Can you explain "begotten, not made"?


I’ve always wondered about this, when we declare “begotten, not made” in our Creed in the Mass. Can you explain what that means, exactly?

Many thanks! :slight_smile:


It means the Son of God in his divine nature is co-eternal with the Father, not created in time, as some were teaching at the time the Creed was written. They were claiming that divinity was bestowed on Jesus sometime in his life, not that he was fully God and fully man from the instant of his conception.


I understand it to mean that the Holy Spirit overcame Mary when Jesus was formed in her womb…He was not “made” in the usual way babies are made…


The Second Person of the Holy Trinity is of the same substance as The Father (the First Person of the Holy Trinity), just as a true son is of the same substance as his father.

Begotten means “gotten from”, as a father [noun] “fathers” [verb] his son.

He (Person #2 of THT incarnated in time as Jesus) was not made ex nihilo (from nothing), as everything BUT the Holy Trinity is, but is eternally OF Person #1 (and Person #3).


The way I explain it to people is with the parallel that a carpenter makes a chair, but he begets his son. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it gets the point across.


Of course you meant “overshadowed” not “overcame”. “Overcame” means against one’s will. Yes? :slight_smile:


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