Daily Archives: August 5, 2014

Questions about Jesus Christ: What Does Incarnate Mean? How Was Jesus God Incarnate?

 

The Latin verbincarnaremeant “to make flesh.” When we say that Jesus Christ is God “Incarnate,” we mean that the Son of God took on a fleshly, bodily form (John 1:14). However, when this happened in the womb of Mary, Jesus’ earthly mother, He did not stop being deity. Although Jesus became fully human (Hebrews 2:17), He retained His status as God (John 1:1, 14). How Jesus is able to be both man and God simultaneously is one of the great mysteries of Christianity but is nevertheless a test of orthodoxy (1 John 4:2; 2 John 1:7). Jesus has two distinct natures, divine and human. “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:11).

The Bible clearly teaches the deity of Christ by presenting His fulfillment of numerous Old Testament prophecies (Isaiah 7:14; Psalm 2:7), His eternal existence (John 1:1–3; John 8:58), His miraculous virgin birth (Luke 1:26–31), His miracles (Matthew 9:24–25), His authority to forgive sin (Matthew 9:6), His acceptance of worship (Matthew 14:33), His ability to predict the future (Matthew 24:1–2), and His resurrection from the dead (Luke 24:36–39). The writer of Hebrews tells us Jesus is superior to angels (Hebrews 1:4–5) and angels are to worship Him (Hebrews 1:6).

The Bible also teaches the Incarnation—Jesus became fully human by taking on human flesh. Jesus was conceived in the womb and was born (Luke 2:7), He experienced normal aging (Luke 2:40), He had natural physical needs (John 19:28) and human emotions (Matthew 26:38), He learned (Luke 2:52), He died a physical death (Luke 23:46), and He was resurrected with a physical body (Luke 24:39). Jesus was human in every way except for sin; He lived a completely sinless life (Hebrews 4:15).

When Christ took on the form of a human, His nature did not change, but His position did. Jesus, in His original nature of God in spirit form, humbled Himself by laying aside His glory and privileges (Philippians 2:6–8). God can never stop being God because He is immutable (Hebrews 13:8) and infinite (Revelation 1:8). If Jesus stopped being fully God for even a split second, all life would die (see Acts 17:28). The doctrine of the Incarnation says that Jesus, while remaining fully God, became fully man.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Humanity: What Does It Mean that God Gave Humanity Dominion over the Animals?

 

The word dominion means “rule or power over.” God has sovereign power over His creation and has delegated the authority to mankind to have dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:26, 28). David reinforces this truth as he testifies that God has “made [mankind] ruler over the works of your hands” (Psalm 8:6). However, with the authority to rule comes the responsibility to rule well. Man has a duty to exercise his dominion under the authority of the One who delegated it. All authority is of God (Romans 13:1–5), and He delegates it to whomever He will (Daniel 4:17).

There is an inherent accountability in the command to “subdue” the earth (Genesis 1:28). The word subdue means “to gain an understanding of and a mastery over.” Man is to be the steward of the earth; he is to bring the material world and all of its varied elements into the service and good of mankind, and he is to do so with understanding. Only then will dominion be truly according to God’s command.

When God gave humanity dominion over the animals, it was in order to care for, tend to, and use those animals to their fullest potential in a just manner. At the time that God gave mankind dominion over the animals, humans did not eat meat (Genesis 1:29). Eating meat did not begin until after the Flood (Genesis 9:1–3), and it was at that time that animals started to fear humans. However, although God changed the way we interact with animals, in that they are now “meat,” we still bear a responsibility to care for or treat animals humanely. Human “rule” over animals does not mean we have the right to mistreat or misuse those animals.

Therefore, dominion over animals should entail a humane management of them as the resource that God has ordained them to be. We must fulfill our duty to manage the earth wisely until that time when the wolf shall lie down with the lamb in the kingdom of Christ (Isaiah 11:6).[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Bible Translations: What Is the Contemporary English Version (CEV)?

 

Contemporary English Version—History Published by the American Bible Society, the Contemporary English Version has the goal of was uncompromising simplicity. Also known as the Bible for Today’s Family, the CEV is written at a fourth grade reading level, making it appropriate for children and adults with limited English skills. In 1991, the 175th anniversary of the American Bible Society, the CEV New Testament was released. The CEV Old Testament was released in 1995. In 1999, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books were published. An Anglicized version was produced by the British and Foreign Bible Society, which includes metric measurements for the Commonwealth market.

Contemporary English Version—Translation Method The Contemporary English Version translators used the dynamic equivalence (thought-for-thought as opposed to word-for-word) translation method. The CEV uses gender-sensitive language for humanity but not for the Godhead. The translators also attempted to simplify certain archaic-sounding words into more modern parlance. For example, Exodus 20:14 renders “Do not commit adultery” to “Be faithful in marriage.” The Contemporary English Version is not, as some have assumed, a revision of the Good News Bible, which is also published by the American Bible Society. Rather, it is a fresh translation with a lower reading level, making it more accessible to more people around the world.

Contemporary English Version—Pro’s and con’s The Contemporary English Version is easy-to-read and easy-to-understand. It is written in quality and contemporary English. However, when it goes more toward dynamic equivalence and less toward formal equivalence, the CEV sometimes goes astray, interpreting rather than translating. Some view the Contemporary English Version as more of a paraphrase than a translation, but that is likely inaccurate, as the CEV is far more literal to the text than the true paraphrases, the Living BibleMessage.

Contemporary English Version—Sample verses John 1:1, 14—“In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us.”

John 3:16—“God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.”

John 8:58—“Jesus answered, “I tell you for certain that even before Abraham was, I was, and I am.”

Ephesians 2:8–9—“You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve. This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about.”

Titus 2:13—“We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Do not love the world or the things in the world; If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)

One of the markers of genuineness in a Christian is separation from the World. This isn’t a physical removal from planet Earth or a disintegration of the body of a Christian. A genuine Christian’s character should be in a continual upgrade unto Christlikeness. That means that as he or she cooperates with God in their sanctification, working out their salvation with fear and trembling, their character will take on more and more of Christ’s character instead of being…

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C. S. LEWIS ON SIN

Samuel at Gilgal

Screwtape LettersUncle Screwtape on small sins:

“You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness.  But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy.  It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing.  Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick.  Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.  Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” (The Screwtape Letters, 56)

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