The Incarnation - the Need for a Creed

After the council of Nicea, attention then moved onto opposing heresies regarding the nature of the incarnation.

Apollinarianism - Christ had no human spirit

This theory was that whereas humans are spirit (that which distinguishes man from animal), soul and body, Christ is Logos, soul and body - he had the divine Reason-Principle of God instead of a human spirit.

Nestorianism - Christ had a double identity

This theory was that Christ is an unmixed combination of two persons, the Son of God and the Son of Man. The Son of God did the miracles, the Son of Man suffered and wept.

Eutychianism - Christ's human nature was swallowed up

This theory was that the human nature in Christ was transmuted into, or swallowed up by, the divine nature at the incarnation.

The Chalcedonian Creed

Consideration of these theories led to the council of Chalcedon (451) and the Chalcedonian definition (brackets added):

We confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
perfect in Godhead, perfect in Manhood,
truly God and truly man,
of a rational soul (anti-Apollinarian) and a body,
of one substance with the Father with respect to the Godhead (anti-Arian),
and of one substance with us in respect of the Manhood (anti-Eutychian),
like us in everything except sin;
begotten of the Father before the ages according to his Godhead (anti-Arian),
but in these last days begotten of the Virgin Mary,
the God-bearer according to his Manhood (anti-Nestorian),
for our sake and for the sake of our salvation;
one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten,
confessed in two natures unconfusedly, unchangeably (anti-Eutychian),
indivisibly, inseparably (anti-Nestorian);
the distinction of the natures being in no way destroyed through their union (anti-Eutychian),
but rather the peculiar quality of each nature being preserved and concurring
in one Person and one Substance,
not being parted and divided into two persons (anti-Nestorian),
but one and the same Son and only-begotten God, the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is typically summarised as saying that Christ was truly man and truly God.

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