2 Incarnation“Many people have sought to be God, but only one God has sought to be man.”
3 Humanity of Christ in History Questions:Why was the incarnation necessary?What does it mean that God became man?How has this been understood throughout history?
4 Humanity of Christ in History Key terms:IncarnationThe biblical understanding thatChrist took on a human natureHypostatic UnionThe theological description of theunion of the two natures of ChristPresentation Notes:These terms will be covered throughout this presentation. They are important theological terms. They are placed here so that the students will be prepared for their later usage.TheanthroposTheological name of Christaffirming that he is the “God-man”
5 IncarnationJohn 1:14“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
6 Christological Herterodoxy Early Christmas heterodoxies:DocetismApollinarianismNestorianismMonophysitism
7 Docetism Docetism 500 C.E. 325 C.E. Explanation of Slide: The solid line represents Docetism’s general acceptance. The solid line stops and the dotted line begins to explain Docetism’s continued influence after its general condemnation in the Church.500 C.E.325 C.E.
8 DocetismBelief: From the Greek, dokeo, “to seem, think, or appear.” They were a “Christian” sect of Gnosticism that believed that Christ was an emanation from the true good God. Christ was not truly a man since all things material are inherently evil. Therefore, Christ only “seemed” to have bodyProponent(s): MarcionOpponent: Irenaeus (ca. 130–ca. 200)Supportive writings: Developed the Muratorian Canon (170 A.D.) attests to all the books of the N.T. except Hebrews, James, and 1 & 2 Peter.Presentation Notes:See notes on next slide for explanation of Gnosticism.
9 The Gnostic Christ Spiritual Good Physical Evil True God Emanations Evil DemiurgeEmanationsChristPresentation Notes:Gnostics believed in a dualistic universe where all that is spiritual is good and all that is physical is evil. An evil physical god which was a distant emanation from the true God created the earth. Christ was sent to save those who still had a “spark of the divine” within them. To the Gnostic, the primary goal of humanity is to recognize the divine within them.Christ had to come to the evil physical world to help people to recognize their divine nature. In doing so, however, he did not become physical, since everything physical is by nature evil. Therefore, he only “seemed” (dokeo) to be human. What looked like a physical body was in reality a phantom-like appearance of humanity.We mentioned biblical docetism in Introduction to Theology.PhysicalEvil
10 Council of Constantinople ApollinarianismDocetismApollinarianism381Council of Constantinople325 C.E.500 C.E.
11 ApollinarianismBelief: Christ was God who took on a human body without a human mind. The divine mind took the place of what would have been the human mind. The Word became flesh only in the sense that God took on a human body. As some have termed it, Christ was “God in a bod.”Proponent: Apollinarius of Laodicea (ca ), friend of Athanasius and teacher of Jerome.Condemned: Council of Constantinople 381 and Chalcedon 451.
12 The Early Church Fathers 90-500 Iraneus (c.175-c.195) LyonsPelagius (c ) BritonRomeConstantinopleClement of Rome (c )Jerome (c.345-c.419)Nestorius (c.381-c.455)Marcion (c.100-c.160)John Chrysostom (c )Montanus second century)Hippolytus (c )Eutyches (c )Basil (329-c.379)Gregory of Nyssa (330-c.395)Papias c.60-c.130)Gregory of Nazianzus ( )Polycarp (c.70-c160)CarthageApollinarius (c.300-c.390)AntiochIgnatius (d.107)Augustine ( )WestTertullian (c.160-c.220)Eusebius of Caesarea (c.265-c.339)EastJustine Martyr (c.100-c.165)JerusalemAlexandriaClement of Alexandria (c.155-c.220)Athanasius (c )Origen (c.185-c.254)Legend MapItalics: Condemned as hereticsBold: Church FathersLarge Bold: Major BishopricsArius (c )
13 Apollinarianism Divine Logos Human Mind Human Body Presentation Notes: Apollinarius thought that it was absurd to state that Christ had two minds. He sought to preserve the unity of Christ with his Christology. He evidenced his beliefs based upon a narrow reading of John 1:14, “The Word became flesh” believing that this taught that the flesh was the only aspect of man that Christ assumed.It also should be stressed that he also believed that he was preserving the sinlessness of Christ believing that the spirit of man was the seat of sin. What Apollinarius unwittingly did was revive docetism in a different form.In Apollinarius’ defense, Apollinarianism is the most natural view of the union between the humanity and deity of Christ. It would be hard to believe that the eternal Son of God became man, ceasing to be deity, but it would not be as difficult to believe that God became man, remaining fully God, yet not becoming fully man.Human Body
14 Apollinarianism“He assumes that man who came down from above is without a mind, not that the Godhead of the Only-begotten fulfills the function of mind, and is the third part of his human composite, inasmuch as soul and body are in it on its human side, but not mind, the place of which is taken by God the Word.”–Gregory of NazianzusReferences:Letter to Nectarius 438
15 What is wrong with Apollinarianism? Presentation Notes:What needs to be stressed here is that Christ had to assume every aspect of humanity so that he might redeem the entire man. If Christ simply because the outer flesh of man without assuming a human spirit/soul/mind, then man’s spirit/soul/mind is not redeemed.
