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« on: June 13, 2004, 08:44:47 AM »

Quote
the double consubstantiality of Christ, and the perfect humanity and divinity, united without confusion or division

Quote
Anastasios: Although Mor Ephrem closed the thread, I would like to point out in the name of accuracy that Nestorius most definitely did NOT confess these things. For him the unity of God and Man was incidental and by will, not nature.  If anyone wants to discuss Nestorianism, open a thread in the faith section.

anastasios

Nestorius and his followers certainly did confess "the double consubstantiality of Christ, and the perfect humanity and divinity, united without confusion or division."

Nothing was said in the original quote about the mechanics of the union of Christ's humanity and divinity, whether it was "incidental and by will" or ontological.

"God the Word is also named Christ because He has always conjunction with Christ. And it is impossible for God the Word to do anything without the humanity, for all is planned upon an intimate conjunction . . ." (Nestorius, quoted in Williston Walker's History of the Christian Church, p. 133).

"The natures are preserved . . . without confusion, without mixture, without separation" (Nestorian Iso'yahb, quoted in Vol. 2 of Pelikan's The Christian Tradition, p. 39).

At the Synod of King Kosran in 612, the Nestorian bishops declared, "Christ is 'one,' not indeed according to the unity of nature [here the Non-Chalcedonians would take exception] or of hypostasis [here the Orthodox Catholics would object], but rather according to the singleness of his person as Son" (Ibid, p. 44).

The point is that the mere confession of "the double consubstantiality of Christ, and the perfect humanity and divinity, united without confusion or division" is no guarantee of orthodoxy.

One must look at what else is said on the subject of Christology.

It is that "what else" that renders Nestorianism heretical.

 
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2004, 09:21:30 AM »

At the Synod of King Kosran in 612, the Nestorian bishops declared, "Christ is 'one,' not indeed according to the unity of nature [here the Non-Chalcedonians would take exception] or of hypostasis [here the Orthodox Catholics would object], but rather according to the singleness of his person as Son" (Ibid, p. 44).

Just not true. More falsehood.

Since the OO confess a unity of hypostasis, and use nature in the sense of hypostasis, there is no difference between the EO and OO objection to this Christology.

Stop telling lies about my Church!
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2004, 09:27:26 AM »

Just not true. More falsehood.

Since the OO confess a unity of hypostasis, and use nature in the sense of hypostasis, there is no difference between the EO and OO objection to this Christology.

Stop telling lies about my Church!

I did not say that your church does not confess a unity of hypostasis, Peter.

This thread has to do with Nestorian Christology.

I only mentioned that Non-Chalcedonians would disagree with the Nestorian bishops' statement concerning a unity of nature because NCs do, in fact, teach that Christ has but one nature.

I do not agree that NCs always use nature in the same sense as hypostasis, at least not consistently. If they do, then they certainly teach that the unity of Christ's hypostasis is a composite formed from two hypostases, since NCs insist on "one nature from two natures."

If nature=hypostasis, then that can only be read as "one hypostasis from two hypostases."

But that's material for another thread.
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2004, 12:32:17 PM »

So why are Nestorians Heretics? Why is Nestorianism a heresy? What is the ""what else" that renders Nestorianism heretical"??
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2004, 01:55:13 PM »

So why are Nestorians Heretics? Why is Nestorianism a heresy? What is the ""what else" that renders Nestorianism heretical"??

Well, in part because they, at least, do consistently use nature is the sense of hypostasis.

Thus classical Nestorians (I am not necessarily referring to those in the Church of the East today) taught that Christ was one person from two hypostases.

Since hypostasis is that which makes an individual person unique, the Nestorian doctrine seems to make of Christ one Person from two persons.

Nestorians would deny this, but it does seem to be a logical consequence of their teaching.

And, as Anastasios pointed out, Nestorius apparently taught that the union of Christ's natures was not ontological but moral or willful, that Christ was the "temple of God," the "assumed man."

I can give a more complete answer later, but perhaps someone else would also like to answer your questions.
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2004, 02:04:30 PM »

Linus,

Let's agree on a methodology. Let's discuss Nestorius separately from Nestorianism as the two are not exactly co-terminous (the Assyrian Church of the East confesses Nestorius as a confessor, not as a doctrinal teacher in their tradition.)  I will address Nestorius' teachings first, which clearly show he does not believe in the same type of inseparable unity as Orthodox (Eastern and Oriental) do.

