Should Christians Appeal to Jesus’s Human Nature to Explain God’s Ignorance or Fallibility?
When discussing whether Christ was God or a man with Christians, they often explain his “defects” as being due to his human nature. For example, they say if he was hungry, it was due to his human nature, or cursing the fig tree and praying to God, was due to his human nature. What would be your response to this?
Assuming that this question refers to interactions with Trinitarian Christians, it is actually a heresy to explain Jesus’s actions exclusively in light of his human nature. In Trinitarianism, Jesus is considered to be both God and man, with his divine nature and his human nature being eternally united, otherwise known as the hypostatic union. In the centuries when the Trinitarian creed was being developed, a popular heresy which existed at that time was to separate these two natures. This was known as Nestorianism. Thus, the Nestorians believed that there were two natures, a divine and human but that they were not joined together in a union.
Trinitarians describe this union as Jesus being one person with two unified natures, sometimes referred to as “fully God and fully man”. Meaning, at all times, he – Christ, was both fully God and fully man. Let’s take the example of Jesus’s crucifixion. If we ask, did the all powerful God suffer, a Christian would say no, as a divine being cannot suffer. Only the human nature suffered. This is the heresy of Nestorianism. They are disuniting the natures, and isolating the human nature from the divine nature. We must remind these Trinitarians of their beliefs, if the human nature suffered, then the divine nature must also have suffered as these natures are eternally united. Modern Trinitarians often use the heresy of Nestorianism when defending the Trinity, without realising it.
Another popular example is Jesus praying. Many Trinitarians would claim that the human nature was praying. This is incorrect, both the divine and the human natures were praying to God, the human nature is eternally united with the divine, at no point can one nature be disunited from the other. When Jesus was hungry, the human nature hungered. This is what Trinitarians claim when we inquire of Jesus’s cursing of the fig tree. Yet, they are once again isolating one of the two natures. We must remind them, both the divine and the human nature hungered, these natures cannot be separated under any circumstances unless one is willing to declare themselves apostates from Trinitarianism and believers in the heresy of Nestorianism. As Dr. James White says in his book, The Forgotten Trinity:
“Instead, the doctrine is misunderstood as well as ignored. It is so misunderstood that a majority of Christians, when asked, give incorrect and at times downright heretical definitions of the Trinity.” – White, James R. (1998-11-01). Forgotten Trinity, The (p. 16). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Interestingly, despite this book claiming to be a defense of the Trinitarian doctrine, Dr. White himself also appeals to the heresy of Nestorianism. In seeking to explain the dual nature of Christ, he says:
“Crucifixion is only meaningful with reference to his human nature (you cannot crucify the divine nature). When Paul speaks of the crucifixion of the Lord of glory, he is speaking of Christ as one person with two natures.” – White, James R. (1998-11-01). Forgotten Trinity, The (p. 160). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
In the space of two sentences, a person writing on the very topic of understanding the Trinity, appeals to and accepts Nestorianism. He begins by saying that the crucifixion can only be meaningful in regard to the human nature, yet in the next sentence he states that Paul teaches that the crucifixion is of the person of Christ, the person with two natures. Such a level of confusion and contradiction is rampant throughout Trinitarian teachings. I have previously written about another Trinitarian book that sought to explain the Trinity, which you can read here.
It is interesting that John 14:26 claims that the Spirit would come to explain all things necessary for salvation and to make these things easy to understand, yet all Trinitarians would gladly proclaim that the Trinity is a divine mystery which cannot be understood and that the communication between the two natures (communicatio idiomatum) is a divine mystery. Surely then, the Trinity is not a doctrine of God, and it is something that both Christian scholars and laymen alike, find extreme difficulty in accepting and believing, and it is unfortunate that while they condemn Nestorianism as a heresy, they openly appeal to it in trying to explain Trinitarianism.
and Allah knows best.