The Humanity of God
'Our Humanity Is What We Share with God'
Placing this chapter on humanity ahead of chapter 4 dealing with the plan of God presented me with some difficulties. First, God had to have a plan before anything was created. In chapter 1 we demonstrated the cosmos and everything in it was caused by a sovereign God. We now ask the question“Why did God create!”. The secular world has no answer to “Why are we here.” For them the Big Bang was a matter of chance. But we theists believe God revealed His plan of creation in His book we call the Holy Bible. His plan is outlined in the following chapter .
I see Humanity as the key to God and His creative plan. I believe man is at the center of God’s plan of creation, and man is the answer to the question “Why He created.”
God says as much in Isaiah 34:1&7: “1But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 7Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”
Adhering to Occam’s Razor, i.e “the simplest explanation is probably the correct one.” I hold that we are human because God is human.(notably the Lord Jesus Christ). But theologians are wont to complicate the matter. What other source is there? Man is the reason for God’s creation. God created us in His own image, with a certain nature based on His own human characteristics. This is the answer to the question “What is human nature?” Secularists keep trying to answer that question by comparing man with the rest of creation, whereas I see the answer resides in comparing man to the attributes of God. Those attributes are derived from Scripture. With Jesus, man and God become one(1 Corinthians 12:27).
Questions about the nature of our humanity and the reason for our existence have been at the forefront of man’s thinking from time immemorial. Here I have arrived at what I now consider new theological ground.
Although biblical wisdom offers solutions as to the purpose of life, no singular dogmatic idea of one eternal unchanging truth is universally accepted. It is only by believing God that we can answer the question, “What is man?” There has never been a consensus among worldly traditions on how to understand human nature or the meaning and purpose of life, other than for each individual to forge his or her own sense of self-understanding, meaning, and purpose. The world’s secularists offer no pre-given purpose of existence. It was only with the advent of God’s written Word that man finally found satisfactory answers to this dilemma.
God created man out of the dust of the earth.
“The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7). The exact mechanism remains a mystery, but God gathered together the dust of the earth, formed it into a human body, and then breathed on it giving it life. "Spirit" and "breath" are the same word in a number of languages, including Greek and Hebrew. God's breath is his Spirit. He exhaled his breath, and the figure that he had formed became a living being. Human beings have not only an earthly origin but a divine origin. His image and his likeness, something that corresponds to God, was given us from the very beginning. The recipe of dust of the earth plus God’s breath emphasizes the supernatural power of God and the unique nature of humanity. No other living creature was formed in this manner—so much for evolution from apes. With the rest of creation, God had simply spoken things into existence, but God does things differently with man. God could have chosen to create humans in any way He desired. However, Scripture records the particular way He did create—using both natural material (dust) and supernatural power to give humans a unique place in the cosmos. After Adam, the remainder of mankind is the result of procreation.
What is Man?
When God created man just what exactly did He create? God knows exactly what He created, but today as we attempt to answer that question for ourselves, based on our own knowledge, we have many questions that remain unanswered. So what do we really know about man?
Actually we know a great deal about man beyond what God revealed to us in Scripture. Today we know procreated Man as a biological being with a physical body, and a spiritual soul. Today we know exactly the mechanics of the gestation period, it is no longer a mystery. Today we know exactly whether a fetus in the womb is a male or a female. Today we know before that fetus is born whether it will be a healthy child, a still birth, a vegetable, physically deformed, some degree of Downs Syndrome or some other similar defect. Today we know man’s lifetime can vary from one day after birth to about as long as 120 years. Today we know man’s intellect can vary from a state of idiocy to profound brilliance. Today we know man has five senses.
This may not be a complete list of what man knows about himself, but it is sufficient to make the point that man at birth and beyond can exist in a wide variety of states, none of which he himself chose. All of these factors fit a scientific normal distribution curve (degrees of variation). Every man who has ever been born is a dot on a normal distribution curve. Therefore, each person born(based on science) is a unique product of “the luck of the draw”. We know there is no such thing as luck of the draw. But this “luck” is God-given and providential, we just don’t know how. We believe God is in complete control of everything in His creation. One thing we do know for certain is that Scripture tells us each person has a God-imputed soul prior to birth (Psalm 139:13–16; Isaiah 44:24).
"Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?"
This is one of the most difficult questions in all of theology, and is the ground for atheism. So we ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The biblical answer is there are no “good” people. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that all of us are tainted by and infected with sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). Romans 3:10-12 could not be clearer about the non-existence of good” people: turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. “10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Every second we spend alive is only by the grace and mercy of God. Even the most terrible misery we could experience on this planet is merciful compared to what we deserve.We could turn the question around and ask, “Why does God allow good things to happen to bad people?” Romans 5:8 declares, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Despite the evil, wicked, sinful nature of the people of this world, God still loves everyone. He loved us enough to die to take the penalty for our sins (Romans 6:23). If we receive Jesus Christ as Savior (John 3:16; Romans 10:9), and truly believe Paul’s gospel(I Cor. 15:1), we will be forgiven and promised an eternal home in heaven (Romans 8:1).
Yes, sometimes bad things happen to people who seem undeserving of them. But God allows things to happen for His reasons, whether or not we understand them. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8). Above all, however, we believe that God is good, just, loving, and merciful. Often things happen to us that we simply cannot understand. However, instead of doubting God's goodness, our reaction should be to trust Him. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Theologians and Humanity
In all of my research of the theological literature I have yet to find a comprehensive work that recognizes the significance of God’s humanity and its relationship to His grand plan for man. The noted Danish theologian Søren Kierkegaard skirted all over the place with this question, and is now recognized as the author of existentialism. He proposed that “Man is his own essential ‘nothingness’ ” and must create his own particular "being" by taking on the responsibility of providing his own definition. Man is his own radical freedom, in that nothing constrains him save himself, and to be human means simply to be this self-defining creature, to be whatever one decides one wants to become. Each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely. Thus, human beings, through their own consciousness, create their own values and determine a meaning to their life. In my opinion Kierkegaard failed because it is evident he did not rely totally on the Word of God, if he had he would have reached a different conclusion. Emmanuel Swedenborg, an intellect of renoun, is another who is cited for his theology of the God/human concept, but, because of his outlandish non-scriptural venture into mysticism and his questionable sanity, I do not consider him a credible source.
Probably the best work on the subject at hand is found under the great theologian Karl Barth in his book titled “The Humanity of God”. The book consists of three sections - the first is an essay on his overview of nineteenth century theology. The second essay is the one from which the book's title is taken - the Humanity of God. This is an essay on Barth's Christology, in which he looks at God's divinity and humanity in Jesus Christ. The following quote from his book addresses the question nicely: “ God requires no exclusion of humanity, no non-humanity, not to speak of inhumanity, in order to be truly God. But we may and must, however, look further and recognize the fact that actually God’s deity encloses humanity in itself.” Barth asserted that the reason that God can be present with humanity in time is that humanity is present in God’s eternity. This arresting belief that God is in some way human from all eternity—that humanity is eternally enclosed in the second person of the Godhead—is the core of Barth’s entire theology, a position I can totally identify with.
Since the Fall of man in the Garden, God wills the redemption of the human race through the person of Jesus Christ. Barth made the daring argument that from the very beginning, from before the foundation of the world, God the Father intends fellowship with humanity through the man Jesus Christ. As he put it, God is the eternal “partisan” of the human race—not as a response to human sin, but as the first and original will of God. God whose eternal identity aims at the vindication of the human race. What takes place in God from everlasting to everlasting is nothing less than “the affirmation of man.” Barth holds that if we believe in God – a creative Divine Source to our life - then surely the Divine nature must contain within itself the source of our truly human qualities albeit at a level of perfection we can scarcely imagine. So, if we can express in some imperfect way love and compassion for others this human love that springs from God’s love - an unconditional love that has no limits and no boundaries and is shared equally with all. And a similar principle applies to all the qualities that make up true humanity. And this is why we can talk about the Humanity of God – because those qualities of love and wisdom which in us make us truly human first arise perfectly in God. God is truly Human and we are only really human when we reflect God’s image and likeness into the world around us. The last section of his book deals with the issue of human freedom, and how this freedom is in fact a gift from God.
Barth’s pivotal belief is that God is not known through spiritual striving, moral reason, or historical experiences. God is known solely through God himself. He claims that knowledge of God can come only from God himself. This led him to ground his theology entirely within Christ, God’s self-expression in history. God himself became historical and empirical. In Christ, God becomes present to us from within, from below, in flesh.
Barth set off in a decades-long attempt to inscribe all Christian thought within the scope of the Bible. As even those who opposed the idea conceded, there was something captivating about his constant effort to interpret everything in light of the biblical story of salvation. God’s intervention in history was totally dedicated to linking the human mind to God. Barth argued, with strenuous verve, that Jesus Christ is also the source, ground, and goal of all created being. A contingent historical event, the life of a first-century Jew, could be recognized as the universal truth of all reality.
Treating the person of Christ as the ultimate cause and explanation of all things. Christology provided Barth with exclusive access to the questions traditionally seen as falling within the domain of philosophy. He argued that in Christ and only in Christ can one encounter the true and the good, the intelligible form through which all things were made. In this respect his theology worked much like a more classical style of philosophy, invoking Christ to explore the “principles” or “beginnings” of things. “In the history of Jesus,” he wrote, “we have to do with the reality which underlies and precedes all other reality.”
Having rooted theology completely within Christology, Barth asserted that the reason that God can be present with humanity in time is that humanity is present in God’s eternity. This arresting belief that God is in some way human from all eternity—that humanity is eternally enclosed in the second person of the Godhead— God eternally wills the redemption of the human race through the person of Jesus Christ. This is the core of Barth’s entire theology with which I wholeheartedly subscribe.
I am in total agreement with Barth’s theology of God’s humanity. However, we part company on his concept of Satan and our inability to know God. It appears that for whatever reason he lost his Scriptural bearings on those matters. Other than that, I view him as the greatest theologian since the Reformation.
In addition to Barth, the only other credible theologian that I found who dealt in depth with the humanity of God was Edward Schillebeeckx, a Belgian Roman Catholic theologian born in Antwerp in 1914, who died 23 December 2009. In some of his writings Schillebeeckx does address the humanity of God and its connection to man, the image of God, but he fails to complete his theology to my satisfaction as does Barth.
After reviewing his biography by several writers, and their evaluation of his theological works, it became clear to me that Schillebeeckx is a product of the Roman church and as such his overall theology remains biased. Though he attempts to remain independent, his theology is constrained within the context of Roman Catholic thought. In spite of this, I consider him a brilliant thinker, and have included some portions of his thinking on the humanity of God in my thesis.
Beyond those theologians cited above, I was baffled that so few of the world’s great scholars and theologians have ignored this all-important aspect in the plan of God.
