Lesson 9 – Divinity of Christ

Divinity of Christ

(Love Enfleshed)

Peace be to You
Son of God and Son of Man:
– You remember that in a previous instruction we said that Our Blessed Lord called himself both the Son of God and the Son of Man.
That He was both God and Man.

Mystery of the Incarnation:
This is a great Mystery.
That word Incarnation means- incarne- in the flesh. It means that God assumed a Human Nature.
He was “Enfleshed” as it were.
St. John has a very beautiful description of it, he says “…The Word became Flesh..”(1) The Word means of course God – The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
This is a difficult Mystery and we are going to try to explain it with a number of examples:

When we say that God became Man – we do not mean to say that Heaven was empty. That would be to think of Heaven as space, like a room that was 20 X 30 feet. When God came to this world – He didn’t leave Heave empty.

When He came to this world, He was not shaved down, He was not whittled to human proportions. He was rather – Christ was the Life of God dwelling in Human Flesh.
St. Thomas Aquinas’s has a beautiful description of this in one of his hymns. “…. The Heavenly Word proceeding forth, yet leaving not the Father’s Side…”

Why did God become Man?
Now let us begin to answer the question – Why did God become man?
-We limit ourselves to the historical order in which we live. –
Answer: He became Man in order to redeem us from sin.
Therefore, we have to describe
Why it was necessary for God to become Man to completely atone for our sins?
Whenever we sin we contract an infinite debt.
Yet we can not pay an infinite debt, because we are finite and limited.
Here is the reason. We will state it as a kind of a principle and then we will give examples:
(Principle) – Honor is in the one honoring.
Example: – So pose a citizen of the United States, the Mayor of a city, the Governor of a state and the President of the United States – pay a visit to the Holy Father. Who pays the Holy Father the greater honor? – The citizen or the President? – Is it not the President? – Honor is in the one honoring.

Now the other proposition, the other side of it is this:

(Principle) – Guilt or sin is always measured by the one sin
Example: – If for example a citizen, a Mayor, commits a felony or a crime or a tyranny – Which is the greater sin? Guilt or sin is always measured by the one sin against. If therefore the sin or the guilt was against the President of United States. Obviously – the Mayor or the Governor would be guilty of the greater sin. Would he not?

Apply principles to man:
We have sinned. Against whom have we sinned? Against God. Aright – Sin is always measured by the one sin against.
We sinned against God – He is Infinite – Therefore our guilt, our sin is infinite.
Now, let’s take the other proposition.
(Principle) – Honor is in the one honoring. We are going to try to pay that debt. Who is honoring God? Man – but man is finite and limited – is he not? If he is finite and limited, he cannot pay an infinite debt.
Therefore it is possible for man to contract an infinite debt and never be able to pay it – in strict Justice.

After all that should not surprise us. It is very easy for all of us to run up greater debts then we can repay.

We have an infinite debt against God that we can’t pay:
– Could God forgive us? Could He say, “Oh forget it, its nothing.”
He might say “forget it” but He could not say “it’s nothing”.
Suppose he did forgive us. He indeed would be Merciful – yet he would not satisfy Justice.
Example: If we owe someone $20.00. The debt could be forgiven – yet Justice is not being satisfied – unless we completely pay the debt.
(Example) : I can remember when I was a boy. I often would break the window of the next-door neighbor. – And the next-door neighbor would say sometime “forget it” – somehow or another I didn’t want to be just let off. So, I would go to my piggy bank and I would take out my savings in order to pay for the broken window.
So Man does not want to be just let off by God– He has a sense of dignity too. He wants – in some way to pay the debt he owes to God – though he is unable to pay it.

How is this Infinite Debt going to be paid?

