Monday, May 7, 2012

Christ’s Ichor? - Dr. DeHaan’s Unusual and Unorthodox Teaching

I was recently pointed to Dr. DeHaan’s teaching on Christ’s blood.  (link)  Laced into his views of original sin, the virgin birth and the incarnation are the ideas that human blood is sinful and Christ’s blood was not human.

Dr. DeHaan states:   While all men from Adam to this day are born with Adam’s sinful nature, and, therefore, are subject to the curse and eternal death, the Man Jesus was without sin and, therefore, DEATHLESS until He took the sin of others upon Himself and died THEIR death. Now while Jesus was of Adam's race according to the flesh yet He did not inherit Adam's nature. This alone will prove that sin is not transmitted through the flesh. It is transmitted through the blood and not the flesh, and even though Jesus was of the "Seed of David according to the flesh" this could not make him a sinner.

Jesus Christ died.  He died others death in the sense of the death they deserved, not in the sense of their physical death.  Further, sin is not physical, so it’s not physically transmitted, through flesh or through blood.   It’s not as if through dissection or gene therapy, one could get rid of original sin.  It’s spiritual rather than physical.

Dr. DeHaan continues:  Sinful heredity is transmitted through the blood and not through the flesh. Even though Jesus, therefore, received His flesh, His body from a sinful race, He could still be sinless as long as not a drop [of] blood of this sinful race entered His veins. God must find a way whereby Jesus could be perfectly human according to the flesh and yet not have the blood of sinful humanity. That was the problem solved by the virgin birth.

It’s interesting the Dr. DeHaan sees flesh as fine but blood as sinful.  But of course, physical items are not sinful.  Sin is disobeying God’s law (1 John 3:4).   

Dr. DeHaan continues:  Since there is no life in the egg until the male sperm unites with it, and the life is in the blood, it follows that the male sperm is the source of the blood, the seed of life. Think it through... From the time of conception to the time of birth of the infant not ONE SINGLE DROP OF BLOOD ever passes from mother to child... The mother contributes no blood at all.

While males are a source of blood, we are not the only source.  While neither men nor woman directly contribute their blood to babies, both male and female genes contribute to forming blood.  So if blood is sinful, removing Adam doesn’t remove the problem.  Dr. DeHaan needs Mary to have the “Immaculate Transfusion”.   

Dr. DeHaan continues:  Since Adam was the federal head of the race, it is HIS BLOOD which transmits Adam's Sin. In order to produce a sinless man and yet be the son of Adam, God must provide a way whereby that man would have a human body derived from Adam but have not a drop of Adam's sinful blood. Right here is the scientific biological reason for the sinlessness of the Man Christ Jesus.

Again, blood is not sinful and sin is not biologically transmitted. Dr. DeHaan's errors are similar to the old errors of the Gnostics and Manicheans. 

Dr. DeHaan turns to a scriptural objection:  Not only is this a scientific fact, but it is plainly taught in Scripture that Jesus partook of human flesh without Adam's blood. In Hebrews 2:14 we read,  "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood. He also himself likewise took part of the same -- "  You will notice that the children, that is the human children, are said to be partakers of FLESH and BLOOD, and then speaking of Jesus it says that He "himself likewise took part of the same." The Word “took part” as applying to Christ is an entirely different word then “partakers” as applied to the children. In the margin of my Bible, I read the word translated “took part” implies “taking part in something outside one’s self.” The Greek word for partakers is "KOYNONEHO" and means “to share fully,” so that all of Adam’s children share fully in Adam’s flesh and blood. When we read that Jesus “took part of the same” the word is "METECHO" which means to take "part" but not all. The Children take both flesh and blood of Adam but Christ took only part, that is the flesh part, while the blood was the result of supernatural conception.

None of the lexicons I reviewed say koynoneho means “to share fully” and even if that’s what it means, clearly no child has all of their father’s blood (though some fathers do pass out during child birth).  Rather, if there is an extensive aspect to partaking, it’s the impact on the child rather than what is drawn from.  To give an illustration, it’s not taking a part vs. the whole paint can, but rather spreading the paint over one’s whole body rather than just one’s legs.  So the best Dr. DeHaan can hope for here is that only some of Christ (his legs?) has our blood (not that Christ has only some of our blood or has our flesh but not our blood).

