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« Reply #45 on: October 26, 2011, 05:57:54 PM »

I think we need to reference all of the relevant passages in St Cyril. But I need to head to bed now.

Obviously I do not consider our Lord to be lacking in anything in his humanity. What is not assumed... But that does not mean that His experience of His own
humanity is the same as ours in all points.

We have already seen that His humanity did not feel hunger for forty days, beyond nature but not against nature. This is what St Cyril describes in relation to his knowledge.

If a saint may be given constant intuitions by grace then why not the humanity of our Lord directly by the Lord whose humanity it is and which serves his divine purpose?

But I'd rather we tried to turn to the Fathers and begin there than I build a castle on my own opinions. I will try to find all the Cyrilline references if no-one else does.

In regard to Nicholas' last point, I would absolutely deny that He had to learn who he was. I am 100% certain that the Fathers also disagree.
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« Reply #46 on: October 26, 2011, 06:03:43 PM »

Yes; what do you mean by "learn who he was"?
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« Reply #47 on: October 26, 2011, 06:09:44 PM »

Yes; what do you mean by "learn who he was"?
I mean, first and foremost, that Christ the Fetus did not intellectually know what a messiah was. I would also say that when Christ "grew in wisdom and stature" that growing in wisdom was not a feigned increase to demonstrate that he could be really human when he wanted to be.

St. Rumwould not withstanding.
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« Reply #48 on: October 26, 2011, 06:33:46 PM »

But I need to head to bed now.

Goodnight, Father.
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« Reply #49 on: October 26, 2011, 07:30:03 PM »

"Also, if you’re a real human being, then you’re limited. You learn things as a human being, with a human brain. And this would definitely be the teaching, that, as a man, hōs anthrōpos, Jesus was not omniscient. He was not omnipresent; he was not all over the place. He could express divinity through his circumscribed—that would be a good expression of the Church Fathers—his bounded humanity. So through his Jewish, first-century humanity, he could pronounce forgiveness of sins. He could raise the dead. He could heal the blind. He could do wonderful, divine actions: calm the wind, walk on the water. But he does all this as a man, in his humanity.

Therefore, there are certain elements in him that are really human. If he were not really human, they wouldn’t be so. For example, Jesus didn’t know English. Jesus couldn’t speak English. Now, you could say, 'Well, God could have infused in him the knowledge of English or something.' Well, perhaps God could; perhaps he could have infused it in anybody if he wanted to. It doesn’t seem very likely, but in any case, if Jesus is really human, then he is also ignorant of many things. He does not know the [theory] of relativity. He never read Charles Darwin. He didn’t know the Baghavad Gita. Maybe he even thought the earth was flat; who knows? He was a first-century, real human being.

And if the Incarnation is real, then all the limitations of humanity have to be his in his human form. And he can express his divinity within the limitations and the [circumscriptions] of his humanity. In other words, within the boundedness of what it means to be a human being. Because a human being is in time, is in space."

 -Fr. Thomas Hopko
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« Reply #50 on: October 26, 2011, 07:52:03 PM »

Quote
For had He not been of our nature, He would not once and again have been mastered by grief.
If, for all our perceived disagreements, you can believe this quote undefiled by caveats, I confess that we do not disagree at all.
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« Reply #51 on: October 26, 2011, 08:07:36 PM »

Quote
For had He not been of our nature, He would not once and again have been mastered by grief.
If, for all our perceived disagreements, you can believe this quote undefiled by caveats, I confess that we do not disagree at all.

Well, I did refuse to crop that part out, which I could have, just for you.
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« Reply #52 on: October 26, 2011, 09:44:17 PM »

They are completely different states.

To be able to die requires a mortal nature, and we believe that the Word united to Himself just such mortal nature.

But ignorance is not a faculty of humanity, it is a condition of the faculty of 'knowing'. We understand that the Word has the human faculty of knowing, in accordance with the perfection of His humanity. But being 'ignorant' is not a human faculty, rather it describes the content of the human faculty of 'knowing'.

We ourselves have to acquire a limited amount of knowledge through experience, study, reflection etc. We watch sci-fi movies where this process is speeded up so that a character can learn an entire domain of knowledge in moments. We don't consider this 'inhuman', just a matter of technology. There is therefore nothing 'inhuman' in considering that the human faculty of knowing in Christ operates the same as ours but finds its content 'infused' with the divine knowledge as God the Word wills.

We see this throughout the Gospels..

When you were under the tree I saw you.

Let us go, our friend Lazarus has died.

He knew what they were thinking.

This is no different to all the other human faculties, they properly exist but are deified in union with the Word whose faculties they are. At every moment the Word allows His own humanity to know, in a human manner through the same process of cognition we experience, whatever it is that He wills to know. The difference is the source of knowledge.

For us it is the usual mental processing of sense data, as well as the effect of grace granting certain intuitions and knowledge beyond such sense data.

For Christ it is the mental processing of sense data, but also the direct (and not of grace) impenetration of the human mind with the Divine knowledge of the Word as He willed.

I don't think that this means that the human brain of Christ (how dare we dissect our Lord in such a way) contained in its neurons every fact in the universe. I think that would be impossible for a human brain. Rather I think that all knowledge was available to the human mind as the Word chose, and at the moment that the Divine knowledge was turned to some effect in the humanity that knowledge was known to the humanity. He knew and knows all things, but rather because all things are made transparent to the humanity as the Word wills.

Does any of that make sense?

En theoria we see that the human mind of Christ is limited just as our is, but in union with the Word all limitations are transcended.

This seems to me to be what St Cyril is teaching.

I think that makes perfect sense, and I would agree wholly to it.  So Themistius denied that the Word allow anything for His human brain to know it seems, or that the Word was unable to give knowledge to His own humanity?
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« Reply #53 on: October 26, 2011, 09:52:11 PM »

Yes; what do you mean by "learn who he was"?
I mean, first and foremost, that Christ the Fetus did not intellectually know what a messiah was. I would also say that when Christ "grew in wisdom and stature" that growing in wisdom was not a feigned increase to demonstrate that he could be really human when he wanted to be.

St. Rumwould not withstanding.

