Fleshing Out the Invisible God!

29 Dec

We are told in John 1:14 that God (John 1:1) became a human being. To say that God became a man implies that he was not a man prior to his becoming one. It also implies a prior existence in some other form, before his becoming man. Basically, this is what Paul tells us in chapter two of his epistle to the Philippians. Jesus was equal with God (the Father), but did not retain equality with him and thus emptied himself (i.e. his divine form) in order to take a human form (Philippians 2:6-7).

Does this mean Jesus was not God when he was became flesh (John 1:14)? No, as the proverb says—a rose by any other name would remain a rose. Jesus was still himself after he became a man. What he left behind was his divine form or body as it were. In other words, Jesus, as a man, was no longer almighty, nor could he be present everywhere at once, nor could he possibly know all things. He had to grow in strength and knowledge (Luke 2:52), just as all men must as we mature, and he could be present only in one place at a time. So, he had to pay a price to become flesh in terms of his divinity, but he was still the same pure and holy God he always had been before. The only thing that changed was all the things he could do as God. What comes to mind here is our growing old or becoming handicapped. Are we less human, if we can no longer do the things we could do when we were young or before we had an accident and became handicapped? Is a person who is born handicapped less human than those of us who have full possession of our bodily and mental abilities? I believe the obvious answer is we are human no matter how weak we are or have become. The same would be true of Jesus. All that changed were his great abilities of strength, knowledge and presence, but he remained who he had always been before becoming human.

Do the Scriptures teach this? That is, some people believe that the Father impregnated Mary and Jesus was born. If this were true, then Jesus’ life would have begun at his human birth. He might have been divine in a manner of speaking, but he would never have been almighty, possessing all knowledge with his divine presence permeating the whole of creation. No, the Scriptures show that the one who became Jesus acted upon himself in order to become flesh. Notice:

Philippians 2:7 KJV  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Philippians 2:7 NIV  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Philippians 2:7 NASB  but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

Philippians 2:7 AUV-NT  Instead, He gave up what He had and took on the form [i.e., the nature] of a slave, becoming like a man, [and even]  His appearance was found to be like a man’s. [emphasis mine throughout]

Notice how the translations put this. He “…made himself of no reputation,” and “…made himself nothing,” and “…emptied himself” and “…gave up what he had.” The phrases are translated from the Greek word kenosis (G2758). The Greek word is a term that involves self-empting or self-humbling. That is, Jesus did it to himself. His becoming man was the will of the Father, but not the act of the Father. When the Scripture says “…the Word became flesh” (John 1:14), it means the Word acted upon himself. The word translated became (G1096 – ginomai), is in the aorist middle tense. This means that the subject acted upon himself, as in the case of Judas in Matthew 27:5, where he went out and hanged himself. In that verse hanged would be in the aorist middle tense, and Judas did this to himself.

Therefore, although the Father provided the body of Jesus (Hebrews 10:5), it was the one who became Jesus who actively emptied himself of his glorious form to become flesh. As God, he acted upon himself to become human, and he remained the same God in human form that he had been in his glorious, divine form. In doing this he took God out of his hiding place and made him visible to man for all to see.

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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Christmas


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