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Author Topic: Did Christ's Divine Nature Die?  (Read 2044 times) Average Rating: 0
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Alveus Lacuna
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« on: July 26, 2011, 01:34:56 AM »

I'm just trying to get my mind around Orthodox theology of the incarnation.

If so, we confess that in some sense God died on the Cross? But this I think gets into Nestorianism, where they had a problem with this language? Do we more specifically say that the Son's divinity died on the cross, but clarify that the Godhead in its entirety did not die on the cross? For example, the Father and the Holy Spirit did not die?
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2011, 01:41:13 AM »

The key term here is He suffered "according to the flesh." God the Son suffered and died in the sense that Jesus is the same Person as the Son, but His divinity itself neither suffered nor died because God can't suffer.

The tag I added contains some useful threads including the one where I got schooled on this issue.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 01:43:21 AM by Volnutt » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2011, 02:59:50 AM »

I'm just trying to get my mind around Orthodox theology of the incarnation.

If so, we confess that in some sense God died on the Cross? But this I think gets into Nestorianism, where they had a problem with this language?

Nestorians did not say that God died on the cross. The problem arose from their wish to divide Jesus into two subjects.

Look at it this way: WHO died on the cross? God the Son (divine subject)
                            WHAT died on the cross? God the Son's human nature.
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2011, 03:07:38 AM »

Divinity is incorruptible, it cannot die.

Christ's Person suffered and died according to His humanity.
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2011, 02:21:36 PM »

"For we say the same suffered and suffered not"~ St Athanasius

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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2011, 02:34:08 PM »

St John Cassian, Against Nestorius, on the Passion:

But when speaking of His Passion, he shows that the Lord of glory was crucified. “For if,” he says, “they had known, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.” And so too the Creed speaking of the only and first-begotten Lord Jesus Christ, “Very God of Very God, Being of one substance with the Father, and the Maker of all things,” affirms that He was born of the Virgin and crucified and afterwards buried. Thus joining in one body (as it were) the Son of God and of man, and uniting God and man, so that there can be no severance either in time or at the Passion, since the Lord Jesus Christ is shown to be one and the same Person, both as God through all eternity, and as man through the endurance of His Passion; and though we cannot say that man is without beginning or that God is passible, yet in the one Person of the Lord Jesus Christ we can speak of man as eternal, and of God as dead. You see then that Christ means the whole Person, and that the name represents both natures, for both man and God are born, and so it takes in the whole Person so that when this name is used we see that no part is left out. There was not then before the birth of a Virgin the same eternity belonging in the past to the manhood as to the Divinity, but because Divinity was united to manhood in the womb of the Virgin, it follows that when we use the name of Christ one cannot be spoken of without the other.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf211.iv.vii.vii.xxii.html

St John Damascene:

Wherefore, although He died as man and His Holy Spirit was severed from His immaculate body, yet His divinity remained inseparable from both, I mean, from His soul and His body, and so even thus His one hypostasis was not divided into two hypostases.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 02:34:38 PM by zekarja » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2011, 03:16:42 PM »

I'm just trying to get my mind around Orthodox theology of the incarnation.

If so, we confess that in some sense God died on the Cross? But this I think gets into Nestorianism, where they had a problem with this language? Do we more specifically say that the Son's divinity died on the cross, but clarify that the Godhead in its entirety did not die on the cross? For example, the Father and the Holy Spirit did not die?

The thing is, I wouldn't worry about "what you get off into". 

There are two things that happened, one is right the other is not.

1) God died on the cross
2) God did not die on the cross

This is the confusion I have with the Trinity.

If God did not die on the cross, then Yeshua was not God.
If God did die on the cross, then God is dead, and no hope for a resurrection.

If only ONE PART of God died on the cross then the "unity" of the "Triune" God died, but that is not exactly "unity" in the sense that I understand the word.

The only way I can think of this is to consider that God and Yeshua are one, yet completely separate in death, which of course many would say is polytheistic.  However, their explanations are rendered useless when logic applied.

It's a paradox. 

However, it can make sense if you consider it as LOVE which God is.  There are different types of love that we have for all kinds of people.  I love my wife differently than children & my siblings for instance.

Since God is love, then the one part of his love Yeshua, died yet God remained.
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2011, 03:36:59 PM »

I'm just trying to get my mind around Orthodox theology of the incarnation.

If so, we confess that in some sense God died on the Cross? But this I think gets into Nestorianism, where they had a problem with this language? Do we more specifically say that the Son's divinity died on the cross, but clarify that the Godhead in its entirety did not die on the cross? For example, the Father and the Holy Spirit did not die?

