Shalom! My name is Adam Pastor

Welcome to ADONI MESSIAH which means
"My Lord Messiah" -
a fitting epithet to who Jesus (or Yeshua) is!

Here, I attempt to present the Apostolic Truths according to the Scriptures, that there is
One GOD, the Father, namely, YAHWEH,
and One Lord, GOD's only begotten Son,
Yeshua the Messiah.

And that one day YAHWEH will send His Son back to Earth to inaugurate the Everlasting Kingdom of GOD



Enjoy!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

THE FALLACY & INEPTITUDE OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE DUAL NATURE OF CHRIST - PART 3 OF 3

THE FALLACY & INEPTITUDE OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE DUAL NATURE OF CHRIST PART 3 OF 3:
This final section is taken from Donald R. Snedeker's book: OUR HEAVENLY FATHER HAS NO EQUALS, International Scholars Publications, 1998.
Donald Snedeker throughout this book, quotes many 19th-century ONE-GOD believers in regards to the subject of Biblical Unitarianism as oppose to Trinitarianism. Here are some relevant extracts from the chapter titled
  • The Doctrine of the Double Nature of Christ :-
  • Page 127:

The doctrine of the double nature of Christ creates a distorted view of Jesus. If we try to conceive of a being who is both God and man, we become unhappily bewildered Our notions of what it is to be man are very different from our notions of what it is to be the almighty God The two terms have their own unique characteristics and are so different that they cannot be predicated of the same being:

"Now by the nature of a thing we mean its qualities. To say therefore that Christ possesses both a divine and a human nature, is to say that he possesses both the qualities of God and the qualities of man, that the same mind consequently is both created and uncreated, both finite and infinite, both dependent and independent, both changeable and unchangeable, both mortal and immortal, both susceptible of pain and incapable of it, both able to do all things and not able, both acquainted with all things and not acquainted with them. Here is one of the persons of the Trinity united to the person of the man; here there is a person or mind both finite and infinite. Now, to use the words of another in expressing my own sentiments, if it be not certain that such a doctrine as this is false, there is no certainty on any subject. It is in vain to call it a mystery, it is an absurdity—it is an impossibility. According to my ideas of propriety and duty, by assenting to it I should culpably abuse those faculties of understanding which God has given me to distinguish between right and wrong, truth and error."[1]

The doctrine of the double nature of Christ, like that of the Trinity, is a doctrine of inference. Neither doctrine is declared in any verse, nor can they be expressed in the language of Scripture. Scattered verses are assembled in quasi-syllogistic form, inferences are drawn from newly-created contexts, and it is assumed that the Messiah is both a mortal man and the almighty God.

  • Pages 128-130:

This doctrine makes utter confusion of our understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, and the Bible, the written Word of God. There is simply nothing in Scripture that supports the amazing supposition that he is both God and man. There is nothing anywhere, no analogy, no terminology, no defense of any sort that can be produced to support the idea that anybody could be both God Almighty and a man. The doctrine of the double nature of Christ, like that of the Trinity, turns the Bible into confusion, rendering the clearest verses obscure and clouding what we know to be true about God and man:

"According to those that maintain the doctrine of the two natures in Christ, Christ speaks of himself, and is spoken of by his Apostles, sometimes as a man, sometimes as God, and sometimes as both God and man. He speaks and is spoken of, under these different characters indiscriminately, without any explanation, and without its being anywhere declared that he existed in these different conditions of being. He prays to that being whom he himself was. He declares to be ignorant of what (being God) he knew, and unable to perform what (being God) he could perform. He affirms that he could do nothing of himself, or by his own power, though he was omnipotent. He, being God, prays for the glory which he had with God, and declares another is greater than himself (see John 17; Mark 13. 32; John 5. 30; 14. 28). In one of the passages QUOTED IN PROOF OF HIS DIVINITY, he is called the image of the invisible God; in another of these passages, he, the God over all, blessed for ever, is said to have been anointed by God with the oil of gladness above his fellows; and in a third of them, it is affirmed that he became obedient to death, even the death of the cross (Colossians 1. 15, seqq; Hebrews 1. 8, 9; Philippians 2. 5—8). If my readers are shocked by the combinations which I have brought together, I beg them to do me the justice to believe that my feelings are the same with their own. But these combinations necessarily result from the doctrine which we are considering. Page after page might be filled with inconsistencies as gross and as glaring. The doctrine has turned Scriptures, as far as they relate to this subject into a book of riddles, and, what is worse, of riddles admitting of no solution. I willingly refrain from the use of stronger language which will occur to many of my readers."[2]

