In Tertullian’s(c. 160 – c. 225 AD) De carne Christi, we read “Was not God really crucified? And, been really crucified, did He not really die? And, having indeed really died, did He not really rise again?” How is this possible? We seldom ponder in depth the splendid and scandalous oxymoron of a born, died and risen God when we proclaim that Jesus died for us.
Early Christians wrestled with how Christ Jesus is fully God and fully Jewish man. The doctrine of hypostatic union is the fruit of their labor.
Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church concisely defined hypostatic union as “ [t]he union of the Divine and human natures in the One Person (‘Hypostasis’) of Jesus Christ.” (Cross & Livingstone 2005: 818)
In Hebrews 1:3, Christ Jesus is said to be “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his hupostasis”, the Greek term that the English adjective hypostatic is derived and rendered as “nature”, while in 2:17, Christ is said to have been made like his brothers in every aspect. The author of the Hebrews argued that Christ Jesus is the exact imprint of God the Father’s nature and yet he was also made exact imprint of His brother’s nature. Perfect Divine and Perfect Human.
Guarded and standing faithful to God-inspired Scriptures, the early Church fathers confessed and subscribed to an orthodox doctrine of two unmixed natures in one person of Christ Jesus. Cyril’s epistle to John soundly captures this confession that was later modified and adopted in the Chalcedonian Creed. He wrote: “our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, perfect God, and perfect Man of a reasonable soul and flesh consisting; begotten before the ages of the Father according to his Divinity, and in the last days, for us and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, of the same substance with his Father according to his Divinity, and of the same substance with us according to his humanity; for there became a union of two natures. Wherefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord.”(Schaff & Wace 1885: 530). Led by Scriptures, the bishops anathematized any other views that did not sufficiently explain the two natures of Christ Jesus in one person.
The early Church fathers affirmed of both Christ’s full humanity since the Scripture affirmed that He was perfect in manhood; “ He hungered under the devil’s temptation; He thirsted with the woman of Samaria; He wept over Lazarus; He trembles at death (for “the flesh,” as He says, “is weak”); at last, He pours out His blood.” (Roberts, Donaldson & Coxe, 1885, 530) and His fully divinity since He is perfect in Godhead: “ the Son of God, who being, by equality of substance, one with the Father, is eternal and uncreate[d]“,(ibid, p.574) in one person inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, and inseparably.
Latin Church father, Tertullian, remarkably recapitulated the two natures displayed in the person of Christ Jesus as God and man “in one respect born, in the other unborn, in one respect fleshly in the other spiritual; in one sense weak in the other exceeding strong; in one sense dying, in the other living. This property of the two states—the divine and the human—is distinctly asserted with equal truth of both natures alike, with the same belief both in respect of the Spirit and of the flesh. The powers of the Spirit, proved Him to be God, His sufferings attested the flesh of man”(Roberts, Donaldson & Coxe 1885: 525)
Fred Sanders put it well when he wrote: “According to the Chalcedonian explication of the incarnation, the Son of God took into personal union with himself a complete human nature, and thus existed as one theanthropic (divine and human) person. He did not cease to be God, but he took up human nature into hypostatic (personal) union with himself. He made that humanity his own, and in that appropriated humanity he appropriated real human death. He died the only death there is to die, our death.”(Sanders & Issler 2007: 15)
Hypostatic union, therefore, is the doctrine that teaches the divine nature and the human nature of Christ Jesus are hypostatically united without confusion, change, division or separation.
Questions: Do you agree that Christ Jesus is fully Divine and fully Jewish man? Give reasons to support your case?
Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (2005). The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev.). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
Cyril Letter To John Of Antioch: A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Second Series, Volume XIV: The Seven Ecumenical Councils. 1900 (P. Schaff & H. Wace, Ed.) New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
Tertullian, On The Flesh of Christ: The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume III: Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian. 1885 (A. Roberts, J. Donaldson & A. C. Coxe, Ed.) Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company.
Sanders, F., & Issler, K. (2007). Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective: An Introductory Christology. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group.
