Sunday, February 15

Divine Blood, The End...

...well, we can all hope, anyway.

The scripture is pretty clear that Jesus was both fully God ("In Him all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt..."), and fully man ("...he had to be made like his brothers in every respect..."), and the historical creeds and confessions affirm this as well. This truth is hard to understand, and impossible for us to put together in a way that does not contain logical tension, but we accept it because we believe that scripture tells us that this is who Christ was. Whenever we hold truths that contain logical tension, our finite minds are always attempting to move away from the tension, and into something that is more comprehensible to us. Throughout Christian history, this has happened with some regularity with the teaching about the two natures of Christ. There have been heretical groups that either denied Jesus' divinity or implied that His divinity was not full divinity, and those that denied His humanity or implied that He was not fully human.

What does it hurt that some mistakenly believe that Jesus has divine blood? Why take up all this space to refute the notion? Isn�t it just a little mistake in understanding that has no great consequence?

The mistaken ideas about the person of Christ that tend to upset us the most are those that err on the side of downplaying his divinity, and it is indeed a serious error to deny the full divinity of Christ. Is it not just as serious an error, however, to denying his full humanity? The Apostle John certainly seems to think so, for he maintains that anyone who denies that Jesus came in the flesh--that He had a body just like ours--is the spirit of the anti-Christ. This is a serious accusation that John makes. Shouldn't we be standing in agreement with him? Denying that Jesus' blood is not human blood is not a minor error, but one that is a least pushing forcefully at the fence of orthodoxy, if it is not already standing outside of the fence.

It is true, I think, that most of the people I know who believe this error are doing so partly out of ignorance, and partly because they want to protect Christ's divinity. They cannot understand that a doctrine that teaches that Christ had a body just like ours with human blood flowing through his veins is not a doctrine that makes him somehow less than God. But ignorance and good intentions are not adequate excuses for having wrong ideas about who Christ was. The question of who Christ is the most important question we as Christians need to answer. We confess Him and adore Him; shouldn't we know the One we confess and adore?

This is one of those places where getting rid of the logical tension in the truths we hold, where trying too hard to wrap our minds around the incomprehensible doesn't lead to more truth, but less. It leads to a wrong answer to the question of who Christ is, and it leads to a wrong answer to what it is He has done for us. Our Savior is One who humbled Himself to become like us in every respect, to be tempted in every way like we are, and yet remained perfectly obedient even to the point of dying a criminal's death on the cross. As He mediates for us, He understands us because He is the man Christ Jesus. He sees things from our viewpoint as an advocate on our behalf. This is a glorious truth--one that should make our hearts sing--but one we miss out on if we don�t recognize His full humanity.

Here are a couple of links if you find this sort of thing interesting and want to know more. This one discusses the divine blood idea down through history, and this is one by Matt Perman on the incarnation.