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Author Topic: Post Severian Anti-Chalcedonians  (Read 9956 times) Average Rating: 0
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NicholasMyra
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« Reply #135 on: October 27, 2011, 06:09:22 PM »

What is happening here?
Father, I believe we have different understandings of what a natural human being is.
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« Reply #136 on: October 27, 2011, 06:13:39 PM »

Then what have you been going about for the last 48 hours?

You have insisted that the humanity of Christ limits the Word and that the Word had to accept all these limits. Now you have changed your position 180 degrees. You insisted that the Fathers were wrong to say that Christ felt no hunger for 40 days because of the divine will, now you are saying the opposite.

What is happening here?

Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #137 on: October 27, 2011, 09:04:38 PM »

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.
I am not saying that "God the Word" is willing things in eternity while the person Jesus is hanging around not able to will them in time. I'm saying that before all ages, God the Word willed all of his choices in the incarnation. God wills ALL THINGS providentially. When the incarnation occurred,  in time, however, that same Word limited Himself and became bound, and because of that initial choice to do so, in time, in the economy of salvation, his subsequent choices were limited. The one who willed all of the choices before all ages and the one who is limited by the incarnation are the exact same one.

I'm not familiar with this way of expressing things. Where are you getting it?

Quote from: NicholasMyra link=topic=40542.msg660601.html#msg660601
If both languages are used, then it's okay.

Frankly, that's not what you've been saying. I haven't seen any indication until this that you would be even slightly "okay" with using so-called Platonic language. You even started a thread about how "impassibility" is un-Scriptural.

Quote
Which is why I would say that God is circumscribed in the incarnation while remaining uncircumscribed without any division in his Hypostasis/Physis. This is absurd, and yet, there it is.

His Hypostasis is incarnate/human.
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« Reply #138 on: October 27, 2011, 09:15:29 PM »

"it not superhuman to walk on water"

Sorry I just don't see where you have got this from.
It is super[fallen]human to walk on water, certainly.

It's super[unfallen]human to walk on water, too. Supernatural, by the way, does not necessarily mean 'against nature'. Additionally, it is helpful to maintain a (Greek pagan) distinction between 'according to nature' and 'by nature'; for example, a man is virtuous according to nature, but he is not so by nature (he must be made so by habituation by laws, etc.). We might say that a human being is destined to be 'supernatural' according to his nature, or that grace is in some sense endemic to human nature, or that a human being is created in God's image and called to grow into His likeness.

Go and look at the way St. Athanasius plays with the words 'nature' and 'natural' in his discussion of mortality at the very beginning of On the Incarnation.
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« Reply #139 on: October 27, 2011, 09:26:06 PM »

I remember reading somewhere that St. Severus argued that Christ's human mind was omniscient, not ignorant, by virtue of the mind's hypostatic union with the Divine hypostasis. Is this true? And, if so, where can I read what St. Severus has to say on this matter?
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« Reply #140 on: October 28, 2011, 12:43:34 AM »

His Hypostasis is incarnate/human.
I know.

You even started a thread about how "impassibility" is un-Scriptural.
*Platonistic* Impassibility. I specified that for a reason.

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.
I am not saying that "God the Word" is willing things in eternity while the person Jesus is hanging around not able to will them in time. I'm saying that before all ages, God the Word willed all of his choices in the incarnation. God wills ALL THINGS providentially. When the incarnation occurred,  in time, however, that same Word limited Himself and became bound, and because of that initial choice to do so, in time, in the economy of salvation, his subsequent choices were limited. The one who willed all of the choices before all ages and the one who is limited by the incarnation are the exact same one.

I'm not familiar with this way of expressing things. Where are you getting it?

The understanding of God's ontological will vs. his providential will is, as I understand it, a patristic one. It has come up in Fr. Hopko's stuff and in several discussions on OC.net if I'm not mistaken.

It is this distinction that allows God to not be the author of evil or death, but still will all things.
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« Reply #141 on: October 28, 2011, 12:47:47 AM »

"it not superhuman to walk on water"

Sorry I just don't see where you have got this from.
It is super[fallen]human to walk on water, certainly.

It's super[unfallen]human to walk on water, too. Supernatural, by the way, does not necessarily mean 'against nature'. Additionally, it is helpful to maintain a (Greek pagan) distinction between 'according to nature' and 'by nature'; for example, a man is virtuous according to nature, but he is not so by nature (he must be made so by habituation by laws, etc.). We might say that a human being is destined to be 'supernatural' according to his nature, or that grace is in some sense endemic to human nature, or that a human being is created in God's image and called to grow into His likeness.

Go and look at the way St. Athanasius plays with the words 'nature' and 'natural' in his discussion of mortality at the very beginning of On the Incarnation.
I would say, JLatimer, that it is actually natural for man to be in communion with God and to be energized by his grace. He does not do these acts by his own power alone, of course, but then again, a real human being never does anything autonomously.

When I say natural to man, I mean "in his proper state/taxis". I am not implying that God does not choose to give man the power to work mighty acts (I.E. that it happens automatically).
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« Reply #142 on: October 28, 2011, 08:17:10 AM »

His Hypostasis is incarnate/human.
I know.

