The Symbol of Faith (Nicene Creed) of the Orthodox Church - Part 3 - Article 2

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Second person of the Trinity Fully God (true God of true God) Participated in the creation of the world Eternally begotten of the Father Became incarnate or the Holy Spirit (without the seed of man, that is, a human father), that is fully a human being. Born of the virgin Mary Is fully God and fully man. Was crucified, buried, and rose again. Will judge the world at the end of time.


"Jesus" means "Savior"

"Christ" means "anointed", the Greek translation of the Hebrew word rendered “Messiah”. This title of our Lord occurs five hundred and fourteen times in the New Testament.

What God conferred on those, who, by the anointing of oil were consecrated as kings or priests, this the Holy Spirit conferred on the Man Christ; adding moreover a purification. The Holy Spirit cleansed that which taken of the Virgin Mary was exalted into the Body of the Saviour, and this is that anointing of the Body of the Saviour's flesh whence He was called Christ. [Hilary, Quaest. Nov. et Vet. Test. q. 40]

"The Father of the True and really Anointed (Christ), whom He has anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows, anointing the manhood with the Godhead, so as to make both one." [St. Gregory of Nazianzus Orat. 5. fin]


"Jesus Christ", in His two natures, saves us. Only God is able to save, and thus, He is called "Jesus" -- "Savior". The incarnation, that is: Jesus, the pre-eternal God, becoming man, and having within Himself all the attributes of Divinity, while also being in all respects a human being, save that He did not sin; accomplished the perfection of His human nature, and made a path for us to follow, so that we might be perfected.

The name "Christ", "anointed" refers to His human nature, since anointing was done to impart unto MEN the gift of the Holy Spirit.


If by normal relations, the created would have created the creator.

Jesus already has a Father!


"Jesus Christ", in His two natures, saves us. Only God is able to save, and thus, He is called "Jesus" -- "Savior". The incarnation, that is: Jesus, the pre-eternal God, becoming man, and having within Himself all the attributes of Divinity, while also being in all respects a human being, save that He did not sin; accomplished the perfection of His human nature, and made a path for us to follow, so that we might be perfected.

The name "Christ", "anointed" refers to His human nature, since anointing was done to impart unto MEN the gift of the Holy Spirit.


From whence do we get the "Only-begotten"?

[John 1:14] And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

[John 1:18] No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

[John 3:16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

[John 3:18-21] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. {19} And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. {20} For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. {21} But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.


"And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, / the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all ages" teaches that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is eternal God, begotten by the Father of his very essence, and is of the same honor and glory with the Father.

To "beget" is to cause to exist. It also can also mean "to father", or sire. Both meanings are present here, but the begetting of Jesus was eternal - a special begetting, outside of time itself, which only began with the creation of the universe. The term "Only-begotten" emphasizes this special begetting, which absolutely cannot be understood as the creating" of Christ. In order to be created, something must previously not exist, and be brought into existence. Since Christ was begotten before all ages, there was never a time when He was not.

...The Only-begotten and the Holy Spirit are not to be looked for in the creation but are to be believed above it; and that while the creation may perhaps by the persevering efforts of ambitious seekers be seized in its own beginning, whatever that may be, the supernatural will not the more for that come within the realm of knowledge, for no mark before the ages indicative of its nature can be found.

Well, then, if in this uncreate existence those wondrous realities, with their wondrous names of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are to be in our thoughts, how can we imagine, of that pre-temporal world, that which our busy, restless minds perceive in things here below by comparing one of them with another and giving it precedence by an interval of time?

For there, with the Father, unoriginate, ungenerate, always Father, the idea of the Son as coming from Him yet side by side with Him is inseparably joined; and through the Son and yet with Him, before any vague and unsubstantial conception comes in between, the Holy Spirit is found at once in closest union; not subsequent in existence to the Son, as if the Son could be thought of as ever having been without the Spirit; but Himself also owning the same cause of His being, i.e. the God over all, as the Only-begotten Light, and having shone forth in that very Light, being divisible neither by duration nor by an alien nature from the Father or from the Only-begotten.

