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Is it Contradictory to Believe Jesus is God and Man?

Question:  What’s more contradictory than the notion that Jesus was fully God and fully man? If he was a man, how would he be capable of the supernatural events ascribed to him? If he was fully God, did he displace his father? Otherwise you have two Gods.

Answer:  I will begin by defining a contradiction. The formula states: “a” = non “a” in the same way and at the same time.  For example: Dog = not a dog in the same way and at the same time.  Let’s break this down a little further.  What if the first dog was my pet and the second dog was the slang word for hot dog?  Obviously, there is no contradiction.  This is why the formula has the words “in the same way.”  Both sides of the equation have to be the same.  If we are talking about a pet dog in the first instance it has to be the same in the second.

What about the words “at the same time?”  Let me share why that has to be in the formula.  Steve taught at church and Steve didn’t teach at church.  It is only a contradiction if we are speaking about the same time and day.  At 10am Steve spoke at church and at 2pm Steve didn’t teach at church.  That is true and not a contradiction.  But if we specify the same time and day then we have a contradiction.  Steve spoke at church at 10am today and Steve didn’t speak at church at 10am today.  One or the other is true.

I have found sometimes stating the formula for contradictions actually confuses people more than it helps.  Philosophers love to complicate the obvious.  However, I have a method behind my madness.

Is stating Jesus is fully God and fully man contradictory?  The obvious answer is no.  To make a contradiction you’d have to say Jesus was fully God and he was not fully God at the same time and in the same way or Jesus was fully man and was not fully man at the same time and in the same way.  The statement Jesus is fully God and fully man is not contradictory.

At Christmas we celebrate the eternal Son, Jesus Christ, taking on human flesh.  We call that event the incarnation.  Jesus comes to earth truly God and truly man.  The eternal Son can be called Jesus in His humanity and the second person of the Trinity in His divinity.

The Bible teaches God is a Triune God.  The Trinity definition: One God who subsists (continues to exist) in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-equal and co-eternal.  The key to understanding the Trinity is there is only one God.  The Trinity is not contradictory.  I didn’t say one God is three Gods.  I said one God subsists in three persons.  For more information on the Trinity go to my series “Loving the Trinity part 1.”

Jesus doesn’t displace the Father or the Holy Spirit.  All three eternally exist as the Triune God.  Another way to define the Trinity is to say in the one God there are three centers of consciousness.

Jesus as God can do miracles and have all knowledge (Omniscience).  Jesus in his humanity got tired, hungry, and was tempted just like anyone of us.  God does not get tired, hungry, or can be tempted.  On the cross the human Jesus could feel tremendous pain and die.  As God the second person of the Trinity could not die.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • BRUCE KEEFE December 22, 2012, 8:02 pm

    Your “obvious” logic assumes that the doctrine of the Trinity is taught somehwere in Scripture. Since it “obviously” is not, as attested by your logic, why not accept the simple statement of faith -John 17:3,4 that “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten son…For God sent forth his Son into the world.”
    My son has half my chromosomes and half his mothers, and is therefore half me. Since God has no wife, Jesus when created/birthed by God, is fully God, but is very much a distinct being, not equal to, and according to Jesus’ lacking the knowledge and position of his father. Father to Son, now isn’t that a comprehensible relationship.

  • Steve December 23, 2012, 5:40 pm

    Bruce,
    First you misquoted your verses. What you meant to quote was John 3:16-17: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” These are great verses from John. All you can show here is the Father and Son are distinct persons. This fits well with the doctrine of the Trinity.

    The Bible teaches 3 premises that support the doctrine of the Trinity. 1) There are 3 distinct persons, 2) Each person is God, 3) There is only one God. If needed I can supply 28 verses that clearly teach there is only one God. All other gods are false gods (Satan, idols, humans). None of the false gods are the one true God by nature. Paul writes about false gods in Galatians 4:8 “However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.” Paul implies that there is only one God by nature and all others are false by nature.

