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Romans 1

tiger baby
By Hedieh Mirahmadi

Jesus being the Son of God is considered one of the most controversial aspects of Christianity. People have a hard time conceptualizing what that really means. In Islam, it is erroneously interpreted as Christians being polytheists. But that is not what Scripture is telling us at all. Simply put, there is only ONE God, and He manifests in 3 separate beings—The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which does not have a flesh form per se and resides in ALL believers simultaneously. From my perspective, if a person can accept that God created the whole universe, including all of the planets, solar systems, and created beings, in six days, it is not hard to accept He can manifest Himself in as many ways as He chooses, especially to make himself known to humans who are the crown of his creation and made in His image.

One of the most beautiful descriptions God provides a believer of his Son, Christ, appears in Colossians:

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. [1]

In the first chapter of Romans, the apostle Paul begins his teaching by affirming the dual nature of Christ and how he is entirely human and entirely God, simultaneously. The human aspect of Jesus was created, but the Divine nature within Him that was God, is eternal and uncreated. He is 100% both in one[2].

 3 concerning his Son, who was born ⌊a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared Son of God in power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ our Lord, Romans 1:3–4

In another passage where God foreshadows the arrival of Jesus, He says “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given[3].” Therefore, the part of Christ that is Son of the Father is not born to the Father, he is given. Like the Father Himself, that aspect of his being is entirely uncreated[4]. However, that uncreated Divine nature was “wrapped” in flesh and was born on Earth through the virgin Mary in order to save humanity from the penalty of its sins. When Mary was upset at the notion that she would give birth to a child even though she was chaste and had never been with a man, the angel of God tried to calm her fears and explain to Mary this dual nature of her child. 

 35 And the angel answered and* said to her,

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,

and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.

Therefore, also the one to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

Luke 1:35

Despite the elaborate detail of Jesus’ duality, Paul subtly warns the reader not to think Jesus’s human nature means that we should worship mortal things. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! He teaches us that no mortal things can ever fulfill the place of the immortal God and that focusing on material things is just foolishness that eventually leads only to sin and death.

As an example, Paul seems to mock the Jews for assigning Godlike qualities to foolish things like the Golden Cow. It’s an admonition for us not to worship worldly things like money or fame, thinking they can answer our “prayers/wants and needs.” He is also intimating that no being of any kind other than God is worthy of worship. As human beings, we try to fill the hollow places inside us with these “beings” but they never can fill the void that only a relationship with Christ/God can fill.

22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God with the likeness of an image of mortal human beings and birds and quadrupeds and reptiles. Romans 1: 22-23

Romans 1:26

Because of this, God gave them over to degrading passions, for their females exchanged the natural relations for those contrary to nature.

Paul goes on to say that when we are willing to sacrifice such an important truth as the supremacy of God then the lesser truths aren’t far behind. Paul’s approach is less of a moral judgment and more of an observation regarding the natural consequences of human decisions.

This also foreshadows how human beings end up tolerating all sorts of emotional “degradation” in abusive co-dependent relationships. We “trade” in our dependence on God alone for dependence on a spouse or a parent and expect them to fill the void in our life. Inevitably they fall short. Wholeness and true contentment can only come from a relationship with God, through Christ.

[1] The New International Version. (2011). (Col 1:15–16, then 19-20). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Runge, S. E. (2014). High Definition Commentary: Romans (p. 27). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Isaiah 9:6

[4] Ibid

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