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Author Topic: OO and the two WILLS of christ???  (Read 2224 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 10, 2011, 09:27:04 AM »

Hey guys i may be speaking out of ignorance (actually i AM) But i have seen in many places a teaching not only of two natures in the EO but also two wills serving their own purposes, Am i correct that this is still a teaching, also how does this affect the draw to reunification? Lastly how do the OO interpret this teaching or understand it?
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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 11:32:20 AM »

Some useful threads concerning the OO View of wills:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=27788.0

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=25645.0

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=40464.0

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,38213.0.html (Private fora)
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« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2011, 06:14:33 PM »

thanks for the links!
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« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2011, 06:19:29 PM »

I think that most OOs will tell you that the EOs have an Orthodox theletism.
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« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2011, 06:28:21 PM »

I think that most OOs will tell you that the EOs have an Orthodox theletism.
I would agree. The only time I disagree with EOs about Christ's will(s) is when some insist the unity of will(s) was brought by struggle rather than then hypostatic union, and when some of them insist that Christ was capable of sinning.
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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2011, 06:39:45 PM »

it seems like what i can remember reading was that though his natures were equal and did not mingle his wills kinda took turns or somehting. the human will kicked in for the passions and the divine will kicked in for the important things.... I dunno it all sounded fishy to me and i may have read a bogus teaching... but i do remember St John of damascus saying something about two wills in his exposition...
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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2011, 06:40:49 PM »

two wills serving their own purposes
Wills don't do their own anything.

the human will kicked in for the passions and the divine will kicked in for the important things...  i may have read a bogus teaching...
Yikes, no.

it seems like what i can remember reading was that though his natures were equal
I don't know anyone who taught that the human and divine natures were "equal". I suppose Christ is equally God and equally man, in the sense that 100% = 100%.  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2011, 06:43:12 PM »

I think that most OOs will tell you that the EOs have an Orthodox theletism.
I would agree. The only time I disagree with EOs about Christ's will(s) is when some insist the unity of will(s) was brought by struggle rather than then hypostatic union, and when some of them insist that Christ was capable of sinning.
The question is what is meant by "capable" (I.E. what is the invalidating factor that makes it impossible for him to have sinned). We both agree that the unity of wills was a choice on the part of the Logos (at least at the incarnation); whether or not this choice was ongoing, and if struggles entered into that choice, is what we wrestle with.
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« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2011, 07:13:13 PM »

I think that most OOs will tell you that the EOs have an Orthodox theletism.
I would agree. The only time I disagree with EOs about Christ's will(s) is when some insist the unity of will(s) was brought by struggle rather than then hypostatic union, and when some of them insist that Christ was capable of sinning.
Huh im puzzled... so you believe that Christ was altogether incapable of sinning? im sure there is proper reason but could i get some reasoning and quotes? Thats news to me and am having trouble swallowing that if part of the reason He became incarnate was to correct the mistake of Adam, To me then He would have to be ABLE to sin but not.
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« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2011, 07:17:58 PM »

I think that most OOs will tell you that the EOs have an Orthodox theletism.
I would agree. The only time I disagree with EOs about Christ's will(s) is when some insist the unity of will(s) was brought by struggle rather than then hypostatic union, and when some of them insist that Christ was capable of sinning.
Huh im puzzled... so you believe that Christ was altogether incapable of sinning? im sure there is proper reason but could i get some reasoning and quotes? Thats news to me and am having trouble swallowing that if part of the reason He became incarnate was to correct the mistake of Adam, To me then He would have to be ABLE to sin but not.
Like I said, the question is what makes it "impossible" for him to sin, and in what sense was it "impossible"?

For example, it is inconceivable for God to sin in virtue of the fact that he has revealed himself as always faithful. In that sense the Logos was incapable of sinning. Relationally God is always faithful, and God's essence arises from relationship.

Now... was his humanity altered in such a way that it became incapable of, even hypothetically, being utilized for sin? Or, did the fact that the humanity belonged to the Word restore it to a post-resurrectional state before the resurrection (see Julianism)? These are the questions we wrestle with. Was God "passively" unable to sin by automatic virtue of his unchanging divine nature, or was he "actively" unable to sin by virtue of having revealed his nature to be eternally faithful through his relationship with creation?
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« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2011, 07:27:43 PM »

ive always looked at it in a form of his hatred of sin, being fully God carried into his Humanity so he just didnt sin by hatred of it. I believed this simply because its what we are to attain is a hatred of sin... so Humanly its possible... but i dunno my theology is strong in protestant thinking im new to the orthodox theological thinkings lol
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« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2011, 07:36:56 PM »

