Hypostatic what? Does Jesus have a soul?

A several weeks back a friend asked an insightful question at a study group, “Does Jesus have a soul?” Several blank stares ensued, myself included, around the table as the matter was processed and pondered. I have never heard the question phrased like that. A simple, direct and straightforward inquiry. I remember we all glanced around looking at each other. “Well, does he?”

Several days later I was driving through the Seattle downtown traffic. I was in the middle of a long day when the answer to the question hit me. I wasn’t particularly thinking about the question. The drive was backed up with traffic, I was hungry, and I was bored with my remaining work. In a very abrupt way the answer pressed on me hard. I’ve felt this pressure before. Maybe you have experienced it. It’s when the Holy Spirit wants me to know something, and know it well. Many years ago, this urging scared me. I didn’t understand it and many times I never heard it. Now I embrace it, relishing in the love and grace God has for his children.

Here is the reasoning that almost knocked me off the road.
• We are created by God in the likeness of God. “So God created mankind in his own image…” (Genesis 1:27)
• We know we have a body and soul. A ‘substance dualism’, if you will, of a “physical body and immaterial, invisible thing that makes (us) a conscious living human being”1
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
• If Jesus does not have a soul, he is not fully human.
• If Jesus is not fully human, he cannot act has the propitiation for our sins.
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5)
• Therefore, yes. Jesus must have a soul, just like ours because Jesus is Fully God and Fully Man. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
What we basically could not articulate quickly as a group was the incarnation of Christ, outlined in verses; John 1:14, 1:1, 20:28, Luke 2:11, and John 8:58.
I drove to my destination very quietly after this. I repented of not remembering all the Lord completed for me. How could I have not put two and two together? That is the big ticket. Without the incarnation, why do we gather, why do we serve, why do we give? The guys in our study group are cool and all but we could go hang in a bar, skip the books and not worry about the heavy stuff.

So, I dug into my wonderful books to study on the topic of the “hypostatic union”. What are these two natures?
“Early church figures such as Athanasius used the term “hypostatic union” to describe the teaching that these two distinct natures (divine and human) co-existed substantively and in reality in the single person of Jesus Christ…” The full humanity of Christ is displayed in that he experienced all human weakness and limitations of having a human body, mind and soul, and yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15-16). “Jesus’ full humanity enables him to accomplish our obedience (Romans 5:18-19) and be a substitute sacrifice for us (1 Tim 2:5).” The deity of Christ was necessary because only someone who is infinite can bear the penalty for sins (Luke 2:11).

So, why do I write this now? A few reasons.
1. I love Christ and I don’t want to miss any critical parts of his revealed revelation to us. Especially when it comes to my right standing with the Father.
2. I love my Brothers and this simple question provided the groundwork for a deeper understanding of Christ. We can’t afford to roll around in the heresy of Apollinarianism. That was refuted 451 AD, but that is a writing for another time. And finally, we can’t afford to miss any opportunity to know Christ better and rejoice in what he has done for us, but we will. We are imperfect, but we strive to know our Lord better.
3. I’m partial crazy and where I have been studying graduate level finance all day, with a brief break for purchasing fireworks, placing my mind on our Lord eases me. It rests my soul and I thank Him for that.

#Merica! Brexit 2017

 

 

  1. Moreland, James Porter, and Dallas Willard. Love Your God with All Your Mind. 1st ed. Colorado Springs, Colo: NavPress, 1997. Print.
  2. Grudem, W. (1994). ‘Systematic Theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine’ (6th ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530: Zondervan.
  3. Two natures of Jesus | Theopedia. (2017). Theopedia.com. Retrieved 3 July 2017, from https://www.theopedia.com/hypostatic-union
  4. Picture Credit- Cat, P., Cat, P., & profile, V. (2006). Hypostatic Union of Christ: The Black and Tan. Aliveandyoung.net. Retrieved 4 July 2017, from http://www.aliveandyoung.net/2006/10/hypostatic-union-of-christ-black-and.html

Tell me why they had to die?

