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Author Topic: The Assyrian Church of the East Writings?  (Read 15257 times) Average Rating: 0
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Nazarene
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« Reply #90 on: September 11, 2009, 05:48:06 PM »

Shalom all,

Let me just say that I'm very happy with the manner in which this discussion has progressed - see we can talk about these things without arguing. Wink

To Salpy,

You asked me if the Christology of my sect (the Nazarenes) is the same as the ACE? Well, in answer to this question, I'd say that modern Nazarene Christology has more in common with the ACE's than any other church. Like the ACE our Christology contains no Greek terminology, Nazarenes (the term both the Fathers and Rabbis used to refer to Jewish believers in Yeshua) also have closer historical ties to the ACE than the Greco-Roman churches, most of the ancient Nazarenes were eventually absorbed into the ACE. We, modern Nazarenes have based our Christological view exclusively on Hebrew and Aramaic texts (both Biblical and extra Biblical) but we have not consulted the writings of Nestorius or Theodore.

We believe that our Saviour Yeshua the Messiah is both 100% human and 100% divine like all orthodox Christians. And we, like the ACE, confess that His 2 natures/kyane (divine & human), which are preserved within their 2 qnume (divine & human) are united into 1 person/parsopa: Yeshua the Messiah - who is both the Son of God and the Son of Man.

I in no way believe in any kind of separation within our Messiah, and neither does the ACE. The natures (and qnume) are distinct yes, but not separate. In the case of a normal human being, the body and soul is distinct but not separated as they are united in the person. I can assure you that the ACE's Christology doesn't sound as "separatist" in Aramaic as it sounds in Greek or English. The ACE and Nazarenes tend to distinguish between humanity and divinity more than other Christians, but this is due to the (often graphic) imagery associated with those concepts in Hebrew and Aramaic. It's about distinction not separation. I find that sometimes Assyrians use the wrong choice of wording, when they say that Messiah's human and divine natures are "separate" they don't mean that they are literally separate, what they mean is that they are different - distinct.

I'll be honest with you Salpy, in your creed (Miaphysitism) the distinction between Yeshua's and humanity and divinity is not as clear as I'd like it to be, BUT it is still clear enough for me to see that it's there:

Quote from: Wikipedia
Miaphysitism holds that in the one person of Jesus Christ, Divinity and Humanity are united in one "nature" ("physis"), the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration.

I had some trouble wrapping my head around Miaphysite Christology until I read this excellent explanation by a Coptic Orthodox Christian:

Quote from: Kyrillos
Dear Paul,

Not only am I your newest member, but all the syriac ( or aramaic) christianity is very appealing and also new to me. It has been a couple of years since my baptism in Alexandria Egypt, so, should I say anything siding me with stupid, well I appologise in advance.

By now you know I am an oriental orthodox, yet the weird dude in my head kept asking, without deniying te LXX, where was the aramaic, for everyone kept talking about it without leting you know more. I say, if the LORD spoke aramaic after the Incarnation, then He spoke it to our fathers before I too. Since I am of the idea that hebrew is a dialect of aramaic that changed later on. Please help me out here and give me your opinion.

1.- Do you know anything regarding the conversations between the Coptic church and the Assyrian church?
2.- It seems to me that what Nestorius said and what the Church of the East say is really not the same and have different meanings. What is your take on the Bassar of Eraklites?
3.- What would you say if I told you that I found adifference between ( hebrew) yahid and ehad? and they relate to the greek monos and mya? here it goes:

monos and yahid: one as in quality and simple. Monos is also masculine.
mya and ehad : one as in from two, synthetic(?). Mya is femenine.

We oriental orthdox say one from two, that is the meaning of Tewahido in ethiopic, or St. KyrillosI ( Cyril) formula: MYA PHISIS TOU THEOU, LOGOU SESARKOMENE, ONE NATURE OF GOD, WORD INCARNATE.

Why do I bother you with this Poul, well when I read in your gospel interlinear the shema, it said something as :
SHMA H ISRIL MRIA ALHN MRIA HD HU.
I hope that the transliteration is ok. But if the aramaic is as the hebrew I mean ehad, then it talks about not a simple one, and since I always concidered this comandment to be Christological in character , then it is in Deuteronomy that I find the oldest confession of the myaphisis. What would you make of this and thank you and the guys for such an amazing page.

