God Is Not Confused

Book of Kells - Temptation of Christ
Temptations of Christ – Book of Kells

In my Protestant years, I learned that after His baptism, Christ went into the wilderness in order to “find Himself,” to attempt to discover His purpose and receive His calling from God. Various biblical commentators, including William Barclay, paint a portrait of a Jesus who, like us, tries to find His purpose in life.

Having read several fathers of the Church, I now see that such a presentation of Christ is as far from the truth as possible. Christ is both fully man and fully God and has never had a moment of doubt or confusion.

St. Gregory Palamas writes, He made our guilty nature new in Himself by taking it upon Himself from the Virgin’s blood, as was His good pleasure, and justifying it through Himself…the only-begotten Son of God did not take a human person from us, but our nature, and made it new, being united with it in His own person. [1]

In other words, when you and I are conceived in the womb of our mother, the soul of a new person is created and united to those tiny cells abiding in her womb. However, when God became incarnate, He did not create a new person but brought His own hypostasis (person) into union with a fleshly body. In doing so, He united the divine nature with human nature and glorified the latter.  Such theology does not downplay the human nature of our Lord, rather it glorifies it to its proper place.

Truly, the Lord did take on all of our substance from the pure and virgin blood of her that bore [Him] [2] and did not leave any part of our human nature out of His incarnation. St. Gregory the Theologian writes, That which was not assumed is not healed; but that which is united to God is saved.  However, wrapping His divine person in human flesh did not strike God with amnesia.

As one ancient akathist states, Wholly present was the Inexpressible Word among those here below, yet in no way absent from those on high; for this was a divine condescension and not a change of place. [3]

Before the liturgy begins every Sunday, the priest prays, When Your Body was in the tomb and Your Soul was in hell, when You were in paradise with the thief, You were at the same time, O Christ, as God upon Your throne with the Father and the Spirit, infinite and filling all things. [4]

St. Paul describes Christ as the image of the invisible God, and in Him all things were created…all things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together…in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. [5]

There is no caveat here for when Christ was on earth. All of creation is held in its very existence by the God-man Jesus Christ. Creation cannot exist on its own, and should He have ceased, even momentarily, to encompass all of creation within His very Being, then everything would cease to exist.

God is outside of time because our concept of time is an element of creation and not something to which God Himself is subjected. Therefore, it is senseless to believe the one who contains the entire cosmos and time within Himself could have an identity crisis or be confused about His mission here on earth.

The messiah of some Protestant commentators is a false fabrication of their imaginations. However, the true Savior of Christians is the God Who is in all things and through Whom all things have their being. He all-knowing, all-wise, and outside of time and space.


END NOTES:

[1] The Homilies, St. Gregory Palamas, 60.17.
[2] Pre-communion prayer of St. Symeon Metaphrastes, Prayer Book of the Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY.
[3] Eighth Ekos of the Akathist to the Mother of God, ibid.
[4] The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Archdiocese.
[5] Colossians 1:15-20, Revised Standard Version.

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Jeremiah

Growing up in non-denominational churches, I became weary of many practices in the church. I decided it was time to find a church that enabled me to grow in my faith and talents, but that was also theologically deep. I was drawn to the Eastern Orthodox Church for several reasons. Check out my blog which details my journey into this ancient faith.