“He ascended into heaven” by Gerrit Scott Dawson

“Enormous theological problems are raised by disembodying Christ’s ascension. For instance, if it is the case that the Lord slipped out of the body, who, then, is sitting at the right hand of God? Is it Jesus, whose voice the disciples heard, whose touch they felt, with whom they sailed on the Sea of Galilee and shared the cup in the Upper Room? Or is it the eternal Son of God, who once knew what it was like to be a man but is no longer bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh? If the latter, what effect would a bodiless Christ have on the future work affirmed in the Creed, his coming again and his judgement of the living and dead?

To put it bluntly, if Jesus did not go up as a man, he cannot come again as a man. The Judge would not be our Brother, not the one tempted in all ways as we are, not the man with the nail-scarred hands and the ‘rich wounds yet visible above.’ He might be God in that case, but he would not be human. And we would be lost… Any view of the ascension as Jesus slipping off his humanity is a sentence of condemnation. We cannot be united to him in the Holy Spirit if he is no longer flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. If the one who sits at the right hand of God is not still fully human as well as fully God, then we will never enter within the veil.”

–Gerrit Scott Dawson, Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2004), 5-6.

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Filed under Ascension, Christian Theology, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

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