John Wesley’s (1703-1791) understanding of the relationship between the nature of a man and God directly relates to the concept of salvation. He can be responsible for the ‘revolution’ in the Christian faith. According to him, every human was born with a piece of Christ in himself rather than with free will and orientation towards evil. Within the view on the nature of God as all-loving, Wesley outlines several problems in the judgment.
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For instance, Wesley put forward an opinion that the foreknowledge of the Divine being does not necessarily relate to determinism. Within this perspective, issues that relate to the man’s salvation do not occur because the Divine being has knowledge of the man. On the contrary, God possesses knowledge because matters of personal salvation occur.
The nature of the man within Wesley’s framework is directly related to the notion of sin – a man is a sinful being that needs salvation. According to him, sin is an experience that is universal; furthermore, there is nothing to be done by a human being in order to redeem himself or herself from being sinful. The relationship between a man and Jesus Christ is strongly based on the notion of salvation that entails healing for the man and the pardon from God. The concept of salvation is related to restoring the sinful nature of mankind to the original condition of not being sinful.
On the other hand, Luther’s (1483-1646) opinion on the relationship between the nature of man and the nature of Jesus Christ is much less abstract. Luther’s works were heavily influenced by nominalist tendencies, as according to him scientists should not make any abstract implication that refers to the nature of Jesus Christ as a human. He asserted: “Christ the human being is not prior to the creation of the world.” Luther held a view that the nature of any human being, including the human nature of Jesus Christ, directly depends on each human being individually. Thus, the concepts of “man” and “human being” are equal.
Such a nominalistic critique missed the mark in the sense that it disregards the beliefs in the heavenly nature of Jesus Christ, his “heavenly flesh.” Furthermore, these critiques opposed Schwenckfeld’s views of the flesh of Jesus Christ having no precise characteristics. On the contrary, Schwenckfeld saw the nature of Jesus Christ as a model of human nature that was incomplete and inferior to that of Jesus Christ. To him, the “heavenly flesh” was universal and only true because it was connected to God. In this sense, Luther thought that God could not transform his nature into another being; thus, he saw the nature of Jesus Christ as impersonal and separate from both God and human beings.
To conclude, the ideologies of Luther and Wesley on the subject of the nature of man and Jesus Christ contradict each other. While Wesley proposed a view that every human being was born with a piece of Jesus Christ in him or her, Luther saw the nature of the relationship between a human and Jesus Christ as separate. Furthermore, Luther did not focus on the concept of sin as being the primary link between the relationship between a man and God, a concept strongly advocated by John Wesley.