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Author Topic: The divinity of Christ in His crucifixion  (Read 4492 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: November 28, 2006, 10:32:33 AM »

Do we believe that in the Passion, the divinity of Christ suffered? Please forgive me if this is a silly question.

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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2006, 11:03:38 AM »

Certainly not. Nevertheless, God certainly suffered.

According to Oriental Orthodox Christology, God the Word eternally subsisted according to Divinity consubstantial with the Father. At the Incarnation, God the Word hypostatised Humanity consubstantial with mankind. He thence subsisted according to Perfect Divinity and Perfect Humanity. The practical result of the Hypostatic Union was that the attributes and properties of both Humanity and Divinity were actualised by the One Hypostasis of God the Word; hence the One Incarnate Nature of God the Logos. As a result of this Divine Appropriation of the attributes and properties of Human Nature, Human experience could thence be ascribed to God the Word; thus, the Holy Apostle Paul speaks of the Jews "crucifying the Lord of Glory" (1 Cor. 2:8).

Nevertheless, although God suffered, we must be precise in defining the means by which He suffered. It was due to His hypostatisation and hence appropriation of Human Nature that His suffering was possible, hence we speak of Him suffering in or according to the flesh, as opposed to in or according to His Divinity.

St. Cyril of Alexandria: “God the Word became an example for us in the days of his flesh, but not nakedly or outside the limits of self-emptying.” (On the Unity of Christ)


St. Cyril of Alexandria: "If anyone does not confess that the God the Word suffered in the flesh and was crucified in the flesh and tasted death in the flesh and became the first born of the dead, although as God he is life and life-giving, let him be anathema." (12th Anathema)
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2006, 03:10:07 AM »

It was due to His hypostatisation and hence appropriation of Human Nature that His suffering was possible, hence we speak of Him suffering in or according to the flesh, as opposed to in or according to His Divinity.

Given that deity is spiritual, not physical, it would be impossible for His divinity to have suffered physical torment. But did His divinity suffer emotionally during His crucifixion?

Peace.
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2006, 04:22:08 PM »

Asking that assumes that God can actually get angry or happy or suffer in the same way humans do.  But the Holy Fathers never believed it that way.  When we say "God is angry," it is not the same way as we get angry, but only explains our relationship with God.

Asking that can also assume that Christ as human had no "human" emotion.  To suffer emotionally, like at the prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane, was in a human manner.  Christ was fully human, so God, in "emptying Himself," that is experiencing all things fully human while not diminishing His divinity, grew in wisdom as human, suffered hunger as human, cried as human, died as human, etc.  Suffering emotionally had to be human.

Now, what was the role of the Divinity?  The Hypostatic union "divinizes" everything Christ experienced and did.  Everything that was done as human was blessed and united with the Divinity without any moment of separation, so that everything we do as human is now in communion with Christ, a central part of theosis.  It was the keeping of the phrase "one incarnate nature" that St. Cyril saw its beauty as part of theosis, "partaking of the divine nature," that Antiochians could not see the depth in, in which he characterized the "two nature" phrase as something simple minded people use.

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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2006, 03:16:49 AM »

Thank you for the explanation.
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2006, 03:50:57 AM »

Does this support that the divinity of Christ suffered in His passion? -

"Because he assumed a mortal and corruptible body which, for this reason, was liable to suffer, along with the flesh He made His own His passions as well. While the flesh was suffering, it is affirmed that the Word Himself suffered. In this way we confess that He was crucified, and that He died. When the flesh endured the suffering, the Word was not there by Himself,"
Severus of Antioch

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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2006, 04:05:09 AM »

Matthew, the quote you supply implies the exact opposite; what kind of glasses do you wear when you read man?

P.S. "The Word" is a reference to the metaphysical Person/Hypostasis of Christ; it is not a reference to His Divinity (see John 1:1).
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2006, 05:07:28 AM »

what kind of glasses do you wear when you read man?

Reading glasses. Thank you for the clarification.

