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« on: June 02, 2009, 09:34:17 PM »

I'm bringing up a subject here that I find comes up both in EO and OO circles. I often find people claiming that the Incarnate Word is a divine person rather than a human person. I don't know that I really understand this statement, or perhaps if I do I don't agree with it. Sure, it is true that the divine being of the Word precedes His human being, and that therefore He is a divine person, but I don't see why it would be inappropriate to acknowledge that after the union the Word receives a complete and perfect instance of humanity and that He is thus also a human person. It's not that I believe that there are two persons in Christ, but that the divine person of the Word became a human person, and thus that the one person is both a divine person and a human person, or more clearly one theandric person. I do not understand why this is denied and it is asserted by some that the Incarnate Word is rather exclusively a divine person. Any answers?
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2009, 10:07:44 PM »

It's not that I believe that there are two persons in Christ, but that the divine person of the Word became a human person, and thus that the one person is both a divine person and a human person, or more clearly one theandric person. I do not understand why this is denied and it is asserted by some that the Incarnate Word is rather exclusively a divine person. Any answers?

There was a thread on almost exactly this language just a couple of months ago.  It was exclusively a discussion among the EO's, and it was quite interesting.  It was moved to the private forums, however (the "Other Christian" private forum, not the OO/EO debate forum.)  If you pm Fr. Chris and ask for admission to the private forums, you'll be able to see it.  It went on for several pages.  I think it was around post 440 when the opinion of a very knowledgeable bishop settled the matter. 

I'm not sure people are going to want to re-discuss it now, so close in time to the old thread.
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2009, 10:08:17 PM »

The way I understand it, Christ is one Person (i.e. there is only one Christ, no other, no second Christ), Who, after the Incarnation, unites in Himself two natures or "ousias," Divine and human. So, when Nestorians in the first half of the 5th century A.D. claimed that it is not right to refer to what the Theotokos gave birth to as "God," because God cannot be born by a woman, the Church said, yes, it is right, because the Person Who was given birth by Her was simultaneously God and man.

Perhaps the best way to refer to the Person of Christ is "God-Man," or God AND man.

Sorry if this is too "lay" - I am sure our Fathers who have a proper theological education will answer you better.

Best wishes,

George
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2009, 10:13:59 PM »

You've taken me out of context. There is a sense I believe in which Christ is a Human Person and a sense in which He is not:

An account of the sense in which He is a Human Person:

Personhood is an abstract principle of being which is defined and so qualified by the type of nature that expresses it in concrete reality. For the OO (and I do not mean to suggest by such a disclaimer that such a view necessarily contrasts with that of the EO, but rather that, as an OO I only presume to speak on behalf of my own tradition) subsequent to the Hypostatic Union the One Person of God the Logos, the self-same person as that of Christ, was concretely expressed by perfect Divinity and Humanity and is thus in a sense a Divine-Human Person i.e. His One Person is at the same time Divine and Human.

An account of the sense in which He is a Divine Person rather than a Human Person:

If we consider the personhood of Christ in relation to its foundational and essential nature, it is Divine, rather than Human. Human personhood is by nature created and thereby deficient. Its deficiency is evidenced, for example, in the manner in which our self-consciousness (an inherent aspect of personhood) is not always consistent, both in quality and degree. The foundational self of the Incarnate Word, by contrast, eternally pre-existed, being begotten of the Father before all ages; the self-consciousness of the Logos is furthermore eternally perfect and consistent.

My preference to speak of Christ as a Divine Person in the thread to which this thread alludes must be understood in the context of contemplation of the theoretically conceived instance immediately prior to the Hypostatic Union. The self of the Son of God which by virtue of the Incarnation *became* a Human-Divine self, was and remains, foundationally, a Divine self.
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2009, 10:37:21 PM »

It's not that I believe that there are two persons in Christ, but that the divine person of the Word became a human person, and thus that the one person is both a divine person and a human person, or more clearly one theandric person. I do not understand why this is denied and it is asserted by some that the Incarnate Word is rather exclusively a divine person. Any answers?

