What does it mean when we confess that Jesus has a reasonable soul?
SPROUL: When we say that Jesus has a reasonable soul, we simply mean that touching His human nature, He is a duality. He is body and soul, as all human beings are, and that soul is rational. In that sense, the term “soul” is virtually interchangeable with the word “mind,” and God has created us in His image. God Himself is a rational being, and God has planted within the soul or mind of every creature that He has made in His image the capacity for reasonable discourse and thinking.
I know we live in a time that is one of the most anti-rational and anti-intellectual periods of the history of the church. People love academic pursuits, investigation, and scientific inquiry. But it’s the anti-mind and anti-rational people who think that Aristotle, for example, invented logic. Aristotle didn’t invent logic. God did. Aristotle no more invented logic than Columbus invented America. He discovered and found it.
The late Christian philosopher, Gordon Clark, translates John 1:1—“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,” and so on (in Greek, En archē ein ho logos)—he translates it, “In the beginning was logic, and logic was with God, and logic was God.” The sense is that rationality has its foundation in the divine mind itself and that that rationality is a communicable attribute of God—that in His creatures, we also have the capacity for reasonable thinking.
MACARTHUR: But don’t you think that it’s also trying to say that He was not a human shell with only a divine mind?
SPROUL: He had a human mind, with all the limitations of human thinking. Touching His human nature, He was not omniscient. Touching His divine nature, He was absolutely omniscient. We can’t separate those; but we must distinguish them, or else all kinds of mischief takes place.
MACARTHUR: Fully God, fully man, with all the reasonableness of man.
SPROUL: Well, I prefer “truly God and truly man,” because it can be confused. When you say that Jesus was fully God and fully man, if you mean that that one person was absolutely, totally God, and that’s all, then you would deny His humanity. Or if you say He was fully man, then there’s no room for His deity. That’s why we like to say vera homo, vera Deus: “Truly God, truly man.” You’re with me on that.
Lightly edited for readability, this is a transcript of John MacArthur’s and R.C Sproul’s answers given at our 2017 National Conference. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.