How can Jesus have been fully God

How could Jesus have been fully God while on earth, and still been tempted? If there is no wickedness or deceit in God, if God is omnipotent, unchanging, could He have been subject to temptation at all? If Jesus was fully God, what would be the point of His temptation and defeat of sin on our behalf?

A friend of mine asked me this question today, and while I know Lewis and other Christian teachers touch on it, I honestly couldn't give him what I felt to be a good answer.

I don't believe you will ever find a logical and true answer to this question.

Donna, you may be right, in this life at least...however, I have faith in Ridge, Zealot, and the Revs to give me some good food for thought:)

Ive just come to the conclusion that the incarnation is still a bit of a mystery in all the details. God is still a mystery although he has revealed much about himself thru jesus. Paul said we see now thru a glass darkly, IE, shadows of the true picture. He realized this. It isnt an easy glossed over statement to get out of hard issues, its just recognizing that there are things the mind cant comprehend just yet.

Because He was fully human also and he imposed limitations on Himself in the days of His flesh. He hungered...God doesn't get hungry. He grew weary, God never tires...

So it's clear that He required Himself to live as a human which would include temptation.

Well to a certain degree the question revolves around the "but it was easy for God not to sin" objection and somewhere in CS Lewis's writings he actually deals with that objection and more or less points out of course that was true but you shouldn't object to being saved by the only force actually capable of saving you.

Since it is very hard to picture the incarnation without making Jesus into a dualistic being of half God and half Man (which is theologically incorrect) I at least try to imagine that every atom in his body was part human and part divine so mentally there is more of a synthesis even though that is not correct either.

It is wrong to believe that Jesus was omnipotent or omniscient in the Incarnation.  How could all the knowledge of God be squeezed into a human brain?  He only apparently knew one human language or maybe two at the most.  He obviously had tremendous powers but you have to imagine that they were seen in human terms in his own mind.  I think CS Lewis once likened the Incarnation to us assenting to become snails for a time. 

We discussed this a good deal during the day; I came up with something close to what Rooster and Ridge have posted: that God, being all powerful, can take on human form, and limit his powers if He so chooses.

It's hard for me to understand where, and why, He chose to limit Himself; like Ridge said, Jesus didn't speak more than maybe 2 languages, yet He "knew men's hearts".

He asked who touched Him, yet proclaimed "I Am the Truth", and knew all about the woman at the well. Maybe it comes down to faith that He did fully expose Himself to the fullest temptation of evil, in every way, even if He used His "God Powers" at other times?

I think Jesus answers the skeptic who says, "of course you can do all things...your God" by the scriptures which illustrate his human limitations.

To the skeptic who then says, "great, he was a great guy..." He then reveals Himself as the I AM, the walker on water, the storm calmer, the One who raises the dead, etc.!

I like the way CS Lewis puts it too. But the way he describes us in the Screwtape Letters makes it a lot easier for us to understand. The Devils describe as disgusting half breeds, part animal and part spirit.

So if people are already half animal and half spitit, and God is the Ultimate Spirit...

Mebbe Ridge can expand on it here how we are limited by time when trapped in the physical body, etc. He's much better at that stuff.

The thing about the Incarnation is that you can accept the basic premise that it was the means by which humanity and even the whole of creation was redeemed even if you aren't even close to understanding it.  I think a person could literally spend a lifetime on this particular mystery and never fully understand it.  I think it would be worth it though just because it is such a fascinating idea. 

Bludhall, you make some interesting points. As a Christian who believes that logic is an important part of my faith, I will have to put some thought into what you said and get back to this thread later.

So why was Jesus talking to god then, is there not a spec of logic left in Christianity?

I kinda of think of Christ as God saying, "Look dum-dum's. I've tried and tried to tell you how to do this. Let me come down and SHOW you how it's supposed to be done."

As far as HOW He could be God and Man and talk to Himself (basically), read "Mere Christianity" by Lewis. He breaks it down really well.

It is humanity talking to the Spirit.

Jesus was fully man. He was the perfect example. He prayed, therefore we must.

He was also God.