The thing is, I wouldn't worry about "what you get off into". 

There are two things that happened, one is right the other is not.

1) God died on the cross
2) God did not die on the cross

This is the confusion I have with the Trinity.

If God did not die on the cross, then Yeshua was not God.
If God did die on the cross, then God is dead, and no hope for a resurrection.

If only ONE PART of God died on the cross then the "unity" of the "Triune" God died, but that is not exactly "unity" in the sense that I understand the word.

The only way I can think of this is to consider that God and Yeshua are one, yet completely separate in death, which of course many would say is polytheistic.  However, their explanations are rendered useless when logic applied.

It's a paradox. 

However, it can make sense if you consider it as LOVE which God is.  There are different types of love that we have for all kinds of people.  I love my wife differently than children & my siblings for instance.

Since God is love, then the one part of his love Yeshua, died yet God remained.

The Incarnate Word died. The God/Man died. Physically His humanity died. His divinity is un-separable from His humanity. Therefore God died. His divinity was in the grave with His flesh. His divinity was in Hades with His soul. You cannot separate His divinity from His humanity. He is of one essence with the Father. He is of one essence with us. St John Cassian said, "in the one Person of the Lord Jesus Christ we can speak of man as eternal, and of God as dead."
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2011, 03:52:51 PM »

I'm just trying to get my mind around Orthodox theology of the incarnation.

If so, we confess that in some sense God died on the Cross? But this I think gets into Nestorianism, where they had a problem with this language? Do we more specifically say that the Son's divinity died on the cross, but clarify that the Godhead in its entirety did not die on the cross? For example, the Father and the Holy Spirit did not die?

The thing is, I wouldn't worry about "what you get off into". 

There are two things that happened, one is right the other is not.

1) God died on the cross
2) God did not die on the cross

This is the confusion I have with the Trinity.

If God did not die on the cross, then Yeshua was not God.
If God did die on the cross, then God is dead, and no hope for a resurrection.

If only ONE PART of God died on the cross then the "unity" of the "Triune" God died, but that is not exactly "unity" in the sense that I understand the word.

The only way I can think of this is to consider that God and Yeshua are one, yet completely separate in death, which of course many would say is polytheistic.  However, their explanations are rendered useless when logic applied.

It's a paradox. 

However, it can make sense if you consider it as LOVE which God is.  There are different types of love that we have for all kinds of people.  I love my wife differently than children & my siblings for instance.

Since God is love, then the one part of his love Yeshua, died yet God remained.

What does death mean to you?
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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2011, 04:04:45 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


The Incarnate Word died. The God/Man died. Physically His humanity died. His divinity is un-separable from His humanity. Therefore God died. His divinity was in the grave with His flesh. His divinity was in Hades with His soul. You cannot separate His divinity from His humanity. He is of one essence with the Father. He is of one essence with us. St John Cassian said, "in the one Person of the Lord Jesus Christ we can speak of man as eternal, and of God as dead."
Amen Amen.


To put it specifically, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church fully affirms that by the fact of the Incarnation and the Union, the Divinity of Jesus Christfully participated with the Death on the Cross.  In our Liturgy of Saint Dioscoros we chant routinely, "The Immortal Died, died to quicken Death."

But Death should be understand as a process, as a place, and not necessarily a state of existing (or not-existing), and then in this context Jesus Christ, God-Man, in His full capacities as the Word, went into Hell and rose the captives there.  This is fundamental to our Tewahedo soteriology, that the very Divinity of Christ's Person is what raised Him from Death, and we have had our own internal Adoptionist heresies which is why we explain this in detail, that Jesus Christ was raised up by the power of His Divinity, not as a dead human being who was deified by Unction of Adoption of the Holy Spirit or the Father as others have taught.  Frankly if folks explain that the Divine did not participate in the Death, we believe that they are suggesting a momentary separation between the Divinity and Humanity of the unified Person of Jesus Christ, precisely what we in the Tewahedo Church have always condemned the Chalcedon doctrines of doing (IE, creating a separation or distinction between the Natures, hence why we only speak of One Incarnate Nature of Christ and never two in avoiding this kind of idea of separating divinity and humanity at the moment of Christ's death).  



