“This is He who was begotten from the Godhead according to His nature, and from manhood not after His nature, and from baptism not after His custom; that we might be begotten from manhood according to our nature. … He then was begotten from the Godhead, He that came to a second birth; in order to bring us to the birth that is discourses of. …Who supposes that his beginning was from Mary, may be admonished that His Godhead is before all; so that whoever has concluded His beginning to be corporeal, may be proved to err hereby that His issuing forth from the Father may be narrated. The Father begat Him.” ~St Ephraim the Syrian
There has been arguments on both sides since His birth on whether or not Jesus Christ was “begotten” like a human or was created by God. St Epraim is doing his best to try to clear up the confusion, though his way of putting it is in itself confusing. Lets try to clear it up. Jesus Christ had a dual nature. He was both human and divine, spirit and flesh. For convenience, we will refer to the human side as Jesus and the divine as Christ.
Begotten from Manhood
When St. Ephraim says that Jesus was begotten from manhood, he is saying that the human Jesus was begotten in the normal human way by Mary and Joseph. The idea that Mary was a virgin was a fantasy added centuries later when Christianity began to move into areas where the worship of a virgin goddess was common. Early Christians often had Jesus or Mary assume the attributes of a local god or goddess to become more appealing to the people in that area. But that was Jesus, not Christ.
Begotten from the Godhead
Christ is a different matter. This pure spirit is the first begotten of God, the first creation. He was not born with Jesus, but entered Jesus when Jesus was born. Christ existed long before the birth of Jesus and was not born at all in the sense that we usually mean it.
Begotten Within Us
we all have a similarly dual nature. That is the important message that I believe St.Ephraim is trying to convey. We are all born into physical bodies and we all have a spirit as well. That spirit may not be the Christ, but it is Christ-like in many ways. The catch is that when we enter the realm of matter in a physical body, that spirit and the divine soul are dormant. They will, in nearly all cases, remain dormant unless we make some effort to awaken them through the process that Jesus referred to as being born again.
If we do choose to “begat” the spirit and soul within us, we can expect great changes in our lives. When Jesus told His Apostles that they could do even greater miracles than He was doing, He meant after awakening and fully developing the spirit and soul.
Even awakening isn’t enough. The awakened spirit and soul is, in some ways, like a newborn baby. It must be fed and cared for so it grows to its full potential. The spirit and soul are nourished primarily with the spiritual light that comes from the spiritual sun. Ancient governments banned looking at that sun. They didn’t want people to become spiritual and change from sheeple into real people. It is true that it is dangerous to look directly at the physical sun. The spiritual one is a different matter. It is dangerous only in the sense that we will be awakened from the illusions of the material world when we are spiritually begotten.