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Wesleyan Theology I - Lesson 17

Humanity of Christ

1 John 4:2 describes the incarnation as Jesus coming to earth in the flesh. Jesus is also referred to as the Son of David in the Gospels. Jesus was able to become the mediator between God and humanity because his divinity meant that he was not a part of the problem of sin and his humanity meant that he could fully identify with humans. This is a unique and distinct role that can only be accomplished by Jesus, the God-human. Jesus suffered physically and emotionally and then died and was resurrected to new life. This qualifies him to be priest, a mediator between man and God. The title, Son of Man also emphasizes the humanity of Jesus. Apolliniarism taught that Jesus had a human body and soul, but a divine mind rather than a human mind. Docetism taught that Christ is pure spirit and only seemed to have a body. Gnostics view the body as lowly and the mind is considered higher. Monophysitism taught that the divine and human nature of Jesus was mixed into one nature. Nestorianism teaches that the divine and human natures of Jesus were sharply separated. Wesley viewed Jesus as the expression of the God of holy love, maintaining divinity while becoming human.

Kenneth J. Collins
Wesleyan Theology I
Lesson 17
Watching Now
Humanity of Christ

I. BIBLICAL EVIDENCE

A. Old Testament

B. New Testament

II. THE IMPORTANCE OF JESUS BEING HUMAN

A. Jesus as the mediator

B. Suffering and death of Jesus

C. Jesus takes on the nature of a servant

D. Jesus as priest

E. Son of Man

III. HISTORICAL HERESIES AND RESPONSES

A. Apollinarianism

B. Docetism

C. Monophysitism

D. Nestorianism

IV. JOHN WESLEY ON THE HUMANITY OF JESUS

V. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS


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  • For the first 5 centuries after Christ, the theology of the Christian Church was ecumenical. Since then, you have differences in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theology, and then the Reformation with different Protestant traditions. The Church has a history of promoting and preserving knowledge in all fields of study. Ideological secularization is characterizing theological ideas as irrelevant and not academic. Structural secularization is the process of marginalizing the subject of theology in the academy. Both revelation and reason are both important elements in the discussion of philosophical and theological subjects. God is transcendant, which means that he is distinct from everything that has been made. God is immanent, which means that the Spirit of God can be communicated in time and space through media, but is not the media itself. 

  • God can only be fully know by revelation. However, we can know some things about God by observation and reason. Thomas Aquinas gave 5 reasons that supports the idea of the existence of God. We can perceive motion and there must be something that caused the motion. Nothing can come from nothing, so something must exist at all times, which is God. Humans are contingent beings, but God’s essence is to exist. There are different degrees of goodness and complexity in organisms, so there must be a being of a highest form of good. Design and purpose must be at work because it’s not reasonable that the universe resulted from chance. Dembski also estimates that the mathematical odds for everything happening from a single cell at less than 1 in 10 to the 150th power. 

  • Humans are both material and spiritual and have the capacity to experience transcendence. Without God, you are describing a diminished view of humanity. John Calvin says that wisdom is the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves. Revelation of God comes from Scripture (the most important), tradition, reason and experience. Theology should be participatory and result in transformation. …Wesley’s theology describe in two words would be, “holiness” and “grace.” Wesley’s theology is conjunctive. Holy love is a tension. Holiness results in separation and love results in community. Wesley’s view of grace includes both cooperant grace and free grace. 

  • Two sources for knowledge are revelation and reason. Empiricism teaches  that you get knowledge from your senses. Rationalism teaches that you get knowledge from the operation of your mind. Kant said that the mind makes a formal contribution to knowledge by organizing it.  All knowledge begins with experience but it does not all arise out of experience. Reason can only take us so far. Humans are the only species that worship God.

  • Scripture is unique, the word of God and inspired by God. Scripture is the source of truth and provides a norm for truth. Wesley gives four arguments for inspiration. They are miracles, prophecy, goodness of the doctrine and the moral character of the penmen. Characteristics of Scripture include the sufficiency, clarity and wholeness of Scripture. 

  • Univocal refers to a one-to-one correspondence between the language we use and the reality of God. Equivocal refers to the idea that human language does not correspond directly to describing God, so it acknowledges ambiguity and more than one interpretation. Analogical refers to language used to describe God using  analogy. “Via Negativa” is describing characteristics that God is “not.” “Via Positiva” is describing a characteristic that is true of God, using analogy. Aseity means that God’s essence  is to exist. Eternity means that God transcends the limitations of time-space. There is not a space where God is not. Omniscience of God means that God knows all things. Omnipotence of God means that God is all powerful. Once God creates, there is an order in creation, and God works within the framework he created.  Immutability means that God’s essence does not change. Leslie Weatherhead describes three aspects of the will of God as the intentional will of God, circumstantial will of God and the ultimate will of God. Wesley describes God’s holiness as purity and simplicity. The wrath of God can be described as God’s unending determined opposition to evil.

  • Triunity describe God’s nature. The concept of the Trinity was foreshadowed in the Old Testament and taught explicitly in the New Testament. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all active in creation, baptism of Jesus and resurrection of Jesus. The Trinity is three distinct persons with the same essence. The distinctiveness has to do, not with their nature or essence, but with the relations. Person is different than an individual. According to Wesley, the Trinity is an invitation to participate in the deeper life of God. The gospel is the universal love of God, manifested in the person of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Holiness apart from love can result in legalism. Love apart from holiness can result in sentimentality and wishful thinking. 

