying that Jesus is the Holy Spirit. Thus the rejection of the title "Mother of God" fails on these logical grounds.

Did Jesus deny Mary's role as Mother of God?

The following Scripture is commonly used by opponents to argue that Jesus somehow denied Mary as His Mother. Upon closer examination that considers context however, it becomes apparent that this sort of argumentation is invalid. Jesus did not deny Mary's role as His Mother.

Jesus and His Brethren (Luke)

Luke 8:20
And it was told him: Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.

Luke 8:21

Who answering, said to them: My mother and my brethren are they who hear the word of God and do it.

Jesus and His Brethren (Matthew)

Matthew 12:46
As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him.

Matthew 12:47
And one said unto him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee.

Matthew 12:48
But he answering him that told him, said: Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?

Matthew 12:49
And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren.

Matthew 12:50
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

"To the contrary, when Jesus' comments are read in light of Luke 8:5-15 and the parable of the sower which Jesus taught right before His question, Jesus is actually implying that Mary has already received the word as the sower of good ground and is bearing fruit. Jesus is teaching that others must, like Mary, also receive the word and obey it." (Odell)

The Parable of the Sower and Its Meaning

"The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side. And it was trodden down: and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock. And as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thorns. And the thorns growing up with it, choked it. And other some fell upon good ground and, being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, he cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him what this parable might be. To whom he said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables, that seeing they may not see and hearing may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. And they by the way side are they that hear: then the devil cometh and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. Now they upon the rock are they who when they hear receive the word with joy: and these have no roots: for they believe for a while and in time of temptation they fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they who have heard and, going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life and yield no fruit. But that on the good ground are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it and bring forth fruit in patience." (Luke 8:5-15)