Then why did you say God is "uncircumscribed...in His Hypostasis"? If His Hypostasis is human, His Hypostasis is circumscribed.

You even started a thread about how "impassibility" is un-Scriptural.
*Platonistic* Impassibility. I specified that for a reason.

The Biblical idea of impassibility stems directly from the fundamental difference between Greek and Biblical thought: the creatio ex nihilo. The paradox in Christianity starts right in the beginning. That God created everything that is out of nothing (2 Macc. 7:28) is a way of saying that God is wholly other than everything created. He shares nothing in common with creation, with the 'things that are'; he is utterly beyond all being (Kierkegaard's "absolute difference"). And yet, He created. He is in creation in His energies; totally other, absolutely transcendent, and yet, paradoxically immanent, "closer than a brother".

God does not undergo anything in His ousia (impassibility), because only beings can be acted upon by other beings, and God is not a being. He is beyond being, beyond nature, beyond ousia.

In contrast to this way of thinking, the Demiurge of the philosophers is an eternal being who shapes eternal matter into the cosmos. So right from the outset, there is a fundamental similarity, rather than an absolute difference, between God and creation. They are both eternal.

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.
I am not saying that "God the Word" is willing things in eternity while the person Jesus is hanging around not able to will them in time. I'm saying that before all ages, God the Word willed all of his choices in the incarnation. God wills ALL THINGS providentially. When the incarnation occurred,  in time, however, that same Word limited Himself and became bound, and because of that initial choice to do so, in time, in the economy of salvation, his subsequent choices were limited. The one who willed all of the choices before all ages and the one who is limited by the incarnation are the exact same one.

I'm not familiar with this way of expressing things. Where are you getting it?

The understanding of God's ontological will vs. his providential will is, as I understand it, a patristic one. It has come up in Fr. Hopko's stuff and in several discussions on OC.net if I'm not mistaken.

It is this distinction that allows God to not be the author of evil or death, but still will all things.

Thanks.
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« Reply #143 on: October 28, 2011, 08:21:02 AM »

I would say, JLatimer, that it is actually natural for man to be in communion with God and to be energized by his grace.

As would I, but again, in the sense of 'according to nature', according to man's telos, but not 'by nature', not self-causingly.
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« Reply #144 on: October 28, 2011, 08:53:53 AM »

I would say, JLatimer, that it is actually natural for man to be in communion with God and to be energized by his grace.

As would I, but again, in the sense of 'according to nature', according to man's telos, but not 'by nature', not self-causingly.
Well, do we even exist at all "by nature", then?

His Hypostasis is incarnate/human.
I know.

Then why did you say God is "uncircumscribed...in His Hypostasis"? If His Hypostasis is human, His Hypostasis is circumscribed.
Rather I meant that God is truly circumscribed while mystically remaining uncircumscribed without producing a division in his hypostasis.
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« Reply #145 on: October 28, 2011, 09:04:04 AM »

I think I'll not address Nicholas' comments as, respectfully, they seem to be changing all the time and it is not clear to me what he is saying.

I will though, continue to deal with the error of Themistius and will press on with trying to translate the works of the Fathers which addressed and condemned his error.
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« Reply #146 on: October 28, 2011, 01:52:45 PM »

Rather I meant that God is truly circumscribed while mystically remaining uncircumscribed without producing a division in his hypostasis.

Sounds good to me.
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« Reply #147 on: October 28, 2011, 04:03:01 PM »

I remember reading somewhere that St. Severus argued that Christ's human mind was omniscient, not ignorant, by virtue of the mind's hypostatic union with the Divine hypostasis. Is this true? And, if so, where can I read what St. Severus has to say on this matter?

Now that the posts have slowed down a bit, I do feel bad that Severian's question is not answered here.
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« Reply #148 on: October 28, 2011, 04:10:38 PM »

Themistius didn't really develop his teaching until after the death of St Severus, and when he moved to Constantinople with St Theodosius.

The OO objections to this teaching are found especially in St Theodosius' writings.

St Cyril also writes about this subject as it relates to various passages in the Gospels. I have the sermon on the Epiphany by St Severus and I think that also discusses the idea of Christ growing as a child, and I expect this to be following St Cyril.

I'll find that sermon. I think I have translated it into English.
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« Reply #149 on: October 28, 2011, 04:38:51 PM »

Here are some passages translated from Homily X on the Epiphany..

2. Moreover, Jesus advanced in age, in wisdom and in grace, he who is himself the Wisdom and gives to all wisdom and grace, so that in him as in the second beginning of our race, we rise up, once more towards grace and wisdom, from which we had fallen, after having been deceived by the serpent.

