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.