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The Incarnation of Christ: How Was Jesus Fully God and Fully Man?

Before getting started on a very complex issue in a brief and humble attempt in this post it would be helpful to analyze this issue more thoroughly for a more complete picture. I would suggest, "Christ's Incarnation: The Foundation of Christianity" by Charles Spurgeon or possibly, "On the Flesh of Christ: The Mystery of the Incarnation" by Tertullian and Grapevine Press. Both of these pieces will explore in depth something that is so essential to the Christian faith. Though this may be a subject we do not fully grasp in this lifetime there is much be gained from merely scratching the surface on such a topic.

How Was Jesus Fully God?

The belief that Jesus Christ is fully God is a foundational tenet of Christian theology, rooted in the New Testament and developed through centuries of theological reflection. This concept, often referred to as the divinity of Christ, holds that Jesus, as the second person of the Holy Trinity, possesses all the attributes of deity and is, in essence, one with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Several key theological concepts and biblical passages underpin this belief, contributing to the understanding of Jesus' full divinity within Christian tradition. Central to the Christian understanding of Jesus' full divinity is the concept of the Trinity, which affirms the existence of one God in three persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity emphasizes the eternal and co-equal nature of the three persons of the Godhead, with each being fully and completely God. Therefore, the divinity of Jesus is inseparable from the broader Trinitarian understanding of God. Biblically, the Gospel of John is particularly instrumental in articulating the divinity of Christ. The opening verses of the Gospel declare, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). This "Word" is understood to refer to Jesus Christ, who is depicted as the pre-existent divine being involved in creation and identified as God. The Gospel of John also records Jesus' own statements asserting his divine nature, such as "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). These and other passages in the New Testament contribute to the biblical foundation for the belief in Jesus' full divinity. The New Testament presents Jesus as possessing attributes and exercising prerogatives that are inherently divine. He is ascribed with the power to forgive sins which is someone only God can do as God is the only true judge and the against whole sin is committed, and he is depicted as exercising authority over nature, demons, and even life and death. Being the one through whom all creation is made would mean that he has authority over creation as God does. Additionally, he receives worship and adoration from his followers, which is reserved for God alone in Jewish and early Christian understanding. Jesus followers were absolutely convinced he was God as they proclaimed there is no where else to run except him for he is the true Son of the Living God. Within the early church we can see early Christian theologians, such as the Church Fathers, played a significant role in articulating and defending the divinity of Jesus Christ. They engaged in lively theological debates and councils to formulate precise statements of faith, clarifying the relationship between Jesus' divine and human natures. The Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, for example, produced the Nicene Creed, which affirms that Jesus is "begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father." It is inseparable from the broader Trinitarian understanding of God and is built upon the biblical portrayal of Jesus as possessing divine attributes, exercising divine prerogatives, and receiving divine worship. This belief has shaped the understanding of Jesus' identity and significance within the Christian tradition, influencing its theology, worship, and devotion for over two millennia.

How Was Jesus Fully Man?

Jesus' full humanity is also a central tenet of Christian theology, affirming that he was not only fully divine but also fully human. This understanding is rooted in the New Testament and has been developed through centuries of theological reflection within the Christian tradition. The belief in Jesus' complete humanity is based on several key theological concepts and biblical passages that emphasize his human nature and experiences. The New Testament presents Jesus as a historical figure who lived within a specific cultural and historical context. He was born to a human mother, Mary, and grew up in the village of Nazareth in first-century Judea. The Gospels describe Jesus experiencing the full range of human life, including physical growth, emotions, and human relationships. He felt hunger, fatigue, and sorrow, and he engaged with people from diverse backgrounds, displaying empathy, compassion, and love. One of the central affirmations of Jesus' humanity is his experience of physical embodiment. He lived a life characterized by the limitations and vulnerabilities inherent to human existence. The Gospels recount Jesus' experiences of hunger, thirst, and fatigue, as well as his physical suffering during his crucifixion. These are things that would not have happened if Jesus was no man, for if Jesus had not emptied himself to in he a servant of the Father then he would not have been able to be killed. It is only in vulnerable state of humanity that presented these human difficulties. Who can go to Gods realm to threaten him with death, and what does he need without food to sustain himself? These experiences are indicative of his genuine human nature and his ability to empathize with the human condition. Furthermore, Jesus' emotional and psychological experiences are evident throughout the New Testament. He displayed compassion, anger, sorrow, and joy, demonstrating the depth of his emotional life. For example, the Gospel accounts depict Jesus weeping at the tomb of his friend Lazarus and expressing anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to his arrest. These emotional responses underscore his authentic human experience and his capacity for empathy and understanding. Additionally, to his physical and emotional experiences, Jesus also demonstrated intellectual and spiritual growth. The Gospels describe him as increasing in wisdom and stature, indicating a process of maturation and development. Yes Christ was God, and was no less God, but in willingly emptying himself there was a spot for Christ to develop and mature and grow as a man from a boy and teenager. Jesus engaged in intellectual discourse with religious leaders, taught using parables and analogies, and displayed a deep understanding of human nature and spiritual truths. His intellectual and spiritual growth is consistent with the idea of his full humanity, as it reflects the human capacity for learning and understanding. The affirmation of Jesus' complete humanity is foundational to the Christian understanding of the incarnation and serves as a basis for the Christian belief in his role as the mediator between God and humanity.

Why is it Important for Jesus to be God and Man?

The dual nature of Jesus as fully God and fully human holds profound significance within Christian theology, shaping core beliefs about the nature of salvation, the relationship between God and humanity, and the purpose of Jesus' redemptive mission. Jesus' full divinity is essential for the efficacy of his redemptive work. As God incarnate, Jesus possesses the divine authority and power necessary to reconcile humanity with God. His divine nature enables him to serve as the perfect mediator between God and humanity, bridging the gap caused by sin and offering a means of reconciliation. Through his divinity, Jesus is able to offer a sacrifice of infinite value, capable of atoning for the sins of all humanity and securing salvation for those who believe in him. Simultaneously, Jesus' full humanity is indispensable for his role as the Savior of humanity. By becoming fully human, he is able to identify with and represent humanity, experiencing the full range of human life, including its joys, struggles, and sufferings. This enables him to empathize with human weaknesses and temptations, providing a compassionate and understanding advocate for humanity before God. Furthermore, Jesus' humanity allows him to fulfill the requirements of justice on behalf of humanity, living a sinless life and offering himself as a sacrificial atonement for human sin. The dual nature of Jesus also serves as the foundation for the Christian understanding of the incarnation. Through his union of divinity and humanity, Jesus reveals God's profound love for humanity and provides a model of perfect obedience, humility, and sacrificial love. His life, teachings, and redemptive work are seen as the ultimate revelation of God's character and the means through which humanity can be restored to a right relationship with God. In summary, the dual nature of Jesus as fully God and fully human is crucial for the Christian understanding of salvation, serving as the basis for the efficacy of Jesus' redemptive work, his ability to represent and identify with humanity, and the revelation of God's love and character. This theological concept lies at the heart of Christian faith, shaping its understanding of Jesus' identity, significance, and role in the divine plan for the redemption of humanity.

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