  • God created humans in his image so we have both a physical and spiritual nature. Sometimes biologists make statements about evolution that are outside of what can be examined and verified by science. According to young earth creationism, creation took place in 6, 24 hour days and the earth is about 6,000 years old. According to theistic evolution, once the process of evolution began, no special supernatural intervention was required for it to continue. The opposite of a naturalistic explanation for life is not supernatural, but intelligent causes. Intelligent design makes information theory and mathematical probability integral to its overall approach. Irreducible complexity argues against gradualism in the evolutionary process. 

  • God freely created the world and chooses to govern within the framework of the created order. The moral law is consistent with the character of God. God uses the moral law to convict the world of sin, bring us to Christ and keep us alive. Natural law is a body of moral principles that can be discerned by reason. Natural law is the will of God expressed in a created order. Deep conscience refers to the interior witness to the foundational principles of the moral law. Four characteristics of our moral design that are evident at the level of the species are interdependence, complementarity, spontaneous order and subsidiarity. 

  • Adam and Eve were created, not just as physical beings, but also spiritual beings. The image of God includes relationality as well as the capacity for rational thought. Wesley describes it as a natural image, political image and moral image. Wesley says that the natural image of God means that we have physical bodies and also a spiritual nature. Humanity is the conduit for God’s blessing of the rest of creation. 

  • The characteristics that give a human personhood belong to another order of explanation than that explored by biology. Sartre, who is an existentialist, says that existence precedes essence. In other words, each person determines their own nature by the choices they make. Others would say that your choices determine your character but that’s separate from your nature. Postmodernism teaches that the self is only a social and linguistic construct. Some scientists have argued that humans do not have a soul, but that cannot be proved or disproved by the scientific method. If God is dead, humanity is dead. Human beings are more than the social groups in which they participate. Humans are animals, but not merely animals.

  • Lucifer brought sin into the world with his sin of pride. The sin of Adam and Eve was unbelief. Wesley describes  unbelief as the perversion of the relationship between God and humanity, a lack of faith in God, resulting in alienation. He distinguishes three types of death as physical death, spiritual death and eternal death. Satan was self-tempted when he sinned. Adam and Eve were tempted by something external to them, Satan.  Wesley sees Adam as a representative of all humans, so all humans inherit Adam’s sin nature. 

  • There are orders of creation and preservation, like family and marriage, that can mediate the grace of God. God sustains creation, and also relates to people as persons. The three-fold circle of divine providence is the outer ring of the whole race of humans, the second smaller circle is all that are called believers and those who profess to be believers, the innermost circle only the true disciples of Jesus who worship God in Spirit and in truth. Wesley doesn’t deny that bad things happen to good people, both from other people and from events in nature. If God eliminated all evil, it would require eliminating freedom, which would also eliminate love. 

  • Wesley describes total depravity as "a want of original righteousness," and also in terms of a "natural propensity to sin.” Luther, Calvin and George Croft Cell agree. Eastern Orthodox teaches that Adam and Eve were not so fallen as to be unable to respond to any subsequent proffered grace. Wesley teaches the total depravity of humans and the sovereign act of God in salvation. He uses prevenient grace in two distinct ways. The “narrow” sense refers to all those degrees of grace that come before justifying and sanctifying grace. The “broad” use views all grace as prevenient and emphasizes the prior activity of God because he is always ahead of us and takes the initiative. Prevenient grace can be understood as both cooperant and free grace. 

  • God acts preveniently to give humans revelation by communicating his divine attributes. God places in humans a moral law that is expressive of the image of God. The Holy Spirit restored to all humans a certain measure of free-will. Original sin makes it impossible for people to respond to God on their own without God restoring their personhood, which they need to be able to respond to God’s grace. God doesn’t do it in a way that overruns a person’s personality.

  • The incarnation is a foundational teaching of the Christian faith. Since Jesus claimed to be God, it’s not an option that he could be just a good person. Paul teaches that Jesus has the same nature as God and that Jesus created all things. Ebionites rejected the divinity and virgin birth of Jesus. Adoptionism taught that Christ was a good man that was penetrated by God’s nature at his baptism and becomes divine, which treats divinity as an acquired attribute. Arias taught that Christ was not coeternal with the Father. He was more than mere man but he was created so he wasn’t equal with God. The first ecumenical council of Nicea in 325 affirms the divinity of Christ in response to the teaching of Arias. Wesley affirmed that Jesus existed as one person with both a human and divine nature. To affirm the essential equality of Christ with God the Father, Wesley often used the terms, “the only-begotten Son of God,” and “the Word of God.” The Son of God is the creator and sustainer of all things and the redeemer of humanity. The difference in the Godhead is relations, not nature. 

