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Papist Poetry (pretty poor)


One sure warning that you are about to hear a really bad song is when the singer announces, “This is a song the Lord gave me.” At that point, you should plug your ears, and probably hold your nose, as well.

A couple weeks ago, Calvin’s comments on John 2:4 provoked a discussion in which I learned something I hadn’t known about Roman Catholic Mariology: apparently, Mary is the “New Eve.” Of course we know that Christ is the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45), but I had never heard any mention of another Eve. Turns out it’s because there isn’t any. What should have immediately occurred to me, but didn’t, is that there couldn’t be a second Eve because Christ already has a bride (Ephesians 5:22–27), chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

Well, the gentleman who was schooling me on this mysteriously dropped out of the conversation, so I never really got a satisfactory explanation. While I was waiting to see if he would return, my mind began wandering through the maze of papist Mariology, and I began to wax poetic. Those who remember my previous poetic works, including a contribution to contemporary worship music and a collection of cheese couplets, may want to go elsewhere at this point. Anyway, considering all that the Bible says about Mary, and adding to that all that Rome has said . . .

“This is a song the Lord gave me.”

Not Quite the Magnificat (tune and inspiration)

A couple thousand years ago, I was a Jewish lass
A strange thing happened to me (pardon me if this
sounds crass)
I was impregnated by the Spirit of the Lord
And had a holy baby who was very much adored

This baby was the son of God and made me very proud
He was so good that some folks claim he never cried
out loud
And then some guys in funny hats invented theories odd
Among them being that I am the very mother of God

So now I am God’s mother and the mother of his son
But I’ll reveal a stranger fact before my song is done
My baby was the second Adam, I, the second Eve
Which made me my son’s wife, a thing I hardly can believe

Now if I am God’s mother, Jesus then is my grandson
I know that is a weird thought, but it’s not the
weirdest one
I’ve come to a conclusion that is sticking in my craw
If I am Jesus’ wife, then I’m my granddaughter-in-law

So . . .

I’m my own grandma, I’m my own grandma
It sounds funny, I know, but Rome says it is so
Oh, I’m my own grandma!



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21 Comments:


#1 || 10·03·01··09:48 || Kim in ON

:)


#2 || 10·03·01··10:37 || rebecca

Hoo boy, that's complicated.

Poor girl.


#3 || 10·03·02··07:05 || Kristina

haha nicely done.


#4 || 10·03·02··08:24 || Scott Pierce

Waiting for a new rendition of "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer"...


#5 || 10·03·02··09:17 || Josiah

I realize you are being lighthearted and joking with your poem, so please forgive me for being so serious...

I agree with you that "Second Eve" (or even "Queen of heaven," etc) are excessive terms not warranted by the Scriptures. (Full disclosure: I'm a protestant.) But I don't think that the term Mother of God, properly understood in its historical context, is bad. In fact, it is orthodox. It is a translation of the Greek "theotokos" as a term used to describe Mary. It could be translated "bearer of God," and as such emphasizes more about Jesus than it does about Mary--it points to the fact that Jesus is fully God and fully man, in mystery of the incarnation. The heretical views of Nestorius declared that Mary was "christotokos"--the mother of Christ--because he wanted to emphasize the disunity between Jesus' human and divine natures. The Council of Ephesus in 431 declared his views incorrect, instead emphasizing Mary did in fact give birth to God incarnate.

You probably know this all already. Sorry for commenting theologically on your poem!

Although wikipedia is fraught with error, these articles seem pretty good and give interesting summaries:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestorius
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theotokos


#6 || 10·03·02··12:42 || David

Yeah, Josiah, you’re being too serious!

I do know there’s a legitimate way of calling Mary the mother of God, but “Mother of God” per se — without a full explanation (like yours) — is likely to be understood as heretically as mother of Christ, so I think it’s best not to use it.

Out of curiosity, do you know of any occurrance of theotokos in the new testament? I saw no such reference in the Wikipedia article.