Many theologians skirt around the edges of those aspects of God’s humanity to which I am addressing, and I place them within an area of thought called Theological Anthropology. This is a buzz-word term used by theologians which pertains to man and his relationship to God. However, the use of the word anthropology is a tip-off that these Christian theologians have become self-absorbed by adopting much of the thinking of secular anthropology, thus divorcing themselves from the God-imputed spirituality of man. By doing so, they see only half the picture, thereby missing the main thrust of God’s humanity.
The scriptural basis of the humanity of God
God made man compatible with Himself, so we can reach out and learn to love as He does.. And Scripture makes it so clear when it says that after we die and are resurrected we will be like Him(1 Corinthians 15:35-49). That sounds so simple and clear doesn’t it? Yet theologians have interpreted those verses a dozen different ways, and have written volumes in an attempt to explain the dual nature(divine/human) of Jesus to their satisfaction, and yet they remain at an impasse. My answer is to leave it as it is written, believe it, and as God has promised, someday we will understand. The following are Scriptures that support both his divinity and his humanity.
Isa. 9:6; Matt. 11:27; 16:16; Mark 2:5-7; Luke 5:20-22; 9:20; John 1:1; 1:14; 2:19, 21; 3:13, 31; 5:18; 6:38; 8:58; 9: 38; 10:17; 10:30; 13:3; 14:9; 14:23; 16:15; 16:28; 17:8; 17:21-23; 20:28; Romans 9:5; 1 Cor. 10:3-4; 15:47; 18:4-6; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-17, 19; 2:9; 1 Tim. 1:17; 2:5; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:2-3, 8-11; 2:7, 9, 14, 16; 13:8; 1 John 5:20; Rev. 1:8, 17; 2:8; 3:14.
Matt. 1:1, 18-25; 4:2; 26:38; Luke 1:26-38; 9:58; 22:44; John 1:14; 11:33-35; 19:28, 34; Romans 9:5; 1 Cor. 15:3; Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Tim. 2:5; 3:16; Heb. 2:14-15, 17-18; 4:15; 10:5; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 4:2; 2 John 7.
The two natures of Jesus in Scripture
He is worshiped (Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33) He worshiped the Father (John 17)
He was called God (John 20:28; Heb. 1:8) He was called man (Mark 15:39; John 19:5)
He was called Son of God (Mark 1:1) He was called Son of Man (John 9:35-37)
He is prayed to (Acts 7:59) He prayed to the Father (John 17)
He is sinless (1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15) He was tempted (Matt. 4:1)
He knows all things (John 21:17) He grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52)
He gives eternal life (John 10:28) He died (Rom. 5:8)
All the fullness of deity dwells in Him He has a body of flesh and bones
(Col. 2:9) (Luke 24:39)
Genesis 1:26 says that God created man in His own image and likeness. Since God is Spirit,(John 4:24), the image and likeness was of the spirit. A different statement is made about the physical body of man, "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground," Genesis 2:7. Here we see what was created in God’s own image and what was physically formed from the ground, the spiritual versus the material. Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us what happens at death, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
Paul says it this way: "though the outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day." This verse parallels Genesis in referring to the spirit as man and also the body as man while we generally think only of the combination of the two together as being "man." But, the fact is that just the spirit created in the image and likeness of God is called "man."
The Hebrew word, bara, in Genesis 1:26, refers to God’s creative power, as it does also in Genesis 1:1. It emphasizes bringing something into existence. Thus it is used of man’s creation in the image and likeness of God. A different word, yatsar, is used in Genesis 2:7 to tell us that man was formed from the dust of the ground. The ground that God used had already been created from nothing and was now used to form the physical man. Yatsar means to fashion something , even as Paul says in I Timothy 2:13 that "Adam was first formed, then Eve." The Greek word here, plasso, means to mould or shape, as in clay or wax.
The physical body of man was fashioned, molded, shaped from clay according to a blueprint in the mind of God but it was not shaped in the image and likeness of God because God is not a physical being. Genesis 5:3 says that Adam begat a son, Seth, "in his own likeness, after his image." Seth was "the spitting image of his father."
Image and likeness in Genesis 1:26 are nearly synonyms. The word ‘likeness’ rather than diminishing the word ‘image’ actually amplifies it and specifies its meaning. Man is not just an image but a likeness-image. He is not simply representative but representational. Image, likeness, semblance, representation. In Greek thought an image shares in the reality of what it represents. The essence of the thing appears in the image.
The spirit that would inhabit human flesh was in the likeness-image of the creator; God, Himself, was the model. The created human spirit is the essence of the creator. When the text says "male and female created He them," it only means that the spirit of both sexes was created by God in His own image and likeness.
Though created in the image and likeness of God, man was not given the special attributes, characteristics, abilities or powers that make God to be God. But, there is that part of God wherein He did give to man the characteristics of His own particular kind of spirit. Colossians 3:10 tells us this about the image of God, "...and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him." "Knowledge" in this passage refers to the processes of a reasoning intellect. A spirit created in the likeness and image of God is a self-aware, intelligent, imaginative, perceptive, reasoning, emotional, aesthetic being, having storage and recall of events (memory) and the ability to reason, communicate and act.
II Corinthians 5:1-10 draws the distinction between the spirit and the "earthly house of our tabernacle" that dissolves, returning to dust at death. Verse 10 says, "For we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
The phrase "in the body,” or, literally, as "through the body." Here the preposition is dia, meaning through. The spirit thus functions in the body in the sense of functioning through the body. Throughout II Corinthians 5, shows the spirit as self-aware, intelligent, reasoning person, with a memory, a will and range of emotions. The physical brain is simply the interface between the spirit within and the world around it. Any damage to the physical brain only affects the interface. Drugs, alcohol, destruction of brain neurons and injuries that cause impairment only affect the interface, the connection with the spirit within. It is through this interface of the body that the spirit learns and acts.
We are also created with a moral image that is after God. "put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth," Ephesians 4:24. "God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions," Ecclesiastes 7:29. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world," John 2:16.
We do not get these lusts from God; we are not created with them. This is one way we understand that man is not born totally depraved, disposed by nature to sin, unable to do a good thing or think a good thought. We are created in the image of our God in righteousness and holiness, morally upright. So, we are taught in Ephesians 4:17-24 that we are not to walk as the Gentiles walk, "in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who being past feeling gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."
Here is an attitude of mind, a condition of the heart, as well as the sinful acts that result. Take special notice that the working of all uncleanness with greediness followed the corruption of their mind! But, they did that to themselves; it was not God’s doing, they were not created to be that way. Paul continues by saying we are to put off the old man, "that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth."
We are created with a moral condition of righteousness and holiness of truth, a common testimony of scripture. Though we can pervert, change or destroy this moral image by ungodly imagination and sinful conduct, we cannot change the nature of "spirit" that’s within us. The physical body can die but the godly and wicked alike continue to exist as self-aware, intelligent spirit beings, able to remember, reason and communicate.
A spirit is not just a bundle of characteristics, though we have no idea about its exact composition. We know Jesus said that a spirit does not have flesh and bones, Luke 24:39, so it is not made of material substance. The body is made of dust and returns to dust. It is a temporary tabernacle for the spirit.
Samuel appeared before those assembled at the house of the witch of Endor, I Samuel 28:15ff. His body had decayed long before. Yet, Samuel was still Samuel. He was self-aware, knew where he was, had memories of events, could communicate and still prophesy. Much the same can be said of the rich man in Luke 16:23ff, though he and Samuel had gone to different places. The rich man was aware of where he was, had his memories intact, could communicate from his intellect and had a will and emotions. At the Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared with the transformed Jesus, though their bodies had long since returned to dust. They conversed with Jesus and thus showed that their full faculties still existed. The only thing any of them lacked in order to be what they once were was their physical bodies, which were nothing but dust without the spirits. Such instances as these tell us about the nature of spirits that are in the image and likeness of God.
Since our spirits are created in God’s image and likeness, we understand that what we are as spirits, God already was, perfectly! Except for a physical body with its own peculiar needs and functions, God was already everything that man is before man was ever created! God was that way from eternity. Note that all of the ungodliness, wickedness, perverse imagination, evil desires and whatever else might go into such a category, did not come from God; man in the flesh invented and originated all of that.
What may be common experiences or situations among all of humankind are not necessarily essentials to the nature of man. That is, ungodly thoughts and conduct are common in humanity, all men do sin, but such is not the nature of mankind. This is why it says in Romans 1:26-27, "For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due."
Many of the characteristics of man are attributed to God in the Scriptures. For example, He was ‘grieved’ (Judges 10:16), ‘shall not my soul be avenged’ (Jeremiah 5:29), ‘My soul loathed them’ (Zechariah 11:8), ‘loving kindness, great goodness, mercies, He was afflicted, in His pity, His holy spirit was vexed’ (Isaiah 63:7-10), ‘My soul hath no pleasure in him’ (Hebrews 10:38)."
We are too prone to believe that God got these characteristics from man-not the other way around. All of these passages show us something about God, the original model for man, who had all of these characteristics before the universe was created, long before He ever created man!
GOD IS SELF-AWARE: When God told Moses in Exodus 3:14-15 that "I AM," He declared His eternal nature, of which He was fully aware. The entire Bible declares that God is aware of who He is and what He does.
GOD REMEMBERS, HAS A MEMORY: This, too, is self-evident from scripture. For instance, Isaiah 63:11 says that "he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people..."
GOD HAS A MIND: Leviticus 24:12 says, "And they put him in ward, that the mind of the Lord might be shewed them." Jeremiah 32:35 says, "...which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination..." Romans 11:34 asks, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord?"
GOD HAS A WILL: I Peter 2:15 says, "For so is the will of God..." In Acts 13:22, God speaks of David as "a man after my heart, who shall do all my will."
GOD DETERMINES: Acts 2:23 says, "him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God."
GOD REASONS: Isaiah 1:18 says, "Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord." This shows that we are made in God’s image and likeness with an ability to reason with Him.
GOD DISCERNS: Genesis 3:22 says, "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever ..."
GOD PLANS AND PURPOSES: Ephesians 1:11 says, "in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will." There are several characteristics of God in this passage.
GOD HAS A HEART: Genesis 6:6 says that the sins of man "grieved him at his heart." Genesis 8:21 says, "And the Lord smelled a sweet savior; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake."
GOD COMMUNICATES: This is evident throughout the Bible. God has spoken to man and revealed His will to man.
All of these items show a self-aware reasoning being, with a memory, will and the ability to communicate. These describe the nature of a spirit. In addition, aesthetics and emotions have always been a part of God.
GOD HAS A SOUL: This is the seat of emotions. So, just as God, who is spirit, has a heart, He also has a soul. Judges 10:16 says, "And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." Zechariah 11:8 says, "Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me." Notice the same fact of God having a soul and the human shepherds each had a soul, along with the same emotional reaction of all souls involved.
