Jesus - Like Us in All Things Except Sin


#1

Jesus - Like Us in All Things Except Sin…

I am pleased and fully ascent to the truth that Jesus Christ was truly and fully both divine and human.

However I often hear assertions made that claim this truth as their justification.
Like:

  • Jesus may have been an awkward “hormonal” teenager.
    Jesus may have been sexually tempted toward women.
    Jesus may not have “known” he was God.
    Jesus was tempted just like we are.
    Jesus could have made non-moral mistakes (like math errors or language problems learning his native tounge as a baby, etc.)*

The big question and I guess point that I like to raise is this.
1.) Jesus possessed an unfallen human nature!
2.) Jesus did not cease to be an all powerful all knowing God when he united himself to a human nature. Jesus is not a human person he is a divine person with a divine and human nature.
3.) Jesus’s perfect unfallen human nature (human body and soul) were at the moment of his incarnation in a state of union with his divine essence (hypostatic union) that is so great that it is even greater than what we may some day possess in the beatific vision.

With all of this in mind…

  • How is a unfallen human nature different than a fallen human nature? How would an unfallen physical body grow and develop and behave in a fallen world? And also how would the most perfect and holy hypostatic union of Christ’s divine and human nature effect his human limitations?* (the first two questions can also be applied to Our Lady, Mary).

#2

I do not know a lot about preternatural gifts and the unfallen human nature but I have heard a few things…

I’ve heard that Mary remained a “virgin” after the birth of Christ (implying that Christ past through her womb without causing a physical change in her physical body).

Presumably a unfallen body would be incorruptable and presumably would remain in perfect health? (no colds or flues I guess)

If Mary’s physical body behaved contrary to the ordinary way of what we know as a fallen human body can we not presume that likewise Jesus may have had similar developmental differences?

My personal belief is that Jesus by virtue of his unfallen human nature in perfect union with his divine nature would have been a “perfect and faultless human”. Meaning that he did in fact “empty himself” meaning he took on the limitations of a human nature but that he would have always and everywhere performed to the fullest, greatest, and most perfect potential of that human nature.

If Jesus’ physical body had the physical capacity for a certain level of human function then I believe he would have achieved that level.

The human nature even unfallen is still limited. Hence under the strain of the passion Christ’s perfect and unfallen human body could very well have fallen many times on the Way of the Cross. He did not fail when he fell. He took his body to the physical limitation that it possessed and that limitation even of an unfallen body caused his body to fall.

He never erred. There are physical limitations and then their are mistakes. A mistake is essentially not living up to our potential. I think Christ could never have made any mistake at all, EVER.

Anyway those are my thoughts on this. I am curious to know if anyone else has ever struggled with these concepts?


#3

Jesus was not like Adam’s unfallen nature, but had a nature inherited from fallen Adam, yet Jesus was perfectly united to the Divine nature.

Consequently, Jesus learned experientially that which he already knew through His Divinity. That’s hard for us to imagine, but if you were to imagine our theoretical knowledge of science that after decades may be supported by experimental evidence, then this might make it easier to understand.

Furthermore, Jesus was necessarily sinless and more than that, He was impeccable (could not sin) because of the perfect union with the Divine nature and human nature. Although he had two wills (human and divine), the human will was so perfectly united with the Divine will that He could not have simultaneously had perfect Beatific Vision (like we will have in heaven) while also willing something in his human will which is contrary to the Divine Will. This is why in heaven, it will be impossible for humans to sin after having been given the Beatific Vision of God.

Jesus was obviously tempted (tested) in his Incarnate life. But this does not mean that His human will was every contrary to his Divine will.


#4

Jesus did not have an unfallen human nature?
But wasn’t the loss of the preternatural gifts a cause of original sin? And since Jesus and Mary would have been born without original sin wouldn’t they also be born with a nature preserved from the consequences as well as the guilt of original sin?

I have not read a lot about this but it seems I have heard some about these gifts.

Is this not one of the reasons that Our Lady would have had a dormition rather than an ordinary death of corruption?


#5

Look, what I don’t understand is why people say that he had imperfections. I mean, isn’t the whole point of him being the Lamb of God that he was perfect in every sense of the word? How can you not know you are God? It’s not like there aren’t 2 other persons in the expanse of the universe that are directly connected with you (and are, in truth, actually you at the same time).

I haven’t studied this subject a whole lot, but I think I’ll start to after reaidng these threads. 100% Man + 100% God = Jesus Christ. He didn’t have Original Sin, so any mortal imperfections are completely out of the question. He is God, which means that he had to have been conected with the Father and the Holy Spirit at all times. This disproves the argument that Christ couldn’t know he was God, because, by the myster of the Holy Trinity, he was his own being, while at the same time, the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ = perfect


#6

Another example… concupiscence.
This is another effect of original sin and something beyond guilt that Mary and Jesus would have been preserved from…?

Or would you say that Jesus or Mary possessed is corruption of our unfallen nature? I think not.