Maran ahta,
Kyrillos.

From: http://www.peshitta.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=798

Not bad for someone who evidently speaks broken English, eh? Smiley.

Therefore I consider you, and every other OO Christian orthodox and my brothers and sisters in Messiah Yeshua.

To all,

In end the fact is the Incarnation is an ineffable mystery. That said what matters to me is that we all agree that Messiah is both 100% God and 100% Man. The terminology may differ from church to church, but as long you don't deny one of Messiah's natures (like the Jehovah's Witnesses), or believe He is a 50% human 50% divine dying dem-god like Tammuz (like Eutyches), then for me you are orthodox.

While no one has called me a heretic before, I would also find being called or thought of as a heretic just as hurtful as anyone else here, but I also know that I can't make everybody happy. I've met plenty of Christians who are willing to make an effort to try to understand my beliefs from my own way of thinking and my own terminology; but I've also met equally as many who flat out refuse to and try to forcefully impose theirs onto me.

St. Paul, St. James and the rest of the Apostles were very much opposed to "forced Judaization" and I am equally opposed to this. BUT that also means that I'm just as opposed to forced Hellenization, Latinization, Aramization, Arabization, Anglonization, Americanization, ect., etc., etc.

We can't change the past, yes it's beneficial know what happened in the past but what matters is what we can do today. What we have to work with may not always be ideal but we must strive to do the best we can with what we have.

As long as we are willing to ask and listen instead of assume, I believe more schisms can be healed.
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« Reply #91 on: September 11, 2009, 09:40:44 PM »

Quote
Dear Rony or Nazarene,

Do you have any material one can read from on your side that you can recommend?

As you may imagine, I have a biased perspective because of what I have personally read.

Dear Mina,

I wish we Assyrian-Chaldean Catholics had a particular catechism in English that I can recommend to you for reading, one which would explain the Assyrian-Chaldean tradition, but as of yet we do not have one.  However, the Assyrian Christians of the Assyrian Church of the East have come up with a catechism of their own in English, and it is available online:  http://www.acoeyouth.org/Learn/catechism/cat.html

If you can afford to buy a book, I would highly recommend:  The Church of the East by H.G. Bishop Mar Bawai Soro.

Quote
I do wonder though, what are your beliefs in the will or wills of Christ, your theletic beliefs?

Two Wills in Union, distinct, but not divided or separated.  The Divine Will and Human Will are everlastingly and perfectly United in the One Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless,

Rony
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Salpy
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« Reply #92 on: September 11, 2009, 10:50:28 PM »

Thanks, Rony, for the link to the catechism.

After initially skimming through it, though, there was something that caught my eye, which raised some questions:

34)   What names, other than the Perpetual Virgin Mother, are the possession of St Mary?
We have named her with these titles:   The Mother of Christ, The Mother of our Lord, The Second Heaven, The Mother of The Church, The Daughter of Zion, The Burning Bush, The Mother of Immanuel, The New Ark of the Covenant, The Second Ark, The Second Eve, etc. In the Prophets it is written: “ . . . therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign, behold, a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel . .”  (Isaiah 7:14) “ . . . and she shall bring forth a Son, and Thou shall call His Name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sin. . .”  (Matthew 1:21) Then, again, Elizabeth states: “ . . . whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord shall come to me?”  (Luke 1:43) In the Church of the East we recognize her as bearing and bringing forth Him who is God with us; however, we prefer to say: “Mother of Christ, perfect God and perfect man.. .”
 
35)   In what sense can we recognize or acknowledge certain theological terminology used by our beloved sister apostolic churches who will address The Ever Virgin Mary as “The Mother of God”??

The Orthodox position will declare this: The Blessed Mother did not give birth to His Godhead, which is from eternal; but rather she had given birth to His manhood, at the end of time, still it is right to be called “the Mother of God,” why?  Because He who is born of her is at once God and Man.  By way of example: The mother of the President of the United States did not give birth to his presidency, she gave birth to the man; and indeed we call her the mother of the President; and again, the Catholicos Patriarch of the East received his office from The Church, and not from his mother who bore him, and we do call her the mother of the Patriarch.


