In historical Christian belief (of almost any type), it would be considered heresy to say that God the Son was created. The term "begat" is preferred, where this term does not imply creation.

In such a tradition, Christ became incarnate. Is it correct/acceptable in such a tradition to refer to the body of this incarnation as being created? Why or why not?

6 Answers 6


The problem that you run into is John 1 - in which it says of Jesus, that by him all things were made, and there is nothing that was made that He didn't make. This is why the Nicene Creed is so careful to say he was begotten not made. If God the Father made Jesus, then John made a boo-boo.

The incarnation, on the other hand, is merely putting flesh to that which already existed, namely the spirit of Christ in the man Jesus. The physical manifestation is well known to anyone who has watched a science film on conception.

In other words, the spirit is eternal, but the flesh is temporary, and created.

The fun part, however, is that since it is something made, it means that God the Son got to make his own body. (Reminds me of an episode of ST:TNG called The Offspring, in which Lt. Cmdr. Data's daughter gets to choose her form) I find it interesting that He chose to be so normal and plain- but that's who our God is- he wants so desperately to be with us, that he chooses to be just like us.

The debated part of the incarnation is the nature of the Spirit/Soul/whatever of that flesh in relationship to the pre-existant Spirit of God the Son. The relationship of that spirit of God to the flesh of that baby born is the root of most Christological heresies like Nestorianism, Apollinarianism, and Monophysitism. Here's the "problem" of each:

  • Apollinarism: Says that the flesh that was created had no mind of its own. The problem with this idea is that God was never actually a man. In its most extreme form docetism Jesus only appeared to be human, and was in fact, merely a 'phantasm' of the flesh - a solid spirit that had no human substance whatsoever. That basically denies the incarnation altogether.

  • Nestorianism: Says that the flesh was just a normal guy whom God the Son indwelt. In this idea, Jesus was schizophrenic, having two distinct personalities in one body.

  • Monophysitism: Says that there was only one nature, in that the human nature was so dissolved in the divine that it basically ceased to exist. Of the "heresies" listed, this is probably the closest to Orthodoxy, but fails insofar as it denies the existence of a human will.

The orthodox position is the so called hypostatic union. It says that Jesus was fully God and fully man. (Hey, Jesus is just 200% that's all!) It's a bit tricky, but the basic idea is to ensure that any Christology recognizes that Jesus was fully able to fully be both things to fully accomplish what he was sent to do.

  • Do I see some apolinarism in your post? Or did you just forget to mention, that Christ had a human soul?
    – zefciu
    Commented May 23, 2012 at 8:38
  • 3
    I think the fully God/fully man is much less a paradox than many people make out. I am 100% American and 100% a father. I am 100% a Christian and 100% a college graduate. Etc. There is nothing amazing about this as long as the attributes are not contradictory. Of course we generally think of being God and being man as being incompatible, but that's the point: in Jesus case, it wasn't.
    – Jay
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 7:15
  • @Jay the problem with your analogy is that it is the heresy called modalism. God the father is distinct from God the Son. You can't be 100% Michael and 100% Susan. See the question: "what is so bad about modalism" to see why that very common analogy, while popular, doesn't hold. But don't worry- Christians have been mulling the paradox for 2000 years. Commented May 25, 2012 at 11:06
  • 1
    The formulation "One Person, two natures" neatly expresses the orthodox doctrine.
    – Ben Dunlap
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 17:42
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    @Affable A creature can't be 100% dog and 100% cat because they are genetically different. Perhaps one could create a hybrid that would be 50% dog and 50% cat, but dogs and cats are mutually contradictory so you can't be all of each. But "American" and "father" are not mutually contradictory: they are different, unrelated attributes. If Christ was both God and man in that sense, then there's no paradox. I don't think that's dualism.
    – Jay
    Commented May 26, 2012 at 6:22

In historical Christian belief (of almost any type), it would be considered heresy to say that God the Son was created.

You can use a neat term here "nicene christianity".

Regarding your question - Christ has a complete human nature (human body and human soul) and this nature is created. Christ has accepted our nature with all sinless weaknesses of this nature. We believe this nature is real (unline doketists) and complete (unlike apolinarists). So it's right to say that Christ's body is created.

However as it is stated in the subject "Christ the man" suggests, that there are two separate Christs: "Christ the God" and "Christ the man". This would be nestorian teaching. So rather say "human nature of Christ" than "Christ the man".

  • Is enforcing a semantic uniformity necessary? Christ the man no more suggests that there are two Christ's than saying "Me, the father". It may be convenient to share terminology, but it is much more important to hear what is said (and ask if there are doubts), than to presuppose meaning because of a particular phrasing. Shall we reduce theology to the repetition of mantra's?
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 15:35
  • No, we shouldn't reduce theology to the repetition of mantras. Yes, we should use semantics that don't introduce confusion and clearly state what we believe.
    – zefciu
    Commented Jul 9, 2012 at 8:54
  • It's not heretical to say, Christ the man, both Ss Augustine and Aquinas use this term. Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 21:34

It is obvious that Jesus' body was created, or perhaps a better word is, "made." I choose to use the verb "create" with the subject "God" alone. We humans cannot create anything. We can make many things.

In the beginning, God created all things, that is, all matter in the universe. From that existing matter is made all things that exist today. I can make a house out of wood, but I did not create the house, nor did I create the wood.

Now, was Jesus' body made? Sure. Just like my body, and just like your body, via the process of conception.

May I recommend for you the discourse of Thomas Aquinas on the subject?

Whether this is true: "Christ is a creature"?

Whether this is true: "Christ as Man is a creature"?


Was Christ the man created? Is it correct/acceptable in such a tradition to refer to the body of this incarnation as being created?

