The Hypostatic Union
Today’s topic is an unusual one… ‘The Hypostatic Union. We pray that The Holy Spirit will expand our understanding, as we delve into this interesting discussion. Although it can be difficult at first to grasp this concept, Scripture makes it clear that Jesus, within one body, has two distinct natures. We refer to this unique truth as the ‘Hypostatic Union’. And what is this union? Webster defines it as the existence of the divine and human natures existing within one body. Simply put, Jesus had 2 natures; His human nature and His Divine nature. While He was on Earth, He certainly had a body of ‘flesh and blood’; and yet, at the same time… He was also God-in-the-Spirit. And as Christians, we need to be careful NOT TO LESSEN either of His natures; His Divine power provides physical healing to us humans, and His ability to provide forgiveness of sin and Salvation is also very important.
Now, most people don’t find it too difficult to understand the concepts of Atonement, Salvation, and Sanctification, but the very nature of Christ in the hypostatic union has caused a great deal of division, particularly within the early church. The notion that a single being was fully God and fully man at the same time, apparently threw some of the early fathers for a loop… and still does today. So, let’s take a moment to unwrap some truths about this unique Union. And not to sound flippant; but obviously, God can do whatever He likes, and just to refresh our memories, does not God exist in 3 distinct personalities; God-the-Father, God-the-Son, and God-the-Holy-Spirit? Welcome to the world of ‘spiritual anomalies. A realm that we will hopefully fully understand, once we arrive at our Heavenly home.
The early church fathers also struggled with a number of heresies regarding Christ; unfortunately, today’s church leaders are still doing so. For instance, the heresy of Docetism; this is where theologians believe that humans are fundamentally evil, and if Jesus is Divine, He cannot really function as a man. Interesting. Another heresy to consider; Apollinarianism (that’s a mouthful). This is where Jesus has a human body, but has a divine mind, instead of a human mind… (you really can’t make this stuff up). It really does make sense that Jesus needed to be fully human and fully Divine. He needed to experience pain and suffering, prior to His sacrificial death on the cross. He was then resurrected to life, to continue forgiving believers for their sins today… and here we are. There are additional anomalies that we could study... but for this discussion, we have let enough worms out of the can. When anyone tries to divorce Jesus from His Divine nature, they will always run headlong into lessening His Divine nature as God’s equal.
John makes it clear that Jesus has existed from before the beginning of time. In John 1, He states… ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 [a]He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him [b]not even one thing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. 5 And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not [c]grasp it. 14) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. If Jesus’ divine status were lessened, He would become like Michael, an archangel. His divine power and His ability to save us from sin would be eliminated. Scripture makes it clear that Jesus is one person, with two natures. If we diminish this truth, we are also lessening his Divine power and the work of His salvation.