    The issue of one God was important at the council of Nicea in AD 325. It was there Arius brought forth his teaching that Jesus was “a god” a created being. Arianism, a forerunner to Jehovah’s Witnesses, was soundly rejected by the Bishops (300+ to 2). The main issue was there is only one God. Arianism was labeled a heresy by this early church council. Today this false teaching has been restored by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. To claim Jesus is a lesser god, a mighty god is polytheism. The early church rejected this belief and classical Christianity supports that rejection.

    If you would like verses in support of the 3 premises go to: http://biblicalworldviewacademy.org/1725/loving-the-trinity-part-1/ I wrote an entire series to support the Trinity is Biblical.

    Steve

  • Christopher Ibe December 27, 2012, 5:56 am

    DOES JOHN 17:3 DISPROVE THE DEITY OF JESUS CHRIST?
    No, it proves it! How?

    John 17:3 seems to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ favourite verses when trying to debunk the authenticity of Trinity [namely: involving the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ]. According to Greg Stafford in his debate with Mr. White, he said “Jesus expressed true monotheism in John 17:3 and he [an Ex JW though], still doesn’t believe in the deity of Jesus Christ.

    According to the New World Translation [Hence, NWT], John 17:3 says “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”

    Your main focus in this quotation is what Jesus called the Father [the ONLY true God] and could even turn back here on seeing it but it all needs further study. This verse tends to be a “strong’ proof against the deity of Jesus but the further we read, the further you see how this verse proves the deity of Jesus. Firstly, I would like you to read the chapter up to verse 10 which says “and all my things are yours and yours are mine…” This verse is very important for this discussion.

    “What is my point?” Is your question…

    Jude 4 says: “My reason is that certain men have slipped in who have long ago been appointed by the Scriptures to this judgment, ungodly men, turning the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for loose conduct and proving false to our only Owner and Lord, Jesus Christ.” What do we have here? Read on: 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 goes on to say: “For even though there are those who are called [i.e. so-called] “gods,” whether in heaven or on earth, just as there are many “gods” and many “lords,” there is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him.”… I really feel fulfilled after quoting these verse to a JW during a dialogue. From this verse, we see that apart from the only true God, all other so called gods are fake and there is one true Lord apart from whom all other lords are fake… but wait a sec, Jesus says this about his Father: “At that time Jesus said in response: “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to babes.” This is really amazing! Could Jesus be among these “ungodly men” (in Jude 4) for calling his Father “Lord of Heaven and Earth” even though He knew that He was the only true Lord or is his Father be among these “fake so-called “lords” (in 1 Corinthians 8:5-6) having been mentioned as “Lord” besides Jesus Christ? If not, how then do we harmonize these “problem texts”?

    The Bible has not left us in a complete dilemma as to what to do that is why He inspired Jesus to say “and all my things are yours and yours are mine…”. From this quotation, we are rest assured that the Lordship of Jesus has not placed a restriction to the Father’s also being “Lord of Heaven and Earth” but has made it possible for the Bible not be contradictory.

    Therefore, if the Father can also be Lord of Heavens and Earth and at the same time, not be among these “so-called lords” [cf. 1 Corinthians 8:5] regardless of the fact that Jesus is the only Lord [cf. Jude 4 and 1 Corinthians 8:5-6], what then do we make of John 17:3 that calls the Father “the only true God”? Isn’t that applicable too? In fact, the last time I checked, the NWT told me “ALL the gods of the people are valueless…” and according to John 20:28, “in answer Thomas said to Him [Jesus] “my Lord and my God!” ” could the “God of Thomas be valueless too? remember, this same God created “ALL THINGS” [John 1:1-3]… I guess the JWs had better find a better “proof’ text because this one is actually our proof text. See post: Early Church Fathers on the Deity of Jesus Christ { http://refuterslodge.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-early-church-fathers-on-divinity-of.html }

    By His Lovely grace,

    Christopher Ibe

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