I don't know why, but the last statement, about the President and the Catholicos Patriarch seemed a bit "odd" to me, for lack of a better word.  Does this represent the thought of the Church of the East regarding the Incarnation, or is it just a poor choice of words?  Is the catechism suggesting that the relationship between Christ's divinity and humanity is like the relationship between Barak Obama and his Presidency, or the man who is the Catholicos Patriarch and his office?

I just don't feel that my Church would be comfortable with this.  Would other Churches be comfortable with this?  Would the EO's be OK with this statement?  I know the Catholics signed a joint statement with the Church of the East, but would the Catholics really be comfortable with this?

Or am I just over-analyzing?  I'm probably just over-thinking this, or I don't understand it.  It's just that it reminds me of something I read a while back about someone (I can't recall who now) comparing the relationship between Christ's divinity and humanity to the Emperor and his robe, or something.  Do others know the statement which I am thinking of?  My brain has been like a sieve lately.   Smiley

Anyway, I'd like feedback as to whether or not I am overreacting to this.   Smiley
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« Reply #93 on: September 12, 2009, 01:00:44 AM »


Anyway, I'd like feedback as to whether or not I am overreacting to this.   Smiley


Salpy, there are small differences in the way  the Virgin Mary is viewed in the Assyrian Church of the East and the other Syriac churches.  As an example, the Assyrian Church of the East names its churches after the Virgin Mary as so; "mart maryam" in Syriac or "Lady or Lord(F) Maryam" while the Syriac Orthodox church uses the term yeldath aloho or "god bearer". The view on the Virgin Mary is slightly different I feel but it's not an issue for me at all, and I don't believe it should be an issue that needs to be exaggerated.  If the Virgin Mary wasn't venerated the ACE wouldn't name its churches after the Virgin Mary would it? 
« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 01:01:10 AM by Leb Aryo » Logged
Salpy
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« Reply #94 on: September 12, 2009, 01:04:37 AM »

I'm not questioning their veneration of St. Mary.  It is rather how the catechism seemed to be describing the relationship between the Lord's divinity and humanity.  I think our Church sees the union between the two as different than the union between Obama and the Presidency.  It just seems like a different union.  Again, I could just be over-thinking this.
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« Reply #95 on: September 12, 2009, 01:05:03 AM »


Anyway, I'd like feedback as to whether or not I am overreacting to this.   Smiley


Salpy, there are small differences in the way  the Virgin Mary is viewed in the Assyrian Church of the East and the other Syriac churches.  As an example, the Assyrian Church of the East names its churches after the Virgin Mary as so; "mart maryam" in Syriac or "Lady or Lord(F) Maryam" while the Syriac Orthodox church uses the term yeldath aloho or "god bearer". The view on the Virgin Mary is slightly different I feel but it's not an issue for me at all, and I don't believe it should be an issue that needs to be exaggerated.  If the Virgin Mary wasn't venerated the ACE wouldn't name its churches after the Virgin Mary would it? 

Whether or not the ACE venerates Mary or not is really a superficial issue in comparison to whether or not she is regarded as the mother of the Word.
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« Reply #96 on: September 12, 2009, 01:24:57 AM »

Salpy,

To be honest with you, analogies like these on the President/Patriarch should have been best left out, because they are unnecessary, and often cause more confusion than clarification.  The catechism is basically saying that when St. Mary gave birth to Christ our God, she did not originate His Divinity, since His Divinity was originated or begotten from the Father.  An analogy was put to compare Christ's Divinity with the U.S. Presidency, or Christ's Divinity with the Office of the Patriarchate, in that, just as the Mother of the President did not originate his Presidency, and just as the Mother of the Patriarch did not originate his Patriarchate, so likewise, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ did not originate His Divinity.

By the way, in Eastern Aramaic, Yaldath is the term used for begetter or bearer or birther, and in the understanding of the Church of the East, the term has a connotation of origin.

God bless,

Rony
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« Reply #97 on: September 12, 2009, 02:03:36 AM »

Quote
Whether or not the ACE venerates Mary or not is really a superficial issue in comparison to whether or not she is regarded as the mother of the Word.

deusveritasest,

Back on the first page, I posted this confession from the Sunhados:

Quote
Concerning this, we believe in our hearts and confess with our lips one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose Godhead does not disappear, and whose manhood is not stolen away, but who is complete God and complete man.  When we say of Christ ‘com­plete God’ we are not naming the Trinity, but one of the qnome of the Trinity, God the Word.  Again, when we call Christ ‘complete man’ it is not all men we are naming, but the one qnoma which was specifi­cally taken for our salvation into union with the Word.