Tell me why that person had to die? I prayed… Why do you permit the wiping out of individuals in tragedy after tragedy without seemingly a thought or concern? Why don’t you intervene, to remove evil, to stop the hurt, to save us from… ourselves?

If God is all-powerful, then removing all evil would certainly be within his power.

God created this world in which the problem of evil is possible. (Gen 1:1) Although, it was not his intention that we participate in it. Man, created the problem of sin and wickedness at the fall. Humanity choose to separate itself from God’s design. Adam exercised his free will by choosing to deny our creator’s direct command and consumed the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 3:6-7) Free will is a gift. It allows us to freely choose between good and evil, right and wrong. It enables us to desire grace to work in our lives or to deny the allowance of his mercy. To unreservedly love someone is to give them the ability to choose. The choice to leave, to stay, and this opens the possibility them not returning the love you have extended to them. A suitable reason to allow evil to persist could possibility be the allowance of the liberty to choose God, but at that point the entrance is left open for wickedness and strife to enter. Thus, if God used his power to remove all evil, then the freedom of choice is removed likewise.

If God is all-loving and completely good, God must desire to protect his children from harm that may come to them.

Consider the possibility that the choice to permit suffering and distress provides growth and strength in God. (Romans 5:3) Written in his book, ‘Intellectuals don’t need God & other modern myths’, Alister McGrath maintained, “How do we know that there cannot be morally sufficient reasons for God permitting suffering?” (McGrath, A. 1993) One known character attribute of God is that he is all-loving. With that assurance, we can assume that God is restraining and deterring evil in this world. (John 17:15) God is inhibiting wickedness until his overall redemptive strategy is achieved. This permits all who will come to know Jesus Christ time to place their faith in him. (Gal 3:22) To have an all-know and all-loving God intervene during times of great evil would diminish the reason for sending his son to bear the suffering of this life for us. There is no pain, death, murder, evil, or hate in heaven. (Matthew 16:19) Absolutely, God could make it trouble-free to gain the assurance of heaven, but at what cost? The cost was his Son, and at his suffering on the cross, the admission was paid. To maroon his children in the precarious position of a spoiled child, waiting for the great protection of a parent would render us incapable to freely choose God’s forgiveness and grace he provided in Christ. (Romans 8:18)

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)

If God is all-knowing, he knows the wicked plans Satan will initiate.

Humanity is broken, narcissistic, self-seeking and cannot justly determine the level of pain or evil at which point God should intercede. (Romans 2:6) Would murder be the precipitating evil? How many murders must occur prior to intervention? If not murder, what about natural misfortunes that are not initiated by man? If we maintain earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters that appear to our finite minds to unnecessarily take human life as sufficiently wrong, humanity cannot rightly conclude as to what level of disaster should or should not be restrained. We have no visibility to the destination of the intended purposes. (Psalms 121:7) The human intellect is limited. It is not in the position to make decisions as all life is considered sacred. (John 1:4) The wisdom of an omniscience God is required to make these judgements. (Proverbs 1:7)
An all-knowing God will stop evil, but to do so would require the end of this creation as we comprehend the world now. No one knows “the day or hour” of the end, we are told twice in the gospel of Matthew and once in the gospel of Mark. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32) God does intervene against all forms and methods of evil and when doing so carries out his intentions, for his creation. To predict when God should or should not intervene places us in the untenable position of God’s equivalent. Equal positioning between God and humanity does not increase the status of humankind, but serves to decrease the status of a perfect, all loving, all knowing God. By doing this, he then ceases to be God. We need God to remain fully displaying his knowledge and wisdom; and man, ought to desire God to continue in this unspoiled glory.

What does this mean for me? It means there is hope…

The pain and anguish of this world hurts, but there is hope. This optimism comes in Christ, sent by God to intervene into our pain, trials and suffering. Answers as to why someone had commit suicide, a marriage failed, or an ailing loved one was gone too soon are genuine questions with very real pain attached to them. Nevertheless, I urge you to plead with the Lord to intervene, for all wickedness and sufferings to end, and your grief to subside. (Romans 12:15) God is magnificent enough to shoulder the burden. Place your reliance for security in this life that there is hope. Hope in the one who was sent to bear the evil and sin of this world, Christ Jesus.