If Justice as well as Mercy are to be satisfied. Then God had to become Man.
1st of all – Why did he have to become Man?
Well, unless He became Man He could not have become our representative. He could not stand for us. Man would not be paying the debt.
(Example) Just suppose if I had been asserted for speeding. Could you walked in the courtroom just at the moment I was on trail and say to the Judge – “Let him go I will take it over” – The judge would say to you – “Stay out of this – what have you got to do with this? You’re not involved – he is”
So as much as man is involved – In as much as man has sinned – In some way God has to share our Nature – which sinned.
Furthermore – Sin demands some kind of suffering and expiation. If he ever became Man – He could suffer as man – Suffer under our name.

Not only would He have to be Man – He would of course have to be God. –
He would have to be Man in order to act in our name, He would have to be God in order that the infinite debt could be paid by someone who was infinite.
Every action, therefore, of God would have an infinite value. Therefore, the outrage against God could be atoned for.
Furthermore, he would have to be God in order to be sinless. After all, if he were full of sin he too would need redemption. No man can atone for his own sins.

In conclusion therefore, if both justice and mercy are to be satisfied, God would have to become Man.
Man, to be one of us.
God in order that He could pay the Infinite debt.

We can explain this in other terms. Perhaps in the terms of the old nursery rhyme, remember it?

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could never put Humpty Dumpty together again.”

Now that rhyme pretty well expresses the condition of man as the result of sin. Since the fall of man, man is very much like a broken egg. He can’t put himself together. There is some kind of a disorder inside of himself and that is the reason why the mere arrangement of wealth and the social order outside of him is not going to change man himself. He needs God to put “him together again”.

Or another example: the example of a clock whose mainspring is broken. We have the works. But somehow, they just do not go.
What two conditions have to be fulfilled to make that clock work?
First, the mainspring must be supplied from the outside.
Two, the mainspring must be placed inside the clock.

Man cannot redeem himself any more than that clock can fix itself.
If man is ever to be redeemed, the redemption must come from without and must be done from within.
It must come from without simply because we cannot, for example if we are blind, ever restore our vision.
If we have broken communion with God by sin, we cannot restore it.
Have you ever taken a rose petal into your fingers, and pressed and squeezed the rose petal? Did you notice if you could ever restore its tint? You couldn’t.
Lift a dewdrop from a leaf, you could never replace it. And even in like manner is just a little bit too deep-seated to be righted by a little bit of kindness here and there and a little reason and a little tolerance.
You might just as well tell a man who’s suffering from consumption that all he needs to do is play six sets of tennis!
The clock whose mainspring is broken cannot repair itself.

So, salvation therefore has to come from without.
Our human will is too weak to conquer its own evil. Just as the sick need medicine outside of themselves,
we need a teacher for our minds, we need a physician for our bodies, and we need a Redeemer for our souls.
A Redeemer from outside humanity, outside of humanity with all its weakness, its sin, and its rebellion.

Now let’s take the other side:
We said that if the mainspring is broken, a new mainspring has to be supplied from without, but be put inside the clock,
– and so too, salvation must come from without humanity, but it has to be done in some way, within humanity.
– So, God therefore had to become Man, in order that man would be redeemed from within.
– If God did not become man he would have no relation to us.
– Man, as I said, does not want just to have his sins forgiven, he wants to atone for them, so God became Man.

Now you put these two conditions together, and you have the reason why the Redeemer should be both God and Man.
God from without, man in order that he might be within humanity.
That is The Incarnation. God becoming Man, in the person of Christ, in order that he might save us from our sin.

Here we come to something just a little more difficult and we are going to use a word which you may not often hear. We have to spend about six months when we are studying for the priesthood, just studying the meaning of these words.

Hypostatic union:
A hypostatic union means that there are in Christ, two natures and one person. Now that something that you must always remember. Embed it in your memory, in your mind.
Christ has two natures – one human, one Divine. They are both united in the person of God.

Was God therefore a human person? No. He was a Divine Person.

Did he have a human nature? Yes.

Did he have a Divine Nature? Yes.

And they were united in the Divine Person of God.

Obviously, I am not using the word ‘nature’ and ‘person’ in the same sense, am I?