  • 1 John 4:2 describes the incarnation as Jesus coming to earth in the flesh. Jesus is also referred to as the Son of David in the Gospels. Jesus was able to become the mediator between God and humanity because his divinity meant that he was not a part of the problem of sin and his humanity meant that he could fully identify with humans. This is a unique and distinct role that can only be accomplished by Jesus, the God-human. Jesus suffered physically and emotionally and then died and was resurrected to new life. This qualifies him to be priest, a mediator between man and God. The title, Son of Man also emphasizes the humanity of Jesus. Apolliniarism taught that Jesus had a human body and soul, but a divine mind rather than a human mind. Docetism taught that Christ is pure spirit and only seemed to have a body. Gnostics view the body as lowly and the mind is considered higher. Monophysitism taught that the divine and human nature of Jesus was mixed into one nature. Nestorianism teaches that the divine and human natures of Jesus were sharply separated. Wesley viewed Jesus as the expression of the God of holy love, maintaining divinity while becoming human.

  • As a prophet, Jesus proclaimed the coming kingdom of God. Messiah in Hebrew has the same meaning as Christ in Greek. It means, “the anointed one.” The baptism of Jesus was the beginning of his public ministry.  When Satan tempted Jesus, the temptation was real because of the humanity of Jesus. It was necessary for Jesus to experience temptation. Jesus as a preacher, went from place to place, proclaiming the kingdom of God. As a teacher, Jesus taught in the synagogues and the listeners described him as teaching with authority. Christ as a lawgiver is seeking to communicate wisdom to humanity. This moral law is connected to God’s character. Jesus performed miracles to heal the sick, bring people back from the dead and demonstrate his power over nature. Christ as priest, became the mediator to bridge the gap between God and humanity. At the cross, what the holiness of God required, the love of God provided. Theories of the atonement are the best attempts of thinking about how to express the atoning work of Jesus. 

  • Penal substitution asserts that atonement primarily involves Jesus’ taking the sinner’s place (‘substitution’) in bearing the penalty (hence ‘penal’) for his or her sin. That penalty was no less than God’s wrath and the sinner’s death. God’s wrath is his unswerving opposition to evil. The moral influence theory teaches that without the fall, that amazing instance of the love of God to humanity would have never existed. Penal substitution and moral influence theory complement each other. In the governmental view, the death of Christ illustrates the punishment which sin may attract and therefore serves good government by acting as a deterrent. Jesus raised from the dead into an immortal body. Only life can give meaning to human existence. Death destroys all meaning. The first time Christ came as a redeemer. As king, Christ is coming again to rule . Three roles of king are giving laws, restoring people to the image of God and reigning in all believing hearts.

  • The personhood of the Holy Spirit is revealed by the roles of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told the disciples that he would send an advocate. The Holy Spirit is an advocate, teacher, proclaims truth, provides direction and assists in prayer. Four characteristics of the Holy Spirit that indicate his deity are eternity, omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. The Filioque controversy is a difference between how the Eastern Orthodox and Western Traditions describe the nature of the Holy Spirit.

  • At the beginning of creation, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Bible and brings understanding as people read it. The Holy Spirit makes effective the completed work of Christ and gives us the power to live out the Christian life. The Holy Spirit is personal, not an impersonal force. The believers received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after Christ ascended to heaven. The gifts of the Spirit are for the common good of building up the body of Christ. We should be cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit in our individual lives and his influence should be evident in how we interact corporately.

 John Wesley's beliefs understood from an historical and theological perspective

Dr. Ken Collins

Wesleyan Theology I

th510-17

Humanity of Christ

Lesson Transcript

 

We have been exploring Christology and we have been considering the person and work of Christ. We have been focused specifically on the person of Christ. And we said in order to properly understand the person of Christ, we have to think in terms of the two natures, both divine and human. And we have spent time exploring from the biblical material, the divinity of Christ. And then we have most recently taken a look at the traditional evidence coming out of the history of the church in terms of this as well. So now we are focused on the humanity of Christ, the humanity of Christ. And once again, our approach is going to be, first of all, to lift up important biblical evidence. Take a look at that, first of all, and then to consider the witness of tradition. In other words, how the early church and later how the church fathers view the humanity of Christ. And this may come as a surprise to you, but there are actually several heresies that the early church faced that denied the true humanity, the true humanity of Christ. And we'll see that play out shortly. But first, let's begin here with the biblical evidence once again. I'm going to start with Isaiah, a very familiar passage, Isaiah chapter nine, verse six four. To us, a child, a child is born to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. And so we see here the logos being made flesh. We think of the Johannine material here, the logos being made a child for unto us, a child is born a real birth, a real human being of being born as other children are born.

 

If we turn to New Testament material, we think, of course, of Luke and Luke. Chapter 211 through 14. Today in the town of David, a savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be assigned to you, for you will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger. So we see here, you know, very humble beginnings. That Christ is born of woman. And this is attested to by not only Old Testament materials, but New Testament materials as well. And then we have been citing the material from the Gospel of John repeatedly in terms of Christology, because it's such an important gospel in terms of Christology. And we cite that material again in terms of the humanity of Christ, because in John chapter one, verse 14, the word became flesh. The word became flesh and dwelt among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only son who came from the Father full of grace and truth. And so the word becoming flesh once again, that is describing the incarnation, the word becoming flesh, a true human being, being born like other human beings. Or we can appeal to the letter of Paul. The letter of Paul to the Galatians Chapter four, verses four through five. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his son, born of a woman born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Okay. And so we see once again being highlighted from the biblical materials, the true humanity of Jesus Christ. Once again, in the first letter of John, Chapter four verses two, three, three. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God. Every spirit that acknowledged acknowledges that Christ has come into the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.

