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Author Topic: Is Christ still flesh?  (Read 1199 times) Average Rating: 0
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scamandrius
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« on: June 28, 2010, 02:49:20 PM »

On another thread,http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28469.0.html, I asked about whether it was appropriate for St. Ephraim to say that Christ "borrowed" flesh from the Theotokos.  On a related topic, in another one of St. Ephraim's Spiritual Psalms, the saint writes a number of verses that follow the same pattern. Here is a sample:

For if he was not flesh, why was Mary chosen? And if He is not God, whom does Gabriel call Lord?

If He was not flesh, who was laid in a manger? And if He is not God, whom did the angels who came down from heaven glorify? If He was not flesh, Who was wrapped in swaddling clothes? And if He is not God, in whose honor did the star appear?


Now, Ephraim is using his language very carefully saying that Christ is eternally God (which He most certainly is) and using the present tense verb "is" but he uses the past tense to refer to actions in the flesh.  We know that Christ ascended into heaven thus deifying the flesh, but he didn't discard it when He arrived in the heavens, did he?  So, does Christ still wear human flesh though He is now seated at the right hand of the Father?
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2010, 02:56:14 PM »

Unequivocally yes. His Divine and human natures are inseparable. If Christ God does not continue to have flesh, we cannot be saved. All the work of the Cross and Resurrection was for naught.
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« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2010, 03:02:17 PM »

We know that Christ ascended into heaven thus deifying the flesh, but he didn't discard it when He arrived in the heavens, did he?  So, does Christ still wear human flesh though He is now seated at the right hand of the Father?

Perhaps the word "ascension" should not be taken so literally, since our ancestors may have had a more primitive understanding of what exactly existed up in the sky.

Using modern terminology, one might speak of the resurrected Jesus "trans-localizing" (physical body and all) into another dimension, disappearing from physical view.
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2010, 03:09:37 PM »

Perhaps the word "ascension" should not be taken so literally, since our ancestors may have had a more primitive understanding of what exactly existed up in the sky.

Using modern terminology, one might speak of the resurrected Jesus "trans-localizing" (physical body and all) into another dimension, disappearing from physical view.

Ok, but this doesn't answer my question.  I'm not interested in new terminologies or looking for excuses to expose the "ignorance" of the ancient church because we are so much more enlightened than they were.
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2010, 03:16:22 PM »

Perhaps the word "ascension" should not be taken so literally, since our ancestors may have had a more primitive understanding of what exactly existed up in the sky.

Using modern terminology, one might speak of the resurrected Jesus "trans-localizing" (physical body and all) into another dimension, disappearing from physical view.

Ok, but this doesn't answer my question.  I'm not interested in new terminologies or looking for excuses to expose the "ignorance" of the ancient church because we are so much more enlightened than they were.
Well, the answer (which is "yes") might be a bit more understandable to the modern mind, if "ascension" is interpreted not necessarily as "rising up into the stratosphere". Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2010, 03:22:41 PM »

Perhaps the word "ascension" should not be taken so literally, since our ancestors may have had a more primitive understanding of what exactly existed up in the sky.

Using modern terminology, one might speak of the resurrected Jesus "trans-localizing" (physical body and all) into another dimension, disappearing from physical view.

Ok, but this doesn't answer my question.  I'm not interested in new terminologies or looking for excuses to expose the "ignorance" of the ancient church because we are so much more enlightened than they were.
Well, the answer (which is "yes") might be a bit more understandable to the modern mind, if "ascension" is interpreted not necessarily as "rising up into the stratosphere". Smiley

Understandable to the modern mind?  What is wrong with the idea of Christ rising into the stratosphere?  I really don't understand why you're twisting the question to argue about modern semantics.
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2010, 03:34:32 PM »

Perhaps the word "ascension" should not be taken so literally, since our ancestors may have had a more primitive understanding of what exactly existed up in the sky.

Using modern terminology, one might speak of the resurrected Jesus "trans-localizing" (physical body and all) into another dimension, disappearing from physical view.

Ok, but this doesn't answer my question.  I'm not interested in new terminologies or looking for excuses to expose the "ignorance" of the ancient church because we are so much more enlightened than they were.
Well, the answer (which is "yes") might be a bit more understandable to the modern mind, if "ascension" is interpreted not necessarily as "rising up into the stratosphere". Smiley
According to the OP, it appears that scamandrius wants to discuss what Jesus is NOW.  I think by focusing on what is meant by "ascension" you are following after a tangent and possibly driving the discussion off topic.  There may be other places where we can discuss the semantics of the word "ascend", but I think it best to shelve that exercise for now unless you can bring it back around to the question of whether Christ is still flesh today.
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« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2010, 04:37:04 PM »

Well, the answer (which is "yes") might be a bit more understandable to the modern mind, if "ascension" is interpreted not necessarily as "rising up into the stratosphere".

