An Uplifted Soul (3)
When the divine nature
works within our human
nature, it makes us both
more human and
and nothing else
When we speak of having our human nature uplifted with the divine nature, there is so much about how it takes place that is mysterious and beyond our knowing. However, there is at least one basic truth we can and should be clear about in this regard. That is, when God imparts Himself into us, no new, third kind of nature is produced. Rather, the divine nature exists within the human nature, so that the human nature expresses the divine nature.
This may seem like a theological point, but it is very important to understand this correctly if we are to have a proper concept regarding just how our humanity is being uplifted.
Consider Jesus Himself and His incarnation. When He was begotten, there was a wonderful mingling of the divine nature of His heavenly Father and the human nature of His mother, Mary. Through this mingling, He became a human being, a man, but a man who was also God incarnate.
And there surely was nothing about Him that was something other than God or man; there was not some kind of in-between, third nature produced through the mingling of His divinity and His humanity. Rather, as we all know, Jesus was completely, normally human at the same time He was God incarnate.
For example, the divine love of God was now expressed through His human capacity to love. That was not possible before, but now it could be so, because divinity had entered into humanity. The same is true of the divine holiness, righteousness, anger, kindness, and so many other divine virtues: all the divine virtues were now expressed through His humanity.
In the same way, when we experience the mingling of divinity and humanity in ourselves, in a sense nothing new is produced (although, of course, we become a “new creation” in Christ; 2 Cor. 5:17); we do not take on a third nature that is something other than human or divine. Instead, the two natures, which before existed independent of each other, are now mingled and intertwined in our being, so that our human virtues are being uplifted and strengthened by the divine virtues.
We see a very good example of this in the writings of the Apostle Peter. He begins his second epistle by telling us that we have become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4); then he goes on to say,
Now for this very reason [i.e., that you now have the divine nature], applying all diligence, add in your faith, virtue; and in virtue, knowledge; and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control, endurance; and in endurance, godliness; and in godliness, brotherly love; and in brotherly love, divine love.
— 2 Peter 1:5-7
Do you see what he is saying? Because we now have the divine nature within us, in addition to the human nature we were born with, we can and should develop the virtues of that divine nature within the corresponding virtues of our human nature. In brief, it is something at once so divine, and yet so human, being expressed through us, and it is nothing else.
And that is what it means to have our human nature uplifted with the divine nature, so that we have an uplifted soul.
P.S.: As it happens, I have just released a podcast that very much relates to this topic. It is a “shortcast,” only 19 minutes long, and you can listen to it on iTunes or Spotify via this page:
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— 5 October 2023 —