top of page
  • Rıdvan Demir

JESUS THE HOLY SON & JESUS THE NAZARETH






(Two Natures in One Person)



Throughout history God has sent numerous messengers and messages mankind. Along with these prophets God has sent books. We can say about the three Abrahamic religions that all prophets are messengers and all books are messages that are sent by prophets to the people. This is the understanding of revelation in Islam; however the understanding of revelation in Christianity is completely different. The message is Jesus from God, not a written book.


Jesus has been sent by God with a big plan for humankind. According to the Christian understanding of original sin, Adam has sinned, so everyone is a sinner. One who believes in the cross of Jesus will grants that God sent Jesus as Lord to take flesh and die on the cross to forgive our sins. God resurrected Jesus as very humble. At the same time, Jesus is Son of God as a part of God and Son of humanity who has both natures in one body according to the formula of Christian faith (Credo). Thus, Jesus as savior clearly shows a different understanding of revelation between Christianity and other Abrahamic religions. This article is written according to the Christian perspective. Therefore I will try to understand Christian belief system as a Muslim student of my school for my Systematic Theology course. I will be have objective perspective in my paper for peace, interfaith dialogue and mostly to understand our each other.


I. DIVINE CHARACTER OF JESUS (As Lord)


I think that if I explain to what does “ex nihilo” means my writing will be able to understanding much more. A Latin phrase meaning “from nothing” and “out of nothing”. that some theologians apply to the biblical story of creation; Genesis 1, as well as other Old Testament allusions to creation, suggests that God created the world out of water. One of the main natures of Jesus in the New Testament is “Jesus as the Lord.” He has this nature since the beginning according to the first lines of John’s Gospel. It talks about someone who is there in the beginning together with the Father and says, “the word (Logos) was God.” This Gospel does not only say Jesus is God but describes him as someone who has behaved or acted with God’s honor and power. Believers of Jesus trust and pray to Jesus, and they accept Jesus as God. The creator of the cosmos is God; however Jesus also is Lord of the cosmos. The beginning of John’s Gospel says, “He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”[1] This verse indicates that Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is addressed with adjectives of goodness whose creature-hood is not accepted.[2] Many Christian groups pray to Jesus in the Eucharist ceremony.[3] This is a different proof that Jesus is accepted as the Lord.[4]


“Luke differs from other synoptics in referring to Jesus as ‘the Lord’, apparently in an absolute sense (e.g., 10:1; 11:39; 12:42; 17:5-6; 18:6; 19:8; 22:61; 24:34). The word (Cyrios) has a wide range of reference in the NT, running all the way from ‘sir’ to a title or name of God...but when Luke calls Jesus o Cyrios absolutely, he probably has in mind his heavenly dignity as Lord of all his people. Acts bears witness to the primitive idea that God raised Jesus up and made him both Lord and Messiah (2:36; cf. 3:13; 10:40-42; 13:32-35)”.[5]



The Yahweh (YHWH) word that became Hebrew’s four consonant letters has been translated as Lord (Kyrios) when the Old Testament was translated to Greek. This word is used to express the divinity of Israel’s Yahweh. The New Testament gave a new mission to this word and used for God and also Jesus. There is no doubt that this newness has started with the New Testament.[6] When the angel Gabriel gave Mary the good news that she will have a son, Gabriel wanted her to name her child “Jesus” to state his identity and mission in the future, that is “to save” (Yeshua)[7] Since “only God can forgive sins”[8] Jesus also has to forgive all sins as Lord with God.


The best example of the use of the word “Lord” for God and also Jesus is while Jesus argues with the Pharisees concerning Psalm 110.[9] Jesus implies the divinity of himself is secret and says to them: “How is it then that David, speaking by the Sprit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: “sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’ If then David calls him ‘Lord’, how can he be his son?”[10] Thus Jesus hushed them.


According to Christian doctrines, power and miracles[11] prove that he has divine character over illness[12], nature[13], Satan and demons[14], death[15], and sin.[16] In the New Testament, one of the foremost natures of him is the adjective of God being. Nevertheless, power, honor and sublimity belong to God the Father as they belong to Jesus from the beginning[17] to forever. The first church gave Jesus the divine adjective because Jesus has the essence of God.[18] Many New Testament scriptures refer to him thus. The Father resurrected Jesus by superiority.[19] Jesus was raised to the right of God the Father over all angels, authority and power[20] with sublimity and might[21]in all the fullness of goodness. He was bodily but held dominion over every ruler and leader.[22] Jesus is the appearance of the invisible God, first born of all creation, though everything was also created through him and for him, and all fullness is in him[23] hidden as all treasures of knowledge and wisdom concealed within himself.[24] Thus in the early Church, Jesus became dominant over everything and God exalted forever.[25]


The Lord concept is used for Jesus in many places in the New Testament. “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.”[26] “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David as a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ (or Messiah) the Lord.”[27] Other instances like “servants of Christ” say that Jesus is divinity in the New Testament.


