(More Bible Studies Available At www.marktabata.com)
It is written:
1 Timothy 2:5-For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
The book known as the Da Vinci Code proclaims that the Godhood of Jesus Christ was the invention of a third century church council known as the Council Of Nicaea.
As we have seen, this is a lie!
However, the Da Vinci Code further claims that the Council Of Nicaea did not want the truth about the humanity of Jesus to be known. It was claimed that the humanity of Christ was taught in the Gnostic books, and that the New Testament Books were “chosen” because they do not teach that Jesus is human.
What shall we say to this?
First, we have learned that the New Testament Books had been accepted by the church as canonical long before the Council of Nicaea.
Second, the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) clearly teaches that Jesus is Divine.
Third, as we will explore in this study, the Bible is very clear in teaching us that Jesus is also fully human.
The humanity of the Messiah was prophesied throughout the Old Testament Scriptures. We see this clearly in the genealogies of Christ (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38), which trace the bloodline of Jesus from both His adopted father’s (Joseph’s) lineage (in Matthew), and through His mother (Mary) (in Luke). The Messiah was to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and He would “grow up” before the LORD as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground (Isaiah 53:2).
What is more, the New Testament clearly teaches the full humanity of Jesus in numerous ways.
Paul writes of both the Divinity and the humanity of Christ:
Philippians 2:5-8-Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Please observe that Paul teaches both the Deity and the humanity of Jesus. Christ has always existed “in the form of God.” The word “form” stresses the complete and full nature of a thing (more on this shortly). Jesus did not give up His identity as God when He came into the world to “come in the likeness of men.” Instead, He retained His fullness as God when He “emptied Himself” by becoming fully human.
Ware has noted:
“Notice some crucial features of this important passage. First, Paul makes clear that Christ Jesus, as the eternal Son of the Father, is fully God. He offers two expressions, each of which conveys the full deity of Christ. Paul writes that Christ existed in the “form of God” (v. 6), using the term morphē, which refers to the inner nature or substance of something, not its external or outward shape. So, while the English word form can convey merely the outward appearance of something (i.e., the shape or contour or façade of some object), not its inner reality, the Greek word morphē conveys just the opposite, as can be seen with Plato’s “forms”—i.e., those substances of ultimate realities such as beauty, truth, justice, goodness, etc., that Plato thought existed eternally and apart from any material representation. The Greek morphē, then, is the inner substance or very nature of a thing, not its outer shape or appearance. That Paul intends this understanding can be seen further in his second use of morphē, when he says that Jesus took the “form [morphēn] of a servant” (v. 7). Surely it is evident that Paul does not mean that Jesus took on merely the outer appearance of a servant, implying perhaps that though he looked like a servant, he was not in his own heart and life a true servant. Just the opposite: Jesus took on the inner substance and very nature, i.e., the form (morphēn), of what it means to be a servant, and that to its highest expression. As a servant, he served to the utmost, as he was obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. So again, “form” (morphē, v. 6, and morphēn, v. 7) must mean the very nature of something, not merely its outer appearance. Therefore, Paul’s point in 2: 6 is clear: Jesus, being the “form of God,” exists in very nature as God, with the inner divine substance that is God’s alone. He is fully God since he exists “in the form [morphē] of God.” Paul also refers to Christ as possessing “equality [isa] with God” (v. 6), which likewise makes clear his full deity. Nothing is equal to God except God! As God declares of himself, through the prophet Isaiah, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isa. 46: 9; cf. Ex. 8: 10; 15: 11; Deut. 3: 24; 2 Sam. 7: 22; 1 Kings 8: 23; Ps. 71: 19; Mic. 7: 18). Indeed, there is no god other than the one true and living God—so God is exclusively God—and there is no god who is like the one true and living God—so God is incomparably God. With this background in mind, Paul’s declaration that Christ possesses “equality with God” is stunning. It can mean only one thing: by virtue of the fact that no one can be equal to God but God himself, Christ, who possesses equality with God, must himself be fully God. Of course, as we often find where the deity of Christ is expressed, we see hints or outright declarations that someone other than Christ likewise is God. Since he is equal to God, this means that there is another who is God, in relation to whom Christ is his equal. So, as John puts it, the Word is both “with God” and is “God” (John 1: 1), and Hebrews declares that Christ is the “exact imprint” of the nature of God (Heb. 1: 3). Likewise here in Philippians 2, Christ is other than the one who is God (understood as the Father, no doubt) while he is also equal to this other one who is God and so is himself fully God…“Third, as one who is fully God, Christ Jesus “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (v. 7). The word that here is translated “emptied himself,” ekenōsen (third aorist indicative of kenoō), means literally just this: that Christ “emptied himself” or “poured out himself.” Note that Paul is not saying that Christ emptied something from himself or poured