Hi Red, thanks for giving your personal confession of who Jesus is. I think I understand your position better. And I believe that I understand the root of our differences. And I believe that that root is in the understanding of exactly the difference between what a "person" is and a "nature" is.
In my understanding, and I believe the classical understanding (where the term comes from), is that a nature describes what a being can do
, not what a person is made of
. That is, these are the powers of the soul, which are sometimes acted out through a physical body, but not always. For example God has
a divine nature. More precisely God has the
divine nature, as there is only one God, there is only one nature which is divine. All men (and women, using general language naturally) have a human nature. That is, they can do what a human can do. They can use reason. They can make choices. They can laugh and find humor in things.
A "person" (or more generally, a "being") is an entity which has
a nature. My dog, Mattie, is Mattie the dog. Mattie has
a dog nature. Someone else's dog, say "Fido" is Fido the dog. Fido also has a dog nature. However Mattie is not Fido. But they both have a dog nature.
Jesus is a special case, something that we struggle to understand, because Jesus had two natures, human and divine. Because he had a human nature, he had a human body and a human soul. And the power of the human soul contains an intellect and a will. Because he had the divine nature, he was in Spirit God and also had a divine intellect and divine will. One man, two intellects, two wills. But this is key: he is not two persons
. He is one person with two natures
I hope this distinction I have made clear as to what we believe. And if I were to re-write your confession as we believe, I would use more specific terms which clarify certain distinctions between Jesus the person and the natures Jesus has.
Certain paragraphs you wrote jump out at me. Allow me to rewrite to reflect the Catholic understanding.
Yours (differences highlighted in Red
, for "Red" naturally):
In His human nature, He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52). In His divine nature, or His deity, He created the worlds (Eph 3:9; Heb 1:2). In His human nature He is the only Mediator between God and men (I Tim 2:5). In His divine nature, He is the eternal God (Heb 1:8; John 20:28)
Catholic (differences highlighted in Green
In His human intellect, He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52). Through His divine nature, or His deity, He created the worlds (Eph 3:9; Heb 1:2). In His person He is the only Mediator between God and men (I Tim 2:5). In His person, He is the eternal God (Heb 1:8; John 20:28)
We believe that Jesus the person is a fusion between human nature and divine nature. Not separate in person, as if the two natures were operating with different persons at their control, but in one person.
And that person is the same person who is the second person of the Most Holy Trinity. A new person was not created on Earth to co-operate with the second person of the Trinity. But rather the Second person of the Most Holy Trinity assumed also a human nature, and thereby took flesh in the womb of the virgin, fusing humanity with divinity, in that moment, in the person which we call Jesus but could also call the Word, because they are the same person.
Another comparison, using the same format.
My confession is the same as Peter's and it is~"As the Son of man, Jesus was the Son of God, conceived in the womb of a virgin named Mary, by the power of the Highest, the Holy Ghost. Thereby, his human nature was conceived, or, begotten~His Divine Nature, was the Word that was in the beginning with God, that had no beginning, and shall have no end. In and by his Divine Nature, all things were created, that are in heaven, in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him. He was before all things, and by Him all things consist, and have their being. Colossians 1:16,17~He made the worlds. Hebrews 1:2
My confession is the same as Peter's and it is~"As the Son of man, Jesus was the Son of God, conceived in the womb of a virgin named Mary, by the power of the Highest, the Holy Ghost. Thereby, his human nature was assumed and the person we know as Jesus, begotten~His person was the Word that was in the beginning with God, that had no beginning, and shall have no end. In and through his Divine Nature, The Word created all things, that are in heaven, in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him. He was before all things, and by Him all things consist, and have their being. Colossians 1:16,17~He made the worlds. Hebrews 1:2
A person can not and does not "conceive" a human nature. A person can only "conceive" an individual being. The nature of that being comes along with that person through conception
but it is not correct to say that a nature is conceived. The divine nature which Jesus had is not a conceived nature, but is just the divine nature which is attributed to a person, we would agree in this at least, the person of "The Word". Where we differ, if you consider terms this way, is that Catholics believe that Jesus is that same person, "The Word", not two persons, and that The Word, a person, assumed flesh (a human nature) in the womb of the virgin and that the person Jesus was then "conceived" in the flesh of the womb.
The concept of "conception" also seems to be a differing point. I think that most people think of conception in the wrong way, which is that (for example) one being gives rise to another through some means within time, where it is assumed that the "parents" precede the "child" in time. But this should be re-examined for theological accuracy in light of the Bible and what we know about God.
We know, as Christians, and even some pagans have admitted this fact, and that is that the human person is both body AND soul. The soul is purely intangible, however, and therefore is not of the material realm, but of the spiritual realm, yet it is objectively necessary to have in order than anything on Earth is alive. And while reproduction definitely has a natural, material component, there can be no natural component which creates a new soul. It must be created by something of the higher nature, the spiritual realm. And we confess as Christians that the soul is created by God. At least I hope we do.
Something we are correct in as Christians is that one of the names we give to the participants in the conception is Father, and one of the words we correctly attribute to the one conceived is "Son". This is an important concept, because through it we can understand part
of the relationship between God the Father and His Son the person Jesus, though not all of it, even through our human relationships of Father and Son. The Father conceives a person who is the Son, and they have a Father-Son relationship.
However where we err is to believe that "conceiving" is equivalent to "creating". The JW's and Mormons believe that Jesus is a created being. Not so. That Jesus was eternally
begotten of the Father speaks to Jesus' uncreated-ness. Someone that is eternal has no beginning and no end. It rather speaks to their relationship that always exists, that is, exists out of time. Thereby we can still gain some understanding of God in calling part of that relationship in the Trinity as "being conceived" because it demonstrates that relationship, but we must not take the analogy too far, and the Catholic Church doesn't.
One could also take the analogy of the Word too far. In the beginning God said
: "Let there be light". Here you see, God creates with His Word, but that doesn't imply that before God "said" something, there was no Word. The Word existed eternally with the father. The Word should not be considered "everlasting" which precisely means/implies that the Word had a beginning and no end. No, the Word is eternal, which means, no beginning and no end, existing outside of time.
The Word proceeded from the Father from all eternity; there was never a time when He did not proceed and there will never be a time when He does not proceed. In this eternal procession, we can speak of the relationship as "eternally begotten". Or "eternally spoken" as we know that with the Word souls are still being created to this day.
It was only within space and time that the Word assumed a human nature. In assuming human that human nature God bound himself to humanity IN the person of Jesus. That is why Jesus the person, in his person, is the One Mediator between God and man: because Jesus himself is a fusion of both the human and the divine. Within his person: his blood! the new covenant exists, whereas before a covenant was between two parties, God and man, Jesus is perfectly both within himself and so is the Mediator of the Covenant between God and all men.
I hope that this post explains the Catholic position, which, at least in my understanding of what you have written, you seem to misrepresent in your understanding. I say this in a spirit of dialog, not criticism. When we consider these things and express our positions, sometimes things can become clearer to us.