GOD HAS A SENSE OF ORDER AND APPRECIATES BEAUTY: Repeatedly, God pronounced on His creation, Genesis 1:9ff that "it was good." Genesis 1:31 then declares, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."
GOD DESIRES: The word, ghah-mad, means "to desire, to covet," Micah 2:2 says of men, "And they covet fields, and take them by violence." Proverbs 1:22 speaks of some who "delight in their scorning." Yet, in Psalm 68:16 it says of God, "Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever." The wicked may turn desire into things that are wrong. God has desire that is completely pure, yet it is still desire.
GOD GRIEVES: The word refers to feelings of sorrow, emotional pain, that are common to both God and man. We saw in Judges 10:16 that God was "grieved for the misery of Israel." In Genesis 6:6, the grief is applied in another direction wherein God was "grieved at his heart" that He had made man. The Holy Spirit can also, as expected, be grieved, Ephesians 4:30.
GOD CAN BE ANGERED: Psalm 95:10-11 says, "Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest." See also, Numbers 11:1, 25:3, both showing that God reacts to provocation.
GOD IS GENTLE, LOVING, KIND AND SHOWS PITY: The most concise statement is found in Isaiah 63:7-9, "I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old."
So, when it says that "Jesus wept," He didn’t need a created human spirit there to do the weeping. When God grieves it shows a different emotional reaction from His wrath but the grief is just as deep an emotion as the wrath. God had to have a physical body to shed tears even though He wept many times before He came into this world; the emotion was there but a physical reaction was not.
When it says in the New Testament that Jesus’ soul or spirit was troubled, it does not require a "human" spirit to experience the troubling. God has always had a soul that showed emotions. God has always had "human" emotions.
These verses are enough to show the model after which human spirits are created, from Adam to the present. Our spirits are created in this image and likeness which demonstrates the humanity of God; He has always been like this. So, we cannot say that these are characteristics of man that are now to be attributed to God, as though He got them from us.
Always remember that even the spirit of man, by itself, without a physical body, is referred to by the word "man" in scripture. We saw this in Genesis 1:26 where God said "Let us make man in our image after our likeness." Specifically, that was the spirit and it is referred to, of itself, as "man," just as the body that was "formed" is referred to as "man" in Genesis 2:7. II Corinthians 4:16 says that as the inner man is renewed day by day, the outer man decays. Romans 7:22, Ephesians 3:16 and I Peter 3:4 all speak of the inner man, the spirit.
Being the original instead of the image, it isn’t strange that the Divine Spirit is referred to by the word "man." I Corinthians 15:47 says, "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is of heaven."
This contrast between Adam and Jesus emphasizes origin. "Of the earth" is from ek geis, literally "out of earth." Adam originated here, on this earth and from this earth. The phrase, ex ouranou, means "out of heaven," and is found in numerous places in scripture. Matthew 21:25-26 says, "The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven or from men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, From men; we fear the multitude; for all hold John as a prophet." This literally is "out of heaven" as the other phrase is "out of men." A like statement is John 3:31, "He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he "speaketh: he that cometh from heaven is above all.” John is talking about Jesus, the lamb of God, the Son of God, the Christ, as can be seen in preceding verses and chapters. He is the one who came "out of heaven." In John 6:58, Jesus said, speaking of Himself. "This is the bread which came down out of heaven: not as the fathers ate, and died; he that eateth this bread shall live forever."
He identifies Himself as Jesus, the son of man who was sent by the Father, who "came down out of heaven." The phrase "out of heaven" here is ex ouranou, the same as in I Corinthians 15:47. This is His origin. Then in John 6: 62, it says, "What then if ye should behold the Son of man ascending where he was before?"
He came from out of heaven, and ascended to where He was before. But, the Son of man of verse 62 is the Son of man of verse 53 who is identified as Jesus in the same verse. He was man before He came into the world just as He was the Son of man before He came here. To emphasize that point, look at John 3:13, "And no one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven."
Therefore, we conclude that Jesus was man, even Son of man, before He ever came to earth! That is because He was everything that He placed in His creation, created in His own image. We asked before concerning Samuel, or even the rich man in Hades: What did they have to add in order to be everything they were in life on earth? The answer is "only the physical bodies!" Just so with God the Word. All He lacked to be a perfect human male was a physical body.
Jesus is God’s Humanity
The conception of Jesus in the virgin Mary was not exactly like the rest of mankind. More about that later on. He had a human mother but not a human father. It was accomplished by Divine power with the entire Godhead participating. Luke 1:34-35 says, "And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God."
The Divine Spirit, God the Word, bonded with the flesh at conception in Mary; "the word became flesh and dwelt among us," John 1:14. It was as much a "conception" in Mary as it was with Elizabeth, seeing the same word is used concerning both women. The same kind of bonding of spirit and flesh occurred with the Divine Word and Mary as occurred with Elizabeth and the spirit that was John. This bonding of the Divine Spirit produced the life of the flesh. That much is just like every human that ever walked this earth. This would not be a spirit possession, neither would it be just a form assumed for the moment. God came into the world bonding with the flesh of humanity, grew to manhood, experienced what men experience in this life and died as a man dies when the Divine Spirit that had bonded with the flesh left that body. Though God had appeared to men in human form as theophanies, He had never done this before.
In this way, Jesus was both God and man. This was no mere putting on the flesh like one would put on a coat! God the Word had every characteristic of a human spirit before He became Jesus of Nazareth. With the characteristics of spirit that are shared by both God and man, He could function fully as a man in this world and that made Jesus the perfect bridge between God and man.
This is how, on the one hand, He was the genetic descendent of David and at the same time David’s Lord. This is how Jesus was the child born, the son given who was at the same time the Everlasting Father and God Almighty and the Son of God, Isaiah 9:6. This is how the one who made the world and is the very image of God’s substance could make purification for sins by offering his own blood as High Priest. He died on the cross just as any man would die. Hebrews 2:9 identifies Jesus as the one made a little lower than the angels, "because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man."
"Made lower" is from elattoo and means "to cause something to have less status or rank," All men are by birth lower than the angels, but, here was a particular one who was "made lower" than the angels and crowned with glory and honor. This one is the Son spoken of in Hebrews 1:2, the creator of 1:10 and the one to sit at the right hand of the Father of 1:13!
Now, let’s keep our pronouns straight. Hebrews 2:10 follows up by saying, "For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
The pronouns "he" in Hebrews 2:9 and "him" in verse 10, refer to Jesus! But, verse 10 explains that the "he" and the "Him" both refer to the one through whom all things were made and that takes us back to the God of Hebrews 1:10, "Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands."
The personal pronouns establish that Jesus is the Lord God who made all things and is also the one person who came into the world and tasted death for every man; they are one and the same! Now look at Hebews 2:14,17, "Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is the devil ... Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren ..."
Here is another set of the pronouns "he" and "him" that refer to this one who was made lower than the angels. But, the pronouns also point to the one who made all things, the Lord God the Son who is prophet, priest and king, Hebrews 1:1-14. We are looking at one person only!
There is a contrast between the verb tenses in Hebrews 2:14. "Sharers" is a perfect tense and "partook" is aorist. The word "sharers" shows there was something that all men had always shared in common, flesh and blood. But, there was a particular time when God "partook of the same," which was when He came into the world. God had not, up to that time, shared in the flesh and blood common to all men. On the other hand, God had always shared with man the nature of spirit! Hebrews 2:14 is talking about that area of man that God had not before then shared with mankind, the physical nature of man.
Some insist that the phrase "flesh and blood" refers to a whole human being, and it does in some places, but not always. I Corinthians 15:50 says that flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God, while the spirit will have that inheritance in a new spiritual body. "Flesh and blood" here refers to the physical body. Ephesians 6:12 says that our warfare is not against flesh and blood, the physical realm as opposed to the spiritual realm. In Hebrews 2:14, it refers to God bonding with a physical body in order to become a complete human. Two reasons are given for this in verse 14, the one is the result of the other.
He came in flesh and blood in order to die and He died in order that He might bring to nothing the one who had the power of death, that is, the devil. Again, who is the antecedent of the pronouns in "he also himself?" It’s the same one who created all things of verse 10. Notice I John 3:8, "To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." I Timothy 3:16 says it was God who was manifested in the flesh. It was the same flesh spoken of in Acts 2:27-31 that His soul was not left in Hades "nor did his flesh see corruption." Flesh in these passages refers to His physical body. God came in the flesh and died in order to destroy the works of the devil. This is also why Acts 20:28 says it was God who purchased the church with "his own blood."
Death is the separation of a spirit from a body. It was by the determined purpose of God, prophesied through the Old Testament, that Jesus would die in the manner that He did die. He partook of flesh and blood so that He could die. In order that who could die? God! But, the only way God could die was by bonding with a physical body like the rest of mankind. When He departed that body on the cross, it brought death. But, let’s look at this from another point of view in several passages in Isaiah: "Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he," 41:4. "Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first and I am the last and beside me there is no God," 44:6.
"Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together ... Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time it was, there am I: and now the Lord God, and his spirit, hath sent me," 48:12-13, 16.
Jehovah is speaking in these passages and being spoken of as well. The name "Jehovah" means "the one who is." He declares His eternal nature as God. Malachi 3:6 says, "For I am the Lord (Jehovah), I change not." The phrase in the above passages, "I am he," declares His name, His eternal existence, Exodus 3:14-15. Further, He is the creator, the one who laid the foundation of the earth, spanned the heavens and holds all things together. He is the first and the last. The one person to whom these points specifically apply is God the Word, John 1:1-3. He is the one who came in the flesh as Jesus so let’s now look at it from that viewpoint.
First, Jesus is identified as God, John 5:18, 10:30-33. He is eternal, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and for ever," Hebrews 13:8. Second, He is the "I am," John 8:24, 58, "Except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins ... before Abraham was born, I am." Third, He is the one who created all things as the primary creator for the Godhead, John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-17; and "in him all things consist." Fourth, He is the "first and the last" as is repeated in each of the above passages in Isaiah.
In Revelation 1:10-17, the Apostle John heard a voice and turned to see the one who spoke. He saw a glorious figure, one like unto a son of man, who identifies Himself by saying, "I am the first and the last," vs. 17. Revelation 21:6 adds the phrase, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end." These phrases are all put together in Revelation 22:13, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet. Thus, in three ways, "first and last" is emphasized. The passages in Isaiah, where this phrase is found, specifically identify God the Word who was made flesh and dwelt among us, John 1:14.
Revelation, chapters 2-3, contain letters to the seven churches of Asia. The speaker introduces each letter in those chapters by identifying Himself. He identifies Himself as the figure in chapter one by using the characteristics of the figure. For instance, the characteristics given in Revelation 1:12, 16, are repeated in Revelation 2:1, "These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, he that walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks," 2:1. "These thing saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like unto burnished brass," 2:18.