16 not assumed is not saved.” Apollinarianism“What God hasnot assumed is not saved.”–Gregory of NazianzusReferences:Gregory of Nazianzus Epistulae 101.7, NPNF VII, 440.
17 Council of Constantinople NestorianismDocetismNestorianismApollinarianism381Council of Constantinople431Council of Ephesus325 C.E.500 C.E.
18 NestorianismBelief: Christ was fully man and fully God, and these two natures were united in purpose, not person. They had difficulty understanding how someone with two natures could be a single individual.Proponent: Nestorius (d. ca. 451), the great preacher and disciple of Theodore of Mopsuestia, is said to be the main proponent of this teaching, although most would see his condemnation as inaccurate.Condemned: Council of Chalcedon 451.
19 The Early Church Fathers 90-500 Iraneus (c.175-c.195) LyonsPelagius (c ) BritonRomeConstantinopleClement of Rome (c )Jerome (c.345-c.419)Nestorius (c.381-c.455)Marcion (c.100-c.160)John Chrysostom (c )Montanus second century)Hippolytus (c )Eutyches (c )Basil (329-c.379)Gregory of Nyssa (330-c.395)Papias c.60-c.130)Gregory of Nazianzus ( )Polycarp (c.70-c160)CarthageApollinarius (c.300-c.390)AntiochIgnatius (d.107)Augustine ( )WestTertullian (c.160-c.220)Eusebius of Caesarea (c.265-c.339)EastJustine Martyr (c.100-c.165)JerusalemAlexandriaClement of Alexandria (c.155-c.220)Athanasius (c )Origen (c.185-c.254)Legend MapItalics: Condemned as hereticsBold: Church FathersLarge Bold: Major BishopricsArius (c )
20 Nestorianism Separate Human Person Divine Person Presentation Notes: Nestorius, being from the Antiochene school, which sought to preserve Christ’s humanity, taught that Mary was improperly titled theotokos (“God bearer”). He stated that she should be more properly called anthropotokos (“man bearer”) or christotokos (“Christ bearer”) since she did not bear God, but Christ. He feared that the humanity of Christ was being dangerously neglected, if not denied, when Mary was named theotokos. As well, he felt like the title “God bearer” implied that God the Son was generated by Mary. How could God be created? This, to Nestorius, was essentially an Arian Christology. He also saw in this title as an undo elevation of Mary to the status of a goddess (Harold Brown, Heresies [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998] 173).Because of these issues Nestorianism sometimes seemed to teach that in Christ there were two natures and two persons. The unity that the two persons of Christ had was in agreement of will, not in personhood. Because of Nestorius’ insistence on the title anthropotokos he was labeled an adoptionalist who believed that the human Jesus was born to Mary and the somehow became Christ/God.Most scholars agree that Nestorius himself was not Nestorian but orthodox in his Christology. He was unfortunately condemned because of some poorly chosen words and political rivalry.Human PersonDivine Person
21 What is wrong with Nestorianism? Presentation Notes:The problems with teaching that Christ was divided into two persons are many:This introduces a new and separate person into redemption who, technically speaking, was not God.If there were two persons, what is the relationship between the two? We do not ever see one person struggling with the other (although some would interpret Gethsemane in this way). Jesus spoke as “I,” not “we” and others speak of him as “he,” not “they” (Grudem. 555).Which one is worthy of worship? If the human person deserves to be worshiped, do we now have four people in the godhead?Nestorianism is biblically untenable and theologically absurd.
