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Author Topic: Difficulties regarding 1 and 2 natures  (Read 1594 times) Average Rating: 0
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Virtus_lb
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« on: November 03, 2011, 11:29:10 PM »

I have question about 1 and 2 natures, and from which it all started, it seems pretty difficult to understand the whole concept.

Apollinarius denied human mind and soul of Jesus. But isn't mind=soul? Have you heard of unreasonable soul? And mind(not fleshly one) is what brings reason to soul. (And Orthodox teaching is that soul doesn't exist without body, human is unity. As St. Justin Martyr and other saints confirmed.)

Council of Chalcedon later said: "Christ had human mind and human soul" - but what constitutes a human being other than flesh and soul? If there is nothing else, how isn't deduced from there that Christ was a separate human being apart from Word of God?

Now I understand Theodore of Mopsuestia(and I often read writings of heresiarchs), when he stumbled upon the sentences like this:

"Christ was tempted"(Hebrews 2:18,19), while James says: "God isn't tempted."

and "In him the fullness of the deity dwelt"(Collosians 2:9) - Now it's foolish to assume that Paul wrote: "In God the fullness of deity dwelt", because that's evident anyway. But he meant the temple, or someone who wasn't God by nature. (This argument was used by Marcellus of Ancyra, together with "he is image of invisible God" - where image is something else than a deity, something visible, which is humanity)

And Theodore had different manuscript, which said: "Christ, apart from God tasted death" in Hebrews 2:9, which got him separate two natures even more.

But his Orthodox intentions are here, in commentary on the Nicene Creed:

"From the fact that we say two natures we are not constrained to say two Lords nor two sons; this would be extreme folly."

and

"The "Only Begotten Son," the "first-born" of all creatures. With these two words they(318 Holy Fathers at Nicaea) alluded to the two natures, and by the difference between the words they made us understand the difference between the natures. From the fact also that they referred both words to the one person(Parsopa = πρόσωπον) of the Son they showed us the close union between the two natures."


Here he tries to stay in Orthodox ground, and this understanding of "first-born" is in absolute harmony with St. Cyril's fourth anathema, because the word "first-born" refers to a human dispensation of Word of God, not a separate man.

I understand that OO church stays within the true logic, that "If there is no unity, there is no incarnation", but what about the verses that are in Bible and which I just mentioned.
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2011, 12:28:09 AM »

I vote that this be transferred to faith issues, as it involves both EO and OO.

You've asked a lot of very important questions.
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2011, 12:38:39 AM »

I vote that this be transferred to faith issues, as it involves both EO and OO.

You've asked a lot of very important questions.

I am sorry if this isn't in proper forum, I have nothing against the transfer of this topic to "Faith Issues".
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2011, 10:38:05 AM »

As to "unreasonable soul", the Greeks came up with various schemes for describing the soul, often tripartite. Aristotle speaks of three different sorts of soul: vegetative/nutritive, animal (locomotion), rational/reasonable. Another scheme is soul (psyche), spirit (pneuma), mind (nous). There are several others.
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2011, 12:30:18 PM »

"Christ was tempted"(Hebrews 2:18,19), while James says: "God isn't tempted."

'Tempted' means two things here: Christ, being human, was capable of being tempted to sin as a human being, as all human beings are tempted to sin. That was inherent in His human identity; Christ was identical to us in every respect except this one: He was tempted, but he never sinned. If He had been incapable of being tempted, then He would not have been a human being.

OTOH, 'God is not tempted' means that God--by this we mean The Father--can not be prevailed upon to do anything outside of His justice. We may not understand His justice; i.e, His actions may appear unjust to us, but we can not see the whole picture; only God can. We can't make bargains with God, nor force Him to conform Himself to our will---in fact, it's the exact opposite.

At least, that's what I understand.
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2011, 03:30:10 PM »

greetings in that divine and most precious name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!



I understand that OO church stays within the true logic, that "If there is no unity, there is no incarnation", but what about the verses that are in Bible and which I just mentioned.