“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.”[28]


In the New Testament, there are also places where the word Lord is used only for God.[29] In the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, Paul talked about God as Lord; however he has talked about Jesus also as a Lord.


“About eating food sacrificed to idols: we know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but ‘One’. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’), yet for us there is but one God, the father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”[30]



In this context, Alfred Garvie says that “the Christian doctrine of Christ is that he was truly divine and truly human, and heresy has been a denial of the one or the other nature, or of their union accepted formula is two natures in one person.”[31] This creed was accepted in the council of Chalcedon by early church fathers in 451 AD.

While Jesus is divinity, at the same time he is a human. Nevertheless, he is one person. According to Christianity, one must accept that Christ is the unique son, unchanging, indivisible. According to Christianity, Jesus (Word/Logos) was the Son of God from the beginning. He has come as a human to our world in a point of time. There are thoughts that Jesus will stay as a human forever, but some thoughts are opposite and say he will turn into God the Father. In this point we can say that Jesus is really God in the New Testament texts, and he will live from the beginning until forever together with his Father as ‘a divine word.’ Jesus is the same with Him in existence.[32] We must not forget that one side of him is also a human.


To entreat[33] Jesus or to believe in Jesus means to believe in his divinity.[34] Liturgical prayers end with this sentence that is ‘our Lord Jesus Christ’.[35] “For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the divine character of both the dead and the living.”[36] This sentence emphasizes Jesus has divinity. However, it is very important nuance that 'the word lord' does never means divinity all the time in the Holy Bible.



II. HUMAN CHARACTER OF JESUS (Son of Man)


There is no doubt that one of Jesus’ natures is the Son of man according to the Christian perspective. This concept is used in the Old Testament[37] and also in the New Testament[38] there are the “Son of man” concepts in over eighty places in the New Testament.[39] This word also is used as an adjective of Jesus. Nevertheless, sometimes this word is used with a little different version, that is, ‘Son of Mary.’ Both mean Jesus himself. In Matthew 24: “At that time the sign of the Son of man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.”[40] Here Jesus mentions the return of himself and uses the Son of man concept himself. In the same part, he says, “When you see all these things, you know that it (or he) is near, right at the door.”[41]

When Jesus was in the court of the Sanhedrin, the Jews asked him “under oath by the living God: tell us if you are the Christ[42] the Son of God”. “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: in the future you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of the mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” It is very clear that Jesus’ target was to prove that he was the Son of man that all Jews were expecting when Jesus gave this reference to the book of Daniel.[43]


According to C. W. Emmet, Jesus preferred to present himself as ‘Son of man’ because this title involves sublimity. Jesus avoided the use of ‘Messiah’ and ‘Son of David’ because these words imply political thoughts.[44]


By the time of Mark’s Gospel, Christology has already grown remarkably. The most distinctive title of Mark given to Jesus is the Son of God. At the same time, Jesus is the Son of man who suffers, dies, is raised up and occasionally is named ‘Messiah’[45], ‘God’[46] and ‘my son whom I love’.[47] Other people gave Jesus the title “the Son of David”; however Jesus is superior to all adjectives, because he has good news about the kingdom of God and he has given new good news[48] -- that he is the starter of the new age.[49]





Jesus’ family tree is only mentioned in two places in the New Testament.[50]


“The Gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”[51]



This verse expresses that Jesus is God as well as human. Jesus is the flawless human. He has godlike and human intelligence and also godlike and human will together. These two natures are in one body. According to the Christian faith, Jesus is the savior of all and human knowledge of him was wide and strong for him to officiate. Beyond that, his spirit, heart, intelligence and will are virtuous and divine.


The mission of the Holy Spirit (Paraclete) is also connected with the son.[52] The Holy Spirit who gives life and is God has been sent to Mary to bless her womb, to impregnate her with the divine nature. The human nature was taken from Mary. Mary became Jesus’ mother to serve by the providence of God. Jesus who was born of the womb of Mary with the power of Holy Spirit is the new Adam who establishes the new creation.[53] The first man, Adam, was from earth; the second man, Jesus Christ, was from heaven.[54] Jesus who is the new Adam (Jesus) was born of the virgin Mary by the help of the Holy Spirit, without a human father. The first Adam was from the Earth, according to the New Testament, but the new Adam was from the Father in Heaven. In this context, the salvation of humankind is ‘the yes’ of Mary’s answer to the Holy Spirit.[55] The plan of God for Jesus to become human was exigency. The sign of expected king belief in the beginning of Matthew is that this king would come from King David’s genealogy (through the carpenter Joseph.) According to Christianity, the Prophet Isaiah knew that the expected Messiah was to be Jesus.[56]


CONCLUSION

Jesus has two natures in one person according to Christianity. In this concept, the understanding of revelation in Christianity is very different from other Abrahamic traditions. God planned the biggest plan with Jesus and sent him as Lord and also as human to the cross to die for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus is the Lord according to this understanding, as well as pure human. Jesus used the Lord concept (secretly) for himself in the New Testament, but openly used the Son of man concept. Jesus used both to show that he was the expected king who would come though David.


