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Author Topic: Question from The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined  (Read 1512 times) Average Rating: 0
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Twenty Nine
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« on: December 27, 2010, 01:24:48 PM »

I have a copy of V.C. Samuel's The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined. On page 39, he begins a short summary of the non-Chalcedonian position. He stresses that one Person spoke the words and performed the deeds of Christ. However, he goes on to say: "But when we contemplate on Christ, we shall be able to say about some of the words and deeds that they were divine and about the others that they were human." (pages 39-40)

It was my understanding that the non-Chalcedonians would not use such language, even if still stressing the unity of Christ. In other words, why (even in theory/contemplation) even speak of a human action versus a divine action? It is the God-man who performs these actions and to separate them, even in thought, is to somewhat imply that there is some kind of dichotomy between the two natures.

Greg
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Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8
minasoliman
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2010, 03:59:28 PM »

I don't have the book with me right now as I can't comment.

Fr. V.C. Samuel is perhaps one of the most open-minded authors you'll read from, and very lenient and understanding in the Christological controversies.  So he gives his own interpretation of the events without the obvious OO polemics, although he allows an OO perspective of the views.

Nevertheless, the idea is that we stress that one person does the act through a certain faculty.  We don't put each faculty as the subject of action.  In other words, God was crucified humanly, rose from the dead divinely.  We do not say "the human nature was crucified, and the divine nature rose the human from the dead."  To us, this would sound quasi-Nestorian.  We preserve the integrity of both the humanity and the divinity, while keeping the subject of action as one, i.e. God the Logos.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2010, 04:00:58 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Twenty Nine
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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2010, 05:11:00 PM »

Quote
In other words, God was crucified humanly, rose from the dead divinely. 

Thanks. I can't recall who used this analogy (probably St Cyril of Alexandria), but he compares the unity of Christ to an iron (humanity) with fire (divinity) where there is no mixture or confusion, etc. Now, when a blacksmith hammers the hot iron the fire (divinity) does not change but bends with the iron (humanity).

Using the same analogy, when the hammer strikes the iron and the iron is shaped into something we can think of Christ dying on the cross or performing a miracle. In other words, when the hammer strikes the iron this represents Christ acting in any and all fashion. Now if we look at the iron being struck we cannot separate the iron being re-shaped from the fire bending with the iron. We cannot separate the two. It is a completely unified action.

Greg
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Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8
minasoliman
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2010, 05:31:59 PM »

Quote
In other words, God was crucified humanly, rose from the dead divinely. 

Thanks. I can't recall who used this analogy (probably St Cyril of Alexandria), but he compares the unity of Christ to an iron (humanity) with fire (divinity) where there is no mixture or confusion, etc. Now, when a blacksmith hammers the hot iron the fire (divinity) does not change but bends with the iron (humanity).

Using the same analogy, when the hammer strikes the iron and the iron is shaped into something we can think of Christ dying on the cross or performing a miracle. In other words, when the hammer strikes the iron this represents Christ acting in any and all fashion. Now if we look at the iron being struck we cannot separate the iron being re-shaped from the fire bending with the iron. We cannot separate the two. It is a completely unified action.

Greg

Indeed...an awesome analogy  Smiley and yes St. Cyril used this analogy very well.  Every action done by Christ is a deified action.
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Twenty Nine
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2010, 06:12:20 PM »

Below is a quote from the Tome of Leo:

Quote
There is nothing unreal about this oneness, since both the lowliness of the man and the grandeur of the divinity are in mutual relation. As God is not changed by showing mercy, neither is humanity devoured by the dignity received. The activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh.

I thought that the above quote was the real sticking point with the non-Chalcedonians. And when I read Fr. V.C. Samuel's quote in the OP I was pretty confused...sounds like both were saying the same thing.

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Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2010, 07:05:28 PM »

Yes, in contemplation we recognize the properties of Christ's actions can either be human or divine.  But in reality the action is done by a person, not by natures.  So Fr. VC Samuel doesn't at all resemble the Leonian quote.
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Twenty Nine
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2010, 07:44:51 PM »

Quote
Yes, in contemplation we recognize the properties of Christ's actions can either be human or divine.  But in reality the action is done by a person, not by natures.  So Fr. VC Samuel doesn't at all resemble the Leonian quote.

