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This book answers the big questions that theologians have debated for many centuries in regard to the origin and nature of Christ. We start with the foundational issue of the virgin birth of Christ and the incarnation of Christ and then move on to the idea of the image of God and Christ's pre-existence. All of this leads to the Father-Son relationship and the discussion about the Godhead.
Category - Long Book
As I see it, the church debate regarding Christ’s deity and humanity failed to focus on the real underlying issue. They argued about spirit and matter (or spirit and body) instead of focusing on the real issue of soul and spirit.
Through their Greek lenses, they debated the possible distinction between Jesus’ material body and His spiritual soul. Hence, neither side focused on the real issue that Paul set forth in his Hebrew view that the soul was fleshly, or carnal—not spiritual. The real issue was the difference between soul and spirit, that is, the old Adamic nature and the new creation man of the spirit.
For this reason, the Greek Christian philosophers compared and distinguished Christ’s spiritual nature with His physical humanity and soon became lost in the fog of the Docetic Sea.
The real issue is whether or not Christ was tainted with the sin of Adam. We know, of course, that He was not tainted by Adam’s sin, for this was why He had to be born of a virgin. If He had been begotten by a man descended from Adam, then He would have been on par with all of us who have earthly parents. This would have rendered Him a blemished lamb, not qualified to be the spotless Lamb who could take away the sin of the world.
The issue was not about two separate natures, one heavenly (good) and the other material (evil). Yet the Gnostics had dragged the Christians into their own arena that assumed matter to be evil.
The real issue was whether or not the penalty for Adam’s sin was transmitted to Jesus. When framed in that manner, the dispute could have been resolved quickly, for Heb. 9:28 (KJV) says that He was “without sin.” Because the virgin birth was the key to His perfection, any argument should have focused upon that single truth.
Paul compared Christ with Adam, saying in 1 Cor. 15:45-47,
45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural [psuchikos, “soulish”]; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.
If the church had understood the apostle Paul, they would have built their arguments upon his foundation and the tripartite nature of man in general. Adam was “a living soul” and “earthy.” The name Adam literally means “earthy,” for he was named after the earth or ground (adamah).
By contrast, the last Adam (Christ) was “spiritual” and “is from heaven.” Christ had been begotten from heaven, whereas Adam had only been “made” or “created.” Hence, Christ originated in heaven, not in earth. He was heavenly, not earthly. He was spiritual, not soulish.
The Nicene Creed set forth that Christ was “begotten, not made.” They understood that Adam was “made,” and that Christ was “begotten.” So far, so good. But when they began to slice Him into two separate beings, Jesus being His humanity, and Christ being a separate divinity, they immediately began to veer down a Greek philosophical path of dualism and Docetism.
Christ had one nature, a heavenly nature, that was manifested in human flesh. His heavenly nature came from His Father. The flesh in which He was manifested was provided by His mother’s genetics.
Yet here we must search for a better word than “nature.” What we really mean is that Christ’s Person-hood, or His conscious awareness, His Being, was heavenly. He did not have a flesh nature, for that would assume that He had two natures. No, His flesh was a “House” in which He lived while on the earth. His flesh-house was soulish and material, but Jesus was not soulish. His conscious Being was located in His spirit, not in His soul. In fact, His spirit ruled His soul.
The primary difference between Christ and us is that we were born Adamic, that is, soulish, and in order to become spiritual, we must transfer our identity to our spiritual man, the “new self” (NASB), or the new creation man. In so doing, “we” are no longer descended from Adam but from God, thereby becoming sons of God.
Hence, even though the body and soul continue to be descended from Adam, our identity has transferred elsewhere. The “old self” (NASB) continues to die through its inherited mortality, but we ourselves are immortal spirits not subject to death or corruption.
Whereas our soulish man was “made” by our earthly parents, our new man was “begotten.” As long as we live in human flesh, there are two Persons coexisting in one body—one Adamic and one Godly—but each of us is just one Being. We are one or the other but not both. We are who we claim to be in the divine court.
Those who claim to be “Adamic” or “Israelitish” or “Jewish” or any other ethnic identity will be recognized as such in the divine court. All such designations are but different manifestations of the “old man,” or “old self.” Such people were sentenced to death in the time of Adam. The path of salvation is to become a new man begotten by God.
But being now spiritual through a second begetting does not mean we have ceased to have a soul. It is rather that the soul is in submission to the spirit. The soul is subordinate; the spirit is dominant; but each of us is one person. The soul and its flesh now serve only as an impersonal “house,” and is not the master of the house.
Therefore, the argument about the dual nature of Christ, along with the dispute over his deity or humanity, misses the point. Those who make Christ “human” miss the point because they emphasize His physicality without seeing that He was disconnected from Adam. Those who argued for Christ’s deity, downplaying His humanity, split His Person-hood into two separate entities, thus straying from the truth that He was spirit, soul, and body like all of us.
In other words, their dispute was over the issue of human vs. deity and physical vs. spiritual, when they should have been discussing Adam vs. Christ and soulish vs. spiritual.
By failing to comprehend the real issue, the early church lost the understanding of sonship. They continued to use terminology of sonship, but they did not know the laws on which it was based. Sonship is based primarily on two laws: (1) “after its kind” in Gen. 1:21, which means that fathers beget children in their likeness; and (2) the law of authority, based on the Fifth Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother” in Deut. 5:16, which establishes the subordination of a son to his father.
Hence, when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and, conversely, claimed that God was His Father, He placed Himself in subjection to His Father in accordance with the law. Likewise, He was also in the image and likeness of His Father, because the spiritual seed that had begotten Him in the Virgin Mary guaranteed that He was a perfect fractal of His heavenly Father.
We too are (or are destined to be) fractals of our heavenly Father, for “when He appears, we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2). Therefore, John says, we are not to practice lawlessness (1 John 3:4), as if we were still in the image of Adam.
True sons of God are those who think like their heavenly Father, agree with His plan insofar as they are able to comprehend it, and do only what their heavenly Father does. In this way, we both praise and honor our Father. We honor our mother by acknowledging the New Covenant and living by faith in the promises of God.