The characteristics of His eyes being like a flame of fire and his feet like burnished brass are directly from the figure in Revelation 1:14-15. The glorious figure whom John saw was the Son of God. That title certainly refers to God the Word, declaring that Jesus was God. Mark 1:1-3 says, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way ... Make ye ready the way of the Lord, make his paths straight."
Isaiah specifies that it is Jehovah for whom the paths were straightened, thus identifying Jesus as Jehovah. In two ways, Mark’s statements identify Jesus Christ as God: "Son of God" is one of those ways. I John 5:20 says, "And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life."
Keep the pronouns straight. The pronoun "his" in the phrase "his Son Jesus Christ," refers to God the Father. Otherwise, the pronouns refer to Jesus. The phrases "we know him that is true, and we are in him that is true" and "This is the true God, and eternal life," refer to Jesus the Son of God. Jesus is the one who is true and the true God and eternal life. I John 5:11 says, "And the witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his son. He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life."
These passages clearly identify the Son of God in Revelation 2:18, the glorious figure seen by John in chapter 1. It is Jesus Christ the Son of God, the true God.
Further, Revelation 3:14 identifies this glorious figure as "the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God." Here is God the Word, the one through whom all things came into existence, the creator.
The point is this: Revelation 1:17-18 says about this glorious figure, Jesus Christ the Son of God, the true God, Jehovah, the first and the last, the creator of all things, "And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last, the living one; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades." "These things saith the first and the last, who was dead and lived again," Revelation 2:8.The first and the last, the Lord God, the eternal one who is and was and is to come of both Isaiah and Revelation, said "I was dead!"
We can now see the point of Hebrews 2:14, 17-18? God, the creator of 2:10 partook of flesh and blood in order that He could die for us, just as the one who was first and last of Revelation, the Son of God, died for us? The same terms apply to one person, Jesus the Son of God.
God was bonded with human flesh, just like any other of mankind. The Divine Spirit left the body on the cross and Jesus died just like any man dies. The body without spirit is dead, James 2:26, and without the Divine Spirit the body was dead. This was not just a "human" sacrifice. This was the God/man who died for us. So, Acts 20:28 says, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood," KJV.
Some translations have changed this to "Lord" instead of "God." However, the Westcott/Hort, Nestle, Textus Receptus and Majority Greek texts all read "God." Further, the word "own," from idios, has a particular meaning. It may mean, "belonging to an individual - a. in contrast to what is public property or belongs to another: private, one’s own, peculiar to oneself."
The term is used in such passages as John 5:18, I Timothy 3:4, Romans 8:32. Acts 20:28 clearly says that God purchased the church with His own blood! That ties the blood of purchase to God. In the sense that God bonded with a physical body, He shed His own blood to purchase the church; He died for us. Titus 2:13-14 says, "looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works."
"God and Saviour" both apply equally to the same person, Jesus Christ. The great God and saviour "gave himself," meaning He died for us as a sacrifice. He thus "redeemed" us from all iniquity by the price of His own blood. But, there’s more. "But Christ having come a high priest of the good things to come, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption," Hebrews 9:11-12. "but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; henceforth expecting till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet," Hebrews 10:12-13.
It was through his "own" blood that redemption was obtained. We can now identify who is being spoken of here. First, Hebrews 1:1-3 says that God - "hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds; who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."
"but of the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever ... Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands: they shall perish; but thou continuest," Verses 8 and 10.
The one who is designated the Son, God, the creator of all things, the eternal, the very image of the substance of God is the same one who made purification for sins and then sat down on the right hand of the Father. Purification for sins identified His role as the High Priest who offered "his own blood" for our sins, and then sat down on the right hand of God.
In physical lineage, Jesus was to be a descendant of David. For instance, "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things for the churches. I am the root and offspring of David, the bright, the morning star," Revelation 22:16.
The first sentence of this passage identifies the speaker. He is the figure seen and heard by John in chapter one and further identified in chapters 2-3. He is the one who sent His angel to testify to the churches. He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the Lord God Almighty, the Son of God, the beginning of the creation of God, all identifying Him as Deity. This Divine being, this Lord God Almighty, is the root and offspring of David! He received genetic lineage to David through Mary. This was not to preserve the house of David by physical lineage. There was a royal purpose in this. Jeremiah says, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth," 23:5.
"And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest on his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both,"6:12-13.
This was announced to Mary before her conception, in Luke 1:31-33, "And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
The exact same person who was called the Son of the Most High also sat on the throne of David and is our High Priest. To expand on that, let’s look at some other familiar passages and follow the nouns and pronouns, noting the subject of the statements. I will capitalize words through the following passages so they will stand out: "And no one hath ascended into heaven, but HE who descended out of heaven, even the SON OF MAN who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the SON OF MAN be lifted up; that whosoever believeth may in HIM have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, that whosoever believeth on HIM should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not the SON into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through HIM." John 3:13-17.
"But JESUS answered and said, MY Father worketh even until now, and I work. For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill HIM, because HE not only brake the sabbath, but also called God HIS own Father, making HIMSELF equal with God ... The SON can do nothing of HIMSELF, but what HE seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the SON also doeth in like manner ... For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the SON also giveth life to whom HE will ... that all may honor the SON even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the SON honoreth not the Father who sent HIM. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth MY word, and believeth him that sent ME, hath eternal life ... Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the SON OF GOD ... For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the SON also to have life in HIMSELF: and he gave HIM authority to execute judgment, because HE is a SON OF MAN. Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear HIS voice, and shall come forth." John 5:17-29.
First, there is only one person in these passages, identified by various names: Jesus, only begotten Son, Son of God, Son, Son of Man, Christ.
Second, the only one who has ascended to heaven is the SON OF MAN who was also the same one who descended out of heaven. Following is only a partial list of statements regarding this fact. Notice just who it is that descended and then ascended:
"And no one hath ascended into heaven, but HE that descended out of heaven, even the SON OF MAN who is in heaven, John 3:13 ... HE that cometh from above is above all ... HE that cometh from heaven is above all, John 3:31 ... HE that honoreth not the SON honoreth not the Father that sent HIM, John 5:23 ... He that heareth MY word, and believeth him that sent ME, John 5:24 ... I know him; because I am from him, and he sent ME, John 7:29 ... Jesus therefore said, Yet a little while am I with you, and I go unto him that sent ME. Ye shall seek ME, and shall not find ME: and where I am, ye cannot come, John 7:33-34 ... for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye know not whence I come, or whither I go, John 8:14 ... And HE said unto them, ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world, John 8:23 ... Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love ME: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of MYSELF, but he sent me, John 8:42 ... And Jesus said, For judgment came I into this world, John 9:39 ... But now I go unto him that sent ME; and none of you asketh ME, Whither goest thou?, John 16:5 ... I came out from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father, John 16:28 ... These things spake Jesus; and lifting up his eyes to heaven, HE said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy SON, that HE may glorify thee: even as thou gavest HIM authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given HIM, HE should give eternal life. And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and HIM whom thou didst send, even JESUS CHRIST. I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given ME to do. And now, Father, glorify thou ME with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was, John 17: 1-5 ... HE that descended is the same also that ascended far above the heavens, that HE might fill all things," Ephesians 4:10.
Whether it is the Son, Son of God, Christ, Son of man or Jesus, only one person is meant by each of those names. Notice especially how John 17:1-5 sums up previous passages. Only one person came from heaven, only one, the exact same one, ascended back to heaven to be with the Father who sent Him.
Third, the above passages clearly show that Jesus is eternal, having always existed. Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever." He was not known by the name Jesus Christ until He came into the world by Mary. But, just as I Corinthians 10:1-4 says that the person who accompanied Israel in the wilderness was CHRIST, we understand that this identifies the eternal Divine Spirit that we know as Jesus. Since it was JESUS the Christ who is eternal, we must accept the eternal humanity of God.
Fourth, the one person, Jesus, the Son, the Son of God, the Son of man is equal with God. Note, "JESUS therefore said, When ye have lifted up the SON OF MAN, then shall ye know that I AM he, and that I do nothing of MYSELF, but as the Father taught ME, I speak these things. And he that sent ME is with ME; he hath not left ME alone; for I do always the things that are pleasing to him," John 8:28-29.
This is especially seen in John 5:17-27. In what Jesus said about Himself, He certainly did make Himself equal with God. Jesus is the Son, Son of God and son of man in the context. He had the same rights to perform, had the same authority and was to be honored exactly as the Father was honored.
Fifth, in being equal with the Father, He had existed in the very form of God but humbled Himself, taking the form of a servant and was found in fashion as a man, Philippians 2:5ff. Notice particularly that it was the same person who existed in the form of God, being equal with God, who became obedient even to death on the cross. This is how Jesus could say that He and the Father were one, and yet the Father was the greater of the two. This is why Jesus could speak so much of being "sent" by the Father to do His will and glorify Him, and yet was to be honored exactly as the Father was honored. All such statements about His subservience and His being directed by the Father’s will refer to this role of a servant that He took. Remember, the Father was the director in redemption, Acts 1:7. This is GOD humbling Himself to that extent for our salvation, not some human person, body, soul and spirit who was deified by being joined with the Divine Spirit in Jesus of Nazareth or one who had been stripped of all His powers and abilities to become only human..
The same person who was "Jesus" was also the "Son of God," the "Christ," the "Son of man," the "only begotten Son." That one person only descended from heaven, performed the work that was given to Him and then returned to where He was before.
We have clearly shown that Jesus was "man" before He came out of heaven and was "man" after He returned. He came into this world, bonded with human flesh, accomplished His particular work, died on the cross, ascended back to heaven and offered His own blood to complete the offering. He had to take on human flesh in order to do this. From that standpoint He had to "assume" a human body, live as a man among men and die as men die. But, He had to be perfect God and perfect man to do that.
The Humanity of Jesus
Jesus, God’s Revelation to Man
God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ. As the Word made flesh, Jesus is the Son of God as Word and flesh. God's choosing humanity in Christ is God's choosing God's being for God’s self. This is a free decision of God, and as a free decision, a willed action of superabundant grace. As such, God's self-revelation in the incarnation actually demonstrates that humanity is proper to God's being.
God is self-constituted as a being-in-relationship with creation. Indeed, God is with humanity, and by way of self-determination, in no wise God without humanity. The humanity of Christ is not simply a veil behind which divinity is concealed. It is part and parcel of the divine being. God's divinity including God's humanity means our salvation.
In Jesus the fact is once for all established that God does not exist without man. The very essence of God is constituted by the Incarnation, the suffering, the dying, and the rising of Jesus Christ.