55 “Where, death, is your victory? Where, death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55)

It is God’s desire to end all death and wickedness for the last time. For that reason, Jesus died on the cross for this very purpose; to put an end to all iniquity. Directing your attention to the cross is to precisely position your faith and expectant optimism exactly where it should be.

“4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelations 21:4)

1. McGrath, A. (1993). Intellectual Barriers to Faith. In Intellectuals don’t need God & other modern myths: Building bridges to faith through apologetics. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House.

2. Inserted Image- Credit: Unknown

A Parent’s Guide to Discussing Christmas

christmas-tree37 Parents Guide to Discussing Christmas

“The best thing of all is God is with us.”- John Wesley, Theologian. 1703-1791

As the days drew closer to Christmas, the anticipation increased. The brightly decorated tree had presents surrounding the base and Christmas music played on the television in the living room. The smell of freshly baked holiday treats lingered in the air. The atmosphere was filled with joy and full of hope. However, it was full of hope that “it” would not happen again. Hope that the drinking would not start. Hope that the shouts of rage and anger would not be directed at the people he declared he “loved”. Hope that the drinking he repeatedly promised to stop would not destroy yet another holiday.

No such luck. The rage began and the kids scattered to different areas of the house. The Christmas joy and cheerful thoughts vanished as quickly as they had come. All hope collapsed. The sound of Christmas bells echoing from the television sounded strangely like the starting bell at a boxing ring. However, now the boxing ring was contained inside a three bedroom, two-bath home in a no-name suburb.
“Please do not let the neighbors hear the yelling and screaming, again.”

As the rounds progressed, the tempo increased and with each passing moment, the siblings’ hearts ached more and more.

“Why is this happening now?”

“What was wrong this time?”

“Is this how a father is supposed to act?”

“How could he do this so close to Christmas?”

“Why won’t God save us?” The battle thundered on.

The heightened conflict was different this time. From its base, the Christmas tree was snatched from the corner of the room. Presents, gift-wrapped with such great care, were kicked out of the way. Ornaments flew around the room as he carried the tree toward the front door.
“No!” The kids screamed with tears streaming down their faces.

“We are not having Christmas!” he proclaimed. Everyone was crying as the tree landed in a crumbled pile in the yard. Once again, the neighbors were very aware of the events unfolding in the home.

Seated on the edge of her bed, her head in her hands, Mother wept. Their tormentor had stormed off and taken his drunken rage with him. The house was quiet now and the kids gathered around their Mom to check for physical damage, and, in an all too common turn of events, preceded to comfort her.

Through her tears she muttered, “All I wanted was for you kids to have a good Christmas. I’m sorry, I’m so very sorry…” *

I pray that the true story above is not reflective of you, your family, or anyone you know. Sometimes it hurts to remember, and as the Christmas season is celebrated, it causes memories to surface. Some memories are wonderful reflections of the past, and other memories; frankly, we would wish to forget forever.

If this story resembles your personal story, words cannot express my distress. No one should harbor those types of memories. However, you now have the opportunity to create joyous memories and influence your children’s holiday recollections. What will your children remember from your holiday celebrations? Will it be joy, happiness and love? This parents’ guide is your opportunity to speak directly into your children and share with them the true meaning of Christmas. You can create positive memories that will last a lifetime. How special it is to communicate to them your love and the love of our Father-God who will never forsake us, and sent His only Son as proof of that love!
The Acts 19 Apologetics Ministry provides this guide as a means to encourage you to seize this chance to speak truth and love into your children.

Will you join me in completing this worthwhile task?

John 3:16: “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him…”

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Talking to your family about Christmas and the birth of Jesus in three easy steps:

Step 1: Set the Theme:

The celebration of Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior, sent by God the Father who loves us.

