One Person—Two Natures
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. . . . The Word became flesh and made his dwelling
among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Like the Trinity, the doctrine of the incarnation is often considered to be logically incoherent. While many issues surrounding the incarnation, such as the precise modes of interaction between Christ’s divine nature and His human nature, may transcend our human understanding, the doctrine of the incarnation does not transgress the laws of logic.
To understand the logical coherence of the incarnation, one must first consider the imago Dei (image of God). Because God created humanity in His own image (Genesis 1:27), the essential properties of human nature (rationality, will, moral character, and the like) are not inconsistent with His divine nature. While the notion of God becoming a clam would be absurd, the reality that God became a man is not.
Furthermore, it is crucial to point out that though the God-Man is fully human, He is not merely human. Though He took on all the essential properties of human nature, He did not take on that which is nonessential (e.g., sinful inclinations). Indeed, as Adam was created without a proclivity toward sin, so the Second Adam was untainted by original sin. As with His moral perfection, Jesus’ other divine attributes (omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, and so forth) were not undermined in the incarnation.
Finally, while Jesus Christ voluntarily refrained from exercising certain attributes of deity, He did not divest Himself of a single divine attribute ( John 1:14; Philippians 2:1–11; Colossians 1:15–20; Hebrew 2:14–18). With respect to His omniscience, for example, His human nature may have served as a filter limiting His knowledge as a man (e.g., Mark 13:32). Nonetheless, Jesus’ divine omniscience was ever accessible at the will of the Father.
In sum, there is no incoherence in the biblical teaching that Jesus became and will forever remain one person with two distinct natures—neither commingling His natures nor becoming two persons. It is this miraculous incarnation of God that you and I, along with Christians around the world, corporately celebrate this Christmas season.