Did Jesus assume a fallen nature?

Monday Musings for July 19, 2021

Good morning, Musers,

The Bible is clear that Jesus was one of us: he became a human (Philippians 2:7). Today’s question is, how far did that go?

It feels like Christians spend more time defending Jesus’ deity than his humanity — and I think I know why. Jews and Muslims are very close to us theistically. We are all monotheists, and to the casual observer, our God is the same as Allah or the non-trinitarian God of the Jews. I think this closeness scares them. I think that’s why they reject the deity of Jesus Christ so vigorously.

But that is not today’s fight. Today we fight for Jesus’ humanity. But not just his humanity. His sinless humanity. The challenge is that because Jesus took on a fallen nature, he — by virtue of that nature — could not have been sinless. This is based on a false premise, and because of this, we have more than one job today.

First, we need to show how the question cannot be answered as it stands. Second, we need to show the importance of stating propositional content clearly. Third, we will show what the Bible has to say about Jesus’ humanity and his sinlessness (… which is consistent with his deity).

Taking on this question allows me to show the importance of having a solid platform on which to put the propositional content of the Bible. But “platform” means there are some things more basic than the Bible. Now, relax. Nothing is more important than the Bible.

Have you ever wondered about God’s timing? How it was that he revealed himself effectively through nature, human conscience and the sense that we are eternal beings (Ecclesiastes 3:11) from Adam through Moses. But then one day... well 40 days... he put it in writing. Why then?

For one thing, doing so earlier would have robbed people of the millennia-long collective experience of finding God through the things he has made — and through how he made people! But also, it took time for written language to develop to a point where it could carry God’s word.

Consider the timing of Jesus coming to earth, too. Not only was language highly developed in his time, so wasn’t philosophical thought. Jesus came in a time and region where his message could be understood, discussed, written about and preserved.

Now, all that language... all those rules for handling propositional thought... the idea that reality is real and we are not brains in a vat — all those basic understandings of life took time to ripen… and they needed to ripen… because without them, the Bible would be moot!

You heard me right. Without language rules, the words in the Bible would mean nothing, and without rules of determining what is true and false, the Bible’s propositional content would mean nothing. These properly basic understandings of how life works support the Bible because they are more fundamental than the Bible… and we’ll do well to remember this going forward.

 

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