3. Towards what, indeed, was he to progress, the one who is far from all progress, ......., the one towards whom anyone converges  who progresses in perfection? But this which the evangelist calls a progress is the manifestation and revelation of his divinity which is made little by little and in relation with age and according to measure. For this reason he also joins age with wisdom and grace, exclaiming as it were that if, the one who is without old age and is ageless and without time had not been subjected to age and time after being himself made man for us, it would not be said that he progressed in wisdom and in grace. But because in truth it is in age that he progresses, for this reason he progresses also in wisdom and in grace, while appropriating to himself all our imperfection and paving a way towards his perfection. That it is thus, and that it is the divinity of the economy of Emmanuel, which, in its gradual appearance, is called a progress, here how it is known.

5. After the evangelistic Luke had given this account, he adds afterwards these words: Jesus also progressed in wisdom, in age and in grace, so that we, we ourselves might learn that he calls the gradual revelation of the divinity of Jesus a progress. For the one who has in himself all that which is proper to the Father, which increase could he receive? And however he seems to progress in favour with God and in favour with men when an idea worthy of God progressed little by little on this subject among men, this which he manifested by the will of the Father, which he made to appear publically, at the same time both the passing of age and the appearance of his divinity.

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« Reply #150 on: October 28, 2011, 06:03:38 PM »

Well, do we even exist at all "by nature", then?

To better explain myself, let me take an example you have raised before. Human flesh is not naturally (in the sense of 'by nature') invincible. In its 'natural' state, it is capable of being wounded, because it is created, because it is a being capable of being acted upon by other beings, because it exists under the 'laws of nature'. By contrast, Christ's Resurrection flesh is invincible; yet, it has not ceased to be what it is, it has not ceased to be human. To me, the best way to make sense of this is still to say something like, 'it is according to human nature to become supernatural', because the human being was created as free, and called to become like God.

Am I making sense?
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« Reply #151 on: October 28, 2011, 07:40:55 PM »

By contrast, Christ's Resurrection flesh is invincible; yet, it has not ceased to be what it is, it has not ceased to be human.
But it is indeed a different sort of flesh, it is a pneumatikos (spiritualized) body rather than a nephesh/psyche body.

But it's still human, yes. Interestingly enough, Julianism may re-appear in our discussion. Tongue
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« Reply #152 on: October 28, 2011, 07:59:56 PM »

That it is thus, and that it is the divinity of the economy of Emmanuel, which, in its gradual appearance, is called a progress, here how it is known.
So When St. Cyril says the gradual revelation of divinity, does that mean to say that witnesses observed a gradual revelation of divinity from a human (not just a created, but a human) perspective, or that an actual change occurred in the "working knowledge and wisdom" of the incarnate Christ along with the appearance?
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« Reply #153 on: October 29, 2011, 11:37:28 AM »

By contrast, Christ's Resurrection flesh is invincible; yet, it has not ceased to be what it is, it has not ceased to be human.
But it is indeed a different sort of flesh, it is a pneumatikos (spiritualized) body rather than a nephesh/psyche body.

But it's still human, yes. Interestingly enough, Julianism may re-appear in our discussion. Tongue

My point was simply that He remains human. He has never ceased to be homoousios with us. I don't see 'Julianism' anywhere hereabouts.

I thought for the heck of it I'd post the Scripture passage to which you alluded, and St. John Chrysostom's commentary on it.

Quote from: 1 Corinthians 15:36-38,42-50 (KJV)
Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: [37] And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain : [38] But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. [42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: [43] It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: [44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. [45] And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening [I don't have the words, but I'm fairly certain the distinction between "living" and "life-giving" is important, especially in relation to "Death is swallowed up in victory."] spirit. [46] Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. [47] The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. [48] As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. [49] And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. [50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Quote from: St. John Chrysostom, Homilies 41 and 42 on 1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 15:36 (KJV)
Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

For they said, the body rises not again, because it is dead. What then does he, retorting their argument, say? Nay, but unless it died, it could not rise again: and therefore it rises again, because it died. For as Christ more clearly signifies this very thing, in the words, Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides by itself alone: but if it die, it bears much fruit: John 12:24 thence also Paul, drawing this example, said not, it does not live, but, is not quickened; again assuming the power of God and showing that not the nature of the ground, but God Himself, brings it all to pass.

...
1 Corinthians 15:37
And he who sows, sows not that body that shall be.

...the heretics, considering none of these things, dart in upon us and say, one body falls and another body rises again. How then is there a resurrection? For the resurrection is of that which was fallen. But where is that wonderful and surprising trophy over death, if one body fall and another rise again? For he will no longer appear to have given back that which he took captive. And how can the alleged analogy suit the things before mentioned? Why, it is not one substance that is sown, and another that is raised, but the same substance improved. [I'm guessing that 'substance' here is translating ousia; though, I could be wrong.] Else neither will Christ have resumed the same body when He became the first-fruits of them that rise again: but according to you He threw aside the former body, although it had not sinned, and took another. Whence then is that other? For this body was from the Virgin, but that, whence was it? Do you see to what absurdity the argument has come round? For wherefore shows He the very prints of the nails? Was it not to prove that it is that same body which was crucified, and the same again that rose from the dead? And what means also His type of Jonah? For surely it was not one Jonah that was swallowed up and another that was cast out upon dry land. And why did He also say, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up? For that which was destroyed, the same clearly He raised again. Wherefore also the Evangelist added, that He spoke of the temple of His body. John 2:19-21
...
1 Corinthians 15:44
It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

