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« on: December 08, 2010, 08:09:24 AM »

My question is about the divinity of Christ. I accept orthodox teachings, but don't really understand the bit about why Jesus is God. My priest has explained the hypostatic union, and I accept it, but can somebody explain the difference between Jesus and a  Prophet like Moses?

(I live around a lot of Muslims, and I can't answer their belief that Jesus is a prophet).
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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2010, 08:39:42 AM »

Only God can take away our sin and to do so he took on our flesh; read again the 1st chapter of the Gospel of John focus on vs. 1 & vs. 14. Jesus Christ is the Word in vs. 1 and the Word was God. Also read John 3:11-21.
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2010, 11:33:41 AM »

Thank you very much for this short and simple answer. Spot on.
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2010, 11:39:42 AM »

Thank you very much for this short and simple answer. Spot on.
You're welcome & thank you.
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2010, 11:48:45 AM »

It is a hard question for me too.

Also, Jesus didn't come out and say word for word "I am God". It's true that you can find places where the New Testament says that he is God or has God's essence, like I think Colossians where the Jehovah Witness Bible (an admission on their part) says that he has the fullness of the divine quality.

Plus, you can find for example that Jesus accepted worship, forgave sins, and said "I am", which suggest his divinity, or at least that he viewed himself that way.

In Christ
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2010, 11:55:27 AM »


John 14:9

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2010, 04:03:34 PM »

Well, if you understand the hypostatic union then the answer should be very simple. No other Prophet was composed of a hypostatic union between God and humanity.
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2010, 04:57:32 PM »

It is a hard question for me too.

Also, Jesus didn't come out and say word for word "I am God". It's true that you can find places where the New Testament says that he is God or has God's essence, like I think Colossians where the Jehovah Witness Bible (an admission on their part) says that he has the fullness of the divine quality.

Plus, you can find for example that Jesus accepted worship, forgave sins, and said "I am", which suggest his divinity, or at least that he viewed himself that way.

In Christ

This is of great interest and importance. What does Jesus usually call Himself? The Son of Man. That is complicated subject, but what I like about what you pointed out, Jesus doesn't go around arguing or announcing he is God. Jesus doesn't argue or try to "prove" his divinity to anyone, he asks *them* who he is.

And my memory might not be serving me very well ATM, but the only person in the Gospels who actually confesses Jesus as God, and not the Christ or the Son of God, is St. Thomas. The doubter.

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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2010, 05:02:17 PM »

Jesus doesn't go around arguing or announcing he is God.

Didn't He invoke the Tetragrammaton a few times in such a way that indicated an announcement of divinity?
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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2010, 05:16:21 PM »

Jesus doesn't go around arguing or announcing he is God.

Didn't He invoke the Tetragrammaton a few times in such a way that indicated an announcement of divinity?

Yes, He did:

"And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Mk. 14:62)

"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." (Jn. 8:58)
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« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2010, 05:19:52 PM »

My question is about the divinity of Christ. I accept orthodox teachings, but don't really understand the bit about why Jesus is God. My priest has explained the hypostatic union, and I accept it, but can somebody explain the difference between Jesus and a  Prophet like Moses?

(I live around a lot of Muslims, and I can't answer their belief that Jesus is a prophet).

Ask those Muslims to read Hebrews 1:1-3 and Mark 12:1-12. They will hopefully understand the difference between the former prophets and Christ. (John 1:18 also stresses the difference between Moses and Jesus Christ)
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« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2010, 05:44:16 PM »

Jesus doesn't go around arguing or announcing he is God.

Didn't He invoke the Tetragrammaton a few times in such a way that indicated an announcement of divinity?

Yes, He did:

"And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Mk. 14:62)

"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." (Jn. 8:58)

The Markan passage proves my point. Context. He didn't have to ask anyone.

Quote
And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 61 But He kept silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Is "I am" really considered being "clearly" an admission of the Tetragrammaton by most scholars? Even so, it is clearly answer to what someone else has named Him. He did not "announce" His divinity. And notice how again He does not say yes, I am God, or the Son of God, but rather the Son of Man.

The "Gospel" of St. John is another animal and entirely too complex to parse out what is going on in there. Let's stick with the synoptic Gosepls as such. I knew I shouldn't have brought up St. Thomas. Darn.

But the corrections are well taken and welcomed. Thank you.
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2010, 06:57:34 PM »

Well, if you understand the hypostatic union then the answer should be very simple. No other Prophet was composed of a hypostatic union between God and humanity.

Thanks for the Bible quotes.

Who can explain in plain English how miracles are worked through people and objects? Can you point out the difference between a miracle of Jesus and the miracle of a prophet, a saint or a wonder-working icon?

This will help me deepen my understanding of the Divinity of Christ.

Remember, I'm quite new so please try not bamboozle me.  Huh
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2010, 08:41:28 PM »

Jesus doesn't go around arguing or announcing he is God.

Didn't He invoke the Tetragrammaton a few times in such a way that indicated an announcement of divinity?

