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Author Topic: Christ became Man?  (Read 5991 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: April 10, 2008, 06:02:06 PM »

Dear folks,

I have yet another question re. Chalcedon dogmat.

Here's what I found on my GOA doctrinal page:

"Humanity and divinity are hypostatically united together: the two natures exist in the one person of the Word who became flesh, a divine person (or hypostasis). Christ exists "in two natures," without being of two natures; the two natures exist united together "without confusion, without change, without division, without separation." (Council of Chalcedon). The first two adverbs are addressed against the heresy of Eutyches and the monophysites who confused the natures and the last two against the Nestorians, who separated and divided humanity and divinity in Christ." http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8038.asp

Now, my question is: why is the present tense used in this paragraph? Here, and elsewhere on the page, I just could not find the statement that Christ BECAME human, that He ASSUMED humanity at a certain point of time, meaning that He had not had this humanity, this human "ousia" before.

Is there a special reason for not putting this on the doctrinal page? Again, my opponent from "Maidan" argues all the time that it is impossible for God to "assume" humanity. It is impossible for God to become something that He was not before. This would change the fundamental notion of God being unchangeable.

So, is it doctrinally correct to say that Christ at some point of time existed in ONE "ousia," divine? And then assumed the human "ousia" and joined these two "ousias" in one hypostasis?

Thanks,

G.
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2008, 06:46:40 PM »

"Impossible" for God? What a concept...
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2008, 06:48:55 PM »

"Impossible" for God? What a concept...

I agree, everything is possible for God, even to die. But I don't see it stated with all clarity on the GOA page that Christ WAS one "ousia" (Divine) *before* His incarnation. Why is that?
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2008, 06:54:40 PM »

Unnecessary speculation?
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2008, 10:22:33 PM »

I agree, everything is possible for God, even to die. But I don't see it stated with all clarity on the GOA page that Christ WAS one "ousia" (Divine) *before* His incarnation. Why is that?
Because he was one substance with the father.
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2008, 10:47:59 PM »

Again, my opponent from "Maidan" argues all the time that it is impossible for God to "assume" humanity. It is impossible for God to become something that He was not before. This would change the fundamental notion of God being unchangeable.
IIRC, such logic was indeed the very reason why the heresiarch Nestorius taught his "two persons" Christology.  It was impossible for him to wrap his mind around the paradox that the unchangeable God could become something He was not before.
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2008, 10:48:57 PM »

Now, my question is: why is the present tense used in this paragraph? Here, and elsewhere on the page, I just could not find the statement that Christ BECAME human, that He ASSUMED humanity at a certain point of time, meaning that He had not had this humanity, this human "ousia" before.

Because this is assumed knowledge spelled out in the Symbol of Faith:

1)  ΚΑΊ ΕΊΣ ΕΝΑ ΚΎΡΙΟΝ, ΊΗΣΟΎΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΌΝ,
2)  ΤΌΝ ΥΙΌΝ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΎ
3)  ΤΌΝ ΜΟΝΟΓΕΝΉ,
4)  ΤΌΝ ΕΚ ΤΟΥ ΠΑΤΡΌΣ ΓΕΝΝΗΘΈΝΤΑ ΠΡΌ ΠΆΝΤΩΝ ΤΏΝ ΑΙΏΝΩΝ.
5)  ΦΏΣ ΕΚ ΦΩΤΌΣ,
6)  ΘΕΌΝ ΑΛΗΘΙΝΌΝ ΕΚ ΘΕΟΎ ΑΛΗΘΙΝΟΎ
7)  ΓΕΝΝΗΘΈΝΤΑ, ΟΎ ΠΟΙΗΘΈΝΤΑ,
8 ) ὉΜΟΟΎΣΙΟΝ ΤΏ ΠΑΤΡΊ,
9)  ΔΙ’ ΟΎ ΤΆ ΠΆΝΤΑ ΕΓΈΝΕΤΟ.
10) ΤΌΝ ΔΙ’ ΗΜΆΣ ΤΟΎΣ ΑΝΘΡΏΠΟΥΣ ΚΑΊ ΔΙΆ ΤΉΝ ΗΜΕΤΈΡΑΝ ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑΝ
11) ΚΑΤΕΛΘΌΝΤΑ ΕΚ ΤΏΝ ΟΥΡΑΝΏΝ
12) ΚΑΊ ΣΑΡΚΩΘΈΝΤΑ ΕΚ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟΣ ‘ΑΓΊΟΥ ΚΑΊ ΜΑΡΊΑΣ ΤΉΣ ΠΑΡΘΈΝΟΥ
13) ΚΑΊ ΕΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΉΣΑΝΤΑ.

