Skeletons of a Course of
By Charles G. Finney
Humanity Of Christ.
First. Notice the various opinions that have prevailed upon this subject.
1. The Docetæ and Gnostics admitted the proper divinity of Christ, but denied that he possessed a human body. They held that he had a body and suffered only in appearance. This opinion originated in the philosophy of physical depravity, or the philosophy which teaches that moral evil has its seat in matter. They of course felt it necessary to deny that Christ had a material body.
2. The Sabellians admitted the divinity of Christ, and that he possessed a real human body; also that he suffered for the sins of men. But they deny his having a human soul.
Second. What is intended by the Humanity of Christ.
The common doctrine of the Church upon this subject, is that Christ was in all respects a perfect human being, possessing both a human body and human soul, with all the attributes of a perfect man.
Third. Prove the Humanity of Christ.
That he had a real body is evident.
1. From the fact that he was conceived by, and born of a woman.
Isaiah 7:14. "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel," Compared with --
Matthew 1:23. "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emanuel, which being interpreted, is, God with us." And --
Luke 1:31, "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus."
Luke 2:11,12, "For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
2. He was circumcised according to the law of Moses.
Luke 2:21: "And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb."
3. He grew.
Luke 2:40: "And the child GREW, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him."
4. He was hungry.
Matthew 4:2: "And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwards an HUNGERED.
Luke 4:2: "Being forty days tempted of the devil, and in those days he did eat nothing; and when they were ended, he afterward HUNGERED.
5. He was thirsty.
John 19:28: "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I THIRST,"
6. He ate and drank.
Mark 2:16: "And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him EAT with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he EATETH and DRINKETH with publicans and sinners?"
7. He walked, labored, rested, slept, was weary, lived, and died, like other men. He sweat, bled, was buried, like other men.
8. He declared himself to have a body of flesh and bones.
Luke 24:39: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not FLESH and BONES, as ye SEE ME HAVE.
John 20:20,27: "And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his HANDS and his SIDE. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord." "Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my HANDS; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my SIDE: and be not faithless, but believing."
Hebrews 10:5: "Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a BODY hast thou prepared me."
9. It is repeatedly asserted of him that he had a body.
John 2:21: "But he spake of the temple of his BODY."
Luke 23:55: "And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his BODY was laid."
Luke 24:3,23: "And they entered in, and found not the BODY of the Lord Jesus." "And when they found not his BODY, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive."
Hebrews 10:10: "By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the BODY of Jesus Christ once for all."
John 20:12: "And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the BODY of Jesus had lain."
Mark 14:8: "She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my BODY to the burying."
Also, Mark 14:45 47; Hebrews 2:14; John 1:14; Acts 2:3,30,31; Romans 1:3; 1 Peter 2:24; which need not be quoted.
10. Those that knew him had the testimony of their senses that he had a body.
11. There is the same evidence that he had a real body, as there is that the Apostles had bodies, or that any man has a body.
12. The denial of his having a human body is regarded by the Apostles as fatal heresy.
l John 1:1: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life."
1 John 4:3: "And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the FLESH is not of God: and this is that spirit of anti Christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
13. Any rule of biblical interpretation that would set aside the evidence of this truth, would, if carried out, blot out every fundamental doctrine of the Bible.
That he had a human soul, I remark:
1. It is the soul, and not the body that constitutes a man.
2. A human body without a soul, is not a human being.
3. If Christ had no human soul, but was merely God dwelling in a human body, he was infinitely far from being a man.
4. He is often called a man in the Bible.
John 1:30: "This is he of whom I have said, After me cometh a MAN which is preferred before me; for he was before me."
John 8:40: "But now ye seek to kill me, a MAN that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham."
Acts 2:22: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a MAN approved of God among you by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know."
Acts 17:31: "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that MAN whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."
1 Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus."
Isaiah 53:3: "He is despised and rejected of men; a MAN of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
5. He is called the Son of man seventy one times in the Bible.
6. He is often spoken of in the Bible as having a soul,
Isaiah 53:10,11,12: "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his SOUL an offering for sins, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see the travail of his SOUL, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his SOUL unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
Psalms 16:10: "For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."
Acts 2:27: "Because thou wilt not leave my SOUL in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."
Matthew 26:38: "Then saith he unto them, My SOUL is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me."
John 12:27: "Now is my SOUL troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour."
7. The sympathies and feelings of a human being are ascribed to him."
Isaiah 53:3, 4, 7, 10, 11: "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of SORROWS, and acquainted with GRIEF; and we hid as it were our faces from him: he was despised and we esteemed him not; Surely he hath borne our GRIEFS, and carried our SORROWS; ye we did esteem him STRICKEN, SMITTEN of God, and AFFLICTED." "He was OPPRESSED, and he was AFFLICTED." "Yet it pleased the Lord to BRUISE him; he hath put him to GRIEF." "He shall see of the TRAVAIL of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall BEAR their iniquities."
John 12:27: "Now is my soul TROUBLED: and what shall I say? Father save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour."
John 13:21: "When Jesus had thus said, he was TROUBLED in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, That one of you shall betray me."
Matthew 26:38: "Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding SORROWFUL, even unto death."
Luke 22:44: "And being in an AGONY, he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."
8. He was in all things made like unto his brethren.
Hebrews 2:17: "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."
9. He was tempted in all respects as we are.
Hebrews 4:15: "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points TEMPTED like as we are, yet without sin."
But if he had no human soul, he was infinitely unlike his brethren.
10. He suffered under temptation.
Hebrews 2:18: "For in that he himself hath SUFFERED, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted."
11. He was at first an infant in knowledge.
12. He grew in wisdom.
Luke 2:52: "And Jesus INCREASED in WISDOM and stature, and in favour with God and man."
13. He was until the day of his death ignorant of some, and probably of many things.
Mark 13:32: "But of that day and that hour KNOWETH NO MAN, no, not the angels which are in heaven, NEITHER the SON, but the Father."
Matthew 26:38 42: "Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, IF it is POSSIBLE, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What! could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, IF this cup MAY not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done."
To all this proof it is objected, by those who deny that he had a human soul, that all that is said of his ignorance, suffering, being tempted, increasing in wisdom, etc., might result from the connection of the divine mind with the human body; that if the divine nature was dependent on a human body for its developments, it might be attended with all the circumstances ascribed to Christ.
To this I answer:
(1.) This objection seems to be a begging of the question, or taking for granted the thing that needs to be, but never can be proved.
(2.) The supposition is absurd, because it assumes that infinite knowledge, and the other infinite attributes of God can become finite, and even infantile.
13. There appears to be the same evidence that Christ had a human soul, as there is that any man has a soul.
14. Any rule of interpretation that would set aside this doctrine as not taught in the Bible, would, if carried out in its application, blot out every doctrine of the Bible.
1. Christ unites the sympathies of a man with the attributes of God.
2. He still possesses human nature in union with the divine nature.
3. He will greatly exalt human beings as his brethren; as sustaining a nearer relation to him than any other order of creatures.