Since St. Mary gave birth to the Lord Jesus Christ, and since the Lord Jesus Christ is the Union of God the Word and His Human Body and Soul, then yes, Mary is the Mother of the Word, but not because she originated the Word's Divine Nature.

God bless,

Rony
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« Reply #98 on: September 12, 2009, 05:52:39 AM »

Quote
Heck, I'm still not clear on what their position has been at anytime in history. It seems that the ACE has the most complicated Cristolgoy out there.

My Latin brother Papist  Smiley

The basics of the Christology is really just: Two Natures in One Person.  It's just that in the Church of the East's understanding of the Aramaic terms, the Nature is broken further down between what is abstract and what is concrete.  With respect to Christ's Divine Nature, Christ is not just Divine (abstract), but that He is the Divine Son (concrete).  With respect to Christ's Human Nature, Christ is not just Human (abstract), but that His Humanity consisted of a specific Body type with a specific skin color, facial features, etc, and also a specific Soul (concrete).  At the moment of the conception, the Divine Son assumed this concrete Human Body and Soul, in a perfect Union, without confusion and without separation.  This Union at the moment of conception is the One Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless,

Rony
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« Reply #99 on: September 16, 2009, 12:18:07 AM »

I was thinking of going through and responding to a few of the posts on the 2nd page that were addressed to me, but I realized that there still seems that there is some background that I am missing before I can even continue to discuss this.

So far of what has been depicted of the Triadology and Christology of the ACE appears to be orthodox. In the common divine kyana, manner of being, of the Trinity (this appears almost entirely equivalent to ousia) there are three qnome, meaning three particular/individual instances of this kyana, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the Incarnation there are identified two kyana, both which necessarily are found having particular and concrete qnome, these two qnome being possessed by the parsopa (seemingly equivalent to the Greek prosopon or the Latin persona) of Christ.

This is all fine and good. But it doesn't seem like it goes quite far enough to preserve orthodoxy as I see it in Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy. It seems like only external and objective categories are being expressed. Kyana is simply a known type of being (whether it be divine, human, feline, etc.), and qnome is simply the particular instances of kyane. Also, parsopa seems to only address the external (or material as you say) and observable appearances of personality.

On the contrary, it seems that the Alexandrine and, to a certain extent, the Byzantine theology and Christology is much more concerned with the nature of the inner being of the Trinity and of Christ. For instance, the word hypostasis, I have been told, literally means "what lies beneath". What is the reality of this individual underneath how things appear and what we can see? I'm also concerned with coming to know what is the understanding of subject for Syriac Christians rather than simply object.

As to the Trinity: is there a teaching which indicates an understanding of the three qnome as being more than simply instances of the Godhead, but actually distinct subjects or individuals or personalities, each having their own consciousness? If we simply say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct instances of the divinity without ascribing them their own individual experiences of the divinity that they share, then I don't see how the fullness of the divinity has actually been communicated. How are we protected from Sabellianism here? The Greek protects from the difference of the word hypostasis. Three hypostases establishes that there is a subject and subsistence to each of the persons, and thus that they each have their own consciousness and distinct experience (distinct in being the possession of one person or the other, not distinct in the essence of what the experience is) of the Godhead.

As to Christ: where is continuity and identification with the Word actually established? If the humanity that is supposedly the Word's is identified as being an entirely different qnoma from Him, it doesn't appear that the identification is made on the level of qnoma. On the other hand, if the parsopa of Christ did not exist before the union, then how can it be identified as being part of the eternal being of the Word? Where is the direct point of connection and continuity with the eternal Word? The Greek likewise establishes this direct continuity by identifying not only one prosopon but also one hypostasis, one subject, one subsistence in Christ who contains within Himself both perfect divinity and perfect humanity.
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« Reply #100 on: September 17, 2009, 04:24:07 PM »

I was thinking of going through and responding to a few of the posts on the 2nd page that were addressed to me, but I realized that there still seems that there is some background that I am missing before I can even continue to discuss this.

