Does Christ Jesus Have Two Natures? The Hypostatic Union – Numbers 23:19

 

Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent.”

 

Both Oneness and Trinitarian theologies affirm that God also became a true man in the incarnation through the virgin. Thus we are affirming that God as God is ontologically God and that Emmanuel “God with us” is ontologically a man.  Since “the man Christ Jesus” cannot be half God and half man, we know that Christ Jesus as a true human being had to have been “God with us” (Matthew 1:23) as a true ontological human being in genuine and full human existence.

 

The idea that Christ Jesus as a true human being was created in an alleged hypostatic union of two natures united together in one human spirit was developed by fifth century Roman Catholic theologians long after the original apostles had died. Since the Scriptures do not give us the details or mechanics how God came into our world as a true human being, we know that the hypostatic union doctrine of two natures in Christ Jesus deals with human speculation about the incarnation rather than the actual facts of inspired scripture.

 

On the surface, the hypostatic union theory of two natures uniting together as one person in Christ appears to contradict the words of inspired scripture. For if we are to believe that Jesus was “made” “like unto his (human) brethren” (the Greek word translated “like” means exactly like all human beings are made – Heb. 2:17), then we must believe that “the man Christ Jesus” was so “fully human in every way” (Heb. 2:17) that he could not have been a mere fusion of two natures to form a human spirit living in one human body. For if this was the case, how then can we affirm Hebrews 2:17 to be true? Hebrews 2:17 proves that “the man Christ Jesus” was ontologically made exactly like all human beings are made. Since no human being (not even the first Adam 1 Cor. 15:44-45) was ever made in an alleged hypostatic union of a divine and human nature, the fifth century Chalcedonian definition appears to be an erroneous theory.    

 

Speculative human reasoning can say that God’s Divine Essence or Nature was “inseparably” united with the human nature of Christ to form a human person within the Hebrew virgin.

 

While this wording sounds good to human ears, it is not what the scriptures teach. For if the humanity of the person called “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5) was formed by an alleged hypostatic union of two distinct natures (a divine nature and a human nature) then Unitarian and Arian critics can easily point out that “the man Christ Jesus” would have consisted of two separate natures which would remain separate and distinct from one another because the Nature of God and the nature of man are ontologically distinct, separate, and different (Numbers 23:19 “God is NOT A MAN”).

 

Brother David Bernard wrote in his book, The Oneness of God, Page 90, “While the Bible is clear in emphasizing both the full deity and full humanity of Jesus, it does not describe in detail how these two natures are united in the one person of Jesus Christ. This, too, has been the subject of much speculation and debate. Perhaps there is room for divergent views on this issue since the Bible does not treat it directly.”

 

According to Dr Bernard, the fifth century Roman Catholic Chalcedonian conception of two natures in Christ Jesus in an alleged “hypostatic union” is not clearly taught in the Bible. That is why Dr Bernard said, “…perhaps there is room for divergent views on this issue since the Bible does not treat it directly.”  Hence, there can be no doubt that the idea of a hypostatic union of two natures in the man Christ Jesus is not a concept which is directly dealt within the Bible. Therefore the hypostatic union doctrine should never be taught as an infallible scriptural doctrine because it involves the speculative reasoning of fifth century Trinitarian Roman Catholic theologians rather than the words of inspired scripture. 

 

Modern Oneness believers must admit that we have also been influenced by Trinitarian theology and that the Trinitarian Chalcedonian conception of the two natures in Christ appears to be problematic. For if “the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5)” as the Son of God consists of a 100% divine nature and a 100% human nature in an alleged “hypostatic union” (an unscriptural assertion) then Jesus could not have been “made like unto his brethren” (Heb. 2:17 “like” in Greek means “exactly like” his human brethren).

 

If the man Christ Jesus consists of a divine nature and a human nature united together as one person then it appears that Jesus would not be a true human being like us (for two nature’s existing in one person sounds like a Nestorian Christ rather than the true Biblical Christ). Hence, while I do not necessarily rule out the idea of an alleged “hypostatic union” being scriptural, I believe it is more scripturally accurate to say that Jesus is 100% “God with us” in true human existence (God with us as a man) and that Jesus is 100% man because God Essence of Being/Person also became a true human being/person through virgin conception and birth.

 

While Dr D. K. Bernard has acknowledged that there is room for disagreement on this issue, one thing is for sure, Oneness believing Apostolic Faith Christians have a much stronger apologetic defence of the gospel by using the scriptural data alone rather than resorting to the shameful use of the Roman Catholic definitions of the fifth century which were produced even after Mariology became the official Roman Catholic Doctrine in the early fifth century (Mariology became official at the Council of Ephesus AD 431 / The Hypostatic Union of Two Natures in Christ became official at the Council of Chalcedon AD 451).

 

Since there is no record of Oneness believing Christians ever believing in an alleged hypostatic union of two natures in Christ Jesus before the Roman Catholic Church adopted this definition at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, it is unlikely that the earliest Christians ever held to such a speculative conception about the man Christ Jesus before the fifth century.

 

Jesus clearly has a human spirit which had to go to God just like all human beings (Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, “…the spirit shall return unto God who gave it”). Therefore Jesus could not have been God with us AS GOD, but GOD WITH US in genuine and full human existence.

 

While I do not represent any mainline Oneness Organization on this subject, my gift and call from God is to point out the historical and scriptural data as I see it before the Lord in order to “by all means save some (1 Cor. 9:22),” Trinitarians, Unitarians, and Arians to the obedience to the first century Apostolic Faith which was “once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). My heart is with the apostle Paul when he said, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ (Gal. 1:10).”

 

Paul also said, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some (1 Cor. 9:22).”

 

How can we persuade Unitarians and Arians to the obedience of the faith if we resort to the same tactics that Trinitarians often use in claiming that some of the Roman Catholic Councils are authoritative and binding on the true church of the living God? This is why I recently changed my mind about using the wording of the Trinitarian Chalcedonian conception of two natures in the man Christ Jesus because the Chalcedonian definition relies heavily on speculative human reasoning rather than the facts of inspired scripture. For no inspired scripture ever states that the man Christ Jesus as a human son had two natures in an alleged hypostatic union. However, I would not go so far as to say that it is heresy to affirm two natures in Christ. I simply believe that it is a speculative assumption used to promote the divinity of Jesus rather a scriptural fact. It is certainly more scriptural, factual, and apologetically accurate to defend the scriptural data which affirms that Jesus as a human son is God’s Essence of Being/Person who also became a human being/person – according to 1 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 1:3, and Hebrews 2:17.

 

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