While debating heretics, early Christians used the Greek term “hypostasis” — meaning “substance” and “subsistence” — to help define their belief in the Incarnation of Jesus as one person, yet with divine and human natures.

This “hypostatic union” is not the kind of subject a comedian typically raises on a TV talk show while chatting about mortality with a Hollywood legend. Then again, Norm Macdonald — who died on Sept. 14 after a secret nine-year fight with cancer — wasn’t a typical funny man. He openly identified as a Christian, while making it clear that he didn’t consider himself a very good one.


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