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Is Mary the Mother of God?

Trent Horn

Some people say Mary is only the mother of Jesus’ humanity and because of this she isn’t the mother of God. Is this true? In this Ready Reasons video, Trent explains how Mary can truly be called the mother of God.


In the fifth century the Catholic Church dogmatically defined that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God, or theotokos, which in Greek means “God-bearer.” This does not mean Mary created the Trinity or that she existed before Jesus for all eternity. It just means that since Jesus is a divine person, and Mary is the Mother of this divine person, it follows that Mary is the mother of God.

Some people say Mary is only the mother of Jesus’ humanity and so she is not the mother of God; and, while it is true Mary did not give Jesus his divine nature, that’s not what it means to be a mother. Someone is a mother if she conceives and gives birth to a person and not a nature. A woman cannot give birth to a “human nature” apart from a person anymore than a woman could see the color red apart from a red object. A woman only becomes a mother the moment a person with a human nature is conceived within her womb. Mary conceived and gave birth to a divine person, or the incarnate Son Jesus Christ. Therefore she is the mother of a divine person or as the Church says, the mother of God.

Other people say God can’t have a mother because he is eternal, but that is like saying God cannot die on the cross because he is eternal. If God assumes a human nature he can both be born to redeem humanity and die to atone for its sins. In fact, calling Mary the Mother of God refutes heresies like adoptionism that say Jesus was just an ordinary man who became God’s son at his baptism or resurrection. Calling Mary the mother of God reinforces the traditional Christian belief that Jesus is fully God and fully man.

Some Protestants are uncomfortable with this Marian title but many are not. The contemporary Protestant critics Norm Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie write, “There are many things Catholics and Protestants hold in common on the doctrine of Mary. These include her being the most blessed among women, her virgin conception of Christ the God-man, and by virtue of that her being in this sense ‘the Mother of God.” Even the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther said of Mary, “men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God.”

For Catholic Answers I’m Trent Horn, and thanks for watching.

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