Did Jesus Stop Being God?

Dr. Doug Bookman

In His incarnation, Jesus did not in any sense, to any degree, at any time, or for any season surrender any whit of deity (Colossians 2:9); indeed, the very notion of "surrendering" deity is incongruous to the point of nonsense. Jesus did, however, take upon Himself genuine human nature (Philippians 2:6-8).

There is ineffable mystery in the proposition that "the Word became flesh" as it is presented and developed in the Gospel narratives. But the stewardship of the believer is to bow the knee to all that the Scriptures make clear, even if there are dynamics or ramifications of revealed truth which ultimately transcend the ability to fully comprehend.

The Scriptures make clear that Jesus's humanity - albeit unfallen humanity - was genuine and entire. Thus, as we read the Gospel narratives of Jesus's life, it is important to remember that except at those occasional and relatively infrequent times when the Holy Spirit directed Jesus to access and employ the superhuman capacities which are a function of His divine attributes, He lived out His life under the actual and real limitations intrinsic to unfallen humanity. Thus, during the period between His physical conception and His ascension to the Father, Jesus voluntarily surrendered the independent exercise of His divine attributes.

This construct does not solve the enigma of the relationship between the divine and human natures. (Indeed, that enigma cannot be solved.) It does, however, express the biblical teaching concerning the way in which Jesus of Nazareth lived out His life upon the earth, and thus reflects what the gospels teach concerning the functional relationship between those natures.

Adapted from the lecture notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).

Originally published May 05, 2010.

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