Relevant Scriptures on the image of God are found in Genesis 1:26-27 (the creation account); 5:1,3 (the transmission of the image from Adam to his posterity); 9:6 (the doctrine of the image relative to homicide); 1 Corinthians 11:7 (discussion of headship in the family); Colossians 3:10 (exhortations to the believer to put on the new man); and James 3:9 (treatment of the proper use of the tongue). Psalm 8 does not contain the words “image of God,” but the passage deals in poetic form with the creation of man and the area of his dominion. See also, Heb. 2:6-8.
The concept of the image of God, implied or expressed, underlies all revelation. Therefore a correct understanding of the image of God as man can hardly be overemphasized. After all, what is the image of God? A search of the Scriptures reveals there is no systematic theory of the subject, no clue as to what is implied. Nevertheless, much light may be shed on the doctrine of the image of God if we examine closely the unique setting of the creation of man in the Genesis account, especially in Genesis 1:26 where the climax of creation is reached. Man’s creation by God comes as the last and highest phase of God’s creative activity. Coming to the heart of the matter, one is still faced with perplexing questions. If man is created in the image of God, in what does the image consist? What is included? What is excluded? What factors may have a detrimental or beneficial influence on the image? The answer is, God in His infinite wisdom provided us with everything we “need to know” when He took on the flesh of man in the form of His son Jesus Christ.
Scripture makes it abundantly clear that GOD took on the flesh of man for the two-fold purpose of redeeming all mankind, and to further reveal Himself to man through His Son Jesus Christ.
In the person of Jesus Christ God entered the world physically, so man could personally see Him, hear Him, and touch Him. The New Testament clearly designates Jesus Christ to be the image of God, a man of recorded history who walked this earth. The Pauline concept of Christ as the image of God was made the prime example for an understanding of the full implication of man in the image of God (Col. 1:15; Phil. 2:6).
Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us. Why Jesus? Look throughout the major world religions and you'll find that Buddha, Muhammad, and Confucius all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be equal to God. Surprisingly, Jesus did. That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He said God exists and you're looking at him. Though he talked about his Father in heaven, it was not from the position of separation, but of very close union, unique to all humankind. Jesus said that anyone who had seen him had seen the Father, anyone who believed in him, believed in the Father. Jesus Christ is nothing less than God demonstrating Himself to humanity. God pushes aside all others and speaks for Himself. Here and here only, in Christ, will He be known.
Significance of the Incarnation
The incarnation of Jesus Christ is perhaps one of the most, if not the most, amazing event that has happened in the history of mankind. There is nothing in fact or in fiction in the history of man which matches the mystery of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Humanly speaking, no one anticipated God’s intervention into human history by the birth of a child born in a manger. Not even Judaism was looking for the Messiah to come in this way.
The doctrine of the incarnation is central to a biblical Christian celebration of Christmas and it is also one which is vital to the Christian faith because other biblical doctrines will stand or fall with it. Where men stand on the doctrine of the incarnation often defines the dividing line between orthodoxy and heresy, between true Christianity and the cults.
This is the real stumbling-block in Christianity. It is here that Jews, Moslems, Unitarians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many of those who feel the difficulties concerning the virgin birth, the miracles, the atonement, and the resurrection, have come to grief.
The uniqueness of the Christian faith is directly related to the biblical teaching of the incarnation of Christ: The Christian doctrine of the incarnation is one of the two central doctrines (the other being the resurrection to eternal life) which set out the unique features of Christian faith in God. The Christian doctrine of the incarnation expresses the conviction of Christians that this God has made himself known fully, specifically and personally, by taking our human nature into himself, by coming amongst us as a particular man, without in any way ceasing to be the eternal and infinite God.
The story of Jesus has to begin with the Incarnation; without it we would remain in total ignorance as to God‘s plan for man, and what it means to be human. When God brought Jesus into the world God took on the likeness of man in order that from then on men might be encouraged to aspire after the likeness of God; reaching out from their mortality to His immortality; from their imperfection to His perfection. It is written in the Old Testament that no man may see God and live; at the same time God cannot make man His equal without transforming him into something more than man. The only solution was for God to become man, which He did through the incarnation in the person of Jesus.
With the Incarnation, Eternity steps into time, and Time loses itself in eternity. Therefore, Jesus, in the eyes of God, a man, and in the eyes of men, God. The perfection of Jesus’ divinity was expressed in the perfection of his humanity, and vice versa. He was God because he was so sublimely a man, and man because in all his sayings and doings, in the grace of his person and words, in his love and compassion that shone out of him, he walked so closely with God. As man alone, Jesus could not have redeemed us; as God alone, he would not; Incarnated, he could and did. What God has begun in Christ, God will complete in us. The ultimate goal of salvation is the restoration and renewal of all creation, including our humanity. And the ultimate renewal of our humanity is to be conformed into the image of Christ, which is not limited to attitudes, actions, or virtues, but has to do with sharing in Christ's resurrection glory.
It was not enough that the second person of the Godhead was truly God--He must also be man in order to fulfill God’s purposes and His promises to man. The reason is that God’s purposes and God’s promises were made to man, as man. It was man who was made in God’s image, and who was destined to rule over His creation. It was a man who must fulfill God’s purposes and promises. Fallen man neither could nor would fulfill God’s purposes, due to his sin. Thus, a new man, a “second Adam” must intervene in human history. This man must also be free from all sin. To fulfill the scriptures He must also be divine. In order for God’s purposes and promises to be fulfilled, the incarnation must occur. When the incarnation did take place, those who witnessed the event were assured that God’s reign (and thus the reign of the faithful) would now be established on the earth.
The importance of the humanity of Christ (thus, the incarnation) is set out in the second chapter of Hebrews. Paul is writing of the superiority of Christ to the angels. In verses 6-8, he turns to Psalm 8, applying the verses which speak of the dignity and glory of man, in that he has been appointed to “rule over the works of Thy hands” (v. 7b). Not only is Paul using this psalm to speak of Christ, but to speak of Him who will reign as man. In verses 4 and 5 Paul goes on to show that it was necessary for the Lord Jesus Christ to take on human flesh in order to minister to His brethren. The Messiah who was to reign, would do so as man.
Jesus is God the Son
Here, Paul is praying on behalf of the Colossi believers: “Giving thanks unto the Father, who hath made us meet (or who hath prepared us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13. Who (speaking of God the Father) hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14. In whom (Talking about the Son.) we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Notice it’s a colon.. So the thought carries right on down to the next verse.) 15. Who…” (Colossians 1:12-15a)
Notice the word “who” is a pronoun modifying the Son. Not the Father in verse 12, it’s modifying the Son in verse 13.
“Who is (Now watch this carefully.) the image of the invisible God,...” See that? God the Son became the visible image of the invisible God.
Go to Colossians chapter 2 verse 8 and 9 and then you get the term-- the Godhead. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (9).“For in him (in Christ, in God the Son) dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:8-9)
These verses tells us Jesus is the visual manifestation of that invisible God.
As one of the members of the Godhead, God the Son, is going to come forth, and He’s going to become the communicator. Scripture clearly teaches God always accomplishes what He wants done by the spoken word. At creation He spoke the word. And all through Scripture, the things that have been kept secret we are told, once He speaks it, it’s no longer secret, now it’s for the human race. But it can’t be applied until it is spoken. This is the basis for calling God the Son the communicator.
Go to John chapter 1. “In the beginning (whenever it was) was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. The same was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made (or created) by him; (and without him (the Word) was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1-3). Because He alone would speak the word and things could happen.
Verse 14.“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” So, that person of the Godhead is the Word. God the Son. God the Son stepped out of the invisible Godhead and became the Communicator representing the whole. He spoke the word out of which came Creation as we know it, and all the other revelations from Scripture.
Whenever you have God speaking or creating, or doing anything, it’s always as God the Son. God The Son is always the Creator. He’s always the One who speaks things and they happen. And He’s the One that always has direct contact with the human race. When God the Son speaks and creation happens, yes, the Holy Spirit is involved; so is the Father. But the Scripture, especially in the New Testament, gives all the credit for it to God the Son.
In the Old Testament economy, God had not yet taken on flesh. He had not yet become the incarnate Son of God. At that time God communicated with man through theophanies. In those days God did appear in human form, and then after He finished what needed to be done, He simply went back into the invisible Godhead. And whenever it was time for Him to reappear to someone, He would step out and become another theophany. In the New Testament economy after the Incarnation, it’s always the appearance of the incarnate Word, God the Son, who has taken on human form or human flesh. Once we get to the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem, we call it the incarnate. Once we get to the incarnate Christ after His birth at Bethlehem, we’ll have no more theophanies. There is no need because God now appears in a literal, physical body.
Christ's humanity was not a mere fleshly shell that God rented and used for a temporary amount of time. God did not just come to live in flesh as a man, but the 'Word became flesh ‘ (John 1:14). God incorporated human nature into His eternal being. In the incarnation humanity has been permanently incorporated into the Godhead. God is now a man in addition to being God. At the virgin conception God acquired an identity He would retain eternally. His human existence is both authentic and permanent. Jesus' humanity is not something that can be discarded or dissolved back into the Godhead, but He will always and forever exist in heaven as a glorified man, albeit God at the same time.
The Need for Man’s Redemption--The Sin of Adam
What is human nature? What was the nature of man after the Fall? The Old Adam in us is the origin of our present human nature. It all began when Lucifer sinned, and he in turn corrupted Adam. When Adam was created he was perfect, there was not an ounce of sin in him, not even a sinful thought. He was pure. But how long did it last? Until Adam took that step of disobedience back there in the Garden of Eden, and it was a simple step. He simply took and ate of that fruit that was forbidden, and immediately he became a sin-nature individual. Then all he could think, in spite of himself, constantly was that which was contrary to the very laws of his Creator God, and every human being has inherited that sin nature ever since.
When God cleansed the Garden of Eden of sinful man, the devil, and all his minions, all of Adam’s progeny(with the exception of Jesus Christ) were born into sin.
The devil is immensely more powerful than most realize. The Bible identifies him as this world’s god. Notice what Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:4).
Therefore, it is really Satan’s nature that is now being labeled as human nature. In fact, once it was injected into people, Satan’s nature became natural to them. It became their nature—their human nature.
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of old Adam." (Romans 3:20)
First, we are not sinners because we break the Law. Nearly everyone thinks the reason we are sinners is because we have committed adultery, or have stolen and cheated. But contrary to that we break the Law (The Ten Commandments) because we are sinners, and sons of Adam. The problem is we have something within us that wants to constantly break the Law, and then of course when we break the law we are guilty.