There was a thread on almost exactly this language just a couple of months ago.  It was exclusively a discussion among the EO's, and it was quite interesting.  It was moved to the private forums, however (the "Other Christian" private forum, not the OO/EO debate forum.)  If you pm Fr. Chris and ask for admission to the private forums, you'll be able to see it.  It went on for several pages.  I think it was around post 440 when the opinion of a very knowledgeable bishop settled the matter. 

I'm not sure people are going to want to re-discuss it now, so close in time to the old thread.

LOL.  Not enough time to heal.  I remember your wise words:
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2009, 11:52:23 PM »

The way I understand it, Christ is one Person (i.e. there is only one Christ, no other, no second Christ), Who, after the Incarnation, unites in Himself two natures or "ousias," Divine and human. So, when Nestorians in the first half of the 5th century A.D. claimed that it is not right to refer to what the Theotokos gave birth to as "God," because God cannot be born by a woman, the Church said, yes, it is right, because the Person Who was given birth by Her was simultaneously God and man.

Perhaps the best way to refer to the Person of Christ is "God-Man," or God AND man.

Sorry if this is too "lay" - I am sure our Fathers who have a proper theological education will answer you better.

Best wishes,

George

Would this not qualify the assertion that after the union the Word is a theandric person rather than an exclusively divine person?
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2009, 11:56:53 PM »

You've taken me out of context. There is a sense I believe in which Christ is a Human Person and a sense in which He is not:

An account of the sense in which He is a Human Person:

Personhood is an abstract principle of being which is defined and so qualified by the type of nature that expresses it in concrete reality. For the OO (and I do not mean to suggest by such a disclaimer that such a view necessarily contrasts with that of the EO, but rather that, as an OO I only presume to speak on behalf of my own tradition) subsequent to the Hypostatic Union the One Person of God the Logos, the self-same person as that of Christ, was concretely expressed by perfect Divinity and Humanity and is thus in a sense a Divine-Human Person i.e. His One Person is at the same time Divine and Human.

An account of the sense in which He is a Divine Person rather than a Human Person:

If we consider the personhood of Christ in relation to its foundational and essential nature, it is Divine, rather than Human. Human personhood is by nature created and thereby deficient. Its deficiency is evidenced, for example, in the manner in which our self-consciousness (an inherent aspect of personhood) is not always consistent, both in quality and degree. The foundational self of the Incarnate Word, by contrast, eternally pre-existed, being begotten of the Father before all ages; the self-consciousness of the Logos is furthermore eternally perfect and consistent.

My preference to speak of Christ as a Divine Person in the thread to which this thread alludes must be understood in the context of contemplation of the theoretically conceived instance immediately prior to the Hypostatic Union. The self of the Son of God which by virtue of the Incarnation *became* a Human-Divine self, was and remains, foundationally, a Divine self.


I pretty much agree with what you have to say here. I didn't mean to target specifically you, it just happened that I have encountered such language many times before, and your use of it sparked my curiosity about it again. I agree with you that because Jesus Christ is exclusively divine in the actual generation of His personhood from all eternity, that this qualifies Him as particularly a divine person in foundation. And your qualification that according to nature after the union that He is a theandric person is a perfect qualification. So I feel you have properly addressed your usage, but it happens that I have seen others use the terms in a different way, even to the point of denying that Jesus is a human person after the union, which is more confusing than what you have said here.
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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2009, 12:13:39 AM »

I think it is legitimate to place emphasis on Christ as a Divine Person rather than a Human Person; I do think the concern of others who prefer (and certainly, I would say, such preference is inherent to the OO tradition) talk of the Divine personhood of Christ to be warranted and reasonable.

The reason for this is, as is evident in my last post, that once we speak of Christ as Human Person, a number of qualifications have to be made. This is because it is quite easy to naturally infer from speech of Christ as Human Person that a distinct human personhood (i.e. centre of conscience) resulted from the Incarnation; in fact it seems more natural to infer this from speech of Christ as a Human Person, then what we have agreed in this thread to be a legitimate interpretation of Christ as a Human Person viz. that His foundational Divine ego came to express itself through perfect Humanity subsequent to the Hypostatic Union.

I think introducing speech of Christ as a Human Person unecessarily complicates matters. A concern for the fullness of Christ's Humanity is quite sufficiently safeguarded by already established Christological conventions.

