A practical examination of the dynamics of God in human form

Ignoring any preconceptions or models of the Trinity doctrine.
What are the dynamics of God in human form in terms of

  1. Physical
    2)Social
    3)Spiritual

In the physical realm we need to consider how human He is in terms of vulnerabilities/abilities.

In the Social realm we need to decide how He is perceived. Whether denying His divinity would be considered a falsehood, or a necessary deception. How will people react if HIs real nature is known? Could He actually accomplish His mission of martyrdom if He is seen as anything other than a human being?`

In the spiritual realm, how does He portray a relationship with His normal, spiritual, noncorporeal self.

Do the Scriptures reflect these concerns? And , if so, how does this affect how “accurate” Scripture portrays Jesus.

Look forward to the discussion. I might add a fourth catagory:
4) Intellectual

That seems that is one of the areas I wonder about: How Jesus remained fully God, yet to be fully human requires the limitations of human knowledge and intellect be part of that. How did that then affect his earthly ministry?

Although I might class this under 1 I can see why you singled it out. It does seem in Scripture that there are aspects that Jesus claims not to be aware of. The time of the end of things for one. Furthermore His views on science seem to match the time (ignoring any science used in performing miracles) He talks of demon possession and illness by sin whereas we might talk of madness or genetics, bacteria or virus. Perhaps it is a case of need to know? Or not damaging the natural progression of knowledge.

Richard

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In the physical realm, in his youth I’m pretty sure he did something like hitting his thumb with a wooden mallet when driving driving a peg into some kind of joinery while he was learning (so that would include the intellectual realm as well). I’m also sure he didn’t say anything more than an emphatic “Ow!!” when it happened. I also think it probable he learned more quickly from his mistakes than most of the rest of us do. :grin:

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Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. God is spirit. So His physicality is all about being human and thus no different from the rest of us. So it looks to me like we have a choice between Jesus being spiritually composite or Jesus simply being God with regards to the spirit. As per 1 Cor 15 our spiritual bodies grow from from the physical like a plant from a seed, and it makes it clear that in the case of Jesus we are talking about a life giving spirit.

Now with thinking of Neo-Platonism and the Gnostics about a rational soul, this would be a bit problematic for it suggests Apollinarianism, i.e. Jesus as a human body with God as the mind. But discarding this pagan notion and keeping with the teaching of Paul in 1 Cor 15, Jesus is human both mind and body and it is only the spirit which is God. And this is not something which inhabits the body any more than we can all be seen as the temple or dwelling place of God.

I think our spirituality is about our own choices, eternal reality, and our relationship with God. And that is certainly substantially different in the case of Jesus. His choices are from before His human birth like when He chose to become a human being. Jesus IS God, and His eternal existence is always God.

As for social… you would have to distinguish physically from spiritually and that would give you the answer. Physically his social existence was human, but spiritually it is God.

This question is confusing to me… it suggest you think of Jesus as composite. You speak of a relationship with His spiritual self. Do you mean a relationship with His physical body? That implies some space-time continuum between the two which is not the case.

That is not what I asked for. That is dogma, or belief.

Imagine you are God and are setting the parameters for Christ

How does your theory match against what Scripture tells us people saw? They did not see God. Why? Why did Jesus have to hide His divinity? Why did Jesus apparently not have the full knowledge of God?
Why is it so easy to misunderstand the true nature of Christ from what we read in Scripture?
Are there underlying reasons for the way Jesus is seen?
I am not interested in Gnostics, or whether the soul may or may not exist, unless it is the only way for Christ to have existed. How do you reconcile Jesus praying to Himself (God)?
IOW is the Trinity the only solution to the practicalities of a divine Christ?

Yes, pretty much. That’s what the early councils decided and why the creeds came out the way they did. “I and my Father are one” – in essence but not the same Person. Some will deny the Paraclete as a Person.

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So you couldn’t follow the logic?

A. Jesus was 100% God and 100% human.
B. God is spirit.
C. So His physicality is all about being human and thus no different from the rest of us.

A+B → C

Or… is your blathering about dogma mean that anything you decide to label “dogma” is a Christian teaching you refuse to believe.

Or… what follows suggest you are trying to lead us to accept anti-Trinitarian dogma.

You contradict the words of Jesus in John 14:9 “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” Or do you think Jesus was talking about some other father?

He didn’t and that is why we see it. But I guess you are asking why Jesus didn’t just say He was God. I think it is like trust. The one who says “trust me” isn’t the one who is trustworthy.

Humans seem to be obsessed with power and thus they often confused human tyrants with God. So looking for God they expect to see power. It took longer for them to realize that God is love an that is what they saw in Jesus.

Here is a good example of it right here, since knowledge is a form of power.

