Today, we continue our series of Trinitarian terms that pertain mainly to the deity of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. There are several concepts like Hypostatic union and Kenosis that will be further examined in upcoming posts.
Hypostatic Union, Two Natures of Christ, Relationship between Them-Importance for Salvation (see also Chalcedonian Creed)-The Hypostatic Union is the union between the deity and the humanity of Christ. In His deity, He is all that the Father is, He is the Son of God and possesses a divine nature. Christ’s divine nature was not always suppressed during His public ministry. The Savior’s Sonship and innate authority were often the point of His teaching and miracles. His submission to the Father and anointing by the Spirit do not negate the active operation of His divine nature. He sometimes acted as God, even Lord of the Spirit. In His humanity, he is born of a human, a perfect man, and possesses a human nature. Christ’s deity does not impede the reality of His humanity: His growth from infancy to maturity, His human temptation (not from sin within), His perfection through trials and suffering to become our High Priest.
Immaculate Conception-a term used of Mary, suggesting that she was free from conscious sin (there was no deliberate act of rebellion against God in her life). The conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in her mother’s womb free from original sin by virtue of the foreseen merits of her son Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ: Biblical Basis of Deity and Humanity-Deity: Christ’s divine nature was not always suppressed during His public ministry; the Savior’s Sonship and innate authority were often the point of His teaching and miracles. His submission to the Father and anointing by the Spirit does not negate the active operation of His divine nature, Joh 5:21-22. Humanity: Christ’s deity does not impede the reality of His humanity: his growth from infancy to maturity, His human temptations (not from within), His perfection through trials and suffering to become our High Priest, Heb 4:14-15
Kenosis-literally the self-emptying act of the Son of God in assuming human nature as found in Phil 2. Jesus emptied Himself of the rights, the prerogatives of being God were left behind, He does not assumed kingship, and taking on the servant role. See also the doctrinal statement for a longer discussion and argument on this from J.I. Packer.
7 Keys of Christological Orthodoxy – 1. Pre-Existence, 2. Virgin Birth, 3. Consciousness of Divine Sonship, 4. Literal Miracles, 5. Foreknowledge of Expiatory Death, 6. Bodily Resurrection, 7. Physical Return to Earth
Modern Christologies: Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), asserted that Jesus is our human example, He fully opened himself to God, Jesus had a divine consciousness not an eternal divine nature; known as the Father of Modern Theology, feeling became the center of Christian confession. Adolf von Harnack (1851-1930), asserted the Fatherhood of God that the human soul can be so ennobled as to unite with God, that Jesus’ gospel is about the Father not the Son; asserted that Jesus preached the kingdom of God, not Himself, and he preached the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of mankind. Karl Barth (1886-1968), asserted that Christology is the center of everything, the risen Christ of faith, no the historical Jesus is central, that the Word is Christ, Scripture, kerygma, encounter; asserted the resurrected Christ is the essence of the Christian faith. He proclaimed a “Christ of faith”. Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976), asserted extreme NT criticism, Jesus’ person and works finally unknowable, demythologization, when we die to self we experience existential resurrection; denied the Trinity and Deity of Christ.
Nestorianism-form of Christianity that continues today in Asia; asserts that sometimes Jesus Christ is acting as God, other times as humanity, but there is not adequate unity of the two in the one personal consciousness of our Lord.
Old Testament Evidences of the Trinity, One God yet Plural Agencies-God is One, ‘Ehad-“one”, “to be united”, primary texts include Dt 4:39, 6:4, Isa 42:8. God says “we” in Gen 1:26-27, plural terms for God include ‘Elohim’ and ‘Adonai’. Triadic patterns in the OT hint to a greater revelation in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in creation (ge 1:1-3, Pr 30:5-6), the Trisagion (“Holy, holy, holy”, Isa 6:3) or more generally in the tri-dimensional activity of God in the transcendent Other yet visibly made present in theophany, Shekinah, and in the immanent and activity of the Spirit (Ps 139:7). See also Isa 48:12-16, various translations include verse 16b as continuing the divine monologue as Yahweh speaks yet distinguishes himself from himself as the Sent One together with the Spirit. See also Isa 63:8-16, The Lord himself becomes the Savior and Redeem of Israel though the “angel of his presence” and full ascription “Holy Spirit” is found. See also Zech 12:10 Yahweh seems to refer to himself in the first and third person; God likens himself to an only son and a firstborn over whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem will weep bitterly, can be directly applied to Christ.
Parakletos-an attribute used to describe Jesus Christ as our Intercessor and the Holy Spirit as “the Counselor” or helper.
Perichoresis-“the dance around” as each member of the Godhead; there is a sense in which each member of the Godhead penetrates, has a reciprocal indwelling, each in the other.
Son as God, Relation to Father and Spirit-Jesus’ words and John’s commentary declare that the Son and the Spirit were with God (Jn 1:32, 15:26, 16:7). Jesus is said to have seen and to see the Father (Jn 1:18, 3:11, 32; 5:19, 29, 37; 6:46; 8:38) and to speak what he hears the Father declare (3:32, 34; 5:30, 37; 7:17; 12:49-50; 14:10). The Spirit also speaks and tells what he hears or receives of the Son (16:13-15). The father shows the Son all that he is doing (5:20); what the Father does, the Son does (5:19; 6:38). Interpersonally, the Father knows the Son (Jn 10:15) and the Son knows the Father; the knowledge Jesus has of God is based on relation. They Know and Testify of Each Other- Interpersonally, the Father knows the Son (Jn 10:15) and the Son knows the Father; the knowledge Jesus has of God is based on relation. The Spirit knows the Son and is known by the Son (Jn 14:26, 15:26, 16:14-15). Because each of the divine persons has eternal, infinitely deep knowledge of the other, the Father testifies of the Son, the Son of the Father and the Spirit of the truth that is in the Father and the Son. As the Spirit alights upon the Son to testify of him at his baptism, so it is the Son who presents the Spirit, testifies of his coming and with the Father, sends and gives the Spirit.
Theotokos: Appropriateness for Evangelicals-a term ascribed to Mary as literally, “the bearer of God”, or “mother of God”. Does not mean that Mary was mother of Christ’s divine nature, but mother of His human nature. Appropriate to the extent that it mentioned this is only to human nature, i.e. this term does not mean that Mary was a deity.