55 thoughts on “Christ: Perfect Divine Perfect Human”
dear sir im from the country of phillipines and i admire your wisdom..would you please help me in my thesis about the union of the dual nature of CHrist…
your brother in Christ,
I would love to help. Let me know how I can help you Jake.
I understood what brapgronk was saying but I’m finding it very difficult to follow your logic. This same conversation has been going on for a long time without progress, and perhaps it is my lack of understanding or knowledge, or maybe it is because I do not understand what you are trying to get across. Either way, I appreciate your sincerity and kindness, but I feel like the best course of action is for you to have this conversation with somebody who better understands your points.
Thank you, Larry, and I am sorry that I demanded much from you. Your wisdom, kindness and gentleness is awe-inspiring. Heartly thank you, Larry.
Does this help? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AXBvmd-xcw
It does not help, Larry, because it commits the same reasoning namely “lack of p” is “p” that not-T.
If I say to you Larry, there is no-evidence that God doesnot exist, this is my evidence that God doesnot exist is very unlikely. Would you not tell me that your criteria of knowing claim requires evidence?
Have you really never heard of the Cosmic Teapot?
I said a while back, “please tell me how else, apart from the performance of miracles, we would ascertain whether somebody is “divine”.”
Unless you can come up with something now, it’s obvious we should both assume Jesus was not divine. Don’t you think?
But Larry, you said that evidence, not “lack of evidence”, 🙂 is the criteria by which you chose to believe claims. Why do you wish to believe the claim that “we should assume Jesus is not divine” without giving me evidence to choose to believe your claim, Larry?
brapgronk has hit the nail on the head. As I’m trying to say, the fact there is no evidence of Jesus performing miracles makes him being divine very unlikely.
But how so, Larry?
“Let “evidence” be p , “Jesus performed miracles” be q and “Jesus is Divine” be D. Larry’s case looked like this:
1. Not-p is p that not-q
2. If not-q then not-D
4. Therefore not-D
Larry said it “sounds right.” I do not understand, Brap, why our definition are not the same?”
Sorry about that. I didn’t see that definition comment earlier. It does sound right until you rewrite 1 as “(Not-p is p) that not-q” and try to analyze what is now inside the parenthesis as a stand-alone statement. The second p is part of the phrase “p that not-q.” The associative property in mathematics can’t be used here.
Let’s look at it this way. If you only stick with the definitions above, Step 1 is simply “lack of evidence is evidence that Jesus did not perform miracles.” Each of those occurrences of the word “evidence” is referring to different evidences (not sure if that’s a word). What is really needed is p1 and p2, where:
p1 = evidence that Jesus performed miracles
p2 = evidence that Jesus did not perform miracles
Then Step 1 becomes not-p1 is p2, which can be viewed as a case of absence of evidence is evidence of absence, which isn’t a violation of the law of non-contradiction. I’m sure you can find other ways to argue against “absence of evidence is evidence of absence.” (Apologies to Larry if I’m oversimplifying your case here. I have only skimmed over many of these comments.)
But Brap the question still remain unanswered. How is “lack of evidence” “evidence” that Jesus did not performed miracles?(lack of p is p that not-M)
Moreover I wish to know what evidence in p2 is the evidence that Jesus didnot performed miracles?
By that logic could we not believe in anything? If I were to believe in Santa because there’s no evidence for him not being real, would that not be justified under your “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” logic?
We ought not to believe or disbelieve Santa because of
“no evidence/no reason”. We are to believe or disbelieve Santa, Larry, because of “evidence/reason”.
Going back to your case, Larry, do we agree that if we reasoned that 1. “not-p is p that not-D” we would fail in the law of non-contradiction test?
Prayson, the problem here is your definitions of p and not-p are not the same as Larry’s definitions. Your definitions are:
p = evidence
not-p = not evidence
Larry’s definitions are:
p = evidence for divinity of Jesus
not-p = lack of evidence for divinity of Jesus
q = evidence that Jesus was likely not divine
Larry is saying not-p = q.
In other words, you are taking the word “evidence” out of context and declaring the word “evidence” to be p, not the evidence itself. Larry isn’t saying “evidence is not evidence” (p = not-p), he’s saying “lack of evidence for D” (not-p) is “evidence for not-D” (q).
