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Friday, December 25, 2009

Comments to "Christ didn't come as a baby."

On December 17, 2007, I re-posted, with minor revisions, "Christ didn't come as a baby." (My point was that He actually came as an embryo. I first posted with this post title four years ago today.) I mused a bit about some possible implications, including that He may have given up awareness for part or all of the nine months.

There were several comments, not all by me, and these may be of some interest. The comments were made over several days. My guess is that some of the links to the commenters no longer work. Here are the comments:

12 comments:

Steve Martin said...
Hi Martin, Now that is an interesting question! And when did Christ gain (re-gain?) awareness of his divinity?

Martin LaBar said...
I don't know, of course, nor am I certain that He ever lost it. But He had such awareness as a boy, when He talked to the scribes. Thanks.

Annette said...
the bible tells us that Christ was fully God and fully human. As such there doesn't seem to leave much room for argument saying that he gave up some of his awareness. Even in the womb he was fully God and fully man, it's not like suddenly he became God. That makes no sense. Being tempted isn't a wrong thing...it's the following up on the temptation that is wrong. So being tempted doesn't mean that He wasn't God, just means that he didn't sin when he was tempted.

Martin LaBar said...
Thanks, Annette. As I said above "I'm not sure he ever lost it." However, the fully God and fully human part, it seems to me, may have only applied when He was an adult. You are right about temptation not being sin, of course. My point was that it seems to me that it's possible that young children, maybe even babies or fetuses, are tempted in ways that are peculiar to their ages, just as there are temptations that seem to mostly occur with adolescence, or with maturity. So possibly it was necessary for Christ to also be immature, in some ways, to be tempted like we are.

Annette said...
Okay, just wanting to clarify.... do you think temptation is a result of immaturity as people? So that therefore Christ as a child wasn't really a child? and if he was that therefore he wasn't fully God?

Martin LaBar said...
I don't think that temptation is the result of immaturity. I do think that immature people can be tempted, at least some of them can, and that some of those temptations (to take the biggest cookie, or try to get a parent's attention when you don't really need it, for example) come in different forms to people at different stages of life. Presumably a 3-year-old can't be tempted to adultery, for example. It is orthodox church doctrine, as I understand it, that Christ was fully human and fully God, and I subscribe to that. I don't think anyone can really understand all of that, although, no doubt, some understand it much better than I do. All I'm saying is that to be "fully human" involves going through developmental stages, and if Christ were fully human, then perhaps He went through these, too. Thanks.

Rileysowner said...
Interesting thoughts. I think the problem is that we simply do not know. What does it mean the while an embryo Christ was fully God and fully human? I don't think we can answer it for at least two reasons. First, we simply don't know enough, and probably never will. Even as a single celled embryo everything that makes a person up (at least genetically) is already their. Yes, it has to grow and develop, but it is there. How that works its way out when joining the second person of the trinity to humanity is something that is beyond our understanding. Frankly, in my opinion, it is just as difficult to understand how this could be the case once that embryo has developed and been born and grown. While I know that the Son of God joined himself to a real human nature, I can't really comprehend how that could be. Second, this is beyond our giving an answer because the written word of God simply does not tell us about this, much like it doesn't tell us much about Jesus childhood. What we do know, is that whatever that childhood was like, it was perfectly obedient to God and without sin or he could not have been the unblemished, sinless sacrifice for the sins of all who believe. I think it may be helpful to realize that there would be a difference between what development from conception on would be like before the fall into sin and after. We cannot, at least from what we are told in the Bible, know what it would be like if Adam had never sinned, but I do believe it would be safe to say that because of that act, everything changed including how human beings develop because after that event, all human beings, even while still being in the image and likeness of God, have that corrupted and defaced so that at this point we really cannot say what it would be like without that sin we are all conceived with. I would, however, have concerns saying that Jesus took on the divine nature at some point other than at conception, because he was to be like us in every way, but without sin. That would mean being the God/man from conception on. As I said, I can't comprehend it, or what is would mean for the Son of God to be joined to a single cell, but is that not some of the wonder and glory of God doing what is so incomprehensible to us. Remember he is God.

Martin LaBar said...
Thanks, rileysowner! As you say "we simply do not know" and "he is god." That's about where we are on this, and a lot of other questions.


Enigman said...
Martin, what is full humanity? Is it not just, well, humanity? Maybe one could imagine removing bits from someone, and then ask oneself if what remains is human; one might eliminate all the body in that way, even the final cell, if there was a human soul. Since human souls are made in the image of God (somehow), a fully human and fully divine person seems logically possible...(?)...Merry Christmas

Martin LaBar said...
Good question, enigman, and, of course, in death all the cells are eventually, er, eliminated, but a human soul remains. There are, however, limitations to humans, because of their bodies, especially to embryonic ones. Thanks.

SFMatheson said...
Very nice point, Martin. But then I'm biased...embryos are cooler than babies, hands down. :-) Steve

Martin LaBar said...
Thanks, sfmatheson. Perhaps you are right.

Thanks to all the commenters, and thank you for reading.

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As of October 30, 2012, I am closing comments on this post. There's been nothing but spam. A lot of it. If you want to comment, and aren't a spammer, please comment on another post. Thanks.

4 comments:

FancyHorse said...

Interesting thoughts. Thank you for posting these comments; I missed the original post.

Some things I'd never given much thought to - what about the nine months in Mary's womb? One of your commenters remarked that human conception must be very different since the fall of man than it would have been if Adam hadn't sinned. I wonder if there would have been other people if Adam hadn't sinned. He and Eve would have lived forever, physically and spiritually, and there would have been no need to continue the human race with younger generations. Perhaps that is why they didn't "know" each other and have children until after the fall.

There is something else I have wondered about, off topic but slightly related. If you have addressed this elswhere in your blog, please direct me to it. Could Jesus have sinned? I have heard it said that He was completely without sin, and that that means He could not sin. If it is true that Jesus could not sin, then was He truly tempted?

Thank you,
Nancy

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, FancyHorse.

About your second paragraph, I'd have to say that we just don't know about these things. I don't think we are even certain that Adam and Eve had no sexual intercourse before the Fall, although the Bible doesn't specifically mention it.

As to your last point, the Bible is clear: "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15, KJV) Christ was subject to all sorts of temptation, most likely up to the point of being tempted to reject death on the cross.

Anonymous said...

Интересное замечание.

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you, Anonymous. I checked, and you wrote, in Russian, "Interesting comments." I hope you aren't a spammer.