Peace.
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2006, 11:20:01 PM »

http://www21.rapidupload.com/d.php?file=dl&filepath=3516

This is the first part of the Syrian Fraction found in many Coptic Liturgical Books (the recording is in fact my own poor attempt to play fake-priest since I couldn't find a recording of it online); it reflects the consistent OO emphasis on the Person of God the Word being the subject of death. The words are:

"Thus truly did the Logos of God suffer in the flesh,
Was slaughtered and humbled on the Cross,
And His soul was separated from His body;
But His Divinity was never separated,
From His soul, nor His body."
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2006, 12:52:19 AM »

http://www21.rapidupload.com/d.php?file=dl&filepath=3516

This is the first part of the Syrian Fraction found in many Coptic Liturgical Books (the recording is in fact my own poor attempt to play fake-priest since I couldn't find a recording of it online); it reflects the consistent OO emphasis on the Person of God the Word being the subject of death. The words are:

"Thus truly did the Logos of God suffer in the flesh,
Was slaughtered and humbled on the Cross,
And His soul was separated from His body;
But His Divinity was never separated,
From His soul, nor His body."


Wasn't there a tradition that the "Syrian Fraction" was actually a fraction by St. Severus?

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2006, 01:37:24 AM »

Not sure; my Fractions Book doesn't mention anything regarding its authorship or origin, except for the fact it was taken from the Syrian Orthodox Liturgy.
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2006, 02:11:43 AM »

I don't have the Liturgy book with me (I wish I took one...sometimes, with no Coptic Church around, I like to pray alone acting as "fake priest"  Grin )

If you have it, I think there are some references in the Liturgy book published by HG Bishop Youssef and HG Bishop Serapion on some prayers (not just Fractions) that have been written by St. Severus.

God bless.

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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2008, 05:16:37 PM »

One big issue I have with the non-Chalcedonian point of view is that Christ could not have died in His Divinity. It is a contradiction. To say that only part of His nature died, then you might as well just say that He has two natures.
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2008, 05:43:09 PM »

I think the phrase that both EO's and OO's agree with is, "One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh."  We can't say that God died, anymore than we can really say that God (without the flesh) was born of a woman, since being born and dying are things that God doesn't do.  However, within the context of the incarnation, it can be said that the Incarnate Son of God was born and that He suffered death on the cross. 

We shouldn't attribute actions to natures.  We shouldn't say that his human nature was born (I've heard Protestants say this) or that or his human nature died.  That is treating his natures as if they were persons.  That is basically what Nestorius did and what St. Cyril condemned.

Rather we should say that the Incarnate Son of God was born, and that the Incarnate Son of God suffered and died on the Cross.  That is something both EO's and OO's agree on.  At least I think it is.  Goodness knows, I am not a theologian.  Someone correct me on this if I am wrong.   Smiley  In any event, I think you will find that EO's and OO's agree on a lot more things than many people realize.
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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2008, 05:48:50 PM »

Rather we should say that the Incarnate Son of God was born, and that the Incarnate Son of God suffered and died on the Cross.  That is something both EO's and OO's agree on.  At least I think it is.  Goodness knows, I am not a theologian.  Someone correct me on this if I am wrong.   Smiley  In any event, I think you will find that EO's and OO's agree on a lot more things than many people realize.

Oh no I agree with you. My point is that if Christ has only one nature, can He really die? That nature we are to assume has characteristics of both the Divine and human, however the Divine of Christ cannot die, in that the Word of God cannot die before the Incarnation. How would the Incarnation change anything? However Christ had a real physical Death, and so how else can we say that He died but then to say His human nature died? This may be an oversimplification of a mystery, however the other result merely leads to unnecessary confusion.
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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2008, 05:51:56 PM »

Oh no I agree with you. My point is that if Christ has only one nature, can He really die? That nature we are to assume has characteristics of both the Divine and human, however the Divine of Christ cannot die, in that the Word of God cannot die before the Incarnation. How would the Incarnation change anything? However Christ had a real physical Death, and so how else can we say that He died but then to say His human nature died? This may be an oversimplification of a mystery, however the other result merely leads to unnecessary confusion.
Are you familiar with the Communication of Idioms?
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« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2008, 05:54:25 PM »

Are you familiar with the Communication of Idioms?

