The divinity and humanity of Christ

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE need to strengthen our belief in the divinity and humanity of Christ. That’s because there are sectors who consider Christ only as a man, a very special kind of man, but not as God. There also are those who consider Christ only as God and not as man. That Christ is both God and man, “perfectus Deus, perfectus homo,” is often lost in their understanding and attitude towards Christ.

We are reminded of this need in that gospel episode where some Jews, inhabitants of Jerusalem at that time, again showed suspicion and doubts in Christ. “We know where is he from,” they said. “But when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” (Jn 7,27)

With that reaction, they were partly correct. They indeed knew from what place Christ came from. What they did not know is that Christ came from heaven. Thus, Christ said to clarify: “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” (Jn 7,28-29)

We have to be wary of our tendency to know Christ using human criteria alone. What should be used mainly is the faith which is a gift God gives us. It might be good to remit here the teaching of the Catechism regarding this particular issue:

  • 479 At the time appointed by God, the only Son of the Father, the eternal Word, that is, the Word and substantial Image of the Father, became incarnate; without losing his divine nature he has assumed human nature.
  • 480 Jesus Christ is true God and true man, in the unity of his divine person; for this reason, he is the one and only mediator between God and men.
  • 481 Jesus Christ possesses two natures, one divine and the other human, not confused, but united in the one person of God’s Son.
  • 482 Christ, being true God and true man, has a human intellect and will, perfectly attuned and subject to his divine intellect and divine will, which he has in common with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
  • 483 The Incarnation is therefore the mystery of the wonderful union of the divine and human natures in the one person of the Word.

This union of the two natures, divine and human, in the divine person of the Son of God is called the “hypostatic union.” This union is important for us to know since we too are meant in our definitive state of life in heaven to have this kind of union. Since we are image and likeness of God, children of his, sharers of his divine life, we are also meant to share in his divine nature even as we retain our human nature.

In other words, how Christ is, is also how we should be. If he is both divine and human, we too are meant to be both human and divine, but always in and with Christ, and never just by our own selves.

This is, of course, an incredible truth of our faith about ourselves considering the way we are in our earthly and temporal condition. But that is just how and who we really are. We just have to learn little by little to level up our understanding of own selves by strengthening our conviction of the divinity and humanity of Christ.