1)  AND IN ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST,
2)  THE SON OF GOD,
3)  THE ONLY BEGOTTEN,
4)  BEGOTTON OF THE FATHER BEFORE ALL AGES.
5)  LIGHT FROM LIGHT
6)  TRUE GOD FROM TRUE GOD,
7)  BEGOTTEN NOT MADE/CREATED
8 ) CONSUBSTANTIAL (OF THE SAME ESSENCE) AS THE FATHER,
9)  BEGOTTEN BEFORE ALL AGES
10) THE ONE WHO FOR US HUMANS AND FOR OUR SALVATION,
11) HE DESCENDED FROM THE HEAVENS
12) AND BECAME INCARNATE OF THE SPIRIT HOLY (HOLY SPIRIT) AND THE VIRGIN MARY
13) AND WAS EN-HUMANED (MADE HUMAN)
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2008, 07:27:53 AM »

Unnecessary speculation?

Saying clearly that Christ had one ousia at some point of linear time, and then, without dropping this ousia, assumed the other ousia - is this an unnecessary speculation?
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2008, 07:30:11 AM »

Because this is assumed knowledge spelled out in the Symbol of Faith:

1)  ΚΑΊ ΕΊΣ ΕΝΑ ΚΎΡΙΟΝ, ΊΗΣΟΎΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΌΝ,
2)  ΤΌΝ ΥΙΌΝ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΎ
3)  ΤΌΝ ΜΟΝΟΓΕΝΉ,
4)  ΤΌΝ ΕΚ ΤΟΥ ΠΑΤΡΌΣ ΓΕΝΝΗΘΈΝΤΑ ΠΡΌ ΠΆΝΤΩΝ ΤΏΝ ΑΙΏΝΩΝ.
5)  ΦΏΣ ΕΚ ΦΩΤΌΣ,
6)  ΘΕΌΝ ΑΛΗΘΙΝΌΝ ΕΚ ΘΕΟΎ ΑΛΗΘΙΝΟΎ
7)  ΓΕΝΝΗΘΈΝΤΑ, ΟΎ ΠΟΙΗΘΈΝΤΑ,
8 ) ὉΜΟΟΎΣΙΟΝ ΤΏ ΠΑΤΡΊ,
9)  ΔΙ’ ΟΎ ΤΆ ΠΆΝΤΑ ΕΓΈΝΕΤΟ.
10) ΤΌΝ ΔΙ’ ΗΜΆΣ ΤΟΎΣ ΑΝΘΡΏΠΟΥΣ ΚΑΊ ΔΙΆ ΤΉΝ ΗΜΕΤΈΡΑΝ ΣΩΤΗΡΊΑΝ
11) ΚΑΤΕΛΘΌΝΤΑ ΕΚ ΤΏΝ ΟΥΡΑΝΏΝ
12) ΚΑΊ ΣΑΡΚΩΘΈΝΤΑ ΕΚ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟΣ ‘ΑΓΊΟΥ ΚΑΊ ΜΑΡΊΑΣ ΤΉΣ ΠΑΡΘΈΝΟΥ
13) ΚΑΊ ΕΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΉΣΑΝΤΑ.

1)  AND IN ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST,
2)  THE SON OF GOD,
3)  THE ONLY BEGOTTEN,
4)  BEGOTTON OF THE FATHER BEFORE ALL AGES.
5)  LIGHT FROM LIGHT
6)  TRUE GOD FROM TRUE GOD,
7)  BEGOTTEN NOT MADE/CREATED
8 ) CONSUBSTANTIAL (OF THE SAME ESSENCE) AS THE FATHER,
9)  BEGOTTEN BEFORE ALL AGES
10) THE ONE WHO FOR US HUMANS AND FOR OUR SALVATION,
11) HE DESCENDED FROM THE HEAVENS
12) AND BECAME INCARNATE OF THE SPIRIT HOLY (HOLY SPIRIT) AND THE VIRGIN MARY
13) AND WAS EN-HUMANED (MADE HUMAN)

But there is no indication in the Creed that there was a time when Christ had ONE Divine ousia. "Became man" can mean that He assumed a human body, but He nonetheless had ALREADY existed in two ousias, Divine AND human. Ousia is not exactly the same as body, right?
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2008, 07:53:43 AM »

Saying clearly that Christ had one ousia at some point of linear time, and then, without dropping this ousia, assumed the other ousia - is this an unnecessary speculation?

It is for me.
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2008, 08:46:28 AM »

But there is no indication in the Creed that there was a time when Christ had ONE Divine ousia. "Became man" can mean that He assumed a human body, but He nonetheless had ALREADY existed in two ousias, Divine AND human. Ousia is not exactly the same as body, right?

Ousia means being. Human nature doesn't have a Ousia. If it did, it would be able to exist without God.
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2008, 08:52:15 AM »

Ousia means being. Human nature doesn't have a Ousia. If it did, it would be able to exist without God.

Yes, humanity does have a ousia. Read St. John of Damascus.  Tongue
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2008, 08:55:09 AM »

But there is no indication in the Creed that there was a time when Christ had ONE Divine ousia. "Became man" can mean that He assumed a human body, but He nonetheless had ALREADY existed in two ousias, Divine AND human. Ousia is not exactly the same as body, right?

