The Incarnation and Purity


I was discussing this with @ProdglArchitect

Jesus could not remain God while exposed to ritual impurity for even a second, caused by all his bodily functions. He could never have a bloody nose. He would have become unclean by being pierced by the spear. He could never touch an unclean person or object. God cannot be unclean.
How do Christains reconcile a physically incarnate God with Jewish purity laws?


Philippians 2:5-8 - Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!

Hebrews 4:15 - For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.

Jesus Christ is True God and True Man. What you’re suggesting is Docetism.


Yes docitism would avoid this problem by having a holographic Jesus who became impure because he wasn’t actually present in the material world.
So you’re saying the Word become flesh and purposefuly subjected itself to ritual impurity?
How can God be impure?


Perhaps you are mistaken about this…


This is long but it completely covers the subject.


That’s an amazing article. Yes, if you really say Jesus is God then you have to say he turned the purity laws completely upside down. It’s not that touching a leper made Jesus unclean but by that touch He made the leper clean. That’s a deep statement and you can and as Christains should make it.
The only objection I have with the article is that it reads the purity laws in an anthropology perspective. They aren’t quaint outdated rules, none of the commandments are. Wearing of tziitit and Tefflin and not eating pork or shelffish isn’t quaint or products of ancient cultural forces. They are the commandments of God binding on the Jewish people for a reason. Perhaps the only reason is to demonstrate their devotion, but that’s still a divine reason. The 613 laws (or less if you don’t take the Rabbis word for it and go on the written Torah alone) are fully legitimate expressions of Love God, Love neighbor. Yes, Jesus fulfilled this Law and expanded the access to God to gentiles thru Him. But the Law isn’t evil, or stupid or backwards. It was commanded by God. I know you didn’t refute this, but sooo many Christians do.
Anyways, great article and great response to my question. Thanks!


Jesus was true God and true Man. And He came to fulfill the Covenant. Bodily functions may have been considered impure by the old Law, but “in the beginning it was not so”. Which is why He clarified that the washing of the hands (or its lack thereof) did not make people impure, because what makes us impure is what comes out of our mouth, the evil that proceeds from sinful inclinations. And why He told Peter to eat “impure” animals, saying: “that which I have redeemed you shall not call impure”.

Also He commanded us to drink His blood, quite literally. There is nothing unclean about blood.

In short, this is a moot argument - Christ was fully God, and also fully human (and as such he experienced the normal bodily functions of every human, without of course ever sinning). The old Law simply fell short of the fullness of the truth. The Gentiles were impure, and yet He reached out to them. Most of us Christians are Gentiles “drafted” into the tree of the Chosen People.


Yes, grafted on the tree. Autocorrect gets me a lot too.

I’ve realized that the purity question isn’t really a disproof of God as the above article really pointed out. After all God is the creator of the Law and it’s true intreprator.

I’d be very careful about what you say about the mosaic law. This is a bigger problem for fundamentalists/biblical innerancy. Christains believe,as do I, that God gave the Law to the Jews. If you say there’s nothing wrong with drinking blood, it doesn’t make you impure, then God lied. You can say maybe that something like faith in Christ makes one pure even if you drink blood. Paul talks about all things now being lawful, right?

In a simmilar vein is some Protestants who say that God doesn’t like or care about ritual worship, only personal relationship with Jesus. They obviously haven’t read huge sections of the Bible. God is very concerned and detailed over ritual worship and ritual purity.

I almost became a Jew. I still practice some of the commandments. So that’s why I’m such a defender of the Law. Maybe not as a means of salvation nor binding on all people (it only applies to Jews) and maybe not as intreprated by the Rabbis. But how can devotion to God and moral conduct be considered bad? Why take the Jews Tanakh but insult what’s in it? I feel like it’s Protestantism that makes this mistake far more than Catholics, so this wasn’t directed to anyone on this thread. Just a reminder that God loves Jews (and you too!) and He gave them the Law.


We don’t. Jesus quite clearly didn’t care about such laws.


No. God gave the law to man, God can take the law away or relax it when he feels it’s time (which God in the person of Jesus did). The law is not God Himself, it is not something eternal that can never change or go away.


This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

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