Monday, August 13, 2012

Did Jesus Have Mary's DNA? A Follow Up

In a previous post, I argued that it was necessary for Jesus to have Mary’s DNA. I focused my argument on the promise that the messiah would be descended from a particular family line. If Jesus were not physically related to those particular ancestors then I argued the promises of God would have been false. One reader pointed out that I had neglected other theological arguments for the necessity of Christ having Mary’s DNA, I agreed, and another commenter asked if I could elaborate on those arguments. This post is an attempt to do that.

First, it is important that we understand what it is exactly the argument is. Most of the time we tend to focus on the full divinity of Jesus but we must not forget that the full humanity of Jesus Christ is also a necessary element of orthodox Christian doctrine. So important is the doctrine that Jesus Christ is actually human rather than simply appearing human that the apostle John tells us that anyone who denies it is of the spirit of Antichrist (1 John 4:2-3). Even a quick review of Christ’s ministry reveals the necessity of both His divinity and His humanity. Jesus had to be human in order to…

·         Serve as a mediator between God and humans (1 Tim. 2:5).
·         Suffer & Die (God cannot experience death which is the payment for sin [Heb. 2:9])
·         Offer an acceptable sacrifice making intercession for sinful humans (Heb. 2:17).
·         Judge sin in the “flesh” (Heb. 2:14, Rom. 8:3)
·         Serve as a new substitutionary representative (Rom. 5:18-19).
·         Complete the original plan for man to rule over creation (Heb. 2:5-9)
·         Serve as an example for us (1 John 2:6, Rom. 8:29).
·         Sympathize with us in our weakness (Heb. 4:15).
·         Provide hope to man in resurrection (1 Cor. 15:42-49).
·         To fulfill the promise of God’s redemption from within the created order through the descendant                of the woman (this was my focus in the original DNA post).

These are just a few of the reasons why the humanity of Christ is a theological necessity. The great doctrines of the incarnation, the atonement, and the resurrection are inseparably linked with His identity as the God-Man. If the “Man” portion is removed then Jesus is no longer the uniquely Christian savior.

The people to whom I was responding with the initial post do not openly deny the full humanity of Christ. They claim that God miraculously created Jesus as truly human and implanted Him into Mary’s womb. They wish to affirm that Jesus is fully human but deny that He is physically descended from Mary. Mary becomes simply a surrogate and Jesus is then born out of Mary but not from Mary. As I said before, various groups have made this claim, most notably the Anabaptists, as an attempt to explain Christ’s sinless nature.

The problem with this view is that what they agree with in principal they deny in the details of their theology. To deny that Christ is a physical descendent of Mary is essentially a denial of His total humanity and undermines the very basis of our atonement. In the original post, I tried to point out a theological argument based upon the inerrancy of God’s promises but there are others. Probably the strongest theological argument is that the fraternity of Christ with all other humans is a necessary component of the doctrine of the atonement. The best exegetical support for this argument comes from Hebrews 2:11 which says,

“For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers”

The Greek for “all have one source” is  ex enoV, literally “out of one”. The verse is claiming that Jesus and those whom He sanctifies are all of, or out of “one” and that is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers. Jesus is not from a distinct human line but is truly a brother to all humans. His human nature is of “one source” with the human nature of all those whom he sanctifies. Jesus is therefore related to Adam and Eve through Mary. The theologian A.W. Pink in his discussion of the humanity of Jesus says the following about this verse:

“They who deny Christ’s derivation of real humanity through His mother undermine the atonement. His very fraternity, as our Kinsman-Redeemer, depended on the fact that He obtained His humanity from Mary. Without this He would neither possess the natural nor the legal union with His people, which must lie at the foundation of His representative character as the "last Adam." To be our Goel (Redeemer), His humanity could neither be brought from heaven nor immediately created by God, but must be derived, as ours was, from a human mother. But with this difference: His humanity never existed in Adam’s covenant to entail guilt or taint.”

If we deny that Jesus is the son of Mary then we not only invalidate the promises of God given in the Old Testament but we also create serious theological issues with the most fundamental doctrines of the New Testament, namely the incarnation and the atonement. The scripture presents Mary as not just a vessel but truly as the mother of Jesus Christ who conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit (as is affirmed in ancient, Catholic, and Protestant creeds).

Jesus has Mary’s DNA. 

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