In addition to being an Origenist, your opponent appears to be a monophysite of the Eutychian variety. Or rather, he is a docetist.

Ousia by itself is not a body, because ousia does not actually exist outside of a hypostasis. But inside the hypostasis, it is necessarily individuated. The human ousia never existed accept as individuated body and soul. The Word did not have a human ousia before he had a human body and soul. Hope that makes sense.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2008, 08:58:25 AM by Symeon » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2008, 09:15:18 AM »

Yes, humanity does have a ousia. Read St. John of Damascus.  Tongue
Could you quote him?
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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2008, 01:27:08 PM »

Here, I found something in St. John of D.:

"The angel of the Lord was sent to the holy Virgin, who was descended from David's line(1). Far it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah, of which tribe no one turned his attention to the altar(2), as the divine apostle said: but about this we will speak more accurately later. And bearing glad tidings to her, he said, Hail thou highly favoured one, the Lord is with thee(3). And she was troubled at his word, and the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God, and shalt bring forth a Son and shalt call His name Jesus(4); for He shall save His people from their sins(5). Hence it comes that Jesus has the interpretation Saviour. And when she asked in her perplexity, How can this be, seeing I know not a man(6)? the angel again answered her, The Holy Spirit shall came upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee(7) shall be called the Son of God. And she said to him, Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to Thy word(9).
So then, after the assent of the holy Virgin, the Holy Spirit descended on her, according to the word of the Lord which the angel spoke, purifying her(1), and granting her power to receive the divinity of the Word, and likewise power to bring forth(2). And then was she overshadowed(3) by the enhypostatic Wisdom and Power of the most high God, the Son of God Who is of like essence with the Father as of Divine seed, and from her holy and most pure blood He formed flesh animated with the spirit of reason and thought, the first-fruits of our compound nature(4): not by procreation but by creation through the Holy Spirit: not developing the fashion of the body by gradual additions but perfecting it at once, He Himself, the very Word of God, standing to the flesh in the relation of subsistence. For the divine Word was not made one with flesh that had an independent pre-existence(5), but taking up His abode in the womb of the holy Virgin, He unreservedly in His own subsistence took upon Himself through the pure blood of the eternal Virgin a body of flesh animated with the spirit of reason and thought, thus assuming to Himself the first-fruits of man's compound nature, Himself, the Word, having become a subsistence in the flesh. So that(6) He is at once flesh, and at the same time flesh of God the Word, and likewise flesh animated, possessing both reason and thought(7). Wherefore we speak not of man as having become God, but of God as having become Man. For being by nature perfect God, He naturally became likewise perfect Man: and did not change His nature nor make the dispensation(9) an empty show, but became, without confusion or change or division, one in subsistence with the flesh, which was conceived of the holy Virgin, and animated with reason and thought, and had found existence in Him, while He did not change the nature of His divinity into the essence of flesh, nor the essence of flesh into the nature of His divinity, and did not make one compound nature out of His divine nature and the human nature He had assumed(1)."

http://www.orthodox.net/fathers/exactiii.html#BOOK_III_CHAPTER_II

Welll... I am still not sure how to use this to refute my opponent who claims that Christ's humanity has nothing in common with our present humanity. Damascene says that The Word formed a kind of human flesh, not actually taking anything from His human ancestor, the Theotokos, but creating His own flesh from nothing and using Her as merely an "abode." Besides, nothing from the above passage disporoves my opponent's other idea, the one that in Heaven there is no yesterday or today or tomorrow, so it just cannot be that Christ in Heaven was at any "timepoint" NOT the God-Man He is now (because there aren't any "timepoints" up there).
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« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2008, 01:31:21 PM »

"Became man" can mean that He assumed a human body...

No.

First, no author in the first through fourth centuries that I can think of ever used "anthropos" to mean a body. Thus, no basis in usage.

Second, many tended to go the OPPOSITE direction. "Anthropos", and related adjectives and participles, could be used to describe the spiritualized essence of humanity.

Third, what author or early interpreter of the Creed indicated that such is what ΕΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΉΣΑΝΤΑ means? None that I can think of. Thus, authorial intent does not leave open the option that that ΕΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΉΣΑΝΤΑ could mean "assume a human body".

In fact, that's the role of ΣΑΡΚΩΘΈΝΤΑ, which has to do with Christ becoming human physically (i.e. with flesh, with a body); while ΕΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΉΣΑΝΤΑ has to do with assuming that which is humanity, i.e. human nature.
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« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2008, 01:53:32 PM »

I think we need to put this in the context of God not being bound by time.  From the beginning God knew that man would fall and He knew how He would save man (I am speaking from the standpoint of a man) and had already decided to become incarnate of the Spirit and the Virgin Mary and become Man.  So to refute the argument that God changed, maybe God always had his human aspect from before all creation from His perspective but from our perspective it seemed to have had a starting point.

I'm not referencing any scripture or Father here, or even stating that this is my belief; I'm just attempting to give a rational explanation for something which is esentially beyond my ability (and mankind's ability) to comprehend in it fullest.
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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2008, 03:25:53 PM »

No.