Did not the fathers believe that St. John the Forerunner as a fetus in the womb of St. Elizabeth worship the Logos who was conceived in the womb of the Theotokos?  I believe with the Holy Spirit, children can understand who God is and worship Him in their own limited sense.  I believe Christ knew who He was ever since that conception, but allowed to grow in certain wisdoms and learn in human fashions.  In a way, the Logos allowed more wisdom and learning to enter the growing brain so as to proceed in a fashion that can be allowed at different levels of maturity.  Keep in mind, the Scriptures do record that at the age of 12, it seemed that Christ was teaching the elders themselves.

And let's not forget, this is an incredible mystery.  We always have to start with this part.
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« Reply #54 on: October 26, 2011, 09:56:20 PM »

"Also, if you’re a real human being, then you’re limited. You learn things as a human being, with a human brain. And this would definitely be the teaching, that, as a man, hōs anthrōpos, Jesus was not omniscient. He was not omnipresent; he was not all over the place. He could express divinity through his circumscribed—that would be a good expression of the Church Fathers—his bounded humanity. So through his Jewish, first-century humanity, he could pronounce forgiveness of sins. He could raise the dead. He could heal the blind. He could do wonderful, divine actions: calm the wind, walk on the water. But he does all this as a man, in his humanity.

Therefore, there are certain elements in him that are really human. If he were not really human, they wouldn’t be so. For example, Jesus didn’t know English. Jesus couldn’t speak English. Now, you could say, 'Well, God could have infused in him the knowledge of English or something.' Well, perhaps God could; perhaps he could have infused it in anybody if he wanted to. It doesn’t seem very likely, but in any case, if Jesus is really human, then he is also ignorant of many things. He does not know the [theory] of relativity. He never read Charles Darwin. He didn’t know the Baghavad Gita. Maybe he even thought the earth was flat; who knows? He was a first-century, real human being.

And if the Incarnation is real, then all the limitations of humanity have to be his in his human form. And he can express his divinity within the limitations and the [circumscriptions] of his humanity. In other words, within the boundedness of what it means to be a human being. Because a human being is in time, is in space."

 -Fr. Thomas Hopko

This is something I have always wondered about, thanks for the quote.

And thank you Father Peter for the above message that mina quoted, that is very simplified to my level.
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« Reply #55 on: October 26, 2011, 09:58:02 PM »

"Also, if you’re a real human being, then you’re limited. You learn things as a human being, with a human brain. And this would definitely be the teaching, that, as a man, hōs anthrōpos, Jesus was not omniscient. He was not omnipresent; he was not all over the place. He could express divinity through his circumscribed—that would be a good expression of the Church Fathers—his bounded humanity. So through his Jewish, first-century humanity, he could pronounce forgiveness of sins. He could raise the dead. He could heal the blind. He could do wonderful, divine actions: calm the wind, walk on the water. But he does all this as a man, in his humanity.

Therefore, there are certain elements in him that are really human. If he were not really human, they wouldn’t be so. For example, Jesus didn’t know English. Jesus couldn’t speak English. Now, you could say, 'Well, God could have infused in him the knowledge of English or something.' Well, perhaps God could; perhaps he could have infused it in anybody if he wanted to. It doesn’t seem very likely, but in any case, if Jesus is really human, then he is also ignorant of many things. He does not know the [theory] of relativity. He never read Charles Darwin. He didn’t know the Baghavad Gita. Maybe he even thought the earth was flat; who knows? He was a first-century, real human being.

And if the Incarnation is real, then all the limitations of humanity have to be his in his human form. And he can express his divinity within the limitations and the [circumscriptions] of his humanity. In other words, within the boundedness of what it means to be a human being. Because a human being is in time, is in space."

 -Fr. Thomas Hopko

Considering that I'm still trying to understanding what Themistius believed, I do say that where Fr. Thomas Hopko and Fr. Peter Farrington agree is that the Logos could infuse this knowledge into His human brain if He wanted to.  So perhaps, when Themistius mentioned that Christ's humanity is ignorant, maybe he said something along the lines of an inability for knowledge to be infused in His human brain.  But I don't know.

I would say one thing thought.  I think Christ came for a mission, and perhaps He had infused in Him the wisdom to care less what science of the day is. Wink
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« Reply #56 on: October 26, 2011, 10:53:56 PM »

Yes; what do you mean by "learn who he was"?
I mean, first and foremost, that Christ the Fetus did not intellectually know what a messiah was. I would also say that when Christ "grew in wisdom and stature" that growing in wisdom was not a feigned increase to demonstrate that he could be really human when he wanted to be.

St. Rumwould not withstanding.

Did not the fathers believe that St. John the Forerunner as a fetus in the womb of St. Elizabeth worship the Logos who was conceived in the womb of the Theotokos?  I believe with the Holy Spirit, children can understand who God is and worship Him in their own limited sense.  I believe Christ knew who He was ever since that conception
I agree with the Fathers there, which is why I specified "intellectually". If Christ was able to intellectually know who he was as a blastocyst, then Apollinarianism would follow.

And let's not forget, this is an incredible mystery.  We always have to start with this part.
I agree. I think that the Logos can be 100% really truly totally circumscribed whist remaining 100% really truly totally un-circumscribed. This statement is impossible but it remains true.

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« Reply #57 on: October 26, 2011, 11:11:34 PM »

Nicholas, what do you make of the line in St John's Liturgy where the priest prays "without change or differentiation thou didst become man"? Does this only mean that the Logos of God and second person of the Holy Trinity continued to be the Logos of God and second person of the Holy Trinity after the incarnation, or does it mean more than that?

I will forewarn you that "the Liturgy is wrong" will not satisfy me, but any other insight would be most welcome.
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« Reply #58 on: October 27, 2011, 12:00:54 AM »

Nicholas, what do you make of the line in St John's Liturgy where the priest prays "without change or differentiation thou didst become man"? Does this only mean that the Logos of God and second person of the Holy Trinity continued to be the Logos of God and second person of the Holy Trinity after the incarnation, or does it mean more than that?
It means several things, IMO.

It means that Christ is not a new Person produced by a union of two hypostases.

It means that the Person of the Logos is the Person of Christ.

It means that Divinity remained Divinity, and that humility is not alien to Divinity.

It means that "Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow".

It means that the one crucified on the tree of the cross is that same one who banished Adam and Eve from the tree of life in the garden.

