Catechism Cath. Church 407
407 The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man's situation and activity in the world. By our first parents' sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails "captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil".(298) Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action(299) and morals.
408 The consequences of original sin and of all men's personal sins put the world as a whole in the sinful condition aptly described in St. John's expression, "the sin of the world".(300) This expression can also refer to the negative influence exerted on people by communal situations and social structures that are the fruit of men's sins.(301)
409 This dramatic situation of "the whole world (which) is in the power of the evil one"(302) makes man's life a battle:
The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.(303)
298 Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511 cf. He 2,14
299 Cf. John Paul II, CA 25
300 Jn 1,29
301 Cf. John Paul II, RP 16
302 1Jn 5,19 1P 5,8
303 GS 37,3-2
410 After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall.(304) This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium ("first gospel"): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers.
411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the "New Adam" who, because he "became obedient unto death, even death on a cross", makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam.(305) Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the "Proto-evangelium" as Mary, the mother of Christ, the "new Eve". Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.(306)
412 But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, "Christ's inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon's envy had taken away."(307) And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "There is nothing to prevent human nature's being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, 'Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more'; and the Exsultet sings, 'O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!'"(308)
304 Gn 3,9-15 Gn 3,9,
305 1Co 15,21-22,45 Ph 2,8 Rm 5,19-20
306 Cf. Pius IXs Ineffabilis Deus: DS 2803 Council of Trent: DS 1573
307 St. Leo the Great, Sermo 73, 4: PL 54, 396.
308 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III 1,3, ad 3; Rm 5,20
413 "God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. . . It was through the devil's envy that death entered the world" (Sg 1,13 Sg 2,24).
414 Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.
415 "Although set by God in a state of rectitude man, enticed by the evil one, abused his freedom at the very start of history. He lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from him" (GS 13# 1).
416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.
417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called "original sin".
418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called "concupiscence").
419 "We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, "by propagation, not by imitation" and that it is. . . 'proper to each'" (Paul VI, CPG# 16).
420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Rm 5,20).
421 Christians believe that "the world has been established and kept in being by the Creator's love; has fallen into slavery to sin but has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one. . ." (GS 2# 2).
422 'But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.'(1) This is 'the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God':(2) God has visited his people. He has fulfilled the promise he made to Abraham and his descendants. He acted far beyond all expectation - he has sent his own 'beloved Son'.(3)
1 Ga 4,4-5.
2 Mc 1,1
3 Mc 1,11 Lc 1,5,
423 We believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth, born a Jew of a daughter of Israel at Bethlehem at the time of King Herod the Great and the emperor Caesar Augustus, a carpenter by trade, who died crucified in Jerusalem under the procurator Pontius Pilate during the reign of the emperor Tiberius, is the eternal Son of God made man. He 'came from God',(4) 'descended from heaven',(5) and 'came in the flesh'.(6) For 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. . . And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace.'(7)
4 Jn 13,3
5 Jn 3,13 Jn 6,33.
6 1Jn 4,2
7 Jn 1,14 Jn 1,16
424 Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'(8) On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church.(9)
8 Mt 16,16
9 Mt 16,18 St. Leo the Great, Sermo 4 3: PL 54,150 - 152; 51,1: PL 54, 309B; 62, 2: PL 54, 350-351; 83, 3: PL 54, 431-432.
425 The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. From the beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ: "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard."(11) It And they invite people of every era to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life - the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us- that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete.(12)
10 Ep 3,8
11 Ac 4,20
12 1Jn 1,1-4
426 "At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father. . .who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever."(13) To catechize is "to reveal in the Person of Christ the whole of God's eternal design reaching fulfilment in that Person. It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ's actions and words and of the signs worked by him."(14) Catechesis aims at putting "people . . . in communion . . . with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity."(15)
13 CTR 5
14 CTR 5
15 CTR 5
427 In catechesis "Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God,. . . is taught - everything else is taught with reference to him - and it is Christ alone who teaches - anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ's spokesman, enabling Christ to teach with his lips. . . Every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus: 'My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.'"(16)
16 CTR 6 Jn 7,16
428 Whoever is called "to teach Christ" must first seek "the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus"; he must suffer "the loss of all things. . ." in order to "gain Christ and be found in him", and "to know him and the power of his resurrection, and (to) share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible (he) may attain the resurrection from the dead".(17)
17 Ph 3,8-11
429 From this loving knowledge of Christ springs the desire to proclaim him, to "evangelize", and to lead others to the "yes" of faith in Jesus Christ. But at the same time the need to know this faith better makes itself felt. To this end, following the order of the Creed, Jesus' principal titles - "Christ", "Son of God", and "Lord" (article 2) - will be presented. The Creed next confesses the chief mysteries of his life - those of his Incarnation (article 3), Paschal mystery (articles 4 and 5) and glorification (articles 6 and 7).
