The Nature of the Incarnation - Dual or Single?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Jun 8, 2012.

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  1. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    Did Jesus have two natures or one? After his resurrection did he and does he presently maintain this status?

    I am reading a book on the Incarnation. It, no doubt, discusses the Nicene http://www.creeds.net/ancient/nicene.htm and Chalcedonian http://carm.org/christianity/creeds-and-confessions/chalcedonian-creed-451-ad creeds.

    As I understand, the reason for the councils was to come to a consensus about controversial a dispute regarding the nature of the incarnate Christ. Both creeds affirm that Jesus is true God and true man, in one person who lived a genuine earthly existence.

    The book quotes Thomas Morris, in his The Logic of God Incarnate. He defends the early church in their stance in the Chalcedonian creed writing, "An individual will count as human only if it has all the properties essential to being human, the joint satisfaction of which will be sufficient for exemplifying human nature. Likewise, an individual will count as divine only if it has all the properties essential to being God, the joint satisfaction of which will suffice for having the nature of deity." So, this is Jesus possessing full humanity and all the essential properties of divinity. He goes on to say that Jesus, "...thus existed (and continues still to exist) in two natures."

    I have also heard that there are those that believe that Jesus had only one nature, the devine, but just in a human body. Is there anyone on the board that would disagree with or interpret differently the creeds above, or disagree with the quote of Morris?

    Did Jesus have two natures or one? After his resurrection did he and does he presently maintain this status?
     
  2. OldRegular

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    God did not become human, therefore, Jesus Christ had two natures, human and Divine.

    The Church Fathers defined this union of God and man at the Council of Chalcedon. I believe the Church Fathers were correct.

    Following is the definition of this union as presented at a Reformed website.
    http://www.reformed.org/documents/in...chalcedon.html

    The Definition of the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D)
    Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.​
     
  3. humblethinker

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    Do you think Jesus still maintains these two natures even now?
     
  4. Van

    Van
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    Looking at what men think about Christ is ok for a starting point, but it must be based on specific revelation found in scripture.

    The study of Christology is essential.

    Jesus was and is 100% God. What are the verses that support this truth.

    Jesus was and is 100% human. What are the verses that support this truth.

    Jesus had two separate and distinct natures, human and divine. What are the verses that support this truth.
     
  5. OldRegular

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    I have thought about this issue a lot and to be honest I don't know. I believe there are Scripture that can be interpreted to mean that those two natures are maintained. But I still have questions!
     
  6. humblethinker

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    I agree. If we all agree though, then there's no use in doing so just to confirm our agreement. However, if we don't all agree then let the one that doesn't produce the scriptural support.
     
  7. humblethinker

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    I agree, it is definately interesting to me as well. Do you know of any scripture that would indicate that Jesus no longer has the dual natures? I can't think of any.
     
  8. Van

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    We should take no solace in sharing a common misconception. Like the good Berean's we need to check assertions against scripture. As Jesus pointed out, not all orthodox views are biblical.

    Check out these flashcard verses as a starting point: http://quizlet.com/2943994/christology-verses-flash-cards/
     
    #8 Van, Jun 8, 2012
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  9. 12strings

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    I believe He maintains dual natures:

    -He ascended bodily into heaven (not leaving his body behind)
    -"There IS (present tense, post-resurection/ascension) one mediator between God and man, the MAN Jesus Christ." (It does not say "the FORMER MAN, Jesus Christ).
     
  10. humblethinker

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    Very interesting Van. In my view there is room for change or differences, so long as they are scripturally supportable or are in the realm of preference. Are you saying that the dual nature of Jesus is a misconception?
     
  11. OldRegular

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    I can't either. What concerns me is: If that dual nature is maintained what does that do to the omnipresence of God the Son? Does it have any affect?
     
  12. 12strings

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    1. Would it be any less problematic if the dual nature was temporary? Such that god is omnipresent, except for 33 years?

    2. I believe it is biblical to say God the Son was incarnated as a man, yet at the same time was holding the universe together...that he is now "the man jesus Christ" sitting in heaven interceding for us, and yet also Paul can speak of us being "IN CHRIST" and Christ being "in You." How does that all work, I don't know. Perhaps Jesus speaking of being "one with the Father" helps us, but it doesn't answer all the questions.
     
  13. Van

    Van
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    I am saying unless you can support your assertions about Christ from scripture, they are simply the inventions of men.

    Lets take an example: During the incarnation, Jesus chose not to know the time of His return. Does this lack of total omniscience make Him less than fully God, or if Jesus is fully God, then total omniscience is not a necessary attribute of God.

    It is one thing to endorse generalized statements, and other to demonstrate they are consistent with all scripture. Are we truly advocates of scripture alone as we all claim, but actually advocates of traditional views that cannot be supported biblical?