First, no author in the first through fourth centuries that I can think of ever used "anthropos" to mean a body. Thus, no basis in usage.

Second, many tended to go the OPPOSITE direction. "Anthropos", and related adjectives and participles, could be used to describe the spiritualized essence of humanity.

Third, what author or early interpreter of the Creed indicated that such is what ΕΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΉΣΑΝΤΑ means? None that I can think of. Thus, authorial intent does not leave open the option that that ΕΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΉΣΑΝΤΑ could mean "assume a human body".

In fact, that's the role of ΣΑΡΚΩΘΈΝΤΑ, which has to do with Christ becoming human physically (i.e. with flesh, with a body); while ΕΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΉΣΑΝΤΑ has to do with assuming that which is humanity, i.e. human nature.

Very well said. He became human physically in one hypostasis. That doesn't mean that all of nature is included. That is why orthodoxy has a visible Church. The Church is his actual body. That which is included in his hypostasis.
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« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2008, 03:29:43 PM »

Welll... I am still not sure how to use this to refute my opponent who claims that Christ's humanity has nothing in common with our present humanity. Damascene says that The Word formed a kind of human flesh, not actually taking anything from His human ancestor, the Theotokos, but creating His own flesh from nothing and using Her as merely an "abode."  Besides, nothing from the above passage disporoves my opponent's other idea, the one that in Heaven there is no yesterday or today or tomorrow, so it just cannot be that Christ in Heaven was at any "timepoint" NOT the God-Man He is now (because there aren't any "timepoints" up there).

The statement above is not orthodox at all.  They fly completely in the face of the Divine Services for the Feast of the Annunciation.

from Vespers, Stichera at Psalm 140
Then the bodiless angel replied:
When God so wills, the order of nature is overcome,
and what is beyond mankind comes to pass.
Believe that my sayings are true,
all-holy and immaculate Lady.
And she cried aloud:
Let it be to me according to your word,
and I shall bear Him Who is without flesh, Who shall borrow flesh from me,
that through this mingling He may lead mankind up to its ancient glory,//
for He alone has power so to do!

Gabriel the archangel was sent from heaven
to announce to the Virgin the glad tidings of her conceiving;
coming to Nazareth he pondered in amazement at this wonder:
How shall He Who dwells in the heights,
Whom none can comprehend, be born of a Virgin?
How shall He whose throne is heaven, and whose footstool is the earth,
be held in the womb of a woman?
He upon whom the six-winged seraphim and the many-eyed cherubim cannot gaze
has been pleased at a single word to be made flesh of this His creature!
It is the Word of God Who dwells in her.
Why then, do I stand here, and not say to the Maiden:
Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you!
Rejoice, pure Virgin!
Rejoice, unwedded Bride!
Rejoice, Mother of life!//
Blessed is the fruit of your womb!

from Vespers Aposticha:
The Theotokos heard the mysterious voice                                
as the archangel announced the words of glad tidings.                    
When she accepted this salutation                                        
she conceived You, the eternal God, in her womb.                        
Therefore we cry out with joy:                                          
Unchanging God Who took flesh from her://                              
Grant peace to the world and to our souls, great mercy!  

from Matins, the Canon of the Annunciation, Ode 8
                          Holy Virgin, replied the Angel,
                  You tell me of the usual manner in which men are born.
                  But I tell you of the birth of the true God!
                  In ways that He alone knows, beyond words and understanding,
                  He shall take flesh of you.
                  Therefore, I cry rejoicing:
                  All works of the Lord, bless the Lord!


It also makes one question the idea of calling Joachim and Anna the "ancestors of God" as they are repeatedly called in the Divine Services.  How can one call the parents of the Theotokos such unless Christ took flesh from their daughter?

Your opponents would do well to read all the services of the Annunciation, I think.
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« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2008, 03:42:30 PM »

But there is no indication in the Creed that there was a time when Christ had ONE Divine ousia. "Became man" can mean that He assumed a human body, but He nonetheless had ALREADY existed in two ousias, Divine AND human. Ousia is not exactly the same as body, right?
8 ) ὉΜΟΟΎΣΙΟΝ ΤΏ ΠΑΤΡΊ,
8 ) CONSUBSTANTIAL (OF THE SAME ESSENCE) AS THE FATHER,

Then,
11) ΚΑΤΕΛΘΌΝΤΑ ΕΚ ΤΏΝ ΟΥΡΑΝΏΝ
12) ΚΑΊ ΣΑΡΚΩΘΈΝΤΑ ΕΚ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟΣ ‘ΑΓΊΟΥ ΚΑΊ ΜΑΡΊΑΣ ΤΉΣ ΠΑΡΘΈΝΟΥ
13) ΚΑΊ ΕΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΉΣΑΝΤΑ.
11) HE DESCENDED FROM THE HEAVENS
12) AND BECAME INCARNATE OF THE SPIRIT HOLY (HOLY SPIRIT) AND THE VIRGIN MARY
13) AND WAS EN-HUMANED (MADE HUMAN)
(meaning, he was not en-humaned up to that point).
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« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2008, 04:37:46 PM »

