St. John of Damascus teaches us that the temptations that the incarnate Word was subject to were entirely external, since his humanity was altogether deified and not subject to Original Sin, and not at all like the internal temptations that Original Sin brings about in us.
Hmmm....I've heard that argued by Catholics before, but I'm not sure if we really see it that way or not. (I'm not judging your statement, as I really
do not know and am asking for input from others)
I don't understand, if Jesus' temptations were "external" then how can He really know what it's like to be human? To me, the temptation in the desert, and even the agony in the Garden of Gathsmene would all just be a "show"....acting, ie: hypocritical. (which my Orthodox Study Bible says was the original meaning of hypocrite, to put on a show as an actor would)
Is this really how we see the Incarnation? (I'm EO not OO, in case that makes a different in some fine point of theology I'm not aware of) It kind of sounds Nestorian to me and when Catholics have said these things to me before, that was my reaction then as well, "well that sounds Nestorian"...am I wrong?
If temptation is "external" then isn't temptation for Christ just an act or a show? How can temptation be external to begin with? That doesn't make sense to me. If I have ZERO chance or ability to sin, then it's not really a temptation is it? It would be like installing a light switch on the wall of an Amish farm house....the light will NEVER work because the farm house has no electricity; yet when company comes I flip the light on to see if it will turn on anyways just to trick other people into thinking it "could" turn on? (ok maybe not that great of an analogy but it's all I could think of...lol!)
Putting this on a personal level, without the belief that Jesus was tempted as we are, not just in sin, but also in the struggles of life in general, I would have lost all faith in Christianity....are you telling me my belief is wrong, and that Jesus really doesn't know what my suffering is all about? What my sin is all about? I thought that was one of the points of the Incarnation to begin with.
Am I wrong? If so, then it seems to me, that Rome would probably be more correct in their understanding of redemption being more a juridical thing, rather than the way I've always understood the Orthodox position...what I mean is, if Christ really wasn't tempted, then there isn't any "point" to the Incarnation other than the cross being a "payment" to some one or some thing....at least that's how I see it.
Again I'm NOT judging your statement as right or wrong, I just truly don't understand. Reading St. John of Damascus' words do help, but I'm still not sure I "get it"...was he saying Jesus did not suffer from ancestral sin? How can that be assuming the East's position on ancestral vs original sin (in the west) is the correct one? In that quote he seems to be taking the West's position on original sin being strictly a spiritual condition within, rather than the East's understanding....so I'm really confused.
I realize that before the Schism both East and West complimented each other and perhaps that's where I'm getting confused.
Anyways, I'm not trying to derail the thread here....sorry.
By external vs internal temptation I'm guessing this is something deep about the "passions" etc....but are the passions the temptations themselves or something amiss within us that just makes it easier for us to be tempted? I see "the passions" as something foreign to our nature, and so Christ didn't necessarily have those, but to say that His temptations were "external" just doesn't sound right to me. When I'm tempted it's NEVER external, but it's something that I struggle with on the inside....and how I read that verse in hebrews always tells me that Jesus did struggle, but yet never sucumbed to temptation as we so easily do. But I could be all wrong, or am just to dense to get all this Theology...which I'll probably regret for even trying to "get"....
any help or clarification would be good.