At the core of the incarnation mystery is the second person of the Trinity becoming something that he had never been before. John 1:3 (ESV) says, “All things were made through him and without him was not any thing made that was made.” It was his power and brilliance that spoke the universe into existence. God the Father purposed it. The Spirit of God energized it. But the Son of God was the agent doing it so we are right to say God created the heavens and the earth AND that Jesus made the heavens and the earth.
Creation includes human flesh, human bodies including all our nooks and crannies. Did he know when he made man that one day he would become one? Undoubtedly. It makes you wonder if as he made Adam’s body out of the ground he may have thought, Someday….
Let’s talk about two natures, one person. First, why is this confusing? We are one nature, one person people. One in one. I have one human nature and I am one person. Just to test this, does anyone have more than one body? Anyone wish they had another body? Anyone have more than one human nature? No. We are one in one. Two in one is strange.
This is where the declaration of the angel to Mary is so perplexing, “Therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35) What? We humans are sons and daughters of other humans. We have a human mom and a human dad. It’s pretty simple and glorious to hear your child as I did this week say, “Dada!” (much to Mama’s dismay). The Son of God was born to a woman with a full human nature AND a full God nature as well?
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
This passage is part of Paul’s overall appeal to the Philippians to humble themselves toward each other and to serve one another. Exhibit A? Jesus himself, who did not consider his place with God and equality with God as entitlements he was unwilling to lay aside. Rather, he divested himself of his rights and became a man.
Being human is all we have ever known. But in becoming human, Jesus became what he had not been before. In fact, a theology formulation says it very succinctly, “Remaining what he was, he became what he was not.” (Gregory of Naziansen)
That says it quite well. The man Jesus didn’t become God. Jesus pre-existed as the Son of God; becoming human was the new thing. He became what he had not been without ceasing to be what he had always been.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
©2013 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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