The Duality Of Christ's Emotional Experience

We come now to the third element in the human spirit. It is only in

modern psychology that feeling has secured recognition as a distinct

constituent of man's nature; so it is not surprising that the question

as to its position in the incarnate Christ was not raised in former

days. Now, however, the psychology of feeling has come into its own,

and it has become important to consider whether in this particular,

too, Ch
ist shared our human experience. Here, again, the argument for

maintaining the duality of Christ's emotional experience is twofold.

It follows, on the one hand, from the duality of the other parts of His

nature; and, on the other hand, it is proved by the facts of His life

as recorded in the gospels.

Human nature involves feeling, and two natures involve two universes of

feeling. Divine personality cannot be conceived as devoid of feeling.

With men feeling lies in the depths of being; it is the dynamic of

life. Feeling is the inner reflex of acts of thought and will. It

invariably accompanies cognition and volition. If thought and will be

attributed to the supreme being, the attribute of feeling cannot be

left out. When the God in Christ acted, divine feeling accompanied the


This surmise is proved correct on reference to the records of His life.

We find there two distinct emotional zones. Christ has all the

blameless feelings natural to man. There are in Him the feelings

accompanying sensation; physical pleasure and pain, hunger, thirst,

weariness, and, in addition, the higher grades of feeling, aesthetic,

sympathetic, and ethical. He experienced wonder, surprise, righteous

anger, the sublime, joy and love. A life rich in emotion was the life

of the Man Christ Jesus. When, however, we look more closely into His

experience, we catch glimpses of feeling such as no man could know. We

see there transcendent passion, great sorrow, great joy, so great that

they would break a human heart. We may instance the deep emotion

accompanying His resolve to go to meet His fate at Jerusalem, the

rejoicing in spirit at the success of the apostles' mission, His Agony

and His universal love.

The monophysites could not recognise this duality in Christ's emotional

nature. Hunger and thirst, and even the higher human feelings they

considered derogatory to the Son of God. Even when they admitted that

He suffered, they threw a veil of mystery over His sufferings. They

idealised the Passion. They made it seem as if His flesh was

privileged, as if His omnipotence excused Him from the emotional

experiences of humanity.