Three exegetical observations move against Dr. DeHaan's understanding of Hebrews 2:14.  First, the author of Hebrews uses metecho in Hebrews 5:13 for babies living on milk and in Hebrews 7:13 for belonging to a tribe.  The sense is not that the babies drink some aspects of the milk but not others or that a person belongs to some aspects of a tribe, but not others.  So metecho does not mean taking some part but leaving other parts as Dr. DeHaan suggests.  Rather, metecho means to participate in.

Second, Hebrews 2:14 is in an ABAB parallel symmetric style emphasizing the unity, not the disunity of the sense of Christ's participation in our flesh and blood.

A Therefore, since the children 
B share in flesh and blood, 
A He Himself likewise also 
B partook of the same. 

Third, the outbound context Hebrews 2:17 states Christ had to be made like us in all things.  There's no trace of the exclusion or limitation in Christ's participation in humanity; the point of the passage is the very opposite.

In short, the passage is teaching something Dr. DeHaan denies, that Christ participated in human flesh and blood; Christ became man to redeem men. 

Back to Dr. Dehaan: Adam’s body was made from the dust of the earth, but God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Since life is in the blood, this act resulted in the formation of blood in Adam’s body, but the first Adam’s blood was corrupted and sin transmitted through it to all mankind. In the last Adam and the second man, new and divine and sinless blood was produced in a body that was the seed of Adam and by this resulted in the production of — DIVINE BLOOD. Conception by the Holy Ghost then was the only way the Virgin Birth could be accomplished. Mary contributed the body of Jesus and He became the "seed of David according to the flesh." The Holy Spirit contributed the Blood of Jesus. It was sinless blood. It was Divine blood. It is Precious Blood for there has never been any other like it...  He became like unto us in all things — SIN only excepted. Like unto us with ONE EXCEPTION  and that exception was that instead of a human father He was conceived by a DIVINE FATHER. As a result biologically, He had DIVINE BLOOD, SINLESS BLOOD. 

The bible speaks of Christ's blood being innocent and precious, but never as being divine blood or ichor as if it were biologically different than human blood.  One wonders if it was Dr. Dehaan's belief in ichor that lead to his belief that human blood is physically sinful or the other way around?  But in any case, in a way Dr. Dehaan is denying Christ's full humanity.  

Sin made human blood corruptible. Soon after death, decay sets in, and it begins in the blood. That is why meat must be drained well of its blood. That is why embalmers place the embalming fluid in the blood. David said that Jesus’ body should "see no corruption." Though He was dead three days and three nights, His body did not corrupt. Because He was sinless they could not put Him to death but instead He "laid down His life voluntarily that He might take it up again." He arose by His own power because death had no claim in HIM except the claim of others’ sin, and when that was paid —

"Death cannot keep his prey, Jesus, my Saviour,
He tore the bars away, Jesus, My Lord.
Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o'er His foes."

Christ's body was human and could die.  His life could not be forcibly taken, not because of the internal properties of his body, but because of Christ's power and control of His external circumstances.

Dr. DeHaan's view mixes Christ's divine and human nature: human body, divine blood.  But the distinction between Christ's divine and human nature is crystal clear on the cross.  His humanity died; His divine nature could not die.  So Dr. DeHaan is trapped in an awkward position.  Did Christ's body died while His blood remained alive?  But the life is in the blood, so did God die or did Christ not really die?  What a mess Dr. DeHaan has made!


bethyada said...

This seems a little odd.

I would think that blood is more symbolic of life than righteousness?

Godismyjudge said...

Hi Bethyada,

Yes, I think that would be more common, but at some points I suppose blood is used as symbolism of cleansing. But of course, Dr. DeHaan's issue is he goes beyond symbolism.

God be with you,

bethyada said...

Interesting, I go beyond symbolism with blood (though in a different way, I hold the symbolism has tangible meaning related to life), yet I still found his position odd.

I suppose I find some of his claims incorrect, such as the male (father) is the source of blood (untrue, as you mention).

And he speculates a lot from the consequences of his belief before he has even established the reasonableness of it.

Godismyjudge said...

Have you ever blogged your views on blood and if so, do you have a link?

God be with you,

bethyada said...

A couple earlier this year.