 

This is the spirit of the Antichrist. What you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. And so this is actually a very important verse. It is indicating to us that Christ coming into the flesh is so important, is such an important truth. It's such a large truth of the Christian faith that to deny it has great consequences and a great judgment. The spirit of Antichrist, the spirit of Antichrist. And again, in the second letter of John in a similar sort of way. Chapter one, verse seven. I say this because many deceivers who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and Antichrist. So once again, we see in this other book this time second, John, the second letter of John, and we see how important it is to acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh that the word was made flesh. Another way of affirming the incarnation. And so there is material also biblical materials that highlight that Christ is the Messiah. In John Chapter 1234, the crowd spoke up. We have heard from the law that the Messiah will remain forever. So how can you say the son of man must be lifted up? Who is the son of man? Okay. And so we see material related here to the Messiah, one who is truly, truly human. If we look at other gospels this time, the gospel of Matthew, Matthew 20 versus 29 through 31, we see here quote, As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed them. Two blind men who were sitting by the roadside and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us.

 

And the crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet. But they shouted, All the louder, Lord, son of David, have mercy on us. And so here we see Jesus is being referred to as the Son of David, the Son of David, in other words, in this line and therefore truly, truly human. And again, in Matthew 21, verse nine, Hosanna to the Son of David. This is what the crowds were crying out. This is what they were crying out now. Jesus Christ. Is truly human as these verses clearly teach. And that becomes important. That becomes very important when we think about salvation history and when we think about what is necessary in order to redeem, in order to redeem humanity. Because Christ will be referred to in other places in Scripture. Here I'm thinking of the pastoral as I'm thinking of First Timothy chapter two, verse five. He's going to be referred to as the mediator, the mediator between God and humanity and the mediator between God and humanity. And what is being stressed? What is being stressed in the first Timothy Passage, which simply states for there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the man Jesus Christ. Rick What's so important about this verse that Christ is a mediator, that when we think of what must happen in terms of salvation, we need a mediator who is both divine and human. Because when you think about it, think about the problem of redemption. We need someone to come. And by the way, Saint Anselm thought this through quite clearly in his work per day as homo or why God became human. Thought about this very carefully. The necessity that the Messiah be both human and divine because of our need.

 

Because we need someone to come who is not a part of the problem. Because we we noted earlier the universality of sin, the universality of sin. And so therefore, how can one redeem if one is a part of the problem, if one is a sinner? And the only way that that is going to be resolved or solved, if you will, is if Emmanuel God come to us. And that's precisely what we have in Jesus Christ as the logos made flesh. Okay. And so Christ is both. We've affirmed the divinity earlier, but we're affirming the humanity now. And so he and he alone and this is important to recognize. This is a unique and distinct role that only the God human can mediate the relationship between God and humanity. Only the God human can mediate the relationship between God and humanity. No other human being could do this because they are all a part of the problem, and that's the necessity of God coming that God in a sense, God must come. If God doesn't come, then it doesn't look like we can be redeemed. That humanity, who we are as beings, would not be capable of redemption. Okay, Now we see and we were talking about this earlier in in questioning the importance of recognizing the very humanity of Christ, a true human being. And sometimes people wash out the humanity of Christ because they know the end from the beginning. Okay. I'm thinking, for example, of something like Lazarus, you know, the raising of Lazarus and this dialog that Jesus has when he says, you know, that Lazarus will rise again. And then on the other hand, it also says Jesus wept, Jesus wept. You know, how do we understand Jesus weeping? You know, is that, you know, genuine grief, genuine sorrow, the way some people read that passage, they can't understand it because and they have, you know, the divinity overrunning the humanity.

 

They have the known result over here wiping out the lived out experience so they can't understand the very human Jesus weeping. And so this is something to be to be considered. We. And then, of course, you know, Jesus has very human emotions. We see that clearly in Mark. Mark, Chapter one excuse me, Mark. Chapter 14 verses verse 34. My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. And there, of course, Jesus is thinking of what is coming and his soul is overwhelmed with sorrow as ours would be as well. If we were in a similar circumstance, we would have those emotions. We would feel those things as well, you know, as as human beings in that circumstance, that situation. And Jesus suffered. He suffered, suffered greatly. That's what the biblical text suggests. Take a look at Mark chapter ten, verse 33 through 34. We are going up to Jerusalem, he said, and the son of man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law and they will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. And so we see here very clearly the suffering of Christ, the suffering of Christ, and and don't miss it. But there's not simply physical suffering here. There's likely significant emotional suffering as well, because Christ will be mocked. He'll be mocked before large numbers of people. I'm thinking of the governors, soldiers, for example. You know, biblical scholars estimate that the crowd there, when the mocking was taking place, ran from possibly 200 to up to 600 soldiers who were there in the Pretorian guard. And they mocked Jesus, ridiculed him in a number of ways, and expressed that mocking with their actions, with the actions that they did.

