The Creed of Chalcedon
to be acknowledged in two natures,…without separation
And here we have the last of the four qualifiers regarding the two natures of Christ: Without confusion, without change, without division, and now, without separation. I suppose there is not much difference between, “without division” and “without separation.” If you missed yesterday’s devotion, the point was to counter those who would so separate our Lord’s human and divine natures as to turn him from the God-man into a man-God, that is, a very good and holy man, but not the Word become flesh who dwelt among us (John 1:14).
And so the fathers at Chalcedon who declared that we worship and serve but one Christ likewise declared that this one Christ was comprised of two natures—human and divine—which must be held together in the closest union, but which never lose their properties as a result of that union. The human nature remains fully a human nature; the divine nature remains fully divine, the human will working in harmony with the divine will in the one Son. No doubt, there are things about the union of the two natures in the person of our Lord that we shall never understand, and the Fathers at Chalcedon left many questions unanswered. But what they did say, the orthodox Christian must acknowledge as true given the biblical teaching on salvation as God becoming man, taking upon himself the sins of the world through substitution, and then rising for the justification of those who believe. Though no creed can ever answer every question, the Chalcedonian Creed compliments the Nicaean and rightly defines orthodox Christology in its basic parameters.
We still have a little ways to go with this Creed but allow me to say how thankful I am that those men some fifteen-hundred-plus years ago took upon themselves this awesome task, and some even at the risk of their lives. But they thought both the truth of the gospel and the integrity of the Church were at stake. And though a small percentage of believers are aware of or even know of the word, “Chalcedon,” the fact remains that their work was passed down through the centuries and so became what we believe about Christ today, almost regardless of denomination. This is why we must claim our heritage and lineage as believers of the one, holy, universal, and apostolic Church. The God and Father of our Lord and Savior was still the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and that same God who is the God of us today was the same God guiding the Bishops at Chalcedon. Our Lord has only one body and one Church, and our ancestors have much to teach us.