How Do You Describe Jesus’ Nature?

What was the difference between Jesus’ divine acts and his human acts?

There is quite a history to this question. The Greek and Western Christians wanted to define the different natures of Jesus. He was a human but he was also God. But how much of him was human and how much was God?

This great debate is based on the term hyperstatic union. Scholars and theologians have been debating for centuries what actions of Jesus were divine and which actions were human. They have come to the conclusion, also written into several church creeds, that Jesus is fully God and fully human.

When I was in Bible College, one of my theology professors presented the argument (I believe he agreed with it) that Jesus’ divine acts ran along the lines of healing and miracles, showing foreknowledge and knowledge that people could not have had, disappearing in crowds, and the like.

His human acts were things like eating, drinking, sleeping, walking, etc. But I had a problem with trying to split the human and divine parts of Jesus’ nature. For instance, why did eating and sleeping have to be human parts of his nature?

Consider Matthew 8:23-27. Jesus gets into the boat with his disciples and falls asleep. As they are crossing the sea, a great squall comes across the water, so much that it frightens professional sailors and fishermen.

But in the midst of their fear of dying in the storm, Jesus is sleeping. But this act of sleeping in the midst of such danger show Jesus’ divine power and ability to trust in the Father for his life? In fact, he points to the little faith of the disciples when he wakes up and calms the storm.

I submit that Jesus’ ability to sleep through the most dangerous storm his professional sailor disciples, who had sailed on that same sea since they were children, was a divine and human act together.

We need not split the natures of Jesus. I postulated to my professor that perhaps Jesus has a whole new nature, not a combination of natures we’re used to dealing with. He’s a whole new being. His nature should be classified as a third type of nature. Not a mixture of two natures, but one brand-new nature that we will never fully understand.

If you are interested in checking out the nature of Jesus further, search for “hyperstatic union” or “the natures of Jesus” and you will find a lot of material. Every theology book covers this topic.

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