The Hypostatic Union Part 2

The two natures of Christ, human and divine, can be found in Sacred Scripture.  The evidence in Sacred Scripture that Christ is indeed God was provided here (post 1, post 2).  We’ll now look at the evidence found in Scripture that Jesus was truly man.  For there we see that Christ got hungry, could be in awe, grew tired, emotional, sorrowful and was even temped as we are.  Examples:

Matthew 4:2 And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry

Matthew 8:10 When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith”

John 4:6 Jacob’s well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

John 19:28 After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.”

Hebrews 4:15 For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.

Matthew 26:38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 

A particularly interesting passage is the one from Luke 2:52 where we see that “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.”  This passage can often be used by those who want to show that Christ is not God at all, for how can God, who is immutable (post 1, post 2) increase in “wisdom and stature”?

The catechism provides some clear insight into this question:

CCC469 The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man.  He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother

CCC470 Because “human nature was assumed, not absorbed”, in the mysterious union of the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course of centuries to confess the full reality of Christ’s human soul, with its operations of intellect and will, and of his human body.

CCC472 This human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with a true human knowledge.  As such, this knowledge could not in itself be unlimited: it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time.  This is why the Son of God could, when he became man, “increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man”, and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience.  This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking “the form of a slave”.

CCC475 Similarly, at the sixth ecumenical council, Constantinople III in 681, the Church confessed that Christ possesses two wills and two natural operations, divine and human.  They are not opposed to each other, but cooperate in such a way that the Word made flesh willed humanly in obedience to his Father all that he had decided divinely with the Father and the Holy Spirit for our salvation.  Christ’s human will “does not resist or oppose but rather submits to his divine and almighty will.”

The last paragraph, 475, is particularly important to understand.  Christ has two natures, human and divine, with two wills.  Christ submits his human will to the Divine will of the Trinity in all that he does, but especially to enact the plan of salvation He was sent to accomplish.  We see this play out in a profound way in Scripture when Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane prays to the Father, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).

Father, may we all come to follow the example of Christ and learn to submit our human will to your Divine will. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s