What do you say? Is not this body spiritual? It is indeed spiritual, but that will be much more so. For now oftentimes both the abundant grace of the Holy Ghost flies away on men's committing great sins; and again, the Spirit continuing present, the life of the flesh depends on the soul: and the result in such a case is a void, without the Spirit. But in that day not so: rather he abides continually in the flesh of the righteous, and the victory shall be His, the natural soul [psuche]also being present.
...
1 Corinthians 15:47
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

Having said that the natural was first, and the spiritual afterward, he again states another difference, speaking of the earthy and the heavenly. For the first difference was between the present life and that which is to come: but this between that before grace and that after grace. And he stated it with a view to the most excellent way of life, saying—(for to hinder men, as I said, from such confidence in the resurrection as would make them neglectful of their practice and of perfection, from this topic also again he renders them anxious and exhorts to virtue, saying,)— The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven: calling the whole by the name of man , and naming the one from the better, and the other from the worst part.

1 Corinthians 15:48
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: so shall they perish and have an end. As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly: so shall they abide immortal and glorious.

What then? Did not This Man too die? He died indeed, but received no injury therefrom, yea rather by this He put an end to death. Do you see how on this part of his subject also, he makes use of death to establish the doctrine of the resurrection? For having, as I said before, the beginning and the head, so he speaks, doubt not of the whole body.

Moreover also he frames hereby his advice concerning the best way of living, proposing standards of a lofty and severe life and of that which is not such, and bringing forward the principles of both these, of the one Christ, but of the other Adam. Therefore neither did he simply say, of the earth, but earthy, i.e., gross, nailed down to things present: and again with respect to Christ the reverse, the Lord from heaven.

2. But if any should say, therefore the Lord has not a body because He is said to be from heaven, although what is said before is enough to stop their mouths: yet nothing hinders our silencing them from this consideration also: viz. what is, the Lord from heaven? Does he speak of His nature, or His most perfect life? It is I suppose evident to every one that he speaks of His life. Wherefore also he adds,

1 Corinthians 15:49
As we have borne the image of the earthy, i.e., as we have done evil, let us also bear the image of the heavenly, i.e., let us practise all goodness.

But besides this, I would fain ask you, is it of nature that it is said, he that is of the earth, earthy, and, the Lord from heaven?  Yea, says one. What then? Was Adam only earthy, or had he also another kind of substance congenial with heavenly and incorporeal beings, which the Scripture calls soul, and spirit? Every one sees that he had this also. Therefore neither was the Lord from above only although He is said to be from heaven, but He had also assumed our flesh. But Paul's meaning is such as this: as we have borne the image of the earthy, i.e., evil deeds, let us also bear the image of the heavenly, the manner of life which is in the heavens. Whereas if he were speaking of nature, the thing needed not exhortation nor advice. So that hence also it is evident that the expression relates to our manner of life.

Wherefore also he introduces the saying in the manner of advice and calls it an image, here too again showing that he is speaking of conduct, not of nature. For therefore are we become earthy, because we have done evil: not because we were originally formed earthy, but because we sinned. For sin came first, and then death and then the sentence, Dust thou art, and unto dust shall you return. Genesis 3:19 Then also entered in the swarm of the passions. For it is not simply the being born of earth that makes a man earthy, (since the Lord also was of this mass and lump ,) but the doing earthly things, even as also he is made heavenly by performing things meet for heaven.
...
1 Corinthians 15:50
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

Do you see how he explains himself again, relieving us of the trouble? Which he often does: for by flesh he here denotes men's evil deeds, which he has done also elsewhere; as when he says, But you are not in the flesh: and again, So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:8-9 So that when he says, Now this I say, he means nothing else than this: therefore said I these things that you may learn that evil deeds conduct not to a kingdom. Thus from the resurrection he straightway introduced also the doctrine of the kingdom also; wherefore also he adds, neither does corruption inherit incorruption,  i.e., neither shall wickedness inherit that glory and the enjoyment of the things incorruptible. For in many other places he calls wickedness by this name, saying, He that sows to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption. Galatians 6:8 Now if he were speaking of the body and not of evil doing, he would not have said corruption. For he nowhere calls the body corruption, since neither is it corruption, but a thing corruptible: wherefore proceeding to discourse also of it, he calls it not corruption, but corruptible, saying, for this corruptible must put on incorruption.
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« Reply #154 on: October 29, 2011, 01:31:27 PM »

Good stuff from Chrysostom there!
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« Reply #155 on: October 29, 2011, 02:46:25 PM »

As regards the questions 'what is human nature?' and 'what are natural human activities?', I would like to zero in on the remark of Chrysostom that "not the nature of the ground, but God Himself, brings it all to pass."