"As the very Infinite, his [Jesus'] words can have no sincere meaning,— his suffering must be unreal,— his temptation a dramatic show,— his prayers an insincerity,— his sorrowing affection an assumed disguise,— his example of no application to our mortal state. Analyze your own thought of him, and you will find it resolves itself very much into what I have said. ... Forced and strained beyond this simple truth, the doctrine is one reposing on insufficient evidence, and in the highest degree confounding to our reason. ..."[3]

If Jesus were a man who could not have failed in his mission, there would be no way for us to relate to him. His life would become devoid of meaning because we relate to others based on our experience. Our experience tells us we can fail. If Jesus were God he could not have failed, and therefore could not be somebody with whom we can relate. The doctrine of the double nature of Christ strips us of a true appreciation of the challenges he faced and the manner in which he handled them.

  • Pages 131-133:

If we are to gain anything from Scripture, we must understand words according to their plain meaning. Unless some part of speech requires an unusual interpretation, such as an idiom, we ought to interpret the words according to their normal meanings. But exceptions to this must constantly be made for one to accept Trinitarian doctrines as true. Jesus said such things as My Father is greater than I. [4] The obvious meaning of this must be circumvented in order to sustain the notion that he is co-equal with God. The notion of a double nature in Christ was invented to do exactly this. It makes it possible, even acceptable, to cast our Lord's words in an entirely different sense than they were meant when they were originally spoken.

"We find no fault with those who are satisfied with this answer, but it does not satisfy us. It does not seem to us the fair interpretation of plain language. For, first, we find no passage in the Bible, and there is none, in which it is taught that our Savior had two natures, one human and one divine; but he is always spoken of as a single being, "the Christ the Son of the Living God." And secondly we think that when he spoke of himself without qualification, using the personal pronouns, I, and myself, and me, he must have used them in their common meaning, and he was certainly, at the time, so understood. If he had intended to have been understood differently, he would have given some indication of it. As he gave none, we take his words in their plain and obvious meaning. Just as you would understand me, if I were to say, 'I do not know such a thing,' without qualifying the words, so do we understand him. We dare not understand him otherwise. For would it be right for me to say, 'I do not know such a thing,' if I really know it? and defend myself by saying, that my body does not know it, but my mind does? or that I know it as a clergyman, but not as a citizen? Such would not be a fair use of language, and if the Scriptures were to be interpreted in such a manner, there is absolutely no doctrine that could not be proved from it. We understand Jesus simply as he spoke, and therefore, while we pray for the time when 'at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess him to be the Lord,' we remember that this must always be done 'to the glory of God the Father.' "[5]

The practices of interpretation that give rise to the doctrine of the double nature of Christ foster the negation of the words of Jesus and render them unintelligible. That Christians would accept a mechanism that allows such blatant disregard for Jesus' own words is shocking. The idea that our Lord delivered distinct precepts to his church, and then following generations would work feverishly to alter his words and make them a mysterious hypothesis, is unconscionable. It is impossible to understand the words of Jesus without a clear idea of who he is, and the doctrine of the double nature prevents us from obtaining this necessary understanding of his identity:

"No words can be more destitute of meaning, so far as they are intended to convey a proposition which the mind is capable of admitting, than such language as we sometimes find used, in which Christ is declared to be at once the Creator of the universe, and a man of sorrows; God omniscient, and a feeble man of imperfect knowledge."[6]

By inventing a theory which makes Jesus to be both God and man, Trinitarians have, perhaps unwittingly, assigned to him a split personality:

"A being of complex constitution like man is not a being of a double nature. The very term double nature, when one professes to use it in a strict, philosophical sense, implies an absurdity. The nature of a being is ALL which constitutes it what it is, and when one speaks of a double nature, it is the same sort of language as if we were to speak of a double individuality."[7]

  • Pages 140-141:

