Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jesus: Human; Really Human

Jesus is human. He's also the Son of God, one of the Trinity.

For several weeks now, I've been posting about the Incarnation, when God "made his dwelling among us." (John 1:14)

Faith, Understanding, and a Lack of Omniscience

Folks have been having trouble believing that for two thousand years now. I suspect it's partly because we can't figure out exactly how God manages to be three persons and one God; and how one of those persons could be human and divine: at the same time.

Every now and then someone decides that Jesus isn't human, isn't God, or was one first, and then became the other. Recently, some folks have decided that Jesus either didn't exist, or was merely human.

I enjoy understanding things, but realize that I've got limits. As I've said before, God's God, I'm not. One of the ways that I'm not like God is my lack of omniscience.

"Omniscience?" Dictionaries tend to make you hunt a bit for the definition of that word:
  • Omniscience
    • The quality or state of being omniscient
      (Merriam-Webster)
    • Omniscient
      • Having infinite
        • Awareness
        • Understanding
        • Insight
      • Possessed of universal or complete knowledge
        (Merriam-Webster)
I've decided that I'll believe that Jesus is human and divine, without knowing as much as God does.

Heavy Reading, Lists, and Me

"...Everything that Christ is and does in this nature derives from 'one of the Trinity.' The Son of God therefore communicates to his humanity his own personal mode of existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, Christ thus expresses humanly the divine ways of the Trinity:98...."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 470)
My oldest daughter noted that I like to make hierarchical lists. She's right, of course. Besides helping me learn what I'm reading, I think it's a good way to show what I've found in posts like this one.

Besides, although the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a good resource, it's slightly heavy reading. There's a lot of information in each paragraph. For instance, here's all of 470, with that excerpt in bold:
"Because 'human nature was assumed, not absorbed,'97 in the mysterious union of the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course of centuries to confess the full reality of Christ's human soul, with its operations of intellect and will, and of his human body. In parallel fashion, she had to recall on each occasion that Christ's human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it. Everything that Christ is and does in this nature derives from 'one of the Trinity.' The Son of God therefore communicates to his humanity his own personal mode of existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, Christ thus expresses humanly the divine ways of the Trinity:98

"The Son of God . . . worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin.99"
(Catechism, 470)
As I've done before, I broke out some of the main points out as a list: for my own enjoyment, and because I wanted to share what I found.

Jesus: Human and Divine

Jesus the Christ, Son of God:
  • Is one of the Trinity
  • Took on human nature
  • Is human
    • And so
      • Worked with human hands
      • Thought with a human mind
      • Acted with a human will
      • Loved with a human heart
    • Was born
      • His mother is Mary
    • Really has been made
      • One of us
      • Like us in everything
        • Except sin
    (Catechism, 470)
Jesus wasn't pretending to be one of us. He was, and is, human. He's also God. Like I said, folks have had a hard time believing that.

"...Believe me ... or ... believe because of the works..."

Jesus said, in effect, 'you want to know what God looks like? Take a good look:'
"Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"?

"Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.

"Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves....' "
(John 14:9-11)
Two millennia later, it's a bit easier to "believe because of the works themselves," and that's another topic. Topics.

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