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Tuesday
Apr212009

Theological Term of the Week

My list of theological terms is missing a few on the nature of Christ, so that’s where we’re going next.

hypostatic union
The union of the two natures—divine and human—in the one person of Jesus.

  • From scripture:
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (1 John 1:1,14 ESV)
    Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil….

    For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:14, 16-17 ESV)
  • The Definition of the Council of Chalcedon:

    Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

  • From In Understanding Be Men by T. C. Hammond:
    …[I]t is important to realize:

    1.That, while the two natures were united, they were not intermingled and altered in their individual properties, so that there resulted a third type of substance which was neither divine nor human.

    2. That there were not transfers of attributes from one to the other, such as a human characteristic transferred to the divine, nor was our Lord’s deity reduced to human limitations.

    3. That the union was not an indwelling such as the indwelling of the Christian by the Spirit of God, but a personal union such that the resulting being was a unit, who thought and acted as a unit.

Learn more:

  1. GotQuestions.org: What is the hypostatic union?
  2. Sam Storms: Classical View
  3. Walter Elwell in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology: Council of Chalcedon (451)
  4. B. B. Warfield: The Person of Christ
  5. Gerald Bray: The Two Natures of Christ (mp3)
  6. Wayne Grudem: The Person of Christ, Part 3 (mp3)

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. Credit will be given for any of these suggestions I use, too.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.

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Reader Comments (2)

Thanks Rebecca!
A great term to think upon!
Ruby

April 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRuby

This is so cool. I wast just reading about this very topic in Calvin's Institutes this morning.

April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim in On

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