"When Christ declares, without qualification, that there was a certain day and hour of which he knew nothing, we, who are [Biblical] Unitarians, believe him. You, on the contrary, make him prevaricate; and, in one nature, deny what he certainly must have known in the other; and yet these two natures you declare to have been in constant and intimate union. You continually make him contradict himself. This is, in my view, sadly to dishonor him."[8]

One of the effects of a long-standing doctrine is that its terminologies become so entrenched that it no longer seems strange to hear them. The words and phrases that constitute trinitarian theology have been heard so frequently that the most absurd, confusing and meaningless terms and phrases go unchallenged. This is a prime example of the old adage, "If you say something long enough and loud enough, people will believe it."

  • Pages 144-145:

Now, aside from the fact that God could (and did) provide a one-time, permanent substitute of His own choosing to assist man in atoning for sin, just as He did when He instructed Israel to sacrifice a lamb once a year for their sins, the argument that only the human part of Jesus died is a denial that God died for us. So the doctrine of the double nature of Christ not only conflicts with Scripture, it conflicts with other trinitarian dogma:

"A comparable difficulty faces Trinitarians when they assert that only the human part of Jesus died. If Jesus were God, and God is immortal, Jesus could not have died. We wonder how it is possible to maintain that 'Jesus' does not represent the whole person. Nothing in the Bible suggests that Jesus is the name of his human nature only. If Jesus is the whole person and Jesus died, he cannot be immortal Deity. It appears that Trinitarians argue that only Deity is sufficient to provide the necessary atonement. But if the divine nature did not die, how on the Trinitarian theory is the atonement secured?"[9]

  • FOOTNOTES

[1] J.S. Hyndman, Lectures on the Principles of Unitarianism (Alnwick: 1824), pp. 34-5. [2] Andrews Norton, A Statement of Reasons for Not Believing the Doctrines of Trinitarians, (Boston: American Unitarian Association, 10th edition, 1877), pp. 60-1. [3] Joseph Allen, Ten Discourses on Orthodoxy, (Boston: Wm. Crosby and H. P. Nichols, 1849), pp. 87-8. [4] John 14:28. [5] William G. Eliot, Discourses on the Doctrines of Christianity, (Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1877), pp. 50-1. [6] Norton, p. 58. [7] Norton, p. 60. [8] Mary Dana, Letters Addressed to Relatives and Friends, (Boston: James Munroe and Co., 1845), p. 97. [9] Sir Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound (Restoration Fellowship and Atlanta Bible College, 1994), p. 132.

  • CONCLUSION
  • Prayerfully, these three posts show at the very least, sufficient reasons why the so-called "doctrine of the dual nature of Christ" ought to be abandoned;
  • and rather, "the simple humanity" of our Lord Jesus the Messiah ought to be embraced.

THE FALLACY & INEPTITUDE OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE DUAL NATURE OF CHRIST - PART 2 OF 3

THE FALLACY & INEPTITUDE
OF THE DOCTRINE OF
THE DUAL NATURE OF CHRIST
PART 2 OF 3:
This next section is based upon Charles Morgridge's book, The True Believer's Defence, Against Charges Preferred By Trinitarians, 1837.
  • CHARLES MORGRIDGE :-

Now this doctrine is to be rejected, because, like that of the Trinity, it is essentially incredible. It is not a mystery, but as palpable a contradiction as can be stated. By the nature of any person or being, is always meant his essential qualities. If Christ possess a Divine and Human nature, he must possess the essential qualities of God and the distinctive qualities of man. But these qualities are totally incompatible with one another. The qualities of God are eternity, independence, immutability, exemption from pain, sorrow, and death, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence. But the qualities of MAN are derived existence, dependence, mutability, susceptibility of pain, sorrow and death, comparative weakness and ignorance, and locomotivity.

To assert, therefore, that the same mind possesses both a Human and a Divine nature, is to assert that the same mind is both created and uncreated, both finite and infinite, both dependent and independent, both mutable and immutable, both mortal and immortal, both susceptible of pain and unsusceptible of it, both able to do all things and unable, both acquainted with all things and not acquainted with them, both ignorant of some things and possessed of the most intimate knowledge of them, both in all places and only in one place at the same time.

