to be faithful to the doctrine of the hypostatic union (and thus, I would
argue, faithful to Christ Himself), one CANNOT speak of Jesus as if He is two
people: as if there were a human person Jesus who can be divided out from the
divine person of Christ. The idea that Christ is two persons is the heresy
called "Nestorianism" (named after Nestorius, a fifth century
archbishop, who apparently taught some version of this heresy). This heresy
destroys the unity of Christ, which is expressed in Bible passages such as 1
Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus"
order to combat Nestorianism, the Council of Ephesus (431)–following Gregory of
Nazianzus and other great theologians–affirmed the practice of calling
Mary theotokos (meaning: "God-bearer" or "mother of God"). In
using this term, the Council of Ephesus was NOT suggesting that Mary was/is the
"God-bearer" or "mother of God" in the sense of being a source for Christ's divine nature, but
they WERE strongly affirming that the baby in Mary's womb was more than a mere
human person: Mary bore a person who was and is fully God.
affirmation of Mary as theotokos also raises the issue of Communicatio idiomatum, meaning, “the communication of
attributes.” Though there are some denominational differences concerning how we
should understand Communicatio idiomatum, at its most basic level, Christians agree
that–due to the hypostatic union from the Incarnation–when we speak about
Christ, we should not be hesitant to speak of Him as a single Person, who has
attributes from both His divine and human natures. Due to the Communicatio idiomatum, the NT authors can even speak of
the Lord of glory as having been crucified (1 Cor 2:8) and the church as
purchased with God’s own blood (Acts 20:28). Jesus certainly suffered and died on
behalf of sinners according to His human (rather than His divine) nature, yet
because it was Jesus who died, it is proper to speak of God shedding His blood and the
Lord of glory having been crucified for our salvation. Because it was Jesus who died-one with a human nature, but who is also fully God-it was impossible that death should hold Him (Acts 2:24).
Dear reader, if You call out to Christ to save you from sin, death, and Hell, you will find one Person-one Mediator between God and men-who is fully God and fully Man: compassionate and mighty to save.
Labels: apologetics, Bible study