I believe….in Jesus Christ God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary

“As a magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun into a little burning knot of heat that can set fire to a dry leaf or a piece of paper, so the mystery of Christ in the Gospel concentrates the ray of God's light and fire to a point that sets fire to the spirit of man.”

Thomas Merton's image of Christ as a magnifying glass bringing God to a point sums up this article of the Creed. It marries with the traditional representation of the announcing (Annunciation) of Christ's birth to Mary by the Archangel Gabriel.  The light of God streams into the Virgin so that God the Son can take human nature.

I believe in a God who is above and beyond us but who has entered history in the person of Jesus. He is real to me because in Jesus Christ he has come down to my level to set fire to my spirit.

The Bible says God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life (John 3v16).

During the reign of Caesar Augustus in what became the first century Christians hold that God’s Spirit came upon a Jewish girl called Mary who lived at Nazareth, that God took our flesh from her to live, die and rise again renewing the world and bringing eternal life to believers.

Belief in the Virginal Conception of Our Lord is based upon the accounts of his birth in Matthew and Luke's Gospels.  This miracle pays homage to the greater miracle of God's becoming a human being which is fully revealed in the resurrection of Jesus.  "The one who went down is none other than the one who went up above all the heavens to fill all things" (Ephesians 4v10).

The God of the incarnation (made flesh) challenges worldly images of supremacy.  Whereas the way of the world is upwardly mobile – a struggle to be top – the way of the Lord is downwardly mobile.  “For us and for our salvation be came down from heaven” (Nicene Creed).  In Jesus God comes down to a point in the virgin's womb, to the start of a life of poverty ending with a lonely death upon the Cross.  Christianity worships a God who descends to reveal true humility and ascends to lift our human nature up to glory.

How could God have a Son?  Is this no more than creating God in our own image?
The objection raises the issue of our language about God. Christians believe that this way of speaking has actually been given by God as part of a divine revelation which shows God to be a triune God who is love within himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yet how else could God be love before the creation of the world, without an object of love, unless he was love within himself?

We know that love needs a body to express itself. To the eye of faith God reveals his love through reaching out to us in Jesus, his human face. To speak of God’s Son goes beyond reason because ultimately divine love goes beyond reason! God has no self-interest and is concerned to root out our own through offering us his one and only Son.

How you see Jesus is the clue and touchstone for Christianity.

The atheist Rousseau admitted: “It would have been a greater miracle to invent such a life as Christ's than to be it”. H.G.Wells was ungrudging about Jesus: “An historian like myself, with no theological bias whatever, cannot portray the progress of humanity honestly without giving Jesus of Nazareth foremost place”.  Lecky the historian of rationalism wrote: “Christ has exerted so deep an influence that it may be truly said that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to
regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists”.

Such people admired Jesus even as they shrank back from affirming his divinity. Yet the great 17th Century philosopher Blaise Pascal could write: “Jesus is a God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair”.  The novelist Dostoyevsky said: “There has never been anyone lovelier, deeper or more sympathetic than Jesus”. Before him St. Augustine was clear: “Christ is not valued at all unless he is valued above all”.

If Jesus is divine, humanity is dignified and raised to God. "By his divine power, God has lavished on us all the things we need for life and for true devotion … that … we should share the divine nature" (2 Peter 1v3-4).

To believe as a Christian is to welcome joyfully the love, truth and empowerment revealed to us in Jesus Christ with the faith of the church through the ages.

The most sceptical atheist will not deny Jesus Christ a place in history. For Christians he is more than that. He makes God real. History is his story!

It would take a Jesus to forge a Jesus!


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