Question for Non-Catholics: Mary as Mother of God


I posted a form of this argument on a different forum (not CAF), but the people there seemed more intereseted in hurling insults at Catholics than addressing my points.

I’m trying to understand the hangup many people have in calling Mary the Mother of God. The way I see it, the whole thing has more to do with who Jesus is than who Mary is. (Nestorius, who first denied the title did so because of his false christology).

I did my best to formulate the Catholic position in the form of a logical argument:

Premise 1: Jesus is ONE PERSON with TWO NATURES (a human nature and a divine nature).

  • Corollary 1: Jesus existed in his divine nature from all eternity.
  • Corollary 2: With the Incarnation, Jesus ASSUMED a human nature and a human body.
  • Corollary 3: In the Incarnation, the divine and human nature are UNITED in Jesus, without being confused (that is, without being blended together into some third, altogether different thing).
    Premise 2: Women give birth to PEOPLE, not NATURES.
    Premise 3: Mary conceived, gave birth to, and raised Jesus.
    Premise 4: Jesus is God.
    Premise 5: A woman who conceives, gives birth to, and raises a child is considered his or her mother.
    Conclusion: Therefore, since Mary gave birth to Jesus, and women give birth to people, and Jesus is one person, and Jesus is God, we can say that Mary is the Mother of God.

Here is my question for non-Catholics (particularly those who deny that we can call Mary the Mother of God): Is this argument at all compelling? Is there something wrong with it that I’m not seeing?

The way I see it, in order to reject the conclusion that Mary is the Mother of God, you have to reject one of these five premises. Premises 3, 4, and 5 would seem to be acceptable to all Christians. Therefore, it seems that Premise 1 and 2 would be the most likely candidates as to where the problem lies.

So which premise is it that you don’t agree with and why?

I’m not trying to brow-beat anyone into accepting the Catholic position. I’m just trying to understand the root of the disagreement.

Thanks! :thumbsup:


I will submit that 9 times out of 10 it is simply a matter of a need to disagree with the Catholic Church.

It’s really hard to read the bible and disagree, in any real way, with what the Catholic Church teaches about the nature of Christ and still call yourself a “Christian.”

Since scripture doesn’t use the title “Mother of God” it makes an easy target for non-Catholics, or perhaps more accurately anti-Catholics.

I’ve not seen anyone here seriously argue that “Mary is not the mother of God.”

Usually what I’ve seen is someone who argues “You [Catholics] can’t say Mary is the Mother of God [or anything else about her for that matter] cause you can’t prove it from scripture. Therefore your teaching the traditions of man. Therefore the Catholic Church is not the Church…etc. etc.”

But who knows, maybe I’ll be surprised and someone will really try and argue this point?



Founders of protestantism:

Martin Luther:

“. . . she is rightly called not only the mother of the man, but also the Mother of God. . . . **it is certain that Mary is the Mother of the real and true God.” **
Ref: Sermon on John 14. 16: Luther’s Works (St. Louis, ed. Jaroslav, Pelican, Concordia. vol. 24. p. 107)

Huldreich Zwingili:

Zwingli had printed in 1524 a sermon on ‘Mary, ever virgin, **mother of God.’ **

Heinrich Bullinger:

‘The Virgin Mary . . . completely sanctified by the grace and blood of her only Son and abundantly endowed by the gift of the Holy Spirit and preferred to all . . . now lives happily with Christ in heaven and is called and remains ever-Virgin and Mother of God.


Hi Joe. I agree with your entire argument. And given the circumstances at the time when the title Mother of God was defined and why, I would likely have agreed with the rationale. The problem is, that given the hindsight that we have today, the title acted as a stepping stone for later doctrinal developments that extended Mary’s status into much more objectionable status. So while the argument between the title Mother of Jesus, the preferred use in the early church, and the later title Mother of God, I’d now say Mother of Jesus is more theologically accurate (she didn’t give birth to His God-nature, only His human body) and doesn’t provide the same stepping stool that Mother of God provided to those wanting to elevate Mary as a parallel to their pagan familiarities of that era.

I realize Mother of Jesus wouldn’t serve the same purpose in it’s refutation of those challenging Christ’s God nature, but I would say that’s the wrong approach anyway. We don’t call Jude or James, the Brother of God do we? Why not? Because it would seem to elevate their status, something Catholics would not want to happen, particularly since it would challenge the “ever-virgin” theory. If you want to ensure every one recognizes that Jesus was God, then make it clear in your Creed language. There’s no need to do it by giving Mary a title that can later be twisted.

To me, and I’ve looked at the arguments from both sides for years now, it seems obvious that by the third century, no one knew how Mary died or what happened to her body, no one viewed her as being sinless, and whether or not she had other children was an open debate. If those who safe-guarded the Church’s truths and documents (e.g., Origen, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Ignatius, etc) didn’t know or even by their writings openly contradicted later doctrinal developments claiming Mary to be sinless, ever-virgin and assumed into Heaven, then no one can legitimately claim that these dogmas were from an Apostolic Tradition that was handed down. That’s just not being intellectually honest.

