Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A Response to "DawahIsEasy" on the Deity of Christ (Part II)

I continue my response to this video by YouTube Vlogger "DawhaIsEasy". The first part of my response is found here.

The historic Christian belief, shared by Catholic, Protestants and the Eastern Orthodox Churches is that Jesus Christ is the God-Man, both fully human and fully divine. Our Islamic friends, as this video makes clear, claim that this is impossible. The common Islamic argument is that being God necessarily requires certain properties (necessary existence, being unlimited, being immortal) while being human requires properties (being mortal, etc.) which are inconsistent with the properties of God. From this, it is argued that the very notion of a God-Man makes no more sense than the idea of a four sided triangle.

This point is well made at approximately the fifteen minute point of the video by the Islamic speaker. He declares that it makes no sense for one being to have two natures since the nature of God is to be almighty while the nature of a creature is to be limited and you can't have a being at once limited and unlimited.

To show why Christianity doesn't contradict itself, we need to unpack exactly what the Church teaches. The faith shared by Catholic, Protestants and the Eastern Orthodox holds that Jesus is one person with two natures. What exactly does this mean? Jesus posses a human body and a human soul. This body and soul forms the human nature of Jesus. At the Annunciation, when Christ was conceived in His mother's womb, this human nature was joined to the Eternal Logos, the Second Person of the Trinity. Two natures, joined together, thus formed a single person.

With this in mind, it is possible to understand how some of the questions asked in the video should be answered. When for example, the Muslim speaker asks if Jesus is all knowing or if his knowledge is limited and the Christian replies "both" the Christian position looks horribly contradictory. The proper response is as follows: Christ has a human soul, one power of which is a human intellect. Christ also has a Divine nature, one power of which is His Divine intellect. These two intellects are the means by which Christ knows something. Having said that, while His intellects are the means by which Christ knows things it is important to note that it is the person who knows things.

From this it follows that Christ knows some things but not others through His human nature while he knows all things through His divine nature, but, and this is the crucial point, the person knows all things and is, in no way, limited in His knowledge.

It follows, from what is said above, that while Jesus has both a human and a Divine nature, the person, who is the union of these two natures, is a Divine and not a human person. Incidentally, the fact that the two natures make one person and that that person is Divine is the reason that the Church declares Christ's mother to be "Mother of God."

Let me say something to my Christian readers: I suspect many of you will find what I have just said rather technical and perhaps even difficult to follow. There is no getting around these facts, however. Anyone seeking to preach the Gospel in our current environment will increasingly find that we need to be able to answer the questions put to us by our Islamic friends. These are the questions they will be asking and, to answer them, we need to have a clear handle on exactly what the Church believes about the natures of Our Lord.

I will, deo volente, continue this response as time permits.


1 comment:

  1. Hello Jason! I know we haven't spoken in forever but I've recently discovered your blog and have been reading voraciously! Your posts are incredible and always teach or clarify something about my faith so THANK YOU.

    On this post I wanted to try and simplify the complicated (ha ha) by asking, you saiy: "while Jesus has both a human and a Divine nature, the person, who is the union of these two natures, is a Divine and not a human person". Is this so because His Divine nature is the greater of the two? That He is equally both, of course, but if His human knowledge is limited and His Divine knowledge is unlimited then ultimately His knowledge is unlimited because His Divine nature is greater than His human nature?

    It is so complex even for a Christian to get their head around, I admire anyone who tries to explain it to followers of other religions! It's one of those things that sort of ends up 'just being'---Christ is fully man and fully God because He is, and because God's 'logic', for want of a better term is in so many ways incomprehensible by our logic.

    Please do keep posting! *Much love and prayers*