430 Jesus means in Hebrew: "God saves." At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission.(18) Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who, in Jesus his eternal Son made man, "will save his people from their sins".(19) in Jesus, God recapitulates all of his history of salvation on behalf of men.
18 Lc 1,31
19 Mt 1,21 Mt 2,7
431 In the history of salvation God was not content to deliver Israel "out of the house of bondage"(20) by bringing them out of Egypt. He also saves them from their sin. Because sin is always an offence against God, only he can forgive it.(21) For this reason Israel, becoming more and more aware of the universality of sin, will no longer be able to seek salvation except by invoking the name of the Redeemer God.(22)
20 Dt 5,6
21 Ps 51,4,
22 Ps 79,9
432 The name "Jesus" signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins. It is the divine name that alone brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke his name, for Jesus united himself to all men through his Incarnation,(23) so that "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."(24)
23 Jn 3,18 Ac 2,21 Ac 5,41 3Jn 1,7 Rm 10,6-13
24 Ac 4,12 Ac 9,14 Jc 2,7
433 The name of the Saviour God was invoked only once in the year by the high priest in atonement for the sins of Israel, after he had sprinkled the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies with the sacrificial blood. The mercy seat was the place of God's presence.(25) When St. Paul speaks of Jesus whom "God put forward as an expiation by his blood", he means that in Christ's humanity "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself."(26)
25 Ex 25,22 Lv 16,2, 26 Rm 3,25 2Co 5,19
434 Jesus' Resurrection glorifies the name of the Saviour God, for from that time on it is the name of Jesus that fully manifests the supreme power of the "name which is above every name".(27) The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name.(28)
27 Ph 2,9-10 Jn 12,28
28 Ac 16,16-18 Ac 19,13-16 Mc 16,17 Jn 15,16
435 The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer. All liturgical prayers conclude with the words "through our Lord Jesus Christ". The Hail Mary reaches its high point in the words "blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." The Eastern prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, says: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Many Christians, such as St. Joan of Arc, have died with the one word "Jesus" on their lips.
436 The word "Christ" comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, which means "anointed". It became the name proper to Jesus only because he accomplished perfectly the divine mission that "Christ" signifies. In effect, in Israel those consecrated to God for a mission that he gave were anointed in his name. This was the case for kings, for priests and, in rare instances, for prophets.(29) This had to be the case all the more so for the Messiah whom God would send to inaugurate his kingdom definitively.(30) It was necessary that the Messiah be anointed by the Spirit of the Lord at once as king and priest, and also as prophet.(31) Jesus fulfilled the messianic hope of Israel in his threefold office of priest, prophet and king.
29 Ex 29,7 Lv 8,12 1S 9,16 1S 10,1 1S 16,1-13 1R 1,39 1R 19,16.
30 Ps 2,2 Ac 4,26-27
31 Is 11,2 Is 61,1 Za 4,14 Za 6,13 Lc 4,16-21
437 To the shepherds, the angel announced the birth of Jesus as the Messiah promised to Israel: "To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord."(32) From the beginning he was "the one whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world", conceived as "holy" in Mary's virginal womb.(33) God called Joseph to "take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit", so that Jesus, "who is called Christ", should be born of Joseph's spouse into the messianic lineage of David.(34)
32 Lc 2,11
33 Jn 10,36 Lc 1,35
34 Mt 1,20 Mt 1,16 Rm 1,1 2Tm 2,8 Ap 22,16
438 Jesus' messianic consecration reveals his divine mission, "for the name 'Christ' implies 'he who anointed', 'he who was anointed' and 'the very anointing with which he was anointed'. The one who anointed is the Father, the one who was anointed is the Son, and he was anointed with the Spirit who is the anointing.'"(35) His eternal messianic consecration was revealed during the time of his earthly life at the moment of his baptism by John, when "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power", "that he might be revealed to Israel"(36) as its Messiah. His works and words will manifest him as "the Holy One of God".(37)
35 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3,18,3: PG 7/1, 934.
