Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Is Jesus a Contradiction?

Photo by Edal Anton Lefterov
Aside from "How can anyone still believe there's a God in our modern, push-button world?" and "Isn't God a sadist for throwing people into hell on the slightest whim?" one of the most frequent Quora questions is some variation of this one. 

Q: Is there a contradiction in the Trinity since Jesus was a human being and a god being at the same time?

A: The Christian teachings on the Trinity and the nature of Jesus are probably its 2 most misunderstood concepts. Just to clarify, the Trinity is defined in Christian theology as one being (“ousia” in Greek, the language it was first defined in) eternally existing as three distinct and infinite underlying personal realities (“Hypostasis” in Greek) — commonly called “Persons” to emphasize God’s personal (i.e., He’s not a force) nature. These three are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God (specifically the 2nd ‘person’ of the Trinity) took on and fully united with human nature in the single person of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was not God only or a man only, but truly God and truly man, “unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably.” In Christian theology this is called the Chalcedonian Definition and is based on the concept of the incarnation in the Christian Scriptures.

Hence, there is no contradiction because Jesus was first, foremost, and eternally the infinite God, but God plus something — God plus human-ness.

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