Jesus ‘the Human’: TF Torrance Reflects Beautifully

I am currently reading Dick O. Eugenio’s book Communion with the Triune God: The Trinitarian Soteriology of T.F. Torrance for review for the UK journal Modern Believing. The book represents the published version of Eugenio’s PhD dissertation which he wrote at Manchester University in the UK. This is not a review, but I thought I would fill you in with a little background jesusmedievalinformation in regard to why I am reading this book, and who Eugenio is (he is also currently professor of theology at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in the Philippines).

I came across a sweet quote that Eugenio provides from TF Torrance on the humanity of Jesus Christ. Torrance is reflecting on the realness of the humanity of Jesus, and what it means for the rest of us as humans from a salvific and even ontic vantage point. Torrance writes:

What overwhelms me is the sheer humanness of Jesus, Jesus as the baby at Bethlehem, Jesus sitting tired and thirsty at the well outside of Samaria, Jesus exhausted by the crowds, Jesus recuperating his strength through sleep at the back of a ship on the sea of Galilee, Jesus hungry for figs on the way up to Jerusalem, Jesus weeping at the grave of Lazarus, Jesus thirsting for water on the Cross—for that precisely is God with us and one of us, God as ‘the wailing infant’ in Bethlehem …, God sharing our weakness and exhaustion, God sharing our hunger, thirst, tears, pain and death. Far from overwhelming us, God with us and one of us does the very opposite, for in sharing with us all that we are in our littleness and weakness he does not override our humanity but completes, perfects and establishes it.[1]

Beyond the rich theological truth in the quote, the quote itself illustrates why I have been so attracted to the theology of Torrance. Torrance isn’t primarily an academic theologian (although he is that too), he is instead a confessional theologian who speaks from the heart of the Shepherd, as a poimen or from a pastor’s heart tending the sheep. When I read Torrance in contrast to Reformed orthodox theology or even analytical theology, instead of coming away feeling burdened, as I do with those, I feel refreshed and renewed (challenged intellectually as well).

But in regard to the quote itself, and the theology packed in there, what we have is a beautiful explication of the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ. This remains such an important thrust for what we are continuing to attempt to do with evangelical Calvinism. In fact we are just wrapping up our next Evangelical Calvinism: Dogmatics&Devotion, Volume 2, and it will be ready for purchase in the next few many months (I’ll get a more exact date when I can). In that book you will see more of this element of Torrance’s theology engaged with in a very prominent way; I am referring to the vicarious humanity of Christ.

I hope this quote blessed you as much as it did me!

[1] T.F. Torrance, Preaching Christ Today, 13.

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