Shalom deusveritasest,

Here's the thing. The ACE's understanding of the Godhead and the Incarnation is not rooted in Greek philosophy, they're rooted in Jewish mystism. In order to get a proper understanding of the ACE's Christology you have to forget about Greek terms like physis, prosopon & ousia, and about the Greek understanding of concepts like "the soul" held by such individuals as Socrates, Plato & Aristotle:

Quote
Socrates and Plato

Plato, drawing on the words of his teacher Socrates, considered the soul as the essence of a person, being, that at which decides how we behave. He considered this essence as an incorporeal, eternal occupant of our being. As bodies die the soul is continually reborn in subsequent bodies. The Platonic soul comprises three parts:

the logos (mind, nous, or reason)
the thymos (emotion, or spiritedness, or masculine)
the eros (appetitive, or desire, or feminine)

Each of these has a function in a balanced and peaceful soul.

The logos equates to the mind. It corresponds to the charioteer, directing the balanced horses of appetite and spirit. It allows for logic to prevail, and for the optimisation of balance.

The thymos comprises our emotional motive, that which drives us to acts of bravery and glory. If left unchecked, it leads to hubris – the most fatal of all flaws in the Greek view.

The eros equates to the appetite that drives humankind to seek out its basic bodily needs. When the passion controls us, it drives us to hedonism in all forms. In the Ancient Greek view, this is the basal and most feral state.

Aristotle

Aristotle, following Plato, defined the soul as the core or "essence" of a living being, but argued against its having a separate existence in its entirety. In Aristotle's view, a living thing's soul is its activity, that is, its "life"; for example, the soul of an eye, he wrote, if it were an independent lifeform itself, would be sight. Again, if a knife had a soul, the act of cutting would be that soul, because 'cutting' is the essence of what it is to be a knife. Unlike Plato and the religious traditions, Aristotle did not consider the soul in its entirety as a separate, ghostly occupant of the body (just as we cannot separate the activity of cutting from the knife). As the soul, in Aristotle's view, is an actuality of a living body, it cannot be immortal (when a knife is destroyed, the cutting stops). More precisely, the soul is the "first actuality" of a body: its capacity simply for life itself, apart from the various faculties of the soul, such as sensation, nutrition and so forth, which when exercised constitute its "second" actuality, which we might call its "fulfillment." "The axe has an edge for cutting" was, for Aristotle, analogous to "humans have bodies for human activity." The rational activity of the soul's intellective part, along with that of the soul's two other parts—its vegetative and animal parts, which it has in common with other animals—thus in Aristotle's view constitute the essence of a human soul. Aristotle used his concept of the soul in many of his works; the De Anima (On the Soul) provides a good place to start to gain more understanding of his views.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul

The Greek Fathers were influenced by these ideas, the Assyrians and Jews were not, this stuff is foreign to them. The Aramaic word Miltha in John chapter 1 is not equivalent to the Greek word Logos, and as I mentioned earlier there is no cognate for prosopon in the Hebrew OT, in ancient Hebrew there is no such thing as a "person" (whether human or divine) the way it's understood by Greeks. My advice is to forget about everything Greek when dealing with the ACE and instead consult Jewish mystical writings like the Zohar, that's where you'll see similarities.

So far of what has been depicted of the Triadology and Christology of the ACE appears to be orthodox. In the common divine kyana, manner of being, of the Trinity (this appears almost entirely equivalent to ousia) there are three qnome, meaning three particular/individual instances of this kyana, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the Incarnation there are identified two kyana, both which necessarily are found having particular and concrete qnome, these two qnome being possessed by the parsopa (seemingly equivalent to the Greek prosopon or the Latin persona) of Christ.

Very good, you seem to have grasped this quite well.

This is all fine and good. But it doesn't seem like it goes quite far enough to preserve orthodoxy as I see it in Eastern Orthodoxy and Oriental Orthodoxy. It seems like only external and objective categories are being expressed. Kyana is simply a known type of being (whether it be divine, human, feline, etc.), and qnome is simply the particular instances of kyane. Also, parsopa seems to only address the external (or material as you say) and observable appearances of personality.

