I need help understanding the two natures of Jesus Christ

Hey everyone. I need help with understanding the two natures of Jesus Christ. From what I understand, Jesus Christ has a human nature and a divine nature. What I don’t understand is how these two natures exist within one person. Also, before Jesus Christ was incarnate in the Virgin Mary and became man, did He have only the divine nature? Did He get His human nature from the Blessed Virgin Mary? Anyway, I could really use some help understanding this. Thanks in advance. I want to make sure that my beliefs are not heretical because I strive to be orthodox in my beliefs.

I think you have essentially asked the same question that I joined this Forum to ask.

I joined this Forum in Nov of 2004. I asked my very first question two weeks later (I lurked for a little while).

Here is my very first question:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=315919

Over the years, I have posed this question again, with no better response.

I think that you (and I) have asked the hardest question that CAF has ever seen. It is a question that has eluded an answer that I find tenable and comprehensible. I hope and pray that you will do better.

Thank you David. I appreciate this. Unfortunately the thread you posted years ago was very confusing to me. I’m sorry.

The answer is in the Trinity, revealed at the baptism of Jesus the Christ in the Jordan. The Father has revealed that his son is Divine, yet we also know, from the Gospel, that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, but without the genetic contribution of a human father. This demonstrates that Jesus the Christ was both human and divine. The person, in theological terms, has intelligence and being, and does not require a physical body. The person of the Son in the Trinity exists beyond time, and the incarnation, in time. A human person is composed of a soul animating a body. The human nature of Christ was created and began in time.

Really? I thought that both natures had to be eternal since Jesus Christ is eternal?

The incarnation occurred when the human nature was assumed.

**Catechism of the Catholic Church
**479 At the time appointed by God, the only Son of the Father, the eternal Word, that is, the Word and substantial Image of the Father, became incarnate; without losing his divine nature he has assumed human nature.

At some point two words have to be mentioned which have soothed the hearts of millions of believers over the centuries: “faith” and “mystery”.

Hi Holly.

A simple way I heard it expressed once is this: A nature is what you are. A person is who you are.

So, who are you? You are Holly.
What are you? A human being.

We say that Jesus Christ is one person with two natures.

So, we say, who is he? Jesus Christ.
What is he? Both God and Man.

Prior to his incarnation, The Second Person of the Trinity was apart of the Godhead. At the point of the incarnation, he assumed a human nature in the womb of The Blessed Virgin Mary. This human nature was linked with the divine, in such a way that there was no confusion, and Jesus is very Man and very God.

I believe that an explanation is that Christ, the second person of the Trinity contains all that is supernatural. This means that He already has all that could comprise the natural nature within His supernatural nature. All that had to happen is that Christ through the Trinity make an immortal human soul for Himself that animates what He already possessed in the form of a human being in the Incarnation. Therefore, Christ has manifested two natures and two souls but one person.
Again, I believe the important thing to remember is that Christ in His divine nature had everything already to be our savior by manifesting Himself to us as a human when the time was right.

Well, no one is every going to understand the Incarnation completely, even in heaven.

The thing is: The divine nature did not assume a human nature. In the incarnation, one person assumed a human nature. The person who assumed a human nature is the second person of the Trinity, the divine Word.

It’s true, nature is what you are; person is who you are. The second person of the Trinity is a distinct person from the Father and the Holy Spirit, three persons, all three wholly possessing the one single divine nature.

The second person of the Trinity is not a human person, and will never be a human person. By the incarnation, however, the second person of the Trinity became a human being—a person with a human nature. When that person was born as a human baby, Mary called him Jesus.

It was that person who assumed a human nature at a point in time, the same person now being both fully God and fully man. But it is not our belief that the divine nature assumed a human nature.

Analogies don’t really help much. But suppose that you, while keeping your human nature, could also assume the nature of a bird. The same person–you–operates in one nature as a human being and in another nature as a bird. The two natures are distinct, One person possesses them both.