22 Council of Constantinople Chalcedonian Definition MonophysitismDocetismMonophysitismNestorianismApollinarianism381Council of Constantinople431Council of Ephesus451Chalcedonian Definition325 C.E.500 C.E.
23 MonophysitismBelief: Christ’s human nature was integrated with his divine nature forming a new nature. Christ was from two natures before the union, but only one after the union.Alternant name: EutychianismProponent: Eutyches (ca ), great preacher and disciple of Theodore of Mopsuestia.Condemned: Council of Chalcedon 451.
24 The Early Church Fathers 90-500 Iraneus (c.175-c.195) LyonsPelagius (c ) BritonRomeConstantinopleClement of Rome (c )Jerome (c.345-c.419)Nestorius (c.381-c.455)Marcion (c.100-c.160)John Chrysostom (c )Montanus second century)Hippolytus (c )Eutyches (c )Basil (329-c.379)Gregory of Nyssa (330-c.395)Papias c.60-c.130)Gregory of Nazianzus ( )Polycarp (c.70-c160)CarthageApollinarius (c.300-c.390)AntiochIgnatius (d.107)Augustine ( )WestTertullian (c.160-c.220)Eusebius of Caesarea (c.265-c.339)EastJustine Martyr (c.100-c.165)JerusalemNeed to add Nestorius.AlexandriaClement of Alexandria (c.155-c.220)Athanasius (c )Origen (c.185-c.254)Legend MapItalics: Condemned as hereticsBold: Church FathersLarge Bold: Major BishopricsArius (c )
26 What is wrong with Monophysitism? Presentation Notes:The problem here is the same as it was with Apollinarianism, but to a greater degree:If Christ is not fully human, but a hybrid of human and divine, he cannot represent humanity in salvation.If Christ is not fully God either, he does not have the power to save man nor be our representative.
28 First Eight Ecumenical Councils 2. Constantinople I (381)5. Constantinople II (553)4. Chalcedon (451)6. Constantinople III ( )1. Nicea I (325)7. Nicea II (787)3. Ephesus (431)Presentation Notes:Although some would adhere to an eight ecumenical council held in Constantinople. Eastern Orthodoxy would see the eighth council as that which took place in 879 and condemned the filique clause to the Nicene Creed. Roman Catholics would see the eighth council as that which took place in 869 which rebuked the immorality of Emperor Caesar Bardas.These seven of councils were convoked by emperorsand had representation from the East and West
29 Definition of Chalcedon “Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer . . .”
30 Definition of Chalcedon “. . . one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.”Presentation Notes:Be sure to draw attention to the terminology on this page. While the primary heresy that this definition condemns if Eutychianism (Monophysitism), it also reaffirms the conclusions of all the previous councils. Many have stated that this definition is the most important of all the creeds (although not technically a creed).The fourth ecumenical council was convened at Chalcedon in 451 and produced this definition. There were 520 bishops gathered from all over the empire, making it the largest council ever. Leo I is the primary author behind this definition. He expressed what had been confirmed in the West through the writings of Tertullian (one person, two natures). The debates over the nature of Christ primarily took place in the East.This definition is the standard of Christological orthodoxy for Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
31 Orthodox Definition of the Hypostatic Union Christ is one person who exists forevermore in two complete natures: God and Man.Presentation Notes:While it might be difficult to come to an evangelical consensus on the exact nature of the hypostatic union, this definition serves as a hallmark of Christological faith that orthodoxy has adhered to by confession.
32 Chacedonian divideRoman Catholics: Christ is both full divine and fully man. The controlling force within Christ was his Deity. He neither had faith or hope since this would undermine his deity. Even from his mother’s womb, he was aware of all things being omniscient. He exercised all the attributes of his deity at all times during his life.Heretical Bent: docetismPresentation Notes:These views are most representative of Thomas Aquinas and are not necessarily the consensus among all Roman Catholics. Many modern Roman Catholics such as Karl Rahner place more emphasis on Christ humanity speaking of an “evolving messianic consciousness.” It should also be noted that many protestant evangelicals would hold to this position.“Heretical Bent” expresses the Christological heresy into which this view is in dander of slipping.