Not quite, the reason being is that so far we've only dealt with "dictionary definitions" of the these key Aramaic terms, we haven't gone into the imagery associated with them, and in a spiritual context this imagery can be very deep. And always bear in mind is that there is still no real "dictionary definition" for qnoma, "instantation of a nature" is the closest we've come so far in English but it still does not capture all the imagery associated with it - it's a simplified/incomplete explanation.

On the contrary, it seems that the Alexandrine and, to a certain extent, the Byzantine theology and Christology is much more concerned with the nature of the inner being of the Trinity and of Christ. For instance, the word hypostasis, I have been told, literally means "what lies beneath". What is the reality of this individual underneath how things appear and what we can see? I'm also concerned with coming to know what is the understanding of subject for Syriac Christians rather than simply object.

Well the root word from which qnoma derives from is qom:

Quote from: Paul Younan
The word is a noun derived from the verbal root "qom" (as in "Talitha qomi".) The verb means "to rise, to stand up, to be present."

As such, the root of this word is found thousands of times in both the Hebrew and the Aramaic of the OT. (not just the Peshitta OT, but also the original Hebrew.)

...The word for "resurrection" in Aramaic is "Qeyamtha", which is also derived from the root "Qom."

The reason why Prof. Brock and others have concluded that the CoE definition for Qnoma is the archaic one, is because of the imagery involved with the primitive root meaning "to rise up, stand up, to be established."

"Kyana" means "nature" in an abstract sense, and "Qnoma" means an "individuated kyana", i.e., "something which has arisen, stood up, and become established from an abstract concept."

From: http://www.peshitta.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=659&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=qnoma&start=15

As you can see qnoma is not equivalent to hypostasis, the Aramaic word aitutha (substance/essence) is much closer to hypostasis than qnoma. Prof. Sebastian Brock specifically stated not to equate qnoma with hypostasis because it doesn't actually mean hypostasis. While it's true that qnoma is closer to hypostasis than any other Greek term, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's that close. Greek is not going to help you with this, rather turn your attention to the Hebrew & Aramaic Biblical texts.

As to the Trinity: is there a teaching which indicates an understanding of the three qnome as being more than simply instances of the Godhead, but actually distinct subjects or individuals or personalities, each having their own consciousness? If we simply say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct instances of the divinity without ascribing them their own individual experiences of the divinity that they share, then I don't see how the fullness of the divinity has actually been communicated. How are we protected from Sabellianism here? The Greek protects from the difference of the word hypostasis. Three hypostases establishes that there is a subject and subsistence to each of the persons, and thus that they each have their own consciousness and distinct experience (distinct in being the possession of one person or the other, not distinct in the essence of what the experience is) of the Godhead.

{Hebrews 1:1-3} In all ways and in all forms, God spoke previously with our fathers by the prophets. And in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of everything and by whom he made the ages, who is the radiance of his glory and the image of his being and almighty by the power of his word. And in his qnoma, he accomplished the cleansing of our sins and sat down at the right hand of majesty in the high places. (Peshitta)

I see no reason why the 3 Qnome of the Godhead cannot have their own experiences and conciousness. It was the Son, the 2nd Qnoma of the Godhead who, as Rony said "entered the material realm" (became flesh) not the other two (the Father & the Holy Spirit). But that does not make them 3 distinct individuals or personalities, not in Hebraic thought that is. Jews and Assyrians can't say that the 3 Qnume are distinct individuals or personalities because in Hebraic thought this is the same thing as saying that they are 3 different dieties.

Hippolytus of Rome knew Sabellius personally and mentioned him in the Philosophumena. He knew Sabellius disliked Trinitarian theology, yet he called Modal Monarchism the heresy of Noetus, not that of Sabellius. Sabellianism was embraced by Christians in Cyrenaica, to whom Demetrius, Patriarch of Alexandria, wrote letters arguing against this belief.

The ACE's understanding of the Godhead is not like Sabellianism:

Quote
In Christianity, Sabellianism, (also known as modalism, modalistic monarchianism, or modal monarchism) is the nontrinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God Himself.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabellianism

Qnoma does not mean "mode" or "aspect" or "attribute", see this: http://www.assyrianchurch.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=727

More about Sabellianism from Wikipedia:

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Meaning and origins

God was said to have three "faces" or "masks" (Grk. prosopa), (Latin persona)[1]. The question is: "is God's threeness a matter of our falsely seeing it to be so (Sabellianism/modalism), or a matter of God's own essence revealed as three-in-one (trinitarianism)?"