something out of himself, as if in so doing he became less fully God than he was before (which, as we have seen, is impossible). Rather, he emptied himself; he poured out himself. That is, all of who Christ is as eternal God, all that he is as the one who is in the form of God and is equal with God, is poured out. Christ, then, as God remains fully God. He loses nothing of his divine nature, and no divine qualities are removed from him as he pours himself out. No, Christ remains in his divine nature fully who and what he is in his existence as the eternal second person of the Trinity. He has eternally been fully God, and now in the incarnation he pours out fully who he is as God, remaining fully God as he does so. The question then becomes just what this means—that Christ, the one who exists in the form of God (morphē) and as equal (isa) to God, pours himself out (ekenōsen). The answer comes, amazingly, in the three participles (particularly the first one) that follow ekenōsen. Christ poured himself out, taking the form of a servant. Yes, he pours out by taking; he empties by adding. Here, then, is a strange sort of math that envisions a subtraction by addition, an emptying by adding. What can this mean? In brief, what this must mean is this: Christ Jesus, existing and remaining fully who he is as God, accepts his divine calling to come to earth and carry out the mission assigned him by the Father. As the eternal Son of God, who is himself the form (morphē, i.e., very nature) of God, he must come in the form (morphēn, i.e., very nature) of a servant. That is, he must come fully as a man, and as a man he must live his life and give his life as one of us. In so doing, Christ pours himself out (all of who he is) as he takes on, in addition to his full divine nature, a full human nature. Again, it is crucial to see that in the self-emptying (ekenōsen) of the eternal Son, Paul does not say that he poured something “out of” himself. No, absolutely not! Rather, he poured out himself. All of who he is as the eternal Son of the Father, as the one who is the form (morphē) of the Father, is poured out fully. Here, then, is no subtraction, strictly speaking. It is a “subtraction” (i.e., a pouring out, an emptying) by adding human nature to his divine nature. He came, then, to become the God-man—the one whose very divine nature took on fully the existence of a created human nature. He poured himself out by adding to himself the nature of a man, indeed, the nature of a servant par excellence who would give his life in obedience on the cross to fulfill the will of his Father. Perhaps a couple of illustrations will help in seeing just how Christ could empty himself by adding something else to himself. Imagine, first, going into a new car dealership for the purpose of test-driving a brand-new car. As you are looking around the showroom floor, a salesman approaches and talks to you about several models on display. Your eye lands on a particularly bright and shiny car, brilliantly reflecting the sunlight streaming in. You ask if you can test-drive this beautiful, shiny car, and the salesman agrees. As you leave for your test-drive, you decide to drive out in the country for a bit, and in doing so you come upon some unpaved dirt roads. It so happens that this area had received torrential rains for the past several days, so these dirt roads are extremely muddy. Nonetheless, you drive this new shiny car on those muddy back roads for several miles, spinning the tires and enjoying how the car handles in these slippery conditions. Returning the car to the dealership, you pull into the lot and drive it right back onto the showroom floor—now caked all over with mud! When the salesman sees you and his car, he comes over and exclaims, “What have you done to my car?” At this you calmly reply, “I haven’t taken anything away from your car; I’ve only added to it!” And of course, the point is correct. The beautiful shine of the car is still there. Its luster and beauty haven’t been removed. But what has happened is that something else has been added to the car that prevents these qualities from being able to shine through. The beauty of the car has not been destroyed or even diminished, but that beauty has been covered over by the mud. One might even say this: the glory of the car is every bit as much present as it was previously, but this glory cannot be seen for what it is because of the covering of mud. Taking on the mud, then, had added something that results in its appearing less, while in fact it is only more. This illustration seeks to help show just how Christ could, on the one hand, retain full deity while taking on humanity, yet, on the other hand, why it was that his deity, while fully possessed, could not be fully expressed due to his having taken on human nature. The human nature added to Christ’s deity is like the mud added to the luster and brilliance of that bright and shiny car. Apart from the incarnation, there was nothing to “hide” or conceal his full deity, so it could show forth in full brilliance. But when he became also a man, he “covered” himself with a created, limited, and finite human nature. So, even though Christ is fully God in the incarnation, he cannot express the full range of his divine qualities or attributes owing to his having also taken on full human nature. While the glory of Christ’s deity is still fully present and intact, the manifestation of that glory is not allowed full expression, covered as he is, in human nature.” (Bruce A. Ware, The Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ, 17-22 (Kindle Edition); Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway)
Paul focuses on both the Deity and humanity of Jesus, stressing both as a powerful consolation for Christians, and this is all nearly two hundred years before the Council Of Nicaea (which the Da Vinci Code vilifies)!