Thanks everyone. I have two questions. Was Jesus’ human nature created? Also, does Jesus have two souls? I don’t think He does but a previous poster said He does or at least that’s the way I read it. I may have misunderstood. I often misunderstand things.

I think that that person may have been mistaken.

A person’s soul is the the pure subject, the “I”(as in “I am…”). The body we have is the physical appearance of the “form” that is our soul.

Since Jesus is a divine person I would say that He possesses one soul or spirit, that of His divine person.

What he may have meant to say is that Jesus had two wills-human and divine.

How those wills interacted is part of the mystery of Christ.

I am not sure I understand the complexity of your question. But human nature was already in existence before the incarnation. Therefore, the natural laws of nature went into effect with the creation of the human soul for Christ. Each human has an immortal soul as the principle of that life. Human nature is not re-created at each birth is my understanding, but follows the physical laws set aside by God for His creation that operate in human nature. But a new human is created or procreated which has a human nature. Each person exists in human nature but there are not new human natures that come into being at each birth.
This gets into philosophy as to what levels of being are there and what natures exist.

Have I confused you ?? It is confusing.

The human nature was created at the time of the incarnation of Jesus the Christ. God was not created, so the Divine Nature is not a rational soul. It is dogma of faith that Christ assumed not only a body but also a rational soul.

Catechism of the Catholic Church366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God …
626 Since the “Author of life” who was killed [467] is the same “living one [who has] risen”, [468] the divine person of the Son of God necessarily continued to possess his human soul and body, separated from each other by death: [INDENT]By the fact that at Christ’s death his soul was separated from his flesh, his one person is not itself divided into two persons; for the human body and soul of Christ have existed in the same way from the beginning of his earthly existence, in the divine person of the Word; and in death, although separated from each other, both remained with one and the same person of the Word. [469]
[/INDENT]

Vico said what I was going to say. A human being is a composite of body and soul, and is created by God, so Jesus’ human nature was created, both body and soul.

We do not speak of God as “having” a soul. He is existence itself. So Jesus had only a human soul (including a human intellect and will), but he was also a divine person possessing the divine nature. including the divine intellect and will.

I believe Aquinas says the soul is the animating and life-organizing principle of the body. Since tha body is material and the persons of God are not material, the Divine Persons do not have souls in their Divine nature. They are pure spirit.

Since Jesus is a divine person I would say that He possesses one soul or spirit, that of His divine person.

Exactly the opposite is true. Since Jesus assumed a human nature, He also assumed the soul that would organize and animate the life of that material body associated with that human nature. He has one soul that is true but that soul derives from His human nature.

What he may have meant to say is that Jesus had two wills-human and divine.

How those wills interacted is part of the mystery of Christ.

No problem with this observation!

And as an answer to David’s consternation, the potential of God to have a Divine person assume a human nature was always present. Since the assumption is only an association, though a close one, to be sure, it nonetheless dpes not change the nature of God Himself.

peace
steve

How do we know that its not His divine spirit which animated His human nature rather than Him apparently having a human soul with His divine Spirit?

Edit: Nevermind. I forgot that with the ancients there is a third aspect beside the body and soul, the spirit.

And he could not be a human being without a human soul. And the human soul is a spirit.

Then He wouldn’t really have a human nature, would he, if He had no human soul. And if the Divine nature animated his body, and not His human soul, then it would seem to bethat he had not really humbled Himself as Paul maintains.

Although I believe you have a point in that there are momentary times where Jesus gives a clear indication of His Divine Power working directly, eg miracles and the transfiguration. But it was not until after the Resurrection that Jesus showed more of the Glory of His Divine Nature.

peace
steve

:blush:

This is another aspect of the human nature that is misunderstood. The spirit of man and the soul of man are the same thing. If you are looking at the spiritual part of man in regard to its control of the material part, then we call the spiritual part, “soul”. However when you consider the spiritual part as it relates to God, we call it “spirit”.

But, soul or spirit, it’s the same thing.

peace
steve

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