Bible StudyThe Trinity

God in the flesh?

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When it comes to discussions about the nature of God, the issue of Jesus’s embodiment presents a compelling contradiction to Trinitarian theology. According to the Gospel of John, “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). However, traditional Trinitarian belief holds that Jesus, who was fully human and embodied, is also fully God. This creates a paradox: if God is Spirit, as clearly stated in John 4:24, how can He also be flesh and blood in the form of Jesus?

One may argue that the incarnation, where the Word became flesh (John 1:14), is a divine mystery, something beyond human understanding. But is this a satisfactory explanation? We must examine this paradox through reason, logic, and the lens of the Bible, the ultimate authority for Christian doctrine.

The Bible presents a consistent message of God as an invisible, non-corporeal, and immortal being. In Exodus 33:20, God said to Moses, “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” This verse conveys the absolute transcendence of God and establishes a clear distinction between the divine and the human. God’s spirit-nature is affirmed in Luke 24:39, where the resurrected Jesus states: “a spirit does not have flesh and bones.”

In contrast, Jesus was fully visible and interacted physically with his surroundings. He ate, slept, bled, and eventually died – an aspect impossible to reconcile with the nature of the immortal God (1 Timothy 6:16). The human experiences of Jesus, though crucial to his role as the Messiah, don’t match the characteristics of the spiritual God presented throughout the Bible.

So, what does this tell us? Can God be both an invisible, immortal Spirit and a visible, mortal man simultaneously? The Trinitarian claim that Jesus is both fully God and fully man implies an inherent contradiction in God’s nature. When viewed logically, something cannot possess contradictory attributes at the same time and in the same sense.

A Unitarian perspective provides a more consistent and logical understanding of God’s nature. According to Biblical Unitarianism, Jesus was a human being, not God-incarnate. He was the Messiah, uniquely begotten by God and empowered by God’s Spirit to fulfill a specific mission, including demonstrating the perfect obedience to God’s will. This belief doesn’t diminish Jesus’s significance but rather highlights his unique role in God’s plan.

In the Unitarian viewpoint, the phrase “the Word became flesh” is understood differently. ‘The Word’ or ‘Logos’ in John 1:14 is seen as God’s plan or reason, which took a physical form in Jesus. It doesn’t imply that God transformed into a human being, which would contradict other biblical passages. Rather, it conveys that Jesus, as a human, perfectly embodied God’s plan and will.

The Bible emphasizes that “there is one God, the Father…and one Lord, Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 8:6). This verse, among many others, points towards a clear distinction between God and Jesus, which fits with the evidence of God as an immortal Spirit and Jesus as a mortal human.

From the perspective of logic and reason, the incarnation – God becoming a human – presents an inherent contradiction. In contrast, the view of God’s unity, as proposed by Biblical Unitarianism, preserves the consistency of God’s nature as presented in the Bible. It maintains the distinction between the transcendent God who “dwells in unapproachable light” and Jesus, the man who lived among us, showing us the way to the Father. This viewpoint is not only more logically consistent but also strengthens the role of Jesus as the accessible and relatable model of faithfulness to God.

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