This is a Mystery, not meant to be fully understood, but rather experienced from the depth of our hearts.  Could someone please explain the EO teaching in regards to the Descent of Christ into Hell to raise up the Saints if the Unionized Person of Christ, Divine and Human, did not go into Death?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2011, 04:15:20 PM »

This is a Mystery, not meant to be fully understood, but rather experienced from the depth of our hearts.  Could someone please explain the EO teaching in regards to the Descent of Christ into Hell to raise up the Saints if the Unionized Person of Christ, Divine and Human, did not go into Death?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I agree with what you said. Here is what the EO believe in short (subsistence means person):
Wherefore, although He died as man and His Holy Spirit was severed from His immaculate body, yet His divinity remained inseparable from both, I mean, from His soul and His body, and so even thus His one hypostasis was not divided into two hypostases. For body and soul received simultaneously in the beginning their being in the subsistence of the Word, and although they were severed from one another by death, yet they continued, each of them, having the one subsistence of the Word. So that the one subsistence of the Word is alike the subsistence of the Word, and of soul and body. For at no time had either soul or body a separate subsistence of their own, different from that of the Word, and the subsistence of the Word is for ever one, and at no time two. So that the subsistence of Christ is always one. For, although the soul was separated from the body topically, yet hypostatically they were united through the Word. - St John Damascene
Emphasis mine
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« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2011, 09:05:50 PM »

Alveus, if you were OO I would give you an excellent explanation of theopaschitism from St Severus of Antioch, but being that you're EO, it's probably inappropriate for me to do so.  Wink
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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2011, 09:26:04 PM »

Fwiw Habte, we OO do believe in the distinction/difference of Christ's divinity and humanity, it's dividing or separating the natures that we reject.

St Severus says:
"It is not confessing the particularity of the natures from which Emmanuel comes that we avoid, so long as we maintain the unity without confusion (the particularity is that which is expressed in natural characteristics), but distributing and dividing the properties to each of the natures. [I.e. separating the natures]*"~Letter #3

St Cyril says:
"For between Godhead and manhood I also allow that there is great distinction and distance: for the things which have been named are clearly different, and in no point like one another."~Third Tome Against Nestorius Chapter 6

Undoubtedly the divinity of God is completely different from our human nature, but in the case of Christ the two "elements", as St Severus calls them, converge in a natural union to form one hypostasis, one person, and one incarnate nature of God the Word.

*The brackets are my own commentary, the parentheses are from St Severus

God bless,
Severian

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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2011, 09:31:34 PM »

No, or else he would not be God.
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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2011, 12:15:36 AM »

The Incarnate Word died. The God/Man died. Physically His humanity died. His divinity is un-separable from His humanity. Therefore God died. His divinity was in the grave with His flesh. His divinity was in Hades with His soul. You cannot separate His divinity from His humanity. He is of one essence with the Father. He is of one essence with us. St John Cassian said, "in the one Person of the Lord Jesus Christ we can speak of man as eternal, and of God as dead."

This^

Christ died.
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« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2011, 12:29:09 AM »

Alveus, if you were OO I would give you an excellent explanation of theopaschitism from St Severus of Antioch, but being that you're EO, it's probably inappropriate for me to do so.  Wink
Why?
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« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2011, 12:31:14 AM »

I dunno, I still prefer the Orthodox language about "God suffering" and "God dying"...
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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2011, 12:32:04 AM »

Alveus, if you were OO I would give you an excellent explanation of theopaschitism from St Severus of Antioch, but being that you're EO, it's probably inappropriate for me to do so.  Wink
Why?
Alveus seems to be a bit more conservative when it comes to the OO, so I don't want to make him feel uncomfortable. If he tells me otherwise, though, I will post what Patr. St Severus has to say on the matter.
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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2011, 12:33:27 AM »

I'm just trying to get my mind around Orthodox theology of the incarnation.

If so, we confess that in some sense God died on the Cross? But this I think gets into Nestorianism, where they had a problem with this language? Do we more specifically say that the Son's divinity died on the cross, but clarify that the Godhead in its entirety did not die on the cross? For example, the Father and the Holy Spirit did not die?

