Why can Catholics call Mary the 'Mother of God' but not say that 'God died on the cross'

Christ died in His human nature.

This is not the same as saying that Christ’s human nature died.

Words matter a lot in Christology, even the little ones!

The last few posts seem to be going through the same items previous posts did.

In the old days when regular Catholic teachings were taught…

We would say.

God is three Persons in one nature.
Jesus Christ is one Person with two natures.

And Catholics respected the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Each human person is worthy of profound respect.

Christs physical biological body was alive, and then it was dead. God does not die. Living and dying does not apply to God’s nature. Jesus as a human being died on the Cross, but Christ as the word of God is eternal.

Persons are born and persons die. Not natures. God was born of Mary through the person of Jesus Christ. God died through the person of Jesus Christ. This is orthodox and Catholic. Don’t risk sounding Nestorian.

m.ncregister.com/blog/steven-greydanus/did-god-die-on-good-friday#.WZpAkHMpDqA

Council of Ephesus (431)
Whosoever shall not recognize that the Word of God suffered in the flesh, that he was crucified in the flesh, and that likewise in that same flesh he tasted death and that he has become the first-begotten of the dead, for, as he is God, he is the life and it is he that gives life: let him be anathema.

newadvent.org/fathers/3810.htm

Bishop Fulton Sheen:
“You ask, for instance, “Did God die on the Cross?” The answer, happily, is Yes — as I have said the first answer is usually right. But if you go on and ask “What happened to the universe while God was dead?” nearly all abandon the great truth to which they have just assented, and explain that it was not God who died on the Cross but the human nature God the Son had assumed: which roughly is the Nestorian heresy, condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431, one year before St. Patrick landed for the conversion of your ancestors and mine. The true answer, you may say, sounds not so very different from the heresy: need we bother the young with technical distinctions of this sort? But upon this distinction our redemption depends and the young are quite capable of seeing the distinction, and of rejoicing in it.”

ewtn.com/library/HOMESCHL/TCHREL.HTM

Catechism of the Catholic Church
468 After the Council of Chalcedon, some made of Christ’s human nature a kind of personal subject. Against them, the fifth ecumenical council, at Constantinople in 553, confessed that “there is but one hypostasis [or person], which is our Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Trinity.” Thus everything in Christ’s human nature is to be attributed to his divine person as its proper subject, not only his miracles but also his sufferings and even his death: “He who was crucified in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, is true God, Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity.”

469 The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother:

[INDENT]“What he was, he remained and what he was not, he assumed”, sings the Roman Liturgy. And the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom proclaims and sings: “O only-begotten Son and Word of God, immortal being, you who deigned for our salvation to become incarnate of the holy Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, you who without change became man and were crucified, O Christ our God, you who by your death have crushed death, you who are one of the Holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit, save us!”[/INDENT]

God died for our sins. Do you really wish to contradict the Council of Ephesus, Bishop Sheen, and the Catechism? Not to mention a vast multitude of others?

I see no contradiction.

The first page or two of this thread went through this. I don’t think it is necessary to go through it again here. “Communicatio idiomatum” is key.

Peace…

I think semantics is whats getting in the way. You can say “God died on the cross” so long as you mean God as a “human-being” died. But of course i’m sure you understand that A “human being” is not God’s essential nature and God’s essential nature cannot die.

The idea that God died on the cross is insane. God cannot die because he is eternal. However, Jesus in his humanness experienced death for all of us. The proof that divinity did not die is found in Jesus words, “MY GOD, MY GOD, why have you forsaken me?” Mt. 27:46. for a brief time, Jesus and divinity with the Father were separated for the sake of the cross and the payment for sin.

No one in Mary’s life ever called her the Mother of God. Jesus didn’t, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John didn’t. The Apostle Paul, Peter, James, all did not call her the mother of God.

This was added by non-witnesses, centuries later.

Right.

The semantics are seriously important.

Hi tg,

You might consider reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church on these points.

Peace…
-e_c

It is insane! What kind of God would do such a thing as to die for us? But that doesn’t make it false. It is true and profoundly beautiful.

Reading through this thread makes me feel like I’m back in time at the Council of Ephesus. Or at least back in my Christology class. :stuck_out_tongue:

This is something that theologians and bishops hashed out over 1500 years ago. Now, anyone is free to disagree with it, but the Catholic teaching is pretty clear.

Honestly, it is surprises me a little to see Catholics having an issue with the communication of idioms. I understand that many Protestants do, but for Catholics I thought it was a non-issue.

One of my first forays into the world on online religious discussion was at a Protestant forum discussing this very topic. We might write it off as just a matter of semantics, but it actually strikes at the core of what we mean when we talk about personhood and who Jesus is. That’s why the Church fought so hard and convened an ecumenical council to address Mary’s role as the Theotokos. We call Mary the “Mother of God” because Jesus is God. And also because Jesus is human. Since mothers give birth to people and not to natures, we can say that Mary is the mother of God.