But Leo is saying the same thing as he recognizes that all actions performed by Christ are performed by a single subject: the Son of God. In the Tome he writes:

Quote
So the proper character of both natures was maintained and came together in a single person.

I guess what I am saying is that we cannot even conceptually differentiate the actions of Christ into human or divine categories, per se.

Take, for instance, our understanding (or the reality) that Christ Himself is the Offering and the Offerer to God the Father. For example, the offerer is not simply God: it is the God-man. Christ offers Himself as the perfect sacrifice...not God offering to God, but the God-man offering to the Father. Christ did as man what we could not do ourselves. We cannot say that this action was "divine" or "human", but only that it was performed by the man whose single subject was the Son of God.
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Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8
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« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2010, 09:31:35 PM »

Quote
Yes, in contemplation we recognize the properties of Christ's actions can either be human or divine.  But in reality the action is done by a person, not by natures.  So Fr. VC Samuel doesn't at all resemble the Leonian quote.

But Leo is saying the same thing as he recognizes that all actions performed by Christ are performed by a single subject: the Son of God. In the Tome he writes:

Quote
So the proper character of both natures was maintained and came together in a single person.

I guess what I am saying is that we cannot even conceptually differentiate the actions of Christ into human or divine categories, per se.

Take, for instance, our understanding (or the reality) that Christ Himself is the Offering and the Offerer to God the Father. For example, the offerer is not simply God: it is the God-man. Christ offers Himself as the perfect sacrifice...not God offering to God, but the God-man offering to the Father. Christ did as man what we could not do ourselves. We cannot say that this action was "divine" or "human", but only that it was performed by the man whose single subject was the Son of God.


Look at the below quote from the Tome:

Quote
the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh.

There are two actors: the Word, and the flesh.

If you look carefully at what Fr. Samuel writes in his book, he always has one Actor:  the Incarnate Word.  According to Fr. Samuel, the Incarnate Word performs both the human and divine actions.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2010, 09:35:02 PM by Salpy » Logged

Salpy
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« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2010, 09:46:10 PM »

At this point I want to give a general warning to keep this on topic, namely addressing what Fr. Samuel meant in his book, regarding the quote that Twenty Nine gave.  I don't want people to come in and get into polemics.  By polemics I mean misrepresenting what the OO's believe, debating what the OO's believe, debating the Tome of Leo or Chalcedon, etc.  We have a private forum for that.  I want to keep this topic narrowly on the subject of the original post.

If anyone wants to engage in polemics, they may do so in the private forum.  For admission into the private forum, please pm Fr. Chris.

Thank you.
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minasoliman
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« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2010, 10:02:12 PM »

Quote
Yes, in contemplation we recognize the properties of Christ's actions can either be human or divine.  But in reality the action is done by a person, not by natures.  So Fr. VC Samuel doesn't at all resemble the Leonian quote.

But Leo is saying the same thing as he recognizes that all actions performed by Christ are performed by a single subject: the Son of God. In the Tome he writes:

Quote
So the proper character of both natures was maintained and came together in a single person.

I guess what I am saying is that we cannot even conceptually differentiate the actions of Christ into human or divine categories, per se.

Take, for instance, our understanding (or the reality) that Christ Himself is the Offering and the Offerer to God the Father. For example, the offerer is not simply God: it is the God-man. Christ offers Himself as the perfect sacrifice...not God offering to God, but the God-man offering to the Father. Christ did as man what we could not do ourselves. We cannot say that this action was "divine" or "human", but only that it was performed by the man whose single subject was the Son of God.


I'll have to look at the quote to get a better context, but what you're showing is not the same as the Leonian idea that Salpy quoted.  Yes, he showed a single subject that is the Son of God, but one of two things come up in this:

1.  The unity could be an external unity.  The "Son of God" is not enough for personalizing the subject, as this also has been employed by Nestorians.
2.  Assuming he doesn't mean the same thing as Nestorius, in the eyes of OO's, the Tome would be a self-contradiction.  It doesn't say that these are conceptualized in abstract, neither does affirm that a subject does it through a faculty, rather than a faculty being the subject itself which isn't clear in the quote from Fr. Samuel you gave.

Keep in mind, I'm not saying Pope Leo was a Nestorian.  I'm simply saying what OO's might have thought in reading his Tome.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2010, 10:03:03 PM by minasoliman » Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
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