Thursday, February 18, 2010
Torrance on Christ's Deity
Torrance as a theologian works in words the way painters work in paint. Here's Torrance on the necessity of the deity of Christ:
"The full reality of Christ's deity is essential for salvation, for the reality and validity of salvation are grounded upon the reality of Christ's deity. Man's salvation must be an act of God, else it is not salvation. The deity of Christ tells us that the action of Jesus in the incarnation and on the cross is identical with God's own action. How can man be saved? The answer is given in the words, "You did not choose me, but I chose you' (John 15:16) - but if the 'I' is not God himself, it is ultimately an illusion. Everything depends on the fact that the whole course of Christ's life is identical with the course of God's action towards humanity. The whole of our salvation depends n the fact that it is God in Christ who suffers and bears the sin of the world, and reconciles the world to himself.
The validity of our salvation depends on the fact that he who died on the cross under divine judgment is also God the judge, so that he who forgives is also he who judges. The reality of our salvation means that its reality is anchored on the divine side of reality, that the lamb is slain before the foundation of the world, that he has ascended to the right hand of God the Father almighty, and sits down with God on his own throne because he is God. Everything depends upon the fact that the cross is lodged in the heart of the Father.
It is important to see that if the deity of Christ is denied, then the cross becomes a terrible monstrosity. If Jesus Christ is man only and not also God, then we lose faith in God and man. We lose faith in God because how could we believe in a God who allows the best man that ever lived to be hounded to death on the cross - is that all that God cares about our humanity and its search after God, after truth and righteousness and peace? Put Jesus Christ a man on the cross and put God in heaven, like some distant god imprisoned in his own lonely abstract deity, and you cannot believe in him, in a god such that he is monstrously unconcerned with our life, and who does not even lift a finger to help Jesus...But put God on the cross, and the cross becomes the world's salvation. The whole gospel rests upon the fact the it is God who became incarnate, and it was God who in Christ has reconciled the world to himself...He who reveals God to man, and reconciles man to God, must be both God and man, truly completely God, and truly and completely man. If the Son was to redeem the whole nature of man, he had to assume the whole nature of man; if in the Son man is to be gathered into the fellowship and life of God, it must be by one who is truly and completely God.Only he can be mediator who is himself the union of God and man."
-T.F. Torrance. Incarnation pg. 189-190