By Eusebio Tanicala
A group of brethren in the Metro Manila area takes the position that from the time of conception and birth to the time of death at the cross (1 AD to 33 AD) our Lord Jesus Christ did not have deity in Himself. This group says that Jesus was one hundred percent human. No more no less. He had no deity in Himself, no Godhood in Him, no divine nature. This belief, the group says, is based on the Logos becoming flesh (Jn 1:14) and His emptying himself (Phil. 2:7) and his taking the nature of humanity so that he could be the ideal human which man could emulate (Heb. 2:14-17). Further, the belief is strengthened by the statement that the Father gave to the Lord Jesus Christ power and that God raised him from the dead.
Yes, Christ Jesus was human. But for a Bible teacher to close one’s eyes and heart and understanding to the many references and inferences that Christ had deity or was divine while on earth is to commit the fallacy of partial view. Only one aspect is being considered. It’s like the blind man who touched the leg of an elephant and he turned around and declared that an “elephant is like a Meralco electric post.” Another blind man touched the dambuhalang elefante sa tagiliran and this blind man went forth and declared with authority that an “elephant is like concrete flat wall.” A third blind man ventured into the circus area and touched the giant animal on the wagging right ear and with a smile he said, “ang elefante ay kagaya ng isang malaking abaniko.” Of course we know that one view is not the totality of the whole. A taxonomist-zoologist would list down all the sections and sectional parts of an elephant and then declare the totality of the animal that comprise the big mammal. We should be the taxonomist and not one of the blind men.
I believe that Christ had both deity and humanity co-existing from his birth and continues on to the future. We shall prove this in the following discussion.
I would like to encourage the reader to be careful in our presumptions about Deity, about Yahweh God. Firstly, we should not think that Deity or Yahweh God has to always display full glory, full majesty, full authority, full power and full dignity in His existence and manifestations. Secondly, we have to be conscious about Yahweh God’s name which is “I AM WHO I AM” (NKJV) which suggests that God could become or could appear in varied forms as His name implies. Thirdly, there are instances in the OT wherein spirit beings became or took physical appearances and they were not declared as laying aside or emptying of their essential nature. We have for example the angels being made into fire but didn’t stop being angels (Heb. 1:14) or the spirit Devil becoming a physical snake of flesh and bones seen by the naked eye of mother Eve inside the Garden of Eden but didn’t lay aside or empty himself of his devilness. And, fourthly, God’s glory-majesty-authority-power could be manifested in various degrees or different measures as much as we accept the four measures of the Holy Spirit’s presence-influence in the Christian life.
To get deeper into our reflection in this study, let’s analyze the different characteristics and manifestations of the archangel Lucifer.
First, define the essence of Lucifer as belonging to the angelic host. Angels exist with a certain substance or essence, a heavenly one, but lower than the substance of Yahweh God. Lucifer was an angel.
Second, Lucifer was created a cherub (Eze 28:14-15) and he used to abode in the presence of the good angels (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7) in the heavenly realm where with the Most High God’s permission Satan could sometimes make a visit.
Third, Lucifer was a seal of perfection, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty (Eze 27:3; 28:12).
Fourth, Lucifer was given free will as all angels are, but his heart grew ambitious and envious and thought of equality with Yahweh God (Eze 28:2) and wanted to sit in equality with God (Isa 14:13-14).
Fifth, Lucifer’s envy and ambition to be equal with Yahweh God made him leave his habitation and so he was expelled from his abode together with his followers (Jude 6) and he became Satan, the Devil.
Sixth, when Lucifer became Satan the Devil, he didn’t stop being what he essentially was, an angel. He was created with the essence of an angel, he remains within that level or substance. What he emptied himself of was his free will. After that rebellion and hardening of his envious, ambitious heart, he has become an irreversible liar and accuser and fault finder and evil doer. Also he was defrocked of the mantle of glorious light like what good angels possess when needed (Please read Matt. 28:3; Mark 16:5).
Seventh, Satan can also fake himself and appear as an angel of light (2Cor 11:14; Gal. 1:8). Satan or any of his rebel angels could enter and possess a person and control the faculties of a person like what happened in Mark 5:1-20. Even in the time that evil spirits dwell in the bodies of humans, these evil spirits retain their original likas na kalagayan.
In our folklore, evil spirits could turn into a dog or cat or horse or bird. Evil spirits could turn into kapre or dwende. Evil spirits could turn into jumping balls of fire. Evil spirits could appear as white lady or a good looking young man. But essentially these spirits retain their essential being even when directly turning into a physical item or possessing a person.
LUCIFER AND CHRIST COMPARED
First, Lucifer was a created archangel, included among those created by Christ (see Col. 1:15-16). On the other hand, Christ is uncreated but the creator of all things visible and invisible, of powers and authorities and dominions and thrones.
Second, Lucifer possesses from the time of his creation the essence of the angelic host. On the other hand, Christ possesses the essence of Godhood or divine nature.
Third, Lucifer who was created lower than Yahweh God, envied and exerted effort to attain equality with Yahweh God. On the other hand, Christ is Yahweh God, but did not cling to his rightful equality with Yahweh God.
Fourth, the spirit Lucifer who turned Satan the Devil took the form of a physical snake entered and entered into the world, seduced Eve and Adam to disobey God, not to love God, and not to fear God. On the other hand, the divine spirit Christ took the form of a physical human being entered into the world, induced the children of Eve and Adam to obey God, to love God and to fear-worship God.
Fifth, the spirit Devil, the Destroyer, when he became a snake of flesh and bones, this Devil Destroyer did not lose his essential nature of spirit Satanhood/devilhood. Similarly, the spirit Christ, the Savior, when he became flesh, this Savior did not lose his essential nature of spirit Godhood.
Sixth, in the Garden of Eden, in that form of a snake there co-existed in Satan two natures: (1) snakehood or animalhood and (2) spirit devilhood. Similarly, from birth (1 AD) to the cross (33 AD), there co-existed in that one persona of Christ the two natures: (1) manhood, and (2) Godhood or Divinity.
Seventh, the spirit Devil who took the form of a physical snake of flesh and bones worked hard in the Garden of Eden in seducing Eve and Adam to spurn God which resulted to the destruction of mankind. In a parallel move, the spirit Christ who is God, took the form of a physical flesh and bones worked hard in persuading the children of Adam and Eve to return to God which now results to the regeneration and sanctification of mankind.
Eighth, the spirit Devil in the form of a snake aimed at elevating himself and thus became the God of this world (2Cor. 4:4). On the other hand, the spirit Christ in the form of man made Himself of no reputation and thus became a slave and even allowed Himself to be killed to save the world. (See John 3:16-18; Philippians 2:5-11; Heb. 2:14-18).
Any comments or observation are welcomed. (6.20.10)