Now if this doctrine is not an absurdity, I know not how to conceive of or describe an absurdity.

It is a doctrine "which councils and parliaments may decree, but which miracles cannot prove." It is not pretended that any passage of Scripture expressly asserts the doctrine of the Two Natures. Like that of the Trinity, it is a mere inference from the premises laid down by Trinitarians. I know of no allusion in the Bible to the doctrine of the Two Natures, either with or without modification. But an objection of a graver character lies against the doctrine of the Two Natures. It implicates the moral character of the Holy Jesus; it impeaches his veracity; and exposes him to the charge of equivocation, duplicity, and falsehood. These are weighty charges; and we cannot endure, for a moment, a hypothesis which throws suspicion of dishonesty upon our blessed Saviour. Jesus said, "I can of mine own self do nothing." The Trinitarian says, Jesus can of himself do everything that God can do. Jesus said, "My Father is greater than I." The Trinitarian says, Jesus is as great as the Father.

To one unacquainted with the use that is made of the doctrine of the Two Natures, these assertions appear to be palpable contradictions. He cannot perceive how the assertions of Jesus, and those of Trinitarians, can both be true. But here comes in the doctrine of the Two Natures to reconcile the apparent contradictions. "Jesus is both God and man," says the Trinitarian. "And though as man, he can do nothing of himself, yet as God, he can do everything. Though as man, he is not his Father's equal, yet as God, he is equal with the Father in substance, and power, and glory."

But if he is God, can he say in truth, that he can do nothing of himself? What, can God do nothing of himself! If he is God, can he say in truth, My Father is greater than I? What, is the Father greater than God! For a man to assert that he cannot do what he is conscious that he can do, is to say what is not true. For what a man can do, in any way, or by any means, he can certainly do.

Suppose a man should be required to subscribe his name to a written instrument; and that he should refuse to do it, saying, "I cannot write. I cannot wield the pen. I never learned to write." Suppose it should be known that this man could write; that an explanation should be demanded; and that he should say, he only meant that he could not write with his left hand, though he could use the pen with his right hand as well as any man. Would not such a man subject himself to the charge of equivocation, duplicity, and falsehood? The disciples came to Jesus with these questions: "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?" After some explanation and caution, Jesus answered thus: "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the SON, but the FATHER only." The Trinitarian says, the Son knew perfectly both the day and the hour. Here the doctrine of the Two Natures is again employed to solve the difficulty. "Jesus being God as well as man," says the Trinitarian, "He must have known the day and hour as God, though he did not know it as man. When he said he did not know the day and hour, he spoke of his human nature only." But is this satisfactory?

The disciples came to Jesus not to inquire into any distinctions in his nature, but to obtain information of a different kind. Now if Jesus had two natures, the one omniscient, and the other "of imperfect knowledge," would he not consider the questions addressed to the nature that knew, rather than the nature that did not know, the subject about which the disciples came to inquire? Most certainly. Yet Jesus not only said that the Son did not know, but that the Father only knew. All other persons, besides the Father, whether they be persons in the Trinity or out of it, are excluded from the knowledge of the day and hour.

Let us suppose that a murder is committed in the city of Boston, at noon, by some person or persons unknown—that suspicion fastens upon an innocent man, who, at the time of the murder, was in New York—and that he is charged with the crime, apprehended, and brought to trial. The prisoner summons in his defence a witness, who saw him in New York, about noon, the same day the murder was committed in Boston. This witness, being under oath, is asked, "Did you see the prisoner in New York on the day?" The witness answers, "I did not." This being the only witness for the defendant, he is convicted, and hanged. After the execution, this witness confesses that he did see the man that was hanged, in New York, on the day and hour specified at the trial. Being required to answer for himself, he says, under oath, that his left eye was defective; only his right eye was sound. And when he testified in court that he did not see the prisoner, he meant that he did not see him with his defective eye; but he saw him distinctly with his sound eye. Now, I ask, would not all honest men consider such a witness perjured?