 Huh I'm seriously not trying to argue. I'm searching for the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church.
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« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2008, 05:57:25 PM »

My brain's about to explode.  Whatever happened to "It's a mystery?"

All I know is that attributing different actions to different natures splits Christ up into two persons.  At least that is how St. Cyril saw it.  As indicated above, I most often see this with Protestants.  They don't want to call the Virgin Mary "Mother of God," so I sometimes get people saying that "Mary gave birth to his human nature."  To which I respond:  "I thought St. Mary gave birth to a Baby, who happened to be the Incarnate Word."  Then I bring up Nestorianism, which confuses them, because they don't know who Nestorius is, because their knowledge of Church history is so bad.  It just gets ridiculous.
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« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2008, 06:08:28 PM »

My brain's about to explode.  Whatever happened to "It's a mystery?"

All I know is that attributing different actions to different natures splits Christ up into two persons.  At least that is how St. Cyril saw it.  As indicated above, I most often see this with Protestants.  They don't want to call the Virgin Mary "Mother of God," so I sometimes get people saying that "Mary gave birth to his human nature."  To which I respond:  "I thought St. Mary gave birth to a Baby, who happened to be the Incarnate Word."  Then I bring up Nestorianism, which confuses them, because they don't know who Nestorius is, because their knowledge of Church history is so bad.  It just gets ridiculous.

No I agree with you completely. Actually I got into a similar argument with Protestants and I used Luke 1:43 to prove my point, however they just ignored it, whatever. However my point still stands the Divinity cannot die. Christ died in His humanity, however we can still say that Incarnate Logos died, because He is One Person in Hypostasis.

Quote
"To the same purpose the all-wise Peter also said when he wrote of Christ as having 'suffered in the flesh,' and not in the nature of his ineffable godhead. In order that he should be believed to be the Saviour of all, by an economic appropriation to himself, as just said, he assumed the sufferings of his own Flesh." (St. Cyril of Alexandria; Epistle to John of Antioch)

Quote
"the Son of God is said to have been crucified and buried, since he suffered these things not in the divinity itself whereby the Only-begotten is co-eternal and consubstantial with the Father, but in the weakness of the human nature." (St. Leo the Great of Rome; The Tome of St. Leo)
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« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2008, 07:03:49 PM »

Huh I'm seriously not trying to argue.
Neither am I.  The Communication of Idioms is a Christological concept discussed in Chalcedon--I think it was Pope St. Leo who introduced this idea in his Tome, but I could be wrong.  I'll do some research after I get home tonight so I can describe the concept in greater detail, but the gist of it is as follows:  The union of the two natures in Christ is so tight that whatever Christ does according to His divine nature He does in His humanity, and whatever Christ does according to His human nature He does in His divinity.  His ability to walk on water and feed the 5000 on two loaves and five fish is purely a divine power, yet it was Christ the man who did these.  Hunger is a purely human feeling, yet when Christ hungered as a man, it was God who hungered.
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« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2008, 08:00:23 PM »

Oh thank you. I also dug up this quote as well today. It seems to agree with the Chalcedonian position.

Quote
"For the Word, perceiving that no otherwise could the corruption of men be undone save by death as a necessary condition, while it was impossible for the Word to suffer death, being immortal, and Son of the Father; to this end He takes to Himself a body capable of death, that it, by partaking of the Word Who is above all, might be worthy to die in the stead of all, and might, because of the Word which was come to dwell in it, remain incorruptible, and that thenceforth corruption might be stayed from all by the Grace of the Resurrection." (St. Athanasius; On the Incarnation of the Word 9:1)

Quote
"Now, the Word of God in His man's nature was not like that; for He was not bound to His body, but rather was Himself wielding it, so that He was not only in it, but was actually in everything, and while external to the universe, abode in His Father only. And this was the wonderful thing that He was at once walking as man, and as the Word was quickening all things, and as the Son was dwelling with His Father. So that not even when the Virgin bore Him did He suffer any change, nor by being in the body was [His glory] dulled: but, on the contrary, He sanctified the body also. For not even by being in the universe does He share in its nature, but all things, on the contrary, are quickened and sustained by Him. (St. Athanasius; On the Incarnation of the Word 17:4-6)

Quote
"Accordingly, when inspired writers on this matter speak of Him as eating and being born, understand  that the body, as body, was born, and sustained with food corresponding to its nature, while God, the Word Himself, Who was united with the body, while ordering all things, also by the works He did in the body showed Himself to be not man, but God the Word." (St. Athanasius; On the Incarnation of the Word 18:1)
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« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2008, 08:15:02 PM »

However my point still stands the Divinity cannot die.

