"God" in the Absolute Sense of the Word

 

H.P. Liddon

 


When Jesus Christ is said by His Church to be God, that word is used in its natural, its absolute, its incommunicable sense. This must be constantly borne in mind if we would escape from equivocations which might again and again obscure the true point before us. For Arianism will confess Christ's Divinity if, when it terms Him God, it may really mean that He is only a being of an inferior and created nature. Socinianism will confess Christ's Divinity if this confession involves nothing more emphatic than an acknowledgement of the fact that certain moral features of God's character shone forth from the human life of Christ with an absolutely unrivalled splendour. Pantheism will confess Christ's Divinity, but then it is a Divinity which He must share with the universe. Christ may well be divine when all is divine...When God is nature, and nature is God, everything indeed is divine, but also nothing is divine...

This assertion of the Divinity of Jesus Christ depends on a truth beyond itself. It postulates the existence in God of certain real distinctions having their necessary basis in the essence of the Godhead. That three such distinctions exist is a matter of revelation. In the common language of the western Church these distinct forms of being are named persons...Not, however, that we are therefore to suppose nothing more to be intended by the revealed doctrine than three varying relations of God in His dealings with the world...These three distinct "subsistences," which we name Father, Son, and Spirit, while they enable us the better to understand the mystery of the self-sufficing and blessed life of God before He surrounded Himself with created beings are also strictly compatible with the truth of the Divine Unity. And when we say that Jesus Christ is God we mean that in the Man Christ Jesus, the second of these persons or subsistances, one in essence with the first and with the third, vouchsafed to become incarnate.

Perfect Man And Eternal God

The position then which is before us in these lectures is briefly the following: Our Lord Jesus Christ, being truly and perfectly man, is also, according to His higher pre-existent nature, very and eternal God; since it was the Second Person of the ever blessed Trinity who, at the incarnation, robed Himself with a human body and a human soul.

 


The Divinity of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. H.P. Liddon. Pickering & Inglis LTD. 29 Ludgate Hill, London, England. E.C.4 No date. Pages 20, 24 and 25.