The only reason I even bothered to express an Orthodox understanding of speech of Christ as a Human Person in the first place was because you seem to have assumed that Orthodox understanding as naturally implied by the expression and hence a distance from such speech as tending to undermine such Orthodox understanding.
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2009, 02:54:08 AM »

Would it not be ideal to simply say that Christ is a divine person before the union and a theandric person after the union?
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2009, 03:43:49 AM »

Would it not be ideal to simply say that Christ is a divine person before the union and a theandric person after the union?
If you would like to define theandric for those of us who don't know the definition of this theological term. Wink
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2009, 04:30:15 AM »

Would it not be ideal to simply say that Christ is a divine person before the union and a theandric person after the union?

I don't think this sufficiently addresses the expressed concerns inasmuch as it is entirely compatible with the idea that Christ came to *possess* a human person.

Even though you use the term person in the singular in the expression 'theandric person', the Nestorian Christ was also a 'theandric person' on account of the 'prosopic union.'

I don't want to get too bogged down in terms and formulas. Our impressions as to what is 'ideal' in that regard will be influenced by our respective confessional prejudices. I think it is good that we keep focused on *what* we are saying rather than *how* we should say it. The latter ought only really be an issue in this day and age when *how* we say something naturally/reasonably implies a heterodoxy of substance in light of common sentiments, beliefs and conventions.
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2009, 08:42:57 AM »

The way I understand it, Christ is one Person (i.e. there is only one Christ, no other, no second Christ), Who, after the Incarnation, unites in Himself two natures or "ousias," Divine and human. So, when Nestorians in the first half of the 5th century A.D. claimed that it is not right to refer to what the Theotokos gave birth to as "God," because God cannot be born by a woman, the Church said, yes, it is right, because the Person Who was given birth by Her was simultaneously God and man.

Perhaps the best way to refer to the Person of Christ is "God-Man," or God AND man.

Sorry if this is too "lay" - I am sure our Fathers who have a proper theological education will answer you better.

Best wishes,

George

Would this not qualify the assertion that after the union the Word is a theandric person rather than an exclusively divine person?

No, because "theandric" implies some "mixing" of the two natures, Divine and human. According to the Chalcedon Fathers, the two natures are united in one Person of Jesus Christ "without confusion," i.e. He is not "partly God and partly man" but FULLY God and FULLY man. He is "exclusively" Divine and yet ALSO "exclusively" human.
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2009, 01:06:11 PM »

Some of these comments seem to have a Nestorian "flavor" to them...this was all visited back in 431 and 451 AD, but I think a good meeting point is St. Cyril of Alexandria.

We can't discuss a divine "person" and a human "person" in Christ, per se, because the tendency is to separate it.  Neither can one place too much emphasis on the "divine," because then you lean towards monophysitism/henophysitism.  Christ is the Divine Logos who became man; St. Cyril notes that He consists of "one incarnate nature" - yet that incarnate nature is dual, since He is consubstantial with God, and consubstantial with man.  That's why both EO and OO can recognize Cyril as a saint, because he provides a theological meeting point for Christological discussion.
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2009, 01:45:38 PM »

Would it not be ideal to simply say that Christ is a divine person before the union and a theandric person after the union?
If you would like to define theandric for those of us who don't know the definition of this theological term. Wink

Well, I don't know that it is particularly the word I am looking for. I think "theanthropic" would be more appropriate in this context. Anyway, the terms "theanthropic" and "theandric" are references to the joint divine and human quality of the Incarnate Word, combining the Greek "theos" for God with the Greek "anthropos" for human. I believe that "theanthropic" is referring to being of divine and human form, whereas "theandric" is a reference to being divine and human in activity.
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2009, 02:11:13 PM »

Quote from: EkhristosAnesti

I don't think this sufficiently addresses the expressed concerns inasmuch as it is entirely compatible with the idea that Christ came to *possess* a human person.

How can that be the case when it is a confession of one person? If anything we understand the Nestorians to have taught that one divine person assumed a human person and that there came about the conjunction of two persons. This is clearly distinct from confessing one divine person who came to be a theandric person as a result of the union.