The only difference I can see, between the conduct of such a witness, and that which the doctrine of the Two Natures imputes to Jesus, is, that what Jesus said was not said under the solemnity of an oath. Knowledge is the eye of the mind. Jesus is said to have two capacities of knowledge—his divine and his human nature. The one is strong and piercing, knowing all things. The other is weak and defective, being ignorant of many things. As such an one, he says, in regard to the time of a certain event, he does not know the day nor the hour. He makes no exception of one of his capacities of knowledge; but says, absolutely, he does not know the time. No one knows but the Father. Yet the doctrine of the Two Natures supposes that Jesus did know the day and hour; and that when he said he did not know, he spoke only of his capacity of knowledge which is weak and defective.

Another objection to the doctrine of the Two Natures is, that it renders it impossible to understand or believe any thing that Jesus says of himself. The terms I, me, myself, mine own self, always denote one person, an individual; they include the whole person, all that constitutes him a person. In this sense they were unquestionably used by Christ. When he said, I, me, myself, he could not have meant a part of himself. He could not have meant that part of himself which is infinitely less than another part of himself. If it be admitted that Jesus did not mean himself, his whole self, all that constitutes his proper personality, there is no assertion he ever made but what may be contradicted. One has only to say, "This he did as man, it is not true of him as God, therefore it is not true; and this he did as God, it is not true of him as man, therefore it is not true." In this way, every assertion he ever made of himself, may be contradicted. In this way, we may deny his birth, his crucifixion, his death, and his resurrection, because these were true of him only as man, not as God. If, instead of saying, "My Father is greater than I," he had said, "I am not so great as my Father, I am not equal with the Father, I am not God, I am not equal with God," we have only to say, "This he spoke as man, hence it is not true," in order to set his testimony, concerning himself, aside. Now can a doctrine be admitted which renders his plainest sayings unintelligible, and makes it absolutely impossible for him to deny that he is God, if he had a mind to do so? ...

We object to the doctrine of the Two Natures, because it would, if admitted, deprive us of the comforts and advantages arising from the example of Christ's prayers and sufferings. In commenting on the secret morning prayer of Jesus, (Mark i. 35) Dr. Adam Clark, in his great zeal for the doctrine of the Two Natures, says—"Not that he needed any thing, for in him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; but that he might be a pattern to us." If the learned Doctor be correct, Jesus must have asked his heavenly Father for innumerable blessings which he did not need, that he might be a pattern to us. But how can we imitate such a pattern without praying for such things as we do not need? If Jesus is God, he must have prayed to himself. But of what benefit to us can such an example be? What comfort or instruction can be derived from contemplating the prayers of Jesus, if every prayer he offered was addressed to himself, and he was so independent that he needed nothing? "Being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" Was all this only to set us an example? What sympathy can we feel with the sufferer, if he needed nothing he prayed for? Prayer is an expression of dependence and want. If a person who needs nothing prays, is it not mere pretence?—is it not hypocrisy?

Finally, the doctrine of the Two Natures defeats its own end. To illustrate this, let us consider it in connection with the doctrine of the atonement as held by Trinitarians. It is argued that sin is an infinite evil; that it deserves an infinite punishment; and, consequently, the atonement must be infinite. But no finite being can make an infinite atonement. But Jesus, being both God and man, is qualified to make an infinite atonement by the sacrifice of himself upon the cross. But all Trinitarians, so far as my knowledge extends, hold that Jesus died as man, not as God. Nothing bled and died but the human nature. The victim, the offering, the sacrifice, was not the divine, but the human nature of Christ, the mere man. This was presented or offered, not to the human, but to the divine nature of Christ, the Supreme God. Thus the infinite atonement entirely disappears. A mere man endures the cross, sheds his blood, and dies an atoning sacrifice to the infinite God. In relation to the doctrine of the atonement, a belief in the proper Deity of Christ has not the least advantage over a belief in his simple humanity. ...

THE FALLACY & INEPTITUDE OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE DUAL NATURE OF CHRIST - PART 1 OF 3

THE FALLACY & INEPTITUDE
OF THE DOCTRINE OF
THE DUAL NATURE OF CHRIST
PART 1 OF 3:
What follows are extracts from the writings of mostly 19th century ONE-GOD believers; which adequately point out the erroneous conclusions of
the so-called doctrine of the dual nature of Christ
or the Hypostatic Union.
We begin with Frederick A. Farley taken from his book, The Scripture Doctrine of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, 1873.
  • FREDERICK A FARLEY :-

I FIND myself unexpectedly, and before entering on the main theme of my present Lecture, obliged [1] to turn aside for a moment, and consider another. It is one on which I had deemed it scarcely necessary to spend breath, namely, the Doctrine, as it is theologically called, of the Double Nature of Christ, or the Hypostatic Union.

