St. Mary's Anglican Catholic Church

Diocese of the Midwest

Catechist. Rehearse the Articles of thy Belief. 
Answer. I believe in… Jesus Christ, his only Son….

 We have examined the Article in the Apostles’ Creed that speaks of God as Father. We now will examine the article affirming that Jesus Christ is God’s only Son. We noted than that as Creator, God is often referred to as Father. (See Malachi 2:10a; Acts 17:26-28)God created Adam from the dust of the earth in His own image; and so Adam and all who descend from him are referred to as the son of God as distinct from the rest of Creation. (See Genesis 1:26-27; St Luke 3:38) When the Lord chose Israel, the descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to be His chosen people, He referred to Israel collectively as His son as distinct from all the other nations on the earth. When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.(Hosea 11:1) King David also was called the son of God. This is seen most clearly in the Second Psalm, David speaking the words of God as a prophet proclaimed: I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee… Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2:7. 11-12)
But as we noted earlier, all of these father-son relationships between God and His Creation, mankind in general, His chosen people, or the earthly line of David, are mere types or analogies of the eternal Father-Son relationship that exists within the Godhead, the Most Holy Trinity. God has always been Father because He has always had a Son. Thus Jesus Christ is the Son in a way that is totally unique. Thus, the Creeds refer to Christ as God’s only Son. He is the Son of God in a way unlike any created being. The Nicene Creed refers to Jesus as the only-begotten Son of God. Thus is based firmly upon Scripture. As St John wrote: God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (St John 3:16; see 1 St John 4:9)The act of begetting is different from the act of creation. This is seen in the natural order, where a father begets or generates a child as part of himself and a human mother. But again, we speak this way about God only by analogy. God the Father begets God the Son in a way that is totally different. This Father-Son relationship is unique in that it is also eternal. 

The Son is actually the Word of God, the Word of command spoken to bring the created order into being with the words Let there be….(Genesis 1)This Word-Son is eternal as God is, for the Son-Word is God.In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (St John 1:1-3)From this we learn that God the Father and God the Son are of one nature or substance as the Nicene Creed puts it. Therefore Jesus could say: I and my Father are one. (St John 10:30; see 17:22; 1 St John 5:7)As God is eternal, so must God the Son be eternal; or as the English version of the Nicene Creed puts it, He was begotten before all worlds. We live in the realm of time & space, where events unfold over time in terms of cause & effect. In our experience, a father begets a son at a particular moment in time; and over time that son is brought to birth, grows to maturity, and perhaps begets a son of his own in turn. Human fathers are begotten by their own fathers in a line of descent that stretches back over countless generations. It is not so with God the Son; for the Son is eternally begotten of the Father. There was not time when the Father was not the Father in that He did not have a Son. With God, there is no past, present, and future. With God, all eternity is present. When the Lord revealed Himself to Moses from the midst of the burning bush He reveled His Name as I AM, which reveals God’s eternal existence. Thus God the Son Incarnate, Jesus Christ, said as He dwelt among us: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM. (St John 8:58) As the author of the letter to the Hebrews put it: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.(Hebrews 13:8)This is, of course, difficult for us to “get our heads around” since we are very much bound by the limits of time. 

As the Creeds affirm, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God because He is the only begotten Son of the Father; and so He shares all of the divine attributes of the Father. As Jesus summed it up: For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself. (St John 5:26) Therefore, all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him. (St John 5:23)