Saturday, January 8, 2011

Catholicism 101 Series: The Incarnation

Here is the third installation in my Catholicism 101 Series. This is a post on the Doctrine of The Incarnation of Jesus Christ as taught by the Catholic Church. 

Here is the part of the Athanasian Creed that pertains to The Incarnation:

29. Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
30. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
31. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of substance of His mother, born in the world.
32. Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
33. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood.
34. Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ.
35. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of that manhood into God.
36. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
37. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ;
38. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead;
39. He ascended into heaven, He sits on the right hand of the Father, God, Almighty;
40. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
41. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies;
42. and shall give account of their own works.
43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
44. This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved.

In Genesis, God is depicted as creating the world by speaking it into being.

Creating through His Word (Logos), which is the second Divine Person of the Blessed Trinity.

The Incarnation implies three facts: 1)The Divine Person of Jesus Christ;  2)The Human Nature of Jesus Christ;  3)The Hypostatic Union of the Human with the Divine Nature in the Divine Person of Jesus Christ.

Here is a further explanation of the three facts stated above: 

The fact of the Divine Person of Jesus Christ means that Jesus is uniquely and Eternally Begotten of the Father.

The fact of the Human Nature of Jesus Christ means that Jesus is Man, Jesus is a human being. Jesus is fully God and he is fully man.

The fact of the Hypostatic Union of the Human with the Divine Nature in the Divine Person of Jesus Christ means that the Human Nature and Divine Nature are united by both natures belonging to one Person, the Logos, God the Son.

Here are some Old and New Testament Proofs for the divinity of Jesus Christ: 

In Sirach 24:7, Wisdom is described as uncreated, the "first born of the Most High before all creatures", "from the beginning and before the World was I made" (Sirach 24:14). There was universal indentification of Wisdom with

Christ.  This Wisdom, also spoken of in similar terms in the Book of Proverbs (chapters 1-9) and in the Wisdom of Solomon (chapters 7-9), is none other than the Logos or Word of God that we read of in John chapter 1, the Word through Whom God created the world, and which was made flesh and dwelt among us.

Isaiah 9:6 - "A child is born to us . . . his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Strong One, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace."

Isaiah - God the Strong One (9:6) and Emmanuel (7:14)

John 1:1 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Mark 3:12 - Thou art the Son of God"

Colossians 2:9 - St. Paul reminds them that they should think according to Christ; "for in him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead (pleroma tes theotetos) corporeally" (ii, 9)

Philippians 2:10,11 - "the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father" (ii, 10, 11).

Romans 8:3 - "God sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh and of sin" (viii, 3). His Own Son
 (ton heautou) the Father sends, not a Son by adoption.

Here are a few New Testament Proofs of the Human Nature of 
Jesus Christ:

 Luke 2:52 - "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man."

Mark 13:32 - “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

1 Timothy 2:5 - "For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human,"His obedience to the heavenly Father and to Mary and Joseph supposes a human soul (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; Luke 22:42).

Here are a few examples of the witness of Tradition from the early Church Fathers:

 Saint Justin Martyr (Harnack. A.D. 150) wrote: "Since the Word is the first-born of God, He is also God" (Apol. I, n. 63; P.G., VI, 423).

St. Irenæus proves that Jesus Christ is rightly called the one and only God and Lord, in that all things are said
to have been made by Him (see "Adv. Haer.", III, viii, n. 3; P.G., VII, 868; bk. IV, 10, 14, 36). Deutero-Clement (Harnack, A.D. 166; Sanday, A.D. 150) insists: "Brethren, we should think of Jesus Christ as of God Himself, as of the Judge of the living and the dead" (see Funk, I, 184).

 St. Clement of Alexandria (Sanday, A.D. 190) speaks of Christ as "true God without any controversy, the equal of the Lord of the whole universe, since He is the Son and the Word is in God" (Cohortatio ad Gentes, c. x; P.G., VIII, 227).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I've always been impressed with the complexity and structure of Catholic teachings.