The Creed of Chalcedon
…the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood
The line could also be translated from the Greek, “the same complete in Godhead and also complete in manhood.” There will be much overlapping and repetition in these devotions because that is what this Creed does. It strives to cover all the bases concerning our Lord’s singularity of personhood and duality of natures. Creeds tend to cover only the necessities leaving debatable matters debatable. But in covering the necessities, both the Nicaean and Chalcedonian Creeds clearly express what are essential doctrines of the faith and which therefore must be believed to be saved—at least when one is confronted with the truth.
And the salvation of souls was precisely what these men were concerned about. If Christ is our Savior, we must know who he is and what he has done in order to be saved—which is to say that salvation does not happen in a vacuum of ignorance. And what he has done for us is completely dependent upon who he is. Neither God nor man can save us, but a God-man can, or so the Almighty has decreed. And his work on the cross is efficacious for us only because the Son of God became the Son of Man so that sons of men might become sons of God. Enter then Jesus of Nazareth.
So who was Jesus of Nazareth? These men did not mean by this question his biography, which was easily obtained from the Gospels. No. They meant what was he, or is he. And the answer which they derived from both Scripture and the teaching of the churches from the beginning to their time was that Jesus Christ was completely God and completely man, of one and the same essence with God the Father (and Holy Spirit) AND of the same essence with man—that is, a human being. The Son of God came down from heaven and assumed a human nature from the Virgin’s womb making one unique and nonrepeatable miracle—the God-man. The divine nature took upon itself humanity without diminution or corruption or change to divinity while human nature was assumed by divinity without diminution or corruption or change to humanity. Both deity and humanity, both the divine and human natures, in the one person were complete and undefiled by the other while being united in the one person, who now and ever retains these properties at the right hand of the Father.
Not the Father, not the Holy Spirit, not an angel, not any other human being, only the Son is complete in both Godhead and manhood. It is called, the Incarnation, and wonderfully defined in this Creed.