So, you are not a sinner today because of anything you have done so far as actively performing a sinful act. You are a sinner because you are a child of Adam, and being a child of Adam everything that God says to do, then old Adam says to do the opposite. The selfishness, rottenness, violence and terrible evils that spring from human nature have plagued the world since Adam. The cause of this condition lies directly at the feet of evil human nature that began when Satan corrupted Adam. The apostle John said, “The whole world lies in wickedness” (I John 5:19). Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Here Scripture says ALL have sinned. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is the ONLY human ever born without sin. There is no canonical Scripture that tells us that Jesus’ mother Mary was born sinless. The sin of Adam and Eve brought the following consequences: (1) It cut mankind off from the Tree of Life and (2) brought the death penalty on ALL human beings (Gen. 2:17; Heb. 9:27; Rom. 6:23).
God’s Plan for Redeeming Man
As soon as man fell into sin, God immediately set into motion His plan of redemption. Paul gives us a significant passage on the Incarnation in his Galatian Epistle: ''But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”(Galatians 4:4,5). In these verses Paul establishes the fact of the Incarnation-- " God sent forth His Son, made of a woman." The Scriptures describe God as moved to the pit of His stomach on account of the plight of the human race. Zachariah speaks of "the remission of their sins through the tender mercy of our God." In Greek, the words translated as 'tender mercy' literally mean "bowels of mercy". The Lord is presented as having no appetite on account of the misery into which we had plunged ourselves. So moved was God by that misery that He sent His Son into the world for the remission of our sins.
The awful state of the world of mankind necessitated the coming of the Redeemer since there could be no hope of deliverance apart from Him. The character of God, which is righteousness, absolute and uncompromising, demands that every sin be dealt with. While God is merciful, gracious, and slow to anger, forgiving iniquities and transgressions, ''that will by no means clear the guilty " (Exodus 34:7)., While God is love, God is also holy and righteous, so holy that He is "of purer eyes than to behold evil, and [canst] not look on iniquity'' (Habakkuk 1:13). His righteousness demands that every sin must be dealt with impartially. In order to be true to Himself, God had to deal with the problem of sin. In order to deal justly and, at the same time, mercifully, someone had to suffer the death penalty for the sin of the world. One of the absolutes of Scripture states:
“Without the shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22).
In the Person of Jesus Christ God solved the problem of the eternal well-being of the sinner. He sent His Son to die as the sinner's perfect substitute, and thereby redeemed the sinner. Man was lost to God and heaven, and God's purpose in redemption could be realized only through the Incarnate Son of God, for the Son of God Incarnate is the connecting link bringing together God and sinful man. The sinner's relation to Jesus Christ is vital. Christ became a man "that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9). The Word, who is the eternal Son of God, became flesh and was obliged to be made in the likeness of man in order to redeem him.
The Blood Sacrifice on Sin
Without the shedding of blood there has never been any forgiveness of sin. You go right back to the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve had sinned and were expelled and what’s the first thing that God does to restore them? He kills the animals. It was a blood sacrifice.
The true system of blood sacrifice was what God instituted with Adam and Eve and then bought it up and perfected it with the Law and the Temple worship, and the Passover Lamb. It all was centered on the animal sacrifices.
When Israel would sin a particular sin, there was a particular sacrifice that they would have to bring. It could be a turtledove, a goat or whatever, but it was always a blood sacrifice. Because without the shedding of blood there has never been forgiveness. It’s the way the Sovereign God ordained it. That without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin.
Then back in Genesis chapter 9 it tells us that life is in the blood. And you cannot get new life without death happening first and death is signified by shed blood. So you follow this all the way through God’s dealing with the whole human race leading up to His own supreme sacrifice, which had to be a shedding of blood. That’s why Jesus could have never have been hung. He could have never died a death by hanging which was a typical capital punishment way of putting people to death. But it wouldn’t have worked because then there wouldn’t have been the shed blood. And it had to be a death where there would be that shedding of blood. It had to be! Because this is the way the Sovereign God ordained it.
"For all have sinned (every last single human being) and come short of the glory of God. 24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" (Romans 3:23-24)
Redemption is the process of paying the price and gaining something back.
Now verse 25: "Whom (Christ) God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his (what?) blood,…" (Romans 3:25a)
You can’t take that out. We have to maintain that it was His shed blood which was in accordance with His whole divine plan for the ages beginning with Adam and Eve’s sin just outside the garden all the way up through the Old Testament economy of Law and temple worship, all bringing us up to the supreme sacrifice of all time, the death of Christ Himself. And that’s when sacrificing stopped biblically. There was no more need for sacrifice once Christ died. Now certain religions still do it. But biblically there was no more need for sacrifice. But never forget that without the shedding of blood there is no remission.
The Sinless Birth of Christ
Christmas is the name given to the event whereby Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In this celebration we are recalling two separate aspects of God becoming man.- the Incarnation and the Sinless virgin birth.
Over seven hundred years before Jesus was born, this event was described when the prophet Isaiah declared under inspiration of the Holy Spirit: Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14) The name Immanuel means, "God with us." Isaiah is appending to Genesis 3:15 the information that the virgin-born conqueror of Satan would be God Himself in the flesh.
This prophecy is grounded in the concept that the Bible is inerrant -- it is free of errors. It can be said if one passage of the Bible predicts an event, and one or more later passages state that the event actually happened, then we can say both the prediction and the fulfillment actually occurred as stated. The prophecy is true. In this case, a virgin conception is such a miraculous event, that if the prophecy came true, we can only conclude that the prediction was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
In Isaiah 7:14, the writer is recorded as predicting in 734 BC that a "a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
In Matthew 1:18-20, the author describes the birth of Jesus which had happened in 4 to 7 BC -- many decades in his past. He stated: "...When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost...that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost..." In Matthew 1:23, the author quotes Isaiah: "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, 'God with us.' "
Within ten years after Matthew wrote the above passage, the author of the Gospel of Luke wrote in Luke 1:26-35: "...the angel Gabriel was sent...To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary...behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS...The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
As already stated, Isaiah prophesized 700 years before the event took place, that a virgin would conceive. The event actually happened about the year 6 and was infallibly recorded during the first century by two independent Gospel writers. The prophecy came true. It was only one of many dozens of prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) which predicted elements of Jesus' life and which were verified by the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) as having actually happened.
I hold that the Bible does not have any internal conflicts that cannot eventually be harmonized. The writers of the Gospels of Luke and Matthew both state that Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant. This is believed on faith. We must also believe on faith that the prophecy made over seven centuries earlier came true.
As stated earlier, in addition for a need to redeem man from his fall, there was also a need for God to more clearly reveal Himself to man. To this end God inspired his evangelists to plainly write a complete account of His physical entrance into the world to man.
He Was Born of a Woman
The apostle Paul writes of this prophecy's fulfillment in Galatians 4:4: "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman“ All humanity has been "born of a woman," and because of this fact, we all share this trait with our Savior. Like us, He was born a human being.
Being born of a woman implies that after the miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit, the newly formed fetus was subject to a normal human pregnancy. The only other aspect of this event which must be addressed is how Jesus was born without the sin of Adam. Until the advent of modern physiology this was a mystery totally misread by the ancient church, resulting in the formulation of two erroneous doctrines --that of the sinless Virgin birth by virtue of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which then necessitated a second erroneous doctrine termed the Assumption of Mary.
The Roman Catholic Magisterium wrestled with the question of original sin and the virgin birth of a sinless Jesus for hundreds of years. It was not until they developed the doctrine of the immaculate conception they were satisfied that Mary was protected from original sin, that Mary did not have a sin nature, and was, in fact, sinless. Being sinless herself, Mary could then give birth to a sinless child.
The doctrine of the immaculate conception originated out of confusion over how Jesus Christ could be born sinless if He was conceived inside of a sinful human female. The thought was that Jesus would have inherited a sinful nature from Mary had she been a sinner. However, modern science has proved otherwise, and will be explained in the following pages.
Scripture teaches that Jesus was miraculously conceived sinless inside Mary, who was a virgin at the time. That is the biblical concept of the sinless virgin birth of Jesus. However, the Bible does not even hint that there was anything about Mary herself being conceived as sinless. If one follows the Roman Catholic concept logically, Mary’s mother would have to be immaculately conceived as well. How could Mary be conceived without sin if her mother was sinful? The same would have to be said of Mary’s grandmother, great-grandmother, and so on. So, we conclude the immaculate conception is not a Biblical teaching.
Opposition to the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was conducted in the 12th century by the French monastic Bernard of Clairvaux, and in the 13th century by the famous Italian philosopher Thomas Aquinas. Among those who supported the doctrine was the 13th-century Scottish theologian John Duns Scotus. The theological controversy over the Immaculate Conception gained momentum in the 19th century. Finally in 1854, without benefit of modern science, Pope Pius IX issued a solemn decree declaring the Immaculate Conception to be a dogma essential for the belief of the universal church.
After developing the doctrine of The Immaculate Conception, Roman Catholics were faced with the dilemma that If Mary never sinned, then how could she die, because the Bible says the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). To solve this quandary they developed a second doctrine called The Assumption of Mary which claims that Mary was bodily "assumed" into Heaven and never saw death. The Assumption of Mary was declared by Pope Pius the Twelfth in November, 1950.---Nowhere taught in Scripture. The Apostle John, to whom Christ commended His mother while He was on the cross, and who lived about 70 years after the crucifixion, who wrote five books of the New Testament, and in whose house Mary lived until she died, isn't it strange that he never mentioned such a miracle? Because it never happened.
A literal translation of the TEXTUS RECEPTUS Greek in Luke 1:28 reads, "And entering, the angel said to her, Hail, one having received grace! The Lord is with you. You are blessed among women!" (SOURCE: THE INTERLINEAR BIBLE, Jay P. Green, Sr.; Sovereign Grace Publishers, ISBN: 1-878442-81-3). Luke 1:28 in the King James Bible reads, "And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women." The Greek word for "favoured" is charitoo, meaning, "to be highly favoured, make accepted." The King James Bible is 100% correct. The term "FULL OF GRACE," which Catholics have idolized in their Rosary recitals, is not a Biblical term concerning Mary. The original Greek NEVER says Mary was "FULL" of grace; rather, it says that Mary received grace from God, just as every believer is entitled to by the precious blood of Jesus (Hebrews 4:16).
Luke 1:28 in NO way gives credence, or implies, that Mary was born without a sin-nature or that she lived a sinless life. It is unscholarly to attempt to justify such an unbiblical doctrine on mere speculation and assumptions. The ONLY mention of the phrase "full of grace" is reserved for Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, in John 1:14... "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." Mary was never full of grace; but rather, she was the blessed recipient of God's grace, as is every born again believer.
I believe it is important, if we would hold fast to the Christian faith, not to be persuaded to accept prevailing theories and philosophies which have been proven to be contrary to the truths of Christianity. We should not be ignorant of present-day proof in these two realms of scientific theory and theologic speculation. We need to understand their governing principles so as to see clearly their relation to, and their harmony or inconsistency with, revealed Christian truth. And, as always, Scripture remains the final authority.
