The following is a fictitious Socratic styled dialogue between Martin, a Protestant who rejects the doctrine of Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos) and Justin, a Catholic who (obviously) doesn’t. enjoy! Or don’t. Either way, let me know what you think.
Martin: Hey Justin, why do Catholics call Mary the “Mother of God.”
Justin: Um, because she’s the Mother of God?
Martin: I disagree. Mary is a creature, she isn’t the cause God.
Justin: It’s true she is not the source from which God came, and I of course agree that she is a mere creature, but Mary is the mother of Jesus, and Jesus is God, therefore Mary is the Mother of God.
Martin: Sorry, not buying it.
Justin: What? Logic and reason?
Martin: This seems to me to be nothing other than Catholic word-play to make Mary seem more special that she really is.
Justin: Martin, to whom did Mary give birth?
Martin: Jesus Christ, of course, as well as other children.
Justin: We can argue about the perpetual virginity of Mary at a later date, for now though, you do believe that Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ.
Martin: I’m sorry is that a question? Of course I do, I just said that.
Justin: And who is Jesus Christ?
Martin: Okay, I’ll play along, he’s the savior of the world.
Justin: Fine, so Mary gave birth to the savior of the world. But who is this savior of the world? Who is Jesus?
Martin Who says bingo?
Justin: What would you have me say?
Martin: spot on?
Justin: I’m going to stick with bingo. So you agree that Mary gave birth to God and yet you refuse to call Mary the Mother of God?
Martin: Maybe she gave birth to his human nature but not his Divine nature.
Justin: Do Mothers give birth to nature’s or persons, John?
Martin: Okay, maybe she gave birth to Jesus’ human person but not his Divine person.
Justin: You’ve just demonstrated why the dogma of Theotokos is essential for understanding who Christ is. Christ is not more than one person, and Christ is not a human person; he is a Divine person.
Martin: Sure, okay, I see where you’re coming from. I guess I just think that it confuses people. People may end up thinking that Mary precedes God or something.
Justin: They might think that, but they would be wrong. Would you agree that just because something is confusing or ultimately incomprehensible it doesn’t follow that it is therefore false?
Martin: I’m confused.
Justin: But that doesn’t mean that what I’m saying is false, right?
Martin: My head hurts.
Justin: Mine too! But let’s press on. Would you agree that the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity is a confusing doctrine for many people? Would you agree that many Muslims, for example, when they hear of the Trinity think that we are Polytheists? That we worship three Gods?
Martin: Yes, I’d agree with that.
Justin: But just because the Trinity can be a confusing doctrine to explain, that doesn’t mean that it’s false, or that we should stop teaching it because it can cause confusion. The same is true with this doctrine, a doctrine which the Church has consistently held for over 2000 years. Listen to the words of John Cassian (c. 360 – c.435) who was writing against a man by the name of Nestorius, a man who committed the same error you’re committing in refusing to acknowledge that Blessed Mary was and is the Mother of God.
And so you say, O heretic, whoever you may be, who deny that God was born of the Virgin, that Mary the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ ought not to be called Theotokos, i.e., Mother of God, but Christotokos, i.e., only the Mother of Christ, not of God.
For no one, you say, brings forth what is anterior in time. And of this utterly foolish argument whereby you think that the birth of God can be understood by carnal minds, and fancy that the mystery of His Majesty can be accounted for by human reasoning, we will, if God permits, say something later on. In the meanwhile we will now prove by Divine testimonies that Christ is God, and that Mary is the Mother of God.
Martin: Wow, your logic is irrefutable; I’ve completely changed my mind.
Justin: Ah, I see what you did there.