It’s quite clear just the opposite occurred. That despite refutations from significant church fathers denying she was sinless, later advocates proclaimed it anyway. Same with the assumption and ever-virgin. They declared certain “truths” as being fact and must be believed upon punishment of excommunication, based upon speculative theology built not upon Tradition or Scripture, but on stepping stones such as the title Mother of God and Gnostic fables about Mary, which proliferated at the time despite being condemned by the early fathers, such fictional texts as the Protoevangelism of James became the basis of ideas and support for those whose agenda was to elevate Mary beyond what Scripture and Tradition established. Advocates of Mariology recognize the absolute “silence” on all things Mary and then read into that silence a perverse significance. Silence is silence for a reason; specifically that Mary was not a factor in early church worship. She just wasn’t. By introducing concepts that agree with the Gnostics, the Church introduced heresy.

In summary, I object to Mother of God because it’s not necessary and not as accurate as Mother of Jesus.


To say that it is not necessary is to say that it is not necessary to understand what God did in and through the Incarnation.


No it’s not. You missed my point. Giving Mary a title in order to sure up Christ’s divinity is illogical and unnecessary in my view.


No, David, it’s the other way around. Jesus manifests His Divinity and because–and only because–of His Divinity, His Mother is titled as she is.

We don’t ‘give’ Mary titles to shore up a belief in Jesus’ divinity. The fact that HE is divine is what ‘gives’ Mary the titles. . .not the other way round.


But the fact is that the debate over her title was grounded in a debate between Nestorius and others (e.g., Cyril) over the nature of Christ. That’s what I’m referring to. The reason it came before a council was to resolve a debate about how Jesus was both fully God and fully man and Mary’s title became the battle ground. So, yes, I maintain, as do most historians I’ve read on the subject, that her title was bestowed specifically to cap the argument over Christ’s divinity. By issuing the title, they declared victory.


I don’t use that name for Mary because I think it has given rise to Mariolotry.
Everything seems to be about Mary.
Visions of Mary
Statues of Mary
The Scapular of Mary
The rosary is mostly said to Mary
Feasts are for Mary

Where is Jesus in all this?
Where is the Cross?

Isn’t that what our whole faith is about?
Jesus death and resurection.
Can salvation come through any other means?

I have seen feasts where a statue of a lady(supposedly a Marian apparition) is carried by 100 men and people put dollar bills on the statue. Again I say where is our Savior?
I see videos of people flocking to Lourdes ,Fatima and other places.
Who is this Christianity about Jesus or Mary?



Well you are totally wrong and obviously know very little about the Catholic Church.**


Hi Joe, the whole problem is that protestants understand the term “mother of God” to mean “origin of God”. If you were to go back and stick to a historical definition of mother of God, as defined in that early church council, mainly, emphasizing the deity of Christ. Most prostants would have no problem at all.

But, when some go overboard as to their “devotion” which is viewed as idol worship of mary, that is where the problems come in.

A True Christian has only one devotion, that is Jesus.

In short, one can NOT have two masters, LORDS of their life.

For us protestants, only Jesus Christ Is Lord, all others are NOT our Lords.



Again I say where is our Savior?

Our Savior is in the praise and Glory given to His Mother.

We are the Body of Christ, and we look up to Our Mother the way the Child Christ looked up to the woman who fed and clothed Him, the woman who protected Him and nurished Him with her own body. The woman who called God Himself “my child”. We love our mothers, and we love even more the woman who God called “mom”.

Let me turn the question around: if you are the Body of Christ, where is Our Savior in the neglect of Mary?

Peace and God bless!


Thanks for all the responses thus far!

It seems that no one really has a problem with the argument I presented or with the title per se (especially in light of the historical context). Rather, you see the title as a stepping stone for other things that you DO have a problem with. Am I understanding you correctly?

This makes alot more sense to me than just rejecting the title outright. While I don’t agree with your assertions that devotion to Mary takes away from the devotion to and worship of Jesus, I think I understand where you are coming from a little better.

Any further comments and observations are appreciated! :thumbsup:


And I turn on my TV and see hair-helmeted Protestant pastors in Italian suits waving a Bible, playing Bible Bingo with it, and demanding old ladies send $100 bills into them for their latest jet, mansion, or big honking worship palace.

Where is Christ in this?

Where is the concern for the poor that Christ evinced?

Where is the recognition of the log in your evangelical eye, Misslollipops?

Why not spend some time correcting the abuses within your own community?


They are not in my community
I belong to the catholic church


It is not the mother of God anybody has a hard time seeing mary as, it is as Coredemptrix and assigning the attributes of creator to a creature. Making her omnipresent to hear all and see all, making her sinless etc


So what group does that? The Catholic Church does not teach Mary is omnipresent in anyway shape or form. :shrug:


Indeed, the whole point of the various apparitions of Mary is that she is NOT omnipresent.

When these types of things come up, I always wonder what the non-Catholics’ conception of where the Elect who have passed away are right now is.

Don’t some non-Catholics claim that the deceased who go to Heaven are looking down over us? How do they do that? Can they only see us when we’re outside, like Google Earth?


So true…just a little tiring though to keep hearing this what we believe…we then say no…this is what we believe…nope that is not what you believe…this is what you believe… :shrug:


So of the 1 billion R.C.s on the earth, if 1000 or so are praying to Mary at a given time who is she listening to?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit