views updated


The term expresses the fundamental Christian belief in the one Lord, Jesus Christ, who is both God and manman, born of Mary of David's lineage, and God, the only begotten Son of the Father. The special claim that Christianity makes for its founder can thus be distinguished from those of other religions. Jesus is more than a man specially favored by God, one in whom God dwells in a higher degree than in any other human being. This does not mean that He is a marvelous being higher than man, yet still less than the almighty God, one who is neither God nor man. Jesus is fully God as well as fully man. His being God does not imply any denial of His manhood. One sometimes speaks of God dwelling among men, sanctifying humanity by the hypostatic union, but this is not meant to signify that God only pretended to be man, as if He simply put on the outward appearance of man as one reads about in some of the legends of the pagan gods. No, He is like us in all things except sin. This mysterious nature of Jesus impressed itself from the beginning on those with whom He came in contact. Later theological reflection expressed it in terms of two natures, the divine and the human, united in the one Person of the Word. This formulation simply serves to preserve accuracy in speaking of Christ. The mystery of the God-Man remains.

See Also: jesus christ, articles on.

[m. e. williams]