Pencil Example:
Perhaps we can make this clear if you will take a pencil in your hand. I will wait for a minute until you put it into your fingers.

Now that pencil has a nature, has it not? In other words, it’s the nature of the thing that writes. A nature is a thing, something that operates. For example, cow has a nature, pig has a nature, carpet has a nature, a pigeon has a nature, your finger has a nature.
But is a cow a person? If your cow comes over into my pasture and eats all of my grass, I cannot sue the cow, I could sue you. Then, therefore there must be some difference between a nature and a person.

And this is the difference, a person is a source of responsibility.
A dog is not responsible for its actions, but man is! Now that is a very simple definition of a nature and a person, but perhaps it will suffice us for the moment.

Now using the pencil that you have in your hand, do you notice that there are before you, two natures?
One the nature of the pencil, the other the nature of your hand.
Is your hand a person? No. Because you could lose your hand and still be yourself, could you not?
Therefore, we have in the hand now, combined with the pencil, two natures. How are they united? – in your one person

So, it is possible to have a union of two natures in one person. You have a body, you have a soul. They are very different in nature, one is material and the other is spiritual. And yet you are only one person. That, too, is a very incomplete and imperfect analogy of what happens.

In returning now to our pencil: the pencil of and by itself cannot write. You put it down on a chair or a table before you, that pencil cannot write, can it? Now you bring that hand down to that pencil, you have the union of two natures and one person, now the pencil can write, can it not?
It can do something that it could not do before, and when it writes do you say the pencil writes or I write?
You do not say my eye sees you, you say I see you.
You do not say my ear hears you, I hear you.
You do not say my stomach digests, I digest food.

Notice that we are always attributing the actions of a nature to a person.
That is why if you sign a check, there is a responsibility involved, and neither the hand nor the pencil are the sources of that responsibility.

Now let us supply the analogy.
Put down the pencil again on the table,
that pencil of and by itself cannot write. That pencil is like man. He cannot pay the debt he owes to God.
Now, put your hand in the air. Bring it down slowly to that pencil. Pick up the pencil.
Here you have a union of the nature of your hand, which is united with your person, and the nature of a pencil. Now the pencil can do something, which by itself it could not do.
So, the hand with your personality coming down to that pencil represents the person of God and the divine nature coming down to human nature.
And when God comes down and takes upon Himself a human nature, united with his Divine nature and Divine Person, you have the union of two natures, namely the nature of God and the nature of man in the unity of the Person of God, and now, just as that pencil could do something which of and by itself it could not do, so human nature, united with the Person of God, can now begin to do something which of and by itself it could not do before.

A pencil is the instrument of my personality and so when God with his Divine nature came down to this world and took upon himself a human nature from the womb of his Blessed Mother, He took upon Himself an instrument.
Once God took upon Himself our human nature, He could act in our name.
And every one of the actions of that human nature would have an infinite value. Not a sigh, a word, a tear, a step, that human nature was inseparable from the person of God.
That is why one Breath of God Made Man would have been enough to have redeemed the world. Why? Because it was the Breath of God. And therefore, it had an infinite value.

But why then did God suffer so much when he took upon Himself our human nature?
Well, there are more grains of sand in this world than are necessary. And so, love knows no limits, and the only way to prove perfect love is by a surrender of all that one has, himself.
God took upon Himself our human nature and He said He loved us unto the end, even unto death.

Now you see the beauty and the majesty, do you not? – of Christ
Why would He become Man that took upon Himself the form of a babe, what did we have?
Why, He was born without a mother in heaven, was born without a father on earth.
He who made the world was born, maker of the sun, under the sun.
Molder of the earth on the earth,
ineffably wise – A little infant
feeling the world, lying in the manger,
ruling the stars. Nursed by his mother,
the mirth of heaven weeps, God becomes man.
Divinity incarnate, eternity time,
Lord scourged, power bound with ropes,
King crowned with thorns.

