Author Topic: The Two Natures of Christ  (Read 1770 times)

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Offline Keightlynn

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The Two Natures of Christ
« on: December 17, 2006, 04:31:05 PM »
I'm currently reading Ware's "The Orthodox Church" and I'm on the section about the councils.  I'm sort of confused about the issues with Christ's two natures.  How is it that He can have two wills? I know He is both God and human, but what does it mean to have two natures in one person? I emailed my SF about this, but as it's the Christmas season, I don't know if he will be able to get back to me anytime soon. 

Any good links that explain this better? Or just any good explainations you have?

Thanks!

Keightlynn

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: The Two Natures of Christ
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2006, 05:29:05 PM »
what does it mean to have two natures in one person?
Considering it has only happened only ever once in human history, your question is understandable.
I know He is both God and human,
That's correct, however Christ wasn't "half man half God", rather He was fully Human and fully God. To be fully human, He must have a complete Human Nature and to be fully God, He must have a complete Divine Nature. Now, these Two Natures, Divine and Human must be distinct, otherwise, if they become confused and melded , we end up with a third type of Nature which is neither soley Human nor Divine, but a combination of the two in One Nature (Monophysitism), and thwerefore, Christ would neither share the same Human Nature as us, nor the same Divine Nature as the Father and the Holy Spirit; but rather, would have a Nature unique to Himself.  So the Two Natures are distinct, yet Christ is One Person, not two. Christ was the same Person before and after His incarnation, not "two different Persons". Before the Incarnation, Christ had only the Divine Nature which can never change. At the Incarnation, the One Person of Christ accepted and took on a Human Nature also. Thus He remains One Person Who is both fully Divine and fully Human. A complete Human Nature requires a Human Will, and a complete Divine Nature requires a Divine Will. Christ's Human Will was conformed to His Divine Will, but they were still Two Wills.
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Offline Keightlynn

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Re: The Two Natures of Christ
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2006, 05:38:03 PM »
Thanks for your response.  It's quite something to wrap my mind around! So He had two wills, but the two wills were the same? I guess that's the area I was most confused with. When they said two wills, I thought that meant they were somehow in opposition to each other if they were distinct....

These issues, I suspect, are beyond my very human mind.....

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: The Two Natures of Christ
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2006, 05:43:08 PM »
When you, Keightlyn, do God's Will, your Human Will is not in opposition to the Divine Will, but is conformed to it. Yet your will remains your will and God's Will remains God's Will. Two distinct wills operating in harmony.
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Offline Matthew777

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Re: The Two Natures of Christ
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2006, 04:27:13 AM »
In case I am not mistaken, Oriental Orthodoxy holds that Christ has one perfect divine-human will, with the human will subject to the divine.
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Offline jmbejdl

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Re: The Two Natures of Christ
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2006, 09:19:57 AM »
In case I am not mistaken, Oriental Orthodoxy holds that Christ has one perfect divine-human will, with the human will subject to the divine.

I'm pretty sure you are mistaken, as I remember reading that OOs rejected monothelitism just as we do, and one divine-human will would, indeed, be monothelitism. I'll wait for input from an OO to either confirm or refute this, though.

James
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: The Two Natures of Christ
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2006, 08:49:44 PM »
I don't want to turn this into a debate, since this is not the appropriate place.

I only wish to clarify.

We believe in one will insomuch as this is interpreted like we are at one will with God.  However, a distinction remains between the human will and the divine will.  The phrase "one will" emphasizes the deep hypostatic union between the human and divine wills, just as the phrase "one nature" emphasizes the deep hypostatic union between the human and divine natures, while understanding that we do not mix or change the natures and wills.

And if one reads the Greek, it is not "monophysis" or "monotheles" that we believe, but "mia-physis" and "mia-theles."  We reject Mono-, and we embrace Mia-.

So "one divine-human will" is not necessarily monotheletism unless you understand what that person means by it.

God bless.

Mina
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Offline Salpy

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Re: The Two Natures of Christ
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2006, 09:16:20 PM »
Yes, when we OO's use the word "one" to describe His nature or will, I've been told we don't mean a numerical one, but a united one.

I agree with Mina, however, that this is not the forum to debate the terminology.

Also, for those thinking about converting to Orthodoxy, getting caught up in the debate over terminology that the EO's and OO's use is not a useful thing, but a distraction.  If you are attending an EO church, the explaination given by Ozgeorge tells you how the "two natures/wills" terminology works out.  If you are attending an OO church, Mina's explaination tells you how the OO's work it out by saying "one nature/will."

Just know that Christ is one person, Who is fully divine and fully human. 

Offline jmbejdl

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Re: The Two Natures of Christ
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2006, 03:37:26 AM »
Thanks Salpy and Mina,

I didn't want to debate anything, just wanted some clarification as Matthew's terminology sounded rather off. I happen to be one of those EOs that can't see any difference, other than the terms used, between your Christology and ours but if what Matthew had said were correct (at least, assuming he meant it the way it reads) then I would have to change this opinion. I hope you understand what I mean. That's why I wanted someone knowledgeable on the OO side to confirm their position.

James
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: The Two Natures of Christ
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2006, 04:01:21 AM »
And if one reads the Greek
I do. And I think that using "mia" does not make things any clearer, because "mia" is just as singlar as "mono". In the Creed we say that we believe "In One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church", which in the Greek is "eis mian agian katholiki kai apostoliki ekklessia". The Singularity of the Church is not the result of a "union" of a multiplicity of Churches, there has always only ever been "One (Mia) Church".
I'm not debating your Christology, I'm debating your use of Greek to describe it.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: The Two Natures of Christ
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2006, 11:28:03 AM »
I think "Mono" means "only."  So when we see "o-mono-genis," it means "Only-Begotten"

"Mia" does mean "one," and usually this "one" has to be clarified to see what it truly means.

So, I think you're right concerning "Mia," but just wanted to say that "Mono" physis would definately mean some sort of essence, as if this is the ONLY nature Christ had, something that we tend to avoid.

God bless.

Mina
« Last Edit: December 19, 2006, 11:29:25 AM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.