Did Jesus Have a Dual Nature That Was Often in Conflict?

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2005
Christians are offended by the way Hollywood and authors like Nikos Kazantzakis and Dan Brown portray Jesus. Kazantzakis’s book, The Last Temptation of Christ, portrays Jesus in his human nature resisting God’s will. Both Kazantzakis and Brown portray a Jesus who is sexually fixated on Mary Magdalene.

The movie The Last Temptation of Christ, like many other Hollywood and literary offerings, paints a picture of Jesus far different from what we find in the Bible.

The topic we will examine this time is not only found in Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ (1960); you will also find an echo in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (2003).

In The Last Temptation of Christ, Jesus explains why He helps Romans crucify Jews

The setting: Jesus has just participated in helping the Romans to crucify Jews. In this scene, Jesus tells why He does it.

Movie

Jesus: “God loves me, I know He loves me. I want Him to stop. I can’t take it anymore, the voices and the pain. I want Him to hate me. I fight it. I make crosses so He’ll hate me. I want Him to find somebody else, I want to crucify every one of His Messiahs.”

Novel

In his book, Kazantzakis has Jesus and God talking. Jesus responds to God’s words by asking the question (p. 28): “You want me to stand up and speak, do you? What can I say? How can I say it? I can’t, I tell you. I’m illiterate. What did you say… [about] the kingdom of heaven?… I don’t care about the kingdom of heaven. I like the earth. I want to marry, I tell you; I want Magdalene, even if she’s a prostitute. It’s my fault she became one, my fault, and I shall save her. Her! Not the earth, not the kingdom of this world—it’s Magdalene I want to save. That’s enough for me!… I do it on purpose. I want you to detest me, to go and find someone else. I want to be rid of you!… And I shall make crosses all my life, so that the Messiahs you choose can be crucified!” (Emphasis added.)

Objection

Christians are offended by portraying Jesus’ human nature resisting God’s will. They also object to the portrayal of Jesus as being sexually fixated on Mary Magdalene.

Analysis

Did Jesus have a dual nature (human and divine) that was often in conflict?

The Bible clearly teaches Jesus was in perfect harmony with the will of His Father. He said, “I always do the things that are pleasing to him” (John 8:29, NASB).

Both in the movie and the novel, Jesus is fighting God to the extent He says, “I want God to hate me. I fight so He will hate me.” Christians say it is blasphemous to suggest that Jesus wanted God to pick someone else to be the Messiah. What’s worse, Jesus tries to force God to pick another Messiah by making God hate Him. He reasons that God will detest Him if He helps crucify Jews.

How different that picture of Jesus is from what the Scriptures tell us about Him. Here are Jesus own words:

John 5:19—Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”
John 6:38—“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
John 8:28, 29—So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”
John 14:31—“…but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.”

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