Through the Incarnation, the pre-existing, Eternal Word of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, became hypostatically united with the human flesh, blood, body, and soul of Jesus Christ.  His humanity is not pre-existing to His Incarnation, rather like our own births, Jesus Christ the Word united and took the form of a human body at His Incarnation in the womb of the Virgin.  In the womb, the Divine Word of God united with the human body and soul created for Him as Jesus Christ.  After the Union, the Divine Word perpetually exists through the Hypostasis of the Divine-Man Jesus Christ.  His body and soul are perfectly human, perfectly mortal, perfectly weakened as being the same as our own human bodies, however united to this weakness is the fullness of the Godhead.  Lets get very scientific about it.

We human beings are not self-existing, we depend fully upon the Actions of God to create and sustain our very forms of existing.  The atoms and subatomic particles which make up the physicality of our existence do not self-exist, God perpetually manifests this existence. Without the Divine, there would be simply nothing in existence.  Jesus Christ, as to His Humanity, is not self-existing. His human body and soul, like our own, depends fully upon the Grace of God simply to subsist and exist.  Without the Divine, Jesus Christ's own humanity would stop existing.  However,  Jesus Christ is the Word of God, God Himself, and so through His Incarnation, the Word continues to be Divine, and as such sustains all of Creation.  While Jesus Christ's human nature is not self-existing, through the Union of the Incarnation, the Divine Word now exists through the human hypostasis.  Think of it like a battery and a circuit of wires.  The wires do not generate their own electricity, they must be connected in circuit with the power source of the battery.  Once connected, the wires are alive with the energy of the battery, and they exist temporarily as one as the power flows through the circuit.  If the battery connection is broken, the energy stops flowing and the wire is dead.  As to Jesus Christ, think of His human body and nature as the conduit, the wire, and His Divinity as to the Battery or energy source.  The Incarnation and Union is the connection of the human body wire to the Divine battery, so that the Divine sustains the human, like the battery gives energy to the otherwise lifeless wire.  It is precisely THROUGH THIS CONNECTION that the action happens.  It is the same with the Union. 

The humanity continues to depend upon God, but in being God, Jesus Christ's human nature now depends upon Himself for existence.  Whereas, we ourselves, always depend upon Him for the existence of our bodies and souls, He depends upon Himself, but in a mechanical way.  His Hypostatic Body is at once both mortal, weak, and human, and yet because it is United to the Godhead in a Mysterious way, He sustains Himself and all things.  He sustains His own Humanity, but that humanity is a natural humanity, and for all of eternity will continually depend upon the power of His Divinity to exist, just as our own humanity depends upon such.  The Union is unbreakable, and so He will always sustain Himself, and yet He will always exist through His Human-Divine hypostasis, which is at once both weak and Immortal.  His Humanity depends upon His Divinity, and that is what we imply by the Union.  The Temptation of Christ is to abandon His Humanity, to let it go as we all sometimes feel tempted to do, and  return simply to His Divine existence.  He is tempted in the flesh in a literal way, because His flesh depends upon Himself to exist, but like our own flesh, it is a faculty of His Free-Will. The Temptation is to be hunger, or thirst, or afraid, are desire a different outcome, are perfectly human because our human instinct to survive, and yet because He is God, He can fulfill His own needs. So He can be at the same time both tempted in the Flesh, and yet by virtue of the Union conquer any kind of temptation being inherently God.  Realistically, it is fair to say that God entered the game of physical reality in a very real and not illusory way, and yet being God always maintains the agency to use all the cheat-codes Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2011, 08:25:35 PM »

"Christ was tempted"(Hebrews 2:18,19), while James says: "God isn't tempted."

'Tempted' means two things here: Christ, being human, was capable of being tempted to sin as a human being, as all human beings are tempted to sin. That was inherent in His human identity; Christ was identical to us in every respect except this one: He was tempted, but he never sinned. If He had been incapable of being tempted, then He would not have been a human being.

OTOH, 'God is not tempted' means that God--by this we mean The Father--can not be prevailed upon to do anything outside of His justice. We may not understand His justice; i.e, His actions may appear unjust to us, but we can not see the whole picture; only God can. We can't make bargains with God, nor force Him to conform Himself to our will---in fact, it's the exact opposite.

At least, that's what I understand.

Thanks for the answer.

The phrase "yet without sin" - was transformed later by Augustine into atrocity like: "without sinful nature" - which diminishes his temptations.

But the phrase just means a fact, not an natural or emotional state. He was tempted like any other human being, he wanted food, sex(not immorality, just wife maybe) and other things that ordinary righteous person experiences.