It surely cannot mean that God did not change in any sense of the word. The Logos became incarnate at a particular point in time. Before Christ, "no-one has seen God". After Christ, we can depict God in icons. Before him, God could not be located. Now he can be located in space/time. Before Christ, God could not die; and yet the Logos died on the Cross. In this sense he has caused a change to happen, but he remains the same Person.
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« Reply #59 on: October 27, 2011, 01:31:28 AM »

It means that Divinity remained Divinity, and that humility is not alien to Divinity.

Okay, I'm with you so far.

What does it mean that divinity remained divinity?
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« Reply #60 on: October 27, 2011, 03:30:52 AM »

It means that Divinity remained Divinity, and that humility is not alien to Divinity.

Okay, I'm with you so far.

What does it mean that divinity remained divinity?

The Logos remained the Logos who sustains all things.
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« Reply #61 on: October 27, 2011, 04:14:58 AM »

Yes; what do you mean by "learn who he was"?
I mean, first and foremost, that Christ the Fetus did not intellectually know what a messiah was. I would also say that when Christ "grew in wisdom and stature" that growing in wisdom was not a feigned increase to demonstrate that he could be really human when he wanted to be.

St. Rumwould not withstanding.

Did not the fathers believe that St. John the Forerunner as a fetus in the womb of St. Elizabeth worship the Logos who was conceived in the womb of the Theotokos?  I believe with the Holy Spirit, children can understand who God is and worship Him in their own limited sense.  I believe Christ knew who He was ever since that conception
I agree with the Fathers there, which is why I specified "intellectually". If Christ was able to intellectually know who he was as a blastocyst, then Apollinarianism would follow.

Not even close.  Apollinarius had nothing to do with the understanding of Christ as a fetus, let alone a blastocyst, a concept not even the Apostles might have understood.

I think it's dangerous to say Christ did not know Himself.  At the exact moment of incarnation, there was no separation.  So I don't know what "intellectually" means here.  But this is the point of talking about mystery.  He had human intellect, which Apollinarius couldn't fathom.  His intellect grew.  But the knowledge of oneself, I believe Christ knew, even at the moment of conception.  He divided into many cells for us, and not just for the experience of it.  The "for us" part has to mean something.  If He didn't know Himself, surely, that sounds borderline adoptionist.  How could St. John the Forerunner, the fetus, offer worship to an embryo, which has no human capability to even think, not to know Himself as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God?  This is a mystery that is best left untouched without further ramblings.  We know Christ knew Himself, and we know He has a rational soul which grew.  Anything more would be daring and dangerous.
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« Reply #62 on: October 27, 2011, 04:28:45 AM »

I have to say that I disagree with some aspects of the passage from Father Hopko. But he is not a Father of the Church. I disagree with some of the things that others have posted here, but none of us are Fathers of the Church.

This is why I don't think it is entirely productive to begin with Themistius, or with our own opinions. But I do believe it is necessary to begin with St Cyril and the other Fathers, and form an understanding of their positive teaching with which to approach our own views, and those views which have been condemned, such as those of Themistius.

There were Chalcedonian Agnoetae, and they, no less than the non-Chalcedonian Agnoetae, have been universally condemned. It is necessary to at least ask why, before a person determines that there views might be attractive.

Looking at the passage Nicholas has highlighted..

For had He not been of our nature, He would not once and again have been mastered by grief.

This must not be interpreted beyond what it says. It suggests that St John is saying that there were multiple times when the Word Incarnate was overcome with grief, and that these experiences of sorrow were real and human.

What it does not say is that Christ was such a man that he was always bound by the human condition to feel grief. I have already quoted St Cyril. Let me do so again, in relation to this very topic.

Now since Christ was not only God by Nature, but; also Man, He suffers in common with the rest that which is human; and when grief begins somehow to be stirred within Him, and His Holy Flesh now inclines to tears, He does not allow It to indulge in them without restraint, as is the custom with us. But He groans in the spirit, that is, in the power of the Holy Spirit He reproves in some way His Own Flesh: and That, not being able to endure the action of the Godhead united with It, trembles and presents the appearance of trouble.

This does not seem to me to allow an understanding of an untramelled experience of human grief. On the contrary we see that St Cyril is teaching that the human experience is always moderated by the Word Himself.

We see 'the action of the Godhead united with It', not in an external conjunction but in an interior union.

We see that 'he does not allow it'...'as is the custom with us'. So he does not always act according to human 'custom'. The humanity does not act independently and simply.

Nicholas, how do you respond to these words of St Cyril?
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« Reply #63 on: October 27, 2011, 04:38:56 AM »

In agreement with Mina, let me say that we must consider the saints. They are spirit without flesh at present. Do we consider that they have no thoughts or intellectual activity? I don't think that Orthodox Tradition allows us to view them in such a way.

But they do not have a physical brain. It seems to me that Orthodoxy (and Catholicism) require us to understand that the brain/mind is a vehicle for the spirit and that knowing and intellection are not restricted to the material level at all. Does St Cyril know that he is Cyril? But he doesn't presently have a physical brain.

As for Father Hopko, it seems wrong to me to decide what our Lord knew. Certainly wrong to say he thought the world was flat. This would seem to me to tend towards setting up two subjects. Why should we not think that if the Lord had needed to know Mandarin Chinese he would have immediately known? He knew that Nathaniel was sitting under the tree. He knew that Lazarus had died. He could not have know either of these things according to the usual processes of gathering knowledge. But he knew them humanly none the less. The source of the information is not what makes it human, it is the knowing it in a human way.

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« Reply #64 on: October 27, 2011, 04:50:23 AM »

Let me add a little more from St Cyril...