The argument from Scripture is very limited. ... in the Epistle to the Romans. In the first chapter [2] St. Paul has these words: "His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God, with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." In the ninth chapter: [3] "I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsman according to the flesh. . . . Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever." ....

Now remember, that the allegation of our Trinitarian brethren is, that Christ had two distinct and complete natures, Divine and Human; in the one he was God, in the other, Man.
The question before us now, therefore, is, whether these passages sustain the allegation? It is made a question, bear in mind, as to nature; and because St. Paul, in the first, uses both the expressions, "according to the flesh," and "according to the spirit of holiness," with reference to our Lord—the one as being "of the seed of David," the other as being "the Son of God with power"—here is proof, it is said, of his possessing two natures.
But turn to the second passage. There you find the Apostle using the same phrase, "according to the flesh," in regard to himself, in its obvious sense, without the least reference to any peculiarity of nature, which, of course, in his case, will not be pretended; but simply to the matter of descent from the common stock of all Israelites, by virtue of which he shared with them "the promises." Why not, then, to Jesus, who, by universal consent, was "of the seed of David," and therefore of "the fathers," the patriarchs and founders of the nation; "of whom, as concerning" (the phrase in the Greek is the same, according to) "the flesh," i.e. by natural descent, he "came," and in correspondence with prophecy, must have come?
There is no reasonable pretence for understanding the phrase rendered "according to the flesh," and which is of frequent and invariable use elsewhere by St. Paul in his Epistles, [4] with reference to natural descent, in any other sense in either passage. It cannot be interpreted with reference to his human, in contradistinction from his divine nature, except to make out a case to support this mere hypothesis.
Paul declares, that he "had been called to his Apostleship, to preach the Gospel of God, concerning his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, (how carefully he distinguishes them!) who, he says, by natural or lineal descent, was of the house of David; but by the Holy Spirit was demonstrated to be the Son of God, with power, by his Resurrection from the dead." [5] Thus I paraphrase the first passage, to show its true meaning. The other argument is drawn from the alleged necessity of the case. Christ is sometimes called God, and sometimes Man. This must be explained. Here is a mystery, and it must be solved From this supposed necessity springs the hypothesis of the Double Nature of Christ. "This," says Wardlaw, [6] "is the key which fits all the wards of this intricate lock, turning among them with hardly a touch of interruption, catching its bolts, and laying open to us, in the easiest and completes! manner the treasures of Divine Truth."
To this I simply answer, that we do not find the lock, and therefore we do not want the key; or the mystery, and therefore we do not want the key; or the mystery, and therefore we do not want the solution.
To us no such necessity, as is alleged, exists. The hypothesis is entirely uncalled for. Nothing is plainer than that there is not the remotest hint of any such thing, as a twofold nature in Christ, in all his recorded words, or in the writing of his Apostles; though it is hardly possible that they should have been silent on so grave a point, had there been in it any reality. Regarding it then as the merest hypothesis, for that is all it is, we object, aside of its superfluity, that its admission makes difficulty where there is none; renders vague or obscure the plainest and most explicit language of Scripture. It demands on its face the surrender of reason, and involves positive absurdity.
Divine and human qualities, as the essence of being, cannot co-exist in the same person. God is infinite, man is finite, and no being can be at once and essentially finite and infinite. [7] It stops inquiry by its plea of mystery; and drives us, would we believe it, to the old position of Tertullian: Credo quia impossibile est, (I believe because it is impossible.) It destroys Christ's unity, and makes him two distinct and opposite beings. That Christ is both God and man, is a proposition plain enough in its statement; but the two predicates are incompatible. But a graver objection is, that in effect it charges our Lord with duplicity.
