Mary is the Mother of God, and the Bible says so! That’s why we honor her more than any creature—but not more than God. Tim Staples explains.
Host: Wayne, your question for Tim.
Caller: I was wondering why the the Catholic Church, when they pray to Mary or venerate Mary, that she is called the “Mother of God.” And now also the Hail Mary, when they do the “Hail Mary”s, isn’t that idolatry? It’s idolizing Mary.
Tim Staples: You know what, those are both great questions. Let’s talk first about Mary as the mother of God. Well, the first reason why we believe Mary is the mother of God is because it is an historical fact. The fact is that Jesus Christ is revealed in sacred scripture to be God manifest in the flesh, right? John 1:1-2: “In the beginning was Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” And then in verse 14 it says “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Well, how was he made flesh? He was born of the Virgin Mary. So what we have here is almighty God was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which means Mary necessarily is the mother of God.
Scripture tells us in Luke 1:43 St. Elizabeth says of Mary, after she had conceived Jesus and goes to the house of Elizabeth, “Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?” And of course she’s referencing, under the power of the Holy Spirit, when King David said of the Ark of the Covenant “Who am I that the Ark of my Lord should come unto me?” And so we know the scriptures are here revealing Mary to be the new Ark of the Covenant, just as in the Old Testament the Ark was the Ark of almighty God.
Of course, the New Testament fulfillment of that Ark would not have something in it less than the God of the Old Testament, because then the fulfillment would be less than the type. We know that of course the New Testament Ark would be the Ark of Almighty God. So of course Elizabeth calls Mary “Mother of my Lord,” God; Mary is in fact the mother of God; and, my brother, this leads to us honoring Mary.
Because think of it this way, brother: the Bible gives us basically two essential reasons why we honor some members of the Body of Christ more than others, right? Think of this: 1 Timothy 5:17 commands us to give “double honor” to the teaching elders. Now what does that mean? That means, guess what, I’m gonna honor the teaching elders twice as much as I honor this knucklehead sitting here right now, Cy Kellett, because the Bible tells me to. So number one, we honor some members of the Body of Christ more than others because of their office.
But number two, we also honor them because of their holiness, or what God has done for them, in them, and through them. Well, the Blessed Mother’s a great example of that, because in Luke 1:48 she says—she prophesies under the power of the Holy Spirit—”All generations shall call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me.” Well, the Blessed Virgin Mary has done the greatest thing that any human person—and notice I said “human person,” because Jesus was not a human person, he was a divine person who had a human nature and a divine nature; he was fully human, but he was a divine person—Mary did the greatest thing that any human person has ever done in the history of the world. And that is: she, through her “Yes,” in Luke 1:37-38, she said “Let it be done unto me according to thy word,” and as a result of her “Yes,” Jesus came into the world and all of us could be saved.
So of course we honor Mary because of her office as Mother of God, and also the fact that she cooperated with God’s grace and God did something through her greater than—in fact, without Mary, there is no Jesus. There’s no Apostle Peter. There’s no Paul. There’s no nothing, there’s no New Testament, without Mary’s “Yes” to almighty God. Now, could God have chosen someone else? Absolutely! God could choose anybody wants to. But the bottom line is, He chose Mary and Mary said “Yes.”
Does that get you started, anyway, as to why we honor her? But please understand: we do not adore her, we do not worship her, that would be a mortal sin for a Catholic because we adore and worship God and God alone; but we honor her because of the great things God did through her.
Caller: Okay. First of all, you have the Trinity, which is God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. She was the mother of God the Son.
Caller: Not God the Father, right?
Tim: Amen! That’s good Catholic preaching right there, brother. Now understand, I’m not—I kind of sound like I’m jesting. I’m not jesting. That is absolutely what the Catholic Church teaches. She is not the mother of the Father, she’s not the mother of the Holy Spirit. She is the mother of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity incarnate. But the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity is almighty God. Hence, she is the mother of God. She’s not the mother of the Trinity, but she’s the mother of God, because she is the mother of the Second Person Blessed Trinity, who IS God. He is.
And as Colossians 2:9 says, I’m sure you know, that in him “the fullness of the godhead dwells bodily.” Right? It’s not like part of God is in Jesus and part of God’s in the Father and part of of God’s in the Holy Spirit. No, all of God’s in all three.