But this view was cursed at II council of Constantinople together with Theodore of Mopsuestia, saying: If anyone asserts, like impious Theodore did, that Christ had inner conflicts to sin or not, or that he was really tempted and could have theoretically sinned - let him be anathema.

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« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2011, 09:42:06 PM »

HabteSelassie

Greetings, you basically say that Christ has two natures, but this natures are in hypostatic union with each other.

All these sayings, phrases and terms are manifested in the examples for sure. I am trying to hover over this issue with logic, and tell me when I am gone away from Orthodoxy/truth please.

If Christ is true helper to us, because "he was tempted like us", then it means he really experienced all this in flesh. If divine nature helped human nature all the time, how is that going to help us? It's not how Theodore asserted: "Form of God+Form of Man", but it is "Form of God transfered into Form of man." Paul writes: "he was in form of God, BUT took form of man" --- It's a transfer, not an addition because it's written "he emptied himself". He transferred into form of man, thus "OF two natures" might hold true. If this isn't true, then how he lost his honor? If he retained the "Form of God", why Paul writes: "God exalted him"? As Arians asked: "How did Son of God advance in position if he was God before?" - But he "wasn't" God when he was in flesh, he emptied himself, but later received back the divinity(power) he had, but fused with the humanity. That's the reason he says: "God, why have you forsaken me?" - because he "wasn't" God(with power) at the time of crucifixion. With his disciples, he always talked as human and praised the Heavenly Father as only true God.

If as Theodoret says: "Divine nature is immutable, thus can't fuse with the human" is correct, then there would be no incarnation too. Incarnation is what "destroyed" laws of logic and laws of divinity itself.

Divine nature can't be "imprisoned" in flesh according to logic, because he is everywhere, but Christ says: "Let's go to ..." - as though he wasn't there already with his divine nature.

That's why I think there is a reason Christ is never called "Son" before his incarnation. He was word of God, but title "Son" is when he became human and being called: "Today I have begotten thee", which Paul applied to his resurrection in Acts Chapter 2. That's the reason of saying: "Of that time knows nor the Son, but the Father" - He really didn't know it at that time, but he knew it before his incarnation and after the resurrection. (But there is one problem - why He says: "You won't finish going through the town of Israel when Son of Man comes" - he knew it?"

In the words "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" the word "SON" applies to both Word of God and Flesh together, as the word "SON" summarizes the incarnation of Word of God, his resurrection and being "child of resurrection", it's one hypostasis and one nature. Thus after his incarnation, Christ isn't called Word of God, but God the Son, as a summary of his preexistence and incarnation.


P.S. I am willing to all corrections, as I don't regard myself expert in these issues.

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« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2011, 10:24:58 PM »

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

HabteSelassie

 As Arians asked: "How did Son of God advance in position if he was God before?" - But he "wasn't" God when he was in flesh, he emptied himself, but later received back the divinity(power) he had, but fused with the humanity.

If as Theodoret says: "Divine nature is immutable, thus can't fuse with the human" is correct, then there would be no incarnation too. Incarnation is what "destroyed" laws of logic and laws of divinity itself.

Divine nature can't be "imprisoned" in flesh according to logic, because he is everywhere, but Christ says: "Let's go to ..." - as though he wasn't there already with his divine nature.

That's why I think there is a reason Christ is never called "Son" before his incarnation.

In the words "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" the word "SON" applies to both Word of God and Flesh together, as the word "SON" summarizes the incarnation of Word of God, his resurrection and being "child of resurrection", it's one hypostasis and one nature. Thus after his incarnation, Christ isn't called Word of God, but God the Son, as a summary of his preexistence and incarnation.


a) Even though the Divine Word of God emptied Himself through kenosis, in the Union of the Incarnation, the Oriental Orthodox fathers affirm a unified miaphysis (One Incarnate Nature) of the Word, and so He is always Divine, even in death.  He did not lose and regain His Divinity, He is always Divine, as Paul asserts in Hebrews 13, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

b) Theodore is only half correct, it is true that the Divine Nature is immutable, but because we have no comprehension of exactly what the Divine Nature is/does, we therefore also have no ability to place limits to say what the Divine Nature can and can not do.  God is Omnipotent, and there is nothing beyond His power, and if God sees fitting to allow a Union between His Immutable Divine Nature and our human nature, that is surely within the All-Powerful God.