Long time no see. I am happy you are back and thank your for input. If I may update you. Larry and I agreed on this:
Let “evidence” be p , “Jesus performed miracles” be q and “Jesus is Divine” be D. Larry’s case looked like this:
1. Not-p is p that not-q
2. If not-q then not-D
4. Therefore not-D
Larry said it “sounds right.” I do not understand, Brap, why our definition are not the same?
you’re simplifying it to “not-p is p” whereas the whole claim is “not-p is p that D is unlikely”.
The second claim makes sense.
But it does not matter, Larry, 🙂 if we write it wholly or not. We will break the law of non-contradiction if we claim that “not-p is p that D is unlikely” because not-p cannot be p.(E.g it is false to say “No money” is “money” that I am poor )
The fact there is no evidence for him being divine.
See your answer, Larry 😉
The fact that there is “no evidence” for him being divine is “evidence” that makes the case of Jesus Divinity very unlikely.
We are back to “not-p is p” Larry 🙂 Help me understand how is “the fact there is no evidence(not-p) for him being divine” evidence(p) that makes the case of Jesus Divinity(D) very unlikely?
My claim is not “no evidence is evidence”
My claim is “no evidence means very unlikely”
Does that make more sense or less? Thanks for your response.
I am not sure if I understand the difference, Larry. Help me out.
What evidence makes the case of Jesus Divinity very unlikely?
Thanks very much for your comment.
My claim is “There is no reason to believe Jesus was divine if there is no evidence for his miracles”. I didn’t say he definitely wasn’t divine, or that he definitely didn’t do miracles, rather that there is no reason to believe he did (it’s very, very unlikely) without evidence.
However, I would stretch it further than that and say that the Gospel accounts actually contradict each other thus: http://findingtruth.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/contradictions-part-9-the-resurrection/
A point Nate also made on my blog was:
“There aren’t really 500+ witnesses of the resurrection. We just have one person (Paul) claim that there were 500+ people who witnessed it. Who were these people? When did they see Jesus? Where were they? What were the circumstances around this event? Did they all see him simultaneously, or are these separate experiences? Why don’t we have any of their actual testimony? We don’t know any of that.
If a man came up to you today and told you that he could miraculously cause amputees to regrow their limbs, that over 500 people have seen him do it, would you believe him? Those 500 people aren’t witnesses at all. We only have the testimony of one man who never knew Jesus when he was alive. The evidence for Jesus is hearsay. That doesn’t mean it’s false, but it means we need another way to verify the claims. As it stands, you are taking the word of a book that says Jesus believed in that very book. It’s in the interest of the writers of the Bible to have you believe that, so it counts as very weak evidence.”
I’m not set out to disprove or prove anything, I would just like to know the truth, whatever that may be. So far I have been led to the truth this way.
But Larry, I just wanted us to be sure that we understand that not-p cannot be p at the same time and same sense. Thus no reason/evidence cannot be reason/evidence at the same time and same sense 🙂 Can you show me were I went wrong in testing 1. in your case, Larry?
Moreover I would love to know, Larry, how does “Gospel accounts actually contradict each other” has to do with accepting/denying Jesus Divinity?
No words to expresss how thankful I am for your wisdom.
That sounds right. What do you think of this http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/lecture.html
I am sorry that I was away for 2 days. I have 2 weeks daughter, 2 essays had to be submitted, and 2 expository sermons. Our daughter, Eloise, is taking most of my free time and I love it.
Thank you for the link, Carrier raised some interesting points. He also hold to your case, Larry, viz.: Not-p is p that not-q. So I would like if we take a look at your case, Larry, and see, if it’s a good case.
Lets start testing 1. Not-p is p that not-q
Can you see, Larry, that 1. is a self-refuting claim: “Not-p is p”. We know, Larry, from a basic law in classical logic, that x cannot be both y and not-y at the same time and same sense. Therefore Not-p cannot be p at the same time and same sense. (See how it errs: No money is money that I am not rich)
Do you agree, Larry?
