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Jesus Keepin it 100

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Jesus is fully man and fully God. How does that work?
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The doctrine of hypostatic union is that Jesus Christ was both fully human and fully God, all in one. Scripture is filled with verses that point to the truth of hypostatic union. Verses and chapters of the Bible describe how Jesus could heal the sick and raise the dead, while at the same time, illustrate how Jesus was similar to any other human in his development and basic human needs. Next, by looking back upon older Christological heresies, it is evident that the creeds and councils which make up the traditions of Christianity also exclusively point out that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. It is with these heresies that illuminate the importance of the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ as well as contribute to individual reasoning behind it.

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The doctrine of hypostatic union illustrates that Jesus is “one person of a full human nature and a full divine nature” (Milne 198). Scripture makes the full human nature of Christ clear in many verses. Matthew 1:18 mentions “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary [...]” (The Holy Bible). Clearly, as it is well-known, Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, a human, and so he is fully human by birth. Furthermore, Luke 2:40 highlights that “the Child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom [...]” showing that Jesus, just like all humans, had to grow and learn throughout life (The Holy Bible). Then, in John 20:15, even Mary Magdalene mistakenly thought Jesus Christ was a gardener (The Holy Bible). Moreover, Jesus was hungry in Matthew 4:2, and was sleeping in Matthew 8:24, and in John 19:38, he was thirsty (The Holy Bible). It is discernible, then, in Scripture, that Jesus Christ was fully man, requiring basic human needs to eat, sleep, and drink. Moreover, Scripture also points to how Jesus was fully God as well. For instance, people refer to Jesus as “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (The Holy Bible, Tit. 2.13). Next, God is shown to receive worship from people in Matthew 14:33, “Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’” (The Holy Bible). Only a perfectly righteous God with ultimate authority can forgive human sin, so when Jesus said to a woman “Your sins are forgiven” he was highlighting his own deity (The Holy Bible, Luke 7.20). Jesus also stated that he himself holds the power and holds the authority to give and take life (The Holy Bible, John 10.18). Scripture also shows that Jesus holds the three ultimate divine characteristics of God which are omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. Omnipotence is illustrated in many verses, including John 11, with power over death by resurrecting Lazarus, Luke 4:35 with power over demons by driving them out, and John 2, with power over nature by turning water into wine (The Holy Bible). Omniscience is illustrated by the disciples when they say, “Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God” (The Holy Bible, John 16.30). Lastly, the omnipresence of Jesus is given in Matthew 28:20 when Jesus says “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (The Holy Bible). Finally, the most important aspect of the Scriptures was Jesus’ death and resurrection. The death of Christ, proven in John 19:34 when blood and water poured out of his side, shows once again how he was completely human, subject to death, but then, in being fully God, was raised to life, and in Acts 1:9 ascended into heaven (The Holy Bible). Evidently, every piece of Scripture mentioned, and many more, points towards the doctrine of hypostatic union, proving that Jesus Christ is both fully man and fully God.

Throughout history, much opposition has been brought against the doctrine of hypostatic union, with many incorrectly assuming his nature is something other than both fully divine and fully human. Those who believed otherwise followed heresies related to the doctrine of hypostatic union. Each heresy brings about a time in history when it had to be disproved by people of the Christian belief, oftentimes through different councils and creeds which were adopted by the churches. These councils and creeds also helped individuals discover the reasons as to why Jesus Christ needs to be both fully divine and fully human. One such heresy is docetism. Docetism “claimed that Christ was a mere phantasm who only seemed to live and suffer” (Columbia). This heresy was then disproved by Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus who wrote against the error in the early part of the second century, eventually leading to its condemnation at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 (“Docetism”). If docetism were true, the death and resurrection of Jesus would be meaningless and the basis for Christianity would be undermined. Apollinarianism is another heresy that stated that Jesus was fully divine but not fully human (Columbia). This heresy was “condemned by the Second General Council at Constantinople in 381” because it “denies the true and complete humanity in the person of Jesus which in turn can jeopardize the value of the atonement, since Jesus is declared to be both God and man to atone” (“Apollinarianism”). This, once again, gives the reasoning behind the necessity of Jesus being both fully human and fully divine, in that if he were not that, he would be unable to atone for human sins. Nestorianism is another heresy which “held Jesus to be two distinct persons, closely and inseparably united” (Columbia). This was disproved in the council of Ephesus which convened in 431 “and pronounced that Jesus was one person in two distinct and inseparable natures: divine and human” (“Nestorianism”). This reasoning behind this being a heresy is that “it threatens the atonement. If Jesus is two persons, then which one died on the cross? If it was the ‘human person,’ then the atonement is not of divine quality and thereby insufficient to cleanse us of our sins” (“Nestorianism”). Through the creation of, and denial of, docetism, apollinarianism, and nestorianism, it is revealed that the old creeds and councils were the original sources which refuted the heresies and are seen as a tradition today and can be used as an influence and source for the reasoning behind the doctrine of hypostatic union.

To recap, the doctrine of hypostatic union is that Jesus Christ was both fully human and fully God, all in one. Scripture is filled with verses that point to the truth of hypostatic union. Verses and chapters of the Bible describe how Jesus could heal the sick and raise the dead, while at the same time, illustrate how Jesus was similar to any other human in his development and basic human needs. Next, by looking back upon older Christological heresies, it is evident that the creeds and councils which make up the traditions of Christianity also exclusively point out that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. It is with these heresies that illuminate the importance of the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ as well as contribute to individual reasoning behind it.

Resources:

- Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition, Mar. 2017, p. 1.

- Milne, Bruce. Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief. Third ed.,

- Inter-Varsity Press, 2009.

- Slick, Matt. “Apollinarianism.” Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, carm.org/Apollinarianism.

- Slick, Matt. “Docetism.” Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, carm.org/docetism.

- Slick, Matt. “Nestorianism.” Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, carm.org/Nestorianism.

- The Holy Bible. New International Version, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984. Print.