Why Did Christ have to Ontologically be God to Redeem?

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PuritanCovenanter

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It has been a while since I delved into this subject. I use to know reasons why Christ had to be God in order to save his people but my poor mind just isn't as quick as it use to be. One of my friends has been introduced to an old group called the Way International. I am quite familiar with the cult and I can deal with the issues of Christ's deity by scripture. I use to know another argument based upon ontological being but I am having trouble remembering it. So can you all give me some help here? Why did Messiah need to be Ontologically God to be qualified to redeem mankind from sin?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Maybe LC 38?
Q. 38. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death,144 give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession;145 and to satisfy God’s justice,146 procure his favour,147 purchase a peculiar people,148 give his Spirit to them,149 conquer all their enemies,150 and bring them to everlasting salvation.151
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The Westminster Catechism answers this question specifically:
Q.38. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God?

A: It was requisite that the Mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death;[1] give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession;[2] and to satisfy God's justice,[3] procure his favor,[4] purchase a peculiar people,[5] give his Spirit to them,[6] conquer all their enemies,[7] and bring them to everlasting salvation.[8]

1: Acts 2:24-25, Romans 1:4, Romans 4:25, Hebrews 9:14
2: Acts 20:28, Hebrews 9:14, Hebrews 7:25-28
3: Romans 3:24-26
4: Ephesians 1:6, Matthew 3:17
5: Titus 2:13, Titus 2:1
6: Galatians 4:6
7: Luke 1:68-69, Luke 1:71, Luke 1:74
8: Hebrews 5:8-9, Hebrews 9:11-15

In studying this recently I was struck with the repetition of the word eternal in Hebrews 9:12-15: 1) eternal redemption 2) eternal Spirit & 3) eternal inheritance. Which is to say that eternal salvation, even when finished in time, depends upon an eternal nature.

The Heidelberg Catechism also states (a little more simply yet profoundly):

Q 17: "Why must he in one person be also very God?"

That he might, by the power of his Godhead[a] sustain in his human nature, the burden of God's wrath;[c] and might obtain for, and restore to us, righteousness and life.[d]

a: Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 63:3
b: Isaiah 53:4, Isaiah 53:11
c: Deuteronomy 4:24, Nahum 1:6, Psalm 130:3
d: Isaiah 53:5, Isaiah 53:11, Acts 2:24, 1 Peter 3:18, John 3:16, Acts 20:28, John 1:4
 
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TheInquirer

Puritan Board Freshman
Is there also a covenantal aspect to this in that Jesus as the God-man is able to represent and reconcile the two parties in a way no one else can?
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Is there also a covenantal aspect to this in that Jesus as the God-man is able to represent and reconcile the two parties in a way no one else can?

Makes me think...

Larger Catechism

Q. 31. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

Q. 40. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God and man in one person?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and Man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole person.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It is also related to the punishment of sin. People ask why Original or actual sin merits Hell eternal? The answer is that it strikes against an eternal God. We wish to minimize our offenses. Only the Eternal God can redeem eternal offenses.
 

TheInquirer

Puritan Board Freshman
Makes me think...

Larger Catechism

Q. 31. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

Q. 40. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God and man in one person?
A. It was requisite that the Mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and Man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole person.

Perfect quote, thanks Jake, exactly what I had in mind.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
As God, Jesus was able to give his Holy Spirit to his people. If Christ, as the eternal Son of God, did not have a nature equal to the deity of the Third Person of the Trinity, he could not have sent the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit obeys only God. Only God could say concerning the Spirit: “If I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7).—Joseph Morecraft, Authentic Christianity, Vol. 2, p. 788.
 
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TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
It has been a while since I delved into this subject. I use to know reasons why Christ had to be God in order to save his people but my poor mind just isn't as quick as it use to be. One of my friends has been introduced to an old group called the Way International. I am quite familiar with the cult and I can deal with the issues of Christ's deity by scripture. I use to know another argument based upon ontological being but I am having trouble remembering it. So can you all give me some help here? Why did Messiah need to be Ontologically God to be qualified to redeem mankind from sin?
Another reason not yet mentioned in the thread is that the redemption of mankind was covenanted in eternity past--the covenant of redemption, or counsel of peace, according to which the redemption of mankind was planned, is an internal work of the Godhead. Only a Divine Person could covenant with the Father in eternity to redeem a people to him.
 

Wretched Man

Puritan Board Freshman
One thing you might consider is the bondage to sin all of mankind has fallen under the federal headship of Adam. Christ however falls out of the federal headship with his divine essence.

Imagine a King of a nation subjugating all his people and their descendants to slavery to a foreign sovereign. No one born of the nation would be able to claim freedom for themselves or anyone else, because they are already indebted to slavery. One outside the nation however might offer himself to free others.
 
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