You’re very persuasive, Prayson, but at the end of the day we disagree about evidence and what its absence indicates. In the same way there’s no reason to believe in a flying teapot orbitting the Earth without evidence, so too do I see no reason to believe in Jesus etc with no evidence.
And when I say evidence, I don’t mean anecdotes, stories etc, I mean historical or scientific evidence.
I just think we fundamentally and principally disagree on that one idea.
I am more than grateful for how kind, intelligent, and gentle you are, Larry. Thank you so much.
Well, let me assume that you are correct in stating that “no evidence of Jesus performing miracles” is ” evidence that ” Jesus is not Divine”. Let us try to represent your position, Larry, in argumentative form and test its reasoning.
Let “evidence” be p , “Jesus performed miracles” be q and “Jesus is Divine” be D. Your case would look like this(please do correct me if I am wrong):
1. Not-p is p that not-q
2. If not-q then not-D
4. Therefore not-D
Before we test it, do you agree with the way I represented your case? Please do correct me, Larry, or add something you think I missed. The last think I want is to respond to a straw-man :). I need your help.
“absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”
By this logic, we could believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, flying unicorns, teapots orbitting the earth, etc.
Absence of evidence is definitely reason not to believe something.
Rather than me paraphrase and spend a long time finding sources and tracing back to all the shows I’ve watched, books I’ve read, interviews I’ve listened to etc, it’d be nicer if you could answer a few questions.
To begin with, Prayson, was Muhammad divine?
Larry, I believe you missed the ending 🙂 . I said “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence in this case“.(Remember John’s example)
I believe you are correct that sometimes absence of evidence is evidence of absence e.g. if I asked you whether there is an African elephant in your room,you would be right in saying no evidence of an African elephant in your room is evidence that there is no African elephant in your room. But Larry in other cases, I believe, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence e.g. if you ask Horatio Caine in CSI Miami that you found no evidence that Nick Townsend murdered Peter. Horatio would probably answer “absence of evidence is not evidence that Townsend did/did not murder Peter, Larry, keep on looking”.
I am open for both cases, Larry, for and against the case that Muhammad is divine. 😉 I just wish to know why, you, Larry are against the case that Christ Jesus is divine? Moreover what evidence these numerous historians and Biblical scholars do give as evidence/reasons to support the claims that “none of the Bible is supported by evidence”?
I just want to understand your position, Larry, and only you can help me out by giving reasons/evidences to how you came to your conclusion.
Well, quite simply, historians and Biblical scholars that I have listened to (and they are numerous) have all agreed that almost none of the Bible is supported by evidence.
I see no reason, therefore, to believe the Bible over the Qu’ran, Veda etc, which also have practically no evidence.
Even the resurrection has no historical evidence to back it up. Here’s an example of that: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/lecture.html
Other than parrot Biblical scholars, there’s not much evidence I can show you. It’s come out of watching many shows about the Bible, watching debates historians have had, and to impart all of that knowledge to you would be difficult.
What are the arguments and evidences that these numerous historians and Biblical scholars do give to support their claims that “none of the Bible is supported by evidence”?
Richard Cevantis Carrier main reasoning is simply like yours, Larry, as we discuss above. I just want reasons/evidence to why Carrier, and you, Larry hold to that position.(If I may remind you, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence in this case)
How is “No evidence” evidence/reason for denying Christ Jesus’ Divinity?
Premise 1: Larry needs evidence to validate claims
Premise 2: There is no evidence of Jesus being divine
Conclusion: Larry sees no reason to assume Jesus is divine
Good morning Larry,
Help me out, Larry, what evidence do you have to validate your three claims namely:
1. Larry needs evidence to validate claims
2. There is no evidence of Jesus being divine
3. Larry sees no reason to assume Jesus is divine
Let us use your criteria by which you chose to believe claims. 1, 2, and 3 are all claims that you hold. I am asking you, Larry, to be kind to offer evidence/reasons why you came to hold these three claims.
It is the question I asked in this article, Larry, namely giving reasons to support your case. I would love you to help me understand what evidences do you have for your case(1,2 and 3) above?
Thanks once again for your awesomeness, Larry.
