Did God Really Become Man or Is That Just a Manner of Speaking?

Mary Comforts EveIt’s hard to comprehend that the Lord and Creator of the universe would descend from on high to enter the human family as a baby. And that as a result of such a miraculous birth and subsequent life he would so clearly reveal God the Father to us.

In a brief sentence at the outset of his Gospel, the Apostle John makes the point that Jesus, the Word, was (1) before creation, (2) was with God, and actually (3) was God! (John 1:1)

So from John’s introductory sentence comes our triple assurance that Jesus existed eternally, had the elevation and likeness of God, and was in very fact the eternal God.

John goes on to say that this Jesus became flesh and pitched his tent among us (John 1:14). Thus as a result of his miraculous birth and his life as a man on earth, he clearly revealed God to us. Stanley Jones got it right in saying “When I say God, I think Jesus.”

It was only at his incarnation — we call it his enfleshment — as newborn infant that he became fully human, subjecting himself to all things human from infancy forward — though, unlike every other human, he did not sin.

So, he clothed himself in our humanity without surrendering up his deity. He became the one referred to by the ancient church father, Origen, as the God-Man.

Christian orthodoxy across the centuries has believed with joy that Jesus, is very God of very God and very man of very man. That means, in the fullest sense he is God and in the fullest sense he is man.

Christians have believed across 2000 years that in him, two natures, the divine and the human, are joined in one person. Neither nature is diminished by the joining. He is God. He is man. Charles Wesley put this truth into verse as follows:

          Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see;

          Hail th’ incarnate deity.

          Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,

          Jesus our Emmanuel.

 


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Image info: “Mary Comforts Eve” by Sr. Grace Remington, OSCO. © 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey.

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