Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Philippians 2:6-11

I received the following question:

todays (palm sunday) second reading was: Philippians 2:6-?
my question is this--> if someone were to read that (specifically verse 6), they may say "see? this proves Jesus was not divine, since he was 'in the form of God', and 'did not regard equality with God something to be grasped' ".
how would you respond to that?

Here is my response:

What Saint Paul is doing here in these verses is showing the stages of the Second Person of the Trinity. He was in the "the form of God." Being in the "form" of God implies that one is God. We see in this verse that Paul adds the word "though" before "he was in the form of God." Meaning, although he was God. And then Paul tells us what follows. He "did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied himself, talking the form of a servant." Here we see Paul stating that although Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity is God and hence equal with God, He humbled Himself and took on our human nature, thus taking the form of a servant. This is the Incarnation. Paul tells us that Christ suffered and died in His human nature. Therefore, for His obedience, God exalted Christ again. This doesn't mean that the Second Person of the Trinity changed or was any less exalted than before. It means that Christ's humanity which He took on was exalted andglorified, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

St. Paul is clearly extolling Christ as God in these verses. He does it by showing the three stages of the Mystery. 1) Christ pre-existed. 2) He became Incarnate. 3) His human nature is gloried and exalted and Christ the Second Person of the Trinity is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

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