Andrew Fuller Friday: On How Jesus Could Grow in Wisdom

“How could Jesus grow in wisdom and knowledge, if he were the true God, and consequently infinite in both?”

If there be any difficulty in reconciling these ideas, it must be on the supposition that a union of the Divine and human natures in the person of Christ implies a communication of properties; i. e. that whatever property belongs to him as a Divine person it must, on his assuming human nature, belong to him as human. But I know of no such sentiment being held by any Trinitarian. It is always maintained, so far as I know, that as Christ was very God, he retained all the peculiar properties of Godhead; and as he was made very man, he assumed all the peculiar properties of manhood. The above supposition, so far from belonging to the doctrine of what is called the hypostatical union, is utterly inconsistent with it; for if the union of the human nature to the Divinity imply that it must become infinite in wisdom and knowledge, it also implies that it must become omnipresent and almighty. And it might be with equal propriety asked, How could Jesus grow in stature and strength, if he were infinite in power? as, How could he grow in wisdom and knowledge, if he were infinite in both? But this is equivalent to asking, How could he be “a child born,” and yet he be called “the mighty God?” that is, How could he be both God and man?

Further, If a union between the Divine and human natures of Christ imply a communication of properties, why should not that communication be mutual? There is just as much reason for concluding that all the imperfections of humanity should be imparted to the Divinity as that all the perfections of Divinity should be imparted to the humanity. But this would form a contradiction; as it would be supposing him to retain neither perfection nor imperfection, and so to be neither God nor man.

But if we admit the Scripture account of things, no such consequences will follow. If that eternal Life that was with the Father was so manifested to us as to be capable of being heard, and seen with our eyes, and looked upon, and handled; in other words, if he were a Divine person, always existing with the Father, and was manifested to us by the assumption of human nature, and if each nature, though mysteriously united, yet retain its peculiar properties; all is consistent. Things may then be attributed to Christ which belong to either his Divine or his human nature; he may be a child born, may grow up from infancy to age, increase in knowledge, in wisdom, and in stature; be subject to hunger, and thirst, and weariness, and pain; in a word, in all things “be made like unto his brethren;” and at the same time be, in another respect, “the mighty God,”—“upholding all things by the word of his power.”

“If thou be the Son of God,” said Satan, “command that these stones be made bread.” This was insinuating that it was inconsistent for so Divine a personage, who had the command of the whole creation, to be subject to want; but the answer of Jesus intimates that he was also the Son of man; and that, as such, it was fitting that he should feel his dependence upon God.

The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, after asserting the dignity of the great Author of Christianity, as not only superior to angels, but acknowledged by the Father as God, “whose throne was for ever and for ever,” obviates an objection that would arise from his deep humiliation; showing the necessity there was for his being made like unto his brethren, chap. 1, 2.

Socinians may amuse themselves and their admirers by talking of the absurdity of God being exposed to suffering, and of a man of Judea being the Creator of the world. They know well enough, if they had candour sufficient to own it, that it is not as God that we ascribe the former to him, nor as man the latter; yet, owing to the intimate union of Divinity and humanity in his person, there is an important sense in which it may be said that “the Prince,” or author, “of life” was killed; that “God purchased his church with his own blood;” that “hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us;” that “our great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, was touched with the feelings of our infirmities;” and that he who was born in Bethlehem “was before all things, and by him all things consist.”

Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Expositions—Miscellaneous. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 3, pp. 787–788). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.

By |October 26th, 2018|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday|

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