The Creed of Chalcedon
…teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ
The Christian faith teaches that the Father begat a Son from all eternity and that this Son came down from heaven in the fullness of time taking humanity from the Virgin’s womb. This one who was incarnated (in-fleshed) was born in Bethlehem toward the end of Herod’s reign over that territory we know today as Israel. He lived about thirty-three years in which his last three or more were spent in ministry—a ministry in which his Messiahship became evident to all throughout the region—who was then handed over by the Jewish leaders to their Roman overlords on the false charge of sedition and crucified. He rose from the dead on the third day and ascended into heaven to his Father’s right hand on the fortieth day after. In a word, this person, the historicity of which no legitimate historian denies, the Christian faith identifies as the Son of God.
The Christian faith does not allow anyone to separate this man who appeared in history from the One who was eternally begotten of his Father. In his divinity, there never was a time when he was not; in his humanity, he came down from heaven at the specific point in time indicated by the Gospels and narrated above. There have always been those who emphasized his divinity to the exclusion of his humanity turning him into some angelic creature who only seemed to walk among us. In the last few centuries, it has been more common to emphasize his humanity at the expense of his divinity turning him into a mere man who was, for instance, a peasant-revolutionary fighting for the poor or a romantic figure with heavenly dreams of bringing an earthly kingdom of universal peace or a man broken and sinful like the rest of us whose message of the kingdom of God was hijacked by some who later created a bureaucratic organization called the “church.” There are worse suggestions than these, but I will spare you.
The Fathers (or Bishops) at Chalcedon fighting both extremes and remaining true to both Scripture and the Church’s historic teaching condemned these heresies. So the first line of doctrinal content emphasizes the unity of this one person in both his divine and human natures—which is precisely what this document is about. It brooks no compromise: The Son of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. To deny this is to depart from the Christian faith—which means that to deny this is to jeopardize one’s salvation. These are not the idle speculations of armchair theologians who had nothing else better to do with their time. These men clarified that fundamental Christian teaching which makes the faith the faith. Anything less is not the Christian faith.