Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: incarnation

Three Impossible Things That I Believe

I believe that God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons, yet only one God. All three are shown in the scene of the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:16-17: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

I have no logical explanation of how it is possible that three can be one, yet I believe it is true. As Billy Sunday once said: “God is not an explanation; He is a revelation.”

I believe that Jesus is fully God and fully human, but not two persons in one body. I believe that Jesus’ body was identical to our bodies in every way, except for the inheritance of the sin nature and the effects of sin. In other words, though His body was formed in Mary’s womb, He had no genetic inheritance from her.

One of the best expositions of why it was necessary for the body of Jesus to be a special new creation was done by Henry Morris of the Institute for Creation Research. You can read his article here.

Again, I have no logical explanation of how this was possible. But to believe otherwise leads to the sort of illogical conclusions that Menno Simons encountered: “The English, or Zwinglians believe and confess that there are two sons in Christ Jesus, the one is God’s son, without mother and impassive; and the other is the son of Mary, or the son of man, without father, and passive. And in this passive son of Mary, the impassive Son of God dwelt; so that the son of Mary, who was crucified, and died for us, was not the son of God.”

I believe that Jesus, after the resurrection had a physical body that could be seen and touched. That he could break bread, cook fish and eat them. Yet He could enter a room without going through the door, the wall or the ceiling and leave as He came. This was not a magical conjuring trick, nor some mythical Star Trek technology. It appears that He could pass at will from the visible physical realm to the invisible spiritual realm. This was not done through technology yet to be discovered by mankind, nor was it an illusion. I believe He is still alive today with a physical resurrection body, in a realm that cannot be discerned by our physical senses.

These three things are all clearly impossible in any way that my human mind can comprehend. Yet to say that God cannot do anything that my human mind cannot understand is to reduce God to my level, or to exalt myself to His level. If God were to be limited by the capacity of my human mind, He could not be God.

© Bob Goodnough, November 18, 2019

The Son of God

The title of this post is blasphemy to Muslims and foolishness to those who do not even believe in God.  Yet the Bible insists that God, who said “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” has a Son who is part of His singular Godhead, yet walked this earth in human form, God bearing testimony to Him that “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”

How is this possible?  I will take to heart the admonition of Menno Simons not to attempt to climb higher than my ladder reaches and simply recount what the Bible has to say.

The apostle John tells us in the first chapter of his gospel that Jesus was with God from the beginning and that He was God.  At a definite point in history, He was “made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

There appears to be a problem here, for the Scripture says in other places: “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8), “in Adam all die” (I Corinthians 15:22), and “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble … Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one” (Job 14:1 & 4).

Since the days of Augustine, theologians have wrestled with this conundrum, trying to create a logical doctrine of a Christ who was both the son of Mary after the flesh and the Son of God after the Spirit.  The problem with this, as Menno pointed out, is that it was then the son of Mary who died on the cross and not the Son of God.  How can sinful flesh atone for the sins of sinful flesh?

The mystery and the miracle are found in the incarnation.  Jesus was born of the virgin Mary in the way that all children are born, after the normal nine months of gestation, and His body was like other human bodies in every way, so that he was subject to all the emotions, feelings and temptations of all mankind.  Nevertheless, His body was not formed from the body of Mary.

“The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. . . Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:47 & 50).  “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3).  The mystery is resolved if we accept the teaching of these verses that Jesus was a new creation, made in the exact likeness of sinful flesh, but without sin.  We have not been redeemed by the sufferings and torments of the son of Mary after the flesh, “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19).

Henry Morris, the founder of the Institute for Creation Research wrote an article on the incarnation in which he states that if Jesus was the son of Mary after the flesh, his body was not only tainted with inherent sin but with the genetic deterioration that has entered the gene pool over the ages.  “He could not be conceived in the same manner as other men, for this would inevitably give him both a sin-nature and a physically defective body, and each would disqualify Him as a fit Redeemer.”  You may read the full article here: http://www.icr.org/article/creation-virgin-birth/

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