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The Profession of Faith

117

III.

T

rue

G

od and

T

rue

M

an

464

The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarna-

tion of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God

and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused

mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while

remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and trueman. During

the first centuries, the Church had to defend and clarify this truth

of faith against the heresies that falsified it.

465

The first heresies denied not so much Christ’s divinity as

his true humanity (Gnostic Docetism). From apostolic times the

Christian faith has insisted on the true incarnation of God’s Son

“come in the flesh.”

87

But already in the third century, the Church

in a council at Antioch had to affirm against Paul of Samosata that

Jesus Christ is Son of God by nature and not by adoption. The first

ecumenical council of Nicaea in 325 confessed in its Creed that the

Son of God is “begotten, not made, consubstantial (

ho­

moousios

) with the Father,” and condemnedArius, who had affirmed

that the Son of God “came to be from things that were not” and

that he was “from another substance” than that of the Father.

88

466

The Nestorian heresy regarded Christ as a human person

joined to the divine person of God’s Son. Opposing this heresy, St.

Cyril of Alexandria and the third ecumenical council at Ephesus in

431 confessed “that the Word, uniting to himself in his person the

flesh animated by a rational soul, became man.”

89

Christ’s human­

ity has no other subject than the divine person of the Son of God, who

assumed it andmade it his own, fromhis conception. For this reason

the Council of Ephesus proclaimed in 431 that Mary truly became the

Mother of God by the human conception of the Son of God in her

womb: “Mother of God, not that the nature of theWord or his divinity

received the beginning of its existence from the holy Virgin, but that,

since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of

God united to himself according to the hypostasis, was born fromher,

the Word is said to be born according to the flesh.”

90

467

The Monophysites affirmed that the human nature had

ceased to exist as such in Christ when the divine person of God’s

Son assumed it. Faced with this heresy, the fourth ecumenical

council, at Chalcedon in 451, confessed:

87 Cf.

1 Jn

4:2-3;

2 Jn

7.

88 Council of Nicaea I (325): DS 130, 126.

89 Council of Ephesus (431): DS 250.

90 Council of Ephesus: DS 251.

88

242

495