Man, God or Both: Who is Jesus Christ?

jesus-face11-1There is so much debate today on who Christ was; teacher, prophet, good man, or God. Many religions have made attempt after attempt to try and disprove that Christ was the God-Man that He claimed to be. I pray that as you read this article you will ultimately come to know Christ, and if not, at least see that He cannot be just a teacher or prophet, but that He was either what He said He was, which is God, or He was just a man. I understand that this can be a complicated subject and can lead down dangerous paths, but I believe this is of vital importance. How can someone be man AND God? To answer this question we must look at where the Bible describes the humanity and deity of Jesus Christ.

The Synoptic Gospels give us the best description of Christ’s humanity. We see him laying in the cradle, growing up, learning, being subject to hunger, anxiety, doubt, disappointment and finally going to his death and being buried. Here are a few verses describing some of these events:

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry – Mark 4:2

Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. – Matthew 8:24

Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.- John 4:6

I do understand that most skeptics do not have an issue with Christ’s humanity (though some early church heresies did), but with His divinity. The Bible clearly declares the deity of Christ. In John 18:6, Jesus claims His deity by using the Jehovistic I AM. In Matthew 22:42-45, Jesus claims to be the Old Testament Adonai. Jesus forgave sins in Mark 2:5-7. Lastly, allowed people to worship Him asserting Himself as deity in Matthew 14:33. Paul would affirm the deity of Christ as he explains Christ’s preeminence in Colossians.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:15-17

One of my favorite scriptures of the Bible affirms that Jesus was God with a claim not from Jesus, but from Peter His disciple by means of the Holy Spirit, it reads,

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah” – Mark 8:29

hypostaticunionNow you are still probably thinking how in the world is it possible for someone to be fully man and fully God? This is where we get the term Hypostatic union. We teach that Jesus Christ is perfect as respect to godhood, and perfect as respect to manhood. That He is truly God and truly a man consisting of a rational soul and a body; that He is consubstantial with the Father as to His divinity, and consubstantial with us as to His humanity, and like us in all respects except in sin.

So why did Jesus have to become incarnate to save humanity? First we must understand what Christ meant when he stated that He had not come to get rid of the Law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). The Law of Moses was the determining factor that qualified someone for complete holiness. God used the Law as a way to show mankind that no one could fulfill the Law in its entirety and that only He could fulfill the Law completely. So Christ was born into the world fully man in that he would suffer and be tempted as all humans are, but fully God in that he would be able to do so without sinning. He then would be sacrificed on the Cross at Calvary as a substitute for us to be the ultimate, perfect, and everlasting sacrifice to cover the sins of “all that the father had given him” being the “lamb without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19).

There are many dangers to overemphasizing or denying the humanity or deity of Christ. The first is that if we deny the complete humanity of Christ we therefore deny the incarnation and are therefore denying salvation. If we deny the deity of Christ, then either Christ is a liar or lunatic as C.S. Lewis would acknowledge. His death on the cross would be meaningless and all Biblical Christianity would be false. There are many objections to the traditional orthodoxy view as I have described above, but all of these are condemned in that there is one Christ with two natures. To truly accept Jesus you must accept that He is a being both fully human and fully God who is without confusion, without conversion, without division, and without separation.

Blake Hart
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Blake Hart and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Blake Hart is currently serving in the army as a unit supply specialist in Ft. Richardson, AK where he is stationed with his wife Rae and their 7 month old son Colt. Blake has served in the military for 5 years and has been deployed once to Afghanistan for a total of 12 months. He is currently transitioning into the civilian arena in the area of full time ministry. He is finishing up his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Liberty University, and has applied to start Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall of this year to begin the process of earning his Master’s of Divinity in Homiletics.