One of the bigger criticisms that people tend to raise towards Christianity is the doctrine of the trinity. Specifically looking at character of Jesus Christ, one could understandably spot what appears to be a contradiction. “How could Jesus be both totally man and totally God at the same time?” This is a legitimate question, one which typically causes Christians to jump down the Isaiah 55:9 escape hatch of “God is simply beyond our understanding.”
Now, let’s not be arrogant and think that we can fully understand God and his mysterious ways. Certainly God is not limited to our perceptive abilities and narrow comprehension. However, let’s also not be theologically ignorant in an age when the internet has made ignorance less excusable. We have a great storage of theological material available to us for absolutely free, and we should use it in order to combat poor thinking. Therefore, when we come across these difficult questions, we should first do our research in order to answer them, without jumping down a theological escape hatch as our first resort.
So, how can we say that Jesus was fully God and fully man without running into a contradiction? Well, we can’t. Now it’s worth understanding that there are certain things that God cannot do. And you might say, “Well how is that possible if he’s God?” It’s actually really simple. There are certain actions that, if performed by God, he would become less God, or, not God at all. God, for instance, cannot surrender all of his power to something else. God cannot become less knowing than someone else. God cannot be both good and not good at the same time. To do any of these things would result in him giving up godship, which is absolutely impossible. Just because God cannot do certain things does not make him less God; on the contrary, it makes him more God.
Having said that, God cannot be a contradiction. As we’ve alluded to earlier, to be 100% man is to be 0% God. This is basic logic. A cannot be A and non-A. But what about in Colossians 2:9 when it says that “for in him (Christ) the fullness of deity dwells bodily”? This simply means that Jesus was absolutely God, while inside of a human body. This does not mean that Jesus was 100% man and 100% God.
So what do we say when people inquire about the nature of Jesus? We say that Jesus was truly God and truly man. This is not clever wording, this is correct theology. There is no trace of contradiction within God. For him to dwell in bodily form is no difficult task. For him to completely be a human, leaves no room for him to be completely God. Therefore, this idea of Jesus completely being a man and God is nonsensical. However, Jesus being truly God and truly man is no more a contradiction than me being truly a brother to my siblings and truly a husband to my wife.