The Hypostatic Union is a term used by Christian theology to describe how God, the Father, took the form of a human in the form of Christ and Christ retained both his human and divine nature in one.
Jesus has always been God (John 8:58) and by his incarnation, also human (John 1:14). Jesus is the God- Man, in whom the divine nature is added to the human. This is referred to as Hypostatic union: Jesus Christ is one person: fully Man and fully God.
The two natures of Christ (human and divine) are totally inseparable. He has two distinct natures in one: fully human and fully God. The divine and human nature of God is one in Christ: not divided but with a separate entity. Christ sometimes acted with his human limitations ((John 4: 6) and other times, with the power of his deity (John 11, Mathew 14). His actions emanated from one person; Jesus had a double nature, but a single personality.
The hypostatic union is a concept that tries to explain how Jesus could be both God and man at the same time. It is a doctrine, which is difficult for us humans to understand. It is tough for us humans to understand the workings of God. With our finite minds, we cannot fully comprehend the infinite God.
Being conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus is truly the Son of God. But this does not imply that Jesus did not exist prior to his human conception (Luke 1: 35). Jesus has always existed (John 8:58). With his earthly conception, Jesus became human along with being God.
How is Jesus both God and man? Jesus was always God but by being conceived by Mother Mary, he became human. By his human incarnation, he identified with our earthly struggles and also was able to offer the ultimate sacrifice of death on the Cross for the expiation of our sins (Philippians 2). Thus, he is both human and divine, with no dilution of either quality or being one person forever.
The English term ‘Hypostatic’ comes from Greek word ‘Hupostasis.’ There are only 4 uses of this word in the New Testament (like Hebrews 1:3). In one, Jesus is said to be the radiance of the glory of God and an exact impression of his nature. Both the Father and the Son are described to have the same nature.
In the early Church, when Greek thinkers wanted to have common ground with Latin, the word Hupostasis came to mean three distinct personalities rather than sameness in Godhead. Hence, the word became similar to the English word-‘person.’
The Hypostatic union may seem like fancy English terms, but the concept behind them is wonderfully precious. It is awesome to know that the two natures of Jesus are completely united in his one single person. This means though Jesus is two natures in one, he is not divided and is one entity. Therefore, he can be the focal point of our worship.
Because of this one-person, hypostatic union, Christ exemplifies a unique magnificence. No one can satisfy the yearnings of the human heart, but this God-Man. The human heart has been created by God as that which is satisfied with human things but only with the infinite.
The wonderful news is that God took human form for our sake. The union of his human self with his divine origin is substantial proof that he is a mediator in heaven for us, humans. He has demonstrated his love for us since while we are sinners, he took up our human nature and died on the cross for us.
Jesus is made of two natures: human and divine. “Jesus is the Word who was God and with God and became human flesh”(John 1). There was no change in the divine nature when he became human. Only the word was combined with humanity.
Jesus is not just a man who has God with him or a person who exemplified the principle of God. He is ‘God in the flesh,’ the second entity of the divine Trinity. The two natures of Jesus are not combined to form a God-human nature. The two natures act in unity. This is what is termed as hypostatic union.
The twin natures of Jesus can be understood by various Biblical references:
- Jesus is worshipped (Mathew 2, 11) and He worships God (John 17).
- Jesus was addressed as God (Heb 1), and He was referred to as a man (John 19, Mark 15).
- Jesus is offered prayers (Acts 7), and He prays to God (John 17).
- Jesus is without sin (Heb 4, 1 Pet 2), and He was subject to temptation (Mathew 4).
- Jesus is aware of everything (John 21) and his wisdom increases (Luke 2).
- In Jesus reigns deity (Col 2), and He is made of bones and flesh (Luke 24).
- Jesus gives eternal life (John 10), and He died (Rom. 5).
This is a doctrine related to hypostatic union. This doctrine teaches that qualities of both divine and human nature rest in one person, Jesus. It implies that Jesus was glorified much before creation (John 17), he incarnated from heaven, and He is omnipresent (Mathew 28).
For properly understanding Christ, his twin natures need to be correctly defined and understood. Jesus is a single person with twin natures. For instance, he was aware of all things, yet grew instature and wisdom. He was the embodiment of the word in the flesh.
The focus of the Bible means Jesus. He was the fruition of many prophecies by prophets (Acts 10). God bestowed his witness to Jesus (John 5, John 8). So did the Holy Spirit (John 15). Also, Jesus himself bore witness to his heavenly and human natures (John 14, 18).
Jesus is thus one member of the Trinity, who has two distinct natures united in him, permanently.