Nestorius' 12 Anathemas to Cyril

Quote
1. If anyone says that the Emmanuel is true God, and not rather God with us,
that is, that he has united himself to a like nature with ours, which he assumed
from the Virgin Mary, and dwelt in it; and if anyone calls Mary the mother of
God the Word, and not rather mother of him who is Emmanuel; and if he
maintains that God the Word has changed himself into the flesh, which he only
assumed in order to make his Godhead visible, and to be found in form as a
man, let him be anathema.

This is not a clear union by Orthodox standards. It is an incidental union where the Logos is operating through flesh, not taking flesh onto himself as St. Cyril taught.

Quote
2. If any one asserts that, at the union of the Logos with the flesh, the divine
Essence moved from one place to another; or says that the flesh is capable of
receiving the divine nature, and that it has been partially united with the flesh; or
ascribes to the flesh, by reason of its reception of God, an extension to the infinite
and boundless, and says that God and man are one and the same in nature; let
him be anathema.

He is denying communicatio idomatum, the Orthodox belief that the properties of divinity and humanity are transfered to each other in Christ (i.e. Christ heals by using human spit).

Quote
3. If any one says that Christ, who is also Emmanuel, is One, not [merely] in
consequence of connection, but [also] in nature,
and does not acknowledge the
connection of the two natures, that of the Logos and of the assumed manhood, in
one Son, as still continuing without mingling; let him be anathema.

You can't get more blatantly heretical than that.

Quote
4. If any one assigns the expressions of the Gospels and Apostolic letters,
which refer to the two natures of Christ, to one only of those natures, and even
ascribes suffering to the divine Word, both in the flesh and in the Godhead; let
him be anathema.

Again he denies communicatio idomatum.

Quote
5. If any one ventures to say that, even after the assumption of human
nature, there is only one Son of God, namely, he who is so in nature (naturaliter
filius = Logos), while he (Since the assumption of the flesh) is certainly
Emmanuel; let him be anathema.

He is denying the hypostatic union here.

Quote
6. If anyone, after the Incarnation calls another than Christ the Word, and
ventures to say that the form of a servant is equally with the Word of God,
without beginning and uncreated, and not rather that it is made by him as its
natural Lord and Creator and God, and that he has promised to raise it again in
the words: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will build it up again"; let
him be anathema.

Again he denies the Holy Body of Christ and communicatio idiomatum.

Quote
7. If any one says that the man who was formed of the Virgin is the Onlybegotten,
who was born from the bosom of the Father, before the morning star
was (Ps. cix., 3)(1), and does not rather confess that he has obtained the
designation of Only-begotten on account of his connection with him who in
nature is the Only-begotten of the Father; and besides, if any one calls another
than the Emmanuel Christ let him be anathema.

Denies the hypostatic union.

Quote
8. If any one says that the form of a servant should, for its own sake, that is,
in reference to its own nature, be reverenced, and that it is the ruler of all things,
and not rather. that [merely] on account of its connection with the holy and in
itself universally-ruling nature of the Only-begotten, it is to be reverenced; let
him be anathema.

He is saying that Christ's body is not holy, it is only holy in a secondary sense as being connected to the Logos. This is not Orthodox teaching.

Quote
9. If anyone says that the form of a servant is of like nature with the Holy
Ghost, and not rather that it owes its union with the Word which has existed
since the conception, to his mediation, by which it works miraculous healings
among men, and possesses the power of expelling demons; let him be anathema.

He misunderstands the hypostatic union.  The flesh of Christ *is* the Word of God.

Quote
10. If any one maintains that the Word, who is from the beginning, has
become the high priest and apostle of our confession, and has offered himself for
us, and does not rather say that it is the work of Emmanuel to be an apostle; and
if any one in such a manner divides the sacrifice between him who united [the
Word] and him who was united [the manhood] referring it to a common sonship,
that is, not giving to God that which is God's, and to man that which is man's; let
him be anathema.

Again he denies communicatio idiomatum.

Quote
11. If any one maintains that the flesh which is united with God the Word is
by the power of its own nature life-giving, whereas the Lord himself says, "It is
the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (St. John vi. 61), let him be
anathema. [He adds, "God is a Spirit" (St. John iv. 24). If, then, any one maintains
that God the Logos has in a carnal manner, in his substance, become flesh, and
persists in this with reference to the Lord Christ; who himself after his
resurrection said to his disciples, "Handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh
and bones, as ye behold me having" (St. Luke xxiv. 39); let him be anathema. --
N.B. This bracketed section is certainly a spurious addition and is lacking in
many manuscripts.]

