Eyes on Jesus: Past and Present
The nature of Christ— the incarnate Word— is that He was fully God and fully man. Heresies about his nature manifest themselves over the years when half-wise ("good intension", but lack the understanding) men by emphasizing Jesus' humanity at the expense of His divinity (e.g., Arianism) or His divinity at the expense of His humanity (e.g., Apollinarianism). Many today fails to accept the Inspired Revelation via, the Bible and continues to peddle these ancient heresies.
It's well known that Arianism taught that
"Christ was different from and unlike the substance and peculiar nature of the Father in all respects. He was also unlike man because he had no human soul" (Qualben).
Claims were thus made about both poles of the divine-human nature of Christ. The Arian's crafty arguments Christ's divinity was the main object of attack (Bettenson, pp. 56-57). Christ was neither part God nor part man. He was both, fully. Separating the divine and human components of Christ's nature was the Nestorian heresy.
Christ's dual nature remains a mystery of the Christian faith. The creed adopted by the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431) contains a balanced statement of the orthodox position:
"We, therefore, acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, complete God and complete man, of a rational soul and body? begotten of the Father before the ages according to (his) divinity, but in the last days . . . of Mary the Virgin according to (his) humanity; that he is of the same nature with the Father according to (his) divinity, and of the same nature with us according to (his) humanity. For a union of the two natures has taken place; wherefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord".
The truth is best told when one is beholding the Holy Scriptures. The same unique combination of qualities that Christ had. The parallel is not perfect, since Scripture is not itself an object of worship, but such a model is instructive as a basis for approaching the mystery of inspiration, or at least for clearly defining the problem that it poses.
The truths revealed are all 'given by inspiration of God' (2 Timothy3:16); It is true of the Bible, as it was of Christ, that 'the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.' John 1:14."
Even a non-Christian like Abraham Joshua Heschel, argues for a position of balance bet influence involved in the formulation of the prophets' writings.
"By insisting on the absolutely objective and supernatural nature of prophecy, dogmatic theology has disregarded the prophet's part in the prophetic act. Stressing revelation, it has ignored the response; isolating inspiration, it has lost sight of the human situation. In contrast with what may be called "pan-theology, " psychologists have sought to deduce prophecy entirely from the inner life of the prophets. Reducing it to a subjective personal phenomenon, they have disregarded the prophet's awareness of his confrontation with facts not derived from his own mind.
A rejection of both extremes must spring from the realization that the words of the prophets testify to a situation that defies both pan-theology and pan-psychology.
One should be aware of his presuppositions and allow the Scriptures to breathe.
How do you see Jesus, all human, all God? CM
- Henry Bettenson, ed., Documents of the Christian Church, 2nd ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1963), pp. 56-57
- Lars P. Qualben, A History of the Christian Church, rev. ed. (New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1964), pp. 121-22.
- Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Prophets, 2 vols. (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1969), 1:ix.