Friday, July 14

Answers to Quiz On Jesus As A Human Being

You'll find the quiz itself here. There are a few weaknesses in the quiz as it is written, so it may be possible that you have answers different than mine because you misunderstood the questions.

Question 1
1. In his humanity, Jesus was just like us except that
a. his humanity didn't limit him in any way.
b. his blood was divine blood, which gave it special power to save.
c. he did not have a sin nature with sinful desires.
d. all of the above.
e. a and c above.
The correct answer is c. Hebrews 2 tells us that Jesus was like us in every way except sin. As the second Adam, he was a human being in the same condition Adam was before the fall.

Looking at the question now, I can see that answer a might have been confusing, because even as Jesus was walking the earth as a human being, he was upholding the world, so in respect to him as the whole of who he was--the God/man--he was not limited. But in respect to his humanity, he had limitations or human weaknesses. He grew tired and hungry, just to name two of the most obvious limitations. Luke tells us that he grew in wisdom--he learned things in the same way the rest of us do--so in respect to his humanity, there were limits to what he knew. I'll have more to say on this specific point in the answer to the next question.

On further consideration of the wording of this question, I'm thinking it might have been better to say "With respect to his humanity" or "With respect to his human nature" instead of "In his humanity." Would that have helped? Do you have a better suggestion?

In the comments on the quiz, Brandon points out a weakness in answer b. It
could be read in two different ways, depending on whether 'divine blood' means 'blood belonging to the One who is divine' or 'blood that partakes of the divine nature', e.g., by a mixture of natures or something like that.
I was trying to make things clearer with the addition of "which gave it special power to save". This particular wrong answer is in response to a specific doctrine I come across now and then, which is the teaching that Christ's blood as a material substance had divine properties*, and that's why it could save. I'll have more on this, too, in the answer to the next question. I should have worded this one differently, perhaps using wording similar to what Brandon used, like "his blood partook of the divine nature, which gave it special power to save."

Question 2
2. Jesus's human nature is
a. mixed with his divine nature.
b. distinct from his divine nature.
c. separate from his divine nature.
d. none of the above.
e. b and c above.
The correct answer is b. This question is straight up from the Definition of Chalcedon (or the Chalcedon Creed), which states that Christ is both human and divine,
in two natures without confusing the two natures, without transmuting one nature into the other, without dividing them into two separate categories, without contrasting them according to area or function. The distinctiveness of each nature is not nullified by the union. Instead, the "properties" of each nature are conserved and both natures concur in one "person" and in one reality.
In other words, the human nature and divine nature of Jesus are distinct without being mixed or separate.

This helps explain a little more how answers a and b in Question 1 are wrong. The properties of each nature--divine and human--are conserved, so with respect to his humanity, Jesus had human limitations, yet with respect to his divinity, he was not limited; and his blood, as part of his human body, was just regular old human blood. It's special power to save come not from anything unique about the substance of the blood, but because Christ, as the perfectly obedient human being, represented sinners in his death.

By the way, it's on the side of Christ's humanity rather than his diety that conservative evangelical Christians are most likely to run into error. We have docetic and monophysitic tendencies in that we are much more likely to think of his humanity as a kind of "diefied humanity" than we are to think of his divinity as a humanized divinity. This is, however, a heresy that was dealt with a long time ago, but that still keeps popping up in subtle forms from time to time. This is most likely a result of wanting make sure we protect Christ's full divinity, which is a noble aim; however, his full humanity is just as important to protect as his full divinity. We'll see the extent to which Christ's full humanity is necessary to Christianity in Question 5.

Question 3
In his humanity, Jesus was
a. in one location at a time.
b. able to experience suffering and death.
c. learning things as he grew and experienced.
d. all of the above.
e. b and c above.
The correct answer is d. These are all limitations that came from being fully human. As a human being, Jesus is in one place at one time. He was not in Jerusalem and also in Nazareth at the same time. In his divinity, of course, he is omnipresent. As a human being, he was capable of suffering and dying, too, as history tells us. We are also told that he grew in wisdom and learned obedience, so he learned things as he grew and experienced.

Question 4
In his humanity, Jesus had
a. a human will.
b. a human mind.
c. human emotions.
d. all of the above.
e. none of the above.
The correct answer is d. If Christ was like us in every way, as one of us, he had all of these elements of humanity. He had a human will that had human (albeit not sinful) desires. He wanted food when he was hungry, for instance, and rest when he grew weary. He also had a human mind that, as already mentioned, learned as he grew. He had human emotions, too, so that, for example, he was troubled and sorrowful before his crucifixion. It is because he had all of these things that the author of Hebrews can tell us that Jesus was in every respect tempted like we are (Hebrews 4:15). It is the completeness of his humanity that makes his perfect obedience throughout his life so remarkable.

Question 5
That Jesus was fully human means that
a. his obedience can be counted as our obedience.
b. he can be a mediator between humanity and God.
c. he could be a propitiatory sacrifice for human beings.
d. all of the above.
e. b and c above.
The correct answer is d. Romans 5 tells us that as a human being, Christ's obedience was parallel to Adam's disobedience. Through Adam's disobedience, many were made sinners, while through Christ's obedience, many are made righteous. His humanity was also necessary for Christ to be the one mediator between God and humanity. He can represent us to God because he is one of us (Hebrew 4:14-16 and 1 Timothy 2:5). It was also necessary for Christ to be one of us in order to be the sacrifice for us. Hebrews 2:17 tells us that
he had to be made like [us] in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (ESV)
If doctrines like the humanity of Jesus seem like so much impractical pie in the sky to you, the answers to this last question ought to bring it right down to the practical level. The whole of your salvation hinges on Jesus being fully human. No one could be saved without Christ being human in exactly the same way we are human. How can we not be awe-struck by what Christ gave up for our sakes?

Moreover, the confidence with which we can ask for help from God in the various difficulties that arise in our lives comes because Christ our High Priest understands by way of his fully human experience what we are going through. And we know that none of our temptations are impossible to withstand, since Christ withstood them as a human being just like us. He felt the entire force of each temptation, because he endured them to the end, and yet he was victorious. Knowing this should give us strength to hold fast, with God's help, when we are tempted to give up and give in to temptation.

*For more on this "divine blood" teaching see these posts:Technorati Tags: , ,

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