Evidence is the criteria by which I choose to believe claims. Different people use other criteria, including (but not limited to) faith, anecdotes, assumptions. I use evidence because it is more effective, as has been shown by medicine (evidence) vs homeopathy (faith), suggestion / ideomotor effect / other psychological explanations (evidence) vs spirits (assumptions), and so on. Of course there is the possibility that I am wrong, but as I have said, this criteria is basically what gives us scientific discovery.
For that reason, I do not think anybody is divine, including Jesus, as I see no reason to assume that he was. However, if any evidence flags up to suggest the opposite, it’d be a strong convincer for Christianity, obviously!
Thanks for your responses so far.
Let me think through what you said, and please do correct me if I missed or misrepresented something. Your case is:
Premise 1: Larry see no reason to assume that Jesus was Divine
Premise 2: Larry think nobody is Divine
Conclusion: Therefore Larry think Jesus is not Divine
I am curious to know, Larry, what evidences do you have for holding these claims? How did you reach to this conclusion?
I did not say that Jesus DEFINITELY wasn’t divine, I said there is no reason to assume he is. There’s a difference. Why no reason? No evidence.
I am sorry that I misunderstood you, Larry, when you said “I don’t think anyone is divine, Prayson.” at 19:46 because I thought that you included Jesus in “anyone” (which would definitely mean he was not divine).
You are so correct in saying that there is a difference 🙂 though I would like to know how is “No evidence” a reason to assume/or not assume that Jesus is divine?
BTW: Thank you so much for your kindness and gentle spirit Larry.
So, divine means “without a body, eternal, perfect, the creator, omnipotent and omniscient”.
is there any evidence for Jesus being any of these things?
Yes I do mean divine is of necessarily eternal, perfectly free, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, and the creator of all things 😉
Your question, Larry, is actually what I asked in my article, viz.: “Do you agree that Christ Jesus is fully Divine and fully Jewish man? Give reasons to support your case?”
I am open to hear both cases, Larry. Reasons for or against why one accept/deny Jesus as fully divine and fully Jewish man. It seems(correct me if I am wrong) that you denied that Jesus is not fully divine. I would like to know your reasons to why you believe/think that to be the case.
I think we can agree that our reasoning of “x does not perform miracles therefore x is not divine” is not good reason to hold as a support for your case(atleast I hope we agree 🙂 ).
I believe we are back to square one were I am asking you, Larry, to help me understand your position. Why do you deny Jesus as divine? And how did you come to that conclusion?(Reasons to support your case).
Could you define ‘divine’ just to make sure we’re coming from the same starting point?
I used divine as of a person/being without a body who is necessarily eternal, perfectly free, omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly good, and the creator of all things(It is the standard and traditional concept of God in Western philosophy and theology).
How do you define divine, Larry? I also do wish to be sure we understand the starting point.
If we rephrase it to “x does not perform miracles therefore there is no reason to assume that x is divine”, then yes.
So, what are the other criteria (apart from miracles) that you’re using to determine if somebody is divine?
Let me be sure that we are in the same train: I do hope we agree, Larry, that ” x does not perform miracles therefore there is no reason to assume both 1. x is divine and 2. x is not divine”.
As from my example: John did not teach, we do not have reasons to assume both 1. John is a professor and 2. John is not a professor.
Are we in the same train, Larry? Or I am already going the wrong direction? 😉
Okay then, please tell me how else, apart from the performance of miracles, we would ascertain whether somebody is “divine”.
First I would like to show that your case is not good one, namely “x does not perform miracles therefore x is not divine”
A good example to show that the logic, if we think the way you argued, is not good would be like this:
Premise 1. John did not teach
Conclusion: John is not a professor
John could still be a professor even if he did not teach.
Do you agree so far Larry?
I don’t think anyone is divine, Prayson. I think we are all humans. To be fair, I don’t even believe in the concept of God. If I did I would be able to justify supernatural and mythical claims far more easily.
As I’ve said, I believe he’s not divine because there’s no evidence for him doing any miracles.