Indeed, when we turn to the Gospels, we see countless examples of the humanity of Jesus. Luke reminds us that Jesus “grew and became strong in spirit” (Luke 2:40), and that He “increased in wisdom and stature” (Luke 2:52). We read that Jesus experienced hunger (Matthew 21:18), and thirst (John 19:28). He was tempted in all points as we are able to be tempted (Hebrews 4:15; Luke 4:1-13). Indeed, one very way Jesus “became flesh” (John 1:14)! Jesus could grow tired (John 4:6). He cud be so tired that He would sometimes fall asleep (Matthew 8;24; Mark 4:37-38)! Sometimes, the Messiah’s knowledge was limited (Matthew 24:36; Mark 5:30). Jesus experienced the full range of human emotion including grief (John 11:35), anger (Mark 3:5), doubt (Matthew 27:46), and desire (Hebrews 2:18). Even though He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15), Jesus knows the full force of the guilt and condemnation that sin brings because God placed all of our sin on Him at Calvary (1 Peter 2:21-25).
Speaking of the humanity of Jesus, Schaff has well written:
“Christ passed through all the stages of human life from infancy to manhood, and represented each in its ideal form, that he might redeem and sanctify them all, and be a perpetual model for imitation. He was the model infant, the model boy, the model youth, and the model man…“Here we meet, at the very beginning of the earthly history of Christ, that singular combination of humility and grandeur, of simplicity and sublimity, of the human and divine, which characterizes it throughout, and distinguishes it from every other history. He appears in the world first as a child, as a poor child, in one of the smallest towns of a remote country, 3 in one of the lowliest spots of that town, in a stable, in a manger, a helpless fugitive from the wrath of a cruel tyrant—thus presenting, at first sight, every stumbling-block to our faith. But, on the other hand, the appearance of the angel, the inspired hymns of Zacharias and Mary, the holy exultation of Elizabeth, Anna, and Simeon, the prophecies of Scripture, the theological lore of the scribes at Jerusalem, even the dark political suspicion of Herod, the star of Bethlehem, the journey of the magi from the distant East, the dim light of astrology, the significant night-vision of Joseph, and God’s providence overruling every event—form a glorious array of evidences for the divine origin of the Christ-child. Heaven and earth seem to move around him as their center. What a contrast! A child in the manger, yet bearing the salvation of the world; a child hated and feared, yet longed for and loved; a child poor and despised, yet honored and adored; beset by danger, yet marvelously preserved; a child setting the stars in heaven, the city of Jerusalem, the shepherds of Judea, and the sages of the East, in motion—attracting the best elements of the world, and repelling all that is dark evil! This contrast, bringing together the most opposite yet not contradictory things, is too deep, too sublime, too significant, to be the invention of a few illiterate fishermen. 4 Yet, with all these marks of divinity upon him, the infant Saviour is not represented, either by Matthew or Luke, as an unnatural prodigy, anticipating the maturity of a later age, but as a truly human child, silently lying and smiling on the bosom of his virgin mother; “growing” and “waxing strong in spirit,” 5 and therefore subject to the law of regular development, yet differing from all other children by his supernatural conception and perfect freedom from hereditary sin and guilt. He appears in the celestial beauty of unspotted innocence, a veritable flower of paradise. He was “that Holy Thing,” according to the announcement of the angel Gabriel (Luke 1: 35), admired and loved by all who approached him in a child-like spirit, but exciting the dark suspicion of the tyrant king who represented his future enemies and persecutors. Who can measure the ennobling, purifying, and cheering influence which proceeds from the contemplation of the Christ-child, at each returning Christmas season, upon the hearts of young and old in every land and nation! The loss of the first estate is richly compensated by the undying innocence of paradise regained.” (Philip Schaff, Person of Christ: The Perfection of His Humanity Viewed as a Proof of His Divinity, 310-348 (Kindle Edition); Hannibal, Missouri; Granted Ministries Press)
The claims that the New Testament overlooks or does not teach the humanity of Christ are false.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.