#7 || 10·03·02··13:26 || Darren

When Catholics say Mary is the new Eve, it does not imply that Mary is Jesus' bride. It is a description of how, like Eve is the mother of the human race, Mary is the mother of God's church.

I understand the misunderstanding, Catholic and Protestants do a terrible job of understanding each other.


#8 || 10·03·02··14:56 || David

Darren,
   The implication that the Roman Catholic view could be understood presupposes that it is biblical and logical. So I freely admit that I will never understand it.


#9 || 10·03·02··15:08 || David

But anyway . . . the church is the bride of Christ, and Mary is the mother of both? Okey-dokey, then.


#10 || 10·03·02··15:26 || Josiah

David:
I cannot find the term "Theotokos" in the New Testament. (I suppose one could link Elizabeth's exclamation in Luke 1:43 to the meaning of the word, but the term itself is not used.)

However, I also cannot find the term "Trinity" in the New Testament. The term has been used by Muslims to say that Christians worship 3 gods--God, Jesus, and Mary. Because it is misunderstood, and not scriptural, should we cease to use it?

In my opinion, we can use both terms and explain them. From what you said above, I'd guess you'll disagree. Is my analogy false? Do you think "theotokos" language is so misunderstood in a Western context as to be useless?

Thanks!


#11 || 10·03·02··16:22 || David

Josiah,
   The reason I asked if “theotokos” is found in the New Testament is that you used it as etymological evidence of the mother-of-God concept. As such, it would have to be found in Scripture. Extra-biblical sources are not enough.

Your comparison of “theotokos” to “trinity” doesn’t really work. We don’t use the word “trinity” to support the doctrine of the trinity, but to describe that doctrine as it is found in Scripture. You did use the word “theotokos” to support the doctrine it describes. Now, if you want to show how Scripture proclaims Mary to be the mother of God — as it proclaims the Trinity — and then apply a descriptive word like “theotokos,” that would work.

The phrase “mother of my Lord” (Luke 1:43) is not really equivalent to “mother of God.” Jesus is Lord, in his humanity as well as in his deity. Mary was his mother in the flesh. She was not, and could not, be the mother of deity, eternally existent before all things. So Mary could be — and was — “the mother of my Lord” without being the mother of God.

Finally, considering the paucity of biblical mandate for the title “mother of God,” I think I’ll have to recant my previous comment (“I do know there’s a legitimate way of calling Mary the mother of God”) and reject it altogether (I think I was just trying to be charitable to Chalcedon, anyway). I see no reason to use it, except to buddy up to Rome. And I, for one, still take the Reformation seriously.


#12 || 10·03·02··18:16 || Josiah

David:

I am glad you still take the Reformation seriously! I do as well. One of the points of the Reformation was to return the Church to what it had been before the terrible doctrinal innovations that crept in over the centuries. But the Reformers were very concerned with confessing as the Historic Church confessed. The Church fathers who were orthodox confessed that Jesus was the mother of God. They weren't concerned about the term, properly qualified.

We can prove from the New Testament that Jesus is fully human and fully God, can we not? Is He fully God in the incarnation? Is He fully God as a baby, and in his mother's womb? If the answer to those questions is "yes"--as the Church universal has confessed in interpreting the New Testament--then we can say that Mary was the mother of God, in the mystery of the incarnation.

I think the Trinity-Theotokos analogy still does hold. I am not using the term as proof for the doctrine of Jesus' divinity--the New Testament is proof for that! The real issue, after all, is Jesus' divinity--something we both affirm. We just differ on how to talk about it.

I can understand your reticence to use the term since it is still so easily misunderstood. Thankfully, it's not a term that is necessary to use--I just think it is helpful.

Thanks! Blessings.


#13 || 10·03·03··03:02 || Bernard

Just a thought for the poet here?

What would you think of an atheist making fun of of you believing that Mary gave birth to her creator. Presumably something you believe, in a similar bit of poetry?


#14 || 10·03·03··09:10 || David

Josiah,
   You’re equivocating on two points:

  1. The divinity of Jesus was never the issue here. I have no idea where you got that. The issue is Mary as the mother of God.
  2. Look back at your first comment. You did use the historical, extra-biblical use of word “theotokos” to demonstrate the orthodoxy of the “mother of God” doctrine.