It's perfectly Orthodox to say that Christ the man is a creature. Because it's referring to one of His two natures, that's what incarnation about. Unless God became man we wouldn't be able to become deified, theosis. We're created, if He is not becoming us there is no Gospel.

For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.

St. Athanasius, On Incarnation, 54:3, PG 25:192B.

This is the Good News that God whose beginning is not contingent voluntarily condescend to become a human being for us and our salvation. On this is rested the foundation of God's covenant that even though He is in the form of Creator He chooses to be found in the lowest form of a creature. This is the love of God manifested.

A new and unheard of Covenant: God Who is and was, is made a creature.

Pope St. Leo the Great, Sermon XII, On Nativity.

If Christ the man is a creature why Nicene council condemned Arius for calling Him the first creation? Because Arius confused the person of the Logos who is a divine person, begotten not made, with the humanity which He assumed for our salvation. It's the later which we refer to as a creature not the former. A divine person is not a creature, but the humanity which He assumed is a part of creation.

Christ who God and man, is called uncreated and created, impassible and passible.

St. John of Damascus, On the Orthodox Faith, 3:4.

God the Word assumed not only a human body but also a human soul with rational mind. He is inside out identical with us in His humanity. He has a fallen flesh with all of its infirmities, a fallen soul with its psychological defect, and more importantly a fallen rational mind damaged by the fall. So that He can healed our fallen humanity and deified it completely. Unless the Logos assumed a fallen humanity tampered with its weakness and mortality from the Theotokos then there is no salvation. This is possible in Catholic and Orthodox Christology because original sin has nothing to do with guilt. Incarnation is the summit of all mysteries.

What has not been assumed has not been healed

St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Epistle 101:32.


As asked this appears to be a "truth question" rather than a creedal one so I will attempt to answer from a scriptural rather than creedal perspective.

The idea that Jesus created his own body is explicitly denied in Hebrews:

[Heb 10:5 ESV] (5) Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;

To make this reproof of creedalism even more explicit is the fact that his body was defective when it emerged from the seed of David because the same verse says that God "repaired" the body for Christ:

[Heb 10:5 MGNT] (5) διὸ εἰσερχόμενος εἰς τὸν κόσμον λέγει θυσίαν καὶ προσφορὰν οὐκ ἠθέλησας σῶμα δὲ κατηρτίσω μοι

Thayer's Greek Lexicon STRONGS NT 2675: καταρτίζω καταρτίζω; future καταρτίσω (1 Peter 5:10 L T Tr WH (Buttmann, 31 (32); but Rec. καταρτίσαι, 1 aorist optative 3 person singular)); 1 aorist infinitive καταρτίσαι; passive, present καταρτίζομαι; perfect κατήρτισμαι; 1 aorist middle 2 person singular κατηρτίσω; properly, "to render ἄρτιος, i. e. fit, sound, complete" (see κατά, III. 2); hence, a. to mend (what has been broken or rent), to repair: τά δίκτυα, Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19 (others reference these examples to next entry); equivalent to to complete, τά ὑστερήματα, 1 Thessalonians 3:10. b. to fit out, equip, put in order, arrange, adjust: τούς αἰῶνας, the worlds, passive Hebrews 11:3 (so, for הֵכִין, ἥλιον, Psalm 73:16 (Ps. 74:16); σελήνην, Psalm 88:38 (Ps. 89:38)); σκεύη κατηρτισμένη εἰς ἀπώλειαν, of men whose souls God has so constituted that they cannot escape destruction (but see Meyer (edited by Weiss) in the place cited), Romans 9:22 (πλοῖα, Polybius 5, 46, 10, and the like); of the mind: κατηρτισμένος ὡς etc. so instructed, equipped, as etc. (cf. Buttmann,

[Jer 33:22 KJV] (22) As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.

[Jhn 7:42 KJV] (42) Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?

[Rom 1:3 KJV] (3) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

[Luk 1:35 KJV] (35) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy [IE: "repaired"] thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Of course, those who are beholden to Catholic creeds are bound to a different viewpoint.


Traditions can be good or not so good. When ideas are reduced to mantras people stop thinking. It is acceptable to say things in a way that gets people thinking rather than labeling.

The Unbegotten Only Son made his own DNA from materials he himself created and it was planted in Mary by the Holy Ghost where he became the Only Begotten Son, who died on the cross becoming the Usurping Second Son (second Adam).

The idea is important, not the specific formulation of the idea.

  • Not a helpful answer. Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 15:53
  • In what way is it not helpful? The question asks how you may refer to the body of Christ. The answer is, any way you wish as long as it reflects the reality of the truth behind it. Words are just symbols of ideas. So communicate the idea anyway you can.
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 15:56
  • The alternative is that zefciu above implies you may be a heretic for forgetting to dot your i's and cross your t's. He judges the mantra or formula rather than the idea you intended to convey. THAT is the true heresy... to judge by outward appearance rather than by the heart.
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 16:00
  • Your 1st paragraph is pedantic. Your 2nd paragraph doesn't address the question, which is one regarding the nature of the union of the flesh and the spirit and the consequences of it. Affable hit this point spot on, you didn't even mention it. Your 3rd paragraph is nonsense. Without a specific formulation, there is no "idea." Would you be happy to accept one of the heresies regarding this topic? I think not. Both ideas and formulation are important. Sorry. Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 16:04
  • You didn't ask about the union, only how to refer to the union..."Is it correct/acceptable in such a tradition to refer " This makes the first statement appropriate to the answer which follows. Affable has a great answer to a question that was not asked. And ideas are represented in many forms specifically because language is imprecise, requiring many restatements so that precision can be accomplished. Enforcing a mantra is a type of sacerdotalism where only the correct priestly mantras are acceptable.
    – Bob Jones
    Commented Jul 6, 2012 at 16:12

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