How Can Jesus Be Fully God And Fully Man?

It’s one of the greatest, if not the greatest mystery of our Faith, that Jesus is fully God and fully man. We profess this belief in the Nicene Creed. But does Sacred Scripture really claim that Jesus is God Incarnate? Where does the Bible say that Jesus “the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages … came down from heaven, and became man?” Well, it doesn’t say it in those exact words, but the Bible does affirm that Jesus is God Incarnate.

Christ,_by_Heinrich_Hofmann

Consider these words from the Gospel of John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only-begotten Son from the Father … grace and truth came through Jesus Christ … the only-begotten Son.” (John 1:1, 14, 17-18).

Jesus’s own words reveal this when he later speaks to his detractors, saying, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God … Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:39-40, 58).

After saying this, his detractors “took up stones to throw at him.” They considered his words blasphemous. For Jesus was claiming that even though he is “a man” — who could even be killed — he pre-exists Abraham. What is more, he takes God’s Holy Name, “I AM,” for himself (cf. Exodus 3:14). Later in John’s Gospel, Jesus once again says to those who came to arrest him, “I AM he,” and “when he said to them, ‘I AM he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground” (John 18:5).

There are many more passages that speak of Jesus’ divinity and humanity. Indeed, John speaks of how “every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God” (1 John 4:2-3). So belief in the Incarnation is essential to our Faith. But why? Why is it so essential for us that God became man?

The Catechism, drawing from Sacred Scripture, provides four reasons for why God became man for us (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 457-460):

  • To redeem mankind, to “take away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
  • To reveal how much he loves us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
  • To show us how to live in this life, so that we can have eternal life. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
  • To give us the “power to become children of God” (John 1:12) through the grace of the sacraments. “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).

On this day, many Catholics around the world celebrate the feast of the Epiphany — also called the Theophany by Eastern Catholics — a celebration of the “Divine Manifestation” in Christ. It is a fitting time for us to reflect upon the mystery of the Incarnation. So, as you pray and go about your day, consider how much God loves you. God became man not just to save you, but to enable you to “become a partaker in the divine nature” (cf. 2 Peter 1:4). Jesus, who is God’s Son by his very nature, by becoming man, has enabled you to be a child of God by grace. Through baptism, God “sent the Spirit of his Son into your heart, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (cf. Galatians 4:6). Alleluia!

Does knowing that you are a child of God change how you live your daily life? How will you demonstrate God’s love in your life to others today?

John Harden

Before joining Ascension Press, John served as the marketing assistant for Current USA, in Colorado Springs. John received his bachelors in theology from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and his masters in theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. John is currently a deacon candidate for the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic, New Jersey. He has served as an adjunct professor of Theology at Neumann University, in Aston, Pennsylvania, and is a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus. John, his wife, and their children live in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

  • tity

    ok

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    The Unity of God and man in the person of Jesus is the mystery of the Catholic Faith that I simply cannot get my head around. And that makes it the most beautiful of all Mysteries to me. To me John’s Gospel is the most beautiful work that will ever be written

  • Reed Chauffe

    Thank you John for a look at how in God’s plan that He sent His son in human form to give mankind another chance to walk among us as an example to what it takes to be blessed and lead a holy life. From man’s beginnings, man lacked to trust God and follow his rules of faith. Again man turned his back on God by wanting a man king to live by man’s laws and again to not follow God’s laws which lead to the almost complete downfall of the decedents of Abraham. As the wisdom of the Prophets foretold of a Messiah that is yet to come to redeem the sins of mankind. When the Messiah did come into the world, Our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary who was chosen in God’s plan way before she herself was born, Jesus came to prepare us by teaching us how to love, be at peace and prepare a place for us in the new Jerusalem. The power of the high ranking Jews were afraid to lose their power, taxes on their own Jewish people and standing with the Romans caused them to bring false charges against Jesus that led to His Crucifixion. After three days, everything change in the world to begin the creation of our Catholic Church! John may God continue to bless you and all the staff at The Great Adventure and Ascession Press!

    • http://ascensionpress.com/ John Harden

      Thanks, Reed! God bless you.

  • Nick

    Knowing I’m a child of God definitely changes how I live my daily life. The most common way it affects me is that I constantly try to thank God, many times a day, for all the wonderful things he does for me and my love ones. Today, because I’m a child of God, I will try to let others see God in me by my actions. If ever approached by someone in need I always try to help. Thank you Father for another day of life.

  • Warwick Onyeama

    I am very impressed by this post and am grateful to have received it. The true nature of Jesus was a matter of intense debate during the early years of the church and was probably not settled until the council of Ephesus three hundred years after his death. I found this post a very well constructed argument on that very point, that uses scriptural reference in a constructive and persuasive fashion. I have shared it to my Facebook page for other spiritually curious types who may not be aware of this excellent and instructive site.