Certainly the Evangelist, seeing the tearless Nature weeping, is astonished, although the suffering was peculiar to the flesh, and not suitable to the Godhead. And the Lord weeps, seeing the man made in His own image marred by corruption, that He may put an end to our tears. For for this cause He also died, even that we may be delivered from death. And He weeps a little, and straightway checks His tears; lest He might seem to be at all cruel and inhuman, and at the same time instructing us not to give way overmuch in grief for the dead. For it is one thing to be influenced by sympathy, and another to be effeminate and unmanly. For this cause therefore He permitted His own flesh to weep a little, although it was in its nature tearless and incapable of any grief, so far as regards its own nature.

and

Be not therefore offended, considering perchance within thyself, How can God increase? or how can He Who gives grace to angels and to men receive fresh wisdom? Rather reflect upon the great skill wherewith we are initiated into His mystery. For the wise Evangelist did not introduce the Word in His abstract and incorporeal nature, and so say of Him that He increased in stature and wisdom and grace, but after having shewn that He was born in the flesh of a woman, and took our likeness, he then assigns to Him these human attributes, and calls Him a child, and says that He waxed in stature, as His body grow little by little, in obedience to corporeal laws. And so He is said also to have increased in wisdom, not as receiving fresh supplies of wisdom,----for God is perceived by the understanding to be entirely perfect in all things, and altogether incapable of being destitute of any attribute suitable to the Godhead:----but because God the Word gradually manifested His wisdom proportionably to the age which the body had attained.

The body then advances in stature, and the soul in wisdom: for the divine nature is capable of increase in neither one nor the other; seeing that the Word of God is all perfect. And with good reason he connected the increase of wisdom with the growth of the bodily stature, because the divine nature revealed its own wisdom in proportion to the measure of the bodily growth.


This latter shows where we might all be in agreement. St Cyril shows that Christ has in Himself ALL the Wisdom of God, and does not grow in this Wisdom, rather He chooses to manifest it appropriately. It is not something that is being learned or gained or added to, but it is being manifested more and more clearly.

He also speaks of the teaching by Christ in the temple as a youth..

Here then first He makes more open mention of Him Who is truly His Father, and lays bare His own divinity: for when the holy Virgin said, Child, why hast Thou so done unto us? then at once shewing Himself to transcend the measure of human things, and teaching her that she had been made the handmaid of the dispensation in giving birth to the flesh, but that He by nature and in truth was God, and the Son of the Father That is in heaven, He says, Did ye not know that I must be at My Father's?

This also illustrates that there is a manifestation of His divine wisdom and not an increase in it. Here he is as a twelve year old revealing that he knows he is God. St Cyril again speaks of God the Word being able to 'transcend the measure of human things'.

But IT IS A MANIFESTATION OF THE DIVINE WISDOM and not acquired human knowledge.
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« Reply #65 on: October 27, 2011, 12:37:11 PM »

Did not the fathers believe that St. John the Forerunner as a fetus in the womb of St. Elizabeth worship the Logos who was conceived in the womb of the Theotokos?  I believe with the Holy Spirit, children can understand who God is and worship Him in their own limited sense.  I believe Christ knew who He was ever since that conception
I agree with the Fathers there, which is why I specified "intellectually".

I agree with you if you mean 'intellectually' in the modern sense. If you mean 'noetically' I would disagree with you. The nous is what apprehends God directly and effortlessly (intuition). This is how St. John knew Christ in the womb, how children are said to 'behold the angels and saints in church with us as we worship, etc. At least as I understand it.

But obviously Christ would have to come to the type of knowledge that is only available to us as our physical brains and cognitive functions developm, in a manner and timeframe consistent with that natural, progressive development. Nevertheless, we know He had a rather good self-perception, to understate it, at age 12 or so.
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« Reply #66 on: October 27, 2011, 12:46:31 PM »

but because God the Word gradually manifested His wisdom proportionably to the age which the body had attained.

Could "manifested...proportionably" here mean, not so much that the Word could have manifested His full wisdom as a blastocyst, but merely held back in order to give the appearance of humanity; but rather that His body, His humanity manifested at every stage that much of the Divine wisdom as was possible for it to bear at its current stage of development, wisdom which was indeed proper to it by Hypostasis?

Sorry I know that's a bit convoluted. Just trying to make sure this isn't a 'demo' as Nicholas would say.
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« Reply #67 on: October 27, 2011, 01:08:42 PM »

I don't get any sense from the Fathers that the wisdom and knowledge of God was subject to development in the way in which we apprehend and accumulate knowledge.

As I have said, knowledge is not a passion or faculty. It is content. A person who doesn't learn much isn't less human than someone who knows a lot. The Word incarnate, who knows all things from the beginning, isn't less human because he knows all things. How He Himself chooses to manifest that knowledge in His own humanity does not seem to me to be liable to too close an investigation - not least because we have no idea ourselves about the connection between the nous and the brain.

But it seems to me that St Cyril and the other Fathers, including those later Chalcedonian ones opposing Themistius, are agreed that the knowledge of Christ was perfect and complete, even while it was manifested as He willed in His own humanity.

Please don't dialogue with my comments, but with St Cyril and the other Fathers. It doesn't matter what I say as I am trying to come to a fuller understanding. But it does matter that St Cyril says..

..at once shewing Himself to transcend the measure of human things..

What does that mean to you?

I believe that St Cyril would say that as soon as the humanity of the Word Incarnate was able to construct mental images/thoughts his mental images/thoughts were filled with a divine knowledge and wisdom, not merely the incoherent beginnings of a purely human mind. But even before that the human nous of the Word Incarnate was filled with the divine knowledge and wisdom.
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« Reply #68 on: October 27, 2011, 01:15:13 PM »

Did not the fathers believe that St. John the Forerunner as a fetus in the womb of St. Elizabeth worship the Logos who was conceived in the womb of the Theotokos?  I believe with the Holy Spirit, children can understand who God is and worship Him in their own limited sense.  I believe Christ knew who He was ever since that conception
I agree with the Fathers there, which is why I specified "intellectually".

I agree with you if you mean 'intellectually' in the modern sense. If you mean 'noetically' I would disagree with you. The nous is what apprehends God directly and effortlessly (intuition). This is how St. John knew Christ in the womb, how children are said to 'behold the angels and saints in church with us as we worship, etc. At least as I understand it.

But obviously Christ would have to come to the type of knowledge that is only available to us as our physical brains and cognitive functions developm, in a manner and timeframe consistent with that natural, progressive development. Nevertheless, we know He had a rather good self-perception, to understate it, at age 12 or so.