Stop making us use our brains!

Actually, he might have ascended into outer space, because His glorified body would likely possess the ability to breathe or survive in outer space. Plus, the notion that we will follow suit and move infinitely into God on some cosmic astral journey sounds just about perfect to me. Imagine part of moving infinitely into God including cruising the galaxy, having the mysteries of the universe unlocked before your very eyes.
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« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2010, 04:37:29 PM »

AFAIK, the answer to the question, "is Christ still flesh?" is "yes." In one of St. John Chrysostom's homilies he wrote something like, "and He never rid Himself of this tent but dwells in it even now - the tent of our human flesh." It is, of course, a "glorified" and "Deified" flesh, but still a human flesh, albeit with properties that seem very strange to us now.  
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2010, 04:40:38 PM »

I'm not interested in new terminologies or looking for excuses to expose the "ignorance" of the ancient church because we are so much more enlightened than they were.

This post just makes you sound afraid of the changing world. He didn't in any way imply that our way of understanding the universe is intrinsically superior, only that it is different.

Tell me, is the firmament holding back water?
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2010, 04:52:38 PM »


Tell me, is the firmament holding back water?

Not since the flood.  Grin
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2010, 05:03:12 PM »

Tell me, is the firmament holding back water?
Not since the flood.  Grin

An excellent response! I'm going to steal that sometime.   Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2010, 06:17:32 PM »

I'm not interested in new terminologies or looking for excuses to expose the "ignorance" of the ancient church because we are so much more enlightened than they were.

This post just makes you sound afraid of the changing world. He didn't in any way imply that our way of understanding the universe is intrinsically superior, only that it is different.

Tell me, is the firmament holding back water?

It wasn't germane to the question which I had posed in the first place. If he wanted to start another thread about such a topic, then he should have done so and not try to divert it.
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2010, 08:21:55 PM »

Col 2:9
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For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

"Dwelleth" is present tense indicating a present reality. This was written after Christ's ascension.
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2010, 08:57:55 PM »

It wasn't germane to the question which I had posed in the first place. If he wanted to start another thread about such a topic, then he should have done so and not try to divert it.

It absolutely was, and you're being unreasonable about it. Any discussion of the current bodily state of the Christ immediately leads to a discussion of Him being "up there" somewhere, or if we must try and understand the meaning of ascension in some different way. Bringing up the locale of Christ's Body is an interesting theological question that we must consider in this examination. I have had many non-Christians and apostate mockers bring this point up about where His Body is, asking me if it is somewhere hovering up in the sky waiting to come back down, whether or not they can see him from an airplane window, et cetera.

I agree with your caution about belittling the ancients in this regard, as if their puny little brains couldn't be pointing to something higher than a gross literalism, as these mockers seem to do. But how are we to understand the ascension of His Flesh? What does it mean for us now, and what can we state positively, and what is left to speculation and mystery?
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« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2010, 09:17:16 PM »

From the Vigil of the Ascension of the Lord:

When You were taken up in glory, Christ our God, while Your Disciples watched, the clouds received You in the flesh; the gates of heaven were lifted up; the choir of Angels rejoiced with gladness; the higher powers cried out, saying; Raise our gates, you rulers, and the King of glory will enter. While the Disciples, amazed, were saying: Good Shepherd, do not be parted from us, but send us Your all-holy Spirit, to guide and strengthen our souls.

O gracious Lord, when You had fulfilled the mystery hidden from ages and generations, You came with Your Disciples to the Mount of Olives, having with You her who bore You, the Maker and Creator of all things; for it was necessary that she who had suffered so greatly as a mother at Your passion, should also be filled with joy beyond measure at the glory of Your flesh. We too, sharing in the joy of Your ascent to heaven, O Master, glorify Your great mercy which has come to us.

To God, who appeared on Mount Sinai and gave the law to Moses, who saw God, and who was taken up in the flesh from the Mount of Olives, let us all sing; for He has been glorified.

The ranks of Angels, as they saw Your mortal nature going up with You, O Saviour, were astounded, and without ceasing sang Your praise.

As the Saviour had ascended to the Father with His flesh, the hosts of Angels were struck with amazement, and cried out: Glory, O Christ, to Your Ascension!

When You had filled the universe with gladness, merciful Lord, You took Your place with Your flesh among the powers on high.

As the Angels saw in the heights Your flesh now made divine, O Christ, they signalled to one another: Truly this is our God.

