Pro-Universal and Jesus' divinity: explanation please


#1

Originally Posted by pro_universal
Okay, if Jesus’s body isn’t God, why do you eat it?If Jesus’s body is not God, then how can God be said to have “incarnated”? After all, if the body isn’t him, then God didn’t become flesh…he created flesh separate from himself and controlled it.

If the incarnation means anything at all, it means that Jesus’s body is God.

Exactly. So when Jesus died, God died. God is immortal but God died?

There’s another contradiction.

Pro has a problem with the incarnation and Trinity obviously. He says that Trinity is a contradiction because God cannot be mortal and immortal. He based this on the idea that Jesus’ BODY is God but since he died it means God died.

Can anyone explain to him where he went wrong?

thank you all.

PS: this thread opened upon Pro’s request.


#2

Thanks inJesus, this should be an interesting talk.

One of the problems I have comes from the doctrine of incarnation. Christians would like to say that God became a man in the flesh. If this is so, then the flesh itself must actually be God, since otherwise, it would just be created flesh controlled from above by God.

Since the flesh of Jesus died, that means that God (the incarnate one, identical to the pre-incarnation God) died. Hence, God is immortal and mortal at the same time in Christian theology.


#3

yes i knew that your initial confusion started with Jesus’ 2 natures. I’ll let others give good theological answers.


#4

This conversation is never going to get anywhere, because you aren’t examining your presuppositions. Maybe you don’t want to. Maybe you think they are wonderful ones. But since you don’t admit that you are working from presuppositions that are not evident to everyone, it’s hard to carry on a dialogue.

The most obvious such presupposition is that divinity and humanity are two mutually incompatible things of the same kind, such that one must be either one or the other. You keep presenting this as an argument, but it isn’t. It’s simply something you assume.

If humanity was not intrinsically divinizable; if flesh was not intrinsically open to spirit; then the Incarnation would be self-contradictory.

Our creation in God’s image means that we–even our physical bodies–are capable of divinization.

One of the ancient Christian sayings on salvation is that we become by grace what Christ is by nature. Your view of divinity and humanity makes this absurd. But it is not self-evidently absurd. You could choose to look at reality from a different perspective if you wanted to.

Edwin


#5

The incarnation made it possible for humanity to be united with God. It is not a union with God’s essence, but with God’s divine energies. God reveals Himself through His energy. Through deification, humanity may participate in these divine energies.


#6

Two words: Hypostatic union.

Four words: It is a mystery.

Christ is fully God (God does not die–he is a spirit which is eternal) and fully human (human beings do die, they are flesh and spirit and the flesh dies while the spirit is eternal). THAT is the hypostatic union–that while remaining undying, eternal God Christ ALSO became a fully human male who suffered death on a cross.

It IS a mystery. Which after all makes perfect sense. God is all knowing, all powerful. WE are not. I do not expect to understand GOD perfectly since I’m not perfect myself. However, He most certainly understands us. He gave us reason, and intellect, and He gave us his Word and his prophets. . .and then He asks us, when He has given us a mystery like the Incarnation, to make a leap of FAITH. Faith is a gift. Why not ask for it?


#7

From my understanding, this is completely correct. God did die. This is part of the “mystery of faith”.


#8

Please keep in mind that since human soul is immortal, at the time of death it is only the body that perishes. In accordance with the statement “dust to dust & ash to ashes”, the body goes back to the soil to experience corruption whereas the soul returns back to its Creator, the supreme Spirit. Listen to what Jesus said just before He breathed His last: “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23: 46).

Further, see to what the Lord likens His body:
So then the Jewish leaders responded, “What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things?” Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” Then the Jewish leaders said to him, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?” But Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body.So after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the saying that Jesus had spoken.

Blessings to all :slight_smile:


#9

So you don’t believe in the resurrection of the body? What church do you belong to, exactly?

Edwin


#10

I think there s a great problem in the world with people trying to define God by human standards. We apply to God’s standards, not the other way around, so for God to do something that goes against all logical understanding in the human mind should not be a stumbling block, just another way to give God glory as there is no end to the things He can do.

I think we sometimes act like if we can not prove it now, in this day and age, than it can not be true - well if this was the mindset of people 1,000 years ago, 500 years ago, or even 100 years again considering the great leaps and bounds we have taken in areas of science for example, than we would not be half as far as we are today in our development and understanding of the world. We should apply this same persepctive to our spiritual knowledge, as some things may not be revealed to us in this lifetime, but that does not mean the answer does not exist. Nobody said faith was easy :slight_smile:

Peace


#11

You need to understand Christian doctrine within the context of, and using the terminology as defined by, Christian theology, not Islamic theology. Each theological system defines, and has the right to define, its own terms; and these terminologies are not always transferable between different theological systems. The words used may be the same, but they will have different meanings, definitions, and connotations in different systems.