Yes, He did:

"And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Mk. 14:62)

"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." (Jn. 8:58)

And it seems like the Gethsemane scene in John's Gospel contains the same sort of thing. The fact that the soldiers fell over at Christ's uttering of "I am" most likely means that it in fact was the Tetragrammaton.
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« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2010, 08:45:04 PM »

Thanks for the Bible quotes.

Are you being sarcastic with me? Because I didn't provide you any.

Who can explain in plain English how miracles are worked through people and objects? Can you point out the difference between a miracle of Jesus and the miracle of a prophet, a saint or a wonder-working icon?

This will help me deepen my understanding of the Divinity of Christ.

With any other being, miracles are worked through them by the power of God, through their prayers, or through the intercession of a Saint. With Jesus, however, miracles were actually worked by Him, by His own will. He worked miracles by His own divine power. No one else has the power to work miracles of themselves.
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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2010, 11:03:35 PM »

Sarcastic? You all are touchy.

My guess is that the poster is not a native English speaker.

Either way lulz at bamboozled. Haven't heard that word in forever.
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2010, 03:14:51 AM »

My question is about the divinity of Christ. I accept orthodox teachings, but don't really understand the bit about why Jesus is God. My priest has explained the hypostatic union, and I accept it, but can somebody explain the difference between Jesus and a  Prophet like Moses?

(I live around a lot of Muslims, and I can't answer their belief that Jesus is a prophet).
St. Athanasius taught "God became Man, so that man could become god" (theosis). A prophet can't do that.

As to the Muslims, tell them that Christ isn't the Messenger of God, He is the Message of God Himself. The Message, not the Messanger.
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2010, 03:28:20 AM »

Well, if you understand the hypostatic union then the answer should be very simple. No other Prophet was composed of a hypostatic union between God and humanity.

Thanks for the Bible quotes.

Who can explain in plain English how miracles are worked through people and objects? Can you point out the difference between a miracle of Jesus and the miracle of a prophet, a saint or a wonder-working icon?

This will help me deepen my understanding of the Divinity of Christ.

Remember, I'm quite new so please try not bamboozle me.  Huh
Christ rose from the dead. No one raised Him.

He performs signs (miracle is not the right term) on His own authority and power.  Prophets, saints and icons/relics cannot do any sign on their own authority and power.  They manifest only the signs that Christs wants to perform through them.
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2010, 03:40:37 AM »

As to the Muslims, tell them that Christ isn't the Messenger of God, He is the Message of God Himself. The Message, not the Messanger.

Well, He's sort of both...
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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2010, 03:41:50 AM »

Christ rose from the dead. No one raised Him.

I think there is a passage in the Bible which attributes the Resurrection of Christ to Himself and there is another that attributes it to the Father.
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« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2010, 03:43:39 AM »


Thanks for the Bible quotes.

Who can explain in plain English how miracles are worked through people and objects? Can you point out the difference between a miracle of Jesus and the miracle of a prophet, a saint or a wonder-working icon?

This will help me deepen my understanding of the Divinity of Christ.

Remember, I'm quite new so please try not bamboozle me.  Huh

Jesus brought back to life His own dead body:
Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” (John 2:19)

Every prophet performed miracles as agents of God and in God's name. However, Jesus performed miracles in His own name and gave His disciples authority to work wonders in HIS name: Matthew 7:22, Mark 9:38, Luke 10:17, John 16:24, Acts 3:6, Acts 4:30....
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« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2010, 03:46:20 AM »

As to the Muslims, tell them that Christ isn't the Messenger of God, He is the Message of God Himself. The Message, not the Messanger.

Well, He's sort of both...

He is the Word in flesh. This distinguishes Him from all the other prophets (Read Hebrew 1:1-3)

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« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2010, 03:59:32 AM »

As to the Muslims, tell them that Christ isn't the Messenger of God, He is the Message of God Himself. The Message, not the Messanger.

Well, He's sort of both...

He is the Word in flesh. This distinguishes Him from all the other prophets (Read Hebrew 1:1-3)



The fact that He is also the Message is what distinguishes Him. Why we need to come up with the idea that He is not a Messenger of God (which seems potentially erroneous to me), I do not know.
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« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2010, 04:34:17 AM »


The fact that He is also the Message is what distinguishes Him. Why we need to come up with the idea that He is not a Messenger of God (which seems potentially erroneous to me), I do not know.

He is not a messenger in the same sense as the other messengers.  Wink


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« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2010, 10:58:20 AM »

meh, Sola Scriptura does not have to be separate from tradition's stance (multiple stances). Many protestants hold the early creeds.

Protestant theology is not required to disagree with Tradition on each and every point, no, but it does use its selective historical readings to pick and choose. Your post is a good example: "early creeds", usually the first four, not the others, and even then only selectively. I do not believe the Lutheran Church (or any Protestant church) maintains the canon law, for example, of those Councils. Instead, they simply and loosely hold to the christological definitions of them, and ignore the rest of the Councils, as they no longer assist in forming their theology.
Faith Issues is not the place for us to get involved in yet another debate with Protestants over sola scriptura, so let us please save this topic for another thread on the Orthodox-Protestant board. Thank you.