I want to share also in the Midnight prayers, we chant that all of nature praises the Lord.  Praise the Lord you birds, cattle, beasts of the sea and land.  Praise the Lord all you winds, snows, hail, rain, sun, and moon.  Praise the Lord all you mountains, valleys, seas, herbs, trees.  In an interesting way, Scripture even tells us all of creation knows and praises the Lord.  How much more a blastocyst Word of God!
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« Reply #69 on: October 27, 2011, 02:02:39 PM »

Did not the fathers believe that St. John the Forerunner as a fetus in the womb of St. Elizabeth worship the Logos who was conceived in the womb of the Theotokos?  I believe with the Holy Spirit, children can understand who God is and worship Him in their own limited sense.  I believe Christ knew who He was ever since that conception
I agree with the Fathers there, which is why I specified "intellectually".

I agree with you if you mean 'intellectually' in the modern sense. If you mean 'noetically' I would disagree with you. The nous is what apprehends God directly and effortlessly (intuition). This is how St. John knew Christ in the womb, how children are said to 'behold the angels and saints in church with us as we worship, etc. At least as I understand it.

But obviously Christ would have to come to the type of knowledge that is only available to us as our physical brains and cognitive functions developm, in a manner and timeframe consistent with that natural, progressive development. Nevertheless, we know He had a rather good self-perception, to understate it, at age 12 or so.

I want to share also in the Midnight prayers, we chant that all of nature praises the Lord.  Praise the Lord you birds, cattle, beasts of the sea and land.  Praise the Lord all you winds, snows, hail, rain, sun, and moon.  Praise the Lord all you mountains, valleys, seas, herbs, trees.  In an interesting way, Scripture even tells us all of creation knows and praises the Lord.  How much more a blastocyst Word of God!

But each in a manner in accordance with its nature.

As Dante says, "I love each leaf with which enleaved is all the garden of the Eternal Gardener in measure of the light he sheds on each."

Fr. Peter,

When you say, " as soon as the humanity of the Word Incarnate was able to construct mental images/thoughts his mental images/thoughts were filled with a divine knowledge and wisdom", I don't think we are saying anything that different. My point was just that the humanity increases in it's ability to manifest knowledge over time. For example, I see no reason to believe that Jesus could talk, read, or write as a newborn. Obviously He could have done this, just as He could raise up children for Abraham from stones; but He chose to manifest His Divinity in a human way.

However, I do agree with you that perhaps we are all going too far in our speculating.
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« Reply #70 on: October 27, 2011, 02:47:45 PM »

In agreement with Mina, let me say that we must consider the saints. They are spirit without flesh at present. Do we consider that they have no thoughts or intellectual activity? I don't think that Orthodox Tradition allows us to view them in such a way.

But they do not have a physical brain. It seems to me that Orthodoxy (and Catholicism) require us to understand that the brain/mind is a vehicle for the spirit and that knowing and intellection are not restricted to the material level at all. Does St Cyril know that he is Cyril? But he doesn't presently have a physical brain.

As for Father Hopko, it seems wrong to me to decide what our Lord knew. Certainly wrong to say he thought the world was flat. This would seem to me to tend towards setting up two subjects. Why should we not think that if the Lord had needed to know Mandarin Chinese he would have immediately known? He knew that Nathaniel was sitting under the tree. He knew that Lazarus had died. He could not have know either of these things according to the usual processes of gathering knowledge. But he knew them humanly none the less. The source of the information is not what makes it human, it is the knowing it in a human way.



While the hypostatic union is much more above and beyond this, we also see in the saints how God enlightens their minds and they understand and know things quickly without being taught by man. A good example of this would be Elder Porphyrios, who by divine enlightenment could speak with astrophysicists about the minutiae of the universe without ever having himself went to school.
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« Reply #71 on: October 27, 2011, 03:18:04 PM »

Reading your post, Shanghaiski, got me to wondering: How seriously do we take it that Jesus Christ is the Truth? We are so used to this modern understanding of knowledge and wisdom as fragmented and compartmentalized, so we take it for granted that Jesus didn't 'know' astrophysics. We might even say, 'That wasn't His department". But the example of Elder Porphyrios has me wondering whether I really should take that for granted. There are many logoi, but they are ultimately the One Logos. Truth finally is unitary. Jesus is the Truth, of which astrophysics is but a part. Physics describes the laws according to which nature is held to operate. Jesus is He Who established those laws. All the fragmented truths are gathered in Him, because He is the Logos.

I'm not saying Jesus as man had a rational-type knowledge of astrophysics. But I don't even think what we often call knowledge is the highest form of truth, knowledge, or wisdom anyway.
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« Reply #72 on: October 27, 2011, 03:31:50 PM »

So I don't know what "intellectually" means here. 
It means with a human mind.

When Christ was a mass of dividing cells, he did not have a mind. If, at that time, he intellectually (with the mind) knew who he was, then the Logos would have had to function in place of the mind, a la Apollinarianism.
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« Reply #73 on: October 27, 2011, 03:36:26 PM »

There were Chalcedonian Agnoetae, and they, no less than the non-Chalcedonian Agnoetae, have been universally condemned.
Where?
Now since Christ was not only God by Nature, but; also Man, He suffers in common with the rest that which is human; and when grief begins somehow to be stirred within Him, and His Holy Flesh now inclines to tears, He does not allow It to indulge in them without restraint, as is the custom with us. But He groans in the spirit, that is, in the power of the Holy Spirit He reproves in some way His Own Flesh: and That, not being able to endure the action of the Godhead united with It, trembles and presents the appearance of trouble.

This does not seem to me to allow an understanding of an untramelled experience of human grief. On the contrary we see that St Cyril is teaching that the human experience is always moderated by the Word Himself.

We see 'the action of the Godhead united with It', not in an external conjunction but in an interior union.
Does the Holy Spirit proceed from the Son, then?
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« Reply #74 on: October 27, 2011, 03:53:54 PM »

So I don't know what "intellectually" means here.
It means with a human mind.

When Christ was a mass of dividing cells, he did not have a mind. If, at that time, he intellectually (with the mind) knew who he was, then the Logos would have had to function in place of the mind, a la Apollinarianism.

In many translations, the words 'intellect' and 'mind' translate nous, the 'spiritual mind' or organ of direct apprehension/intuition. Perhaps that is causing some confusion. Knowing in the sense of 'rational work' is an activity of the body and the (rational) soul. This type of knowing is obviously impossible for a blastocyst, fetus, or an adult who is mentally retarded or in a vegetative state, to name a few examples. But this type of knowing is not necessary to "see God", for which the chief requirement is not mental genius or an excellent brain but purity of heart.

