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Janet Rivera wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why does the Creed say that Jesus is born of the Father before all ages?
  • If both God, the Father, and God, the Son, have always existed, how can one of them be born?
  • Doesn't being born mean that someone did not exist at one point and then later did exist?
  • Doesn't that mean that the Father existed first and the Son existed at a later time?
  • In that case, how can they both be eternal?

Janet

  { If God the Father and the Son have always existed, how can Jesus be born a man and eternal? }

Bob replied:

Janet,

Thanks for the question.

I'm sure millions have scratched their heads over that one. The language cannot fully capture what is really being said. Born does not imply the same thing as it does in our everyday speech; obviously for us born means coming out of someone's body into the world.

Instead, it means there is a causal relationship; one is contingent on the other, but at the same time, coexistent because there is no time involved. If being A is eternal and in His very nature He begets B, B therefore must be eternal, for B is inherently part of the nature of A, or A would not be A, but some other thing, for it is the very relationship between A and B that defines A, as well as any other eternal characteristics (the dynamism between A and B forming C, the Holy Spirit).

You cannot define God in strictly human terms because apart from the incarnation of the Second Person, God is not human. We use language to describe things that are beyond language. You can use logic, philosophy, and even science, but they will all fall short. Only in your imagination can you even get a glimmer of what is means to be God.

If you really want to try and get your brain around some of these Mysteries, try Frank Sheed's Theology for Beginners. It can start you off on thinking a whole new way, and perhaps grasping things, albeit imperfectly, you never had before.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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