8 ) ὉΜΟΟΎΣΙΟΝ ΤΏ ΠΑΤΡΊ,
8 ) CONSUBSTANTIAL (OF THE SAME ESSENCE) AS THE FATHER,

Then,
11) ΚΑΤΕΛΘΌΝΤΑ ΕΚ ΤΏΝ ΟΥΡΑΝΏΝ
12) ΚΑΊ ΣΑΡΚΩΘΈΝΤΑ ΕΚ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟΣ ‘ΑΓΊΟΥ ΚΑΊ ΜΑΡΊΑΣ ΤΉΣ ΠΑΡΘΈΝΟΥ
13) ΚΑΊ ΕΝΑΝΘΡΩΠΉΣΑΝΤΑ.
11) HE DESCENDED FROM THE HEAVENS
12) AND BECAME INCARNATE OF THE SPIRIT HOLY (HOLY SPIRIT) AND THE VIRGIN MARY
13) AND WAS EN-HUMANED (MADE HUMAN)
(meaning, he was not en-humaned up to that point).


Thanks again, George. Yes, to me it sounds very convincing, but for him - not really. Same argument: "anantropesanta" means acquired flesh (created from nothing, and sinful at that - see Rom. 8:3), but it does not mean two natures having any start, because it's still one nature, and He was human from the beginning, before all ages, etc. etc. etc. ...
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« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2008, 04:38:37 PM »

Ousia means being. Human nature doesn't have a Ousia. If it did, it would be able to exist without God.
IIRC, the Fathers of Orthodox Triadology and Christology defined ousia to mean "essence or nature" (three distinct hypostases one in ousia and undivided; two ousias united perfectly in one hypostasis without confusion, distortion or division, etc.).  Therefore, in fact, human nature IS an ousia, the ousia (or essence) of man.  You are correct, however, to say that man does not have an independent ousia that can exist without God.
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« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2008, 04:39:53 PM »

Very well said. He became human physically in one Hypothesis. That doesn't mean that all of nature is included. That is why orthodoxy has a visible Church. The Church is his actual body. That which is included in his hypothesis.
1.  From which Father do you get these ideas?
2.  I think the word you want to use is hypostasisHypothesis really belongs to the field of scientific research and experimentation and, in the field of theology, is more akin to the definition of theolougemon.
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« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2008, 04:40:52 PM »

The statement above is not orthodox at all.  They fly completely in the face of the Divine Services for the Feast of the Annunciation.

from Vespers, Stichera at Psalm 140
Then the bodiless angel replied:
When God so wills, the order of nature is overcome,
and what is beyond mankind comes to pass.
Believe that my sayings are true,
all-holy and immaculate Lady.
And she cried aloud:
Let it be to me according to your word,
and I shall bear Him Who is without flesh, Who shall borrow flesh from me,
that through this mingling He may lead mankind up to its ancient glory,//
for He alone has power so to do!

Gabriel the archangel was sent from heaven
to announce to the Virgin the glad tidings of her conceiving;
coming to Nazareth he pondered in amazement at this wonder:
How shall He Who dwells in the heights,
Whom none can comprehend, be born of a Virgin?
How shall He whose throne is heaven, and whose footstool is the earth,
be held in the womb of a woman?
He upon whom the six-winged seraphim and the many-eyed cherubim cannot gaze
has been pleased at a single word to be made flesh of this His creature!
It is the Word of God Who dwells in her.
Why then, do I stand here, and not say to the Maiden:
Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you!
Rejoice, pure Virgin!
Rejoice, unwedded Bride!
Rejoice, Mother of life!//
Blessed is the fruit of your womb!

from Vespers Aposticha:
The Theotokos heard the mysterious voice                                
as the archangel announced the words of glad tidings.                    
When she accepted this salutation                                        
she conceived You, the eternal God, in her womb.                        
Therefore we cry out with joy:                                          
Unchanging God Who took flesh from her://                              
Grant peace to the world and to our souls, great mercy!  

from Matins, the Canon of the Annunciation, Ode 8
                          Holy Virgin, replied the Angel,
                  You tell me of the usual manner in which men are born.
                  But I tell you of the birth of the true God!
                  In ways that He alone knows, beyond words and understanding,
                  He shall take flesh of you.
                  Therefore, I cry rejoicing:
                  All works of the Lord, bless the Lord!


It also makes one question the idea of calling Joachim and Anna the "ancestors of God" as they are repeatedly called in the Divine Services.  How can one call the parents of the Theotokos such unless Christ took flesh from their daughter?

Your opponents would do well to read all the services of the Annunciation, I think.