He taught people about God, what God was like but at times, He would actually do more then just teach them, He would show them who HE WAS.

do he just spoke about god as another entity just to confuse us then? Thats not very helpful is it.

me: If Jesus at 33 started walking around saying, "hey everyone I'm God, you know that guy in the OT" they would either think He was crazy or want to pursue an armed revolution with Rome (they did both just on the few times He did intimate being Messiah).

So, He taught them about God and then at times would reveal to His apostles His true nature. It wasn't about "confusing" things, it was about progressive revelation which is the crux of biblical knowledge.

you: And no you may not us the "it was symbolic" card, fundies are not allowed to use that card, its either all symbolic or its literal , it ain't both. You can't whip out the symbolic meaning after you paint yourself into a literal corner and get called on it. naughty bad fundies.

me: that's ridiculous. then from now on, anything you say in life is literal. You can't use similes, metaphors, analogies nothing. The bible is many books that include poetry, history, even a love letter, eschatology etc.

The gospels were written about the life and death of Jesus but when John the Baptist says, "Behold the Lamb of God..." is He talking about a literal furry animal?

Jesus said He was the Door, the Light, the Good Shepherd, the Rock etc. Literal? Please blud, don't toss out appropriate exegesis when you have no idea what you are talking about.


What I don't get is that you accept further Revelation but then you reject the idea that a doctrine of the Trinity could be fully developed and clarified later.  It certainly doesn't contradict scripture and it certainly explains a great deal but you reject it.  The doctrine that Jesus is fully God and fully man developed the same way yet you accept that.  There is no verse in the Bible which clearly defines his nature that way but once you understand it the scripture makes good sense. 

you: What I don't get is that you accept further Revelation but then you reject the idea that a doctrine of the Trinity could be fully developed and clarified later.

me: What do you mean "further revelation"? I reject the notion of developed doctrines not implicit to the scriptures or that are contradictary.

you: It certainly doesn't contradict scripture and it certainly explains a great deal but you reject it.

me: of course it contradicts scripture. It teaches a polytheistic model of the godhead. One need go no further then fellow poster Mask who defined the relationship between God and Jesus as two distinct entities. Entities are beings. 2 divine beings are that are both God and share in that essence but are not the same are 2 gods.

you: The doctrine that Jesus is fully God and fully man developed the same way yet you accept that.

me: wrong. That doctrine is explicit in the bible. If there were no councils one could go to 1tim 3:16 and explain it w/ no commentary. God was manifest in the flesh. Period.

you: There is no verse in the Bible which clearly defines his nature that way but once you understand it the scripture makes good sense.

me: I'm sorry, but I utterly reject that. Jesus is God. I accept (it's in the scritpures). Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is divine, Jesus is human. Enough said. One does not have to create triangles and mysteries and grape clusters ;-) to explain what is explained.

blud: sounds like you are fudging the logic to me, can't have your cake and eat it too my friend. IMHO its a horrible mistake to focus on Jesus = God as I think there really is no proof even in your rather biased written sources.

me: No proof? There is a plethora of OT prophecies that maintained 2 streams of thought about Messiah. His humanity and his divinity. This is found throughout the OT.

The NT included eye witnesses testimonies of what people saw Him DO AND SAY. I'm not sure how that is bad logic. What is bad logic is to pretend that you have expertise on Christology when it's something you don't believe aside from some picking and choosing based on what appeals to you. The Christology of the bible clearly presents the incarnation as God and man.

blud: But you see your rules for deciding whether something is literal or symoblic is totally arbitrary and based upon your preconceived notions.

me: baloney. Again, how can you say that? Do you have any formal training in exegesis? The rules for interpreting is driven by CONTEXT. Not by my opinion. The rules for exegesis are standard rules used by biblical scholars. Have you ever read the bible through? I'm on my 3rd reading of the entire bible and have read parts of it over and over. I have studied formally in college. I have spent the last 15 years studying scripture and you are going to tell me my use of symbolism is arbitrary?

