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> Christianity F.A.Q. > How did we come to understand Jesus as both human and divine?

How did we come to understand Jesus as both fully human and fully divine?

Early Christians spent nearly three hundred years wrestling with the question of whether Jesus was fully human, fully divine, or some combination of human and divine. The process was complicated by the movement from Hebrew culture to Hellenistic, the transformation of the Jesus sect into a separate faith apart from Judaism, numerous competing philosophies and theologies (such as Docetism, which asserted that Jesus only appeared to suffer), and the institutional needs of an increasingly assertive Church.

The Council of Nicaea (327 CE) tried to resolve this process of self-definition. Bishops settled on a Trinitarian formula and balancing the humanity of Jesus (being born, suffering) and the divinity of Jesus (being raised, seated at the right hand of God). Jesus himself said that when we see him, we see God. In his humanity and in the power of his presence, he showed the way to God.

Every Christian community understands these assertions differently. I encourage you to seek out the pastor of your church and ask his or her interpretation. Please understand that there are no absolutely right or wrong answers. The New Testament bears contradictory witness. Moreover, in wrestling with questions like these, we reach the limits of our comprehension.


Tom Ehrich

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