Son of Man:
For this section, I had to do what I did not do until now, read the original document by HH Pope Shenouda
. The seminarian quoted something that I thought to myself, "did he really say that?" This is what HH wrote in full context:No doubt, the term "Son of Man" denotes the human nature of Christ just as the phrase
"Son of God" denotes His Divinity.
However, our Lord Jesus Christ used the term "Son of Man" on several occasions
where He meant "Son of God" of which I mention a few:
If one has a parent who is "fresh off the boat" as they say, with a heavy accent, one can understand what their parents say even if it may not make sense in English. For instance, my folks say "close the TV" or "close the lights". It makes no sense, and yet I know they really mean "turn off the tv/lights". A funny expression in Arabic was translated literally in English to highlight some translational humor. One of my uncles in Egypt used to tell me "Your night is egg", which in Arabic would mean "Your night is filled with luck." To make an analogy to the above section, a confused man who does not understand all the colloquialisms of English may say "when I mean go to bed, I mean stay awake and go get bed."
These seemingly two contradictory sentences is a result of a "fresh off the boat" style of translation. What the second sentence should be intended to say is that when our Lord Jesus Christ used the term "Son of Man", He would raise its dignity to the level of "Son of God". This is a good example of the communicato idiomatum. Now what HH did not say, I say it now based on OO soteriology. These verses where the Son of Man does things the Son of God does are indications of all human nature being deified in Christ. For inasmuch as He calls Himself "Son of Man", He who is already Son of God by nature, He brings all sons of men into the dignity of His divinity.
1. "even the Son of Man which is in heaven" (John 3:13), is His own title of His deified humanity, and all humanity deified in Him, granting us the promise to ascend to the right hand of the Father and be co-heirs with Him.
2. The interpretation of HH and Archbishop Theophylact of Ohrid is essentially the same thing. To add to this contemplation on Matthew 12:8, we too become co-lords of the Sabbath, being freed from its misuse by the reformation of the Lord, that we can do work on the Sabbath, that is good work. For man was not created for the Sabbath, but Sabbath for the man.
3. "the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins" (Matthew 9:6). Once again, I find no difference between the contemplation of HH and the Damascene. The same principle applies. To add, the power of the keys of heaven, forgiving and remitting sins, was handed down to the Apostles. He gave them a power that can only be described as uncreated. Once again, a verse of deification.
4. "the Son of man will come in the Glory of His Father with His angels" (Matthew 16:27). I like the Palamite contemplation. But I have a bone to pick. When HH wrote "with His angels" meant divine nature, the seminarian seems to accuse HH of teaching some idea that angels are uncreated. My patience seems to be wearing thin at this point with such a stupid red herring. So I am going to let more intelligent minds read the original document and see for themselves in context the point of HH.
Now for my added contemplation, St. Paul did teach, "Do you not know that we will judge angels?" (1 Corinthians 6:3) By deification, when the Christ says the "Son of Man", even we become "co-judges", and we have angels under our authority. As St. Athanasius writes, For because of our relationship to His Body we too have become God's temple, and in consequence are made God's sons, so that even in us the Lord is now worshipped.
(Discourses against the Arians 1.47)
5. Matt 25:31-34...nothing new to add. The Seminarian is just magically and mysteriously being a contrarian without actually being contrary.
6. Matt 26:63-65 and Acts 7:57. The Son of Man sits at the right hand of the Father that we sons of men may also have that uncreated dignity by grace that THE
Son of Man has by nature. As for the quote of Archbishop Theophylact, if I was be a nuisance like the argument concerning "with the angels" earlier, I could take this quote out of context and accuse the good Archbishop of making the human nature consubstantial with the divine nature when he writes, "the Son of Man will be coming not from earth but from heaven." But I am intelligent enough to know that's not what the Archbishop meant. I wish more people would have the same intelligence when analyzing HH's words earlier.
7. Please see numbers 4 and 5
8. Please see number 6Evidence from the Bible:
1. "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17) is the voice of the Father on all those who are baptized in Christ. As St. Athanasius writes, Therefore 'Father' is proper to the Son; and not 'creature,' but 'Son' is proper to the Father. Accordingly this passage also proves, that we are not sons by nature, but the Son who is in us ; and again, that God is not our Father by nature, but of that Word in us, in whom and because of whom we 'cry, Abba, Father' (Galatians 4:6). And so in like manner, the Father calls them sons in whomsoever He sees His own Son, and says, 'I begot.' since begetting is significant of a Son, and making is indicative of the works. And thus it is that we are not begotten first, but made; for it is written, 'Let Us make man Genesis 1:26;' but afterwards, on receiving the grace of the Spirit, we are said thenceforth to be begotten also
(Discourse Against the Arians 2.59) Therefore, when God Father speaks to His INCARNATE
Son and proclaims "this is my beloved Son", we also receive the same proclamation.
The Seminarian continues to write "Interestingly enough Pope Shenouda nowhere quotes any of the passages where Christ clearly manifests His human nature, as for example in Matt 4:1-3, where Jesus hungers and is tempted by the devil. Did this happen in ”one nature” as well? Did the Lord’s fasting inflict hunger and temptation on the Divine Logos? Did the tempter lift up the Divine Logos and carry Him around?" No where did HH deny the humanity of Christ. When He uses these passages and says "One Nature", he is emphasizing both humanity and divinity in unison without any loss of integrity of either humanity or divinity.
But to answer the question to the seminarian, I would say, "Yes, the incarnate Logos did experience fasting, hunger, temptation." Is it not written in the hymn "Omonogenes" that the Second Person of the Trinity was crucified on the Cross? Why is this necessary? Was Christ just LARPing in humanity? No, but these actions are not merely a man, but the deified flesh of God the Word. In partaking of hunger and temptation, He deifies them, and grants us the "fullness and uncreated weapon" of His divinity. As St. Cyril says in his first letter to Succensus, We maintain, therefore, that Christ’s body is divine in so far as it is the body of God, adorned with unspeakable glory, incorruptible, holy, and life-giving; but none of the holy Fathers has ever thought or said that it was transformed into the nature of Godhead, and we have no intention of doing so either.
Likewise, in every human action and experience Christ undergoes, we too become "adorned with unspeakable glory, incorruptible, holy, and life-giving".
2. Jn 1:15, 30: Again, HH did not use this verse to deny the humanity of Christ. As I said before, the Seminarian is just magically and mysteriously being a contrarian without actually being contrary.
3. Jn. 1:18: Nothing really controversial here. Neither HH nor the Seminarian contradict each other.
4. and 5. The few moments where the Seminarian seems to actually understand the English of the translator of HH's works. I feel so overjoyed.
6. 7. and 8. Nothing really controversial here. Neither HH nor the Seminarian contradict each other. Through His humanity, Christ communicates to us His divinity.
We are winding down and getting close to the conclusion of this paper. In my next post, I will discuss the "one will and act" of Christ. I invite you to read another paper I wrote
in response to another more highly qualified contrarian
, a response which Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick had the kindness to publish on his blog
. As is explained, I find nothing different dogmatically between the diotheletism of Maximus the Confessor the miatheletism of our OO Christological tradition. One can say HH is in similar hands, but I will discuss that more in depth another time. Let's just say, once again, this is a good example of simpleton theology in HH's case.
to be continued...