Hi to my Forum Friends,
In another Religion Forum discussion titled "Luke 1 (41-43)" a Roman Catholic Friend offers this comment, "To those who deny Mary as the Mother of God, and claim it is 'unBiblical,' I offer this passage (Luke 1:41-43). Bill Gray, it IS part of your "BIG 66." Was Elizabeth confused? Was St. Luke confused? How do you read this and still deny Mary as the mother of our Lord?"
As we see in this comment from my Roman Catholic Friend, very often when discussing this issue of Mary, the two descriptions of her become confused. As a matter of fact, I believe that many of my Roman Catholic Friends become confused between the title "mother of our Lord" and the title "Mother of God."
So, as we begin, let's clarify this very important terminology. This Scripture passage In Luke 1 calls Mary the "mother of our Lord." Yet, the Roman Catholic church calls her the "Mother of God." Is there a discrepancy there?
Question: "Is Mary the mother of God?"
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,” in reference 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.
Let's explore this thought a bit further. God is a Triune God, a Trinity. He is one God, manifested in three distinct Persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ is God the Son. He is fully God. Yet, for the sake of all who will believe and receive Him as Lord and Savior; He took on a second nature -- He also became fully man. So, while we have one God manifested in three Persons; Jesus Christ is also God the Son, manifested in two distinct natures. He is fully God, yet He is fully Man.
Being fully God, He is preexisting, never a created being, always God the Son. As the preexisting God, He was never born -- so, therefore, He could NOT have a mother. Only those who are born can have a mother.
Just as we have to distinguish between the three distinct Persons in the Godhead; we must also distinguish between the two distinct natures of the Son of God. This is expressed well in His name. Jesus is His given name, and was a common name in Biblical times.
In the Old Testament we have the name Joshua, which in Hebrew is "Yehowshuwa`" -- and in the New Testament we have the name Jesus, which in Greek is "Iesous." Both mean "Jehovah is salvation." So, He has the given name Jesus/Joshua.
In the Old Testament we find the title Messiah, which in Hebrew is "mashiyach" -- and in the New Testament we find the title Christ, which in Greek is "Christos." Both mean "anointed one." Christ is His title.
So, we read in Matthew 1:18, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ (lesous Christos) was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit."
He was always from eternity past, the preexisting Christ, fully God the Anointed One. He became at birth Jesus, declaring "Jehovah is salvation" -- or that God, Jehovah, had come into our midst in human form to bring salvation to all who will receive Him.
Being fully Man, in His second nature -- He was born into a human body. That body, Jesus, had an earthly mother.
Hebrew 2:17, "Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people."
Consider these commentary thoughts:
David Guzik -- Study Guide for Luke 1
Luke 1:34-37: Mary’s question and Gabriel’s response.
Luke 1:34-35, "Mary said to the angel, 'How can this be, since I am a virgin?' 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.' "
c. Because this will be the manner of His conception, He is a Holy One (different from all others), and He will be called the Son of God.
i. This doesn’t have the same impact on us today, when many people claims to be a "son of god." But Mary (and all other Jewish people from her culture) knew what this meant: this child would be equal to God (John 5:18).
ii. Jesus did not become the Son of God; He was called the Son of God, recognizing His nature from all eternity.
Luke 1:39-45: Mary’s visit to Elizabeth.
Luke 1:39-45, "Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord(Jesus)would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.' "
a. The babe leaped in her womb: When Elizabeth saw Mary, her unborn child - John the Baptist - leaped, because he was filled with joy. Though John wasn’t born yet, he had a spiritual awareness and could respond to the Spirit of God.
b. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! John the Baptist had not yet been born, and Zacharias was still mute. Yet Elizabeth believes the word of the Lord given to her husband Zacharias when he was in the temple. In the temple, Gabriel told him that their promised son would make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:17). Elizabeth believed it, and believed that the baby in Mary’s womb was the Lord who Elizabeth’s son would prepare the way for (the mother of my Lord). This faith was in Elizabeth because she was filled with the Holy Spirit.
c. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things: Elizabeth recognized that Mary’s faith played an active role in receiving the promise. God's promises should never make us passive; they should prompt us to seize them by faith. Elizabeth wanted to encourage Mary’s faith, so she declared "there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."
Luke 1:46-56: Mary’s song of praise to the Lord.
Luke 1:46-48, "And Mary said: 'My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.' "
c. My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior: This means Mary needed a Savior, and she knew she needed a Savior.
"Mary answered the Roman Catholic dogma of the immaculate conception, which holds that from the moment of her conception (in her mother's womb) Mary was by God’s grace ‘kept free from all taint of Original Sin.’ Only sinners need a Savior." (Walter L. Liefeld) [parenthetical comment in this quote is mine)
While we all recognize that Mary was a very special young woman, very Godly; and no one can doubt that she was and is truly blessed to have been chosen as the human womb through which our Lord and Savior was born -- she is in no way deity, sinless, to be worshiped, nor to be put upon any special pedestal.
Mary was a very blessed young woman who was born with the Adamic Sin Nature, like all mortals. Yet, to the best of my knowledge, she lived a very devout life. Like all mortal believers, when she died her body went into the grave while her spirit went into heaven, into the presence of God. Like all mortal believers, when she died she was free of the Adamic Sin Nature curse. And, at the Rapture of the church, she, and all believers who have died in Christ, will be resurrected into their immortal bodies.
Yet, it is very clear from Scripture that, after the birth of Christ, Mary lived a very normal married life and did not remain a perpetual virgin. She had other children.
In Luke 8:20 we read, "And it was reported to Him, 'Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You.' "
In Matthew 13:55-56 we read, "Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?"
This, to me, clearly tells us that Jesus had brothers and sisters, born of Mary and Joseph. The claim that these were only cousins has no validity in the Bible, at all.
In writing this, am I attacking or attempting to denigrate my many Roman Catholic Friends and family? No. Absolutely not.
What I am saying is that for any Christian doctrine, teaching, or theology to be valid -- it MUST have full agreement with Scripture, and it MUST be supported 100% by Scripture. If a teaching, doctrine, or theology cannot be 100% supported by Scripture -- it should be changed to bring it into agreement with God's Written Word, the Bible.
So, to my Roman Catholic Friend who initiated this dialogue with, "Bill Gray, it IS part of your 'BIG 66.' Was Elizabeth confused? Was St. Luke confused? How do you read this and still deny Mary as the mother of our Lord?"
I have to answer, "I agree! Mary most definitely was the 'mother of our Lord'." But, she was NOT and could never be the "Mother of God." I pray that I have explained sufficiently why that is impossible, and not Biblical.
By the way, her reference to my "Big 66" comes from our disagreement over adding the Apocrypha books to the 66 books of the Bible. My contention, along with all Christians except those found in the Roman Catholic church, is that there are only 66 canonized books in the Christian Bible.
The Apocrypha and other writings, i.e., catechisms, commentaries, and all other man-written explorations, speculations, and histories -- while useful in our Biblical studies -- are not considered part of the Holy Spirit inspired, Holy Spirit inerrant, literal Written Word of God. Therefore, they are NOT Scripture and should hold no concrete foundational position in determining our Christian doctrines, teachings, beliefs, or our Christian theology.
God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,