The Creed of Chalcedon
one and the same…Son
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born [of you] will be called, ‘holy—the Son of God’” (Luke 1:35).
We return again to this line in the Creed: “One and the same…Son.” Though I digressed yesterday speaking of the Father’s eternal generation of the Son, today I wish to speak more directly to the Son’s generation in the “fullness of time” (that is, his Incarnation) through the virginal conception (Galatians 4:4). The Creed is adamant that the one begotten of His Father from before all time came down from heaven and assumed a human nature from a virgin named, “Mary,” in a town called, “Nazareth,” during the reign of Caesar Augustus. No, it does not say that in so many words but assumes so from the Nicene Creed the century before. And so the Creed contends that what took place in the Incarnation was the uniting of two natures—human and divine—in the one person of the Son; indeed, this is what the Creed of Chalcedon is all about and proclaims loudly for all the faithful to hear and believe. In a few more lines, we will see how the Creed relates the two natures but for now its concern is with the one person.
Mary could not understand how she was to birth the one whom the angel announced to her in his visitation; after all, she was a virgin. Although betrothed, she apparently understood the angel’s words to be fulfilled directly. I find it amazing how the angel puts words to the perhaps the most sublime miracle God ever foisted upon a woman for the sake of humankind. The Holy Spirit is to “overshadow” her and from her body prepare a body for the Son eternally begotten of his Father to take unto himself thus uniting humanity to divinity. He did not have a human nature before this act which happened at a certain time and certain place in our time and space—no, before that moment he was “only” the eternal Son of the Father. But in that moment of earthly time, the eternal Son became embryonic within the womb of Mary, which womb would nurture, carry, and ultimately bear the baby who was and remains at the right hand of power, the Incarnate Lord.
And this Lord is one person—the Son of God made the Son of Man for the purpose of redeeming man—one and the same Son uniting in himself both divine and human natures. It is beyond complete human comprehension, but that’s what makes it a divine mystery and so beautiful. The Son of God became a son of man that sons of men might become sons of God.