Three "faces" or "masks"? I hope Vladimir Lossky (an EO) didn't mean that literally.

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Modalists note that the only number ascribed to God in the Holy Bible is One and that there is no inherent threeness ascribed to God explicitly in scripture.[citation needed]. The number three is never mentioned in relation to God in scripture, which of course is the number that is central to the word "Trinity". The only possible exceptions to this are the Great Commission Matthew 28:16-20 and the Comma Johanneum, a disputed text passage in First John[citation needed] known primarily from the King James Version and some versions of the Textus Receptus but not included in modern critical texts.[citation needed] Modalism has been mainly associated with Sabellius, who taught a form of it in Rome in the third century. This had come to him via the teachings of Noetus and Praxeas.[2]

The number 3 is never mentioned in relation to God in Scripture yes, but neither is the number 1, i.e. in the exclusively singular sense (yakhid). In the Shema YHWH is said to be 1 (ekhad), i.e. in a collective sense, Modulists (like Oneness Pentecostals) obviously don't understand the meaning of the Hebrew word ekhad. No Assyrian, Messianic Jew or even Rabbinical Jew believes that God is exclusively singular like Muslims do (tawhid). The 3 Qnume of the Godhead have eternally existed within God's kyana (nature), they are not "modes" or "aspects" that God switches between. The plurality is within God's very nature, Sabellianism does not recognize any sort of plurality within God's nature itself, Assyrians and Jews do.

As to Christ: where is continuity and identification with the Word actually established? If the humanity that is supposedly the Word's is identified as being an entirely different qnoma from Him, it doesn't appear that the identification is made on the level of qnoma. On the other hand, if the parsopa of Christ did not exist before the union, then how can it be identified as being part of the eternal being of the Word? Where is the direct point of connection and continuity with the eternal Word? The Greek likewise establishes this direct continuity by identifying not only one prosopon but also one hypostasis, one subject, one subsistence in Christ who contains within Himself both perfect divinity and perfect humanity.

Before I answer this let us remember that the Incarnation, like the Godhead is essentialy an ineffable mystery. We'd do well to adhere to the wise words of Mar Ephriam:



That said, I'll rather let Rony tackle this one where details are concerned as he can explain the ACE's position better than I can. What I can give you is my personal understanding based on my studies of Scripture in Hebrew and Aramaic:

*God is eternal, man is mortal.
*Flesh can hunger, suffer pain (physically), urinate, deficate, bleed and die, spirit cannot.
*Man cannot forgive sins or raise the dead, God can.
*God cannot be tempted by Satan, man can.

Yeshua the Messiah is both 100% God and 100% man - 100/100 not 50/50, that is what Scripture teaches. Yeshua's humanity and divinity are united within His parsopa without separation, confusion, or alternation (as the Miaphysites say), how is that possible if humanity and divinity are so different? I don't know how but I believe it, I accept it as fact through faith not reason, just like I accept the Resurrection as fact through faith not reason. And I think it may do us further harm rather than good if we continue to pry deeper than that.

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« Reply #101 on: September 17, 2009, 06:24:37 PM »


I see no reason why the 3 Qnome of the Godhead cannot have their own experiences and conciousness. It was the Son, the 2nd Qnoma of the Godhead who, as Rony said "entered the material realm" (became flesh) not the other two (the Father & the Holy Spirit). But that does not make them 3 distinct individuals or personalities, not in Hebraic thought that is. Jews and Assyrians can't say that the 3 Qnume are distinct individuals or personalities because in Hebraic thought this is the same thing as saying that they are 3 different dieties.

I am wondering perhaps if even in English we are having a differing in understanding what "individuality" and "personality" are. In my understanding, the very concept of qnoma establishes individuality. For a subject to be an individuated instance of a class of being, and for it to be thus distinct from the others in its class, itself establishes that subject as an individual. Further, for a qnoma to have its own rationality, consciousness, and experience appears to me to be the matter that defines it as a person. So for you to admit that each qnoma of the Trinity has its own rationality, consciousness, and experience but not be distinct persons does not make sense. This is what leads me to believe that we don't even have the same understanding of these English terms. So it would be helpful if you could attempt to clarify what is the difference/problem here?
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