The Mediatorial Person Of Christ -- By: James Harper

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 080:319 (Jul 1923)
Article: The Mediatorial Person Of Christ
Author: James Harper

The Mediatorial Person Of Christ1

What Relations Subsisted Between The Two Natures Of Christ During The Period Of His Humiliation?

James Harper

The topic proposed now for examination is abtruse, perhaps too deep and too little illuminated by Scripture to be investigated with success. It becomes us who cannot fathom the mystery of our own being, to approach with profound reverence an inquiry touching the interaction of the natures of the Son of God. Were the question one of mere curiosity, we should hesitate to enter upon it; but, as it seems to us, the inquiry may be of practical utility. Indeed in these restless and daring times, when men are prying into the mysteries of the material universe with intense pertinacity, and subjecting the Scriptures to remorseless criticism, such questions as that proposed are almost unavoidable.

In this discussion we assume that Christ is truly God, and that “in the fulness of time” he became man, not by the change of his divinity to humanity, for that is impossible; but by the assumption of a human nature into personal union with his divine nature; into a union so close that to one and the same person may be ascribed both divine and human characteristics. Be it carefully noted, however, that the divine nature of Christ was not humanized, neither was his human nature deified. They are two distinct natures, not blended or confounded, while in a relation of closest intimacy. An illustration, though crude and far from perfect, may be found in our own persons in which are embraced two distinct substances, a material and an immaterial, one never being transmuted into the other. The analogy fails in this re-

spect that only one of the two constituents of our nature is an intelligent, or spiritual, substance; whereas in Christ, his human nature, as well as his divine, is intelligent. Helpful, then, but only in an imperfect degree, is the constitution of our own nature for the understanding of the combination of natures in the mediatorial person of Christ.

The doctrine concerning the conjunction of the two natures in Christ is technically styled, “The doctrine of the hypostatic union,” one of the most mysterious, yet one of the most important, doctrines revealed in Scripture. Our aim now is not to prove the truth of this doctrine, but, assuming its truth, to inquire how communication between the two natures of Christ was maintained during the time of his humiliation. Was there direct intercourse between them, so that the inferior was immediately guided and sustained by the superior nature? When our Lord displayed his power in working miracles, o...

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