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, 'O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith' (1 Tim. vi. 20 , 21). The aged apostle thus warned a young Christian worker against the presumptuous claim to know, a claim attractively but unjustifiably made in the name of some prevailing theory or philosophy not really worthy of credence; a claim which, once adopted, was bound to involve any who held it, and became held by it, in departure from the Christian faith.
There is still need of similar warning. For a great deal of theologic pronouncements are often treated as if they were fully established truths. In consequence individuals so accept them as to allow their whole outlook to be governed by them. This can create fatal prejudice against the Christian faith. Individuals may thus be tempted to prefer empty human speculation to substantial divine revelation, or experimentally proven science, and may thus be made to lose their bearings as Christian believers, and to wander far from the truth.
Scriptural teaching on the Birth of Jesus
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS. (Matthew 1:18-25 )[KJV].
Scripture doesn’t reveal the details of how Jesus was conceived, but Scripture does tell us that Jesus was born of a woman. This indicates a normal pregnancy and birth. Therefore, except for the mystery of the actual conception, Jesus was born as a full-term baby which modern science fully understands. And through the lens of modern science we now understand the reality of the sinless birth. To this end I would like to present a more rational explanation of the Virgin birth of Christ based on experimentally proven science.
There are only two Scriptures in the entire Old Testament that refer to the virgin conception of Jesus. Gen.3:15 "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." This is the only place in the Bible where it is called her seed and not his seed. The lineage was never attributed to the woman but the man, this is why when we read the genealogies the women are not included in the records, it was the men who begat.
Isa.7:14: Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. The sign which usually is interpreted as a miracle or unusual event is describing a virgin conception and through her God will be in a human son.
The details of the actual birth of Jesus as it relates to the incarnation is only briefly covered in Scripture, and generally lacking in specific detail, but that particular event has been at the center of great controversy and division amongst Christians and Bible scholars ever since..
The great question was how sinful man could produce an off-spring free from the taint of the sin of Adam.. Scripture is very clear that after Adam ALL mankind was born into sin. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But it is also clear that Jesus was sinless. 1 Peter 2:22 says, "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." 1 John 3:5 says, ". . . And in him is no sin." Then in John chapter 8 Jesus said of himself, "Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. . ."
Jesus showed us by his example. Hebrew 4:15 says, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin."
The sinless Jesus then became a perfect sacrifice. We read that God sent His Son into the world (John 10:36). He was expressly sent to live a sinless life and die as a criminal to take on the penalty of sinners pardoning them for their sins. 1 Peter 2:24 explains: "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed."
This was God's plan from the beginning. He knew that we would need a redeemer. And God knew that without a redeemer we were dead in our sins. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." God's perfect plan for our redemption required a sinless Jesus.
The Benefit of Modern Science
We know the ancient on-going controversy concerning a sinless Jesus stems mainly from a lack of physiological knowledge related to conception and the resulting pregnancy. It is only recently that modern science has uncovered the knowledge needed to explain how it is possible for Jesus to have been born without the taint of original sin!!!
We live in an age in which the increasing use of the scientific method of investigation and research has led to many fresh discoveries of far-reaching significance, one of which is that of conception and birth.
We are now in a position to discover that what has heretofore been regarded as miraculous, and due to special divine intervention, may now be understood and explained by means of scientific experimental evidence. Even so we are bound to recognize that the Bible asserts reasoning must be compelling and conclusive. But here scripture teaches of an abnormal, supernatural occurrence. Mary became pregnant without sexual intercourse with a man, by the action of God .
For us to apply a scientific approach to the birth of Jesus we must first assume a normal birth took place of a human mother, that is from the womb of a woman. Then, for this to occur, there must have been a human father responsible for the procreation of the child, and the initiation of the woman's pregnancy.
Since this event happened so long ago, it is beyond the reach of scientific confirmation. In this instance, the scientific method cannot here help us to find the truth; and it may even keep some from believing it. For here the condition of understanding is faith - faith in God, in His unique work and in His inspired word.
Whether one is personally prepared to accept it or not, we must openly acknowledge that from the standpoint of Christian faith, Jesus is God manifest in the flesh. Only those who truly believe and have faith in this truth will be able to rightly interpret the evidence that Christians have always believed, that the outstanding events of Bible history were brought about only by a special supernatural intervention of God. Such events can be properly studied by the scientific method only if this unique qualifying condition is fully recognized. Certainly unless the authority of the Scriptures is accepted, it is impossible by any independent use of the scientific method to discover truths which Christians know only by revelation.
"And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."
So sin came on the whole human race by way of Adam! Now we have to understand that Eve was in Adam! Also because even though God didn’t put the curse on Eve for eating from the tree, yet she inherited that sin nature just like every other person since, through Adam. All of this should begin to tell us something. For some reason or another, God had to keep the fault that fell upon mankind from Eve, because she was tricked into it. So God insulated her from being at fault. She simply inherited her sin nature from Adam. She was a fallen creature, and under the anathema in sin the same as Adam or anyone else, yet God had something else in the long range view in order to provide a Redeemer, and that had to come through the woman.
Most Christians ascribe to the virgin birth of Christ, and isn’t it amazing that Christ would be born of a woman, who out of the line of Adam, was a sinner like everyone else. From this we conclude that Mary was not sinless. But isn’t it also amazing that God could bring to pass the birth of the Christ child from a normal human being of the female species, and yet her offspring would be sinless, and not pick up anything of that human element of the sin nature. Why? Because the Sovereign God with divine foreknowledge insulated Eve from the blame of the curse when she ate of the tree.
Eve wasn’t actually a rib, rather she was taken out of the side of Adam, and was probably the reproductive part of Eve. Here’s the amazing thing: Eve had to be insulated from any part of the curse, so that these reproductive cells, beginning from Eve all the way down through history to Mary and probably continuing on to this very day, do not carry the curse from one generation to the next except through the father. It’s only the father that precipitates what we would call the circulatory system or the blood system.
When the seed or egg of the woman, as she begins to get ready for reproduction, within her body there is building all of these potential seeds if you want to call them that. And those seeds will never be anything except just that until they are impregnated from an outside source, such as from the father.
This is hard for some people to understand, but as soon as the young mother becomes pregnant, then the first thing that happens is these cells begin to divide and multiply rapidly, up until we get from 16 till maybe 32 of these cells. Then at about 32 and maybe sometimes at 64 cells all of a sudden in the development of that little embryo, that process of cell division and multiplication stop, and the body cells begin to develop. When I say the body cells, I’m talking about the fingers, toes, feet and legs and all that. All of this is going to form that little human body. Then at some point quite a while down the line, these little reproductive cells find their way into the fetus as a whole.
You have to think about this because this doesn’t come easy like 2 + 2 = 4. So if the female of the species has been insulated from the effects of the curse, in the reproduction area, she cannot pass down from her generation to the next the curse of sin. That can only come from the father. Now physiologically again there is none of the mother’s blood that ever becomes part and parcel of that little infant baby, because the blood comes from the father. I have included a fairly technical description of this process below if anyone is so inclined to study it.
This means the line of the curse comes through the blood, through the father! Therefore every human being is a born sinner, by virtue of the fact that he has inherited from the father, although the mother is just as much a sinner as anybody else. But why has all this happened? Why did God see fit to insulate the seed of the woman from the curse. Well God was looking down through the eons of time to the coming of that Redeemer. Christ had to be born of a woman, but He also had to be sinless!
Since the ovum or the reproductive cells of the woman did not carry the curse, God as we know, was the One who impregnated Mary and so she became the mother of the Lord Jesus without the benefit of a human father, and that’s why we call it the virgin birth. Now then you see the Lord Jesus could be born of the woman, without the effects of the curse that came from the human father and so what was He? He was sinless, He was Divine, His blood circulatory system did not originate with the human element, it only originated with God. And yet since He was born of the woman He was human, He had the same appetites that we have, He lived, He ate, He slept like we do, and yet He was without sin.
A Technical Description of The Miraculous Birth
Now let’s take an in-depth look at the technical aspects which clearly delineate the entire process of a human pregnancy and how it relates to the sinless birth of Jesus:
Pregnancy starts when a male’s sperm fertilizes a female’s ovum (egg), and the fertilized ovum implants in the lining of the uterus. Much has to occur for fertilization to take place. The egg must be released, it must accept the sperm, the cell wall and the nuclear wall have to be breached, the DNA correctly assembled. Even more has to occur before we can claim a woman is pregnant: The fertilized egg — a blastocyst — must maneuver the fallopian tube, get to the womb and be implanted. Only then can a pregnancy test confirm the event.
The miracle of Jesus conception occurred when Mary became pregnant after God created a divine sperm cell in her mature egg after the egg was released by one of her ovaries. The divine fertilized egg then traveled down her fallopian tube toward the uterus. Because pregnancy changes a woman’s normal hormone patterns, one of the first signs of pregnancy is a missed menstrual period. When Mary missed her period, she realized her pregnancy had already begun.
At creation God designed human conjugation as the method of sexual reproduction by which living organisms reproduce, which includes the genetic cellular make-up from both male and female reproductive cells called ‘gametes.’ These gametes unite to form a single cell, known as a ‘zygote,’ which later undergoes successive divisions to form a new organism that grows into an unborn child in the womb. The terms fecundation and fertilization are applied to the union of the male and female cells. In this form of sexual reproduction, half the genes, the carriers of inheritable characteristics, in the zygote come from one parent and half from the other parent.
The human male reproductive cell, which is known as a sperm, is a motile cell with a head containing the nucleus and a whip like tail with which it swims. The human female reproductive cell, which is known as an egg or ovum, is a rounded cell many times larger than the sperm and containing large amounts of cytoplasm surrounding the nucleus.
The internal deposit of semen occurs in the process of copulation, also known as coitus or sexual intercourse. The male inserts the male genital organ, the penis, into the female genital orifice, the vagina, discharging the semen therein. This process is known as insemination. Obviously God did not use copulation to produce the motile sperm cell through insemination. Instead, in a haze of brilliancy His spirit surrounded Mary as He effortlessly created the male gamete cell within the fertile egg of this virgin woman. The male gamete that God created subsisted with all the necessary DNA molecules to produce a male human being, including allelomorphic and mitochondria properties.
