Part two of this series from earlier. Blessings and enjoy!
Okay, first of all, I do not mean anything irreverent or insulting by the title of this post, The Hypostatic Union For Dummies. As I have said before I am not a theologian, nor are most of my readers. I know some are, and if you feel free to chime in with some deep theology in the comments. I would love to learn something in the process of this post. For now, though, we are going to take a hopefully simple look at an extremely complicated topic: The Hypostatic Union.
Now, this whole thing can be analyzed for years and many Greek and Hebrew words tossed around, but really this is no more than the fact that Jesus is both fully human and yet fully divine at the same time. It is the concept of two distinct natures forming a union in one individual existence. The two distinct natures are of course humanity and divinity, and the individual existence is, of course, Jesus Christ.
Jesus is 100 percent God, and 100 percent human. Wait you say, that is 200%. Well, yes in math that would be true. He was fully man fully God. These two distinct natures are not mixed or blended but are both there in Jesus in their entirety. I have heard it said that Jesus is as human as if He were not God at all, and as much God as if He were not human at all.
Makes sense, right? Of course, it doesn’t. It’s simply not understandable by a finite human mind. How, then, do we know it is true? Well, the Bible teaches such, and understanding how it works simply has no bearing sometimes on whether something is true or not. We are taught clearly in Scripture of the humanity and the divinity of Jesus Christ. Later in this series, we will talk in detail about the evidence of Jesus’ divinity, and his humanity is not really the point of this series. For the purpose of this blog, we are just going the work from the presupposition that the Bible does teach these two natures.
Our purpose for this post is to simply, quickly, and briefly discuss just why Jesus had to be both fully human and fully God.
First, let’s recap quickly the basics of why the Deity of Jesus Christ is so necessary. The reason why Jesus had to be God is actually one of the simpler concepts concerning the theology of salvation to understand. Most of this we discussed earlier.
If Jesus was merely a man, even a sinless man, He would be limited in the scope of sin His death would have covered. His sinlessness enabled Him to pay the debt for another; He had no debt of His own to pay. However, if He was just a man, even a sinless one, He could have paid the debt for one other person. God’s plan of salvation was for a sacrifice which would cover the sins of the entire world. That includes all who had been born and died before His day, as well as all who would be born in the future. Not only for all people but for all sins; that includes all sin committed as well as all sin which would be committed into the future. If that sounds like a possibly infinite number of people and possible sins, that is because it is a possibly infinite number!
Only God is infinite, having existed from eternity past. God never came into being, He simply has always been. The Bible teaches that the entirety of the Godhead in the form of God the Father, God the Son(Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit have existed from eternity past. Since the amount of sin is basically infinite, only an infinite being could pay for it all. Therefore, only a being who was totally human could pay for the sin of humanity; conversely, only a being who was totally God could pay the infinite price which had to be paid. And as 1 John 2:2 makes clear, Jesus did come to pay for the sins of the whole world.
Now, why did he have to be fully human? Well, we covered the basics of that earlier as well. On the most basic level humanity was necessary because humans were the ones guilty of the original sin, a human had to pay the price for that sin. In other words, only Jesus the man could die; and only death could pay the debt for sin, for as Romans 6:23 states, “the wages of sin is death”.
One of the keys is the Biblically stated necessity for the sacrifice of an innocent for the remission of sins. Worship in the Old Testament revolved around the sacrifice of perfect, innocent animals to cover and provide temporary atonement for the sins of the people. We see this spelled out in both Leviticus 17:11 and Hebrews 9:22 The idea of a blood sacrifice for sin was clearly established between God and man. The problem is, that is not sufficient. Although the shedding of the blood for sin provided temporary remission of sin, it was never designed to be permanent. We are taught that in Hebrews 10:4.
Finally, we can sum up with the following:
Galatians 4:4,5 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons
Born under that law. Who was born under the law? Well, humanity of course. Not angels, nor animals, but humans. The law, designed by God to show us how we come short of His perfection, was created for humans and transgressed by humans. Ultimately humanity, each and every one of us, owe the price for failing to measure up to God’s standard of perfect Holiness.
There we have it: the Gospel in a nutshell. Man sinned, meaning ultimately mad had to pay. Temporarily, God set up a system for the temporary atonement for our sins by the sacrifice of innocent animals, but we don’t need that anymore. Because Jesus the man paid the penalty for us as humans, and Jesus God was able to pay it infinitely and forever.
All we have to do is accept and believe in the truth of that payment.
It’s easy; if you have not, why don’t you do so today?
Coming next: Alternate views and attacks on the Doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus Christ.