Monday in the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time

The Nicene Creed

Very God of Very God

God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made

This is quite a mouthful, but we shall pick up with the word “begotten” with which we were dealing yesterday.  If God begets, He must beget His own kind, which is true for everyone and everything.  God’s kind is, well…God.  We cannot say what God is in and of Himself—like we can say what a man is or a dog is; the essence of God’s nature will ever remain a mystery to us.  But we can say that if God begets, He must beget that which is of His own nature—which is God.

So the Creed follows the necessary result of what it means to be begotten.  This one who is begotten must be a son, and if a son, then he must be by the nature of the case: “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God [or, truly God of truly God].”  As begetting, God is Father; as the one begotten, he is Son who partakes of the same essence of his Father and is thus God, or more precise, the Son of God.  This is the necessary conclusion one must draw from the word, “begotten.”  One might suggest that such is metaphorical language when expressed of the God whom Jesus himself says is spirit (John 4:24).  We agree that God does not beget in the same way a man does; but we must insist that the word carry the appropriate meaning; to sum, that the Son truly and really did come forth from His Father and thus shares His very being.

So the Creed here places an exclamation point saying, “Begotten, not made.”  The Father made all things, but not His Son.  Even he cannot make a son.  Oh, God can adopt sons and daughters as He has so done for us through His Son, but God cannot make a natural-born son of Himself.  This requires begetting, which is precisely what Scripture tells us God did.

There is an entire “church history” behind the next clause, “Being of one substance with the Father,” which we shall unpack tomorrow.  Suffice it to say now that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  (How so very fitting in this case that “is” is the being verb.)  He was not at some point in his life “adopted” by God because he was such a good person.  He is not even called God’s Son because he was so much like God.  He is called God’s Son by both Scripture and the creeds of the Church because he came forth from God the Father from all eternity.  And this is the one we call Savior, not because he is like a savior, but as God’s Son, he is Savior.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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