There are no intervals in that pre-temporal world: and difference on the score of being there is none. It is not even possible, comparing the uncreate with the uncreated, to see differences; and the Holy Ghost is uncreate.

[ St Gregory of Nyssa, Homilies, Book I, "§26. It Will Not Do to Apply This Conception, as Drawn Out Above, of the Rather and Son to the Creation, as They Insist on Doing: But We Must Contemplate the Son Apart with the Father, and Believe that the Creation Had Its Origin from a Definite Point. " (]

Since, then, He who is with the Father, in some inconceivable category, before the ages admits not of a `sometime,' He exists by generation indeed, but nevertheless He never begins to exist. His life is neither in time, nor in place.

But when we take away these and all suchlike ideas in contemplating the subsistence of the Son, there is only one thing that we can even think of as before Him -i.e. the Father.

But the Only-begotten, as He Himself has told us, is in the Father, and so, from His nature, is not open to the supposition that He ever existed not. If indeed the Father ever was not, the eternity of the Son must be cancelled retrospectively in consequence of this nothingness of the Father: but if the Father is always, how can the Son ever be non-existent, when He cannot be thought of at all by Himself apart from the Father, but is always implied silently in the name Father. This name in fact conveys the two Persons equally; the idea of the Son is inevitably suggested by that word.

When was it, then, that the Son was not? In what category shall we detect His non-existence? In place? There is none. In time? Our Lord was before all times; and if so, when was He not? And it He was in the Father, in what place was He not? Tell us that, ye who are so practiced in seeing things out of sight. What kind of interval have your cogitations given a shape to? What vacancy in the Son, be it of sub stance or of conception, have you been able to think of, which shows the Father's life, when drawn out in parallel, as surpassing that of the Only-begotten?

[ St Gregory of Nyssa, Homilies, Book I, " §39. Answer to the Question He is Always Asking, "Can He Who is Be Begotten?"" " (]


These words again emphasize that Jesus Christ is of one essence with the Father, and is God.

He is called "light of light" because he has his total essence from the Father, just as when a light is lit from another light, it receives therefrom the entire substance of light [Met. Peter Moghila, "ORTHODOX CONFESSION OF FAITH OF THE CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC EASTERN CHURCH", "Q. 36. What do the words "light of light" mean?",]

There are two kinds of light, created, and uncreated. Created light is material, from source such as the sun, stars, flame, etc.

Uncreated light is the light of God, which always was, and therefore existed before light, and all created things.

This uncreated light is referenced in : "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. {20} Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended." [Isa 60:19-20]

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that the "brightness" of the Father and the Son are equal:

[Heb 1:1-3] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, {2} Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; {3} Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power ...

Jesus also refers to a light that is certainly not terrestrial when he says: "... I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." [John 8:12]


A fundamental understanding of the Mystical Theology of the church concerning "theosis" is that the purified will see the uncreated light of God. St Gregory Palamas, more than any of the other Holy Fathers, explains this.


Arianism postulates the blasphemy that Jesus Christ is the highest of all creation, a creation of the Father. This phrase was specifically included to combat this vile heresy.


The entire Holy Trinity participated in the creation of the visible and invisible world.

[John 1:1-3] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} The same was in the beginning with God. {3} All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

[John 1:10] He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

[1 Cor 8:6] But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

[Eph 3:9] And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

[Col 1:12-17] Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: {13} Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: {14} In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: {15} Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: {16} For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: {17} And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

[Gen 1:1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

St Paul shows explicitly that God the Father and the Son are creators:

[1 Cor 8:5-7] For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) {6} But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.


This refers to His incarnation. He became a man, and lived on earth, which is below the heavens.

[Phil 2:5-8] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: {6} Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: {7} But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: {8} And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

[John 3:13] And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

[Heb 2:9-10] But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. {10} For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.


[Luke 1:31-35] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. {32} He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: {33} And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. {34} Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? {35} And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Jesus is already a Son of the Father. He already has a father.