Here you can see the distinction I am trying to make between 'by nature' and 'according to nature'. 'By nature' (phusei) implies instrumentality on the part of nature (nature as 'efficient cause'). Does new life spring from a dead seed (forget modern science for a moment  Wink) because of "the nature of the ground"? Chrysostom says no; it is the power of God Himself that "brings it all to pass." Likewise, it is not by nature that a man is raised from the dead; nor, for that matter, is it by nature that a man walks on water, heals the sick, casts out demons, commands the waves of the sea. It is rather by the power of God.

Nevertheless, we would not say that to do these things is contrary or opposed to [human] nature, if indeed we believe that man is himself created in the Image of God and called to grow into His Likeness; rather, we would say that to do these things is wholly consonant with man's ultimate purpose or end (nature as 'final cause'?), and thus is 'according to [in agreement with/not opposed to] nature' (kata phusin). Super-nature is not necessarily against-nature. The super-natural is 'above' nature in the sense that nature cannot 'reach' it on its own, but in the case of a human being, nature itself is 'oriented' towards what is higher than itself.

In communion with God, man can indeed transcend the limitations of his own nature, without, so to speak, leaving behind that nature, but rather carrying it up with himself into God's freedom and sovereignty, of which man is called to partake: the created, as created, showing forth the Uncreated Light. St. Athanasius writes,

Quote from: On the Incarnation
By nature, of course, man is mortal, since he was made from nothing; but he bears also the Likeness of Him Who is, and if he preserves that Likeness through constant contemplation, then his nature is deprived of its power and he remains incorrupt. ...though they were by nature subject to corruption, the grace of their union with the Word made them capable of escaping from the natural law, provided that they retained the beauty of innocence with which they were created. That is to say, the presence of the Word with them shielded them even from natural corruption.

---

I would say, JLatimer, that it is actually natural for man to be in communion with God and to be energized by his grace.

As would I, but again, in the sense of 'according to nature', according to man's telos, but not 'by nature', not self-causingly.
Well, do we even exist at all "by nature", then?

Quote from: On the Incarnation
...it is God alone Who exists.
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« Reply #156 on: October 29, 2011, 03:44:56 PM »

If he walked on the water by his divine power and if he did not feel hunger then he was not bound by his humanity and you are not saying differently to the Fathers, so what are you saying?  Undecided  And why have you been disagreeing with the Fathers for the last 30 posts if you now say you agree with them?
The bold part is where we disagree. It is natural for humanity to be in communion with God and to work mighty acts by his power, thus is it not superhuman to walk on water or to turn to God for true food and true drink.

The Word is not breaking the bounds of his humanity. He is being truly human. To avoid confusion I will re-iterate that these acts were by hypostatic/physis union and not by external union as in a saint, hence the by nature vs. by grace difference.

I find it frustrating that you have expended so much digital ink insisting that the Incarnation matters only if Christ is truly bound by His humanity, only to define-down 'bound' to where it is practically meaningless. How is human nature binding at all if human beings can naturally fly, bi-locate, move mountains, go forever without food, walk on water, etc.?

If being 'bound' consists in these things, then the idea of God involuntarily (after the intitial, voluntary choice, as you say) 'bound' by human nature, is frankly much less startling than what the rest of us have been saying, namely: God, Who is all-powerful and without any limitation, utterly freely and voluntarily choosing at every moment to subject* Himself to and to experience the very real limitations of human nature, e.g., birth from a woman, bodily growth over time, the need to walk from place to place, sinkability in water, the need to eat, wound-ability, corruptibility, mortality.

If we don't maintain some sort of distinction between natural and supernatural, between human and superhuman, between bare humanity and deified humanity, between human and Divine, then "the Word became flesh" is not a paradox at all, and we have gained nothing by the Incarnation.

*In the same way He truly subjected Himself to the Jews and to Pilate, even allowing Himself to be killed, though He could have at any moment had twelve legions of angels at His disposal (Matthew 26:53, John 19:11).
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« Reply #157 on: October 29, 2011, 04:01:57 PM »

I have also found it frustrating. Indeed I am very glad that JLatimer is expressing my own understanding of Christology so clearly that I do not need to keep expressing my frustration!  Smiley
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« Reply #158 on: October 29, 2011, 04:21:26 PM »

It is the limitations that are subjected to the divinity. 
Flesh becomes Word?

Ephesians 4:8
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« Reply #159 on: October 30, 2011, 12:10:32 AM »

what the rest of us have been saying, namely: God, Who is all-powerful and without any limitation, utterly freely and voluntarily choosing at every moment to subject* Himself to and to experience the very real limitations of human nature, e.g., birth from a woman, bodily growth over time, the need to walk from place to place, sinkability in water, the need to eat, wound-ability, corruptibility, mortality.

But you aren't saying he experienced these limitations at every moment. You are saying that he experienced them sometimes and other times he chose not to or "raised himself above them" (a sophistic way of saying that he chose not to experience human passions).

Believe me, I get that you think because Christ is "not just a man, but the Logos incarnate" that means that his humanity is lifted above its "passions" when he chooses; or that because that humanity is united to the Word, it is divinized to the point where passions become "filled up" when the Logos chooses to do so. I get that this affirms hyper-cyrilline doctrine.

