How Can Jesus Be 100 Percent God and 100 Percent Man?

By Carey Kinsolving

"He did things like his Dad (100 percent God) and, He did things like we do (since he's 100 percent man)," says Candice, 10. I'm impressed, Candice! You have succeeded where others have failed.

Probably no question in all of philosophy and science has spawned more debate than this one.

Yet, an accurate answer can be given in one word: MYSTERY.

"Great is the mystery of godliness," wrote the Apostle Paul to Timothy (I Timothy 3:16).

Attempting to explain this mystery has gotten many of my friends into trouble. But they aren't the first, and they won't be the last.

"Jesus grew up as a man, and then God turned him into a God," says Brian, 8, little realizing he has an ancient idea. Brian, this error started in Rome around A.D. 190. The first to be credited with this deviation was Theodotus the Tanner, who would have fared better if he had stuck to making leather sandals.

Theodotus said Jesus was a "mere man" whom God "adopted" when the Holy Spirit came upon him at his baptism. Today, there's a popular variation of this idea: Jesus was a mere man who attained a higher form of God consciousness. He was a good, spiritual man whose example we should follow. Furthermore, through various forms of self-denial and spiritual exercise, we, too, can achieve the same oneness with God. Right?

Think again.

Listen to the angel who appeared to shepherds in the field at the time of Jesus' birth, "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). Did the angel mistake a "mere man" for "Christ the Lord?"

Nope! Next error, please.

"Jesus is not 100 percent man because then He wouldn't be perfect," says Caroline, 10, who is probably reacting to all the imperfections she has observed in people. And so did the Gnostics of the first century.

Modern people find it easy to believe Jesus was a man, but difficult to believe he was God.
Gnostics, however, didn't believe Jesus was a man with a material body because they thought matter was evil. They proposed that either Jesus had a body temporarily, which he left at the crucifixion, or had none at all, only seeming to be a human being.

To the Greek gnostics, Jesus was only God who appeared as man because, as Matt, 8, says, "He acted like man a lot." In other words, Jesus just put on a show of being human.

But the Apostle John said, "Gno!" to the Gnostics.

He wrote two of his three short letters to derail their false ideas. "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God" (I John 4:2). Furthermore, John began his letter stating that he heard, saw and touched with his own hands the "Word of life," which was "with the Father."

John intertwined earthly matter with the eternal to say Jesus is man and God. Because of who Jesus is, John wrote that the way to fellowship with the Father has been opened.

"He's the Son of God first," says Stefanie, 12. "Then, when He was born on earth, He became the Son of Man, too."

God and man united in one person. Two natures, one person. This is the essence of a church council that met in Chalcedon in A.D. 451. Even though the natures are inseparably united in the person of Jesus Christ, they remain distinct, whole and unchanged, without mixture or confusion.

Take a tip from Donald, 12: "Anything is possible for God."

Carey Kinsolving is a syndicated columnist, producer, author, speaker and website developer.
To see more material like this, visit The Kids Talk About God website contains free, online content for children and families. See Carey’s Kid TV Interviews. Hear a book talk. Print free lessons from the "Kids Color Me Bible" and make your own book. Let an 11-year-old girl take you on a trip around the world in the Mission Explorers Streaming Video. Print Scripture verses illustrated by child artists. Receive a complimentary, weekly e-mail subscription to our Devotional Bible Lessons.

Bible quotations in this Bible lesson are from the New King James Version.

Copyright 2007 Carey Kinsolving

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