The nous is part of human nature. IIRC, Apollinarius actually granted Christ a brain and a rational soul (psuche), but not a human nous.
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« Reply #75 on: October 27, 2011, 04:07:03 PM »

So I don't know what "intellectually" means here.
It means with a human mind.

When Christ was a mass of dividing cells, he did not have a mind. If, at that time, he intellectually (with the mind) knew who he was, then the Logos would have had to function in place of the mind, a la Apollinarianism.

In many translations, the words 'intellect' and 'mind' translate nous, the 'spiritual mind' or organ of direct apprehension/intuition. Perhaps that is causing some confusion. Knowing in the sense of 'rational work' is an activity of the body and the (rational) soul. This type of knowing is obviously impossible for a blastocyst, fetus, or an adult who is mentally retarded or in a vegetative state, to name a few examples. But this type of knowing is not necessary to "see God", for which the chief requirement is not mental genius or an excellent brain but purity of heart.

The nous is part of human nature. IIRC, Apollinarius actually granted Christ a brain and a rational soul (psuche), but not a human nous.
Ah, I see. I was referring to the mind as we commonly use it today, I.E. the brain, data memory, etc.
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« Reply #76 on: October 27, 2011, 04:11:36 PM »

Fr. Peter, I understand that you see yourself as a loyal disciple of St. Cyril and the other Cyrilline Fathers. I do respect the Fathers, but to agree blindly with them would be inappropriate. If I agreed with the fathers of my choice, couldn't I just choose St. Isaac of Syria and become a Nestorian?

It is not unreasonable to ask one to reason one's argument out, to make a sensible apologia for a position, that doesn't rely on merely quoting the Fathers (or one or two fathers) in favor of one's position.

The notion that Christ cannot be ignorant is one that seems to rely on several Platonic beliefs about God. God is totally impassible. God is unchangeable. God does not feel. God is not acted upon. God is the perfect source/being/essence. Many Fathers gutted and Christianized these Platonic beliefs into acceptable ones; that's why we so greatly honor St. Gregory Palamas, for example. I have a great inertia, Father, against believing that St. Cyril and others were corrupted in their thoughts by Platonism. But arguments like the ones I have seen here are slowly but surely eroding that inertia.

I mean, doesn't it ring alarm bells when you have to come up with really odd, illogical and ad-hoc ways to explain away, for example, so much of the Gospel of Mark? Of Luke? Of Matthew? Of Christ claiming he didn't know when the paraousia was? When he had to heal in two-stages? When he got angry? When he was acted upon and mastered and controlled and fettered? Is it worth all the fuss to preserve some Greek pagan notion that the divine nature is immutable?
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« Reply #77 on: October 27, 2011, 04:17:17 PM »

Reading your post, Shanghaiski, got me to wondering: How seriously do we take it that Jesus Christ is the Truth? We are so used to this modern understanding of knowledge and wisdom as fragmented and compartmentalized, so we take it for granted that Jesus didn't 'know' astrophysics. We might even say, 'That wasn't His department". But the example of Elder Porphyrios has me wondering whether I really should take that for granted. There are many logoi, but they are ultimately the One Logos. Truth finally is unitary. Jesus is the Truth, of which astrophysics is but a part. Physics describes the laws according to which nature is held to operate. Jesus is He Who established those laws. All the fragmented truths are gathered in Him, because He is the Logos.

I'm not saying Jesus as man had a rational-type knowledge of astrophysics. But I don't even think what we often call knowledge is the highest form of truth, knowledge, or wisdom anyway.

Better I think to say that Christ came for a mission.  It wasn't in His best interest to "learn" or reveal or teach to us medicine, science, languages or anything else.  I would venture to say that He chose not to share those beliefs because they're a waste of time to what He really came to do.  But to say what He knew and what He didn't know is to me just mindless speculation.  Could Christ have known Latin for instance?  How did He communicate with Pontius Pilate?  Did Pontius Pilate speak Aramaic?  I think these question do not matter, and what matters is the salvation that Christ came for, not the minutia of details Christ may have known.  Let's leave it as we don't know because it was never something that mattered.

I think His "ignorance" on when the end of ages would be would also fall under that category.  To what benefit is it for your soul that you know when the world, or when even your life would end?  It's probably better that the ginormous majority of humanity shouldn't know.  "Not even the Son knows" could probably mean "don't bother wondering when the world will end."  It seems that's what St. John Chrysostom is saying.  No deep speculation on the ignorance of Christ's humanity, but He talks about the Logos Incarnate as a whole.

I think Themistius' problem was a belief of an involuntary ignorance.
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« Reply #78 on: October 27, 2011, 04:26:17 PM »

JL, I am sure that we are in agreement.

As far as I can presently see the main difference between Themistius and the Orthodox view is that where the Orthodox would allow for the natural limitation of human knowledge 'en theoria', they did not allow that Christ lacked knowledge in the hypostatic union.

On the contrary, it would seem. Themistius wanted to say that Christ was lacking knowledge within the hypostatic union, and therefore that the divine knowledge was not allowed to permeate and impenetrate the human mind and nous (in a way which is unknown to us).

I have St Theodosius' work, Ad Theodoram, in front of me and I am engaged in translating it into English. It is all about those the Agnoetae and I believe it will be useful.

[Having given continuing thought to this subject, I think that I am presently attached to the undoubtedly poor analogy of an old PC connected to a very modern server. All of the data on the server is available to the PC through the union that has been made with the server and the PC, in a sense, expresses the data on the server within the limitations of its own construction. It is not able to store locally all the data on the server, but it has a real and immediate access to all the data on the server and is, in a poor sense, both an extension of the server, and a distinct instance of a PC rather than a server.

It could perhaps be imagined that the server has Admin access and control over the PC, but this does not mean that the PC is not truly a PC rather than a server. It does not mean that all the limitations of the PC are overcome, but it does mean that the PC is protected perhaps by the anti-virus software on the server. It does mean that the PC has access to other networks through the server. It does mean that the server can run its own local programmes on the PC hard-drive. The PC never stops being a PC. But the union with the server extends and enhances the functionality and data which the unconnected PC might have had.

