Is Jesus Both God and Man?
by Sean Finnegan
"…How in the world could Jesus be omnipresent if he couldn't be in two places at once?" I asked. "How could he be omniscient when he says, 'Not even the Son of Man knows the hour of his return?' How could he be omnipotent when the gospels plainly tell us that he was unable to do many miracles in his hometown?" —Lee Strobel, Case for Christ, p. 158.
In the foyer of our church is a tract that says on its cover "Did Jesus Think He Was God?" Below, I have reproduced the chart found in it, enumerating 11 points as to why Jesus could not be God.
If Jesus is God then…
1. How could he have a beginning (Matthew 1:18; Romans 1:3), since God has always existed (Isaiah 43:13)?
2. How could he keep "increasing in wisdom" (Luke 2:52), since God’s "understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5)?
3. Why did he say, "I can do nothing on my own initiative" (John 5:30), whereas God "can do all things" (Job 42:2)?
4. Why did he spend "the whole night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12), as there is never a time when God prays, but only receives prayer from others?
5. How could he learn obedience and become perfect (Hebrews 5:8 and 9), since God invented obedience and is already perfect (Matthew 5:48)?
6. Why doesn’t he know the day and hour when he will return, and yet his Father, God, does know (Matthew 24:36)?
7. Why didn’t he know who touched him (Mark 5:30), whereas God knows everything (Isaiah 46:10)?
8. How could he be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1), yet "God cannot be tempted by evil" (James 1:13)?
9. How could he die (Philippians 2:8), if God "alone possesses immortality" (I Timothy 6:16)?
10. How could he be in subjection to the Father [if he were the Father] for all eternity, (I Corinthians 15:28)?
11. Why was he asleep on the cushion (Mark 4:38), yet God never sleeps or slumbers (Psalms 12:14)?
Though these reasons may appear very conclusive to most unitarians, they are not by most mainstream Christians. When I speak to orthodox Christians along these lines, the person often responds "You misunderstand the dual nature of Christ." Their reasoning continues, "In his divinity, he is God; but in his humanity, he is man. When he performs miracles, that is a manifestation of his deity. When he suffers or is limited in any way, that is a manifestation of his humanity." Thus, a dual nature proposition is given as the explanation as to why Jesus did not exactly match the attributes recorded of God.
But why is this doctrine necessary? Why do people believe that Jesus is God? The main reason given for why Jesus would be God is that he did things that only God can do – he raised the dead, walked on water, exorcised demons, forgave sins, and lived perfectly. Each of these will be taken in its turn.Next>