Step 2: Read aloud scriptures:

*Consider having others in your family read the passages.*

  • Jesus birth- Luke 2:4-7 and Matthew 1:18-25.
  • The Shepherds and Angels celebrating his birth- Luke 2:8-20 and Matthew 2:1-12
  • Jesus presented at the Temple- Luke 2:1-40
  • Prophecies fulfilled from Old Testament in Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6 and foretold in the New Testament -Luke 1:26-45
  • Gifts from your Father in heaven—Matthew 7:7-11
  • The Lord will never leave you nor forsake you.—Deuteronomy 31:6

Step 3: Address the points of discussion.

First main point: God the Son came as a man to save us. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human.

The Father sent God the Son (Jesus) into this world in the lowliest of ways. Born to a poor farm girl, in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and in barn with animals the “the Son of the Most High” was delivered to redeem us from sin.
Jesus’s birth was foretold in Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. This was God’s plan from the very beginning.
Also in Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.”
Six months prior to Jesus’ birth, the Lord sent the angel Gabriel to tell Mary she will be with child, and He will be called Jesus and He will be called, “the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:26)
The manger was in reality settled in a cave under a family home in the hills of Bethlehem! (Luke 2:16) Draw the comparison to the nativity scenes commonly seen today. Note of the differences between modern depictions of the birth and the reality of a 1st century birth. Bethlehem was a very small town, without the modern comforts of an “inn”. There was no choice, but to stay in any available space. (Luke 2:12) Hence, the birth of Jesus in a manger.

Second main point: God the Father loves you, and sending Christ Jesus demonstrates this love.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to atone for our sinful human nature. (1 John 3:1, and 4:10)
One of the attributes of God is His perfect holiness. Holiness means to separate from, or set apart. God must set Himself apart from our unholy and sinful nature. (Hebrew 12:14 and Ephesians 2:20-21) Jesus came to us as a fulfillment of God’s love to bring us near to Him. Through our faith in Jesus, we are made holy! (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Father-God loves us so much our Lord provides the path of reconciliation for our unholy nature. Our reconciliation is Jesus! (2 Corinthians 5:18 and Deuteronomy 4:37-38)
You have a Father who loves you and will never forsake you. (Psalm 94:14) The Christmas season is a celebration of God’s love for us, through the birth of His son Jesus. (Luke 2:8-20 and Matthew 2:1-12)
Jesus sets the example of how a husband is to treat his wife and children. (Ephesians 5:25-26, 6:4) No matter our past, we are to model ourselves after our savior Jesus.

Third main point: Christ Jesus is at the center of the Christmas celebration.

All the traditions surrounding Christmas and the holiday season are wonderful. We should wholeheartedly enjoy all of the food, family, parties, trees and trimmings, as long as Jesus stays the primary focus of it all.
We affirm that Christmas is not all about material things or even just family, but remembering Jesus, His birth and the love our Lord has for us.
Purchasing and giving gifts to each other is fun and can be glorifying to God when we know why we are doing it. The gifts and giving represent love and the gift of Jesus’ birth to us.

Conclusion:

The Lord loves you! The Lord will never forsake you, regardless of the situations in your life.
God the Father has sent us the perfect example of love, in His son Jesus.
Remember: Jesus was born, of a virgin birth, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” and he came to be with us and provide the path of reconciliation for all of our sins. (Colossians 1:15)

* For the family members depicted in this guide’s opening story, their ending is one of redemption, joy and happiness. The Lord redeemed and restored this family many years ago and in March 2012, the devoted husband lovingly transitioned his bride of almost 40 years to be with our Lord. Here lies a visible example of our Savior’s grace. With that grace and by that grace alone we are redeemed.

Re-Blog- My Problem with Hillsong | The Domain for Truth

Well said!

Check out the link below…

Does Christ, the humble and unashamed preacher, matter? The danger of the hip and cool prosperity movement–one of them is Hillsong and its pastor Carl Lentz, who attracts many celebrities fro…

Source: My Problem with Hillsong | The Domain for Truth

The Crucial Concept of Self-Deception in Presuppositional Apologetics By Dr. Greg Bahnsen

Great read!

The Crucial Concept of Self-Deception in Presuppositional Apologetics By Dr. Greg Bahnsen

Source: The Crucial Concept of Self-Deception in Presuppositional Apologetics By Dr. Greg Bahnsen