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There are few teachers as clear and helpful as Fred Sanders.

Here is a lecture he gave for laypeople at the 2013 G. Campbell Morgan Theology Conference, sponsored by Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute:

One of his teaching tools, which combines historical and systematic theology in a chart, is the “Chalcedonian Box”:

Elsewhere he explains:

The metaphor of a box emphasizes the doctrinal boundaries that are recognized by Chalcedon.

On the top, it affirms Nicaea 325 (contra Arianism) by demanding that Christ is God, consubstantial with the Father.

On the bottom, it affirms Constantinople I (contra Apollinarianism) by demanding that Christ is human, consubstantial with us.

The soteriological axioms “God alone can save us” and “what is not assumed is not healed” mark these boundaries out.

As for how the divine and human elements come together, Chalcedon marks out the right and the left with its four mighty negatives: no confusion and no change on the one hand (contra Monophysitism Eutychianism ), but no division and no separation on the other hand (contra Nestorianism).

See also my post, “Thinking through Christology


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7 thoughts on “Can You Explain How and Why Christ Is One Person with Two Natures?”

  1. David McKay says:

    Mark Jones’ little book, A Christian’s Pocket Guide To Jesus: an introduction to Christology packs a punch on these matters.

  2. Wesley says:

    Appreciate the clarity here and this chart is very helpful in articulating these truths as well.
    One questions i’ve often had is:
    We often hear sermons, particularly at Easter, speaking about Jesus’ words from the cross quoting Ps. 22 and it is said that Jesus was forsaken by the Father so we never have to be. While this must be true in some sense, i often wonder how one squares that teaching in accordance with the Creed of Chaceldon? If Jesus is both fully God and fully man, it seems inconsistent to say that God forsook Himself or “turned His back on Himself.”
    I often see this reconciled in passages like 1 Peter 3:18 which seems to say Jesus – as fully man – was put to death and forsaken by God but that He was made alive by His God nature within Him which was not. Is that right? Anyone have some ideas?

    1. Daryl Little says:

      John MacArthur talks about Jesus being forsaken by the Father insofar as their personal, loving relationship goes, but not forsaken altogether.

      That is, the Father was there in judgement (the 3 hours of darkness fitting the OT imagery of God coming as darkness when He comes in judgement) so the close relationship was broken on our behalf, but, like Revelation tells us that the damned are tormented forever “in the presence of the lamb”, so Jesus suffered an eternity of hell, while in the presence of the Father, on our behalf.

      I’ve found his teaching on this subject to be the most solidly biblical that I’ve heard. He neither says that Jesus was not forsaken (after all, can God forsake God?) nor that the relationship between Father and Son continued unchanged, during Christ’s punishment on the cross.

      1. Daryl Little says:

        The reason, by the way, that Dr. MacArthur’s explanation holds together is, at least in part, because Scripturally, death is defined as separation, not the end of existence.
        So spiritual death is separation from God, physical death is separation from all things physical, Jesus then, suffered both.

        1. Wesley says:

          Thanks Daryl –
          I’ll check out what J Mac has to say. See if i can look up some sermons/lectures.
          God’s peace.

  3. Andy Thaxton says:

    Thanks for posting this Justin. Well worth the time I just spent watching.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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