The fallacy of your reasoning can best be described by an example. In both Christianity and Islam, my spirit is immortal, it cannot die. My body, however, is subject to death, it dies. Therefore, following exactly the same kind of reasoning you are employing, I could say, my body is me, and it dies, therefore I die, therefore in both Christianity and Islam there is a contradiction; it says that I am both mortal an immortal. I can both die, and I cannot die. That is a contradiction. What is wrong with that argument? Well, that is exactly the kind of fallacy you are committing whey you say, “Since the flesh of Jesus died, that means that God died. Hence, God is immortal and mortal at the same time in Christian theology.” That is false logic.

And what do you mean by saying, “If Jesus’ body isn’t God . . .” anyway? That is another false logic. I am a man. Does that mean that my arm is also a man? My arm is the arm of a man, but it is not a man. Jesus’ body is neither God nor not-God. It is His body. He can make it die if He wants to, or He can make it live if He wants to. Jesus said that in fact He was immortal. He could not have been killed if He had not wanted to be. Here is the quote:

John 10:

17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Jesus deliberately acquired a physical body subject to death in order to suffer and die for mankind, to atone for the sins of the world. He had the power not to die if He did not want to. So your entire reasoning is badly skewed from start to finish.

Your mistake appears to be that you have been reading up on Islamic theology, and Islamic theology is quite unsophisticated when dealing with certain issues; and the terms, concepts, and methodology it uses to discuss them are too simplistic to be able to cope with certain deeper concepts of Christian theology. It is like trying to understand Einstein’s Theory of Relativity with the help of school algebra. The short answer is that you can’t. To understand Christian doctrine you need to study deeply Christian theology, not the Islamic one.

zerinus


#12

Here is how I think of it, lets say you have a cup and it represents a person. Then you have Salt which represents divine nature and Water (H2[size=2]O) which represents human nature. The human body is composed of two elements, flesh ([/size]H2[size=2]) and immortal soul ([/size][size=2]O[/size][size=2]), at death the [/size]H2 and O separate.
[size=2]
At first Jesus was only divine represented by a cup of salt, when He became man the cup was both fully salt and fully water, how? It is a mystery! He wasnt salt-water nor was He half-salt and half-water, both of those are heretical definitions.

At His death his divine nature couldnt experience death but his human nature could, when He died His soul separated from the flesh[/size][size=2]. So yes the cup (person of Christ) which was fully salt and fully water experienced death.

Im pretty sure what I said was orthodox so jump in and correct me if Im off a bit.
[/size]


#13

Pro is looking for a human logical explanination of the Incarnation. Somethings define logic. For instance Pro would not be able to define the development of Conscience logically unless he was God.


#14

WIth respect, you have my presuppositions wrong. I’ll hope you’ll continue to read this response and consider what I have to say seriously.

The most obvious such presupposition is that divinity and humanity are two mutually incompatible things of the same kind, such that one must be either one or the other.

But I maintain this position based on two presumptions in turn:

  1. That God is by nature unlimited
  2. That Man is by nature, limited.

That would make them, at a basic level, incompatible.

If humanity was not intrinsically divinizable; if flesh was not intrinsically open to spirit; then the Incarnation would be self-contradictory.

Well, I never argue that humanity cannot be divinized. A man can be transformed (key word is transformed, ie, cannot remain a man) into God without contradiction. I see no problem with that assumption.

One of the ancient Christian sayings on salvation is that we become by grace what Christ is by nature. Your view of divinity and humanity makes this absurd. But it is not self-evidently absurd. You could choose to look at reality from a different perspective if you wanted to.

Edwin

The problem with your argument is that you’re going in reverse:

“Man can be transformed by the power of God into God” isn’t the case with the incarnation.

The incarnation is: “God can be transformed by the power of God into Not-God [man] and still remains God”

That is the contradiction, the idea that God can be both limited and unlimited at the same time. I say that the incarnation holds that God is limited and unlimited based on the fact that, if the flesh of Jesus isn’t something God transformed himself fully into, then it wasn’t really an “incarnation”, but rather, a creation that God took hold of.

In that light, your challenge really doesn’t address my concern with the teaching. You addressed a different argument that I never made.


#15

Pro, you’re still “limiting” God with your man-made definitions and interpretations of what is ‘unlimited’ and ‘limited’.

Hypostatic union is the mysterious (because only God who is ALL KNOWLEDGE can fully comprehend it) explanation of how Christ can be FULLY GOD and FULLY MAN.

He is not half-and-half. He is not somehow made ‘not-God’ because of the limits of His human nature, nor is He somehow ‘not-man’ because of the infinity of His divine nature.