But I see God in Jesus precisely because He discarded power and knowledge for the sake of love.

Jesus was not praying to Himself. Jesus was praying to the Father. Jesus is not the Father. I would explain this but then you no doubt would accuse me of “dogma” again. Never mind the fact that I wasn’t raised Christian and didn’t accept any of this stuff because some church taught it. If anything I believe happens to agree with another Christian then that must be “dogma.”

This is what you seem to be demonstrating. Avoiding the Trinitarian “dogma,” leads to contradicting the words of Jesus to say these people did not see God.

P.S. You could have simply asked if the doctrine of the Trinity were so important then why isn’t it in the Bible. My response would have been more sympathetic. It may define the religion of Christianity as distinct from other religions like Islam, but that doesn’t mean it is crucially important. It is just what we choose to believe for a number of different reasons. …good reasons, I think.

Forget it

Richard

Sorry, looks like people can’t (or won’t) discuss outside faith or dogma.

Richard

If Jesus was adopted by God or sent as God special emissary he could make that statement just the same. He doesn’t have to be eternal or full God of full God to make that statement. This is reading scripture through the lens of Christian theology. Not exactly a crime in the church but if we want to dig behind a text and see what that church theology is based on we need to bypass it.

Matthew 8 has Jesus explicitly and directly speaking to a centurion. In Luke’s version Jesus never actually meets the centurion but speaks to him through his servants. Is this an error? Or is it the same as talking to the centurion himself because because his servants have been sent and bestowed with that authority by the centurion himself to relay his wishes.

MATTHEW 8: When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.

Luke 7: 2 A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly and who was ill and close to death. 3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. 4 When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.” 6 And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof;

Overzealous apologists often read scripture through the filter of 2 millennia or orthodox doctrine. Now I do believe the author of John’s Gospel believes what you are saying. John 1:1 makes that clear (assuming it was part of the original and not a second early redaction).

Jesus also told this story:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You who are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment but the righteous into eternal life.”

Which leads me to think John 14:9 can be understood the same. When we don’t feed the poor or help those in need we are not feeding Jesus or helping him. It doesn’t mean the poor are equivalent with Jesus and are co-creators of the universe.

I’m not denying the trinity but the evidence for it is certainly overstated. In fact, without the authority of the Church, I am not sure I would be a Trinitarian. Sola Scripture certainly isn’t enough.

I wrote an article on Jesus and the Genesis flood inspired by comments here a while back. How does God pray to God? How does God ask the cup be taken from God? How does God seat God at his right hand and give God power and authority? Most CHristians imagine Jesus had a twinkle in his eye when he said, “Why do you call me good. God alone is good.” That would be theological eisegesis. What Matthew and Luke do with that in copying Mark is quite interesting. Anyways, a snippet from what I wrote:

As you noted science way, he thinks stars are small enough and can fall to the earth, mentions something about going to the center of the earth etc. He very much seems to espouse cosmology of the time.

To go deeper, some would argue that Mark has an adaptationist Christology. The spirit of God descended on Jesus at his baptism. It leaves him on the Cross. Mark knows nothing of a virgin birth, trips to Egypt. He and the demons Jesus excises only know Nazareth. Matthew and Luke keep Mark’s narrative but also have virgin births for Jesus. John Makes him the pre-incarnate word of God in an opening meant to mirror Genesis 1:1.

The sayings material in GJohn and the Synoptics really looks like two streams of tradition, one pre and one post easter. The full pre-incarnate Divinity of Christ developed in the Church over time and we don’t seem to see the same level of belief in it across all our NT texts. I am not denying that God lowered himself and became one of us, but that typical apologetics and systematic theologians often just engage in confirmation bias. Everything factors in. In John it seems Jesus loves talking about himself. In the synoptics or at least Mark especially Jesus seems more interested in hiding his identity. I think Mark’s secrecy motif and portrayal of the disciples is literary. Same with his abrupt ending where the women run away in terror telling no one nothing. When everyone else has failed or abandoned Jesus, who is left? The reader or hearer of the Gospel. Its a call to action. Oddly enough, I think Bart Ehrman puts this view forward!

Psychologists have established that people cannot even see and hear apart from their beliefs. They are involved in the process of perception.

And no… reason and logic cannot do anything without premises of some kind. But yes educated people, like you have here in this forum, are quite capable of setting aside beliefs to reason under a different set of premises. But you haven’t set down a set of premises according to which to do such a thing. Surely you are not suggesting a discussion of God and Christianity according the premises of science. That is nonsensical.

I am seeing a serious lack of sincerity here. You start a difficult topic and make very little effort to pursue it. That is what you expect from someone just trying to force simple minded premises on a topic in order to lead people to simple minded conclusions.

