Jesus Christ… the God-Man?

The Dual Nature of Jesus Christ

The dual nature of Jesus Christ is a central teaching of both Trinitarian and Oneness (Monarchian) theology. In both beliefs it is commonly said that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. Trinitarians believe Jesus is one of the divine “persons” in God who visited our world during His incarnation while Oneness proponents believe Jesus is the Father Himself incarnate. Both views advocate for the “God in a human body” position and both have developed some pretty fancy theological footwork to explain and defend their doctrine. Trinitarians use the concept of a hypostatic union while Oneness believers endorse the same teaching without labeling it a hypostatic union. Both views teach belief in Jesus Christ… the God-Man.

A Schizophrenic Vision of God?

Some very clever church fathers once came up with the notion of an “impersonal human nature” for Jesus Christ to support their belief in the trinity. They obliterated the essential humanity of Christ by declaring that He is “man” but not “a man”. This approach completely does away with the idea that Jesus was actually an individual human being like the rest of us. Oneness belief states that Jesus sometimes spoke as man and other times spoke as God and it’s up to us to decide which is which.  No matter how they explain it both of these positions leave us with a schizophrenic vision of God and Christ that is unbiblical and ultimately incomprehensible.

“God in a Body” Belief Systems

Ceasar's were also seen as incarnate godsEgyptian pharoh's were incarnate godsThese dual nature “God in a body” belief systems have some very ancient roots. The earliest records we have of “God-man” thinking can be traced all the way back to Egypt. The Egyptians believed that pharoah was God on earth in a human body! It isn’t at all surprising that later Alexandrian philosophers, refined and “Christianized” what was originally a pagan idea. The Romans likewise ascribed divinity to their Caesars just like the Egyptians. The theologians of Rome inserted this old “God-man” idea into their Christianity. We are left with the conclusion that Trinitarian and Oneness beliefs drink deeply from a river of pagan thought that flowed first through Egypt and later through Rome.

A Man Who Has Told You the Truth

Jesus Christ was not an abstract repository of humanity and divinity. He plainly declared Himself to be “a man who has told you the truth”. Christ was born, and lived, and died as one of us. He was not an abstract man with an “impersonal human nature.” Jesus was “a man” and more than that… He was a perfect man.  He was crucified for our sake and then rose from the dead as the firstborn of God’s great redemptive plan. Now He invites us to join Him. What marvelous grace that God would invite us to share in the immortality of His only begotten Son!

Copyright 2022 by Bob Shutes