Jesus—100% God And 100% Human

gnosisOn paper it seems so simple: “We believe in the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God’s Son, Jesus was both human and divine.” But trying to wrap our finite human minds around the concept of the full humanity and the full deity of Jesus is challenging!

First off, Jesus was fully human. Both Matthew and Luke record details about Christ’s physical birth, and the writer of Hebrews says that Jesus was made every bit as human as us (Hebrews 2:17).

But Jesus was also fully God. John records how God became flesh in the Person of Jesus (John 1:1-2, 14), and Paul tells us how Jesus chose not to use His deity when He came to earth as a human (Philippians 2:6-8).

I know that anytime we say, “God is like…” we’ve already sold ourselves short, but I’d like to try one analogy that’s been helpful for me.

Imagine a coin that has two distinct sides. While we are looking at one side (heads), we cannot see the other side (tails) but that doesn’t mean the other side has ceased to exist. In fact, if we were able to split that coin in half, so that there was only a heads and a tails, we haven’t cut the value of the coin in half, but we’ve made the coin of no value at all! 

In the Greek language of the New Testament, there are a couple of words for “knowing”: one is gnosis and the other oido. Together these words combine head knowledge and heart knowledge, or knowledge by study and knowledge by experience.

C.S. Lewis captures the idea this way: “It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true Word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him.”

Just as Jesus was both God and Man, we are to use both our mind and our heart to know Him.

To focus on the “heads” side—the deity of Jesus—is to pervert gnosis into gnosticism, and deny the humanity of Jesus. To focus on the “tails” side—the humanity of Jesus—is to pervert gnosis into agnosticism, and deny the deity of Jesus. True gnosis keeps both sides in mind: Deity and humanity.

To truly know THE Word of God (Jesus) in all His humanity and in all His deity, we need to study the Word of God. We also need the help of the Holy Spirit. I like the Old English wording of this verse—Ye have an unction [charisma] from the Holy One, and ye know [gnosis] all things (1 John 2:20).

So read your Bible, but not just to read your Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to make THE Word known to you. Live in the balance of gnosis as you get to know Jesus more deeply and personally.

This post is a part of our series studying our foundational beliefs. If you would like to read more about the first foundational beliefs we have discussed, check out this post on the inspiration of Scripture, and this post on the Trinity.

4 Responses to “Jesus—100% God And 100% Human”

  1. Donald John Says:

    Son of God. Son of man.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Who Can Bridge The Gap Between God And Man? | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] But who could bridge this chasm? Who could be a mediator between God and man? The only possible candidate would have to be Someone who was both fully God and fully Man—that is Jesus Christ! […]

    Like

  3. Greg Says:

    Holy Scriptures say that the things created are an example of the things not seen and that we can understand God and the Godhead by the things that are seen. Nothing in this world is 200%. Jesus was not 100% man and 100% God.
    1. The fallen soul of man was not in Jesus because of the immaculate conception. Part of man was missing.
    The soul did not come through Mary because Scripture indicates that the soul travels through the male.or else Jesus would have been contaminated by sin through Mary. For all have come short of the glory of God, that includes Mary.
    2. If Jesus was 100% God then he would have all authority. However when asked to place two of this woman’s sons on the right-hand of Jesus, Jesus said it was not his to give but the father only.
    3. When asked when the end of the world will be, or rather when the and of the era will be, he replied no man knows the day nor the hour nor the angels in heaven nor the Son of Man. He did not know everything.
    4. Jesus gave up some of his glory. Which indicates that he was not 100% God or else everyone see in him would have been burned up and in his presence.
    5. Scripture says that Jesus is a mediator between God and man. It makes sense that he was 50% man and 50% of God before the resurrection. He was a perfect mediator.
    6. This does not in any way distract that he was the son of God and Savior.

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    • Craig T. Owens Says:

      Greg, thank you for your thoughtful reply, but I must respectfully disagree with your syllogism.

      First of all, 100% human and 100% God doesn’t mean 200% of something. Jesus was still 100%—He was both fully human and fully God. The amazing part of Christ’s incarnation was that He chose not to use His deity while He was on earth (see Philippians 2:6-7 and Hebrews 4:15).

      Jesus believed Himself to be fully God even while He was here on earth as fully human (see John 8:57-59; Matthew 26:63-65); God the Father declared Jesus to be a full part of the Godhead even as Jesus stood on earth as a human (Luke 3:21-22); religious leaders knew that Jesus the Man was claiming Himself to be God (John 10:33), and His followers knew Him to be fully Man and fully God (John 1:1-2, 14; John 20:27-28; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:7-8, 2:6-17).

      The early church leaders affirmed this doctrine as well. The Council of Chalcedon (AD 451) gave a term for the dual nature of Jesus: the hypostatic union of Christ. The Council said,

      “[Jesus is] consubstantial with the Father as to His Godhead, and consubstantial also with us as to His manhood; like unto us in all things, yet without sin; as to His Godhead, begotten of the Father before all worlds; but as to His manhood, in these days, born for us men and for our salvation, of the virgin Mary, the mother of God, one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, known in two natures, without confusion, without conversion, without severance, and without division; the distinction of the natures being in no wise abolished in their union, but the peculiarity of each nature being maintained, and both concurring in one Person and subsistence.”

      And at an even later date, church leaders clarified this point even more in the Westminster Confession—

      “The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon Him man’s nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.
      “The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure, having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell; to the end that, being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety. Which office He took not unto Himself, but was thereunto called by His Father, who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.”

      I realize this is a difficult concept for us to wrap our finite human brains around, simply because God is infinite and our minds have limits. But to head down a path trying to diminish the full “Godness” (if I can make up a word) and at the same time the full “Manness” of Jesus is a slippery slope toward diluting other biblical concepts.

      Like


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