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Nature of Christ, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

13- The Unity of Nature and the Birth of Christ

 

To whom did the Virgin give Birth? Did she give birth to the Godhead only? Did she give birth to the manhood only? Did she give birth to God and man? or did she give birth to the Incarnate God?

It is impossible to say that she gave birth to God alone, because she gave birth to a Child who was seen by everybody, nor that she gave birth to man only (or a pure human nature), otherwise we revert to the heresy of Nestorus.

What does the Bible mean by saying, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. " (Luke. 1:35)? Again, what is the meaning of the verse stating that the Son shall be named Emmanuel which is interpreted "God with us. " (Matt. 1:23)? And what is the meaning of Isaiah's words: "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Is 9: 6). Therefore, He (Christ) is not just a man, but the Son of God, Emmanuel and the Mighty God.

The Virgin did not give birth to a man and God, otherwise she would be said to have had two sons: one being God and the other, man. We are thus left with the evidence that she gave birth to the "Incarnate God."

St-Takla.org Image: Saint Mariam - Vladimir skaya Theotocos صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: لوحة للقديسة العذراء مريم، فلاديمير سكايا

St-Takla.org Image: Saint Mariam - Vladimir skaya Theotocos

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: لوحة للقديسة العذراء مريم، فلاديمير سكايا

Christ is not two Sons, one the Son of God to be adored, and the other a man and not to he worshipped.

We can not separate between the Divine and the human nature of Christ. As stated by St. Athanasius the Apostolic regarding the Lord Jesus Christ, he is not binatured, to one we kneel down and to the other we do not, but He is rather of One Nature -the Incarnate Logos- that is one with His Body and before whom we kneel down in one genuflection.

Therefore, our worship is not offered to the Divine nature apart from the human nature. There is no separation and consequently, all worship is to the Incarnate God.

The Lord Jesus is the Only-Begotten Son, Who was born from the essence of the Father before all ages.” For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”(Rom.8:29). According to one of the fathers, He was born from the Father before all ages without a mother, and was born from a Virgin in the fullness of time without an earthly father.

Hence St. Paul the Apostle said: "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law" (Gal 4:4).

Therefore, He who was born of the Virgin was the Son of God and at the same time the Son of Man as He used to call Himself.

The Son (the Logos) filled the womb of the Holy Virgin, took from her His human nature and then she delivered Him, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. This differs from what Nestorus claimed that the Virgin gave birth to an ordinary man and that later on, God dwelt in this man or filled Him or that Christ just became a Theophorus (a carrier of

God) without a Hypostatic union.

For this reason we worship this born Child and say to Him in the Trisagion hymn: "Holy is God, Holy is the Almighty, Holy is the Everliving, who was born of the Virgin, have mercy upon us". This conforms with the words of the holy angel who told the Virgin: "The Holy One born of you is called the Son of God".

In Christ, the Divine nature was united with the human nature in the womb of the Virgin. That is why when the Virgin visited Elizabeth, the blessed old woman said to her: "But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? " (Luke. 1:43).

At that time St. Mary was still pregnant and yet, was entitled "The Mother of God".

The Creed states: "We believe in one God, Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son (of God), who was born before all ages... who for us (we human beings) and for our salvation descended from heaven and was conceived of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, became Man and was crucified for our sake. He suffered, was buried and rose......

Therefore, this Only-Begotten Son is the same One who descended from Heaven and was Incarnated. He is God Himself who descended into the Virgin's womb and was incarnated.

This opposes Nestorus' claim that he was Originally man and that God dwelt in Him after His Birth! The One Who was Incarnated was originally the Only-Begotten Son of God born before all ages.

Thus He was able to say to the Jews while speaking to them, "Before Abraham was, I am. "(John. 8:58). He did not say, "My Divine nature existed even before Abraham", but He said, "I am", which proves the unity and Oneness of His Nature.


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