Agreed.

But I have already spent a considerable portion of my life in the consideration of Adoptionism and other non-Christian theologies. Is there a purpose in suggesting we revisit these?

Anyway the point was that the claim that people didn’t see God contradict the words of Jesus who said they did. So… why should I credit such a claim without any support from anything when both Jesus and Christianity makes the opposite claim?

Well I am certainly adamant that the doctrine of the Trinity is not in the Bible.

But I have never accepted the authority of any church for anything. The doctrine of the Trinity may not be in the Bible… but yes it did come from the Bible by the use of reasoning… not only for the decisions of the historical church but quite independently in my case. What convinced me was Philippians 2.

I have never accepted this attempt to give Mark precedence over the other gospels. I will not read the Bible with Mark as my filter. To be sure I have my own filters… the findings of science and the words of Jesus. But I see good reason for those filters and none for giving the gospel of Mark such a status.

If I told you that your answers to date are off-topic would you believe me?

Richard

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

This verse, for me, is the clearest scriptural proof the preincarnate Son possessed a will that was unique and yet in perfect harmony with the Father’s.

It was written first and the other Gospels (2 for certain) were literary dependent on it. Though this does not mean Mark is necessarily more reliable on historical grounds or that Matthew and Luke could not have correctly corrected Mark. “Earlier is better” is delusional especially in a span of 10-30 years. What we can do, however, since Matthew and Luke had Mark in front of them, is see how they adapted and changed Mark. This lets us determine some redactions tendencies of each author.

I only presented the adoptionist Christology in Mark to show there is diversity in the canon on this point. I was not trying to prioritize Mark’s portrait over Johns. Though in all honesty, if Jesus nullified food laws like Mark claimed and walked around talking like John claims he did, I suspect his ministry would have been a lot shorter than it already was. Since all four Gospels are in he canon, Christians have to work with all 4 regardless.

I found it relevant to the opening post. Different images of Jesus within the canon need to be dealt with if we are to come up with a consistent Christology.

We agree and on that and Philippians 2 as well. Along with Hebrews 2:17-18 it helps bridge a gap.

Philippians 2:6-8: 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with
God as something to be exploited,7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became
obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross."

Hebrew 2:17-18 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in
order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he
might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was
tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Both of those are foundational to my understanding of Christianity. John and Mark as well. I think they present opposite sides of Jesus. Mark doesn’t understand the fullness of Jesus and presents an accurate portrait of his historical nature. John understands the divinity of Jesus but so strongly he rewires some of his humanity. The balance for me is somewhere within both pictures.

What Jesus knew and when is an even more difficult question.

How do you have a “Bible” without church authority? As you know there are competing canons within the church today though their current diversity should not be overstated. In the early church there was a lot more diversity and many Christians used all sorts of books that go from “these were almost accepted” to “thee are heretical.” The Bible consists of discrete publications written by many dozens of authors over thousands of years. We are most certainly indebted and reliant on Jewish and Christian tradition and Church authority for our creeds and canonized scripture.

Vinnie

I see no reason to accept such conclusions. Literary “dependence” can go both ways or come from a common source.

I found the objectives of the OP far from clear. I did my best to address the question I could understand there and was immediately attacked rather than have any effort made to clarify what those objectives were.

Since I addressed the questions in the OP and you have made no effort to explain your topic further, I have no reason to believe that my answers are off-topic. No it is more than that now…
you have repeatedly refused to explain your topic and elaborate what it is you wish to discuss. That only makes you look insincere.

The same way Jesus could speak of “scripture” without ever defining the word. It was always a matter of consensus. I do not agree that the Bible was a product of church authority. It was a product of consensus by a gathering from the far corners of Christendom, long before the Roman church decide to take upon itself the role of sole authority and right to speak for God. But for me such an effort to take upon oneself an authority to speak for God is more a sign if disbelief in God and the attempt to use religion as a tool of power over people.

Yes I am aware. And like so many other issues, I have never accepted any church authority to dictate any of that. I read the texts and made my own choices. 66 books of the Protestant Bible. check. Book of Enoch? never. Gospel of Thomas? No.

The consensus of Jewish and Christian tradition? Yes. The authority of some church organization? No. There is the universal church of the Bible which has Jesus as its head, I suppose. But for that I think we are back to the consensus of Christian tradition as the closest we can get to that. But again I am not likely to accept anything from that either if it doesn’t make any sense to me. Is that without personal premises? Of course not. I already spoke of my filters in the findings of science and the words of Jesus (yes… for which those gospels are my source) and it is from reading those words I decided to go with them (for remember once again that I was not raised Christian and predisposed to accept them).