How is interpeting John the Baptist saying, "behold the lamb of God" as symbolic arbitrary? It's not. It's based on OT patterns based on their oblation system. Please don't accuse me of something that you have no idea what you are talking about.

you: You use symbology when it suits you and yet reject any notions of jesus story being symbolic cos then he wouldn't have died for our sins. But you are forcing your spiritual dogma to fit into your notions.

me: no, I'm reading the text! The text says He died for our sins. You can reject the text (like you do) but you cannot white out what the writers believed. Why did John call him the lamb of God? Because the lamb was sacrificed as atonement for sin.

blud: by proof I assume you mean stretching obscure references to a messiah to mean Jesus?

me: no, explicit verses which tell of the coming Messiah even illustrating his death and name. Have you ever studied "these obscure references" like dying between 2 thieves, hands a feet pierced, no bones broken, betrayed by a friend, sold for silver, buried in a rich man's tomb, ministry of healing etc. ad this the rallying cry of someone who has never investigated these claims?

How about the obscure rabbi's who wrote prior to the birth of Jesus that these were MESSIANIC VERSES? Does that still make them obscure?

you: Or is it like stretching the word hister to mean hitler in the nostradamus prophecies?

me: no, it's stating explicitly the birth, life, death, resurrection, ministry, etc. of Yeshua, even naming Him.

blud: Well the gospels are not biographies so its not real eye witness testimony is it, i mean in a court of law the abject bias of the gospel writers would be taken into account as well as the ommissions. (we do not even really know who wrote each gospel, they are penned anonymously).

me: That's a good try. Except they ARE biographies and the earliest followers of the disciples testified who their authors were. In fact, at one time they had the original Matthew written in Hebrew and it's referenced by Eusubius (sp?).

"the abject bias" what the heck is that supposed to mean? You've said this several time. are you biased against things you've observed? If you observed that you woke up this a.m. and put on your clothes, are you biased?!?

you: um yes i am going to tell you that, all peopole with a religious axe to grind have given up any notion of looking at the bible with an open mind, you see what you want to see.

me: riiighhtt. because you have an "open mind" right. what does that mean? Rejecting the inspiration of the bible. Interpreting incorrectly so that it becomes meaningless? Are you open minded towards a fundamentalist view of the bible?

you: The bible and gospel was codified by people along time ago who did the same thing and as such it is only part of the story. The real wonder of christianity is obscured by the biblical interpretations put forth. The insistance upon literal when it suits you then symbolic when it suits you is not a use of logic. I read bilbical archeaological texts, i read books with proper historical approaches to the subject of Jesus life and the gospels. You dismiss them immediatly simply because they do not support the theory that a man died, came back to life and then flew away like superman. You completely disregard the use of this same symbology through human spritual history as if it never happened. But perhaps that is due to your biased outlook on other religions. To me if i study martial arts i study them all, same with religion. Logic dictates a wide open view not a narrow f=view of one single aspect of one religion. call me whacky :)

me: whacky...

I read the bible as it was written, not through the eyes of modern liberals who are materialist and cannot fathom the miraculous ministry of "superman" who did "fly away" when He was resurrected.

you: explain why jesus being the son of god is not also symbolic when this lamb of god reference is? You sure its not simply because fundies liek to eat lamb and won't be liking to eating the lord every week :)

me: I thought you would know the answer to this since you are a biblical theologian. Jesus being the 'son of God" is not "symbolic" so much as it's a Jewish Messianic term. To understand what it means, one has to see how it was viewed by the biblical writers and those who would have used that term. one cannot make up what one "thinks" or wants it to mean.

It meant, "one having the nature of His father" and was a messianic term that could be both applied to the nature of Messiah's anscestor (David) and that of His God. It did not mean, demi god, jr. god, god the 2nd etc.


you: well the lamb reference can be alot deepr meaning that that my friend, youyr jump from lamb of god to him being sacrificed for our sins seems a leap of extreme logic. But lets examine it anyways...

me: deeper meaning?!?! Like what?!!? A leap of logic? Have you ever studied the Old Testament oblations beginning in Genesis and codified under the Mosaic law?!!?!? have you ever studied passover or the sacrifices of David and Solomon?!?!