 

And so, you know, we we should not overlook this. You know, how would you feel if you were in front of scores of people and you were being mocked? Would you feel that emotionally? Would you feel that psychologically? What I'm suggesting is we tend to focus on the physical sufferings of Christ, which, of course are are very important to acknowledge, but don't miss as a true human being the emotional suffering of Christ in terms of mockery, mocking, rejection and and shame directed at him. Okay. And so we have to see these things in a very full way. And the scriptures that the Gospels are very frank about the suffering of Christ. It's quite clear that he suffered. And Christ was also a servant, just as the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. And we see again that Christ takes on a humble nature, the nature of a servant laying aside the more faithful, the form of God, the glorious form to take on the form of a servant, a humble form, to be a human being, a general, a genuine human being. And so we read in Philippians chapter two versus seven through eight, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. And so here what biblical scholars talk about as kenosis as, you know, the laying aside, the glorious form, the going down to deeper levels of humility that that Christ makes himself nothing takes on the form of a servant in human likeness and goes beyond that, goes beyond that level to humble himself even further to the point of death, whereby at the crucifixion of Christ, he's having a conversation of fellow and fellowship with two common criminals.

 

And it's that kind. Of dissent. So not only the incarnation, not only becoming human, but even among men and women, humbling himself even to the point of death. Death on the cross, whereby he's having conversation as he's dying with two common criminals. Okay. And so. We see the humanity of Christ so clearly here. I like how Hebrews paints the humanity of Christ and what fruit comes from it. I'm thinking of Hebrews chapter two here, verse ten which states in bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. And so we see the suffering of Christ here being affirmed and showing its larger purpose that its meaning is not lost. Even though it is wrenching suffering. And because Christ suffered. So the author of Hebrews will argue that Christ was made like them, fully human in every way in order that he might become. And Hebrews is the one that uses this language a faithful high priest, a faithful high priest in service to God. And so Christ, because of what he has suffered by becoming fully human in every way, of course, except sin, that he is a faithful high priest. He is the one who can be our advocate with the father and make atonement and make atonement for the sins of the people, as of course, the author of Hebrews clearly expresses. And so Christ is a priest. He is also a priest, as Hebrews ten points out. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. And since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.

 

Okay. And so we see the inscriptions that are given to Christ, especially the title Son of Man. Son of Man is a designation for Christ. This title, of course, would stress the humanity of Christ. And certainly this is how Wesley understood this material in his own writings, because he himself makes good commentary on the title Son of Man. But if we look at this, we can look at Matthew, for example, 2664, and this is what it states. You have said. So Jesus replied. But I say to all of you, from now on you will see the son of man sitting at the right hand of the mighty one and coming on the clouds of heaven. Okay. So here Jesus is, is using this title in terms of himself, referring to himself as the son of man and explaining his work again in Luke chapter 21, verse 36 Be always on the watch and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, that you may be able to stand before the son of man. Okay. And again, and acts we see. I see heaven open and the son of man standing at the right hand of God. Or again in Acts chapter 17, verse 31, for he has said a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead. Okay. And so we see here the son of man in the future in the Eschaton is going to come in the father's glory with his angels. So says Matthew in chapter 16, verse 27 through 28. So I think we can see from this ready examination of the biblical material, it is underscoring the humanity of Christ that he was a true human being.

 

He was born into the world in humble circumstances. He suffered. He suffered both physically and emotionally, given his situation. And he is aptly referred to, given all these characteristics that we have explored from the biblical material he is rightfully called the Son of Man. Well, we also need to take a look at some of the traditional evidence, some of the evidence that comes from church history that will underscore and affirm the humanity of Christ and the way to proceed as the way we proceeded earlier in terms of the divinity of Christ was to begin with how the church confronted some very real heresies, some very real heresies in the church. And the first one that I want to consider that denies the humanity of Christ is upon arianism. It's what's called appalling Arianism. And this was a teaching put forth by Apollo and areas of Lordship. And he was a fourth century figure. Lived from 310 to 390. And Apollinaire was taught that Christ had a human body as well as a lower soul, which was the seed of emotions, though he did not have a human mind. He did not have a new in mind. Instead, Christ had a divine mind. In other words, the logos constituted the mind of Christ. The logos constituted the mind of Christ. And so here in Apollinaire, it is Christ doesn't have a true human mind doesn't because that mind has been displaced, if you will, or not even there. Because what Christ has is the logos that is functioning as his mind. Christ has a divine mind. In other words, the logos constituted the mind that was in Christ. Okay. And so this is the teaching of appalling areas. Now, I don't know exactly what your anthropologie's are, how you think about things.

 

I tend to be tripartite in my understanding. Body, soul and spirit are some are just you know, they would just argue for the to the body and soul and soul and spirit would be inter mass somehow or other. I argue for body, soul and spirit because as living human beings, we all have souls, but we don't all have the same spirit. The spirit would be distinguished depending upon, you know, who we're talking to. And so I would see a soul tabernacle laying excuse me, a spirit tabernacle ing in an embodied soul, you know, in body soul, seen as a unity, as a composite that a particular spirit would be inhabiting or a tabernacle in an embodied soul. And I would distinguish it in in that in that way. But to be a human being, you would have to have what even some of the ancient philosophers referred to as the rational soul. The rational soul. For example, when you consider Aristotle's works, Aristotle distinguished soul in a three fold way. At the first level of soul of soul, this life that is animal animated life, you would think of the vegetative, the vegetative. So, for example, there there's life in terms of plants. They are alive. They have a vegetative soul, if you will, in the judgment of Aristotle. But then beyond that level, beyond the element level of soul would be the sensate soul. The sensate soul, which would describe the soul ish life of animals. And so animals, for example, let's take dogs, for example. They have senses, they have eyes, they have noses. And they, through those organs, receive, you know, data from the world. And so they are at the sensate level of soul. But Aristotle reserved the rational soul, especially as he's thinking of it in this context, as pertaining to human beings as characterizing the human mind.