Schultz, brother, thanks a bunch. Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2008, 04:45:35 PM »

Thanks again, George. Yes, to me it sounds very convincing, but for him - not really. Same argument: "anantropesanta" means acquired flesh (created from nothing, and sinful at that - see Rom. 8:3), but it does not mean two natures having any start, because it's still one nature, and He was human from the beginning, before all ages, etc. etc. etc. ...
But this is Monophysitism. It would mean that Christ has a unique nature which is both different from the Father (in that the Father does not have a human nature), as well as different from us (because Christ's Human Nature is beginningless and Uncreated unlike ours). In effect, it would mean that Christ is neither Man nor God. He would be neither homoousios with the Father, nor with humanity.
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« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2008, 04:46:03 PM »

1.  From which Father do you get these ideas?
2.  I think the word you want to use is hypostasisHypothesis really belongs to the field of scientific research and experimentation and, in the field of theology, is more akin to the definition of theolougemon.
Sorry Peter. You are correct.
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« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2008, 04:51:33 PM »

IIRC, the Fathers of Orthodox Triadology and Christology defined ousia to mean "essence or nature" (three distinct hypostases one in ousia and undivided; two ousias united perfectly in one hypostasis without confusion, distortion or division, etc.).  Therefore, in fact, human nature IS an ousia, the ousia (or essence) of man.  You are correct, however, to say that man does not have an independent ousia that can exist without God.
  Within the god head only. Man doesn't posses an ousia.
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« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2008, 05:05:51 PM »

Man doesn't posses an ousia.
The Orthodox Church disagrees with you.
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« Reply #28 on: April 11, 2008, 09:10:18 PM »

The Orthodox Church disagrees with you.

The following is a quotation from St. Gregory Palamas' "Third Letter to Akindynos":
Quote
"According to the divine Maximus, the Logos of well-being, by grace is present unto the worthy, bearing God, Who is by nature above all beginning and end, Who makes those who by nature have a beginning and an end become by grace without beginning and without end, because the Great Paul also, no longer living the life in time, but the divine and eternal life of the indwelling Logos, became by grace without beginning and without end; and Melchisedek had neither beginning of days, nor end of life, not because of his created nature [i.e., his essence], according to which he began and ceased to exist, but because of the divine and uncreated and eternal grace which is above all nature and time, being from the eternal God. Paul, therefore, was created only as long as he lived the life created from non-being by the command of God. But when he no longer lived this life, but that which is present by the indwelling of God, he became uncreated by grace, as did also Melchisedek and everyone who comes to possess the Logos of God, alone living and acting within himself."

Only through grace man possesses an ousia.
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« Reply #29 on: April 11, 2008, 09:13:25 PM »

not because of his created nature [i.e., his essence],

Demetrios,
Do you know what the Greek word for "essence" is?
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« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2008, 09:27:07 PM »

Yes George. The word for being is ousia. The only one that has being is God himself.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ousia
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« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2008, 09:36:45 PM »

Yes George. The word for being is ousia. The only one that has being is God himself.
Then you had better tell that to St. Symeon the New Theologian who insists that we have a human "physe" and a human "ousia":
Quote
Διότι εμείς δεν τον αισθανόμαστε σαν σάρκα, αν και βρίσκεται μέσα μας όπως ακριβώς ένα βρέφος, αλλά υπάρχει ασωμάτως σε σώμα, αναμιγνυόμενος ανέκφραστα με την φύση μας και την ουσία μας και θεοποιώντας μας, επειδή γίναμε σύσσωμοι και μ’ αυτόν δηλαδή σάρκα από την σάρκα του και οστούν από τα οστά του.
Source: http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/greek/symeon_logosarx.html
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« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2008, 09:46:20 PM »

Then you had better tell that to St. Symeon the New Theologian who insists that we have a human "physe" and a human "ousia":
The quote you posted only validates what I have stated. Only those in Christ have an ousia.
επειδή γίναμε σύσσωμοι και μ’ αυτόν
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« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2008, 09:55:57 PM »

The quote you posted only validates what I have stated. Only those in Christ have an ousia.
επειδή γίναμε σύσσωμοι και μ’ αυτόν
No Demetrios.
Read it again:
Quote
επειδή γίναμε σύσσωμοι και μ’ αυτόν δηλαδή σάρκα από την σάρκα

St. Symeon is talking about Christ receiving the human ousia, and explains it by saying "δηλαδή σάρκα από την σάρκα" ("in other words, flesh from flesh"), and thereby, we become "synousia" (of the same essence) as Christ, because He took on the human ousia.

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« Reply #34 on: April 11, 2008, 10:20:39 PM »

No single person is the bearer of the entire human essence, because if he were the bearer of the entire human essence, then at the death of one person, all people would have to die.
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« Reply #35 on: April 11, 2008, 10:41:28 PM »

No single person is the bearer of the entire human essence, because if he were the bearer of the entire human essence, then at the death of one person, all people would have to die.