It is also docetic sophistry.

If he walked on the water by his divine power and if he did not feel hunger then he was not bound by his humanity and you are not saying differently to the Fathers, so what are you saying?  Undecided  And why have you been disagreeing with the Fathers for the last 30 posts if you now say you agree with them?
The bold part is where we disagree. It is natural for humanity to be in communion with God and to work mighty acts by his power, thus is it not superhuman to walk on water or to turn to God for true food and true drink.

The Word is not breaking the bounds of his humanity. He is being truly human. To avoid confusion I will re-iterate that these acts were by hypostatic/physis union and not by external union as in a saint, hence the by nature vs. by grace difference.

I find it frustrating that you have expended so much digital ink insisting that the Incarnation matters only if Christ is truly bound by His humanity, only to define-down 'bound' to where it is practically meaningless. How is human nature binding at all if human beings can naturally fly, bi-locate, move mountains, go forever without food, walk on water, etc.?

If being 'bound' consists in these things, then the idea of God involuntarily (after the intitial, voluntary choice, as you say) 'bound' by human nature, is frankly much less startling than what the rest of us have been saying
I think you misunderstand what I mean when I say these things are "natural" to man. I am not saying "by nature" in the sense of "by the intrinsic faculty of the human physis". In fact, I clarified this earlier. I am referring to man's natural state/taxis in relationship to God and creation.

And I also affirm that the Logos chose every single moment in the incarnation from eternity, whist at the same time being ontologically bound in-time. Remember the providential vs. ontological will thing?
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« Reply #160 on: October 30, 2011, 12:11:02 AM »

It is the limitations that are subjected to the divinity.
Flesh becomes Word?

Ephesians 4:8
No.
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« Reply #161 on: October 30, 2011, 12:45:56 PM »

You are saying that the acceptance of St Cyril's teaching is docetism.

If so then your position is clearly not Orthodox.
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« Reply #162 on: October 30, 2011, 03:46:09 PM »

and other times he chose not to or "raised himself above them" (a sophistic way of saying that he chose not to experience human passions).

What Fr. Peter actually said, following St. Cyril, is that the Incarnate Word "can raise his humanity above its natural weakness and often does". Not that the Word raises Himself above His humanity. When He, in His perfect freedom and sovereignty, chooses not to feel hunger for forty days, He does so as the Godman. It's not as if 'in His Divinity' He did not feel hunger. What would be so special about that? God as God doesn't feel hunger in the first place. In His humanity He does not feel hunger because, via the Hypostatic Union, His humanity partakes of His Divine freedom and sovereignty. That is indeed wondrous.

Quote
But you aren't saying he experienced these limitations at every moment.

Your criticism here of what I wrote is fair. What I was trying to say is that the nature He assumed is indeed limited. And even when 'raised above itself' it remains limited, in the sense that it remains what it is. This is the point I was trying to make in my two longish posts above: that the deification of human nature does not cause it to cease being human. When Christ walks on water, He does so in sinkable flesh. That's why it's a miracle. Sinkable flesh showing itself to be unsinkable because of its union with Divinity.

If he walked on the water by his divine power and if he did not feel hunger then he was not bound by his humanity and you are not saying differently to the Fathers, so what are you saying?  Undecided  And why have you been disagreeing with the Fathers for the last 30 posts if you now say you agree with them?
The bold part is where we disagree. It is natural for humanity to be in communion with God and to work mighty acts by his power, thus is it not superhuman to walk on water or to turn to God for true food and true drink.

The Word is not breaking the bounds of his humanity. He is being truly human. To avoid confusion I will re-iterate that these acts were by hypostatic/physis union and not by external union as in a saint, hence the by nature vs. by grace difference.

I find it frustrating that you have expended so much digital ink insisting that the Incarnation matters only if Christ is truly bound by His humanity, only to define-down 'bound' to where it is practically meaningless. How is human nature binding at all if human beings can naturally fly, bi-locate, move mountains, go forever without food, walk on water, etc.?

If being 'bound' consists in these things, then the idea of God involuntarily (after the intitial, voluntary choice, as you say) 'bound' by human nature, is frankly much less startling than what the rest of us have been saying
I think you misunderstand what I mean when I say these things are "natural" to man. I am not saying "by nature" in the sense of "by the intrinsic faculty of the human physis". In fact, I clarified this earlier. I am referring to man's natural state/taxis in relationship to God and creation.

And I also affirm that the Logos chose every single moment in the incarnation from eternity, whist at the same time being ontologically bound in-time. Remember the providential vs. ontological will thing?

Yes; I remember that. And I remember thinking it sounded like a "really odd, illogical and ad-hoc [way] to explain away" God's leading captivity captive.

With all due respect, I think it is you who are missing the force of my argument. You are on the record as saying that to walk on water is not only Divine, but human. (As Fr. Peter has pointed out, the Fathers univocally disagree with you.) Then you say that the Word was 'bound' by human limitations, but according to your own definition of human nature, it essentially has no limitations.