“Early church?” people love to imagine such an entity so they can project anything they want onto that. That there is a diversity of belief in the first century is apparent in the letters of Paul. There were certainly lots of Gnostics and Judaizers. But Christianity wasn’t defined until 325 AD by an ecumenical gathering at Nicaea, and then a canon of scripture was decided on soon after that. Those decisions were made by an ecumenical gathering and not by some church authority.

There is no perfect solution to the synoptic problem but Markan priority is the most plausible. You really haven’t looked hard enough if you don’t think there are very compelling reasons for accepting Marcan priority. The common source needed between Matthew and Mark would be so similar to Mark you would be multiplying entities needlessly. Most would just call this another version of Mark.

Vinnie

I have been looking into the difference between Catholic and Protestant canons. I guess I need to read those texts and make up my mind about them. What I have read so far is suggesting that I should accept them since they look to be part of that early canon set in 382 AD, and commentary suggests they more focused on natural theology. I will have to get back to you on that…


So far I find the arguments against these 7 books to be quite lame. Luther’s problem with them is inapplicable to me. Nothing speaks directly of purgatory and I guess what I actually don’t believe in is a heaven which is any different than purgatory. Salvation is not about magical forgiveness, but the removal of the self-destructive habits of sin.

That removal of sin is the whole point of heaven, and I think it is rather likely to be very difficult and painful. It think it is hell which is the easy and comfortable place where our sins consume us. All of us are sinners and all need surgery to remove sin. The only question is whether we consent to that surgery or not.

And don’t think I am the least bit Catholic. I am 5 solas Protestant, for sure. But neither am I the least bit anti-Catholic. I see much to admire in Catholicism – both Roman and Orthodox. On the other hand, I am not big fans of the founders of Protestantism: Luther or Calvin. Luther was far from right about many things, and where Luther was right the Catholic church has pretty much revised its position in the counter-reformation. And I have even more difficulties with Calvin.

The scriptures give the picture that the humanity of Jesus was something that was obvious to those around him. They were discussing if he was a prophet or something else but human - sure, 100%.

The question that was more difficult was the apparent conflict between what Jesus said and did vs. that he was 100% human. What he said and did was clearly beyond anything a human is. There was a need to explain this. I do not know how long it took from the apostles to fully understand who Jesus was. At least it was not something they knew immediately.

Gospels tell how the people reacted to what Jesus said. For most people, it seems that the idea that he was something more than a human was too much to accept. It did not fit into their worldview.
Maybe this is a reason why Jesus preferred to speak with parables. The message was there but was easily bypassed if you could not accept it. In the cultural context, going around shouting that he is the Son of God would have lead to a premature death by stoning.

How important being human and being God is to accomplishing the mission is a doctrinal belief.
Being a human is necessary for acting as a representative of Israel and more generally, humanity.
Death as such was not enough, resurrection was needed for salvation - the whole Christian gospel would be nonsense if Jesus did not resurrect. Resurrection is an act of God. Was it an act of Jesus or an act of the Father is a matter of interpretation and faith.
Anyhow, Jesus could not have united everything on Earth and in Heaven if he would not have been both human and God. As Paul tells it, those believing are ‘in Christ’. ‘In Christ’ we become children in the family of God but only if Jesus is both human and God.

The relationship of human and God in Jesus is a matter that goes beyond our understanding. It does not pop up from the scriptures, except that the start of Jesus was both from Mary and the Holy Spirit. Later councils could only approach the question by telling what it was not. I assume that we cannot tell more, so it remains a mystery. Maybe this is why I like the way eastern tradition approaches the question more than the attempts of western tradition to find exact words for everything. We just do not know everything.

Good luck with Richard’s inconsistent demands. He excludes Trinitarian “dogma” and then brings up Jesus as if taking Him to be “God in human form” has nothing to do with Trinitarian belief. I cannot figure him out at all.

How to answer these questions on some imaginary blank slate??? I am at the very least inclined to say God can do anything He chooses. Is that also disallowed by Richard’s hyperactive exclusions without any explanation of what we are allowed to bring into the discussion? But if God can do anything He chooses then how can we draw any conclusions at all about “God in human form?”

In what way? People have found most of what He said in the writings of rabbis before that and Jesus says that what He did are things that we can do as well.

Not only that but it would hardly make Him stand out compared to the many psychopaths with delusions of grandeur. It is a question of what was really important to Him, our doctrine or our salvation? It is like the person who says “trust me.” That you trust him is really important to the criminal. But the truly trustworthy person is much more concerned with doing what is right and good whether you trust him or not.

I certainly think it is important as well, though probably not for the same reasons. And this doesn’t mean it is important for us to believe such thing.