Having This Ministry
A Digital Newsletter from Living Stream Ministry

Biblical and Ministry Words That We Love: Mingling

Throughout Living Stream Ministry’s publications we use the term mingling to refer both to the union of divinity and humanity in the person of Christ and to the union of Christ and His believers. Our decision to use this term is not without careful consideration, since we are aware of the controversy that surrounds almost any term that attempts to describe the union of God and man. We expect that some will complain that in using the term mingle we fall into the ancient heresy of Eutychianism or extreme monophysitism. Here we wish to make clear our understanding of the union of humanity and divinity in Christ and hopefully dispel any suspicions.


We affirm that in Christ there exists one person (or using strict theological language, one hypostasis) in two natures, the divine and the human. We reject the notion of Apollinaris that only Christ’s higher, rational spirit was divine and that His lower soul and body were human. Instead, we affirm that Christ was perfect God and complete man, possessing a genuine and full human spirit, soul, and body. We reject the notion, labeled (perhaps falsely) Nestorianism, that in Christ there are two persons: one, the Son of God from eternity; and one, the man Jesus in time. Instead, we hold that there is but one person, one hypostasis, of Christ. The one person of Christ is not the single outward presentation of two individual persons (the Son of God and the man Jesus), but truly only one person, who is both fully a human being and fully God and whose identity is the Divine Logos of God. We reject the notion, which is labeled monophysitism and which in its extreme form has been (perhaps falsely) attributed to Eutyches of the fourth century, that through so thorough a union of the divine and the human in Christ, one nature (Gk. mia physis) resulted. Instead, we affirm that both in incarnation and after His resurrection Christ exists in two natures: He is of the same substance with the Father as to His divinity and of the same substance with us as to His humanity. We reject the implied notion of a third, composite nature (a tertium quid) that is neither divine nor human. Instead, we affirm that Christ is both in incarnation and after resurrection fully and distinctly divine and just as fully and distinctly human. Understanding the relationship of the divine and the human in Christ in this way, we feel it is appropriate to describe that relationship as a mingling, even though many Christians today associate the term mingling with Eutychianism and monophysitism. We feel that the association is unwarranted and that the term mingling in fact best describes the relationship of the divine and the human in Christ.

Complaints against mingling will invariably appeal to the Definition of Chalcedon (AD 451), which soundly rejected so thorough a union of the divine and the human in Christ as to eliminate the distinction of the two natures. Chalcedon upholds the truth that Christ exists in two natures, the divine and the human, “inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably.” The first two of these words were directed against Eutychianism, while the last two were directed against Nestorianism. The first term particularly has been commonly misunderstood by today’s Christianity as a warning against mingling. However, the Greek word used (asygchytōs) does not refer to a mere mingling but to a mixing to the point of confusion; hence, it has been translated “inconfusedly.” Our word confusion is from the Latin counterpart of the base Greek word used by the authors of the Definition of Chalcedon. Both the Greek and Latin words come from their respective verbs meaning “to pour together,” with the extended meaning of confusion and loss of identity of the substances so mixed.

However, the term mingling does not bear this connotation. We offer the following evidence for the meaning of the word mingle. From The American Heritage College Dictionary we read: “To mix or bring together in combination, usually without loss of individual characteristics.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary defines mingle as “to bring or combine together or with something else so that the components remain distinguishable in the combination.” In the same dictionary, under the synonym notes following the entry “mix,” we find: “Mingle implies that the elements are distinguishable both before and after combining; the combination is looser and the interpenetration less thorough than with mix >a mixed marriage< >mixed company< but >mingled sensations< >mingled emotions< >a street displaying mingled architectural styles<.” Besides the examples offered in our modern lexical authorities, we can also offer evidence of common usage. Expressions like joy mingled with tears and hope mingled with fear also support our claim that mingling does not refer to a union so thorough that the things mingled lose their identities. It appears that any complaint against the term mingle is without ample cause, unless one brings to the word meanings not supported by our English language authorities and by our own common use.

