Christian Living

Spiritual Life

How Could Jesus Be God and Man at the Same Time?

When we discussed the attributes of God, we said that one way of discussing Him is to say that He is immortal. He is eternal. In other words, He does not have a beginning or an end. We also said that He is invisible, and then we said that He is described in terms of omnis ("all"). He is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. So the question is really, how can God, who is unlimited, infinite, and immortal, take upon Himself human nature which is finite, mortal, and limited?

One possible clue is to consider that when God created man in His image, there may have been more similarity to the second Person of the Trinity than we have realized. Perhaps the gap between God and sinless man was not as great as we have always imagined. The Bible does tell us in I John 3:2, "We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."

Jesus Christ, according to the Bible, is the very essence of God. Jesus is the express image of God, and the Bible says that "in Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:17). But we are also told that He emptied Himself in order to become a man (see Philippians 2:5-8). He did not empty Himself of His love, His goodness, His kindness, or His gentleness; for His divine nature was undiminished in the incarnation. But to become a human infant He did empty Himself of the eternal majesty that He shared in the presence of His heavenly Father. He went through the teen-age years, grew up to be a man, died, and then came back to life again.

Jesus was a flesh-and-blood man, with all that entails, except for sin. When Jesus died on the cross, it was not an illusion. He really died. He suffered as men suffer. He became tired and hungry. He was not some superman, free from pain and discomfort. The Bible says that He was tempted in like manner as we are, yet was without sin (see Hebrews 4:15). He went through all the problems that man can go through; yet He always possessed His divine nature and His awareness of the presence of the Father and the Holy Spirit.

There are some people who say, "Well, He became God when the Holy Spirit came upon Him." But that is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that He was truly God from the moment of His conception by the Holy Spirit. But at the same time He was fully human (see Philippians 2:5-8, Hebrews 2:14-18, Hebrews 4:14-16).

Excerpt taken from Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions, Copyright 1984 by Pat Robertson.

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