Jesus is God, man.
December 17, 2009
How can a Christian understand Jesus? How can Jesus be both man and God at the same time? As the church spread East into Asia, this question became one of great importance. The church was split into two main camps: The Nestorians, and the Monophysites. It all sounds like Syriac to me, so I had to look up what these terms meant.
This is the belief that Jesus existed as two separate persons. One of them is divine – the Son of God. The other is human.
On this view, Jesus had only one nature. It wasn’t a fully divine nature, and it wasn’t a fully human nature. Instead it is a combination of the two: like a mixture of ink and water, so that the elements of both natures are modified to create a new one.
Just in case you’re wondering, the standard Christian view, for protestants, Catholics and Orthodox is to affirm that Jesus one person, who is truly God and truly man. This was spelled out by the leaders of the church who met together in 451 near Constantinople, in Chalcedon. Unlike the Nestorians, the church leaders said that Jesus was only one person,
Indivisibly, inseparably… concurring in one person and one subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons.
And unlike the Monophysites, they said that Jesus had two natures:
to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably… the distinction of the natures being preserved.