MYSTERY OF INCARNATION
Jesus is never recorded in
the Bible as saying the precise words, “I am God.” That
does not mean, however, that He did not proclaim that He is
God. Did Jesus really
say He was God?
Mark, and Luke, authors of the first three Gospels, believed
that Jesus was not God (see Mark 10:18 and Matthew 19:17).
They believed that he was the son of God in the sense
of a righteous person. Many
others too, are similarly called sons of God (see Matthew
believed to be the author of some thirteen or fourteen
letters in the Bible, also believed that Jesus is not God.
For Paul, God first created Jesus, then used Jesus as
the agent by which to create the rest of creation (see
Colossians 1:15 and 1 Corinthians 8:6)."
It appears that here we have a confusion of who
God is. This
brings us to the concept of Trinity.
I have dealt with this in detail in my book on
"Christian Understanding of Trinity".
So I will not deal with the subject in detail here.
The gist of the concept of God can be summarised.
A monadic concept God is not tenable simply because,
the monad has no purpose, person or even existence.
In the Hebrew mystery as well as in Indian Upanishads
we distinguish between two aspects of God.
In the beginning God alone existed - if we can define
the time element in "In the beginning" and can
think of existence before existence for the term
"exist" does not make sense when there is no
perceiver and a perceived.
God so transcends human understanding as to be
practically non-existent. In Hebrew mysticism this is
defined as darkness beyond nothing beyond Ein - nothing who
is defined only in negative terms.
That is ultimately the ideal Godhead.
But this God has no purpose, do not exist in time,
hence do not create, do not have a personality since
personality is defined only in relationship.
This is the 'God of no Property'. In India we call
this God - Nirguna Brahman. In Jewish theology this is Ein
which simply means nothing. the true essence of God is so transcendent that it cannot be described,
except with reference to what it is not. This true pre-existant
essence of God is what became Ein (Father).
Ein sof literally
means "without end," which encompasses the idea of
His lack of boundaries in both time and space in all
dimensions. Ein sof ohr is the all embracing light - the
is where the Trinity of God appears as "God of
Properties" with unity of purpose and essence. This God
we call in India - Saguna Brahman - God of properties.
In Christianity, God is defined as Love.
This is possible only when there are more than one
person in the Godhead - Ein, Ein sof and Ein sof ohr which
form the Elohim. In
Christian theology these become the Father, Son and the
Spirit - the Holy Trinity which are one in essence -
That supreme Brahman is infinite, and this conditioned
Brahman is infinite.
The infinite proceeds from infinite.
Then through knowledge, realizing the infinitude of the
infinite, it remains as infinite alone.
Three persons in the Godhead are one in
substance, one in purpose and are in love relationship with
one another. God
is Love. We can
now talk about persons. With this in mind we will understand
what Jesus meant and how the Jews understood the claims of
- “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son,
and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is
translated, “God with us.”
child is God with us.
- For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And
the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will
be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting
Father, and Prince of Peace.
Son is also Mighty God and Everlasting Father.
2 Peter 1:1
(Jesus is the Redeemer) - “To those who have obtained like
precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and
Savior Jesus Christ”
- (God created the world by His self alone)
- (Jesus made all things)
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God... 1:14
- And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
- “My Father has been working until now, and I have been
working.” Therefore the Jews sought to kill Him,
because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that
God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
should the Jews seek to kill Jesus if Jesus did not mean
that he was equal to God?
- that all should honor the Son just as they honor the
Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the
Father who sent Him.
- “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins;
for if you do not believe that I AM He, you will die
in your sins.”
8:56 -59 Your
father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see the time of my
coming; he saw it and was glad."
said to him, "You are not even fifty years old---and
you have seen Abraham?"
am telling you the truth," Jesus replied.
"Before Abraham was born, 'I Am'."
Then they picked up stones to throw at him,
but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.
They met Him in the portico of Solomon and said:
long dost thou hold our souls in suspense? If thou
be the Christ, tell us plainly".
answer of Jesus is typical. He puts
them off for a while; and in the end tells them the
answered them, “I and My Father are one.”
the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.
answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My
Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”
Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not
stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a
Man, make Yourself God.”
- Jesus said to him, “I AM the way, the truth, and the
Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
- Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long and yet
you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has
seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the
readily accepted worship which in Hebrew tradition is only
due to God. Not
once did he tell them not to.