Quote from: EkhristosAnesti

Even though you use the term person in the singular in the expression 'theandric person', the Nestorian Christ was also a 'theandric person' on account of the 'prosopic union.'

But the Church interpreted the Nestorian teachings to actually be two conjunct individuals who assumed one identity as if a mask. Yet when we use the word "person" in English, we are making reference to internal individuality, not to external identity. So I don't see how "one theandric person after the union" does not qualify one divine person who became human.

Quote from: EkhristosAnesti

I don't want to get too bogged down in terms and formulas. Our impressions as to what is 'ideal' in that regard will be influenced by our respective confessional prejudices. I think it is good that we keep focused on *what* we are saying rather than *how* we should say it. The latter ought only really be an issue in this day and age when *how* we say something naturally/reasonably implies a heterodoxy of substance in light of common sentiments, beliefs and conventions.

That is a good point and I agree. My only problem is that I was not quite sure what people meant by referring to the Incarnate Word as an exclusively divine person, and wondering if this perhaps led to a certain degree of Eutychianism.
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2009, 02:15:17 PM »

The way I understand it, Christ is one Person (i.e. there is only one Christ, no other, no second Christ), Who, after the Incarnation, unites in Himself two natures or "ousias," Divine and human. So, when Nestorians in the first half of the 5th century A.D. claimed that it is not right to refer to what the Theotokos gave birth to as "God," because God cannot be born by a woman, the Church said, yes, it is right, because the Person Who was given birth by Her was simultaneously God and man.

Perhaps the best way to refer to the Person of Christ is "God-Man," or God AND man.

Sorry if this is too "lay" - I am sure our Fathers who have a proper theological education will answer you better.

Best wishes,

George

Would this not qualify the assertion that after the union the Word is a theandric person rather than an exclusively divine person?

No, because "theandric" implies some "mixing" of the two natures, Divine and human. According to the Chalcedon Fathers, the two natures are united in one Person of Jesus Christ "without confusion," i.e. He is not "partly God and partly man" but FULLY God and FULLY man. He is "exclusively" Divine and yet ALSO "exclusively" human.

I don't know you quite understand what is at stake here. In the terminologies you're using the Word should be understood to be a divine person and a human person yet one and the same person. This is fine. But I am talking about people, on the other hand, who confess that the Incarnate Word is a divine person but not a human person. This does not sound like what you are talking about.

"Theandric person" does not imply a mixing of natures. "Theandric nature" very well may imply such. But "theandric person", if anything, implies the coming together of the two natures in one person to the establishment of one person who is a God-Man.
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2009, 02:26:39 PM »


Christ is ONE and UNDIVIDED subject. The person of the divine Logos is the same person as human Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus' true humanity has one single subject: the divine Logos and Son. John the Baptist testifies to this fact when he says: "The one who comes from above is above all" (John 3:31).

 
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« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2009, 05:44:38 PM »

Quote from: Theophilos78

Christ is ONE and UNDIVIDED subject. The person of the divine Logos is the same person as human Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus' true humanity has one single subject: the divine Logos and Son. John the Baptist testifies to this fact when he says: "The one who comes from above is above all" (John 3:31).

I don't disagree with any of this. I am wondering why it is though that some, even with respect to the union of the Logos with His human nature, that some are not willing to consider the Incarnate Word to be a human person or even a theanthropic person.
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2009, 06:04:25 PM »

The way I understand it, Christ is one Person (i.e. there is only one Christ, no other, no second Christ), Who, after the Incarnation, unites in Himself two natures or "ousias," Divine and human. So, when Nestorians in the first half of the 5th century A.D. claimed that it is not right to refer to what the Theotokos gave birth to as "God," because God cannot be born by a woman, the Church said, yes, it is right, because the Person Who was given birth by Her was simultaneously God and man.

Perhaps the best way to refer to the Person of Christ is "God-Man," or God AND man.

Sorry if this is too "lay" - I am sure our Fathers who have a proper theological education will answer you better.

Best wishes,

George

Would this not qualify the assertion that after the union the Word is a theandric person rather than an exclusively divine person?

