Being confident of our Biblical analysis on the nature of God or Jesus

Dear Michael.

I highly appreciate your contribution to Christian apologetics and to the defense of the Christian faith which I find so precious. Thank you.

I find that all the theological discussions on the details and specifics of God’s nature or that of Jesus to be unproductive (for example, Jesus having two natures in one person or one nature in one person or trying the explain the trinity of God). If we know so little about human nature and consciousness how can we make any confident and definitive statements about God’s nature which is well beyond even our wildest imaginations leave along understand it? God is in a different dimension far beyond our ability to relate to. How can human language or understanding explain or describe His nature? The words “nature” and “person” are impossible to understand, even if we attach meanings to them. The attached meanings are mere words trying to explain things that are well beyond our nature.

Please comment on this.

Thank you in advance,

Harout Nercessian,

Armenia

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@haroutn While there are extreme limitations on how much we can know about the nature of Jesus, there are a few facts that are extremely important for theology. For example, the fact that Jesus is both God and man is what made it possible for Him to die on the cross in our place. If Jesus had not been a man, He could not have paid the price for humanity’s sins. If He had not been God, He would not have been worthy to pay that price; He would not have been without sin.

At the same time, how was Jesus both God and man at the same time? No one really knows the answer to that question. What powers did Jesus have as a human? What limitations? Such questions are often debated.

I would put it this way (see levels of doctrine below):

  • the fact that Jesus is both God and man is an absolute
  • how that works is an opinion

Levels of Doctrine

Not all doctrine is equally important. Some beliefs are at the very center of our Christian faith and to deny them is to deny Christ. Other beliefs are important to how we practice our faith and are therefore the cause of disagreement between many denominations, but these beliefs do not place us outside of Christ. Still other doctrines, such as eschatology, are difficult even for very learned and godly people to understand clearly and are therefore a matter of opinion.

The below article offers a fuller explanation of levels of doctrine and gives a helpful summary list of 4 levels of doctrine.

  1. absolutes define the core beliefs of the Christian faith;
  2. convictions , while not core beliefs, may have significant impact on the health and effectiveness of the church;
  3. opinions are less-clear issues that generally are not worth dividing over; and
  4. questions are currently unsettled issues.

Where an issue falls within these categories should be determined by weighing the cumulative force of at least seven considerations:

  1. biblical clarity;
  2. relevance to the character of God;
  3. relevance to the essence of the gospel;
  4. biblical frequency and significance (how often in Scripture it is taught, and what weight Scripture places upon it);
  5. effect on other doctrines;
  6. consensus among Christians (past and present); and
  7. effect on personal and church life.

Harout,
Thank you for your question, it is an important one for everyone, but is difficult to find an exact answer. Because, like you say, we cannot fully comprehend God or His nature, so, we must look for examples we can relate to. Example: in a court of law you present evidence to try to show the argument is true beyond a “reasonable doubt”.
We have evidence through natural sources and through super natural sources. Eye witness accounts, and Holy Spirit inspired accounts. And these are recorded in God Holy Word, the Bible. Science shows us proof for a designer and the Bible tells us who that designer is. All of your questions cannot be fully answered, but what we cannot fully comprehend we can apprehend enough to “be sure beyond a reasonable doubt”.

The Trinity:
God is a being that “exist in relation”. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, three "Who and one “What”. In His essence He is, they are, in a loving relation, all equally the same, all equally sepperant. God is Love by His nature: hence, we were not created that He would have someone to love, as if He were cosmically lonely, His essence is love. This not in anyway complete, but because of space, it is a place to start.

Nature of God:
Because of what we can apprehend about God through the Trinity, and Jesus being part of that loving essence, we can find good reason for Gods nature. But first lets look at an example of the Trinity that we can get our heads around a little bit.
1st Marriage: The Bible tells us that when a man and a women marry they become one “Flesh” no longer two but one. They are “one in what” , but still “two in who”. One in their essence, before God, but two in their persons. They are now “in relation”, a loving relationship at the core. (in a perfect world)
2nd Christ: Jesus is, God in human form, the expression of God essence (nature), His way to show us His character as recorded by eye witnesses and divine revelation. So, a study of Christ shows us Gods nature.

Yes, the nature of God and the person of God are incomprehensible, but through study and the revelation of the Holy Spirit we can apprehend it “within a reasonable doubt”. This is a truth that is held in tension, but you can find a peace within it, and it is very rewarding when reached. Keep exploring it and Gods Holy Spirit will guide you to an understanding that you can share with others. God bless you…
(remember this is just the tip of this subject)
thank you…