 

Well, what appalling areas is doing, in a sense, is that of these three souls, he's removing the rational, the rational, the human mind, and is replacing it with the logos. If you do that, you don't have a real human being because we don't have that kind of mind available to us. We don't have a logos mind whereby, you know, we can discern different things. And so the teaching of Apollinaire is in the end denies that Jesus Christ was a true human being. And so, as you might suspect, when the Council of Constantinople in 381, this is the second General Ecumenical Council when it met in 381, it condemned the teaching of appalling areas and his it condemned him and his doctrine. As a matter of fact, the. Emperor at the time Theodosius, the first issued decrees against Apollo and Arianism from 383 through 388. So this was a teaching that didn't get the person of Jesus Christ to write in terms of the human nature, and it was therefore put aside by the church. Now, there was another heresy that the early church confronted that once again detracted from the humanity of Christ, and it was called Sikhism. Those see Taoism coming from the Greek direction, which means to seem to seem and what the doctors argued. They said, Well, if Sol Christ simply appears to have a body, simply appears to have a body, but he actually doesn't, meaning that Christ is pure spirit. Christ is pure spirit. Christ is without a body. He's pure spirit. Now this view has been championed by the Gnostics, by the gnostics, and it results in a basic denial of the humanity of Christ. Now, let me say a little something about the Gnostics and the kinds of judgments they made and why they would ever come up with this kind of teaching.

 

To deny, for instance, that Jesus Christ would have a body and would simply seem to have a body in the Gnostic understanding of things. And it was richly influenced by by Greek philosophy and Greek philosophical judgments. And if you are acquainted with the work of Socrates and then Plato in his dialogs, and then perhaps lesser so in terms of Aristotle's works, but clearly in terms of Plato, there are a number of judgments that are made in terms of the body and physical existence, and then what is seen as higher, which would be mental or spiritual existence. And so, for example, the kinds of judgments that are going to come out of platonic philosophy are going to see bodily life in a sense, as a part of the Heraclitus in flux, the, you know, the life of change, constant change. You know, Heraclitus was a philosopher, a pre-socratic, you know, who taught that you cannot step into the same river twice. Okay. And so at the bodily level, it is caught up in this Heraclitus in flux of constant change and impermanence. Okay. But when you think of the mind and the mind as able to discern the forms, the platonic forms, the chief form being the form of the good, the form of the good, which is transcendent, okay, is eternal, is perfect. The form of the good is eternal. It's perfect. It's not a part of their Heraclitus in flux. It's not constantly changing. Those kinds of judgments are in Platonic philosophy, and and they they permeate through Hellenistic culture. And so Gnosticism, you know, represents that basic worldview where the body is viewed very lowly, it's viewed very lowly, and spirit or mind is viewed very highly. Okay. You know, some of these judgments, surprisingly enough, are with us even today, even today, that go back to the Greeks, for example.

 

We tend to think that white collar work is higher than blue collar work, those sorts of things. But if you know what an auto mechanic does, it takes a great deal of intelligence, knowledge and skill to be a good auto mechanic. And the fact that they're working physically with something does not mean it doesn't represent a high level of knowledge. But what I'm suggesting is some of these judgments are with us even today. And they go back to the Greeks. They go back to Plato, Socrates and Plato, whereby physical existence is viewed lowly and spirit mind is viewed highly. Therefore, if you want to honor Christ, if you want to exalt Christ, what will you do? He can't participate in a body in this flux of constant change and decay. He must simply seem to have a body. He must be pure spirit. He must be pure spirit. And so this was a teaching offered. However, the church rejected it. The church rejected it. Rejected IOC tourism at the First Ecumenical Council. The Council of Nicaea. In 3 to 5. In 3 to 5. Now, there was another ancient heresy that the church confronted. Known as Mono Visitas. Now that's a mouthful for you. Mono visitas. And it came from the teaching of Utica's. You kids. I should pronounce it properly, you two. And basically what mono visitors argued Here we see the mixing of the two natures that is the divine and the human into one nature, into one nature. And so if you have that, let's maybe we can diagram this. We think of. The square, you know, as the person of Christ. The person of Christ. And now how do we diagram the natures? It's one person with two natures. How do we represent that the square would represent the unity of the person? How do we have the distinctiveness of the natures? Well, you took his answer was it's mixed.

