Wednesday, May 6, 2009

FATHERS: The Theotokos

For inasmuch as He (the Christ) who was born of her (Mary) was true God, she who bare the true God incarnate is the true “mother of God.” For we hold that God was born of her; not implying that the divinity of the Word received from her the beginning of its being, but meaning that God the Word Himself, who was begotten of the Father timelessly before all ages, and was with the Father and the Spirit without beginning and throughout eternity, took up His abode in these last days for the sake of our salvation in the virgin’s womb, and was without change made flesh and born of her. (Exposition of the Faith, John of Damascus, ca. 676-749 AD)

The subject of the “Theotokos,” the “Mother of God” has more to do with the two natures of Christ than it has to do with Mary. In the Eastern Church, Mary has never been considered a separate entity, possessing the keys to the treasury of merit, and able to dispense the grace of Christ; that is a western medieval concept that denies the role of Christ as the single savior of the world. Instead, from the second to the seventh ecumenical councils, Mary has been properly honored as the one who bore the God-man, by the title “the Mother of God.” And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Luke 1: 46-49


  1. The first prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible, and, it is thought, the first prophecy period, occurs after the Man and Woman eat of the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
    "I will put enmity between thy seed, and HER seed", the Lord God proclaims.
    Much has been written about the differences in the two Hebrew words translated into the one English word "made" in the context of "God MADE Adam" and "God.....MADE Eve". Suffice to say that, doubtless the "weaker" vessel in terms of physical strength, the Woman was not just made, but wondrously and marvelously constructed by the Lord God.
    To say that our Western Culture's Masculine superstructure has devalued the Feminine is an understatement. ( It is true too, that our Western Culture's Feminine infrastructure, devalues the Masculine as well, but that is for another comment perhaps.)
    In that ALL human beings, Male and Female, begin life, technically, as a female, within a female it may be a form of self loathing, (if I may be allowed a Hallmark Card Bumper Sticker-speak Psychobabble term.) All human life starts as female. The further transformation of female to male occurs some days after conception.
    Let me get to the point. There is something so amazingly, beautifully, wondrously NECESSARY about the Feminine/Female, that only the Feminine/Female is capable of being the vessel of the fully Human God. Or the fully Divine human, if you will.
    While the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Second Man with a Capital M, only a Woman could bring Him into our world.
    There is also something so amazingly, beautifully, wondrously NECESSARY about our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, that in the very first prophecy of Him, and of His triumph, He is called "Her seed".
    There is no devaluation of the female, in my view, in any part of the New Testament writings, unless one mis-interprets some hierachical statements.
    In fact no one does more to elevate the Feminine/Female than does the Lord Jesus Christ, when he uses the feminine pronoun personally.
    "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how many times would I have gathered you under MY wings, as a hen gathers HER chicks."

  2. Markus, there is something about genuine masculinity and femininity that is made clear by the incarnation of Jesus thru Mary that you really bring out here- thanks for your post.