36 Ac 10,38 Jn 1,31
37 Mc 1,24 Jn 6,69 Ac 3,14
439 Many Jews and even certain Gentiles who shared their hope recognized in Jesus the fundamental attributes of the messianic "Son of David", promised by God to Israel.(38) Jesus accepted his rightful title of Messiah, though with some reserve because it was understood by some of his contemporaries in too human a sense, as essentially political.(39)
38 Mt 2,2 Mt 9,27 Mt 12,23 Mt 15,22 Mt 20,30 Mt 21,9-15.
39 Jn 4,25-26 Jn 6,15 Jn 11,27 Mt 22,41-46 Lc 24,21
440 Jesus accepted Peter's profession of faith, which acknowledged him to be the Messiah, by announcing the imminent Passion of the Son of Man.(40) He unveiled the authentic content of his messianic kingship both in the transcendent identity of the Son of Man "who came down from heaven", and in his redemptive mission as the suffering Servant: "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."(41) Hence the true meaning of his kingship is revealed only when he is raised high on the cross.(42) Only after his Resurrection will Peter be able to proclaim Jesus' messianic kingship to the People of God: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."(43)
40 Mt 16,16-23
41 Jn 3,13 Mt 20,28 Jn 6,62 Da 7,13 Is 53,10-12
42 Jn 19,19-22 Lc 23,39-43
43 Ac 2,36
441 In the Old Testament, "son of God" is a title given to the angels, the Chosen People, the children of Israel, and their kings.(44) It signifies an adoptive sonship that establishes a relationship of particular intimacy between God and his creature. When the promised Messiah-King is called "son of God", it does not necessarily imply that he was more than human, according to the literal meaning of these texts. Those who called Jesus "son of God", as the Messiah of Israel, perhaps meant nothing more than this.(45)
442 Such is not the case for Simon Peter when he confesses Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the living God", for Jesus responds solemnly: "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven."(46) Similarly Paul will write, regarding his conversion on the road to Damascus, "When he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles..."(47) "And in the synagogues immediately (Paul) proclaimed Jesus, saying, 'He is the Son of God.'"(48) From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ's divine sonship will be the centre of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church's foundation.(49)
443 Peter could recognize the transcendent character of the Messiah's divine sonship because Jesus had clearly allowed it to be so understood. To his accusers' question before the Sanhedrin, "Are you the Son of God, then?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am."(50) Well before this, Jesus referred to himself as "the Son" who knows the Father, as distinct from the "servants" God had earlier sent to his people; he is superior even to the angels.(51) He distinguished his sonship from that of his disciples by never saying "our Father", except to command them: "You, then, pray like this: 'Our Father'", and he emphasized this distinction, saying "my Father and your Father".(52)
444 The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the Transfiguration of Christ, the voice of the Father designates Jesus his "beloved Son".(53) Jesus calls himself the "only Son of God", and by this title affirms his eternal pre-existence.(54) He asks for faith in "the name of the only Son of God".(55) In the centurion's exclamation before the crucified Christ, "Truly this man was the Son of God",(56) that Christian confession is already heard. Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer give the title "Son of God" its full meaning.
445 After his Resurrection, Jesus' divine sonship becomes manifest in the power of his glorified humanity. He was "designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead".(57) The apostles can confess: "We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."(58)