C) The Son has always been the Son, as there was never a time when the Son did not exist, the Son did not become the Son, He is eternally the Son, and further by logic, the Father is only the Father because of the Son, if there was no Son, there could be no Father.  This is not to say that God didn't, couldn't, or doesn't exist, however in using the connotations Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, an implicit relationship is demonstrated, that the Father is the Father being the father of the Son, and the Son being the Son because He is the Only-Begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit being holy because It proceeds from the Father.  The relationship of the Trinity is co-existing, co-eternal, so the Word is always the Word, and yet always the Son.  It is true, that in the Incarnation, He remaining the Son demonstrates He is the Son of the Father, both as being the Only-Begotten, and also through His Incarnation, and the Union is implicit with the Him being the Son, however the fathers have generally asserted that the Son has always been the Son of God.  For Him to have become the Son of God is a version of the classical Adoptionist heresies.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2011, 12:43:54 AM »


But this view was cursed at II council of Constantinople together with Theodore of Mopsuestia, saying: If anyone asserts, like impious Theodore did, that Christ had inner conflicts to sin or not, or that he was really tempted and could have theoretically sinned - let him be anathema.


Do you mean Constantinople III, or can you cite the source?
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« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2011, 05:13:55 AM »


But this view was cursed at II council of Constantinople together with Theodore of Mopsuestia, saying: If anyone asserts, like impious Theodore did, that Christ had inner conflicts to sin or not, or that he was really tempted and could have theoretically sinned - let him be anathema.


Do you mean Constantinople III, or can you cite the source?

I meant V ecumenical council, but it's Constantinople II, because it was second one that was in Constantinople. III was in Nicaea if I recall correctly.

Here it is, just read Canon XII on page 452, the link should transfer there:

http://books.google.com/books?id=B26SY7PIaKEC&pg=PA452&lpg=PA452&dq=Anathemas+against+theodore+of+mopsuestia+husband+and+wife&source=bl&ots=vkUgwobhRU&sig=lm72So2-OmOfWvYsXbq81eGe0CY&hl=en&ei=7fu0Tpi6J9GqsAKIr4mCBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Although here it's worded a bit differently, it seems certain(not this, the one that I have read before) translators out their ignorance make bias conclusions. But I still think they had this in mind when condemning Theodore's ideas of Christ, that He was really tempted.

Maybe you have other source of the canons of that council.

P.S. It is known that St. Justinian the Great himself fell into heresy which denied mutability of Christ's human nature, it seems like this one I guess. And he exiled St. Eutichyus later for this reason.
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« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2011, 05:31:54 AM »

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

HabteSelassie

 As Arians asked: "How did Son of God advance in position if he was God before?" - But he "wasn't" God when he was in flesh, he emptied himself, but later received back the divinity(power) he had, but fused with the humanity.

If as Theodoret says: "Divine nature is immutable, thus can't fuse with the human" is correct, then there would be no incarnation too. Incarnation is what "destroyed" laws of logic and laws of divinity itself.

Divine nature can't be "imprisoned" in flesh according to logic, because he is everywhere, but Christ says: "Let's go to ..." - as though he wasn't there already with his divine nature.

That's why I think there is a reason Christ is never called "Son" before his incarnation.

In the words "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" the word "SON" applies to both Word of God and Flesh together, as the word "SON" summarizes the incarnation of Word of God, his resurrection and being "child of resurrection", it's one hypostasis and one nature. Thus after his incarnation, Christ isn't called Word of God, but God the Son, as a summary of his preexistence and incarnation.


a) Even though the Divine Word of God emptied Himself through kenosis, in the Union of the Incarnation, the Oriental Orthodox fathers affirm a unified miaphysis (One Incarnate Nature) of the Word, and so He is always Divine, even in death.  He did not lose and regain His Divinity, He is always Divine, as Paul asserts in Hebrews 13, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

b) Theodore is only half correct, it is true that the Divine Nature is immutable, but because we have no comprehension of exactly what the Divine Nature is/does, we therefore also have no ability to place limits to say what the Divine Nature can and can not do.  God is Omnipotent, and there is nothing beyond His power, and if God sees fitting to allow a Union between His Immutable Divine Nature and our human nature, that is surely within the All-Powerful God.

