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Relation of the Two Natures of Christ

 

(HYPOSTATIC UNION)

Dr. Grant C. Richison

 

DEFINITION: Two natures of deity and humanity united into one person forever.

Deity= undiminished God Almighty

Humanity= true humanity

HYPOSTATIC UNION= the personal union of the deity and humanity of Christ

Jn 1:1-14; Ro 1:2-5; 9:5; Ph 2:6-11; 1 Ti 3:16; He 2:14; 1 Jn 1:1-3

PERSON

  • The real essence, the inward properties that underlie all outward manifestation.
  • Nature is the sum of all the attributes and their relationship to each other
  • Attributes cannot transfer from the deity to the humanity and vice versa; the deity and the humanity each have their own attributes
  • The 2 natures are united without mixture or loss of any attribute or property of one nature to the other
  • The union consummated in a personal or hypostatic union whereby Christ is one person, not two.
  • There is no third substance
  • It is not deity possessing humanity and it is not humanity indwelt by deity
  • The Son of God did not unite Himself with a human person but with a human nature

CHARACTERISTICS ATTRIBUTED TO EACH NATURE

  • Infinity cannot be transferred to finity
  • Mind cannot be transferred to matter
  • God cannot be transferred to man or vice versa
  • In the incarnation no attribute of the divine nature was changed though there was a change in manifestation
  • Jesus set aside the VOLUNTARY USE of His incommunicable attributes in actions of His humanity
  • While the attributes of one nature are never attributed to the other, the attributes of both natures are properly attributed to His PERSON.
    • Jesus can be weak and omnipotent at the same time
    • He can possess finite knowledge and omniscience

 

COMMUNION OF ATTRIBUTES:

Some attributes are true of His whole person such as the titles Redeemer, Prophet, Priest and King.

1 Ti 2: 5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…”

Some attributes are true only of deity, but the whole person is the subject.

Jn 8: 58 “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’” (whole person is the subject but the attribute of eternity applies only to the divine nature)

Some attributes are true only of humanity but the whole person is the subject.

Jn 19:28 “I thirst” = statement attributed to His humanity but the whole person is in view. This type of reference disappears after His resurrection and ascension.

The person may be described according to divine nature but the predicate of the human nature.

Re 1:12-18 = description of the deity of Christ but Christ is the one who “was dead” (v.18).

The person may be described according to human nature but the predicate of the divine nature.

 Jn 6:62What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?” The title “Son of man” describes Christ according to His human nature but the predicate of ascending up where He was before could have reference to His divine nature.

The person may be described according to the divine nature, but the predicate of both natures.

Jn 5:25 “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.”

Christ as the Son of God spoke to those who were spiritually dead and those who heard lived. As the Son of man, however, Christ executes judgment in the future. Thus, Christ is described as the Son of God but the predicate of speaking can be attributed to both natures as demonstrated by the fact that the human nature is specifically mentioned as in view in the future judgment.

 The person may be described according to the human nature but the predicate of both natures.

 Jn 5:27 “and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” Christ will judge the world as One possessing both human and divine natures.

 Mt 27:46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Speaking from His humanity yet the word “me” seems to imply both natures or His whole person.

JESUS WAS AWARE OF HIS DEITY AT ALL TIMES

DOES EACH NATURE HAVE ITS CORRESPONDING WILL?

If by “will” is meant desire, it is clear that there would be conflicting desires in the divine and human natures of Christ. It was natural for the human will of God to desire to avoid the cross.

If by “will” is meant that resulting moral decision, one person can have only one will. For Christ, this was the will of God (Mt 26:39). The ultimate sovereign will of Christ has to do with the Father’s will. It was the will of God that Christ die on the cross which He did.

RESULTS OF THE UNION OF THE TWO NATURES

The union of the 2 natures in Christ is related vitally to His ACTS as an incarnate person.

His divine nature was immutable while His human nature could suffer.

He 5:8 “…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”

The act of redemption in which Christ offered Himself as sacrifice was an act of His whole person. It was traceable to both natures.

The eternal priesthood Christ is also based on the hypostatic union.  

It was essential to His priesthood that He be both God and man.

By incarnation He became man and hence could act as a human priest.      

As God, His priesthood could be everlasting after the order of Melchizedek.

The prophetic office of Christ is related to the act of incarnation.      

The eternal Logos declared the nature of God by becoming man.

 Jn 1:18 “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”

 The kingly office of Christ was dependent on both the divine and human natures, and would have been impossible without the incarnation.

 2 Sa 7:16; Lu 1:31-33

The incarnate person of Christ is worshiped as the sovereign God.      

Jesus was worshipped on earth even when His eternal glory was hidden.

The ascension of the incarnate Christ restored the divine nature to its place of infinite glory but the human nature was also exalted.      

Jesus sits as the God-man at the right hand of God the Father. His infinite glory and humanity are completely compatible.

 The union of the two natures requires certain unique features to be manifested such as the absence of the sin nature, freedom from any act of sin and the absence of any human father.

 

GOD

 

MAN

He is worshiped (Ma 2:2,11; 14:33).

 

He worshiped the Father (Jn 17).

He was called God (Jn 20:28; He. 1:8)

 

He was called man (Mark 15:39; Jn 19:5).

He was called Son of God (Mark 1:1)

 

He was called Son of Man (Jn 9:35-37)

He is prayed to (Acts 7:59).

 

He prayed to the Father (Jn 17).

He is sinless (1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15).

 

He was tempted (Mt 4:1).

He knows all things (Jn 21:17).

 

He grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52).

He gives eternal life (Jn 10:28).

 

He died (Ro. 5:8).

All the fullness of deity dwells in Him (Co 2:9).

 

He has a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).

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