44 Dt 14,1 Dt 32,8 Jb 1,6 Ex 4,22 Os 2,1 Os 11,1 Jr 3,19
45 1Ch 17,13 Ps 2,7 Mt 27,54 Lc 23,47
46 Mt 16,16-17
47 Ga 1,15-16
48 Ac 9,20
49 1Th 1,10 Jn 20,31 Mt 16,18
50 Lc 22,70 Mt 26,64 Mc 14,61-62
51 Mt 11,27 Mt 21,34-38 Mt 24,36.
52 Mt 5,48 Mt 6,8-9 Mt 7,21 Lc 11,13 Jn 20,17
53 Mt 3,17 Mt 17,5.
54 Jn 3,16 Jn 10,36. 55 Jn 3,18
56 Mc 15,39
57 Rm 1,3 Ac 13,33
58 Jn 1,14
446 In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the ineffable Hebrew name YHWH, by which God revealed himself to Moses,(59) is rendered as Kyrios, "Lord". From then on, "Lord" becomes the more usual name by which to indicate the divinity of Israel's God. The New Testament uses this full sense of the title "Lord" both for the Father and - what is new - for Jesus, who is thereby recognized as God Himself.(60)
447 Jesus ascribes this title to himself in a veiled way when he disputes with the Pharisees about the meaning of Psalm 110, but also in an explicit way when he addresses his apostles.(61) Throughout his public life, he demonstrated his divine sovereignty by works of power over nature, illnesses, demons, death and sin.
448 Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as "Lord". This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing.(62) At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, "Lord" expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus.(63) In the encounter with the risen Jesus, this title becomes adoration: "My Lord and my God!" It thus takes on a connotation of love and affection that remains proper to the Christian tradition: "It is the Lord!"(64)
449 By attributing to Jesus the divine title "Lord", the first confessions of the Church's faith affirm from the beginning that the power, honour and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus, because "he was in the form of God",(65) and the Father manifested the sovereignty of Jesus by raising him from the dead and exalting him into his glory.(66)
450 From the beginning of Christian history, the assertion of Christ's lordship over the world and over history has implicitly recognized that man should not submit his personal freedom in an absolute manner to any earthly power, but only to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Caesar is not "the Lord".(67) "The Church. . . believes that the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of man's history is to be found in its Lord and Master."(68)
451 Christian prayer is characterized by the title "Lord", whether in the invitation to prayer ("The Lord be with you"), its conclusion ("through Christ our Lord") or the exclamation full of trust and hope: Maranatha ("Our Lord, come!") or Maranatha ("Come, Lord!") - "Amen Come Lord Jesus!"(69)
59 Ex 3,14
60 1Co 2,8
61 Mt 22,41-46 Ac 2,34-36 He 1,13 Jn 13,13
62 Mt 8,2 Mt 14,30 Mt 15,22; et al.
63 Lc 1,43 Lc 2,11.
64 Jn 20,21-28,
65 Ac 2,34-36 Rm 9,5 Tt 2,13 Ap 5,13 Ph 2,6
66 Rm 10,9 1Co 12,3 Ph 2,9-11
67 Ap 11,15 Mc 12,17 Ac 5,29
68 GS 103; Cf. 452. 3; Cf. 452.
69 1Co 16,22 Ap 22,20
452 The name Jesus means "God saves". The child born of the Virgin Mary is called Jesus, "for he will save his people from their sins" (Mt 1,21): "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Ac 4,12).
453 The title "Christ" means "Anointed One" (Messiah).Jesus is the Christ, for "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power" (Ac 10,38). He was the one "who is to come" (Lc 7,19), the object of "the hope of Israel" (Ac 28,20).
454 The title "Son of God" signifies the unique and eternal relationship of Jesus Christ to God his Father: he is the only Son of the Father (cf. Jn 1,14-18 Jn 3,16-18); he is God himself (cf. Jn 1,1). To be a Christian, one must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (cf. Ac 8,37 1Jn 2,23).
455 The title "Lord" indicates divine sovereignty. To confess or invoke Jesus as Lord is to believe in his divinity. "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit'" (1Co 12,3).
Paragraph I. The Son of God Became Man
456 With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man."
457 The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who "loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins": "the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world", and "he was revealed to take away sins":(70)
Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Saviour; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?(71)
458 The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him."(72) "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."(73)
459 The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: "Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me." "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me."(74) On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: "Listen to him!"(75) Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: "Love one another as I have loved you."(76) This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example.(77)
460 The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature":(78) "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."(79) "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."(80) "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."(81)
70 1Jn 4,10 1Jn 4,14 1Jn 3,5.
