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基督人性的圣经表述及其不是受造之物的理由

(2013-06-05 22:07:53)
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道成肉身

基督人性

分类: 异端辨惑

 

According to the Bible, there are two kinds of descriptions of the human nature of Christ. 

(1)The first kind such as: 

“the very nature of servant” (Philippians 2:7
“human likeness” (Philippians 2:7
“the likeness of sinful man” (Romans 8:3). 

If we understand these verses above, we can understand well why Ursinus said "Therefore, inasmuch as our nature sinned, Christ took this upon himself, and not a nature created out of nothing...." 
The commentary of Ursinus on Question 35 of the Heidelberg Confession
 )

The human nature of Christ was not created out of nothing, why it is true?This is because that before the Incarnation “the very nature of servant” or “the likeness of sinful man” had already existed in the world, and hence, the so-called “human nature” was just the nature of all men in the human history and had been already polluted by sin. Actually the descendants of Adam and Eve all share this polluted human nature, i.e., all of us inherit the original sin from our ancestors. 

Christ assumed the same human nature of sinful men, yet because of the sanctification by the Holy Spirit Christ did not inherit the original sin from His mother Virgin Mary. For Christ, He did not assume a human nature that was created from nothing. 

God did not create man with a sinful nature or “the likeness of sinful man”.  It is Adam and Eve who fell into sin transmitted to their descendants a sin-polluted human nature. In order to redeem the fallen human nature, Christ took this very human nature shared by all men and to be a sin offering on the cross. 


(2) The second kind such as: 

"And the Word became flesh" (John 1:14
"He appeared in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16
"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity...." (Hebrews2:14
"....but a body you prepared for me" (Hebrews 10:5

The verses above give readers the impression that the human nature of Christ is as if a "creature", or the "flesh" of Christ was created (from something) as ours. (Actually the authors of the Bible emphasized the "flesh" of Christ, so that the heresy of Docetism could be firmly refuted.) 

Yet I cannot regard the "flesh" of Christ (the human nature/including a human soul and a human body) as a "creature" created by God, why? 

Because the definition of a creature includes two things (and not a single one can be omitted), 

1, something has a beginning; 
2, something separated from the Creator. 

Though the "flesh"(including soul and body) of Christ has a beginning, yet it is not a thing separated from the Creator or from the divinity of Christ. For the human nature assumed by Christ is neither an independent person nor an individual life. When the "flesh" of Christ began to  exist, it was united with the divine nature of Christ, and it never existed independently for even one moment. From the beginning of its existence, the humanity of Christ inseparably joined with his divinity in the same person in an ineffable way. 

Thus, we should not view the the humanity of Christ as a creature being separated from the divinity of Christ. The Incarnation is the beginning of the union of the human nature and the divine nature of Christ. It is the beginning of the hypostatic union of Christ rather than the time when the human nature of Christ was being created. 

Once again, the sufficient and necessary conditions to be a "creature", are two: 

1, something has a beginning; 
2, something separated from the Creator. 

Yet there is only one for the "flesh"/human nature of Christ, thus the human nature of Christ (it has a beginning but not separated from the Creator) should not be regarded as a creature. 

Even Martin Luther told us when someone says the human nature of Christ is a "creature", the word "creature" is not in the old usage of language. 

21. For "creature" in the old usage of language [veteris linguaeusu] and in other subjects signifies a thing separated from divinity by infinite degrees [infinitis modis]. 

22. In the new use of language it signifies a thing inseparably joined with divinity in the same person in an ineffable way [ineffabilibusmodis]. 


(Disputation On the Divinity and Humanity of Christ conducted by Dr. Martin Luther, February 27, 1540

According to Luther, people cannot regard the human nature of Christ as "creature" in the old usage of language. In other word, if we hold the old sense of "creature", we should not say that the "flesh" or the human nature of Christ is a creature. 

(The argument above is also appropriate for the debate of "Christ is a creature") 

I understand the view of Martin Luther, yet I do not want to follow his usage of language. Theological thinkers should use the important terms such as "creature" or "be created" accurately. In order to keep using a term on an exceptional case, people have to change the meaning or the usage of it, for me it is not only unnecessary but also misleading. If Luther kept using the term "creature" in the old usage, and if the theologians have been kept using it in the old usage, such a debate possibly disappear today.  I think one of the purposes of Reformed theology is to clarify the usage of theological terms and categories, right? 

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