[Heb 2:14-18] Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; {15} And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. {16} For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. {17} Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. {18} For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

[Heb 4:15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.


Because of heresies which make Jesus out to only appear to be a man.


The incarnation of Christ came about by the activity of the Holy Spirit, such that Mary remained a virgin before, during and after conception, and in birth, because he was born of her with the seal of her virginity preserved intact; after birth she remained a virgin eternally. [Met. Peter Moghila, "ORTHODOX CONFESSION OF FAITH OF THE CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC EASTERN CHURCH", "Q. 39. What does this article teach thirdly?",]


All men have one nature, that of a human being.

Jesus Christ has two natures: His divine nature, which He always had, being the only-begotten from the Father, and His human nature, which he assumed in time, being born of the virgin Mary.


The will is the property or attribute of each nature. Jesus Christ has a Divine will, corresponding to His divinity, and a human will, corresponding to His human nature.


Our Lord Jesus Christ's two natures do not mix or intermingle. His Divinity is eternal and uncreated, and unchanging. How could his human nature, which was created, (just as we were) mix with the stuff of His divinity? This would cause His divine nature to undergo change.

Following the holy Fathers we teach with one voice that the Son [of God] and our Lord Jesus Christ is to be confessed as one and the same [Person], that he is perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, very God and very man, of a reasonable soul and [human] body consisting, consubstantial with the Father as touching his Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching his manhood; made in all things like unto us, sin only excepted; begotten of his Father before the worlds according to his Godhead; but in these last days for us men and for our salvation born [into the world] of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God according to his manhood. This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures,1 unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, distinctly [ Fourth Ecumenical Council (of Chalcedon)]

The most magnificent and most glorious judges said: Dioscorus acknowledged that he accepted the expression "of two natures," but not that there were two natures. But the most holy archbishop Leo says that there are two natures in Christ unchangeably, inseparably, unconfusedly united in the one only-begotten Son our Saviour. Which would you follow, the most holy Leo or Dioscorus? The most reverend bishops cried out: We believe as Leo. Those who contradict are Eutychians. Leo hath rightly expounded the faith. [ Fourth Ecumenical Council (of Chalcedon), Session 5,]


Jesus prayer before His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane shows this interaction:

[Luke 22:41-42] And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, {42} Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.


[Gen 3:14-15] And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: {15} And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.


Born of a virgin

[Isa 7:14-16] Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. {15} Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. {16} For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

[Mat 1:21-23] And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. {22} Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, {23} Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Of the lineage of David

[Isa 11:1-5] And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: {2} And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; {3} And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: {4} But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. {5} And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

[Jer 23:5-6] Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. {6} In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

[Mat 1:1] The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

[Also Jer 33:15-18]

Born in Bethlehem

[Micah 5:2-3] But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. {3} Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.

[Mat 2:5-6] And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, {6} And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

The Wise men were led to Christ by a star.

[Num 24:17] I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

[Mat 2:1-2] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, {2} Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Born after the Jewish dynastic kigndom had failed.

Herod was not of the line of Judah, but was an Idumean the son of Antipater an Arab woman. He was King because of bribing the Roman government. Since the king of Israel was not from the line of Judah (an event that had never happened before), and Jesus was born during his reign, an important prophesy, known to all pious Jews, was fulfilled:

"The Sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a Lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; ; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. [Gen 49:10]

Brought to Egypt to escape Herod, and then returned to Israel

[Mat 2:12-15] And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. {13} And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. {14} When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: {15} And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

[Hosea 11:1] Chapter 11 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt

Instead of living in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth.

The text of this prophesy is nowhere found in Scripture, but the Jews absolutely believed in it's sense, as the following scripture show:

[Mat 21:11] And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

[Mat 26:71] And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.

[Mark 1:24] Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

[Mark 10:47] And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.

[Mark 14:67] And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.

[Mark 16:6] And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

[Luke 4:34] Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.

[Luke 18:37] And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.

[Luke 24:19] And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

[John 1:45-46] Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. {46} And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

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