Modern medical science has developed a method of insemination whereby both animal and human spermatozoa can be kept alive outside the body for long periods by freezing. Artificially introduced into the female reproductive tract, such spermatozoa produce pregnancy in a remarkably high percentage of healthy women. For many decades now the method, called artificial insemination, has been used successfully in many animal species, including human reproduction, to produce offspring where either the male or the female is sterile. There is no need to spiritualize this event beyond reason when mere mortal humans have demonstrated skill and success with artificial insemination. If man can do such things should we think the Creator of the universe incapable of producing the male gamete cell necessary for the procreation of Jesus? The human female normally has a 28-day reproductive or menstrual cycle, with ovulation usually occurring about 14 days before the onset of the menstruation. Menstruation is the periodic vaginal discharge in humans and other mammals, which consists of blood and cells shed from the endometrium, or lining of the uterus. Menstruation accompanies a woman's childbearing years, usually beginning between the ages of 10 and 16, at puberty, and most often ceasing between the ages of 45 and 50, at menopause. Menstruation is part of the process that prepares a woman for pregnancy. Each month the lining of the uterus thickens; if pregnancy does not occur, this lining breaks down and is discharged through the vagina. The three to seven days that menstruation lasts is called the menstrual period.
Mary was the young virgin chosen by God to bear the male child He would call His son Jesus. She was most likely between the ages of 16-18 and was in her childbearing years. It was no big deal for God to determine the time of her menstrual cycle. In most women the menstrual cycle is about 28 days, but it can vary considerably even from one month to another.
Hormones in her bloodstream initiate a woman’s menstrual cycle; these hormones stimulate the ovaries, which are the two female organs that produce the ova, that is, eggs. Each month, hormones cause an egg in one of the two ovaries to mature and become capable of being fertilized and develop into a fetus. The ovaries also produce hormones of their own, primarily estrogen, which cause the endometrium to thicken. About midway through the menstrual cycle, 14 to 15 days before the next period, the ovary releases the mature egg in a process called ovulation. The egg passes through the fallopian tube to the uterus. If the egg unites with a sperm on its way to the uterus, fertilization occurs and pregnancy ensues.
During Mary’s ovulation one of her ovary released a mature egg that passed through her fallopian tube on its way to the uterus; at the instant this happened, God created a sperm cell perfectly compatible and able to unite with the egg; fertilization occurred and the infant Jesus was procreated. Scripture doesn’t provide specifics , but many believe that it is at this moment the soul is imputed. This is an exact description of the scientific process that occurred.
It takes three to five days for the egg takes to reach the uterus after being released by the ovary, and is known as the woman's fertile period. If fertilization does occur, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the enriched uterine lining and pregnancy continues. Menstruation does not occur during pregnancy, and a missed period is often the first indication of pregnancy a woman notices. If fertilization does not occur, the lining of the uterus does not receive the hormones it needs to continue the thickening process. Thus, the uterine lining breaks down and is discharged from the body during menstruation.
After fertilization of the egg, the resulting zygote undergoes cell division and differentiation to form the embryo. The embryo is implanted in the uterus and is nourished by the mother until almost completely developed. The period during which pregnant women carry their young internally is known as the period of gestation. In humans the period of years during which reproduction can occur begins with the onset of puberty, and the reproductive capacity of the female ends at what is known as menopause, or when menstruation ceases.
So this is how I reconcile the processes used; Mary’s ovulation was normal and typical; her ovary released a mature egg, as it traveled down the fallopian tube, God inseminated the egg by supernaturally creating the gamete cell that would unite with her fertile egg, making it now a fertilized egg, which then attached itself to the uterine wall, and the pregnancy began.
Medical science has discovered that the blood which flows in an unborn babies arteries and veins is not derived from the mother but is produced within the body of the fetus itself only after the introduction of the male sperm. An unfertilized ovum can never develop blood since the female egg does not by itself contain the elements essential for the production of this blood. It is only after the male element has entered the ovum that blood can develop. As a very simple illustration of this, think of the egg of a hen. An unfertilized egg is just an ovum on a much larger scale than the human ovum. You may incubate this unfertilized hens egg but it will never develop. It will decay and become rotten, but no chick will result. Let that egg be fertilized by the introduction of the male sperm and incubation will bring to light the presence of LIFE IN THAT EGG. After a few hours it visibly develops. In a little while red streaks occur in the egg denoting the presence of Blood. This can never occur and does never occur until THE MALE SPERM HAS BEEN UNITED WITH THE FEMALE OVUM. The male element has added life to the egg. Life is in the blood according to scripture, for Moses says:
"For the life of the flesh is in the blood." (Leviticus 17:11). "For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof." (Leviticus 17:14)
Since there is no life in the egg until the male sperm unites with it, and the life is in the blood, it follows that the male sperm is the source of the blood, the seed of life.
No Mother’s Blood
For this very reason, it is unnecessary that a single drop of blood be given to the developing embryo in the womb of the mother. Such is the case according to science. The mother provides the fetus (the unborn developing infant) with the nutritive elements for the building of that little body in the secret of her bosom, but all the blood which forms in that little body is formed in the embryo itself and only as a result of the contribution of the male parent. From the time of conception to the time of birth of the infant not ONE SINGLE DROP OF BLOOD ever passes from mother to child. The placenta, that mass of temporary tissue known better as “afterbirth,” forming the union between mother and child is so constructed that although all the soluble nutritive elements such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, salts, minerals and even antibodies pass freely from mother to child and the waste products of the child's metabolism are passed back to the mothers circulation, no actual interchange of a single drop of blood ever occurs normally. All the blood which is in that child is produced within the child itself as a result of the introduction of the male sperm. The mother contributes no blood at all.
Testimony of Science
In Howell’s Textbook of Physiology, Second Edition, pages 885 and 886, I quote:
"For the purpose of understanding its general functions it is sufficient to recall that the placenta consists essentially of vascular chorionic papillae from the fetus (the unborn child) bathed in the large blood spaces of the decidual membrane of the mother. The fetal and maternal blood DO NOT COME INTO ACTUAL CONTACT. THEY ARE SEPARATED FROM EACH OTHER by the walls of the fetal blood vessels and the epithelial layers of the chorionic villae."
Also, from Williams’ Practice of Obstetrics, Third Edition, page 133. Here I quote,
"The fetal blood in the vessels of the chorionic villae AT NO TIME GAINS ACCESS TO THE MATERNAL BLOOD in the intervillous space, BEING SEPARATED FROM ONE ANOTHER by the double layer of chorionic epithelium."
And from page 136 of the same recognized textbook I quote, "Normally there is no communication between the fetal blood and the maternal blood."
Now from "Nurse’s Handbook of Obstetrics" by Louise Zabriskie, R.N., Fifth Edition, page 75:
"When the circulation of the blood begins in the embryo, it remains separate and distinct from that of the mother. All food and waste material which are interchanged between the embryo and the mother must pass through the blood vessel walls from one circulation to the other."
And from page 82 of the same book -- "The fetus receives its nourishment and oxygen from the mothers blood into its own through the medium of the placenta. The fetal heart pumps blood through the arteries of the umbilical cord into the placental vessels, which, looping in and out of the uterine tissue and lying in close contact with the uterine vessels, permit a diffusion, through their walls, of waste products from child to mother and of nourishment and oxygen from mother to child. As has been said, this interchange is effected by the process of osmosis, and there is no direct mingling of the two blood currents. In other words, no maternal blood actually flows to the fetus, nor is there any direct fetal blood flow to the mother."
God’s Wonderful Provision
Isn’t it amazing how God prepared for the virgin birth of His Son. When He created woman He made her so that no blood would be able to pass from her to her offspring. That blood is the result of the male. Since Adam was the federal head of the race, it is HIS BLOOD which transmits Adam's Sin. In order to produce a sinless man and yet be the son of Adam, God must provide a way whereby that man would have a human body derived from Adam but have not a drop of Adam's sinful blood. Right here is the scientific biological reason for the sinlessness of the Man Christ Jesus. Some have tried to answer the question, “How could He be sinless and yet born of a woman?” by making Mary the “Immaculate Virgin.” That, however, does not answer the question of how JESUS was sinless since it is through the male that the bloodline runs.
Not only is this a scientific fact, but it is plainly taught in Scripture that Jesus partook of human flesh without Adam's blood. In Hebrews 2:14 we read,"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood. He also himself likewise took part of the same -- "
You will notice that the children, that is the human children, are said to be partakers of FLESH and BLOOD, and then speaking of Jesus it says that He "himself likewise took part of the same." The Word “took part” as applying to Christ is an entirely different word than “partakers” as applied to the children. In my Bible, I read the word translated “took part” implies “taking part in something outside one’s self.” The Greek word for partakers is "KOYNONEHO" and means “to share fully,” so that all of Adam’s children share fully in Adam’s flesh and blood. When we read that Jesus “took part of the same” the word is "METECHO" which means to take "part" but not all. The Children take both flesh and blood of Adam but Christ took only part, that is the flesh part, while the blood was the result of supernatural conception.
Jesus was a perfect human being after the flesh. He was of the seed of David according to the flesh, but blood is that part of a man which is the divine addition. In the creation of man, Adam’s body was made from the dust of the earth, but God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Since life is in the blood, this act resulted in the formation of blood in Adam’s body, but the first Adam’s blood was corrupted and sin transmitted through it to all mankind. In the last Adam and the second man, new and divine and sinless blood was produced in a body that was the seed of Adam.
Conception by the Holy Spirit then was the only way the Virgin Birth could be accomplished. Mary contributed the body of Jesus and He became the "seed of David according to the flesh." The Holy Spirit contributed the Blood of Jesus. It was sinless blood. It was Divine blood. It is Precious Blood for there has never been any other like it.
"I have betrayed the innocent blood" Judas confessed in Matthew 27:4. Our Lord was innocent. He became like unto us in all things — SIN only excepted. Like unto us with ONE EXCEPTION and that exception was that instead of a human father He was conceived by a DIVINE FATHER. As a result biologically, He had DIVINE BLOOD, SINLESS BLOOD.
Sin made human blood corruptible. Soon after death, decay sets in, and it begins in the blood. That is why meat must be drained well of its blood. That is why embalmers place the embalming fluid in the blood. David said that Jesus’ body should "see no corruption." Though He was dead three days and three nights, His body did not corrupt. Because He was sinless they could not put Him to death but instead He "laid down His life voluntarily that He might take it up again." He arose by His own power because death had no claim in HIM.
"God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then being now JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, we shall be saved from wrath through him." [Romans 5: 8, 9]
In Hebrews 2:17 the Greek words translated as, “He had to be made like His brethren in all things,” is, “homoiootheénai hína pánta toís adelfoís.” The Greek word homoiootheénai means, “to be or become like.” The Greek word pánta (adverbially), means, “wholly, altogether, in all ways, in all things, in all respects,” as it is used in Acts 20:35. Therefore Jesus the man was made to be like his brethren in all ways, in all respects, in all things, wholly and altogether.” There’s no doubt from these passages that Jesus was conceived and born as part of the process used to insure that he fulfills this description of him.
In the Risen Lord Jesus the fact is once for all established that God does not now exist without man.
God and the Body of Christ will be One