And if you were the only person in the world who ever lived and sinned, He would have come down to this earth and died and suffered just for You alone, that is how much He loves You!

God love you!
Abp. Fulton J. Sheen



Jn 1:14



51. “‘It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the DIVINE NATURE.'[DV 2; cf. Eph 1:9 ; Eph 2:18 ; 2 Pet 1:4 .]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/profess2.html#REVELATION

200. “These are the words with which the Niceno- Constantinopolitan Creed begins. The confession of God’s oneness, which has its roots in the DIVINE revelation of the Old Covenant, is inseparable from the profession of God’s existence and is equally fundamental. God is unique; there is only one God: ‘The Christian faith confesses that God is one in NATURE, substance and essence.'[Roman Catechism I, 2, 2.]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/believe.html#ONE

460. “The Word became flesh to make us ‘partakers of the DIVINE NATURE’:[2 Pet 1:4 .] ‘For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving DIVINE sonship, might become a son of God.'[St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939.] ‘For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.'[St. Athanasius, De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B.] ‘The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our NATURE, so that he, made man, might make men gods.'[St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4.]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed2.html#CONCEIVED

470. “Because ‘human NATURE was assumed, not absorbed’,[GS 22 # 2.] in the mysterious union of the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course of centuries to confess the full reality of Christ’s human soul, with its operations of intellect and will, and of his human body. In parallel fashion, she had to recall on each occasion that Christ’s human NATURE belongs, as his own, to the DIVINE Person of the Son of God, who assumed it. Everything that Christ is and does in this NATURE derives from ‘one of the Trinity’. The Son of God therefore communicates to his humanity his own Personal mode of existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, Christ thus expresses humanly the DIVINE ways of the Trinity:[Cf. Jn 14:9-10 .]
The Son of God. . . worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin.[GS 22 # 2.]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed2.html#HOW

473. “But at the same time, this truly human knowledge of God’s Son expressed the DIVINE life of his Person.[Cf. St. Gregory the Great, ‘Sicut aqua’ ad Eulogium, Epist. Lib. 10, 39 PL 77, 1097 Aff.; DS 475.] ‘The human NATURE of God’s Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God.'[St. Maximus the Confessor, Qu. et dub. 66 PG 90, 840A.] Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father.[Cf. Mk 14:36 ; Mt 11:27 ; Jn 1:18 ; Jn 8:55 ; etc.] The Son in his human knowledge also showed the DIVINE penetration he had into the secret thoughts of human hearts.[Cf. Mk 2:8 ; Jn 2 25 ; Jn 6:61 ; etc.]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed2.html#HOW

479. “At the time appointed by God, the only Son of the Father, the eternal Word, that is, the Word and substantial Image of the Father, became incarnate; without losing his DIVINE NATURE he has assumed human NATURE. ”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed2.html#HOW

612. “The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father’s hands in his agony in the garden at Gethsemani,[Cf. Mt 26:42 ; Lk 22:20 .] making himself ‘obedient unto death’. Jesus prays: ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. . .'[Phil 2:8 ; Mt 26:39 ; cf. Heb 5:7-8 .] Thus he expresses the horror that death represented for his human NATURE. Like ours, his human NATURE is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death.[Cf. Rom 5:12 ; Heb 4:15 .] Above all, his human NATURE has been assumed by the DIVINE Person of the ‘Author of life’, the ‘Living One’.[Cf. Acts 3:15 ; Rev 1:17; Jn 1:4 ; Jn 5:26 .] By accepting in his human will that the Father’s will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for ‘he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.'[1 Pet 224 ; cf. Mt 26:42 .]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed6.html#OFFERED