When he declared on one occasion: "Of that day and hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father"[8]—what more precise and significant words could he have used, to show that he laid no claim to omniscience, that attribute essential to Deity, without which no being could be God? If there was any one thing of which our Lord was ignorant, he could not be God. And how should we have understood him, had we been present—how did the Apostles, how did the multitude who were present, understand him at the time? They must have understood him as we do, to have made a positive, express declaration, that "of that day and hour" he had no knowledge;[9] and therefore to suppose that he made a mental reservation, as to his divine knowledge, while he declared only his human want of it, is to charge him with duplicity, with double-dealing, with deceit.
Hence we object, again, that it lessens the force of his example. Surely the least imputation to Christ, if there be reason for it, of any such quality as deceit, must have that effect. But on this hypothesis, what mean all his declarations of dependence on God? "Of mine own self I can do nothing; as I hear I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me;" just as he had before said: "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do."[10]—What mean his expressions of trust in God? To Pilate's haughty menace he replied, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above;" and in that most solemn hour when he was drawing his last breath upon the cross, he said: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit!"[11] To whom were these words addressed? To whom was he accustomed to pray? To one part of his nature—to himself—to a part of himself? What mockery all this seems!
Finally, this hypothesis conflicts with all just principles of interpretation. "It is reasonable to expect, that those doctrines which form the leading articles of any system," says Dr. Wardlaw,[12] "should be plainly stated in the book which professes to make that system known." Apply this test to the doctrine—for sheer hypothesis as it is, it is alleged to be not only one but a "leading article" of Christianity—to the doctrine, then, of the two natures in Christ; and who will pretend that it is "plainly stated" in Scripture? But, for the obvious principle that Scripture is to be interpreted like any other book, we have the high orthodox authority of Prof. Stuart, and of other orthodox critics of equal eminence with him.
"If there be," he says, "any book on earth that is addressed to the reason and common sense of mankind, the Bible is preeminently that book. ..... If the Bible is not a Book which is intelligible in the same way as other books are, then it is difficult to see how it is a revelation ..... the Bible is addressed to our reason and understanding and moral feelings; and consequently we are to interpret it in such a way as we do any other book that is addressed to these same faculties."[13]
These principles and the rule they involve, are inevitably violated by this hypothesis. By its admission, the Bible cannot be interpreted like other books. Plain language in other books is taken in its plain significance; but here the plainest becomes a riddle.
When our Lord says, "My Father is greater than I," he meant only that his divine nature was greater than his human nature! But who can prove that he so meant? Neither he nor his disciples, give the slightest reason to suppose that he or they meant any thing but what their words obviously mean. Besides, we cannot tell when to apply the hypothesis. We are all in the dark; and the Scripture may be made to mean by it the most contradictory things. Whatever Christ said or did may thus be done away, and the entire New Testament become a mass of enigma.
  • FOOTNOTES:
[1] By a respectful letter of inquiry received after delivery of the last Lecture.
[2] verses 3, 4.
[3] verses 3, 5.
[4] E.g. 1 Cor 10:18.
[5] With St. Paul, the Resurrection of Christ was the final, crowning proof of his Sonship and Messiahship. Acts 13:34-37, 17.31; Rom. 6.4, 10:9; 1 Cor. 15:15, etc.
Paul is always careful to attribute it to the "power" of God, to the act of God himself, and not to any independent power in our Lord.
[6] Discourses on the Socinian Controversy, p 44, American edition.
[7] "As before, of the doctrine of the Trinity, so now of the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union, as it is called, I ask for a single hint throughout the New Testament of the inconceivable fact that, in the body of Jesus, resided the mind of God and the mind of man—two natures, the one finite, the other infinite, yet making but one person—a difficulty you will perceive the very opposite of that of the Trinity, for whereas that teaches three persons in one nature, this teaches two natures in one person "—Rev J H ThoM, Liv. Lect. 7th Unitarian Lee p. 72.
[8] Matt 13:32.
[9] The force of our position cannot however be evaded in this case by the hypothesis in question, for our Lord's words are too comprehensive. "No man," as I have already elsewhere observed, excludes his own "human nature," "neither the Son," his divine nature: for "the Son" is alleged to denote God the Son, or specifically the divine nature of Chnst, in virtue of whIch he is God.
[10] John 5:19,30.
[11] John 19:11, Luke 23:46.
[12] Discourses on the Socinian Controversy, p. 223.
[13] Biblical Repository, vol 2. pp. 129, 130.