Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Mystery of the Incarnation: Fully God, Fully Human

I wish to take a moment to draw a certain conclusion out of one of the central dogmas of Christianity. The dogma is that Christ was both fully human and fully divine.

From this we can draw the conclusion that Christ's humanity is such that it can be united in a single person with divinity. Let me be clear. I mean to draw a conclusion not about this or that human being but rather about Christ's humanity itself. I do not say merely that a certain human, viz. Christ, was divine. Rather I say that Christ's humanity was united to divinity and thus that Christ's humanity is such that it can be united in a single person with divinity.

But of course qua human, Christ and I differ in no way. His humanity was no different than mine. He became as us; He became human. Thus humanity in me is such that it can be united with divinity. But of course this is to say that I can become a god. Thus we are led quickly and easily from a central Christian dogma to an extraordinary claim not often remarked upon with Western Christianity. (Orthodox Christianity seems to admit the truth of what I say.) Indeed to many in the West it will seem like heresy.

Let me put the point in this way. The body of Jesus the Christ was human, as is mine and yours. Thus there is nothing in the humanity of this or that body that prevents its union with the Logos. Thus any of us humans might have been the Christ. Since the Logos became as we, any of us might have been the Christ.

Indeed I suspect that if we assume the doctrine of the Incarnation, some (or perhaps even all, if as I believe in the end all are saved) of us will become as Christ was. For our salvation entails that will take on that perfection which is appropriate to beings of our kind. But the very existence of Jesus the Christ proves that that perfection is the same as His perfection. Thus at the end of history, there will be a world with God above and the many Christs below. It is an extraordinary thought.

Each time that I run through the argument in my mind, I find it absolutely unassailable. It is compressed, but it is worth study. Indeed I would say that if it seems obviously mistaken to you, you have not yet understood it.