The Creed of Chalcedon
to be acknowledged in two natures, without confusion
We are again drawn to the icy waters of history. At a glance, a sect of the Church followed a leading monk of the fifth century, Eutyches, who taught that the Incarnate Christ had only one nature, that being the divine, his human nature being absorbed into it. He denied that our Lord’s human nature is just as our own, and thus jeopardized the doctrine of salvation according to the ancient dictum, “That which is not assumed is not redeemed,” in this case, a whole of the human being. No doubt, Eutyches and those who followed him had a “high” view of Christ thinking human nature beneath him. However, such is the marvel of the Incarnation—that God humbles Himself and comes down from heaven to join his divinity with our humanity and become flesh—one of us (John 1:14). He was condemned at Chalcedon. Today, Eutyches’ teaching carries on in the Monophysite Churches of the East. (See, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 484.)
So you see that these ancient Church Councils, both Nicaean and Chalcedonian, were fighting real battles. These creeds are not relics of by-gone days; they are the results of controversies which were life and death struggles in the Early Church in which doctrine that lies at the heart of our faith is concerned; specifically, how we are saved. The ancient Church affirmed after centuries of debate that Scripture teaches what the Church had taught from the beginning—that Christ was one person with both a divine and human nature. We take for granted today what they hammered out only after great toil and often in the face of political persecution.
To proclaim that our Lord is “acknowledged in two natures—inconfusedly” or “without confusion”—is to say that neither the divine nor the human nature absorbs or overcomes the other in any way. The two natures reside in our Lord harmoniously and without compromise, which is to say that he is just as much divine as human and human as divine and equally so. It is also to say that there is no mixture of the two natures. This does not mean that they are separated (as we shall soon see) but only that they are not blended into some monstrous “soup” of a person. The human nature remains human and the divine nature remains divine but always working together in the unity of the one Person of the Son of God.
This is our faith and we dare not pooh-pooh it as the perturbations of a bunch of uptight theologians of yesteryear. We stand on their shoulders.