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I've always heard it said that Jesus was "completely human" and "completely God".

How could he be both human (finite by very nature) and God (infinite by very nature)?

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8 Answers 8

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It's one of those difficult things to comprehend. In fact, I think we may never be able to fully understand it. Jesus is God and has existed eternally as God (John 1:1, 18) but took on the additional nature of humanity during the incarnation. He fully possesses each nature, much in a sense that each member of the Trinity is fully God. His natures are also distinct much as the members of the Trinity are distinct. For instance, Jesus as man is not omniscient (Luke 2:52, Mark 13:32). Jesus as God cannot experience death. His two natures are completely distinct yet fully and completely unified in His single person.

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@Justin - I've edited my post to include scripture. Thank you for holding me accountable to that. If my beliefs aren't backed by scripture, they probably aren't worth holding on to. –  Jason Berg Aug 29 '11 at 3:38

Jesus is a Divine person with a finite human nature and an infinite divine nature. The key points here are "one person" and "two natures." Person answers the question who is performing an act; nature defines what is performing the act. As such, when we read in the Gospels what Jesus said or did or where he went, we have to realize that this is God saying, doing, and going. At the same time Jesus is human and subject to the human condition: He eats, He sleeps, He can bleed, He can be killed. This is important for us all from a salvation standpoint. The Original Sin was an infinite offense because of Who was offended. The only possible reparation would have to be infinite, something only a divine person can do. Or put another way: if God didn't die on the Cross, then the sacrifice is not infinite and is therefore not able to open the gates of heaven. To say that "God died" is not difficult to understand when you realize that the person who died -- Jesus -- only died in His human nature (the soul was separated from His body). Jesus cannot be killed in his divine nature, but he was able to be killed in His human nature.

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In Rev 22:13 (NIV), Our Lord says "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."

So, He is the beginning and ending. Everything starts from him and ends with him, like a Circle.

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Simple answer

Both.

God's physical manifestation in the world through a mortal body

Do not let anyone tell you anything else. To deny Christ's divinity is to deny Christianity.

Bible texts that speak about his divinity

Isa. 9:6;

New International Version (NIV)

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Matt. 11:27; 16:16;

Matthew 11:27 New International Version (NIV) 27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Matthew 16:16 New International Version (NIV) 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Mark 2:5-7;

Mark 2:5-7

New International Version (NIV)

5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Luke 5:20-22; 9:20;

New International Version (NIV)

20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in >your hearts?

Luke 9:20

New International Version (NIV)

20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.”

John 1:1;

The Word Became Flesh 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

1:14;

New International Version (NIV)

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

2:19,21;

Fully human

Matt. 1:1,

Matthew 1 The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah 1 This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:

18-25;

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d] (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

4:2;

Matthew 4:2

New International Version (NIV)

2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

26:38;

Matthew 26:38

New International Version (NIV)

38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Luke 9:58; 22:44;

New International Version (NIV)

58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

Luke 22:44

New International Version (NIV)

44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.[a]

John 1:14; 11:33-35; 19:28, 34;

John 1:14

New International Version (NIV)

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 11:33-35

New International Version (NIV)

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

John 19:28

New International Version (NIV)

The Death of Jesus 28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”

John 19:34

New International Version (NIV)

34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

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Some would disagree. Despite this, if you could explain this nature a bit more to help resolve this apparent paradox or contradiction, I'll gladly +1 this. –  Richard Sep 14 '11 at 13:38

During his time in our dimension, Jesus, while remaining a person of the trinity put off his divine nature (and everything that goes with it) to become incarnate as a man:

Heb 2:9

But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Therefore, while on Earth, Jesus did not possess divine attributes such as Omnipotence, Omniscience, etc. What supernatural knowledge and power he wielded he did through the Holy Spirit:

John 5:19

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does".

Mat 26:39

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Indeed, while conceived and living sinlessly in perfect obedience to the Father, he retained his own will as a person, but subjected that will to the Father; unlike his "normal" state, without God's nature he remained like-minded only by exercise of that will in obedience, no longer by virtue of sharing one nature with the Father:

Phil 2:6

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — death on a cross!.