This is correct. There is no impersonal human ousia. Human ousia can exist only in an hypostasis. The hypostases of Abraham, Isaac, Sarah etc all possesed human ousia. Similarly, the Fathers also reject the notion of an impersonal Divine Ousia. The Divine Ousia, (the Divine Essence, the Godhead) can only be known of through personal encounter with the Hypostases (Persons) of the Holy Trinity.
Christos Yannaras writes:
Quote
"In Orthodox theology ... the problem of the energies is put exclusively in terms of existential experience. The experience of the Church is the knowledge of God as an event of personal relationship, and the question raised is one of witness to and defense of that event, the question of how we come to know God, who is neither intelligible nor sensible, nor at all a being among the other beings. The knowledge of God as an event of personal relationship reveals the priority of the truth of the person in the realm of theological knowledge. There is no room for bypassing the reality of the person by means of an intellectual leap directly to the essence: Truth for us is in realities, not in names. The person recapitulates the mode of existence of nature; we know the essence or nature only as the content of the person. "(Christos Yannaras: "The Distinction Between Essence and Energies and its Importance for Theology", from St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, vol. 19 [1975], pp. 234-235.0
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« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2008, 10:45:54 PM »

Why do you have to raise my blood pressure George? Wink
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« Reply #37 on: April 11, 2008, 11:58:48 PM »

Here, I found something in St. John of D.:

"The angel of the Lord was sent to the holy Virgin, who was descended from David's line(1). Far it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah, of which tribe no one turned his attention to the altar(2), as the divine apostle said: but about this we will speak more accurately later. And bearing glad tidings to her, he said, Hail thou highly favoured one, the Lord is with thee(3). And she was troubled at his word, and the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God, and shalt bring forth a Son and shalt call His name Jesus(4); for He shall save His people from their sins(5). Hence it comes that Jesus has the interpretation Saviour. And when she asked in her perplexity, How can this be, seeing I know not a man(6)? the angel again answered her, The Holy Spirit shall came upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee(7) shall be called the Son of God. And she said to him, Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to Thy word(9).
So then, after the assent of the holy Virgin, the Holy Spirit descended on her, according to the word of the Lord which the angel spoke, purifying her(1), and granting her power to receive the divinity of the Word, and likewise power to bring forth(2). And then was she overshadowed(3) by the enhypostatic Wisdom and Power of the most high God, the Son of God Who is of like essence with the Father as of Divine seed, and from her holy and most pure blood He formed flesh animated with the spirit of reason and thought, the first-fruits of our compound nature(4): not by procreation but by creation through the Holy Spirit: not developing the fashion of the body by gradual additions but perfecting it at once, He Himself, the very Word of God, standing to the flesh in the relation of subsistence. For the divine Word was not made one with flesh that had an independent pre-existence(5), but taking up His abode in the womb of the holy Virgin, He unreservedly in His own subsistence took upon Himself through the pure blood of the eternal Virgin a body of flesh animated with the spirit of reason and thought, thus assuming to Himself the first-fruits of man's compound nature, Himself, the Word, having become a subsistence in the flesh. So that(6) He is at once flesh, and at the same time flesh of God the Word, and likewise flesh animated, possessing both reason and thought(7). Wherefore we speak not of man as having become God, but of God as having become Man. For being by nature perfect God, He naturally became likewise perfect Man: and did not change His nature nor make the dispensation(9) an empty show, but became, without confusion or change or division, one in subsistence with the flesh, which was conceived of the holy Virgin, and animated with reason and thought, and had found existence in Him, while He did not change the nature of His divinity into the essence of flesh, nor the essence of flesh into the nature of His divinity, and did not make one compound nature out of His divine nature and the human nature He had assumed(1)."

http://www.orthodox.net/fathers/exactiii.html#BOOK_III_CHAPTER_II

Welll... I am still not sure how to use this to refute my opponent who claims that Christ's humanity has nothing in common with our present humanity. Damascene says that The Word formed a kind of human flesh, not actually taking anything from His human ancestor, the Theotokos, but creating His own flesh from nothing and using Her as merely an "abode." Besides, nothing from the above passage disporoves my opponent's other idea, the one that in Heaven there is no yesterday or today or tomorrow, so it just cannot be that Christ in Heaven was at any "timepoint" NOT the God-Man He is now (because there aren't any "timepoints" up there).


When St. John says the flesh had no pre-existence, he means to exclude Nestorianism. The flesh did not exist at any point separate from the Word who assumed it. Where do you see him excluding taking anything from the Theotokos? He seems to me to affirm it ("took upon Himself through the pure blood of the eternal Virgin a body of flesh").