33 Chacedonian divideLutheran: Christ is both full divine and fully man. In the incarnation, Christ’s humanity fully contained his deity (finitum capax infiniti). While there is no confusion in the natures, there is an intermingling of the properties of each nature (communicatio idiomatum).Heretical Bent: MonophysitismPresentation Notes:This view is evidenced in the Lutheran view of the Lord’s supper. Luther held to real realistic view of the presence of the body and blood in the bread and wine claiming that, because of the hypostatic union, Christ’s body (humanity) was omnipresent as his deity. Therefore, Christ, in his humanity, could be present at more than one place at one time since the “property” of omnipresence intermingles in the union. This communication of Christ’s divine attributes to his humanity is why Luther was often accused of the heresy of monophysitism.
34 Chacedonian divideReformed: Christ is both full divine and fully man. In the incarnation, Christ’s humanity cannot contain his deity (finitum non capax infiniti). Therefore, Christ exists in the humanity of Jesus, and in the eternity of the Second Person of the Trinity. The unity of the natures is in one person. There is only one state of consciousness contained fully in Christ.Heretical Bent: NestorianismPresentation Notes:This is understandable when one considers the eternal, immutable nature of the Second Person of the Trinity. How could the infinite become finite? The traditional Reformed answer is that it cannot. Christ, even while a babe in the manger, was the Creator who was still hold all things together. It is difficult to avoid the charge of Nestorianism when Christ is functioning in roles that were not present in the incarnation. Although, most would be quick to point out that there was not a separate consciousness of existence who was functioning as the Second Person of the Trinity, but in the person of Christ is the one and indivisible single conscience.
35 Illustrations Fire and iron Presentation Notes: This is an illustration that was promoted by John of Damascus who stated that the two natures of Christ interpenetrate each other like fire and iron.Fire and iron
36 Light: waves and particles IllustrationsPresentation Notes:This is a modern illustration. It expresses that there is one light with two natures.Light: waves and particles
37 Eyes: two eyes, one vision IllustrationsPresentation Notes:This was an illustration used by John Calvin. There are two eyes (natures) with one vision (person).Eyes: two eyes, one vision
38 Humanity of Christ in History UnityDiversityNaturePersonsPersonNaturesTrinityReferences:Taken from John Hannah, CAMCH, 68.Christ
39 Apollinarianism Nestorianism Monophysitism HeresyTeachingProponentsCondemnedApollinarianismChrist was God who took on a human body without a human mind.Apollinarius(ca )Council of Constantinople 381NestorianismChrist was fully man and fully God, and these two natures were united in purpose, not person.Nestorius(d. ca. 451)Council of Ephesus 431MonophysitismChrist’s human nature was integrated with his divine nature forming a new nature.Eutyches(ca )Council of Chalcedon 451
40 Problem PassagesWhat did Christ mean when He said in the garden, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42)?Presentation Notes:While the answer to this question is difficult to determine, the most common answer to this is usually Nestorian. Most would claim that Christ’s human side became so weak that he wanted to reevaluate his option concerning redemption, hoping that their might be another way, while his divine side knew that there was no way. The difficulty with interpretation is that it separates his humanity from his deity to the point that their wills contradict one another. The human will wanted one thing and the divine will wanted something different. This separates Christ into two persons.The best explanation may be that Christ was making this statement didactically (i.e. to teach). He did not seriously think that there way another way, but he stated this in order to show us that there was no other way for redemption to be accomplished.
41 Problem PassagesWhat did Christ mean when he said in Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone”? How could he, being God, not know something?Presentation Notes:This passage, like Luke 22:42, is notoriously difficult to understand and places many Christological paradigms in jeopardy. What seems to be the best answer is that Christ, being man, did not draw upon his attributes of deity, but was lead by the Holy Spirit. Most specifically, he did not draw upon his omniscience since it would have violated the “rules of engagement.” All that he did, then, would be in submission to the Father, and by the power of the Spirit. This is seen by some as necessary in order for him to represent us as the “Second Adam.” In summary then, his witness was verified by extraordinary signs performed through him by the Holy Spirit, and while he did exercise divine prerogatives (e.g. forgiving sin, speaking with the authority of God), he never exercised his divine attributes. Although I would not be dogmatic about this position.