The Reformer’s primary concern was not “with confessing as the Historic Church confessed.” It was with a return to Scripture, period. And even as far as they did want to return the church to its earlier, pre-apostate position, they certainly did not want a church based on the doctrine of the fathers. Just read Calvin’s Commentaries and see how often Calvin explicitly contradicts them. What the church fathers (and Reformers) believed is fallible and of limited value. So “the church fathers who were orthodox confessed that [Mary] was the mother of God.” Many of them (e.g. Athanasius, Chrysostum, Augustine) also believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary.

Yes, Jesus was fully God in his mother’s womb, but he did not originate in her womb. His is one life that did not begin at conception. Mary was the mother of the incarnate Jesus only. God, having no beginning, has no mother. Read John 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Mary could very well echo John the Baptist (v. 15):
He who comes after me . . . existed before me.
While you would call John the forerunner of Jesus, you would never (I hope) say he was the forerunner of God.


#15 || 10·03·03··10:39 || Josiah

David:

The reason why the divinity of Jesus is at issue is because that is how the ancients understood the term--as a way to confess that Jesus is God.

You're right--in my first comment I did use the extra-biblical, historical use to define the doctrine as orthodox. I only do so, however, because I think that the term, as it developed, was intended to be a confession about the Deity of Jesus, which is based on the Scriptures. My bad for the equivocation.

As a side note, it is interesting that Luther, Zwingli, and Wesley held to the perpetual virginity of Mary as well. (further side note: I do not.) Even Calvin says the existence of Jesus' brothers is of little value in determining whether she was perpetually a virgin, and thinks disputing on the matter is silly since the authors of the New Testament don't tell us any more (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom32.ii.xxxix.html#ii.xxxix-p19.1 http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom31.ix.xv.html#ix.xv-p72.1). You rightly say that what the fathers and Reformers say is fallible--but is it really of little value? If that is true, why quote them? Why do you quote Calvin then?

I think the very fact Calvin bothered to engage with--both in agreeing and disagreeing with the Fathers is significant. Check the index of the Institutes and see how many times he quotes Augustine!

I completely agree with your interpretation of the passages from John. Please let me be clear: I do not think that God originated in Mary's womb. Perhaps using the term "mother of God incarnate" is better? Or "Mother of the Lord," as Elizabeth says? Of course, the latter one is interesting because "Lord" in the NT often refers to the LORD...


#16 || 10·03·03··11:26 || David

Josiah,
   I said the father’s views are of “limited value,” not “little value.” And yes, as previously said, “mother of the Lord” is biblical.


#17 || 10·03·03··11:35 || David

“What would you think of an atheist making fun of of you believing that Mary gave birth to her creator. Presumably something you believe, in a similar bit of poetry?”

Bernard,
   As the comments above show, I don’t technically believe that. However, what I do believe is commonly ridiculed by theists and atheists alike. I’m a grown man, I can take it.


#18 || 10·03·03··14:15 || Josiah

David:

Sorry about the misquote. I'm apparently getting sloppy.

Thanks for the conversation, you are a thoughtful dialogue partner--something I've found rather rare on the web. Blessings to you.


#19 || 10·03·03··17:20 || David

Well, I try! Thanks for visiting.


#20 || 10·03·06··08:49 || Joel

Well, I'm a Papist and I got a chuckle out of it. Yes, I know the assumptions (no pun intended)are incorrect as far as the meaning of Mother of God, but they're also common misconceptions. (Dang, but this subject invites puns!) Lots of people really do think we elevate Mary beyond her station (which I suspect means they don't want her elevated beyond themselves, but that's for another time).

So I thought it was a hoot. I didn't take it as vicious ridicule, just shared absurdity.


#21 || 10·03·06··09:04 || David

Hey, Joel, long time, no argue! And I’m not going to start again now. I’m glad you’ve still got your sense of humor.


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