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Author Topic: Christ's knowledge  (Read 1130 times) Average Rating: 0
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deusveritasest
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« on: June 01, 2009, 08:33:32 PM »

I was just reading about the Agnoetae (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnoetae, http://orthodoxwiki.org/Agnoetai). This reality got me thinking about the topic. What is the Orthodox understanding of knowledge in the Incarnate Word? Is there only one type and level of knowledge within Him, that being the infinite divine knowledge? Or is there, on a certain level, two degrees and types of knowledge in Him, the knowledge He finds in His human nature being distinct from that which he finds in His divine nature? Is it possible that Christ knows all in His divine nature but in a paradoxical fashion also experiences ignorance in His human nature? It seems to me that Severus of Antioch taught that in a paradoxical fashion, the Incarnate Word preserved the omniscience of the divine intellect and the ignorance of the human intellect in Himself; am I having the right impression about Him?
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2009, 08:43:09 PM »

I've come to learn that the existence of paradox is the quintessential standard by which the Orthodoxy of any given theory/principle is measured. The pursuit to resolve paradox is in turn the hallmark of heresy.

You are correct in your assessment of the OO position.

Christ is one person; He hence has a single centre of consciousness and a single conscience. We also deem Him One Nature in His Incarnate state of being which implies that all the attributes of the Divine and Human Natures constitute in the final analysis a single set of attributes insofar as they are in common actualised by the single subsistence of the Incarnate Word. It follows then that the single conscience of the Incarnate Word was informed by Divine omniscience inasmuch as it was informed by human ignorance in accordance with the Scriptural testimony that He indeed "grew in wisdom."
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NorthernPines
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2009, 12:26:50 PM »



Christ is one person; He hence has a single centre of consciousness and a single conscience. We also deem Him One Nature in His Incarnate state of being which implies that all the attributes of the Divine and Human Natures constitute in the final analysis a single set of attributes insofar as they are in common actualised by the single subsistence of the Incarnate Word. It follows then that the single conscience of the Incarnate Word was informed by Divine omniscience inasmuch as it was informed by human ignorance in accordance with the Scriptural testimony that He indeed "grew in wisdom."

Considering I'm not one of the "theologically minded", can you say that again, in words I can understand...LOL!

Usually it's the Greeks who are philosophical, but I'm just not following your post.... (and I mean in all honesty, that it is a deficiency on my part, not your's, I'm just honestly not following your phrasings)

I guess I'm just trying to clarify the OO position here, not because I don't agree with it, but because I do, at least I think I do. Honestly, I guess I'm not 100% clear what the EO position is either, and the Catholic understanding is even more confusing because I've heard Catholic apologists say some things that sounded mighty close to true monophysitism/Euthycism. (again not miaphystism in OOy, which I'm aware is, and never were monophysites)

I'm just asking if you could clarify your post? You're saying that Jesus did indeed "grow in wisdom" within his humanity correct? Because I definitely agree with that.  I realize you might not put in those exact words, but that's how I would put it, and assuming I don't mean it in a Nestorian sense, (which I don't) would that be an acceptable understanding?

To me, He was a real human being, and not "super human" in my understanding of who Christ was before the Resurrection.

I'm only trying to understand this because I just am not sure I was completely following your post here. If you could just "dumb it down" a bit for my sake, that would be great. Because I think it makes sense to me, but just want to be clear I'm not mis reading your post. Thanks....




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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2009, 09:21:38 PM »

I apologise. I didn't intend on being difficult; I employed the various terms and expressions that I did simply for sake of efficiency and accuracy. I'll try and rephrase my point with a more conscious concern for simple clarity:

Christ was/is indeed fully human, and in that sense possessed a finite human mind which like all human minds begins as a book with blank pages and which thus progressively collects and stores knowledge in accordance with increased experience.

Christ was/is, however, also fully God. The human mind He possessed, whilst in and of itself a human mind like that possessed by the rest of mankind, differed in that it was the human mind of a Divine Person rather than a Human Person. The Divine Person (viz., God the Word) pre-existed His Human nature and mind, with a 'Divine Mind' (so to speak), which, unlike a human mind, is eternally and infinitely wise/knowledgeable.

