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.

4 comments:

GOP Christian said...

I'm going to put this in a few ways, so maybe somebody somewhere might be able to understand...

It's more acurate to say God was Jesus than to say Jesus was God.

All of Jesus came from God, but not all of God came through Jesus all the time.

Jesus was not always almighty, but the Almighty was always Jesus and possibly almighty *through* Jesus at some point ("all power is given unto me" etc).

Jesus was a human who was made of nothing but God, so Jesus is purely divine, but not all of God came through Jesus all the time, so Jesus was not always the totality of the divine.

Jesus was only one person of the Triune God even though the Triune God was him.

Jesus was God like my hand is me, if you injure my hand you injure me. If I cut off my hand it is still my hand, it's just not a poweful. My hand being cut off yet still sending signals through the nerves would be like Jesus saying "why have you forsaken me", those would still be my nerve impulses, because it's still my hand, I just wouldn't be responding to them very much even though I would still know they are there and it's still my blood keeping the hand alive.

One thing Christians need to keep in mind is when God said through Jesus, "Not my will be done.". This apparent separation/division between the Father and the Son clearly reminds us God is a spirit and can wax an wane in even the most glorified of physical hosts.

Hope that helps. :-)

Franklin Mason said...

Thanks for the comments. I'll continue to think about them.

It seems that when you say Jesus is purely divine, you come near or perhaps fall into one of a number of related heresies. The heresies of Sabellianism and Docetism hold that Christ was purely divine and that his human aspect was illusory. Thus each holds that Christ's death on the cross too was illusory. This is nearly universally rejected by Christians. To them, Christ's passion and his death are quite real and indeed are necessary to the redemption of the human race.

As you know, I am not Christian (though I feel a strong attraction to it). Thus I myself have no stake in the debates about what does and what does not constitute orthodox Christianity. But I do think it clear that there is an orthodox Christianity, and when I say that I'm not Christian I mean I'm not that.

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