I have a Protestant friend who says that Jesus was human and divine but did not exercise his divinity while on earth. She says he did so after the resurrection. The miracles he performed were done using his human powers not divine. She makes some other startling claims but I will start off with this one. What would be the Catholic response to this other than the Church Councils that establish his human and divine natures that I am already familiar with?
Ask your friend to perform some miracles with her human powers.
She said miracles are performed all the time by people lacking divinity. I don’t now much about it but my understanding is the Church gives sainthood to a person only if there are miracles related to them that have been verified.
That’s different from saying that miracles are done by human powers. Miracles are by definition supernatural. If a miracle is done through someone’s actions or prayers this is still done by the power of God, even if the person is not divine. In a few moments I will say Mass and I will turn bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. I don’t do this of my own power, but God working through me by the grace of my ordination and the prayer of the Church.
I have heard Protestants claim that Our Lord did His miracles through the power of the Holy Ghost, not His own power. Maybe this is what your friend is thinking of.
Perhaps. I was caught off guard by this statement and another one concerning her views on the 10 Commandments being superseded by the ones listed in Matthew 5 I had a difficult time following her reasoning.
This is exactly what I was going to say. Your friend, Cordelil, is the one with burden of proof, not you.
If miracles are truly part of the power in human nature, we should be able to do them at will. But no, they are a gift from God, not something emanating from within ourselves.
I would be interested in why she believes Christ wouldn’t use his own power while on earth. I know Scripture records Jesus thanking the Father before performing many miracles but does not mention it before changing the water into wine at Cana.
When asked why people believe things, one can often get to the heart of the incorrect belief.
She is a Korean immigrant who has been married to an American for eons, and appears to be a Assembly Of God Protestant type, on board with the Rapture Trap, getting her seminary training via online, probably from a theological center in South Korea from one of those massive Pentecostal churches there.
Jesus was always true God and true man up until His resurrection. The turning of the water into wine at the marriage feast of cana, the fish and the loaves, curing people of sickness and diseases were all examples of showing the apostles, and the people and us that He is God! So we would see and believe in Him. A normal man could not do what Jesus did.
Yeah saying “The miracles he performed were done using his human powers” is obviously poorly worded. I think I understand the point she is trying to make, but has been confused a little about the Incarnation. St. John Chrysostom and others do in fact stress the difference before and after the resurrection of Christ’s exercise of His Divinity. They stress the idea of Christ portraying Himself lower than He is before the resurrection because of the weakness of the people, but once resurrected, He demands a greater respect to be shown to Him. Telling Mary Magdalene not to hold on to Him is interpreted to show this difference. So what your friend is calling doing things by human powers, is really more of Christ allowing for the most part to appear only human, even saying some things that were not true of His Divinity, as when He says not my will be done, when in fact we know that the Trinity only has one will. And He is not saying that His human will is in opposition to God’s will, but that the blameless passions of the body he took opposed pain and suffering. But to say that somehow the human body and soul He took on can do miracles is pretty strange. If the Holy Spirit did them apart from Himself, I think Christ would have mentioned that. I think it is pretty common to believe that all three persons of the Trinity really perform all miracles together because of the one will they share, so to leave the Son out of the miracles is kind of strange.
Would it be accurate to say, however, that all of Jesus’ miracles were performed in obedience to the Father’s will? While the Father withholds nothing from the Son, including the ability to perform miracles, Jesus would not have performed any miracles that were not in accordance with the Father’s will.
Meanwhile, the Father can work miracles through ordinary human beings if He chooses, if it is His will to do so. In either case, all miracles would be carried out in accordance with the Father’s will.
When you speak of Christ doing things out of obedience, you must address this only to the humanity that He took on, and not to His Divine nature in which He is not in obedience to anyone. And this is really only spoken about for the sake of the rest of mankind. The Father does not withhold or give any powers to the Son in His Divinity either, the Son has them as well as the Holy Spirit by nature. A human doing miracles cannot even be compared to Christ doing miracles.
All the talk about Christ doing the Father’s will had a purpose back then undoing Adam’s transgression and providing an example for us all, but it really is not appropriate to speak of Christ like this when we are describing Him in His essence. These things are purely part of His condescension. Like a doctor that is willing to get dirty and experience the smells, liquids, and all other lowly realities of the sick person he is healing. It would not be appropriate to say these lowly things are really definitions of the doctor. But at the same time we should never forget that the doctor does these things even given the good health he has, because they are very loving and needed. If anything we speak higher of the doctor because He does these things. Same with Christ our God.
So I guess raising the dead back to life is part of His human powers.
Jesus raises Lazarus, a little girl and the widow’s only son. He also walked on water. Has any human ever done that?
Has there been any Saint that has raised the dead?
Can you explain what you mean by the part i highlighted red? To me, this implies that post resurrection Jesus was either not true God or not true man, or both. I cant imagine you are claiming Jesus was not God post resurrection so that leaves not being true man. This is not my understanding of Jesus post resurrection. Is he not still true man, just with a glorified human body, which we will also have one day after our resurrection from the dead?
There have been plenty of people who have raised the dead, even in the Old Testament, Elijah raised the dead. And there have been many Christians who have walked on water. The point is that to say that Christ did these things from His humanity makes no sense, since the Church’s teaching has always been that by nature, man is nothing. So to do these things, a man must do them from God’s grace. Christ being God by nature, does them from that source.
Don’t know if anyone has walked on water, but Peter raised Tabitha Acts 9:40
Elijah in 1 Kings 18 raised the widow’s son.
Elijah Revives the Widow’s Son
17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill; his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 She then said to Elijah, ‘What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!’ 19 But he said to her, ‘Give me your son.’ He took him from her bosom, carried him up into the upper chamber where he was lodging, and laid him on his own bed. 20 He cried out to the Lord, ‘O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I am staying, by killing her son?’ 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried out to the Lord, ‘O Lord my God, let this child’s life come into him again.’ 22 The Lord listened to the voice of Elijah; the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 Elijah took the child, brought him down from the upper chamber into the house, and gave him to his mother; then Elijah said, ‘See, your son is alive.’ 24 So the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.’
I see somebody else has beaten me to it.
She said people of all kinds perform miracles, so Christ was being like them: a human performing miraculous events.
Jesus is the divine and human natures united in the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, that is, the Son of God. Because He is God, He is true God, and because He has a body, blood, and soul, He is true Man, like us in every way except sin.