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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: What Everyone Needs to Know about Jesus

Don Stewart :: What Are Some Common Misconceptions about the Two Natures of Christ?

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What Are Some Common Misconceptions about the Two Natures of Christ?

What Everyone Needs to Know about Jesus – Question 17

Jesus Christ had two natures. While He was full God he was also completely human. This dual nature of God the Son is sometimes called the “hypostatic union.” It is an important New Testament doctrine.

Unfortunately, there are a number of misconceptions about Christ’s dual nature, or the hypostatic union that need to be cleared up. They are as follows.

1. God Did Not Turn into a Human Being

The Bible does not teach that God turned into a human in the Person of Jesus Christ. God the Son, Jesus, remained God during His entire time on the earth as well as He does today. Actually it would be impossible for God to cease being God. God, by definition, is eternal and unchanging. He had no beginning and will have no end. It is impossible for Him to cease to exist. In addition, His attributes cannot change; He cannot stop being the unchangeable God.

2. Jesus Is Not Merely a Man of God

The hypostatic union does not mean that Jesus Christ was merely a man of God. While He was a man of God in the ultimate sense of the term, He was certainly much more than that. He was the God-Man, God in human flesh. Consequently, it is not correct to put Him into the category of a godly man.

3. God Did Not Live in a Body

The hypostatic union does not mean that God the Son simply lived in a human body. Indeed, Jesus Christ was thoroughly human suffering with all of the limitations of a human body. The Bible stresses that Jesus had a human nature as well as a divine nature. He was God and human at the same time.

4. They Hypostatic Union Is Not the Same as the Virgin Birth

Often the hypostatic union is confused with the virgin birth. The virgin birth, or virgin conception, speaks of the manner in which Jesus came into the world. The hypostatic union refers to the fact that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully human. It is a result of the virgin birth but not the same thing as the virgin birth. This distinction must be kept in mind.

5. It Is Not The Same as the Incarnation

The hypostatic union is not the same as the incarnation. The incarnation refers to the entire story of God the Son becoming a human being. The hypostatic union is merely one part of the story of Jesus becoming human; it is not the entire story.

It Was Not a Theophany (A Temporary Appearance of God)

The hypostatic union is not a theophany. A theophany is the appearance of God in a human body. There were a number of occasions of this occurring that the Old Testament records. What the hypostatic union and theophanies have in common is the idea that God took on a human body. However, the hypostatic union occurred only once whereas there have been several theophanies recorded in Scripture.

In addition, the theophanies were temporary appearances of God in a body. Each one lasted for only a short period of time. God the Son came to earth in a human body that lasted approximately thirty years. Furthermore, the union of the two natures in Jesus Christ is permanent.

This sums up some of the common misconceptions we find about the two natures of Jesus Christ. It is important that we have a proper understanding of who He is as well as who He is not.

Summary – Question 17
What Are Some Common Misconceptions about the Two Natures of Jesus Christ?

The Bible teaches that God became a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. God the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, left heaven’s glory to live among us. This is the central teaching of the New Testament. It is known as the “hypostatic union.”

There are, however, a number of misconceptions about the hypostatic union that need to be addressed. We can cite them as follows.

The union of the two natures of Christ does not mean that God turned into a human being. God the Son added something which He did not previously possess, a human body. However, God did turn into a human!

Neither does it mean that Jesus Christ, God the Son, was merely a man of God. He was indeed the godliest man who has ever existed but He is much more than this. Jesus is the eternal God who came to this earth.

The idea of the union of Christ’s two natures does not mean that God merely took on a human body or lived in a human body. Jesus was one hundred percent human as well as one hundred percent divine. God was not merely living in a body.

Neither was the hypostatic union it the same thing as the incarnation. The term incarnation refers to the entire story of God becoming human. The hypostatic union is merely one aspect of it.

Finally, the hypostatic union is not the same as a theophany; a temporary appearance of God in a body. While the Old Testament records that God took upon Himself a human body on several occasions, there is a big difference between these appearances and what occurred with Jesus. Each of the theophanies was for a short period of time. God the Son lived for over thirty years on the earth in a human body. In other words, it was not temporary.

In addition, once God the Son took on this human body the two natures have become permanent. This sums up some of the common misconceptions we find about the hypostatic union; that God the Son became a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. Since this is an important New Testament doctrine it is important that these misconceptions be cleared up.

In What Sense Was Jesus Christ God and Man Simultaneously? ← Prior Section
How Could Christ Be God and Human at the Same Time? Next Section →
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