Even the unbracketed portion is heretical. He is positing two subjects: God the Word and the Man Jesus Christ.  There are not two subjects in Orthodox Christology.

Quote
12. If any one, in confessing the sufferings of the flesh, ascribes these also to
the Word of God as to the flesh in which he appeared, and thus does not
distinguish the dignity of the natures; let him be anathema.

Again, two subjects; heretical.

Now let us examine some excerpts from his writing, The Bazaar of Heracleides

Quote
1 (p.248):
He voluntarily practised obedience as a rational nature, with thought and with examination, and with the choice of good and with the refusal of evil.

He is giving the possibility of Christ sinning as a man here.

Quote
2 (p.63):
He took a nature which had sinned, lest in taking a nature which was not subject to sins He should be supposed not to have sinned on account of the nature and not on account of His obedience. But, although He had all those things which appertain to our nature - anger and concupiscence and thoughts - and although they increased with the progress and increase of every age [in His life], He stood firm in thoughts of obedience.

In other words, Christ is God because he "finished the job."  This is not only Nestorian but partly adoptionist!

Quote
3 (138):
He suffered all human things in his humanity and all divine things in the divinity; for birth from a woman is human but birth from the Father is without beginning, whereas the former [is] in the beginning, and the one is eternal while the other is temporal.

Again, denying communicatio idiomatum.

Quote
4 (220):
God is one thing and man another; but Christ is not one thing and another, but one in prosopon by union GǪ for they took the prosopa of one another, and not the natures.

In other words, the union is incidental and by will, not by nature from all eternity!

Quote
5 (219):
The natures subsist in their prosopa, and in their hypostases and in the prosopon of union. For in respect to the natural prosopon of the one, the other also makes use of the same on account of the union: thus there is one prosopon of the two natures.

I'll give it to Nestorius that at this time the terminology of prosopa was not clear, so we can't be too harsh with this passage.  However, despite that, I will still criticize it as it suggests two persons in a union of will, not nature.

Quote
6 (p.246):
The prosopon of the divinity and the prosopon of the humanity are one prosopon. The one on this hand by kenosis, the other on that by exaltation.

Heretical as usual.  He is saying that Christ's nature is divine because of the Passion.

Quote
7 (p.208):
We understand neither that which took nor that which was taken in distinction, but that which was taken in that which took, while that which took is conceived in that which was taken, for tht which took, therefore, is not conceived of itself, nor again, that which was taken.

This is the passage that some use to try and rehabilitate Nestorius in our day.  But taken in context, we know he is not saying that there really is a union of nature: only that from our perspective there is no difference.

Quote
8 (p.247):
As in the Trinity there is one ousia of three prosopa, but three prosopa of one ousia, here there is one prosopon of two ousiai and two ousiai of one prosopon.

An ambiguous passage that I think can be taken either way.

Nestorius thus, it can be shown, did not teach an unconfused union of the Logos who took flesh as Orthodox do.  You said that your original post did not address the mechanics but I think that Nestorius' quotes show that he just simply did not teach any kind of union as we know it.

anastasios
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2004, 06:28:13 PM »

Interesting article/essay on Nestorius and his teachings from the perspective of the Assyrian Church:

http://www.cired.org/east/0303_nestorius_of_constantinople.pdf

I highly recomend it.
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2004, 07:19:35 PM »

Excellent post, Anastasios.
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2004, 07:34:30 PM »

In other words, the union is incidental and by will, not by nature from all eternity!

I fail to follow.  First, I assume you mean to say union of will, not of nature, yes (as in Nestorius claiming there is no hypostatic union of natures but the union of wills between two hypostases)?

And how is the hypostatic union to be understood as from all eternity?  The Word united human nature to His divine nature within time at a specific point.

