That Jesus Isn’t Human

Cherith Fee Nordling

Christians profess Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Scripture, the historic creedal traditions, and the church’s worship robustly intersect at this point.

However, when we examine what it means that Jesus is God’s Son, it’s not long before some common misperceptions—let’s be frank, false teachings—come to light. They center on Jesus’ humanity.

Throughout most of church history, and certainly within historical evangelicalism, the deity of Christ has been undisputed. Not so concerning his humanity. While we affirm Jesus as both fully divine and fully human, we do not take his humanity seriously, especially as his human life relates to our own.

The New Testament takes Jesus’ humanity for granted. That’s what made Jesus’ messianic claims, and the early church’s worship of him as Lord, so radical. In the words of Paul, the incarnate Son “did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage” (Phil. 2:6). He relinquished his own power by submitting to the limits of a truly human life. This means he lived (and was raised) as we are called to—through the empowering Holy Spirit.

Church leaders in the first several centuries pressed for clarity in worship and proclamation of this one person, the incarnate, preexistent Son, Jesus of Nazareth. Heresies (false teachings that tried to relieve the tension of this mystery) abounded. These false teachings prompted the creeds. The Nicene and Apostles’ creeds among others are shorthand presentations of the gospel. They declare the divine lordship of the Father, Son, and Spirit, the unity of Jesus’ human and divine ...

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