Meeting The Orthodox (Page 10 of 25)

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By: Fr. Thomas Hopko
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10. Christ

You will have to be more specific than. You called Christ the Son of God. This is a common phrase. What do you actually mean by it?

The faith of the Orthodox Church is that Jesus Christ is fully human, that He is a real man. But we believe as well that Jesus is not a “mere man,” but that He is the eternal, divine Son of God.

By this we mean that from all eternity, before the creation of everything that exists, God Himself existed without beginning, in a manner incomprehensible to men, completely outside the bounds of time and space. In this perfection of divine existence, God the Father always had with Himself His divine Son and His Holy Spirit. Both the Son and the Spirit are exactly what God the Father is, namely perfect, unchanging, every-existing, timeless, spaceless, beyond human comprehension, etc. In a word, whatever can be said or understood about God the Father can be said and understood about the Son (also called the Word, Logos, Wisdom, and Image of God) and the Holy Spirit.

Thus there are Three who are divine, each being what the other is and each being in perfect union and unity with the other. These are the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit: the Holy Trinity.

Now we believe that it is the eternally divine and perfect Son of God who was born as a man from the Virgin Mary and lived on the earth as Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah (Christ) of Israel and the Savior of the world.

Thus it is the Orthodox faith that Jesus is fully human and fully divine; the Son of God and the Son of Man, one and the same Son.

As the unique divine-human person, Jesus saves the world by teaching the absolute truth of God; by forgiving the evils of all men and the whole world; by suffering and dying in innocence, voluntarily and unjustly on the cross in order to be with all who suffer and die; by rising from the dead in a new and glorified form; by taking our humanity to God in order to make it divine forever; and by sending the Holy Spirit of God to men who believe so that they could teach and do the very things which Jesus Himself both taught and did…that they could, in a word, be sons of God in Him.


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