When the Divine Person of God the Word assumed a human mind, He retained His 'Divine Mind,' obviously, because it is not possible that any dimunition or alteration should occur to His Divine Person on account of the Hypostatic Union. In this sense, the single conscience of Christ (which is the self-same conscience of the pre-incarnate Son of God), was at the same time informed by a source of infinite wisdom/knowledge (i.e. 'the Divine Mind') as well as a source of limited and progressively developing wisdom/knowledge (i.e. the human mind).

And thus follows the sublime paradox: Christ knew everything, and knew not everything, at the same time. It is at this point that we OO ideally cease further investigation. The Nestorians by contrast are scandalised by such Divine Mysteries, and seek to resolve such paradoxes--in this very attitude lies the foundational seed of their heresy.

When we OO confess the One Nature of the Incarnate Word, we are in effect confessing insofar as the subject at hand is concerned, that "the one person of the eternal Logos Who is the self-same person as the one person of Christ is at once according to the perfect oneness of the Hypostatic Union perfect and deficient in knowledge." The reason we do not emphasise the manner in which the deficiency of His knowledge pertains to His Humanity, and the perfectness of His knowledge pertains to His Divinity, is simply because such is effectively superfluous in that it automatically follows from the mere profession of the respective authenticness of such qualities. In other words, that Christ was indeed authentically deficient and yet at the same time authentically perfect in knowledge logically implies the continued and distinct integrity of His Human and Divine Natures.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2009, 09:24:51 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2009, 10:39:10 AM »

EkhristosAnesti,

Thank you for clarifying your post, and yes, now I DO understand....Smiley


Quote
And thus follows the sublime paradox: Christ knew everything, and knew not everything, at the same time. It is at this point that we OO ideally cease further investigation. The Nestorians by contrast are scandalised by such Divine Mysteries, and seek to resolve such paradoxes--in this very attitude lies the foundational seed of their heresy.

I agree with you. I think there are some things our minds simply cannot "figure out" which is one thing I appreciate about Orthodoxy as a whole; we're comfortable with "mystery"!



Quote
When we OO confess the One Nature of the Incarnate Word, we are in effect confessing insofar as the subject at hand is concerned, that "the one person of the eternal Logos Who is the self-same person as the one person of Christ is at once according to the perfect oneness of the Hypostatic Union perfect and deficient in knowledge."

I noticed the part I've bolded is in quotes, can you tell me who originally said that? I find that to be an amazing quote.

Thank you for clarifying this for me. Once again, I find myself completely comfortable with the OO approach to theology, and am just fine with the idea of saying "it's a mystery" with no further need to explain things.



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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2009, 06:32:01 PM »

NorthernPines,

I'm glad I succeeded in being a bit more clearer that last time round.

I noticed the part I've bolded is in quotes, can you tell me who originally said that?

I wasn't quoting anyone. The statement is my own and I simply placed it in quotation marks as an indication of my belief that such is what the typical Christologically-informed OO would (or ought to, rather) assert in relation to the subject at hand.

Quote
I...am just fine with the idea of saying "it's a mystery" with no further need to explain things.


And here lies the beginning of wisdom!

I have recently begun delving into a very heavy spiritual work by a sixth century Syrian Father who was at the forefront of the Christological debates of his time and who in that regard expended much energy explicating and elucidating an Orthodox Christology. I found it quite telling that, in spite of that, he advises his readers/listeners that spiritual perfection involves possessing, "a mind that is wholly humbled in spirit, and which at all times reserves in all its energies, wonder at the majesty of God, as well as an understanding which keeps silence in trembling before the inexplicable and inexpressible mysteries of God."
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2009, 08:42:18 PM »

spiritual perfection involves possessing, "a mind that is wholly humbled in spirit, and which at all times reserves in all its energies, wonder at the majesty of God, as well as an understanding which keeps silence in trembling before the inexplicable and inexpressible mysteries of God."

That would make an amazing quote for the Wisdom of the OO Fathers thread. 

No pressure.  Just commenting.   Grin
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