I don't see any OO contesting what is a basic tenet of OO Christology.

Quote
It seems to agree with the Chalcedonian position.

That's nice. Nothing St Athanasius has ever said is adverse to the non-Chalcedonian position.

Hmmm...have you posted on this forum before, under a different name, perhaps?

Salpy--don't you think it's time to move this one to the private forums?
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« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2008, 08:25:07 PM »

Given that deity is spiritual, not physical, it would be impossible for His divinity to have suffered physical torment. But did His divinity suffer emotionally during His crucifixion?

Peace.

You don't want to focus & speculate on each Nature tooooo much. Or else you will be in Nestorian Land. The Person Jesus Christ is Fully God and Fully man.

So when talking about this issue, you want to focus on the "Incarnation". Also if you believe in "impassibility" then you will have to rethink through the second part of your question. Or at least think about how you can harmonize the doctrine of "impassibility" with what you said about emotions.


Quote
However my point still stands the Divinity cannot die.

I don't think it's wise to stress this point too much. Why? Because if you believe our spirit is immortal then what's your point? Does your spirit die when you die? Wasn't Jesus alive in Hades for 3 days? And was He not still fully God and Fully man then?

So what's your point?

The one who died on the Cross was still God incarnate.




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« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2008, 09:04:22 PM »


Salpy--don't you think it's time to move this one to the private forums?

If this goes any further in the direction it's heading, I will.  If it doesn't continue in that direction, though, I'd like to keep it in the public forum, as it does have some useful information and discussion.

Our brother Holdencaulfield is going to spend the weekend studying past threads, and so may not feel the need to engage in any more polemics when he is done:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,16556.0.html#lastPost

If he does still feel the need to discuss polemics, this will be moved.   
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« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2008, 09:11:59 PM »

That's nice. Nothing St Athanasius has ever said is adverse to the non-Chalcedonian position.

He does subtly divide things up into different natures. I will look perhaps tomorrow again for another example.
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« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2008, 09:27:31 PM »

Holdencaulfield,

This is supposed to be a discussion on Christ's divinity during the Crucifixion.  If you insist on turning this into a debate on whether St. Athanasius would have been a Chalcedonian, it will go into the private forum.

Another moderator asked you to spend the weekend studying past threads and you have also received advice to just stick to one thread if you have questions about Chalcedon.  This is good advice.  Yesterday you resurrected six old threads and created three new ones, in three different fora, all dealing with Chalcedon and the position of the Oriental Orthodox.  While there is nothing wrong with asking questions about Chalcedon and the OO's, putting these questions in nine different threads is a bit confusing and exhausting for the rest of us. 

Also, a few of your comments and questions have made some of us wonder if you really are just seeking information, or if you want to start (or restart) a polemical debate.  If your intentions are the latter, we will have to start moving your posts into the private forum, for reasons explained to you here:


http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,16536.0.html#lastPost

If you want to start a polemical debate that's fine, but please ask for admission to the private forum.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.
    Smiley

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« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2008, 09:30:44 PM »

Also, a few of your comments and questions have made some of us wonder if you really are just seeking information, or if you want to start (or restart) a polemical debate.  If your intentions are the latter, we will have to start moving your posts into the private forum, for reasons explained to you here:

I know that many people come to this forum just to argue and debate with people, but that's honestly not what I'm trying to do. I'm really just trying to do what I said earlier find the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. I guess I work better by debating which is actually quite unfortunate. I just find it a convenient way to work. I think that I am going to read some more pre-Chalcedonian Fathers to help me on my search. 
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"For better is a laudable war than a peace which severs a man from God" - St Gregory the Theologian
Tags: Chalcedon Christology theopaschism 
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