Stump the Rector – The Dual Nature of Christ

Dual Nature

John writes

I was discussing the nature of Truth with one of the members of my discussion group in Philosophy on Monday and I said that in my opinion, Truth will only be fully realized when a person dies and is united with the Father in Heaven because He is all-knowing and we are co-heirs with Christ in the glory of God. He said that he disagreed with me because, according to him, Christ did not know all. I agreed with him to a point, saying that there was a big difference between Jesus of Nazareth and the glorified Christ. In my mind, Jesus of Nazareth, being fully human, would not have known everything, but when He was glorified and united with God, He returned to that state of omniscience. My friend countered by saying, “Then why did Jesus say that he would not know the hour in which he was to return?” I was momentarily speechless, but then it occurred to me that the yet to be glorified Jesus would not have known this, but when He came into His glory, He would know all. We eventually agreed to disagree and we moved on with the discussion. I just wanted to know where you stood and what your thoughts were on this issue.

Wow John, thanks for pitching me such a soft ball. Really? Okay I will give it a try.

I agree with you in part but I do see an important omission in your argument. The Church Fathers and first Ecumenical Councils that began in 325AD took great care in being specific about the nature of Christ and defending against various heresies. For example one heresy said that Jesus did not become divine until His baptism. Another said that He only appeared to be human because His divinity would have absorbed His humanity like putting a teaspoon of water into the ocean. But what the Fathers argued from Scripture and reason was that Jesus was at the same time fully God and fully man. There were two distinct natures in one Person. The natures were not so divorced from one another that we end up with two Persons nor were they so confounded to become only one nature. So in the Nicene Creed we confess both that He is “God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God” and that He “was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary and was made man.”

Some argued that when St. Paul in Philippians says that Christ “emptied Himself” that He emptied Himself of His divinity to become man, but others argued how does God ungod Himself? What He emptied Himself of was His divine rights and privileges in order to become a servant. But He was still God.

We see glimpses of His dual nature throughout the Gospels. We see His humanity when He is weary or hungry or when He states limited knowledge in that He does not know when He will return. We see glimpses of His divinity when He has foreknowledge of His death, when demons obey Him, when He raises Lazarus from the dead, when He declares that He existed before Abraham and when He conquers death. Both natures coexist in one Person.

In His glorification He remains fully God and fully man except now He is no longer emptied of His divine rights and privileges. He knows when He will return. They’ve talked.

At our glorification we will not become omniscient as God is, because we will never be gods. But Paul does indicate in Corinthians that our knowledge will be complete. He said, “we will know as we are known.”

Okay Bubba, we are at then end of what I know about that topic. As Forest would say, “And that’s all I have to say about that.”

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