Trinity 4: The Son (Apologia Pt 6)
It is difficult, if not impossible, to talk about the second person of the holy Trinity, the Son, without also talking about a man, the Jewish rabbi Jesus Christ.
During his lifetime, the Apostles were unaware of the divinity of their master and teacher. This ignorance is displayed repeatedly in the Gospel reflections of the evangelists. It was only in reflecting on the Passion, death by crucifixion, and Resurrection of their master that the Holy Spirit revealed to them what Ã¢â‚¬Å“MessiahÃ¢â‚¬? means. Christ and Messiah are Greek and Hebrew words, respectively, meaning Ã¢â‚¬Å“anointed.Ã¢â‚¬? Israel had been promised Messiah for untold ages; their very national identity was centered around the expectation of the coming reign of a divinely anointed Priest, Prophet, and King. It was not until the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles in power on Pentecost that they began to understand that Jesus, the Christ, is God enfleshed.
Jesus reveals something completely unheard of: The one God is a Trinity of persons. Neither polytheism nor monism, the orthodox faith revealed by Jesus is that there is one God, the Father, one God, the Son, and one God, the Holy Spirit. This is a completely new way of thinking about God, and its fullness continues today to elude many who box the mystery in. Heresy, as we have already stated, results from subjecting the mystery of God to finite and fallen human reason. The universal councils of the Church in the first millennium of Christian history responded to several heresies by setting up orthodox boundaries for thinking about the Trinity and Jesus Christ.
The first universal or ecumenical council proclaimed what Christians continue to recite in every Liturgy or Mass as the Nicene Creed: that Jesus Christ is the
Ã¢â‚¬Â¦one LordÃ¢â‚¬Â¦, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of light, true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were madeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
Jesus is a man, but he is also God. As the Son and Word of God, he reveals in his person all the fullness of God the Father. The orthodox faith of the Christian Church is that the man Jesus Christ reveals God to us. Not only in words nor only in deedsÃ¢â‚¬â€in the fullness of his person, he reveals God the Father. St. Paul teaches that the Son is Ã¢â‚¬Å“the exact image (ikon) of the Father.Ã¢â‚¬? Later bishops of the Church, such as St. Irenaeus in the second century, would identify the Son as the explanation (exegesis) of the Father. The fullness of this explanation of God by the Son is seen in the Incarnation, because the Lord Christ is the fulfillment and perfect explanation of the Jewish Scriptures, which Christians call the Old Testament. We will explore the Incarnation further after we discuss creation and the fall of man.