And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him,
saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
While he spake these things unto them, behold, there
came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My
daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon
her, and she shall live.
Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped
him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
Then came she and worshipped him,
saying, Lord, help me.
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus
met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by
the feet, and worshipped him.
And when they saw him, they worshipped him:
but some doubted.
But when he saw
Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem
with great joy:
And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped
before the Sanhedren
Jesus appeared before the Sanhedren, the highest authority
of the Jewish religion.
first times the high priest, Caiphas, stood up and
26:63)"I adjure thee by the living God, that
thou tell us if thou be the Christ the Son of God" .
it was impossible not to reply even though his very life
depended on it.
26:64)"Thou hast said it"
in semitic fashion.
St. Mark's report of the very same answer as every gentile
will understand simply and clearly:
(Mark 14:62)"I am"
Jesus went on to explain
26:64) 'Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you
shall see the Son of man sitting on the
right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven" .
Caiphas rent his garments
and accused Jesus
second time Jesus was asked:
(Luke 22:70, 71). "Art
thou then the Son
replied: "You say that I am."
was again the typical semitic reply of assent and the
Sanhedren understood it as such and says;
"What need we any further testimony? for we ourselves
have heard it from his own mouth"
was these that sealed the decree of death by the
Pilot the High Priest says:
"We have a law; and according to that law he
ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God
is the law that the High Priest was referring to:
(Leviticus 24:17) "He
the name of the Lord, dying let him die: all the multitude
shall stone him, whether he be a native or a stranger. He
that blasphemeth the name of the
Lord dying let him die" .
called Jesus God
- And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my
the Apostles and the early church taught that Jesus was
- Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery
to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation,
taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the
likeness of men.
1 Timothy 3:16
- And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in
the world, Received up in glory.
- looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our
great God and Savior Jesus Christ
- But to the Son He (God) says: “Your throne, O God, is
forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter
of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated
lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with
the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
2 John 1:7
- For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not
confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a
deceiver and an antichrist.
- “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the
End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to
come, the Almighty.”
- “I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the
End, the First and the Last.”... 22:16
- “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these
things in the churches.”
Jesus said he was not of This
John 8:23 He said to them, "You are from below;
I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this
world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for
unless you believe that I am he you will die in your
is the proof?
True, Jesus laid down his glory
to take the human form.
But he showed his power as signs so that his claims
may be confirmed. They
included signs and miracles that he performed.
He healed the sick, raised the dead
He controled the winds and the sea - ability to control nature
"Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey
The Resurrection was the
supreme evidence of his Divinity
supreme evidence of deity was his own resurrection from the
dead something that no one in history can claim.
times in the course of his life, Jesus clearly predicted in
what specific way he would be killed and affirmed that three
days later he would rise from the dead.
Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men,
and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three
days he will rise."
some teachers of the Law and some Pharisees spoke up.
"Teacher," they said, "we want to see you
perform a miracle."
evil and godless are the people of this day!" Jesus
exclaimed. "You ask me for a miracle? No! The only
miracle you will be given is the miracle of the prophet
the same way that Jonah spent three days and nights in the
big fish, so will the Son of Man spend three days and nights
in the depths of the earth.
10:17 "I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it
from me, but I lay it down of my own accord...and I have
authority to take it up again."
his arrest, Jesus' friend Peter tried to defend him.
26:53 But Jesus said to Peter,
"Put your sword back into its place...Do you think that
I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me
more than twelve legions of angels?"
Thus we see Jesus - fully Man
and at the same time fully God who lived among us.
Christ Pantocrator, God
incarnate shown in a mosaic from Daphni, Greece, ca. 1080-1100.
had lot of problem understanding the incarnation.
Two important forms included the Cyril's Hypostatic
Union of two forms where divine nature (ousia)
of Christ and the human nature (ousia)
of Christ coalesced into one person (hypostasis).
and Nestorius' prosperon Union - to refer to the concrete
person or substantive existence.where the incarnation is
only a dimensional projection of divine into the human.
Trying to interpret this mystery in human terms had
in fact divided the church.
The Church of the East remained Nestorian and the
Churches of the West remained Alexandrian.
Theology of the Church of the East has been stated briefly
and clearly in the following “Hymn of Praise (TESHBOKHTA)?;
Composed by Mar Babai the Great in the sixth century A.D., a
noted theologian of the Church
is Christ the Son of God,
Worshiped by all in two natures;
In His Godhead begotten of the Father,
Without beginning before all time;
In His humanity born of Mary,
In the fullness of time, in a body united;
Neither His Godhead is of the nature of the mother,
Nor His humanity of the nature of the Father;
The natures are preserved in their Qnumas*,
In one person of one Sonship.