650. “The Fathers contemplate the Resurrection from the perspective of the DIVINE Person of Christ who remained united to his soul and body, even when these were separated from each other by death: ‘By the unity of the DIVINE NATURE, which remains present in each of the two components of man, these are reunited. For as death is produced by the separation of the human components, so Resurrection is achieved by the union of the two.'[St. Gregory of Nyssa, In Christi res. Orat. I: PG 46, 617B; cf. also DS 325; 359; 369.]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed7.html#TRINITY

1996. “Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the DIVINE NATURE and of eternal life.[Cf. Jn 1:12-18 ; Jn 17:3 ; Rom 8:14-17 ; 2Pet 1:3-4.]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/salve.html#GRACE

2009. “Filial adoption, in making us partakers by grace in the DIVINE NATURE, can bestow true merit on us as a result of God’s gratuitous justice. This is our right by grace, the full right of love, making us ‘co-heirs’ with Christ and worthy of obtaining ‘the promised inheritance of eternal life.'[Council of Trent (1547): DS 1546.] The merits of our good works are gifts of the DIVINE goodness.[Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1548.] ‘Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due…. Our merits are God’s gifts.'[St. Augustine, Sermo 298, 4-5: PL 38, 1367.]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/salve.html#MERIT


251. “In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop her own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: ‘substance’, ‘Person’ or ‘HYPOSTASIS’, ‘relation’ and so on. In doing this, she did not submit the faith to human wisdom, but gave a new and unprecedented meaning to these terms, which from then on would be used to signify an ineffable mystery, ‘infinitely beyond all that we can humanly understand’.[Paul VI, CPC # 2.]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/believe.html#TEACHING

252. “The Church uses (I) the term ‘substance’ (rendered also at times by ‘essence’ or ‘Nature’) to designate the divine being in its unity, (II) the term ‘Person’ or ‘HYPOSTASIS’ to designate the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the real distinction among them, and (III) the term ‘relation’ to designate the fact that their distinction lies in the relationship of each to the others.”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/believe.html#TEACHING

466. “The Nestorian heresy regarded Christ as a human Person joined to the divine Person of God’s Son. Opposing this heresy, St. Cyril of Alexandria and the third ecumenical council, at Ephesus in 431, confessed ‘that the Word, uniting to himself in his Person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man.'[Council of Ephesus (431): DS 250.] Christ’s humanity has no other subject than the divine Person of the Son of God, who assumed it and made it his own, from his conception. For this reason the Council of Ephesus proclaimed in 431 that Mary truly became the Mother of God by the human conception of the Son of God in her womb: ‘Mother of God, not that the Nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of its existence from the holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself according to the HYPOSTASIS, was born from her, the Word is said to be born according to the flesh.'[Council of Ephesus: DS 251.]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed2.html#TRUE

467. “The Monophysites affirmed that the human Nature had ceased to exist as such in Christ when the divine Person of God’s Son assumed it. Faced with this heresy, the fourth ecumenical council, at Chalcedon in 451, confessed:
Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity; ‘like us in all things but sin’. He was begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, was born as to his humanity of the virgin Mary, the Mother of God.[Council of Chalcedon (451): DS 301; cf. Heb 4:15.]
We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two Natures without confusion, change, division or separation. The distinction between the Natures was never abolished by their union, but rather the character proper to each of the two Natures was preserved as they came together in one Person (prosopon) and one HYPOSTASIS.[Council of Chalcedon: DS 302.]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed2.html#TRUE

468. “After the Council of Chalcedon, some made of Christ’s human Nature a kind of Personal subject. Against them, the fifth ecumenical council, at Constantinople in 553, confessed that ‘there is but one HYPOSTASIS (or Person), which is our Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Trinity.'[Council of Constantinople II (553): DS 424.] Thus everything in Christ’s human Nature is to be attributed to his divine Person as its proper subject, not only his miracles but also his sufferings and even his death: ‘He who was crucified in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, is true God, Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity.'[Council of Constantinople II (553): DS 432; cf. DS 424; Council of Ephesus, DS 255.]”
To view the context, please visit http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/creed2.html#TRUE

Human Freedom
Translate »