#7

My thought on Christ’s “self knowledge” is that christ had two “minds” (using that term loosly with regard to the divine “mind”).

Anyway, God the Word would have at all times and in all places and even outside of time or place known that he was God. Christ however, the same person as the Word, in his human nature (physical brain) may not have the knowledge stored, understood, or even the capacity to understand what it means to be God. Christ, possessing a human brain would have had limitations (at least in his human nature).

So it is a tennable, although still debatable, position to say that Christ did not at some point within his human nature, “know” that he was God.


#8

But I am more interested in the actual human nature of Christ. It seems to me that christ as the perfect and unblemished lamb would have had a perfect unfallen human nature, but suffered the infirmities of fallen man at least from the outside by virtue of living in a fallen world.

What are the differences between a fallen and unfallen human nature anyway? I guess I’m not really sure, but it seems that a perfect nature suffering the suffering due to fallen natures is what Christ would have suffered.


#9

Well, we all know that Christ had “real working” emotions (cried when Lazarus died, at the Garden, crucifixion, etc). However, his mind and actions were perfect. He was God, you know.


#10

[quote=ChiRho79]Well, we all know that Christ had “real working” emotions (cried when Lazarus died, at the Garden, crucifixion, etc). However, his mind and actions were perfect. He was God, you know.
[/quote]

Yes certianly. I would not make any assertion against this. Christ most certainly did have “real working” human emotions. But with a unfallen human nature his emotions would always be “rightly ordered”. In otherwords he would not be angry if it was not right to be angry or sad if it was not right to be sad. Fallen humanity does not always have such well ordered emotions.


#11

Also as a new Adam and a new Eve would not Jesus and Mary have possessed the same unfallen natures of Adam and Eve?


#12

Christ voluntarily assumed certain of our defects in His Incarnation because they were necessary to His redemptive mission, in order to make satisfaction for our sins, and to be an example to us of patience and self-sacrifcing suffering. He assumed all the bodily defects that go with our fallen nature, such as hunger, thirst, death, etc., but voluntarily, and not as the result of sin or heredity. He also assumed the “defects” of soul from which we suffer: the capability of feeling pain, and all of the passions such as sadness, fear, and anger, but, in Christ, they were always perfectly in accord with, and subjected to, his Reason.

See: Catechism of the Summa Theologica

Justin


#13

What’s the difference between an unfallen human nature and a fallen human nature?

“Original Sin makes us morally insane.”

That’s as succinct a definition as I have ever heard.

God Bless,
RyanL


#14

[quote=matthias]Jesus did not have an unfallen human nature?
But wasn’t the loss of the preternatural gifts a cause of original sin? And since Jesus and Mary would have been born without original sin wouldn’t they also be born with a nature preserved from the consequences as well as the guilt of original sin?

I have not read a lot about this but it seems I have heard some about these gifts.

Is this not one of the reasons that Our Lady would have had a dormition rather than an ordinary death of corruption?
[/quote]

Here’s a quick primer on original sin that might help…

Adam and Eve were created with three kinds of gifts:

  1. natural
  2. supernatural (sanctifying grace)
  3. preternatural (freedom from suffering, death)

Gifts 2 and 3 are like catalysts that intrinsically “elevated” gift 1, human nature. Thus, Adam and Eve are said to have been created with an elevated nature.

When they sinned, they lost gifts 2 and 3 for themselves and their progeny. Which means that their progeny would not be automatically born of human generation with gifts 2 and 3. They would however be born with the same natural gifts they had, gift 1.

Thus, Adam and Eve after the fall (and their progeny) are said to no longer have an “elevated nature” but instead have a “fallen nature.”

Consequently, Mary and Jesus were born with the same natrual gifts as Adam.

Catholicism teaches that the human nature remained the same, but the preternatural gifts and supernatural gifts were removed. In otherwords, Adam’s human nature was just like all of humanity, except that his nature was supercharged with supernatural and preternatural catalysts (gifts) that intrinsically elevated his human nature. After the fall, the catalyst was removed. In this sense, human nature was intrinsically changed (due to the lack of divine catalysts). The nature is said to be damaged, but strictly speaking, it is the same nature as it was before, but without the supernatural catalyst (grace), it is fallen nature (as opposed to a once elevated nature), it is a concupiscient nature, also called a sinful nature. Catholicism teaches that this sinful nature can still desire the good, but it is not likely without the gift of grace.

So what about Mary and Jesus? Did they have Adam’s non-supercharged nature? Yes, but that’s not all Mary was given. Mary, by natural generation, inherited Adam’s natural gifts. However, by supernatural intervention of God, she was given supernatural gifts (sanctifying grace). Not by inheritence, but by special intervention of God. Thus, her human nature inherited from Adam was now supercharged with the catalyst of sanctifying grace, and as such is no longer the same as Adam’s “fallen” nature any more. Christians are given the gift of sanctifying grace at baptism, thus washing us from original sin. Mary was given her baptism by God at her conception, because it was most fitting for the Mother of God to be spotless from the moment of her creation.