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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2004, 09:32:40 PM »

Samer,

You are thinking chronologically like we all like we all tend to do.  But the fact is that God is eternal and outside of time.  The Logos *is* Jesus Christ--the full, united being.  In a sense, yes, the hypostatic union "happened" but for God it was never a question of it not being a reality.  The Logos took flesh, it did not add on a body.  That body was not a new person as I am sure you will agree--hence the Virgin birth. It was rather God coming into the world as Logos and as he had always been from eternity--there was no change in God for him to assume the flesh.  It would be the heresy of Apollinarius to say that the flesh always existed in the Godhead, but at the same time the hypostic union was an eternal truth: since the Logos is Jesus Christ and the human and the divine cannot be thought of as two subjects, rather, there are two sets of properties for the one Lord, we have to understand that "chronologically" "before" the hypostatic union, there was still the God-man who existed in a sense of prefigurement.  Orthodox iconography makes this clear: any icon of the creation of the world shows the Crucified Jesus Christ creating Adam, not the "disincarnate Logos."  We are all to used to thinking of theology as a series of events in the "biography" of Jesus Christ.  For instance

Eternal begetting       ----->      pre-incarnational appearances       ----->    incarnation      ----> crucifixion   -----------> ascension

But in reality, the starting point is Christ Crucified.  On the Cross, Jesus Christ showed what it is to be God.  From that, our first principle, we understand that God is the man Jesus Christ.  The pre-incarnational visits were not preincarnational visits but visits of Jesus Christ the Logos to Abraham, Jacob, etc.  Again, if we think in terms of chronology this "cannot be" but it is not chronological, it is a reflection on identity.

We will be discussing this admittedly esoteric and difficult theology when we begin the Fr John Behr book discussion next week.

anastasios
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2004, 03:12:21 AM »

You are thinking chronologically like we all like we all tend to do.  But the fact is that God is eternal and outside of time.

True, which tends to have the unfortunate effect--particularly when reflecting upon the more complex of theological subjects and nuances--of presenting mind-numbing Back to the Future complications and conundrums.  

Quote
The Logos *is* Jesus Christ--the full, united being.  In a sense, yes, the hypostatic union "happened" but for God it was never a question of it not being a reality.  The Logos took flesh, it did not add on a body.  That body was not a new person as I am sure you will agree--hence the Virgin birth.


Yes, I see, though I don't find the word 'body', in referring to our Lord's humanity, carrying a connotation suggesting an individual identity. It still appears to me as indicative of an impersonal quality, characteristic, and nature: raw material (body and soul), void of an individual 'personality', but united to one Divine Person of the Logos, whom we call Jesus Christ, a human Name that the Son possesses by virtue of imbibing a human nature he took for Himself.

Quote
It was rather God coming into the world as Logos and as he had always been from eternity--there was no change in God for him to assume the flesh.
 

As I understand it, there was no change, but there was an acquisition of human properties that from a chronological perspective did not exist before then and in eternity as the heresy you mention below would claim.

Quote
It would be the heresy of Apollinarius to say that the flesh always existed in the Godhead, but at the same time the hypostic union was an eternal truth:


Here is where clarification would be appreciated so that the foregoing apparent contradiction and paradox can be resolved.  The answer to what 'eternal truth' (eternal reality?) means precisely would be helpful.

Quote
since the Logos is Jesus Christ and the human and the divine cannot be thought of as two subjects, rather, there are two sets of properties for the one Lord, we have to understand that "chronologically" "before" the hypostatic union, there was still the God-man


A semantic barrier comes in the way while following that line of thought.  We understand Christ, true God and true Man, to be one immutable Divine Person (not a human Person or hybrid Divine/human Person), Whose personhood was unaffected by time or the Incarnation, although He was in one sense no longer the same in the matter of the totality of His Natures, as He acquired one and united it to Himself through this historical event (the intriguing paradox is that though God is outside time, He did enter it and wrought 'changes' in Himself [He incarnated, though this did not alter His divine Nature, as God is unchangeable]).   Without knowing the descriptive category of the word and designation 'God-man', which sounds as if referring to His core identity (personhood, which is only a Divine personhood) instead of what constitutes His Natures, we are faced with an apparent contradiction on the semantic surface, as if 'God-man' (a term and reality that appears to not be constant, invariable, and eternal from a chronological perspective as the Divine Person, Jesus Christ, was God-man post-Incarnation, and merely God pre-Incarnation) is the essence of identity and personhood in Christ instead of a descriptive label that refers to His Natures only.
 
Quote
who existed in a sense of prefigurement.
 

Please do expand further if you can.

Quote
Orthodox iconography makes this clear: any icon of the creation of the world shows the Crucified Jesus Christ creating Adam, not the "disincarnate Logos."
 

