Women and the Gender of God– The Dialogue Part Three

Women and the Gender of God– The Dialogue Part Three March 23, 2023

  1. Speaking personally, I am not comfortable with the term theotokos as applied after the NT era to Mary, any more than I think later Mariology in regard to her sinlessness or immaculate conception, or perpetual virginity or bodily assumption into heaven has any grounding in what the NT says about Mary, nor is a logical or proper extension of what the NT does say about her. God the Son existed long before Mary, and when God the Son took on flesh in Mary’s womb the result was the God-man something that did not exist before, not merely God the Son, and the contribution Mary makes is to Jesus’ humanity, not his divinity. Yes, God the Son honored Mary above all other human beings of any kind by incarnating himself in the womb of Mary, but that doesn’t make her literally the mother of God (who pre-existed). She’s the mother of the God-man Jesus.   What would be your reaction to this way of putting things?


  1. You’ve put this thoughtfully, and the more I’ve studied the council of Ephesus, similarly, I think Nestorius, who preferred Christotokos, was much more nuanced than is sometimes assumed. I recognize the language could lead to the incorrect assumption that Mary was the mother of the pre-existent God, but it is language that, for me, speaks to the humanity and divinity of Jesus in one person. I am willing to embrace the risk of misunderstanding in order to retain the provocative and shocking reality that God the Son, in order to save humanity, chose to be born.


  1. I thought much of what you said about Mary was excellent and needed to be said. Protestants have not done a good job of respecting and appreciating Mary’s various roles in the NT including modeling how to respond properly to the divine initiative in faith even if it involves risk to you. I was a little surprised you didn’t really deal with Mary at the cross and being handed off to the Beloved Disciple (whom I don’t think was John Zebedee, but that’s a story for another day), since your coverage of other Mary texts was extensive. Was there a reason for this omission?



  1. I wrestled with this, and after the book’s publication, honestly regretted that I took it out. My decision to do so was motivated by the fact that I couldn’t see clearly a place that this moment fit in the movement of my argument. I’d like to return to that vital moment in the book I’m working on now, which is a second volume to this topic.



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