So, did Mary have the stain of original sin? No, because the moment we or anyone is given sanctifying grace, they are justified and washed of the stain of original sin. The moment she was “born from above” happens to be the moment of her creation. In other words, nature gave her something inherited from Adam, but God, by special intervention, gave her supernatural gifts.

Was she subject to suffering and death? Yes, not as a punishment for original sin, but as meritorious work.

How about Jesus? Did he inherit Adam’s human yet un-supercharged nature? Yes, but he was also much more than human, but also Divine. So, regardless of Mary’s sanctification, which was most fitting for the Mother of God, Jesus was holy because he was the Word of God made flesh. Jesus did not inherit his holiness from Mary, but did inherit his humanity (Adam’s humanity) from Mary. The flesh was inherited from Adam, but he was not merely human but also Divine. Thus, he wasn’t given the “gift” of sanctifying grace, per se, because HE IS THE GIFT GIVER. He was always holy even before the Incarnation, and remain Holy throughout the Incarnation. So, he did indeed inherit Adam’s human nature, which was a fallen nature, however Jesus could not be “fallen” because He had more than just the gifts He inherited from Adam. Jesus was Divine.

Mary could have sinned, just like we can sin. Her sanctifying grace did not make her impeccable.

Jesus was perfectly united in one person, both human and Divine. His sanctification, unlike Mary’s, was like those in Heaven having the Beatific Vision of God. Just like those in heaven, Jesus was on earth with regard to the Beatific Vision. Thus, Jesus was more than just sinless like Mary, but was impeccable–could not have sinned.

Was Jesus subject to suffering and death? Yes, but like Mary, not because of punishment for original sin which neither of them had, but as meritorious work.


#15

continued…

Christians are washed of original sin at baptism or its desire. However, “Baptism has the power to take away the penalties of the present life yet it does not take them away during the present life, but by its power they will be taken away from the just in the resurrection when ‘this mortal hath put on immortality’ (1 Cor 15:54).” (St. Thomas Aquinas, *Summa Theologica, *III, 69, 3)


#16

As for the claims in your first post…

Jesus may have been an awkward “hormonal” teenager.

Jesus was certainly a teenager with hormones. I’m not sure what “awkward” means, however.

Jesus may have been sexually tempted toward women.

Temptations of Christ are certain according to Scripture. But one must not think of temptations as lust. Lust is a sin. Temptations of Christ in Scripture are more like natural desire as opposed to a disordered desire. He was hungary in the desert after having fasted. Temptations = tested. Jesus had natural desires, as any human does. Jesus did not, however, have disordered desires, such as lust. I can’t believe God the Son was sexually tempted toward His own children.

Jesus may not have “known” he was God.
False. Jesus learned in his humanity what he already knew from his Divinity. The “The human nature of God’s Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God.”" (CCC 473)

Jesus was tempted just like we are.

We are tempted (tested) by our natural desires. Jesus too was tempted in his humanity in this way. However, if by tempted one means by sinful desires, then Jesus was not tempted in this way.

Jesus could have made non-moral mistakes (like math errors or language problems learning his native tounge as a baby, etc.)

Possible. Jesus had to learn experientially what he already knew through his Divinity. So in his human experience, he could have wacked his finger with a hammer. This is just speculation, however. Nothing in Catholic doctrine states that this is not possible. Yet, nothing in either Sacred Scripture or Tradition suggest that Jesus made non-moral mistakes, so such a speculative thesis is unfounded.

Your questions…

1.) Jesus possessed an unfallen human nature!

As stated above, Jesus possessed the same human nature (gift 1) as fallen Adam possessed. Jesus did not inherit by natural generation the catalysts of other Divine gifts which elevated Adam’s nature. So in that sense, the gift of human nature inherited from Adam was unsupercharged or “fallen.” However, Jesus was Divine, which is all the supercharging one will ever need. Although He didn’t inherit holiness from Mary, Jesus was not fallen in the sense that he lacked holiness.

2.) Jesus did not cease to be an all powerful all knowing God when he united himself to a human nature. Jesus is not a human person he is a divine person with a divine and human nature.

Correct.

3.) Jesus’s perfect unfallen human nature (human body and soul) were at the moment of his incarnation in a state of union with his divine essence (hypostatic union) that is so great that it is even greater than what we may some day possess in the beatific vision.

Correct.


#17

That was all very helpful.
Thankyou. itsjustdave1988, RyanL, and 1962Missal.

Christology is very facinating.
I have learned a lot but I also know there are “holes” in my understanding and I usually go with my gut when I’m unsure.

I’ve seen so many claims about what Jesus would have done by good meaning people. They often make claims about Jesus that make them feel good because Jesus must have gone through the same thing since he is just like them. But this over simple statement gets abused. Jesus didn’t get dumped by a girlfriend, he didn’t have abusive parents, and he didn’t struggle to understand his lessons in school. He didn’t feel lust and he didn’t have disordered desires. I appreciate your answers. They help.

Thanks again. Christology is fun.


closed #18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.