42 Problem PassagesWhen Christ stated on the Cross, “My God My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46), was it his human nature or his divine nature that was forsaken?Presentation Notes:This is a trick question. If you choose one or the other, you have divided the person of Christ. When Christ was forsaken, he was forsaken as a whole person. A nature was not forsaken, a person was.No one knows exactly what it meant that Christ was forsaken, what seems clear is that this is the point in which Christ became sin for our salvation. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
46 Incarnation“Many people have sought to be God, but only one God has sought to be man.”
47 Incarnation Definition: Lat. in carne, “in flesh.” The understanding the that the eternal Son of God became flesh.
48 IncarnationJohn 1:14“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
49 Incarnation Virgin birth Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit in a woman who had never had any sexual relationship. He, therefore, did not have any male seed contributing to his humanity.
50 IncarnationLuke 1:34-35“Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.’”
51 Facts about the virgin birth: IncarnationFacts about the virgin birth:The miracle is in the conception, not the birth.It is said to fulfill a prophecy predicted in Isa. 7:14 (Matt. 1:22-23).Matthew and Luke are the only two to explicitly mention the virgin birth.The birth narratives give no theological interpretation as to why Christ was born of a virgin other than the fulfillment of prophecy.It was not part of the early Christian Kerygma.Kerygma: Term used to describe the essential content of the early Christian or Apostolic message. It included, among other things, the death and resurrection of Christ.
52 Why was Christ born of a virgin? IncarnationWhy was Christ born of a virgin?
53 IncarnationPossible reasons for the virgin birth:
54 Incarnation To fulfill the prophecy in Isa. 7:14. Presentation Notes: Although this prophecy, in its Old Testament context, would not have been interpreted as referring to a future birth through a virgin, but to a present birth through a young woman. What is clear is that Matthew, writing under the inspiration of the Spirit, stated that Christ’s birth was a fulfillment of this passage and, therefore, give the passage further significance.
55 Incarnation To point to the uniqueness of Christ. Presentation Notes: Matthew and Luke both undoubtedly include the virgin birth narratives to point to the uniqueness of who Christ was and to foreshadow the importance of the advent.
56 Incarnation To substantiate his deity. Presentation Notes: While it is hard to say whether or not the incarnation could have been possible if Christ had been born of both the seed of woman and man, the conception of the Holy Spirit definitely points to the divine nature of Christ.
57 Incarnation To substantiate his humanity. Presentation Notes: It is conceivable that Christ could have been an originally created man with no human ancestry, but it seems that this would have negated his identification with humanity since all of humanity finds its common origin in Adam, the first man. Therefore, Christ was probably born of a woman (instead of miraculously appearing on the earth one day) so that he would be genetically linked to our humanity in order to have the credentials to redeem us.
58 Incarnation So that he would not have imputed sin and inherited sin. Presentation Notes:See next slide for illustration of what imputed sin is. This assumes that Adamic guilt and nature (imputed sin and inherited sin) are mediated though the Father and not the mother. While this seems reasonable, we must be careful since there is no explicit teaching about this in Scripture. The necessity of the virgin birth is a mystery.
59 The Effect of Adam’s Sin Imputed Sin/Guilt: Rom. 5:12, 18Inherited Sin: Ps. 51:5
60 IncarnationSo that he might be the “Second Adam,” undoing the failures of the first Adam (recapitulation).Presentation Notes:Christ, as many have believed throughout Church history, redeems us because of his death and life. In his life, Christ, the second Adam, did what the first Adam could not do—live a sinless life. This was known early in Church history as the recapitulation theory of the atonement. Irenaeus (fl. c.175-c.195) was the first to espouse it.
61 Incarnation“It was fitting, surely that just as death had entered into the human race because of the disobedience of man, so by the obedience of man, life should be restored. Further, just as the sin that was the cause of our condemnation had is origin in a woman, it was equally fitting that the author of our justification and salvation should be born of a woman. It was also fitting that the devil, who conquered man by tempting him to taste of the fruit of the tree, should be conquered by a man through suffering he endured on the wood of a tree. There are also many other things which, carefully considered, show a certain indescribable beauty in this manner of accomplishing our redemption.”–AnselmReferences:Anselm, “Why God Became Man,” chap. 3 in Why God Became Man and the Virgin Conception and the Original Sin, tran. Joseoh M. Colleran (Albany, N.Y.: Magi, 1969), 68.