No, because "theandric" implies some "mixing" of the two natures, Divine and human. According to the Chalcedon Fathers, the two natures are united in one Person of Jesus Christ "without confusion," i.e. He is not "partly God and partly man" but FULLY God and FULLY man. He is "exclusively" Divine and yet ALSO "exclusively" human.

I don't know you quite understand what is at stake here. In the terminologies you're using the Word should be understood to be a divine person and a human person yet one and the same person. This is fine. But I am talking about people, on the other hand, who confess that the Incarnate Word is a divine person but not a human person. This does not sound like what you are talking about.

"Theandric person" does not imply a mixing of natures. "Theandric nature" very well may imply such. But "theandric person", if anything, implies the coming together of the two natures in one person to the establishment of one person who is a God-Man.

Sorry, I must confess I really lost the point of this discussion. I don't know who is arguing that Christ is a Divine person and not a human person. Our brothers and sisters in the Oriental Orthodox Churches say that He is one Person in one nature that manifests itself as Divine and human. (Please, dear friends, correct me if I misinterpret your teaching.) This is the theology of St. Cyril of Alexandria, "one nature of God the Word incarnate," "mia physis tou Theou Logou sesarkomeni" - and this is NOT a teaching that Christ is only a Divine Person AFAIK. On the other hand, we, EOs, believe, in agreement with the Oros of Chalcedon of 451, that Christ is one Person in TWO natures, of which one is Divine and the other human, and thus He is fully God and fully man in His one undivided Person.
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2009, 06:18:07 PM »

Quote from: EkhristosAnesti

Even though you use the term person in the singular in the expression 'theandric person', the Nestorian Christ was also a 'theandric person' on account of the 'prosopic union.'

But the Church interpreted the Nestorian teachings to actually be two conjunct individuals who assumed one identity as if a mask. Yet when we use the word "person" in English, we are making reference to internal individuality, not to external identity. So I don't see how "one theandric person after the union" does not qualify one divine person who became human.

I do not think that such is how the term person has come to be understood conventionally in the english language. This should be quite obvious when you consider for example what someone most likely means when they tell you to search for those "two persons" in the other room. When you go to explore that other room, the first thing that comes to your mind is not that you are on the look-out for a schizophrenic; rather, you are on the look-out for two externally concrete individuals.
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« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2009, 06:32:35 PM »

Quote from: EkhristosAnesti

Even though you use the term person in the singular in the expression 'theandric person', the Nestorian Christ was also a 'theandric person' on account of the 'prosopic union.'

But the Church interpreted the Nestorian teachings to actually be two conjunct individuals who assumed one identity as if a mask. Yet when we use the word "person" in English, we are making reference to internal individuality, not to external identity. So I don't see how "one theandric person after the union" does not qualify one divine person who became human.

I do not think that such is how the term person has come to be understood conventionally in the english language. This should be quite obvious when you consider for example what someone most likely means when they tell you to search for those "two persons" in the other room. When you go to explore that other room, the first thing that comes to your mind is not that you are on the look-out for a schizophrenic; rather, you are on the look-out for two externally concrete individuals.

Heh. I think we are using the term "interal" and "external" to mean rather different things. By "internal" I am meaning that which is according to true underlying reality, and by "external" I am meaning that which is true according to appearance but may not be according to underlying reality. The latter is what was sometimes meant by "prosopon", and this is why the Nestorians were able to confess Christ to be one prosopon while actually believing in two individuations to the point where there were two selves in Christ. "Hypostasis", on the other hand, pointed moreso to the self that was the underlying reality of an individuated substance, and I believe this is what is meant by person in English, rather than the outward appearance of personality as in "prosopon".
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« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2009, 06:51:57 PM »

I understand how *you* understand the term. How *you* understand the term and how the term is conventionally understood simply happen to differ. And obviously back in the 4th-5th centuries the term was no less fluid. Hence my original objection to the prima facie sufficiency of that statement of yours in question.
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« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2009, 10:46:17 PM »

"theanthropic"

Again, just to remind everyone, this term was discussed for 11 pages in this thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19081.0.html

and was addressed by a bishop here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19081.msg283979.html#msg283979
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