The theanthropic hypostasis of the Logos died with respect to His flesh.
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« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2011, 12:41:10 AM »

WHOSOEVER shall not recognize that the Word of God suffered in the flesh, that he was crucified in the flesh, and that likewise in that same flesh he tasted death and that he is become the first-begotten of the dead, for, as he is God, he is the life and it is he that giveth life: let him be anathema. - St Cyril of Alexandria, 12th Anathema Against Nestorius

EDIT:

We confess that he is the Son, begotten of God the Father, and Only-begotten God; and although according to his own nature he was not subject to suffering, yet he suffered for us in the flesh according to the Scriptures, and although impassible, yet in his Crucified Body he made his own the sufferings of his own flesh; and by the grace of God he tasted death for all: he gave his own Body thereto, although he was by nature himself the life and the resurrection, in order that, having trodden down death by his unspeakable power, first in his own flesh, he might become the first born from the dead, and the first-fruits of them that slept. - St Cyril of Alexandria, The Epistle to Nestorius

Emphasis mine.
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« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2011, 11:30:51 AM »

I'm just trying to get my mind around Orthodox theology of the incarnation.

If so, we confess that in some sense God died on the Cross? But this I think gets into Nestorianism, where they had a problem with this language? Do we more specifically say that the Son's divinity died on the cross, but clarify that the Godhead in its entirety did not die on the cross? For example, the Father and the Holy Spirit did not die?

The thing is, I wouldn't worry about "what you get off into". 

There are two things that happened, one is right the other is not.

1) God died on the cross
2) God did not die on the cross

This is the confusion I have with the Trinity.

If God did not die on the cross, then Yeshua was not God.
If God did die on the cross, then God is dead, and no hope for a resurrection.

If only ONE PART of God died on the cross then the "unity" of the "Triune" God died, but that is not exactly "unity" in the sense that I understand the word.

The only way I can think of this is to consider that God and Yeshua are one, yet completely separate in death, which of course many would say is polytheistic.  However, their explanations are rendered useless when logic applied.

It's a paradox. 

However, it can make sense if you consider it as LOVE which God is.  There are different types of love that we have for all kinds of people.  I love my wife differently than children & my siblings for instance.

Since God is love, then the one part of his love Yeshua, died yet God remained.

If you're going to go in for a paradox, why not go in for the paradox as formulated by the Church?

There are no "parts" of God. God is not a composite of three parts.
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« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2011, 11:38:58 AM »

If you're going to go in for a paradox, why not go in for the paradox as formulated by the Church?

There are no "parts" of God. God is not a composite of three parts.
That is true. The idea that God is "parts" is a common misconception. The three hypostases in the Trinity each possess the fullness and completion of the divine nature/essence. All three hypostases are 100% God, they don't "split" the divine essence into three. It's a tough concept to grasp, but that is just one of Christianity's many divine paradoxes, and we further our understanding of these paradoxes through the grace of the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2011, 11:42:32 AM »

The theanthropic hypostasis of the Logos died with respect to His flesh.

Exactly.

The more we talk about this, the more I scratch my head wondering what, precisely, is the theological difference between the Eastern and Oriental viewpoint. (I won't say Chalcedonian or non-Chalcedonian anymore, because I think the Eastern Orthodox, at least, do not make it the end all and be all of our theology. But I will not speak for the Orientals, since I am ignorant.)
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« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2011, 11:45:30 AM »

The theanthropic hypostasis of the Logos died with respect to His flesh.

Exactly.

The more we talk about this, the more I scratch my head wondering what, precisely, is the theological difference between the Eastern and Oriental viewpoint. (I won't say Chalcedonian or non-Chalcedonian anymore, because I think the Eastern Orthodox, at least, do not make it the end all and be all of our theology. But I will not speak for the Orientals, since I am ignorant.)
In this regard, there are no differences between our confessions. We both believe in Cyrillian Theopaschitism, God suffered in his human nature, remaining impassible in his divinity.
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« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2011, 02:49:49 PM »

The theanthropic hypostasis of the Logos died with respect to His flesh.

Exactly.

The more we talk about this, the more I scratch my head wondering what, precisely, is the theological difference between the Eastern and Oriental viewpoint. (I won't say Chalcedonian or non-Chalcedonian anymore, because I think the Eastern Orthodox, at least, do not make it the end all and be all of our theology. But I will not speak for the Orientals, since I am ignorant.)
In this regard, there are no differences between our confessions. We both believe in Cyrillian Theopaschitism, God suffered in his human nature, remaining impassible in his divinity.

I totally agree! Cool
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« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2011, 03:00:22 PM »

If you guys would like to discuss this with me further, I'd love to do it. Feel free to send me PMs or join me in the private fora (though, the private fora does get kind of nasty Grin).
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On hiatus from posting. Forgive me if my posts have lacked humility or tact. Note that some of my older posts -especially those prior to late 2012- may not reflect my current views. In the meantime, please pray for my sinful self as I am in a critical and unsure juncture in my life. Thank you.
Tags: theopaschism Christology 
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