God is human. In fact, God is the only truly and fully human being. Genesis 1:26-27 says:
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image; in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.
In other words, we physically mortal human beings are only a reflection of humanity. The true reality and source of humanity is God.
(In the future I plan to write a full article about the humanity of God. Meanwhile, please see this answer that I wrote on Christianity StackExchange: “Was Adam anatomically God’s image?”)
The humanity of God is mainly a matter of the divine characteristics of infinite love, infinite wisdom, and infinite power. These are what we humans on earth would call the mental characteristics of a human being. And these are the characteristics that make a being human rather than something else—such as an animal, plant, or rock. The physical characteristics of a human being are human only as a reflection of these mental (or really, spiritual) characteristics.
The Divine Humanity
In speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) commonly uses the phrase “the Divine Humanity” to express this nature of God as fully human and fully divine.
There is no dual nature in Jesus Christ in the sense that one part of Christ is human and another part is divine, as in traditional Christian theology. Rather, what we humans on earth see as the human side of God is simply God’s divine humanity in a form that we can approach and interact with. The human nature of God that we see as Jesus Christ is simply the “body,” or outward expression, of the eternal human nature of God. And this “body” of God is also fully divine.
In other words God is fully human, fully divine, and fully one, just as each one of us is one human being whose soul, a body, and actions together are us as a human being. There is no “duality” in us in the sense that our body is somehow a different “us” than our soul. Our body is an expression of our soul.
In the very same way, in God there is no duality in the traditional Christian sense that there are two distinct beings or natures of Christ, one human and the other divine. Rather, Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine in one and the same divine being.
The two natures of Jesus Christ during his lifetime on earth
However, when Jesus was born on earth, he did temporarily take on a finite human nature that was distinct from his inner divine nature. That finite human nature was his maternal heredity from Mary—and it lasted only until the end of Jesus’ life on earth. The last of it was expelled from Jesus in the tomb after the crucifixion. When Jesus rose from death there was nothing of that finite maternal heredity left. Jesus was from that point forward fully divine: the Divine Humanity.
It was necessary for Jesus to take on a finite human heredity, with the same tendencies toward evil as any other human being (not Original Sin, a non-Biblical dogma that Swedenborg rejected), in order to provide a field on which God could face, fight against, and defeat the Devil, which is a collective term for hell, or the combined forces of all evil humans banded together—and abstractly, of all human evil. (See: Is there Really a Devil? Why??)
If God were to approach the Devil directly, the encounter would instantly destroy the Devil. This would mean annihilating all of the evil spirits in hell, and all human beings on earth who were committed to evil. Evil cannot withstand or survive the direct presence of God.
But God has given every human being the gift of an eternal soul—even if we choose to spend eternity in hell instead of in heaven. And God will not take away that gift.
The battlefield on which Jesus Christ defeated the Devil
In order to face and overcome the Devil and the power of evil without annihilating all evil, and along with it all humans and human spirits who are evil, God took on a finite human nature from Mary, and used it as a battlefield on which to face the Devil on his own turf, defeat him, and reduce him to eternal servitude in hell under God’s power.
Ever since then, God has used that power to maintain the balance between good and evil, or between heaven and hell. This ensures that we humans on earth remain in freedom to choose between good and evil.
If God had not defeated the Devil in this way—through being born on earth and engaging in spiritual battles against and victories over the Devil throughout his lifetime on earth—we humans would all have been overwhelmed by evil, and dragged down to hell whether we wanted to go there or not. By our own power, we could not possibly face and overcome the vast power that the Devil had gained over humanity by the time in human history when God came to earth as Jesus Christ in order to redeem and save us from the power of the Devil.
For a fuller explanation of this view of the Incarnation (God being born as a flesh-and-blood human being) and of Redemption, please see, “Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What about that Holy Spirit?”
Jesus Christ is now fully Divine
Once Jesus Christ had defeated the Devil—a herculean task that he brought to completion on the Cross—he no longer had any need for the finite human nature from Mary. He completed the process of putting it off from himself and replacing it with the divine nature that came from his own inner divine soul (which is called “the Father” in the New Testament). From that time forward, he no longer had a dual nature, but was, as Swedenborg called him, “The Lord God Jesus Christ.”
This is the Jesus Christ we worship. We worship a God who is both fully human and fully divine.
There is no distinction between Jesus Christ and God. Jesus Christ is God.
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