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« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2010, 05:00:46 PM »

The "Gospel" of St. John is another animal and entirely too complex to parse out what is going on in there. Let's stick with the synoptic Gosepls as such.

I'm interested in hearing why you've put "Gospel" in quotation marks.
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« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2010, 05:22:58 PM »

The "Gospel" of St. John is another animal and entirely too complex to parse out what is going on in there. Let's stick with the synoptic Gosepls as such.

I'm interested in hearing why you've put "Gospel" in quotation marks.

If you familiar with Fr. Hopko's take on the Gospels, which comes other sources, that is similar to what I thought because of similar sources for quite a while before I heard of him. It was one of the things when I first took retreat with him that grabbed me (note the complete self-centeredness there). He was thoroughly Biblical and at the time I would have said "consecrative" rather than "Orthodox" IMO and yet willing to be provocative and radical in its radical sense  Wink (getting to the root of things). He also gives reasons from a Liturgical context why St. John's Gospel might be something else, which knowing nothing much of Orthodoxy at the time we unknown to me and yet rather compelling.

Father, I hope you will not mind much if I don't wait to offer you Fr. Hopko's stuff and a overview till I can do so when I have access to a better internet device.

But in the meantime, I didn't mean to denigrate the text nor suggest it is of lesser value than the synoptics, but rather more of a suggestion that it might be considered a slightly different genre of writing than the synoptics.

I think we all can agree that St. John's Gospel is strikingly different than the synoptics, but again no less important or revelatory. If we can't agree to that, than it is probably better not to start.

And yes to everyone, I love Fr. Hopko. Without him and another Priest of much less renown, Orthodoxy would have remained to me a charmingly, quaint, and beautiful religion for peasants in Eastern Europe and a garish and ethnic enclave for Greeks in America.

I mean no offense by that last sentence, but rather state it as a point of my ignorance and how important a few people can be in changing one's mind, or at least mine.

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« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2010, 11:40:48 PM »

The tangent on sola scriptura has been split off and moved to Orthodox-Protestant Discussion.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=31949.0
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« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2010, 10:04:20 PM »

Coming from a Jewish background this is something I don't really get either, how can God be man?
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« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2010, 10:54:28 PM »

It's a mystery.   Smiley

Basically, He took on our humanity, without losing His divinity, to be one with us and to save us.  Nothing is impossible for God, and He loved us enough to do that for us.

A few good books to help you understand what Christians believe about Christ and the Holy Trinity:

http://www.amazon.com/Incarnation-Incarnatione-Verbi-Popular-Patristics/dp/0913836400

http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Way-Kallistos-Ware/dp/0913836583/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1292208641&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Mere-Christianity-C-S-Lewis/dp/0060652926/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1292208731&sr=1-1
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« Reply #30 on: December 13, 2010, 06:30:30 PM »

Coming from a Jewish background this is something I don't really get either, how can God be man?

Through hypostatic union.
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« Reply #31 on: December 13, 2010, 09:36:06 PM »

It's a mystery.   Smiley

Basically, He took on our humanity, without losing His divinity, to be one with us and to save us.  Nothing is impossible for God, and He loved us enough to do that for us.

A few good books to help you understand what Christians believe about Christ and the Holy Trinity:

http://www.amazon.com/Incarnation-Incarnatione-Verbi-Popular-Patristics/dp/0913836400

http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Way-Kallistos-Ware/dp/0913836583/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1292208641&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/Mere-Christianity-C-S-Lewis/dp/0060652926/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1292208731&sr=1-1

Amin, Salpy! It is a mystery. It cannot be explained rationally. It must be accepted with faith, like all the other mysteries of the Church's life and teaching. If one believes that God exists, why is it such a stumbling block to believe that He could take on human nature and become incarnate? Is it any more wonderful than that He created the universe by command, or that He worked so many wonders in the Old Testament? Or that the God-man was born of a virgin? Or that He raised others and Himself from the dead? Or that He continues to work wonders to this day?
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« Reply #32 on: December 13, 2010, 10:30:22 PM »

Coming from a Jewish background this is something I don't really get either, how can God be man?

Simply put, He is God, He can do all things, that includes becoming human with out giving up His Divinity and being God whilst being human. Also, how else could He provide a blood sacrifice of Himself unless He did become human?
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« Reply #33 on: December 13, 2010, 10:31:54 PM »

It is a mystery. It cannot be explained rationally. It must be accepted with faith, like all the other mysteries of the Church's life and teaching. If one believes that God exists, why is it such a stumbling block to believe that He could take on human nature and become incarnate?

Very good points and I find this type of "logic" a bit strange.  Sometimes, however, the stumbling block is not whether He could take on human nature, life, and teaching, but rather, whether He did.  I personally struggle with this, and I find that it is not always placing limitations on God that prevents me from accepting the divinity of Christ.

Moderators and other members, I apologize if my reply is inappropriate for the Faith Issues board; it was not intended to question or debate Orthodox positions on the topic.  
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