It might be said that another PC can also access some external data when a memory stick is plugged in (like the grace working in a saint), but this particular real PC is always connected to the server and all the data of the server is immediately and directly available to it. This does not mean that the countless Tb of data are all in the PC's RAM, indeed that would not be possible because of the structure of the PC's memory, but everything it ever needs to access in RAM, everything it could ever possibly need to access, and all the Tb of data it will never access are only a memory refresh away.

Now Themistius would seem to say, this PC has only got 512Mb of RAM and a 10 Gb hard drive. It is impossible for it to ever contain more than this amount of data. And Theodosius would answer, yes, on its own this is an old model PC and it can only hold that much data - BUT it is not on its own. It is connected to this server that has thousands of Tb of data which is all available to this little PC just as much as the local data it stores. When the data is in RAM it all looks the same and the PC operates exactly the same, but it has a union with the server which changes everything.]

Ref: Nicholas. If you are not willing to submit to the Fathers then how will you become Orthodox? What you are describing is essentially Protestantism. And we are not talking about a few Fathers. We are talking about St Cyril, St Severus, and both Fathers in the OO and EO traditions, and even the EO councils. This is not a theological opinion you can run with. It is a position which has been condemned.
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« Reply #79 on: October 27, 2011, 04:34:59 PM »

Did not the fathers believe that St. John the Forerunner as a fetus in the womb of St. Elizabeth worship the Logos who was conceived in the womb of the Theotokos?  I believe with the Holy Spirit, children can understand who God is and worship Him in their own limited sense.  I believe Christ knew who He was ever since that conception
I agree with the Fathers there, which is why I specified "intellectually".

I agree with you if you mean 'intellectually' in the modern sense. If you mean 'noetically' I would disagree with you. The nous is what apprehends God directly and effortlessly (intuition). This is how St. John knew Christ in the womb, how children are said to 'behold the angels and saints in church with us as we worship, etc. At least as I understand it.

But obviously Christ would have to come to the type of knowledge that is only available to us as our physical brains and cognitive functions developm, in a manner and timeframe consistent with that natural, progressive development. Nevertheless, we know He had a rather good self-perception, to understate it, at age 12 or so.

I want to share also in the Midnight prayers, we chant that all of nature praises the Lord.  Praise the Lord you birds, cattle, beasts of the sea and land.  Praise the Lord all you winds, snows, hail, rain, sun, and moon.  Praise the Lord all you mountains, valleys, seas, herbs, trees.  In an interesting way, Scripture even tells us all of creation knows and praises the Lord.  How much more a blastocyst Word of God!

But each in a manner in accordance with its nature.

As Dante says, "I love each leaf with which enleaved is all the garden of the Eternal Gardener in measure of the light he sheds on each."


I absolutely agree.  In accordance with the nature of a blastocyst, in a mysterious fashion, I still say the Logos Incarnate at that time, even through the blastocyst "knew" Himself.  In a way, at the risk of vain speculation, even the separation of cells and formation of the embryo is a "mission" that is done "for us," and so the blastocyst has the determination only the Logos Incarnate would have.
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« Reply #80 on: October 27, 2011, 04:36:29 PM »

Now Themistius would seem to say, this PC has only got 512Mb of RAM and a 10 Gb hard drive. It is impossible for it to ever contain more than this amount of data. And Theodosius would answer, yes, on its own this is an old model PC and it can only hold that much data - BUT it is not on its own. It is connected to this server that has thousands of Tb of data which is all available to this little PC just as much as the local data it stores. When the data is in RAM it all looks the same and the PC operates exactly the same, but it has a union with the server which changes everything.]
So you're saying that the Person of Christ could choose to access as much divine knowledge as necessary for a given situation, but that it wasn't floating around in his "PC"?

What you are describing is essentially Protestantism.
How is choosing Chrysostom over Cyril worse than choosing Cyril over Chrysostom?
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« Reply #81 on: October 27, 2011, 04:37:26 PM »

Greek pagan notion that the divine nature is immutable

Not an exclusively Greek pagan notion.

Malachi 3:6a
For I am the LORD, I change not;

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

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« Reply #82 on: October 27, 2011, 04:38:45 PM »

Fr. Peter, I understand that you see yourself as a loyal disciple of St. Cyril and the other Cyrilline Fathers. I do respect the Fathers, but to agree blindly with them would be inappropriate. If I agreed with the fathers of my choice, couldn't I just choose St. Isaac of Syria and become a Nestorian?

It is not unreasonable to ask one to reason one's argument out, to make a sensible apologia for a position, that doesn't rely on merely quoting the Fathers (or one or two fathers) in favor of one's position.

The notion that Christ cannot be ignorant is one that seems to rely on several Platonic beliefs about God. God is totally impassible. God is unchangeable. God does not feel. God is not acted upon. God is the perfect source/being/essence. Many Fathers gutted and Christianized these Platonic beliefs into acceptable ones; that's why we so greatly honor St. Gregory Palamas, for example. I have a great inertia, Father, against believing that St. Cyril and others were corrupted in their thoughts by Platonism. But arguments like the ones I have seen here are slowly but surely eroding that inertia.

I don't see how saying Christ wasn't ignorant relies on so-called Platonic impassibility or immutability, or especially the idea that God is 'ultimate Being'. I don't see Fr. Peter employing those terms or implying those concepts.

And in any case, in order to show that anyone was corrupted by Platonism, you'd first have to prove that Platonism is corrupting, and frankly, I don't remember seeing you do that.

It seems to me the core of Fr. Peter's argument is that 'knowledge' is a kind of content, not an organ or faculty constituent of human nature, so that human nature is unchanged by an increase or decrease in knowledge. Therefore, the fullness of Divine knowledge can reside in humanity without altering humanity.
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« Reply #83 on: October 27, 2011, 04:41:07 PM »

I would venture to say that He chose not to share those beliefs because they're a waste of time to what He really came to do.

That's along the lines of what I was thinking.

Quote
But to say what He knew and what He didn't know is to me just mindless speculation.

Probably so.
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« Reply #84 on: October 27, 2011, 04:42:51 PM »

Greek pagan notion that the divine nature is immutable

Not an exclusively Greek pagan notion.

Malachi 3:6a
For I am the LORD, I change not;

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.