Correct Anastasios, and good point.  I have been much more used to thinking in terms of the disincarnate Logos when reflecting on Christ prior to His entering time and space, and arrival on Earth.  But I have seen icons illustrated as you describe, and I never did think of their theological implications.  I thought this was the only practical way to portray Christ visibly, even if He was pre-incarnate.

Quote
We are all to used to thinking of theology as a series of events in the "biography" of Jesus Christ.  For instance

Eternal begetting       ----->      pre-incarnational appearances       ----->    incarnation      ----> crucifixion   -----------> ascension

But in reality, the starting point is Christ Crucified.  On the Cross, Jesus Christ showed what it is to be God.  From that, our first principle, we understand that God is the man Jesus Christ.  The pre-incarnational visits were not preincarnational visits but visits of Jesus Christ the Logos to Abraham, Jacob, etc.  Again, if we think in terms of chronology this "cannot be" but it is not chronological, it is a reflection on identity.

I see your point, and one over which it is obviously painfully difficult to ponder.  The concept of order of causation being at odds with chronological progression is easier to grasp in the matter of less eternal subjects, such as historical events.  For example, though it cannot be comprehended, it is less challenging to accept when we speak, in one case, of the Last Supper preceding the Crucifixion historically whilst the latter in fact precedes the former in the order of causation.  But what makes this concept much more mind-numbing in relation to the topic we are discussing in this thread is that those particular time loops (those concerning Incarnation and Hypostatic Union) have implications for the eternal and fixed Identity and state of God Himself, not on acts of God in history, but the Deity's very Essence and condition.

Quote
We will be discussing this admittedly esoteric and difficult theology when we begin the Fr John Behr book discussion next week.

Anastasios, mark my words when I tell you that the rigours of study such a book will have you face will find you at the end of the curriculum taking up a simple profession and philosophy such as gardening. Smiley

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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2004, 10:53:25 AM »

Quote
anastasios: Nestorius thus, it can be shown, did not teach an unconfused union of the Logos who took flesh as Orthodox do.  You said that your original post did not address the mechanics but I think that Nestorius' quotes show that he just simply did not teach any kind of union as we know it.

The point was whether or not Nestorians (which is what I wrote) or even Nestorius himself, if you insist, could subscribe to a belief in "the double consubstantiality of Christ, and the perfect humanity and divinity, united without confusion or division."

Nestorius' writings, when examined closely, reveal that he did not endorse what we Orthodox would call union (which is one of the reasons he was declared a heretic), but he certainly did teach some kind of union, and he certainly could have subscribed to the statement above.

That was the point.

One cannot judge Orthodoxy through subscription to minimalistic statements.

One must know a bit more.

By the way, according to The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, "Nestorianism,"  pp. 961-962, the twelve "Counter Anathemas" attributed to Nestorius were not actually written by him but are of a much later date.

That does not mean I am defending Nestorius. No, I accept what the fathers had to say about him.

It simply means he probably did not write those twelve anathemas. Don't they seem a bit too blatantly heretical? Nestorius and his followers, while Christological heretics, were more subtle than that.
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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2004, 01:17:01 PM »

Dustin, following Linus' recent posting, let me bump this thread up again and invite your comments on what I have last written, in the interest of furthering the discussion.

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« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2004, 02:09:49 AM »

One interpretation of this causality-line would be that the creation is such that when the Logos enters it, He enters with a body.  (Which might even be a rock.)  If you specify that the creation you mention is Gen 1:3, you don't even have to directly contradict Judaism to do it.

Although the idea that the crucifixion is the cause of his eternal begetting would strike me as...hard to accept.

The crucifixion is caused by the sin of the first man.  But this sin was in no way caused by God, eventhough He knew it would be, and provided for it "before" creation.

The incarnation is clearly caused by the crucifixion.

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« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2004, 02:27:26 AM »

I don't have time to get into this right now, but in response to Linus, who has now quit our site, the 12 Anathemas were on the Assyrian official website and attributed to "St" Nestorius.  So even if not historical, they seem to be accepted.

anastasios
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Met. Demetrius's Enthronement

Disclaimer: Past posts reflect stages of my life before my baptism may not be accurate expositions of Orthodox teaching.

I served as an Orthodox priest from June 2008 to April 2013, before resigning for personal reasons
Tags: Nestorius nestorian nestorianism Church of the East Christology Assyrian 
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