Again, IT IS A MYSTERY. We have been told by what as Christians we acknowledge to be the word of God Himself that this is what happened, that Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, suffered, died, was buried, rose again and is sitting at the right hand of the Father, and through Him and the Father the Holy Spirit proceeds, to be (Trinity) adored and glorified. We don’t fully understand it but we HAVE BEEN TOLD. Therefore, either we acknowledge the mystery and make that leap and acknowledgement of FAITH (I do believe, Lord, help my unbelief), or we say, "I myself, limited human that I am, cannot POSSIBLY choose to believe this without more proof than “just’ God’s word. --IOW, my faith depends not on being in obedience to God but demanding God be obedient to me.”

I truly do not intend this to be said at all in anything other than deep and abiding love and respect for you and sympathy with your struggle to understand. . .but the bottom line is, in all humility, that as a Christian, indeed as a person, we HAVE limits, we CANNOT understand everything. Reason INFORMS faith but reason is not faith and faith is not reason. You have to have both. God bless.


#16

No, that is not logical. To use a crude analogy–the ocean and a cup are not incompatible. The cup cannot hold all of the ocean, but the ocean can fill the cup. Again, the problem is that you are treating divinity and humanity as two things side by side. Divinity is not a thing alongside other things.

Well, I never argue that humanity cannot be divinized. A man can be transformed (key word is transformed, ie, cannot remain a man) into God without contradiction.

No, that is not what I’m saying. I’m saying that we are created in God’s image, so we are created with a potential for divinization. Jesus is the means through which that divinization occurs, because He is by nature both fully human and fully divine. In Him the divinization for which we are all created is an accomplished fact.

The problem with your argument is that you’re going in reverse:

“Man can be transformed by the power of God into God” isn’t the case with the incarnation.

The incarnation is: “God can be transformed by the power of God into Not-God [man] and still remains God”

Again, you’re treating this as a transition between two different things. This assumes that God and humanity are two distinct realities that can be put side by side. Which is, frankly, blasphemy and idolatry. Any “God” that can be compared to humanity as a distinct entity is not the true God.

If you’re interested in Islam, you might do well to read some of the Sufi literature. . . .

That is the contradiction, the idea that God can be both limited and unlimited at the same time.

Again, is it a contradiction to say that seawater can fill a cup? I admit that (like all such analogies) this has limited usefulness!

I say that the incarnation holds that God is limited and unlimited based on the fact that, if the flesh of Jesus isn’t something God transformed himself fully into, then it wasn’t really an “incarnation”, but rather, a creation that God took hold of.

Well, since you define the terms however you please, obviously you can always win the argument that way. I’m not interested in arguing whether your presuppositions are reasonable or not. I’m not trying to claim that the Incarnation is logically necessary. You are claiming that it’s impossible. So you have to be willing to listen to how we are defining our terms, instead of demanding that we define them your way.

Created existence is not related to God as one thing is related to another thing. It is related to God as potency to act.

The same is true (to some degree) of soul and body. The soul is not a separate thing that lives in the body–it is the form of the body that actualizes it and makes it living. In the case of Jesus, the human soul that actualized His body was in turn fully actualized (from conception, by nature, not simply by grace as with us) by the Logos–the Second Person of the Trinity.

Edwin


#17

Thank you Edwin for your lucidity.

Can you comment on the idea of pan-en-theism as expounded by various Eastern Christian writers such as St. Gregory Pallamas, and by St. Paul when he said in Acts17:28 - ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ ?


#18

I wouldn’t say we are not compaible because we are finite. I woud say that we cannot comprehend that which is infinite. That any attempt to define the infinte must necessarily be flawed, because to define someting requies the imposition of limitations on the thing being defined.


#19

Contarini,

Again, you are not really addressing the charge I’m making. Man’s being “divinizable” does not change my argument.

My point is this:

God cannot become man and remain God at the same time.

Likewise, even if you accept that man can become God, it is not coherent to say that man remains fully man when he becomes divine.

The contradiction does not rely on the impossibility of transformation; rather, it is the idea that God becomes man and remains God.

That is because, again, God is wholly unlimited (unknown, if you like.) But man is not wholly unlimited.

When God becomes a man, God has a height, weight, and blood pressure reading. And this is something that a God who is by nature unknowable does not have by definition, because every human quality inherent in a body is itself a limit.

You keep characterizing my argument as one that claims something about human potential, but it is not. The question is whether or not a human can be so radically altered as to become God, yet remain fully human.

Likewise, whether a totally unlimited being can be so radically altered as to actually be (in every sense of the word be) a fleshy being and still be unlimited.


#20

I recommend a book called Theology For Beginners by F.J. Sheed. It has a great chapter on Jesus: God and Man.


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