But Larry, how is no evidence for him doing any miracles a reason(evidence) that he is not divine? 🙂
Let me assume, for argument sake, that you are correct in stating that there is no evidence that Jesus performed miracles. Help me out, if I misrepresented your case, in argumentative way:
Premise 1: Jesus did not perform miracles
Conclusion: Jesus is not divine.
How do you move from no evidence Jesus performed miracles to Jesus is not divine? 😉
Help me, Larry, understand.
Surely you should be giving me the evidence for Jesus? Why’s it my job to give you evidence against? I’ll answer your questions regardless.
“What is your definition of miracle and what would count as a miracle?”
Something outside the bounds of the laws of reality. For example, resurrections, virgin births, and seemingly turning water into wine without the use of phenolphthalein.
“What do you mean by “no historical evidence for the miracles”?”
Namely, the fact there’s no historical evidence for the miracles.
“What historical evidence would you consider as evidence for miracles?”
I thought it was self-explanatory. Any historical evidence. I’m relying on the findings of historians,
“What “many other stories of terrible things” Jesus did that were cut from the Bible? When were they cut from the Bible and who did that? If they were cut from the Bible, I am curious to know how did you find out that they “were” in the Bible in the first place?”
Well, you’re aware of the fact that the selection process of stories for the Bible was a very humanly selective thing, right? There were all kinds of myths and stories floating about, e.g.: http://eviltheists.com/articles-essays-etc/205-similarities-that-predate-the-jesus-story
2600 years ago, vast superstition was abundant. They believed in witches and all sorts of voodoo. It doesn’t surprise me at all that there were anecdotes about all these magical stories.
They weren’t cut from the Bible, they just weren’t chosen. And they were stories about Jesus which didn’t represent the amazing figure we see in the Bible, because, obviously, they didn’t want that to be their message.
I did not ask you to give evidence for Jesus, Larry, but to give reasons to why you think(believe) Jesus is not fully divine?(It is important because before you justly dismiss a claim, you ought to be in position were you could justly say “I understand” and “I deny because…”)
Thank you for helping me understand what you meant by miracle and what a historical evidence for a miracle would be.
I am sadden that you gave me a copy-cat conspiracy theory, which is scholarly rejected both by theists and atheists(e.g. nontheist at Skepticproject) because it is historically and logically false. I also address it here.
It is my hope that you are able to give reasons to why you believe/think that Christ Jesus is not Divine.
Could you also help me know which part of the Bible were not chosen? When were they not chosen? and By who?
Thanks for the comment, Larry.
Interesting bio. I try to have grace, mercy, will and pleasure, and rationality, so am thus an atheist.
Thanks Larry for your comment. I am lost following your reasoning 🙂 Please do correct me, is your case:
Premise 1: Larry try to have grace, mercy, will, pleasure and rationality.
Conclusion: Thus Larry is an atheist.
And is it a response to my question above: “Do you agree that Christ Jesus is fully Divine and fully Jewish man? Give reasons to support your case?”
Thank you once again,Larry, for commenting.
Okay, well Jesus probably existed, but if he was fully divine, why’s there no historical evidence for the miracles (only anecdotes, and this was at a time when magical thinking and superstition were abundant) and why are there many other stories of terrible things he did, which were cut from the Bible as they didn’t fit in?
I would love to answer your questions, Larry, but I believe you need to build your case first. Pausing questions is, sadly, not giving reasons to agree(or disagree) with the questions above. 🙂
Would you be kind to give reasons to why you think(believe) Jesus is not fully divine? (Remember absence of evidence is not evidence of absence in this case) Help me understand how you came to the conclusion you are holding.
On Your Questions:
I would love us to critically discuss this issue, Larry, with respect and gentleness. It would be so helpful if you could help me understand your questions(after you give reasons to why you think Jesus is not fully divine).
What is your definition of miracle and what would count as a miracle? What do you mean by “no historical evidence for the miracles”? What historical evidence would you consider as evidence for miracles?
What “many other stories of terrible things” Jesus did that were cut from the Bible? When were they cut from the Bible and who did that? If they were cut from the Bible, I am curious to know how did you find out that they “were” in the Bible in the first place?
Thank you for the comment, Larry.
Comments are closed.