you: He died for our sins did he? do you have sins? do I? of course, so if we still have them and vefore jesus we still have them, what exactly did he die for then? Nothing changed?

me: nothing's changed for you because you haven't applied the gospel. My sins have been buried in a sea of forgetfulness. I have no record of sins. The judgement for my sins were paid by the man Christ Jesus who bore the wrath for my sinfulness.

you: But we are now able to be saved ? hmm but weren't we able to be saved before?

me: sure but the OT saints were saved looking FORWARD TO MESSIAH. So for instance, you can see that noah participated in a baptism and "new birth" as the old world was buried in water (a type of the blood) and was "born anew". Abraham believed in 1 God, and in the resurrection! He believed God's promises and knew if he slew isaac, God would raise the SON OF PROMISE FROM THE DEAD.

you: you not accept the OT as part of your religion?

me: of course...

you: are you saying not a single jew was ever brought back to god? I hope not.

me: of course not. My saviour was Jewish.

you: You know the absolution of sins was visited before there was a jesus, its a common theme in religion the death as atonement or payment and rebirth after. The whole lamb reference predates christianity.

me: in the OT, sins were not "absolved" they were "stayed" for a year until the nation again sacrificed for "relief" until the next year of atonement. The idea behind oblations was a say of judgement but there was not a final sacrifice that would resolve sin.

Jesus was the final sin offering, the final atonement. The whole "lamb reference" predates Christianity because Judaism predates Christianity and Noah predated Abraham and Moses (he sacrificed right after they landed on Mt. Ararat) and Adam and Eve predated Noah (God did not approve of their man made efforts to cover their shame-fig leaves) He slew animals, and provided their skins as a covering. Thus death is the only judgement for sin.

you: Well anyways , the problem is that when you guys say he died for our sins you cannot quanitfy it at all?

me: quantify it? It was quantified on the cross.

you: If there is an afterlife we had it before jesus. Human spiritual history is full of afterlife stuff, its the whole purpose of religion.

me: what does any of this have to do with your inability to do proper exegesis or your condemnation of those who do?

you: Worse yet you cannot adequately explain why the ruler and creator of the universe had to sacrifice his own son literally to save us when he could have presumably waved his hand for the same effect?

me: The judgement for sin is death. God is Holy and sin cannot be allowed. When God made man and he had CHOICE and sinned, he deserved death. God provided an "out". Death and judgement would fall on a substitute so that man would not have to die eternally. It started with animals (innocent) which illustrated that sin has a cost. It hurts, it brings death. But an animal cannot die for men. man has to die for man. Ooops, dilemna, man cannot die for anothers sins because he is a sinner. What about God? God cannot die. He's immortal and He's a Spirit.

What if God came in flesh. Then He could die as a man, shed His blood and it would be sinless. God robed Himself in flesh and died for you and me. Dilemna resolved.

God is desiring fellowship eternally with those who want to live with Him. No waving of a magical hand. Rather, the price has been paid and those who choose Him, can have the judgement for their sins absolved. Those who don't choose to not live with Him, now or in the future.

you: Modern christian are obsessed with the notions of being saved by some other device but thier own behaviour.

me; LOL, man cannot save himself. Can you stop sinning? of course not. 1 transgression against the holiness of God requires judgement by a Holy God. You have been weighed in the scales and are found wanting. That's your arrogance and saving himself.

you: There is no magic button or group to join to acheieve the act of being saved. We are saved when we walk in the kingdom of god.

me: Again, where are you getting this stuff? I don't have to interpret anything. I read in acts 2:38 that if I'm baptized in the name of Jesus Christ my sins are remitted...gone...forgiven. Not that tough. Not like asking to walk in glass, do some sort of mecca but you'll excuse it away instead of doing it.

you: See Thomas for what that is beacause i think fundies and non fundies will never agree on what that is, why because its an issue of symoblic or literal interpretation and its is pure human opinion one way or another.

me: no it's not and I'm sorry that you haven't read the word of God enough, or sought God enough to receive His truth.

"How can Jesus have been fully God"

He can be whatever a believer wants him to be. The only limit is the human imagination.