Chapter 3: Theories Regarding the Nature of Christ

Let us now look at some of the theories on the nature of Christ that people came up with from the time of the apostles until the Council of Chalcedon.

One camp said that Jesus was man but not God, but the holiest of all men, and that there was nothing divine about him. These were the Ebionites.

Another camp said that He was God but not man. Specifically, they said that Jesus had a divine mind but a human body. These were the Apollinarians.

A third camp said that He was neither God nor man but the highest of all created beings. These were the Arians, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses also subscribe to this teaching.

Another camp said that He was not man but He just looked like one and that his body was just an illusion. These were the Docetists.

Another camp said that He was God and man – two persons in one body. They said the God person was dwelling in the human just like the Holy Spirit dwells in believers. These were the Nestorians.

Another camp said that He was God and man, with the divine and human natures combined into a single new nature. These were the Eutichians (who said that the divine nature totally dominated the human nature), the monophysites (who said that the single nature was either the divine nature or some combination of the divine and the human nature) and the monothelites (who said that Jesus had two natures but only one will).

With all these theories floating around, there was chaos and confusion in the church. There were therefore several church councils called to decide whether a given view was true or false. For example, the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 declared Arianism (which says that Jesus was not divine) as heresy. Then the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381 declared Apollinarianism (which says that Jesus was not human) as heresy.

The struggle to stem heresies continued until the church leaders met at the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451 and came up with this statement concerning the nature of Christ. It is short and put together into a single statement. They called this nature of Christ the hypostatic union.

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; very God and very man, of a rational soul and body; coessential with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the God-bearer, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning have spoken of him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us. [Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, 2:62-63.]

It is very unfortunate that they got it wrong too!

The fact that the Council considered themselves "Holy Fathers" (a term that Jesus used to address God in Jn 17:11) shows that they understand neither the nature of God nor the teachings of Christ. Christ Himself acknowledged that only God was good (and therefore holy). Christ Himself said that we have only one Father (who is God Himself) (Mt 23:9). In view of that, to call oneself or one’s human leaders ‘Holy Father’ is nothing short of blasphemy.

Further, the following part of the Chalcedon Council statement does not make logical sense:

"two natures without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved"

It is like saying you take an apple and an orange and you combine it to get something that remains fully apple and fully orange but no longer separately apple or orange.

The problem lies in the fact that God and man have contradictory properties. For example, God cannot be tempted but man can be tempted. So a being that is fully God and fully man, and meets the above description, is both tempted and not tempted at the same time. This being violates the Law of Non-Contradiction (which states that A and not A cannot be true at the same time and in the same space) and therefore cannot exist.

Let me now explain how this statement reduces to A and not A. Consider the term ‘two natures without confusion’. A nature may be defined as an algorithm that processes the input stimuli, makes decisions and takes actions. For example, a lioness may see a deer, decide to eat it, and act upon the decision by hunting it down. For another example, a poor man may see a steak, realize that he hasn’t eaten for two days, decide to steal it, and break a window and grab the steak and run.

Now consider the implication of Christ having two natures without confusion. One nature is the divine nature that doesn’t get hungry. The other is the human nature that does get hungry. Now picture this scenario: it is late evening; Jesus has had nothing to eat all day; Peter asks, "Master, are you hungry?"

What is Jesus’ answer? The divine nature says, "No." The human nature says, "Yes." So Jesus would truthfully have to respond, "Yes and no." That is A and not A. A person – a being – cannot have two mutually exclusive natures operating in him at the same time. It results in a logical contradiction.

Things that violate the Law of Non-Contradiction don’t exist. Therefore the Council of Chalcedon, by saying that the nature of Christ violates the Law of Non-Contradiction, is saying, whether they acknowledge it or not, that Christ doesn’t exist.

This is exactly want Satan wants the universe to confess – that Christ doesn’t exist!

One cannot say that the Law of Non-Contradiction cannot apply to statements about God. This is because Christian apologists apply the Law of Non-Contradiction to statements about God to show that atheism doesn’t make sense (see Appendix D for more details). If we cannot apply the Law of Non-Contradiction to statements about God when discussing the nature of Christ then neither can we invalidate the atheists’ claim that God doesn’t exist on the basis of the Law of Non-Contradiction. Either way, we would end up saying that God doesn’t exist or Christ doesn’t exist, which of course is going to make Satan very happy.

So then, what is the true nature of Christ? Let’s read on to find out.

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