Your insistence that humanity is 'naturally' capable of wonder-working, and yet that for Jesus to act Divinely is for Him to "override" His humanity - the only consistency I can see here is a general commitment to keeping Divinity and humanity at a safe and comfortable distance.

I don't think that's what you are trying to do, but in the end that's the result of your reasoning, IMO.

And BTW, why do you insist on calling your interlocutors Sophist, Platonist, docetist, Julianist, Apollinarianist, Monophysite, etc?


Wow.  Huh
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« Reply #163 on: October 30, 2011, 04:27:32 PM »

You are saying that the acceptance of St Cyril's teaching is docetism.

If so then your position is clearly not Orthodox.
Believing that Cyril was infallible and taking certain teachings of his to odd and docetic conclusions is clearly not Orthodox.

Jlatimer, as for you, your last post suggests that you have completely ceased trying to actually understand my argument.
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« Reply #164 on: October 30, 2011, 04:45:23 PM »

How is simply printing St Cyril's teaching taking it to docetic ends?

How is accepting St Cyril's Christological teaching taking 'certain' rather than 'core' teachings to an 'odd conclusion'?

Can you confirm that you reject St Cyril's teaching that, for instance, the Word raised his own humanity above all feelings of hunger for 40 days?

Can you confirm whether you accept or reject this teaching...

..his human will follows and that not as resisting and reluctant, but rather as subject to his divine and omnipotent will.  For it was right that the flesh should be moved but subject to the divine will, according to the most wise Athanasius.

Do you accept the the flesh is subject to the divine will at all times and that his human will is subject to his divine will?
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« Reply #165 on: October 30, 2011, 05:21:15 PM »

You are saying that the acceptance of St Cyril's teaching is docetism.

If so then your position is clearly not Orthodox.
Believing that Cyril was infallible and taking certain teachings of his to odd and docetic conclusions is clearly not Orthodox.

Jlatimer, as for you, your last post suggests that you have completely ceased trying to actually understand my argument.

Both EO and OO Christology is Cyrillian at it's core, and if you read the book "Grace and Christology in the Early Church"
http://www.amazon.com/Christology-Church-Oxford-Christian-Studies/dp/019929710X (the book I mentioned above)

Then you would know that Saint Cyril's view was pretty much the consensus, and so he was a heavy weight when it comes to the issue of Church Fathers.

The 3rd Ecumenical council was heavily influenced by him. The 4th Ecumenical council has alot of Cyrillian language and thought in it (although not enough for OO's to accept). And the 5th Ecumenical council was heavily influenced by Cyrillian thought, even to the point of giving the official interpretation of the 4th Ecumenical council as well as allowing for the acceptability of the use of more Cyrillian language if interpreted the right way. And so, there is really no way getting around Saint Cyril when it comes to Eastern Christianity. Saint Cyril will always be an influence when it comes to the issue of Christology.

There is a book I'm going to read soon in regards to the Christology of the Emperor Justinian, he seemed to be a fan of Saint Cyril and so there is really no way of getting around Cyrillian thought when it comes to Eastern Christianity. Now, we(EO and Rome) don't just follow Saint Cyril exclusively, for we follow other people too, as seen in the formula of re-union between Cyril and John, but when it comes to this issue, Saint Cyril will always be a part of the conversation, especially in the Christian East. Things might be different with Rome and how she filters things, but with us, in regards to this issue, things have to be filtered through the Christological lense of Saint Cyril. And so for us, Saint Leo is filtered through the eyes of Saint Cyril. Although for Rome it might be the opposite.

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« Reply #166 on: October 30, 2011, 05:44:20 PM »

When the lowness arising from the exinanition seems hard to you, wonder greatly at the love of the Son toward us. For, what you say is a mean thing, this he did voluntarily for your sake. He wept in human fashion, that he might take away your weeping. He feared by dispensation, inasmuch as he sometimes permitted his flesh to undergo the passions proper to it, that he might make us valiant. - St Cyril of Alexandria (in answer to the objections made by Theodoret, in the defence of the tenth anathema)
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« Reply #167 on: October 30, 2011, 05:55:59 PM »

The key word in that passage for the present discussion is 'sometimes'
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« Reply #168 on: October 30, 2011, 08:29:23 PM »

You know who else accused St. Cyril of docetism?

I hope we should learn that we need to be humble in our learnings of correct doctrines.  "Lean not on your own understandings."  Julianism used to make sense in my mind.  But after a while, I had to swallow my pride to come to a realization that I might be wrong.  If anything, I learned quickly it stemmed from a misunderstanding of St. Athanasius' teachings, and not noticing the subtleties of language.

The issue of "sometimes" is very simple and Scriptural really.  If one wants to take what you believe, that the Logos was subject to the limitations He put Himself in, then He could have never walked on water or did miracles or transfigure Himself on Mt. Tabor.  He subjected humanity to divinity, that we may also be subject to divine graces.  By being subject to the limitless God rather than to the limited world, we are set free rather than slaves to sin.  It is a very important soteriological point that one must understand.
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« Reply #169 on: October 30, 2011, 08:32:12 PM »

Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #170 on: October 31, 2011, 12:21:05 AM »

If one wants to take what you believe, that the Logos was subject to the limitations He put Himself in, then He could have never walked on water or did miracles or transfigure Himself on Mt. Tabor.
Then you have not read what I wrote.