 

It's intermixed. So it's like divine human, human, divine, human, divine. It's all. Intermixed. It's all intermixed. And if you have that, that kind of inter mixture, if you will, whereby the divine and human are brought together like that. That's not a true human being. That's not a true human being, because none of us could understand our lives in that way. We don't have intermixed divine natures with or with our human nature. And so Charles Carter, when he was thinking about you, a case Monroe visit ism, he wrote this, quote, You techies theorized that when the divine nature became incarnate in the human nature, the human nature became divine. The human nature was absorbed into the divine nature as a drop of sirup is absorbed into the ocean. And so with this intermixing that we find in monotheism ism, what we're losing here is a true human being. Because in this teaching, there is no distinct human nature in place. Unix has so stressed the unity of the person of Christ that he lost the distinctiveness of the human nature. Okay. Let me let me back up for a second here for a moment so you can see the lay of the land in terms of proper Christology, that when we think about proper Christology, in terms of the person of Christ with respect to the natures, we have to consider two things. On the one hand, we need the unity of the person. Christ is one person, not two persons, one person. But then we have to consider the distinctiveness of the natures, both in terms of divine and human. And where monotheism. His name is going wrong. It is so concerned about the unity of the person that it mixes the natures such that we end up with someone who is not truly a human being.

 

Okay. And not surprisingly, this Christology was rejected by the Council of Carl Sadan in four or five one which had taught Christ was and here's the formula. Here's the Orthodox formula one person in two natures, one person in two natures. And so mono visited. Some was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Now there is yet another Christological heresy that denies the true humanity of Christ, and it comes to us in the form of Nestorian ism. Nestorian ism. Now, Nestorius was the patriarch of Constantinople, and he's actually a fifth century figure. He was the patriarch during 4 to 8 two, four, three, one. So he's a fifth century figure. And for him, the divine and human natures of Christ were sharply separated. They were sharply separated. And so if we have to diagram how Nestorius understood Christ in terms of both person and nature, the diagram would look something like this. We have, of course, the square representing the person, the oneness of the person. But then for Nestorius, he would understand the divine nature as such and the human nature as such. And what he did was sharply distinguish the divine and the human. So as he considers the two natures to sharply distinguish them. But in doing so, you actually are ending up with two persons. Because what the church will later argue is that this line, if you will, cannot be solid. There must be what is called a communication, a communication of the properties. The technical language is communicate so idiomatic. Communicate CEO Eddie Mar them that there must be a possible sharing between the divine and human. Though the Divine and Newman are are distinct, but they are not so, so distinct, as Nestorius had argued, a sharp distinction between the natures such that you effectively are ending up with two people, with two persons.

 

And so this is was rejected. Now, it's interesting that an historian is of actually is fleshed out in another great debate that takes place in the early church. Nestorius had difficulty affirming that Mary was the bearer of God. Some might say theotokos. Some would translate that theotokos into mother of God. And so that that's the language that's often used here. And what Nestorius did in terms of Mary, he argued that Mary was not the mother of God. Because God can have no mother. But. But Mary was the mother of Christ, so that Nestorius was trying to maintain that Mary could be the mother of the human. Nature, but not the mother of the divine, if you will. One way of looking at it, I think you can see the problem here, because the church is going to respond since Christ is one, since Christ is one person, both divine and human. When Mary gives birth to Christ, she gives birth to the one who is both divine and human and therefore is rightly called Theotokos. Okay. Nestorius thought he could bracket out the divinity by saying by arguing that this line is solid, such that Mary could be the mother of Christ Cristo Tarkas, but she couldn't be. Théo talks. And the Church rejects that teaching because it is ultimately detracting from the unity of the person of Christ. Because when Mary gives birth to Christ, Christ being one person, she's giving birth to the one person who is both divine and human. And you cannot know bracket out, as Nestorius was trying to do, by saying Mary is simply Kristo talk is the mother of Christ. She is not the mother of God. And so I also want to say a couple of other things about this issue with no store in the story is because it has ongoing consequence in the theological life of the church.

 

And the point I want you to see right now, and we'll just hold on to this for now, will see this emerge later on in the course. But the thing to notice here is that the judgment of the church in terms of nestorian as it is a Christological issue, in other words, it's trying to discern what is the proper Christology, what is the proper teaching with respect to Christ in the church. What's going to happen subsequently? Because the church will affirm that language of Theotokos talk about Mary as Theotokos. What we're going to see as that title goes forward into the life of the church, Mary will become the focus. Mary now will become the focus. If she is Théodore Marcus, then what can we conclude from that? And so you may see the beginning. Well, you will see the beginnings of Marian doctrines emerging and developing in the church. My point that I want to make here is that in terms of the issue of Nestorius, it was initially a Christological problem that was being addressed, not a problem with respect to Mary, but specifically. But it was a Christological issue. In other words, how do we properly understand Jesus Christ as one person but having two natures? But later Mary will be the star, so to speak. She'll be the focus and proper teaching about her and say, Oh, talk is as a description of Mary will feed into subsequent discussions and estimations of her. And so we need to be mindful of that. Nestorius was condemned as heretical at the Council of Ethicists in four, three, one and at the Council of Chalcedon in four, five, one. And so this to this Christology, which does not properly affirm the humanity of Christ.