Read III.XII. In refutation of your opponent, St. John says, "But if He Who was born of a woman is Himself God, manifestly He Who was born of God the Father in accordance with the laws of an essence that is divine and knows no beginning, and He Who was in the last days born of the Virgin in accordance with the laws of an essence that has beginning and is subject to time, that is, an essence which is human, must be one and the same. The name in truth signifies the one subsistence and the two natures and the two generations of our Lord Jesus Christ." It is only the divine nature or ousia that is outside of and beyond time. But the human nature is subject to time. Further, St. John writes, "And thus it is that the holy Virgin is thought of and spoken of as the Mother of God, not only because of the nature of the Word, but also because of the deification of man’s nature, the miracles of conception and of existence being wrought together, to wit, the conception the Word, and the existence of the flesh in the Word Himself. For the very Mother of God in some marvellous manner was the means of fashioning the Framer of all things and of bestowing manhood on the God and Creator of all, Who deified the nature that He assumed, while the union preserved those things that were united just as they were united, that is to say, not only the divine nature of Christ but also His human nature, not only that which is above us but that which is of us." So his humanity is taken from the Theotokos.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf209.iii.iv.iii.xii.html
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« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2008, 06:27:59 PM »

One more question in this regard.

In the Chalcedon dogmat, is there a term "combined" or something like that? The two natures were... "combined?" I recall the Russian word "sochetanie," but I can't recall, what's the English equivalent, and what was the original Greek term for that. Thanks in advance for your help!
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« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2008, 10:11:44 PM »

One more question in this regard.

In the Chalcedon dogmat, is there a term "combined" or something like that? The two natures were... "combined?" I recall the Russian word "sochetanie," but I can't recall, what's the English equivalent, and what was the original Greek term for that. Thanks in advance for your help!
The council defined that Christ has two natures, joined indivisibly yet discernible.
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« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2008, 10:44:11 PM »

One more question in this regard.

In the Chalcedon dogmat, is there a term "combined" or something like that? The two natures were... "combined?" I recall the Russian word "sochetanie," but I can't recall, what's the English equivalent, and what was the original Greek term for that. Thanks in advance for your help!
The problem (as usual) is one of translation. To understand this, we need to look at why the the decree of Chalcedon on the Two Natures was made. It was specifically made to reject Monophysitism- the idea that Christ had one, unique, divino-human nature. Thus, the decree of Chalcedon sought to avoid any semblance to the notion that the Two Natures were "combined" into one new one. The Two Natures remain distinct, without confusion (mixing), yet are inseperably united in the One Hypostasis of Christ.
Unfortunately, in English, confusion arises when we use words like "united" to describe the inseperable conjoining of the Two Natures, however, the context makes the intention clear: the Two Natures are united (that is "conjoined", not "made into one") "immutably, indivisibly, inseparably, and that without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union". "Immutably" means that neither the Divine Nature nor the Human Nature of Christ underwent any change as a result of being conjoined to the other, and this is clarified further by the words "without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union".
So, when we use words like "united", "combined", "conjoined" etc, we need to be clear what the intention of the Fathers was. They clearly qualified this to mean that the distinction of the Two Natures remained without change to either, even though they were indivisibly conjoined. In other words, the Two Natures did not "mix" to form a new nature.

Quote from: Chalcedon
"This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature being preserved and being united in one Person and subsistence, not separated or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten, God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Prophets of old time have spoken concerning him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ hath taught us, and as the Creed of the Fathers hath delivered to us."http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xi.xiii.html"
« Last Edit: April 17, 2008, 10:45:06 PM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2008, 07:52:04 AM »

^Thank you so much for this, George. What's the Greek word for this "cojoined?"

Also, how do we answer to those who say that the "ousia" of *MAN* in Christ had already existed before He was incarnate? This "co-joined" may imply that God simply took the pre-existing human "ousia" and joined it with His own Divine "ousia." But that's not quite so, right? Incarnation means creation of the human "ousia" of Christ, not joining the TWO PRE-EXISTING ousias?
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« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2008, 09:38:24 AM »

^Thank you so much for this, George. What's the Greek word for this "cojoined?"
The word actually used is "ένωση" (enosi), which translates as "union" but more correctly as "joining together".  When you plug your computer in to the power, you create an "enosi". A marriage creates an "enosi" between husband and wife. The idea is one of "binding together" rather than "mixing".

Also, how do we answer to those who say that the "ousia" of *MAN* in Christ had already existed before He was incarnate? This "co-joined" may imply that God simply took the pre-existing human "ousia" and joined it with His own Divine "ousia."
Impossible.
There is no such thing as a "pre-existing human ousia" or a "beinningless human". The human ousia exists only in the hypostasis of a human being. Christ could not possibly be "a man like us in all things except sin" unless He was born of a human woman. Christ's Humanity is a real humanity, and a real humanity exists only in a human being, and a human being has a beginning- he does not "pre-exist".
The key phrase is always "a man like us in all things except sin".

Incarnation means creation of the human "ousia" of Christ, not joining the TWO PRE-EXISTING ousias?
Correct.
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« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2008, 09:46:17 AM »

^Many, many thanks. That answers my questions.
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« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2010, 11:09:53 PM »

"Ousia" is the essence of God, as in "homoousios." I believe you mean "physis," "nature." (Theology Police! police) Christ was certainly not human before his incarnation, but rather, he was the image after which man was fashioned. Hence he could "without change become man" (Hymn of Justinian).

And I just realized that this thread is from two years ago.
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