There is a book I'm going to read soon in regards to the Christology of the Emperor Justinian
I have it, it's a good book.
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« Reply #171 on: October 31, 2011, 01:06:47 AM »

Lord have mercy!
Has that become your version of Severian's "Nevermind"?
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« Reply #172 on: October 31, 2011, 03:53:27 AM »

Can you answer these questions please Nicholas,

How is simply printing St Cyril's teaching taking it to docetic ends?

How is accepting St Cyril's Christological teaching taking 'certain' rather than 'core' teachings to an 'odd conclusion'?

Can you confirm that you reject St Cyril's teaching that, for instance, the Word raised his own humanity above all feelings of hunger for 40 days?

Can you confirm whether you accept or reject this teaching...

..his human will follows and that not as resisting and reluctant, but rather as subject to his divine and omnipotent will.  For it was right that the flesh should be moved but subject to the divine will, according to the most wise Athanasius.

Do you accept the the flesh is subject to the divine will at all times and that his human will is subject to his divine will?
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« Reply #173 on: October 31, 2011, 09:58:19 AM »

If one wants to take what you believe, that the Logos was subject to the limitations He put Himself in, then He could have never walked on water or did miracles or transfigure Himself on Mt. Tabor.
Then you have not read what I wrote.

From what I have read, you're having trouble in thinking that he "sometimes" transcended His human passions.  You want to believe that there was never a time when he didn't go through His human passions.

I'm asking why stop at human passions?  Why not when He walked on water or when He did miracles?
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« Reply #174 on: October 31, 2011, 10:31:18 AM »

If one wants to take what you believe, that the Logos was subject to the limitations He put Himself in, then He could have never walked on water or did miracles or transfigure Himself on Mt. Tabor.

Or, for that matter, risen from the dead. After all, he took upon Himself mortal flesh. Is it docetic to proclaim His 'overriding' mortality by Resurrection?
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1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
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« Reply #175 on: October 31, 2011, 10:39:49 AM »

I'm asking why stop at human passions?  Why not when He walked on water or when He did miracles?

In the root sense, 'passion' is just what it means to be created, to be a 'being'. Passion is 'undergoing'. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When we walk on the ground, it is because the ground is exerting force on us in a certain way. We are beings capable of being acted upon by other beings, whether we will it or not. That's what it means to be passible. We can't control the fact that water exerts force in a way other than earth so that we sink.

So I agree with you, that the issue of the passions and the miracles are really linked.
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So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
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« Reply #176 on: November 11, 2011, 11:11:38 PM »

When Christ said "nor the Son", he must've coughed "(en theoria in his humanity)" under his breath, but St. John didn't hear him.  laugh

Once again, St. Athanasius says it better than OC.net.

I think over and over again, this verse concerning "nor the Son" has a general agreement among Church fathers, even with St. Athanasius here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,40693.msg667848.html#msg667848

that Christ is not involuntarily ignorant, but He uses human ignorance as an excuse for all of humanity to be blessed with ignorance of that specific moment in time as a good thing, and not something one should dwell on.  He even teaches later that we should live each moment as our last (for Christ will come like a thief in the night).  It's not ignorance in the sense that Christ had no choice in the matter.  I'm sure if He wanted to download that information into His human brain (using Fr. Peter's analogy), He could, but He chose not to.  Nevertheless, we can still say He does know, and He can share that knowledge, but He wanted us to be ignorant specifically of this time, and so He chooses to be ignorant for us, even though He really does know.
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« Reply #177 on: November 12, 2011, 01:47:20 AM »

that Christ is not involuntarily ignorant, but He uses human ignorance as an excuse for all of humanity to be blessed with ignorance of that specific moment in time as a good thing, and not something one should dwell on.  He even teaches later that we should live each moment as our last (for Christ will come like a thief in the night).  It's not ignorance in the sense that Christ had no choice in the matter.  I'm sure if He wanted to download that information into His human brain (using Fr. Peter's analogy), He could, but He chose not to.  Nevertheless, we can still say He does know, and He can share that knowledge, but He wanted us to be ignorant specifically of this time, and so He chooses to be ignorant for us, even though He really does know.
Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #178 on: November 12, 2011, 01:55:20 AM »

He wanted us to be ignorant specifically of this time, and so He chooses to be ignorant for us, even though He really does know.
Is this a paradox or do you parse it out somehow?
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Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.
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« Reply #179 on: November 12, 2011, 08:02:56 AM »

He wanted us to be ignorant specifically of this time, and so He chooses to be ignorant for us, even though He really does know.
Is this a paradox or do you parse it out somehow?

I don't understand your question.  I would say that our faith is filled with paradox that works together.  By death He conquered death, for instance.  The Unlimited took limit, etc.
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

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