The Reality/Truthfulness of Christ Coming into Human History 2000 Years Ago
Jesus Christ was a Jew born in 5BC in the town of Bethlehem, which was part of the Judean territory during the rule of the Roman Empire. He is the fundamental figure in the Christian faith and his birth is termed as a mystery as his mother, Mary, conceived through the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit (Prat, 2006). The prophetic scriptures have elucidated this extraordinary happening by claiming that Christ’s birth was a fulfillment of the promised savior in the final reconciliation of sinful man back to the Father. Being God in nature and commonly referred to as the Son of God, he had to be incarnated into a human body to abolish the curse that the First man, Adam, imputed upon human kind. He therefore is referred to as the Last Adam. Various perspectives have been accorded over time in an attempt to determine the reality of Christ’s incarnation in human form two thousand years ago.
The Historical Perspective
Many historians agree to the fact that Jesus Christ existed in human form. However, a notable point of contention has been on the claims that Christ makes about being God in incarnate form. Chaledonian creed approve of Christ’s incarnation with the assertion that he exhibited “two natures, divine and human, existing in one person, in an irreversible and ontological union,” (Dyress, et al, 2008, p.173). Jesus distinctively displayed both natures in his actions in synchronized manner that distinguishes him from any other historical figures. Lutheran scholars believed that Jesus being a total man proves that he was a deity by the fact that he had the ability to “receive and bear the infinite (including the properties of divine nature),” (Dyress, et al, 2008, p.173). The reformists reject the incarnation of Christ by arguing that “the finite in and of itself cannot bear the infinite…the Word/Logos assumes flesh rather than literally becomes flesh,” (Dyress, et al, 2008, p.173). The inference here therefore is that, Christ being found in the very nature of humanity renders the idea of being a deity obsolete.
Frederich Schleiermacher held the same argument by the assertion “Christ is not a divine being in a human form but rather a kind of prophetic figure who realizes the divine nature present in all humans, an ideal and perfected human,” (Dyress, et al, 2008, p.173). The latter view argues that many forms of perfection have been attained in faiths like Buddhism (Nirvana) and Hinduism (Avatar) where a human attains the perfection that transforms them into gods. Gottfried Thomasius argues of Christ’s incarnation into humanity by claiming, “Christ voluntarily emptied himself of the “relative” attributes of omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence…while retaining the essential attributes of holiness and love,” (Dyress, et al, 2008, p.173). According to the scholar, the relative features are only but a manifestation of God’s power upon nature as opposed to the latter, which are the essential components of Godliness. To date, the contention still exists and only personal belief acts as a guide regarding one’s befitting school of thought.
The Prophetic Perspective
The prophetic perspective draws heavily on scriptures with most prophesies given in the Old Testament and accomplished in the New Testament. Prophet Isaiah foretells of the virgin conception, Prophet Micah foretells of Bethlehem as the city for the holy birth, Jacob while blessing his sons in Genesis foretells that Christ would be a descendant of Judah and Jeremiah adds that he would be a progeny of King David (Hill, 2004). Isaiah 9: 6 in claiming of the divine nature of Christ says “for to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Zondervan NIV Study Bible, 2002). Micah 5:2 says that “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Zondervan NIV Study Bible, 2002). Both phrases explain of Christ’s humanity as well as deity being found as one. The prophetic perspective therefore attributed of Christ’s incarnation.
The Personal Perspective
I believe that Jesus Christ was God incarnated in human form, as this was the only way people would be able to relate to God without fear. Being a Christian and a reader of the Bible, every encounter that people had with the glory of God or celestial beings like the angels resulted in fear as the sight was too overwhelming for the individual to bear. Therefore God sent Christ in human form since this is what humans could bear stand and in this He brought salvation to man. I believe in the incarnation by the fact that I have seen believers upon invoking Christ in their lives acquire a permanent change from good to bad. This power is evidenced by Christ being an incarnate being living in us.
Dyrness, W. A., Karkkainen, V., & Martinez, J. F. (2008). Global Dictionary of Theology: A Resource for the Worldwide Church. Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press.
Hill, B. R. (2004). Jesus, the Christ: Contemporary Perspectives. London, UK: Twenty-Third Publications.
Prat, F. (2006). Jesus Christ: His Life, His Teaching and His Work. Seattle, WA: Kessinger Publishing, LLC.
Zondervan NIV Study Bible. (2002). Fully rev. ed. Kenneth L. Barker, gen. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.