    In order for Jesus to be 100% human, did He have a human spirit created by God within him, or did He only have one Spirit - the divine Spirit of the Second Person of the Trinity?

    Lets look at scripture and put some meat on those bones!
     
    #13 Van, Jun 8, 2012
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  14. Van

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    I see some others posting about Jesus losing the attribute of omnipresence during the incarnation, and wondering if Jesus might be lacking in this attribute of God, because He still has His glorified body sitting at the right hand of God. What does scripture say? If we are in Christ, Christ is in us. So that would make Him in more than one place at the same time, right. He is in me, and is He not also in you?
     
  15. HankD

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    Sometimes scripture is silent about historical and/or doctrinal issues or seemingly ambiguous about a certain topic.

    Else there would be no debating BB forums.

    To fill in the blanks with speculation IMO should not always be called the "inventions" of men. Not so much that the word "inventions" in and of itself misses the mark but rather because it carries a nuance of craftiness and/or "twisting the scripture" (a favorite insult accusation here at the BB)".

    When in reality it just isn't so, resulting in a false witness brought against one another. Many are sincere babes in Christ in their seeking, trying to put it all together and when we function as the "accuser of the brethren" it can result in a root of bitterness cropping up in the seekers heart.

    However I agree that "inventions" are often conjured up and used when all else fails.

    HankD
     
    #15 HankD, Jun 8, 2012
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  16. asterisktom

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    I see no reason why He should retain the two natures now. Nor do I see verses for it. There was a soteriological reason for His assuming flesh at one time, but that reason is not a factor now. I believe that Christ returned to that glory - and to that nature - that He had before the Incarnation, just as He prayed in John 17.

    Like I wrote a few weeks ago in a post somewhere here, for Christ to now be both spiritual and physical would be a big difference from what He was before the Incarnation.

    That would be extremely contrary to the teaching in the Bible that Christ does not change.

    Also, if the Son was perfect before, ever self-communing and self-loving within the Tri-unity (I like that word better than Trinity) how could He have become even "perfecter" by being still, millennia after the need, both spiritual and physical?

    He became physical to commune with us (Incarnation and Passion). But now we know no man after the flesh. Neither does He.

    He does not need to be like us. Rather, we shall be like Him.

    BTW, a good book to stimulate encouraging thought on this topic is John Owen's Christologia, though he doesn't seem to follow up on some of the trains of thought he started out with. But the book, despite this, is a wonderful theological and devotional source of encouragement.
     
  17. humblethinker

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    Something as monumentally crucial to the Christian faith as the Incarnation and we don't come to a consensus, regardless of Calvinist, Arminian, other! I am amazed that 'we' are so closed minded and obstinate with other lesser theological issues but with this one we hold ideas for which the ramifications of the truth of the matter seem to be tremendous! 'We' shouldn't be so hung up on the non-essentials! (asterisktom, I don't mean at all to single you out so please don't take anything personal. I'm speaking about all of us in General.)

    And yet, how would it be anything less than a change if it was the case that He was only spiritual before the incarnation, spiritual and physical during the carnation, and now only spiritual? That is even more changing. So, do you really think that in no way possible could God experience change?

    Such is the problem with a Platonic view of God.

    Are you saying that it is the case that He can not be like us? What about the kinsman redeemer principle?
     
  18. 12strings

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    1 timothy 2:5 - For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
     
  19. asterisktom

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    Thanks, but I am not taking it personally. But I am concerned that you see the topic of the nature of Christ as a non-essential.
    He was being physical in that very short period was only parenthetical and mission-related. Because we are so physical ourselves we have such a hard time seeing that our physicality is only a temporary thing. And we do all sorts of linguistic dances around verses like "flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God" in order to avoid the problem.

    Christ taking on human flesh was a saving, but temporal, necessity. Just like His being crucified on the Cross.
    "Platonic" has nothing do with it. But I am used to that clicheed retort. If you have something substantial against the view, please use Scripture.
    This is more to the point. But the kinsman redeemer principle is like the Incarnation and the crucifixion: a necessity for a certain time and purpose. Once the time and purpose have passed, the necessity does also.
     
  20. humblethinker

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    Hmmm, no... I'll have to think on that since I wouldn't want to claim that You and I would not be able to be in communion together with Him. What I'm saying is that 'we' separate ourselves over much smaller issues than the one we're addressing now and it's thise smaller issues that shouldn't be so divisive for christians...

    "If any assert that He has now put off His holy flesh, and that His Godhead is stripped of the body, and deny that He is now with His body and will come again with it , let him not see the glory of His coming. For where is His body now, if not with Him who assumed it?" -Gregory of Nazianzus

    Good question Gregory!
    yes, it has MUCH to do with it!
     
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