Similarly, we can say that “God died on the Cross” because Jesus is God and Jesus died on the cross. It would be incorrect to say that “The Trinity died on the cross”, but this is not the same thing.

Why go back 1500 years? Let’s go back to the founders and framers. Let’s go back to the eye-witnesses of this matter. It makes no sense whatsoever when one seeks the council of those in history to go back to people who weren’t there. Rome didn’t see Jesus, they didn’t have conversations with the Apostles. They weren’t there.

There is no 1st. or even 2nd. century commentary over this issue (about God dying on the cross.) I think it is safe to say you can find evidence about this in 431 A.D. That is a long time after the facts.

How do we retrieve facts and information? Do we surrender our hearts and brains to people who could only guess? … Or is it a better choice to seek the narratives of scripture, the historical and spiritual record of God’s business? the very record inspired by God the Holy Spirit?

“My God My God why have you forsaken me? …” Jesus died, God forsook.

To die is to pass from one place to another. In human bodies the body goes to the grave but the spirit goes to either heaven or hell. It is senseless to argue that the creator of the universe died and placed in a grave in the way that men die. Jesus would not say My God why have you forsaken me, if God were the one dying. To forsake is to reject and abandon, but to die as God, is a useless argument in my humble opinion. :slight_smile:

This is exactly the same line of thinking that leads certain Protestant groups to overlook any development of doctrine. Do you believe that Jesus is God?

Thank you for asking. I haven’t had anyone ask me that in a long time. Yes, Jesus is God who came in flesh and died a sinner’s death. He is the eternal Son who robed himself in humanity so that He could go to the cross.

Since when is truth something that evolves? Jesus said, upon the mouth of two or three witnesses, let every word be established. We do not arrive at truth lifting quotes from people who weren’t there. God says give me witnesses who collectively say the same thing. The Sum of thy word is truth! Psalms 119:160

That is so right!

Melito of Sardis - 2nd Century
He that hung up the earth in space was Himself hanged up; He that fixed the heavens was fixed with nails; He that bore up the earth was born up on a tree; the Lord of all was subjected to ignominy in a naked body—God put to death! … *n order that He might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day became darkened—because they slew God, who hung naked on the tree… This is He who made the heaven and the earth, and in the beginning, together with the Father, fashioned man; who was announced by means of the law and the prophets; who put on a bodily form in the Virgin; who was hanged upon the tree; who was buried in the earth; who rose from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father.

And certainly there are others from this time teaching that Mary is the Mother of God.

How do we retrieve facts and information? Do we surrender our hearts and brains to people who could only guess? … Or is it a better choice to seek the narratives of scripture, the historical and spiritual record of God’s business? the very record inspired by God the Holy Spirit?

The Councils and the Pope are prevented by the Holy Spirit from declaring error as dogma when exercising their Magisterial authority. And it is not a matter of just guessing. As for the development of doctrine, you really should read John Henry Newman’s own work on the topic under the title Development of Christian Doctrine for insight. As a Catholic, if you are a Catholic, yes, we must “surrender our hearts and brains” to the Church’s teaching on faith and morals.

“My God My God why have you forsaken me? …” Jesus died, God forsook.

Are you saying that Jesus was not God when he died on the cross? He was not divine?

To die is to pass from one place to another. In human bodies the body goes to the grave but the spirit goes to either heaven or hell. It is senseless to argue that the creator of the universe died and placed in a grave in the way that men die. Jesus would not say My God why have you forsaken me, if God were the one dying. To forsake is to reject and abandon, but to die as God, is a useless argument in my humble opinion. :slight_smile:

To die is for the human body to be separated from the human soul, which is what happened to Christ, though the second person of the Trinity remained fully united to both body and soul through and after Jesus’ death.*

Even the magisterial authority must submit to their fathers, in the apostolic circle. Any contradition proves them wrong. The building does not support the foundation, the foundation supports the building.

The Magisterium is above any individual church father in authority, but of course it is built on scriptures and them as its foundation and not the other way around. That doesn’t mean ex cathedral papal announcements or ecumenical councils are fallible in faith and morals, it definitely isn’t “guessing,” and God did die on the cross through the death of Jesus (and according to the way this can be attributed to God by communicatio idiomatum), as supported by scripture, church fathers, ecumenical councils, and the teaching of the church through the ages and now.

tgGodsway, can you please answer these simpler questions?

How many natures does Jesus have?

How many wills does Jesus have?

How many persons is Jesus?

Two natures. Two wills. One Person.

The official teachings of the Catholic Church begins with paragraph 470 and following paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, page 119 and following pages.

There are a lot of teachings on this subject and a lot of pages to read – if anyone is interested in the truth.:slight_smile:

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