Guest Post by Mark Jones
I am happy to give blog space to a guest post by Mark Jones, furthering the conversation on the theology of the recent creed from Ligonier:
“We affirm that as truly man, Christ possesses all the natural limitations and common infirmities of human nature and that He is like us in all respects except for sin." - Ligonier Christology Statement, Article 7
In my original critique of the Ligonier Christology Statement (and “Creed”), I noted that they should not have spoken in the present tense in Article 7 of Christ's common infirmities, as if he still partakes of them. I believe this is an incorrect way to speak of Christ in his exalted state. But in a recent article defending the Affirmations and Denials, Steve Nichols seems to think Article 7 is sound.
The Son of God possessing "common infirmities" as a result of the incarnation is the language of WCF 8.2. According to Nichols' post, all Ligonier meant by it was to say that Christ is still truly human in his exalted status. Having done quite a bit of work on the Westminster documents and Christology in that era, I am pretty sure Nichols is making a mistake.
All one would have to do is point to WLC Q/A 52, which explicitly rules this out as applying after the resurrection.
Q. 52. How was Christ exalted in his resurrection?
A. Christ was exalted in his resurrection, in that, not having seen corruption in death (of which it was not possible for him to be held), and having the very same body in which he suffered, with the essential properties thereof (but without mortality, and other common infirmities belonging to this life), really united to his soul, he rose again from the dead the third day by his own power; whereby he declared himself to be the Son of God,...
Article 7 is a misstatement that Ligonier cannot wriggle out of, and it proves that they have made an erroneous statement. Instead of recognizing the error when I first pointed it out, Ligonier subsequently put up an article defending the use of "common infirmities" to describe Christ's present exalted status. This seems very strange to me.
Personally, I am yearning for the day when I will no longer have any more "common infirmities". I will not possess a nature liable to hunger, sadness, and decay. Rather, like Christ, I will be conformed to his glorious image, and thus raised in power! The promise of no more “common infirmities” belongs to my hope. To say that Christ still possesses them is to suggest, however unwittingly, that I will possess them in my glorified estate. And that, to me, is not good news at all.
Of course, if this was about theology it would be easy for Ligonier to recognize the error and change it (along with the other errors). But this is not about theology, and I doubt it was...