We wish to suggest that the mingling we speak of in our publications is exactly the mingling we must confess if we are to be aligned with the revelation in the New Testament. Historically, the church has affirmed that from the Scriptures we acknowledge Christ as one person in two natures. Exactly how this can be can never be understood fully. The tack of the Definition of Chalcedon was to describe this union in negative terms, defining what the union of the two natures is not, rather than what it is. Hence, it describes the two natures as existing “inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably.” According to our understanding of the term and according to the ways that we see the term defined and used, mingling refers to a union that exists “inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably”; hence, we feel that we should describe the union of divinity and humanity in Christ as a mingling. We suspect that complaints against it are somewhat motivated by an unbalanced emphasis on the distinction of the natures and de-emphasis on the oneness of the person. To speak of Christ as a mingling is to speak of Him as a unit, a whole with a single identity, while still affirming that there exists in Him distinctions of some sort that do not lose their own particular characteristics; these are His two natures, the divine and the human.

When we use the term mingling to refer to what Christ is, we mean that divinity was brought into humanity by His incarnation and that humanity was brought into divinity by His resurrection. We do not mean that His two natures were dissolved or that He now bears a third nature, neither completely divine nor completely human. Some may argue that we only cause undue misunderstanding by using the term mingling, that such terms are better left alone because they can so easily suggest the ancient heresies. Our insistence on the term mingling is not a mere wrangling of words but a reflection of our resolve to understand and proclaim the truth concerning the person of Christ to the fullest extent possible. We do not shun the revelation of the Bible simply because it can be misunderstood by some who may not be willing to embrace the full revelation concerning the person of Christ and His believers. In the Bible we see a mingling of divinity and humanity in the person of Christ and in the believers of Christ, and so we affirm this mingling.

It is particularly the mingling of the divine nature and the human nature in the believers of Christ that requires evidence from the New Testament. Once the term mingling is understood properly, few orthodox Christians would question the mingling of the divine and human in Christ. However, many Christians may feel that the mingling should not be applied to the believers of Christ. This is unnecessarily cautious, for the New Testament speaks of the union of Christ and His believers in terms that certainly express a mingling. The believers are said to be born of God (John 1:13; 1 John 5:1); and just as there is a mingling of two lives in any birth, there is certainly a mingling of the divine life of God and the human life of the believers in those who have been begotten of God. The believers are also said to be the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 10:17; 12:12-13, 27; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:30; Col. 1:24) with Christ as the Head (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; 5:23; Col. 1:18), and in this Body, Christ is inseparably mingled with His believers. The mingling of Christ and His believers in His Body is so thorough that in one place Paul refers to the Body of Christ as Christ Himself (1 Cor. 12:12). Further, the New Testament often refers to the indwelling of the Spirit in the spirit of the believers in a mingled way. In 1 Corinthians Paul says that “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit” (6:17). The spirit here is not just the regenerated spirit of the believers nor just the indwelling Holy Spirit; rather, the spirit here “indicates the mingling of the Lord as the Spirit with our spirit” (Recovery Version, footnote 1 on 1 Cor. 6:17). Very often the writers of the New Testament speak of the Spirit with our spirit as one mingled spirit, and concerning this we offer this excellent footnote from Brother Witness Lee:

It is difficult to discern the word spirit used in [Romans 8], in Galatians 5, and in other places in the New Testament, unless it is clearly designated to denote God's Holy Spirit or our regenerated human spirit, as in v. 9 and v. 16 of [Romans 8]. According to the usage in the New Testament, the word spirit, as used in [v. 4], denotes our regenerated human spirit indwelt by and mingled with the Spirit, who is the consummation of the Triune God (v. 9). This corresponds with 1 Cor. 6:17, “He who is joined to the Lord [who is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17; 1 Cor. 15:45)] is one spirit”—one mingled spirit. (Recovery Version, footnote 3 on Rom. 8:4)

The union of the Lord as the Spirit with His believers is so complete that only the word mingle does justice to it fully. To speak of it with any other term would diminish the full import of what Christ is to His believers and would detract from the full appreciation and enjoyment of our mystical union with Him.