71 St. Gregory of Nyssa, Orat. catech 15: PG 45, 48B.
72 1Jn 4,9
73 Jn 3,16
74 Mt 11,29 Jn 14,6
75 Mc 9,7 Dt 6,4-5
76 Jn 15,12
77 Mc 8,34
78 2P 1,4
79 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939.
80 St. Athanasius, De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B.
81 St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4.
461 Taking up St. John's expression, "The Word became flesh",(82) the Church calls "Incarnation" the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation:Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.(83)
462 The Letter to the Hebrews refers to the same mystery:Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, Lo, I have come to do your will, O God."(84)
463 Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian faith: "By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God."(85) Such is the joyous conviction of the Church from her beginning whenever she sings "the mystery of our religion": "He was manifested in the flesh."(86)
82 Jn 1,14
83 Ph 2,5-8 cf. LH, Saturday, Canticle at Evening Prayer.
84 He 10,5-7, citing Ps 40,6-8 ((7-9) LXX).
85 1Jn 4,2
86 1Tm 3,16
464 The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man.During the first centuries, the Church had to defend and clarify this truth of faith against the heresies that falsified it.
465 The first heresies denied not so much Christ's divinity as his true humanity (Gnostic Docetism). From apostolic times the Christian faith has insisted on the true incarnation of God's Son "come in the flesh".(87) But already in the third century, the Church in a council at Antioch had to affirm against Paul of Samosata that Jesus Christ is Son of God by nature and not by adoption. The first ecumenical council of Nicaea in 325 confessed in its Creed that the Son of God is "begotten, not made, of the same substance (homoousios) as the Father", and condemned Arius, who had affirmed that the Son of God "came to be from things that were not" and that he was "from another substance" than that of the Father.(88)
466 The Nestorian heresy regarded Christ as a human person joined to the divine person of God's Son. Opposing this heresy, St. Cyril of Alexandria and the third ecumenical council, at Ephesus in 431, confessed "that the Word, uniting to himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man."(89) Christ's humanity has no other subject than the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it and made it his own, from his conception. For this reason the Council of Ephesus proclaimed in 431 that Mary truly became the Mother of God by the human conception of the Son of God in her womb: "Mother of God, not that the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of its existence from the holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself according to the hypostasis, was born from her, the Word is said to be born according to the flesh."(90)
467 The Monophysites affirmed that the human nature had ceased to exist as such in Christ when the divine person of God's Son assumed it. Faced with this heresy, the fourth ecumenical council, at Chalcedon in 451, confessed:Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity; "like us in all things but sin". He was begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, was born as to his humanity of the virgin Mary, the Mother of God.(91)
We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division or separation. The distinction between the natures was never abolished by their union, but rather the character proper to each of the two natures was preserved as they came together in one person (prosopon) and one hypostasis.(92)
468 After the Council of Chalcedon, some made of Christ's human nature a kind of personal subject. Against them, the fifth ecumenical council, at Constantinople in 553, confessed that "there is but one hypostasis (or person), which is our Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Trinity."(93) Thus everything in Christ's human nature is to be attributed to his divine person as its proper subject, not only his miracles but also his sufferings and even his death: "He who was crucified in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, is true God, Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity."(94)
469 The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother: "What he was, he remained and what he was not, he assumed", sings the Roman Liturgy.(95) And the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom proclaims and sings: "O only-begotten Son and Word of God, immortal being, you who deigned for our salvation to become incarnate of the holy Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, you who without change became man and were crucified, O Christ our God, you who by your death have crushed death, you who are one of the Holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit, save us!"(96)
87 1Jn 4,2-3 2Jn 7
88 Council of Nicaea I (325): DS 130,126
89 Council of Ephesus (431): DS 250
90 Council of Ephesus: DS 251
91 Council of Chalcedon (451): DS 301 cf. He 4,15
92 Council of Chalcedon: DS 302
93 Council of Constantinople II (553): DS 424
94 Council of Constantinople II (553): DS 432 cf. DS 424 Council of Ephesus, DS 255
95 LH, 1 January, Antiphon for Morning Prayer; cf. St. Leo the Great, Sermo in nat. Dom. 1, 2; PL 54, 191-192.
96 Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Troparion O monogenes.
Catechism Cath. Church 407