And as the Godhead is three substances in one nature,
Likewise the Sonship of the Son is in two natures, one
So the Holy Church has taught.
The human and divine natures resonate with each other as
particle and wave resonate with each other in the “new”
physics. This is also true in our understanding of the
Trinity as Mar Babai poem tries to state.
the documentations - both Christian and Secular - as well as
findings seems to point to the fact
Jesus was worshipped as God no
later than the early second century (113 A.D.).
Aramaic-speaking Christians refer to Jesus as
"Lord" in the earliest extra-canonical Christian
book, the Didache,
which scholars agree was written no later than the late
100s. The word "Lord" (Greek Kyrios)
was used by the Greeks to designate divinity.
Justin Martyr, a
second-century church father, baptized new believers in the
name of the triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
acknowledging the equality of the three distinct persons of
Younger as governor of Pontus/Bithynia from 111-113 A.D.
wrote (in his Letters
asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault
or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a
fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ
as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some
crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not
falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when
called upon to do so."
The discovery of a 3rd century Christian church at
Megiddo, Israel, along with an inscription to the "god
Jesus Christ" confirms that Christians worshipped Jesus
God at least a century before
the council of Nicaea.
excavators date this church to the first half of the third
century, around 230 A.D. and as one of the very few churches from this early period anywhere
in the world.
southwest corner of this building served a religious
function for the Christians who served in the army, as well
as for the local Christian community. In the extreme
southwest corner of the building is what the excavators call
a Christian prayer hall measuring about 16 by 32 feet (5 x
pilasters protruding from the walls were probably the bases
for an arch rising above. Just under the center of the
supposed arch were two rectangular stones pressed into the
pavement of the hall. These were almost surely supports for
a kind of table for the Eucharist (trapeza)—the
symbolic imbibing of the blood and body of Christ in the
wine and bread. Several liturgical tables from North Africa
may give us an idea of what the altar/table at the Megiddo
prayer hall looked like.
most spectacular find in the excavation, however, was a
beautifully preserved mosaic floor that clearly indicates
the function of the room. On each of the four sides of the
remains of the Eucharist table (the base of which the
excavators call the podium) are individual mosaic panels
outlined by straight rows of black tesserae. On the two side
panels, the mosaic consists only of geometric panels.
the front and back (north and south) are more elaborate
panels. The one on the southern side contains two
inscriptions facing one another. The one on the northern
side contains not only an informative inscription, but also
an elaborate rectangle enclosing eight smaller rectangles
and rhombuses to form an internal octagon. Within the
octagon, decorative tesserae transform the octagon into a
circle or medallion. In the center of the medallion are two
fish facing in opposite directions—a distinct Christian
symbol for Christ.
prison from the top of Tel Megiddo. The church is located on
the prison grounds.
The Prayer Hall with the central Eucharistic Table
The table at the center.
the Acts of Apostles and from the Epistles we can see that
the Early Christians met in house groups meeting from house
to house, breaking bread and singing praises to God.
However, at the end of the second century when the
Christian communities increased in number a more permanent
place of worship came into existence.
If previously Christian worship had been based on
prayers, sermons and communal dinners, by the third century,
rituals officiated by ordained clergy were introduced. As a
result we see baptisteries, vestries, confessionals,
teaching rooms etc.
During the third century, the church fathers referred to these house
churches by different names, such as ecclesi,
dominicum and domus Dei
(House of God). The church father Minucius Felix (c. 200
A.D.) called them sacraria
(shrines). He says they are found “all over the world” (per
universum orbem).Origen (185—254) says these house
churches are “the permanent place for the worship of
'To God Jesus Christ' Early Christian Prayer Hall Found in
Megiddo Prison, by Vassilios Tzaferis, published
Archaeology Review, http://www.bib-arch.org/online-exclusives/oldest-church-02.asp)
Photo of the mosaic found in the Megiddo Prison Church
TH(E)oo(I) * I(EESO)U * KH(RIST)oo(I)
Akeptous (a woman), the God-loving, offered this
table [altar] for (the) god J.C.,
soon after the resurrection the Early Christian Church
worshipped Jesus as God.