How Was Jesus Limited In Knowledge And Power? -- By: J. E. Todd

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 073:291 (Jul 1916)
Article: How Was Jesus Limited In Knowledge And Power?
Author: J. E. Todd


How Was Jesus Limited In Knowledge And Power?

J. E. Todd

Lawrence, Kansas.

The thoughtful discussion of “How Was Our Lord Limited as a Man? “in the Sunday School Times several months ago, suggests the presentation of a few thoughts, which the writer has found helpful to himself in comprehending the subject. The point therein urged, that Paul maintained the continuity of the personality of Jesus, when he “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:7), is of prime importance. John also expresses himself in a similar way (John 1:1, 14). Both are difficult to harmonize with the conception of two natures, as stated by the Chalcedon creed.

The Scriptural passages just referred to seem to suggest that the limitations of, the Divine soul were rather the natural effects of the body, as may be learned from modern psychology. The limitations of the soul by the body are real, and often are just as manifest and potent in the sage and the seer as in the dullard or dolt. Brilliancy of intellect, or power of soul, seems to make no difference, and no reason readily appears why a divine spirit might not, or indeed would not naturally, be similarly limited, if incarnate.

1. Perhaps the most evident limitation is that consciousness, without which there can be no mental activity, is dependent oh the conditions of the body. Sleep, a blow on the head, or a nervous shock may temporarily, or even permanently, destroy consciousness, and the spirit is helpless and inert. If the divine “was manifest in the flesh,” why should it not have been similarly affected?

2. The activities and experiences of consciousness are just as truly affected by our physical conditions and spiritual en-

vironment. Whether a great truth thrills us, or is forgotten for the time, often depends upon the course of the blood in the brain, the prominence of an appetite, a chance glimpse of some object, a spoken word, or some casual suggestion. And the success or defeat in the crisis of a lifetime may depend upon the scope and vividness of consciousness in such a crisis.

Omniscience cannot feel the force of temptation, because it knows the effect of every act and the folly of every sin; but if omniscience could forget, or see only one side of a question at a time, as under bodily limitations, we can understand how Jesus could have been truly tempted, how prayer could strengthen him, familiarity with Scripture could bring timely help, and his experiences in such circumstances be a real model for us.

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