It is very interesting that he uses these words to become the expected king. Though Jesus was sent to the cross by God, God resurrected Jesus for salvation of humankind. Thus, Jesus has one body but two natures. Jesus is one hundred percent God as well as one hundred percent human, and he is not fifty percent God and fifty percent human according to the Christian faith system. I conclude my article with verses of the New Testament that summarize the essence of the Christian faith and its understanding of revelation. Therefore I will be able to show that Jesus has two natures in one person. In Philippians, Paul and Timothy write in Philippians:


“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:


Who, being in very nature (or in the form of) God, did not consider equality with god something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature (or the form) of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”[57]



BIBLIOGRAPHY



1. Alfred E. Garvie, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (ERE), “Christianity”, Edinburg 1979, volume III.

2. C. W. Emmet, ERE, “Messiah”,Edinburg 1979, volume VIII.


3. Holy Bible, Broadman and Holman Publishers, Nashville 1995.


4. James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, “Lord”, Nashville 1990.


5. James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, “Son”, Nashville 1990.


6. Katolik Kilisesi Din ve Ahlâk İlkeleri, (Trs. Dominik Pamir), Istanbul 2000.


7. S. E. Johnson, “Christ”, Interpreter’s the Dictionary of the Bible (IDB), Nashville 1988, volume I.


8. P. Xavier Jacob, P. Luigini, Nilay Hidiroglu, Hiristiyan Inanci, Istanbul 1994.

[1] John 1:2-3; see also, Colossians 1:16-17. [2] John 20:28. [3] P. Xavier Jacob, P. Liuigi Lannitto, Nilay Hidiroglu, Hiristiyan Inanci, Istanbul 1994, p. 75. [4] James Strong, New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, “Lord”, Nashville 1990, p. 636-659. [5] S. E. Johnson, “Christ”, Interpreter’s the Dictionary of the Bible (IDB), Nashville 1988, I, p. 567. [6] See Matthew, 22:41-6; see also Katolik Kilisesi Din ve Ahlâk İlkeleri, (Trs. Dominik Pamir), p. 119. [7] Luke 1:31. [8] Mark 2:7. [9] “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ [10] Matthew 22:41-46; See also for the similar passages, Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44; Acts 2:33-36. [11] Matthew 15:29-39; 20:17-19; See for the similar passages, Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34. [12] Matthew 4:23-25; Luke 6:17-19. [13] Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25. [14] Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39. [15] Matthew 9:18-19; Mark 5:21-24; Luke 8:40-42. [16] Romans 3:25-26; 1. Galatians :4; I. John 2:2. [17] See, Colossians 1:17-18. [18] See, Philippians 2:6 [19] Romans 14:9. [20] I. Peter 3:22; See also, Luke 24:50-53. [21] I. Peter 4:11. [22] Colossians 2:9-10. [23] Colossians 1:15-19; Ephesians 1:22-23. [24] Colossians 2:2-3. [25] Romans 9:5. [26] I. Petrus 3:15. [27] Luke 2:10-11. [28] Ephesians 6:5-7; See also, Colossians 3:22-24; Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1-2; 2. Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; Revelation 1:1. [29] See, Matthew 2:13-15, 4:7-11; Luke 2:9; 2:39. [30] I. Corinthians 8:4-6. [31] Alfred E. Garvie, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (ERE), “Christianity”, III, p. 597. [32] P. Xavier Jacob, P. Luigini, Nilay Hidiroglu, Hırıstıyan Inancı, p. 73-74. [33] I Corinthians 16:22. [34] See, Katolik Kilisesi Din ve Ahlâk İlkeleri, (Trs. Dominik Pamir), p. 121. [35] Katolik Kilisesi Din ve Ahlâk İlkeleri, (Trs. Dominik Pamir), p. 116. [36] Romans 14:9. [37] Daniel 7:13. [38] Matthew 24:30; 26:64; Mark, 13:26; Luke 21:27. [39] James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, “Son”, Nashville 1990, p. 986-992. [40] Matthew 24:30. [41] Matthew 24:33. [42] Or messiah; also in verse 68. [43] Daniel 7:13-14. [44] C. W. Emmet, “Messiah”, ERE, VIII, p. 580. [45] Mark 8: 29; 14:61-62. [46] Mark 11:3. [47] Mark 1:11; 9:7. [48] Mark 1:14-15. [49] S. E. Johnson, “Christ”, IDB, I, p. 565. [50] See, Matthew 1:1-16; see for the parallel pasage, Luke 3:23-38. [51] Romans 1:2-4. [52] John 16:14-15. [53] See, I Corinthians 15:45. [54] See, I Corinthians 15:47. [55] See, Matthew 1:20. [56] See, Isaiah 7:13-14. [57] Philippians 2:5-11.

Commentaires


bottom of page