So, my conclusion is that Jesus, while on earth, was wholly God in person and wholly man in nature. In his glorified state, of course Jesus is wholly God in both person and nature.

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The word Begotten in Hebrew is translated from many different Hebrew words.

  • Yalad which means: to bring forth;
  • Mowledeth which means: birth, offspring, relatives, kindred
  • Yatsa which means: to come or go forth (with purpose or for result)

When referring to Jesus it is the Hebrew word Monogenes which means: single of its kind, only used of sons or daughters.

How did God bring forth Christ?

I am by no means capable of portraying Jesus in a few paragraphs but I will give you the best explanation that I can.

  • Jesus is God's Word.

  • God says that from out of a mans mouth comes that which is in the deepest chambers of his heart.

  • God is Love.

Out of the deepest echoes of God's heart, filled with the most compassion and love in existence, He spoke Jesus to us.

Jesus is God.

You see, when you divide infinity, you still have infinity. All of the fullness of God was in Christ Jesus. Completely Man, and also completely God.

How can God be man and yet still be God? Because Jesus is God in the Flesh 100%, filled with God in the Spirit 100%. The two are one, but are each their own separate entity.

Just as God empties you of your spirit and fills you with His own. Jesus had no spirit of his own, because His spirit was God in His fullness.

"Glory to you father, Glory, Glory forever and ever, Amen."

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He was completely given to humanity, entering a sinful world, experiencing pain, loss, hardships, work, temptation, hunger, and even death. All the while, He was completely God, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Take John 1:48, where Jesus said He saw Nathanael under the fig tree before Philip called him to come see Him.

He was completely human, bled when He was whipped, suffered the agony of dying on a cross, but He was completely God, taking the sin of everyone who would ever believe in Him upon Himself and carrying it to the grave as He died, and then bringing His own body back from the dead. No one man alone could bear the sin of all. We can't even free ourselves from our own sins.

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FWIW, I don't believe that Jesus, during his time in our dimension, retain the nature of God (although remained the 2nd person of the trinity, and therefore remained God, but without God's power); Hebrews (I think it is) teaches us that he put off his God-nature and became "a little lower than the angels" - that is, human. What Jesus knew supernaturally he knew by the Holy Spirit communicating to him - "I do only what I see the Father doing" (or words to that effect). –  Lawrence Dol Aug 25 '11 at 8:18
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To follow up @Software Monkey, I thought it was very interesting when someone told me that Jesus was fully human, and any miracles and works performed by him we are all capable of. It was only through his faith that Jesus was able to perform those. –  a_hardin Aug 25 '11 at 14:35
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That is true, the infinitesimal mind of man cannot comprehend the true nature of God. He had to give up some of that complexity to join us here on earth. And we have the power of God through the Holy Spirit as well as Christ did. He was our example, showing us what could be done through the power of God. –  Nathan Wheeler Aug 25 '11 at 14:36

There are concepts presented in the bible that are impossible for our human minds to understand. The Catholic and Lutheran (and perhaps others) idea of the Holy Trinity, for example, that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all God is very difficult to wrap our minds around, and this is another example of things that are outside our understanding.

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"Catholic and Lutheran and perhaps others"? The Trinity is a core Christian doctrine, adhered to by hundreds of denominations from Catholic to Pentecostal to Fundamentalist Baptist, and better than 95% of Christians. –  DJClayworth Sep 14 '11 at 14:13
    
@DJC - but they all have their subtle differences. I'm not an expert on all religions so I don't say what I don't know. But even between Catholic and Lutherans, there are differences in the exact mechanics of the trinity. –  Mark Henderson Sep 14 '11 at 21:49
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No, there are pretty much no differences in the doctrine of the Trinity between Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist or any Trinitarian groups. Many people explain the Trinity in different ways, but the differences are almost never on denominational grounds. –  DJClayworth Sep 15 '11 at 13:47

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