Let's also not forget that Christ's second coming will be "in the flesh". Does this mean that He will need to become incarnate again, as He was at the Annunciation? Of course not, as this would make a mockery of all that He did the first time around. Therefore, His second coming will be in the form of the Theanthropos, God-Man, as it was during His first coming, as also expressed in the Ascension hymnography. Examples:

O God, having renewed in Yourself Adam’s nature, which had descended to the depths of the earth, You took it up today above every rule and authority; as You loved it, so You made it sit with You; as You had compassion for it, so You united it to Yourself; as united with it, so You suffered with it; as not subject to suffering, yet You suffered and glorified it with Yourself. But the Bodiless powers were saying: Who is this man of beauty? Not man only, but both God and man, both together they appear. And so the astonished Angels flying in shining robes cried out to the Disciples: Men of Galilee, this Jesus who has gone from you as man and God, will come again as God and Man, judge of living and dead, granting the faithful remission of sins and His great mercy.

The Angels came and cried out, O Christ, to Your Disciples: In the way that you have seen Christ going up, He will come in the flesh as righteous Judge of all.

The men of Galilee, seeing You, O Word, taken up bodily from the Mount of Olives, heard Angels crying out to them, ‘Why do you stand gazing? He will come again in the flesh in the same way that you have seen Him.’

From this, there's no doubt that the Orthodox Church teaches that Christ did not discard His flesh after his Ascension, and, with regard to the Second Coming, will appear in the same flesh and human nature which He has glorified and perfected.
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« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2010, 10:47:30 PM »

We know that Christ ascended into heaven thus deifying the flesh, but he didn't discard it when He arrived in the heavens, did he?  So, does Christ still wear human flesh though He is now seated at the right hand of the Father?

Of course. If He discarded His flesh then it would not be possible for Him to mediate His living Body and Blood in Holy Communion.
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« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2010, 10:49:16 PM »

We know that Christ ascended into heaven thus deifying the flesh, but he didn't discard it when He arrived in the heavens, did he?  So, does Christ still wear human flesh though He is now seated at the right hand of the Father?

Perhaps the word "ascension" should not be taken so literally, since our ancestors may have had a more primitive understanding of what exactly existed up in the sky.

Using modern terminology, one might speak of the resurrected Jesus "trans-localizing" (physical body and all) into another dimension, disappearing from physical view.

Agreed. Heaven is not within our own physical realm. He must have "trans-localized" to a transcendent dimension (Heaven). However, I think we none the less must admit that He still has His flesh in Heaven.
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« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2010, 10:50:09 PM »

Perhaps the word "ascension" should not be taken so literally, since our ancestors may have had a more primitive understanding of what exactly existed up in the sky.

Using modern terminology, one might speak of the resurrected Jesus "trans-localizing" (physical body and all) into another dimension, disappearing from physical view.

Ok, but this doesn't answer my question.  I'm not interested in new terminologies or looking for excuses to expose the "ignorance" of the ancient church because we are so much more enlightened than they were.

 Undecided

Was that really necessary?
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« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2010, 10:53:03 PM »

What is wrong with the idea of Christ rising into the stratosphere?

Because:

1. He would have been observable by now.

2. There wouldn't have been anything particularly deifying about His ascension, as we have now attained to the stratosphere ourselves.

3. That's not where the right hand of the Father is.
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« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2010, 10:54:48 PM »

Well, the answer (which is "yes") might be a bit more understandable to the modern mind, if "ascension" is interpreted not necessarily as "rising up into the stratosphere".

Stop making us use our brains!

Actually, he might have ascended into outer space, because His glorified body would likely possess the ability to breathe or survive in outer space. Plus, the notion that we will follow suit and move infinitely into God on some cosmic astral journey sounds just about perfect to me. Imagine part of moving infinitely into God including cruising the galaxy, having the mysteries of the universe unlocked before your very eyes.

Yet that is not the transcendent abode of the Godhead. The Ascension is not all that transcendent or deifying if Jesus simply moved upwards into another location in our own physical realm.
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« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2010, 10:58:08 PM »

Col 2:9
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For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

"Dwelleth" is present tense indicating a present reality. This was written after Christ's ascension.

Be careful that you do not take that to imply that the fullness of the Godhead did not dwell in the Logos bodily before the Ascension.
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« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2010, 09:57:41 PM »

Col 2:9
Quote
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

"Dwelleth" is present tense indicating a present reality. This was written after Christ's ascension.

Be careful that you do not take that to imply that the fullness of the Godhead did not dwell in the Logos bodily before the Ascension.

It just simply states that it is the present reality, not that it wasn't before, just affirming that it is now.
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« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2010, 12:52:24 AM »

Col 2:9
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For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

"Dwelleth" is present tense indicating a present reality. This was written after Christ's ascension.

Be careful that you do not take that to imply that the fullness of the Godhead did not dwell in the Logos bodily before the Ascension.

It just simply states that it is the present reality, not that it wasn't before, just affirming that it is now.

I know. But in considering it as simply a matter after the Ascension runs the risk of some form of Adoptionism, even though it doesn't necessitate it.
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