C) The Son has always been the Son, as there was never a time when the Son did not exist, the Son did not become the Son, He is eternally the Son, and further by logic, the Father is only the Father because of the Son, if there was no Son, there could be no Father.  This is not to say that God didn't, couldn't, or doesn't exist, however in using the connotations Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, an implicit relationship is demonstrated, that the Father is the Father being the father of the Son, and the Son being the Son because He is the Only-Begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit being holy because It proceeds from the Father.  The relationship of the Trinity is co-existing, co-eternal, so the Word is always the Word, and yet always the Son.  It is true, that in the Incarnation, He remaining the Son demonstrates He is the Son of the Father, both as being the Only-Begotten, and also through His Incarnation, and the Union is implicit with the Him being the Son, however the fathers have generally asserted that the Son has always been the Son of God.  For Him to have become the Son of God is a version of the classical Adoptionist heresies.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Thank you again for your response.

1) I understand you are being logical and following the tradition, but what I don't get it is then Christ's saying: "If I wanted help, I could ask Father and he would have sent legions of angels" - If he hasn't "lost" his divinity, why does he need Father to send legions of angels when it's written: "To him even angels bow".

2) That's what I wanted to say exactly.

3) Now here, some Catholics have asserted, that the word "Holy Spirit" doesn't imply the idea of hypostasis in itself. For example "Son" is called like that because He has a "Father". But "Holy Spirit" - this word doesn't prohibit it to be proceeding from the Son also. Some Catholics even assert Holy Spirit is lower than Father and Son, while pneumatomachis assert he is even creation or lacking personhood.

Because there is no logic behind words: "Holy Spirit being holy because It proceeds from the Father." - I mean, it may be true, but the word itself doesn't say: "I proceed only from the Father", it even doesn't a "There is a Father".

And regarding Son, I know how Arians were proven wrong, I have read all of their letters and letters against them, but truth is - Christ is never called Son before incarnation. He is always called - "The word of God", or theoretically "Wisdom" from proverbs(even though that wisdom is female). But I have no objection to the argument that saints used.



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« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2011, 07:54:54 AM »


I meant V ecumenical council, but it's Constantinople II, because it was second one that was in Constantinople. III was in Nicaea if I recall correctly.


Just correcting myself, what I wanted to say was that III Constantinople followed the II Constantinople. II Nicaea was obviously last.
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« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2011, 12:13:40 PM »

1) I understand you are being logical and following the tradition, but what I don't get it is then Christ's saying: "If I wanted help, I could ask Father and he would have sent legions of angels" - If he hasn't "lost" his divinity, why does he need Father to send legions of angels when it's written: "To him even angels bow".
Because the Father is the one true God and Christ is Divine with the same Divinity as the Father as He is begotten of the Father eternally. It's in the Creed. The Scriptures also say that the Father gives everything he has to the Son.

Christ asks the Father for tons of things in the Gospels. If he didn't, you would have a modalistic god.

Although here it's worded a bit differently, it seems certain(not this, the one that I have read before) translators out their ignorance make bias conclusions. But I still think they had this in mind when condemning Theodore's ideas of Christ, that He was really tempted.
They aren't saying that he wasn't really tempted. Where did you get that awful translation that says tempted? They are saying that he would not have chosen to sin because he is God and God wouldn't un-become himself.

I'm still figuring that out. We have a thread over here on it:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,40812.0.html

That's why I think there is a reason Christ is never called "Son" before his incarnation. He was word of God, but title "Son" is when he became human and being called
I think it's acceptable to say that Christ manifests his Sonship at his baptism, and reveals this understanding of the Son because he allows us to share the position of firstborn Son of the Father through His works on earth and ascension into heaven. But He has this position of firstborn and Son of the Father from eternity, because He is the only-begotten, eternally-begotten Logos of God. As Fr. Hopko once said, God is really Jesus's Father, and relatively, our human fathers are fathers only metaphorically.
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« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2011, 02:04:19 PM »



And regarding Son, I know how Arians were proven wrong, I have read all of their letters and letters against them, but truth is - Christ is never called Son before incarnation. He is always called - "The word of God", or theoretically "Wisdom" from proverbs(even though that wisdom is female). But I have no objection to the argument that saints used.




These will be very useful words to you. Not so much the words but the sequence of them. "The hypostasis of Christ took on human nature".
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