But this is not meant in the Greek pagan sense of a still, static, 'perfect' 'being'. God truly changes in relationship to creation through his energies which are 100% God.

"So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people"

"The LORD changed His mind about this. 'This too shall not be,' said the Lord GOD."

"And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but as he was about to destroy it, the LORD saw and was sorry over the calamity, and said to the destroying angel, 'It is enough; now relax your hand."

Fr. Peter, what do you make of this:

I believe that the Logos willed, in eternity, all of his choices as the Incarnate God. But I believe that in the economia of the incarnation, when God chose to be incarnate, that initial choice ontologically limited his subsequent choices in time. Thus the Logos both willed everything in his life and Passion (in eternity) and was ontologically subjected to them, and limited by them, as a real human being in the economia of salvation.

I also believe that it is natural, fitting, and organic to the Divine Nature to be humbled, because God is truly humble even in eternity.
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« Reply #85 on: October 27, 2011, 04:46:13 PM »

Now Themistius would seem to say, this PC has only got 512Mb of RAM and a 10 Gb hard drive. It is impossible for it to ever contain more than this amount of data. And Theodosius would answer, yes, on its own this is an old model PC and it can only hold that much data - BUT it is not on its own. It is connected to this server that has thousands of Tb of data which is all available to this little PC just as much as the local data it stores. When the data is in RAM it all looks the same and the PC operates exactly the same, but it has a union with the server which changes everything.]
So you're saying that the Person of Christ could choose to access as much divine knowledge as necessary for a given situation, but that it wasn't floating around in his "PC"?

What you are describing is essentially Protestantism.
How is choosing Chrysostom over Cyril worse than choosing Cyril over Chrysostom?

I thought Chrysostom and Cyril were in agreement on this issue?
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« Reply #86 on: October 27, 2011, 04:46:35 PM »

In terms of the passage in Mark 13 where our Lord says that only the Father knows the hour, we can note that ...

Blessed Theophylact says that he said he did not know so that his disciples would not be sad when he refused to tell them.

Hilary says 'He is not under the power of ignorance, but either it is not a fit time for speaking or it is an economy of not acting... lest he should be said to be ignorant from weakness'.

St Athanasius says..

Now why it was that, though He knew, He did not tell His disciples plainly at that time, no one may be curious where He has been silent; for ‘Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor’ but why, though He knew, He said, ‘no, not the Son knows,’ this I think none of the faithful is ignorant, viz. that He made this as those other declarations as man by reason of the flesh....

...And concerning the day and the hour He was not willing to say according to His divine nature, ‘I know,’ but after the flesh, ‘I know not,’ for the sake of the flesh which was ignorant as I have said before; lest they should ask Him further, and then either He should have to pain the disciples by not speaking, or by speaking might act to the prejudice of them and us all. For whatever He does, that altogether He does for our sakes, since also for us ‘the Word became flesh.’ For us therefore He said ‘No, not the Son knoweth;’ and neither was He untrue in thus saying (for He said humanly, as man, ‘I know not’), nor did He suffer the disciples to force Him to speak, for by saying ‘I know not’ He stopped their inquiries.


This seems to me to be entirely of a piece with the other teaching of St Athanasius and St Cyril and others. In his humanity, as humanity, he lacked knowledge 'en theoria', but as the Word incarnate he knows all things and communicates what He wills and as He wills to his own humanity. His humanity is 'naturally ignorant', but the Word is not limited by this natural ignorance and fills his humanity with his divine knowledge as he chooses.

Themistius would just say that Christ is ignorant and leave it there. The Fathers say that he allows his human nature to express its own natural ignorance ONLY AS HE CHOOSES, just as he chooses to allow his humanity to fall under other human weaknesses or be lifted above them as he chooses at each moment of the incarnation.
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« Reply #87 on: October 27, 2011, 04:48:20 PM »

Themistius would just say that Christ is ignorant and leave it there. The Fathers say that he allows his human nature to express its own natural ignorance ONLY AS HE CHOOSES, just as he chooses to allow his humanity to fall under other human weaknesses or be lifted above them as he chooses at each moment of the incarnation.
We need to tackle what you mean by "choose", Fr. Peter. See my above statement.
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« Reply #88 on: October 27, 2011, 04:53:48 PM »

Chrysostom and Cyril ARE in agreement on this. As are the other Fathers and councils.

Nicholas, I have to say that your description strikes me as Nestorian. It requires a human person who is shipwrecked in humanity as it were and has lost touch with the divine person who remains 'out there' somehow. (I don't mean that polemically but in the sense that if I had to put your view into a Venn Diagram I would pop it in the Nestorian set.

This is the Christology I was taught as an evangelical at Bible College. The man Jesus Christ is God in a prosopic union sense, but actually God the Word is up there, and Jesus Christ is down here, and he must not be allowed any access to the divinity (because it would be unfair I remember some students saying!).

It is not, as far as I can see, either the picture of Christ in the Gospels and New Testament, or in the writings of the Fathers.

Where are the Fathers who support your description? What if you do not find any? Will you press on with your view? I mean these as questions, not polemics.

Where is God the Word really acting in his own humanity in your description? It seems to be you who wishes to preserve God from any sense of passibility because you seem to have denuded Christ of any real union with the divine nature? I am more than happy to say that God the Word died on the cross, I sense that you would say this in a prosopic union sense but have so far adopted a kenosis of the Word that all trace of divinity is gone?

Where have I misunderstood you?
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« Reply #89 on: October 27, 2011, 04:56:18 PM »

Fr. Peter, what do you make of this:

I believe that the Logos willed, in eternity, all of his choices as the Incarnate God. But I believe that in the economia of the incarnation, when God chose to be incarnate, that initial choice ontologically limited his subsequent choices in time. Thus the Logos both willed everything in his life and Passion (in eternity) and was ontologically subjected to them, and limited by them, as a real human being in the economia of salvation.

I also believe that it is natural, fitting, and organic to the Divine Nature to be humbled, because God is truly humble even in eternity.

Hmmm...He chose to be limited, but not subjected to the limitations.  It is the limitations that are subjected to the divinity.  And the fullness of the Divinity is there bodily as well, in those limitations.

What does it mean for the Divine Nature to be "humbled"?
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