 

This also was put aside by the church. It was also put aside by the church. Now, John Wesley, in his own Christology and his own teaching, follows very carefully, as you might imagine, both the biblical materials as well as the traditional materials with respect to Jesus Christ. And so because a God of Holy Love is other directive expressed in outward orientation and purposive in making communion, the Word of God comes forth to enter into human existence and thereby bring about the very conditions necessary for redemption, properly speaking. And so for Wesley, the word becoming flesh, this descending movement from the form of God to the more humble human form that is of the form of a servant warfare I do love this bespeaks of the divine love in a remarkable way. And this is what, Wesley. Writes as he reflects upon this truth. Quote What manner of love is this where with the only begotten Son of God has loved us so as to empty Himself as far as possible of His eternal God had as to divest Himself of that glory which He had with the Father before the world began as to take upon the form of a servant. Okay. Now, I want to be clear here, in light of that that Wesley quote I just cited less. There may be misunderstanding. Wesley is referring to the laying aside of a form that is the glorious form and taking on the form of a servant. He is not talking about laying aside essence or essential nature. That's an impossibility, because Jesus Christ, you know, remains the same. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Christ nature does not change Christ's essence. Who Christ is does not change. But what is changing here and what is being laid laid aside.

 

And Wesley is expressing this very clearly in terms of the humanity of Christ, that this glorious form is being laid aside. It is being laid aside. And Wesley is connecting all of this to love. He's connecting it to love that this is this bespeaks of God. And who God is this emptying this expression of love. Viewed from another perspective, the connoted descent of the word from the glorious form to the humble one becoming incarnate as a genuine human being. In other words, bridging the distance, at least in some sense, between God and humanity. All of this demonstrates a basic tension in Christian theology. Certainly, as Wesley understood it, between transcendence on the one hand and then eminence eminence on the other. In other words, the incarnation of the word in human form not only brings an accompanying illumination. This was the true light, which in light, enlightened every man that cometh into the world. But it also ably demonstrates that in the distinct Christian understanding of revelation, the most high does not simply remain in the starry heavens, so to speak, apart, transcendently removed and coldly distant. On the contrary, God comes, God comes the Holy One, as a result of this gracious movement, must now be known as Emmanuel, God with us. And for Wesley, then the evoking calling God is also the coming God, the God who comes. Each attribute directed towards fellowship and communion. The fellowship and communion of love. Okay, let's stop there and take some questions or comments that you might have in terms of anything we've said here. I just have a question. When you were talking about proper Christology considers, you said there were three items. I got unity of the person and distinctive distinctiveness of the nature.

 

What was the third one? Now proper Christology, of course. I would think I would consider that in terms of two things. You have to get the unity of the person and then the distinctiveness of the natures. And so we understand Jesus Christ to be one person. He's one person, not two persons, as Nestorius seemed to be suggesting. But then we also, for proper Christology, we have to think in terms of the nature. And Christ has two natures, not one nature, both divine and human. So the proper form of Christology that the church will come to is Christ is one person in two natures. And we have to properly understand excuse me, we have to properly understand those natures. Okay. Yeah. It's interesting to think about the humanity of Christ in a couple of ways. And one of them you talked about is the suffering that he did and also the way that he gave us an example to live, because as a human, he relied on the spirit in order for him to live the life that he lived. He did what he saw the father doing right. And in Hebrews, it talks about that, how he's our high priest and gives us an example of of how to live and. So that's I guess that's one idea. Did you want to comment on that, particularly in terms of what aspect of what you said? Would you like me to comment just that not only does he give us the example of the fact that he suffered for us yet, but that he gives us an example on how to live in a positive way in, though, in the way that he interacted with people, in the way that he gave us an example of of how we can of how we can live the Christian life.

 

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Now I know what you're asking here. And of course, you know, Christ is a wonderful example of that. In other words, a model, if you will, but more than a model in terms of how we should live the Christian life because we participate in the divine being, that's what we're invited to through the Holy Spirit. In other words, receiving the Holy Spirit, being born of God, we are born anew and we participate in the divine life, in some sense by the Spirit Tabernacle ing with us. We, therefore, because of that, are in a trusting relationship, having faith in Jesus Christ and trust in God the Father in in the same way, in a similar way that Christ trusted the Father. We see that very clearly. Christ trusting the Father at key places in his own journey, looking to the father as a true human being, you know, as his own death is approaching. Not my will, but thy will be done. And so that, I think, is a wonderful expression of the humanity of Christ and how we should understand our own lives as well, that our wills be subsumed under the will of God, and that we be in a trusting relationship with the father in a way, in a similar way that Christ was in a trusting relationship with with the Father. And so, yes, I think, you know, this is this is important. Yeah. And, you know, in your question, I was also thinking especially of the imitation of Christ with Thomas on campus where this is developed, of course, far more greatly than what I've just expressed now. He develops in an a full length book, which Wesley read early on in his own journey. He was a young man and had a great impact on him.

 

And so and I think Thomas, our campus, if that be the author of The Imitation of Christ, had a rich understanding of the humanity of Christ and his trust of the Father. And at times Jesus says, you know, using the language of, you know, my God and your God, you know, my father, your father. This kind of language again, highlighting the true humanity of Jesus Christ, that he is looking towards the Father as a true human in a trusting way, which should be the way we look to Gaza, Father, that we live in God. You know, as Luther said earlier, living God through faith and in our neighbor, through love. Yes. Yeah.