ive always looked at it in a form of his hatred of sin, being fully God carried into his Humanity so he just didnt sin by hatred of it. I believed this simply because its what we are to attain is a hatred of sin... so Humanly its possible... but i dunno my theology is strong in protestant thinking im new to the orthodox theological thinkings lol
What does hatred of sin mean to you?
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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2011, 07:49:47 PM »

well now aint that a difficult one... Lol i always had examples but those were more out of fear of the effects of sin in retrospect. i suppose it would be to hate that which is other than Godly, Trying to pull out Orthodox thought, as sin is not really a thing so much as a reaction.
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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2011, 07:51:24 PM »

well now aint that a difficult one... Lol i always had examples but those were more out of fear of the effects of sin in retrospect. i suppose it would be to hate that which is other than Godly, Trying to pull out Orthodox thought, as sin is not really a thing so much as a reaction.
What do you mean when you say hate? When I hate or you hate, it involves neurochemical reactions, the release of hormones, etc. How does God hate? In what sense is hate of sin Theomorphic (reflective of the image of God in humanity)?
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« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2011, 07:58:35 PM »

in such a complex mannor i would not know but in a much simpler form in the same way which He hates worship of false gods in (Jeremiah 44:4b)? lol Id say everyone would agree its not possible to know the inner workings of God, However He does relate to our emotions and i would imagine has emotions of His own.
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« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2011, 08:00:19 PM »

in such a complex mannor i would not know but in a much simpler form in the same way which He hates worship of false gods in (Jeremiah 44:4b)? lol Id say everyone would agree its not possible to know the inner workings of God, However He does relate to our emotions and i would imagine has emotions of His own.
Sounds good to me. But, would you say that such hatred is a 'feeling', or an action?

Isn't "hating sin" not feeling dislike for it, but the action of turning away from it?
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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2011, 08:28:49 PM »

i would say most emotions are dualistic in the sense they are feelings and actions... or in the least they trigger are reactions to the emotions, ie. turning from something you hate
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« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2011, 09:55:56 PM »


Sounds good to me. But, would you say that such hatred is a 'feeling', or an action?

Isn't "hating sin" not feeling dislike for it, but the action of turning away from it?

I like your  second question. Allow me to play a little (and if posting history runs true to form, hereby get in trouble by doing so), if sin is "missing the mark" and Christ (or being Christ-like) IS the MARK, how does He miss Himself?
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« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2011, 10:35:05 PM »


Sounds good to me. But, would you say that such hatred is a 'feeling', or an action?

Isn't "hating sin" not feeling dislike for it, but the action of turning away from it?

I like your  second question. Allow me to play a little (and if posting history runs true to form, hereby get in trouble by doing so), if sin is "missing the mark" and Christ (or being Christ-like) IS the MARK, how does He miss Himself?
but see we are to be christ like because he DID live without sin... i mean i could just be playing at words, but i see that phrase being specific to a post tense...
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« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2011, 04:06:20 AM »

Sin is not a thing. It has no existence. It is a wrong exercise of the will.

It is not possible to consider that in the union with the Word the humanity could ever will anything other than that which the Word wills, therefore in the hypostatic union it is not possible to consider that the humanity could ever act in disobedience. If we consider 'en theoria' the humanity apart form the divinity then we see that the humanity has all of those faculties which could be used for disobedience, but disobedience belongs to a person not to a nature. To be hungry is not to sin. But to eat to excess is not the fault of my stomach, but is the personal exercise of will. The mere fact of having a stomach is not the same as being liable to sin.

Orthodoxy teaches that ..

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.  For as his flesh is called and is the flesh of God the Word, so also the natural will of his flesh is called and is the proper will of God the Word, as he himself says:  “I came down from heaven, not that I might do mine own will but the will of the Father which sent me!” where he calls his own will the will of his flesh, inasmuch as his flesh was also his own.  For as his most holy and immaculate animated flesh was not destroyed because it was deified but continued in its own state and nature (ὄρῳ τε καὶ λόγῳ), so also his human will, although deified, was not suppressed, but was rather preserved according to the saying of Gregory Theologus:  “His will [i.e., the Saviour’s] is not contrary to God but altogether deified.”

It is a mistake to ask whether Christ could sin. Sin is nothing. It is more proper to consider that Christ was obedient and always directed towards the will of God.

I find it odd that in this type of discussion there are EO who wish to insist that Christ could sin, as if it were some good thing, while we see that the whole energy of the saints is directed towards being so inclined to the will of God that wrong-willing (which is what sin is) is excluded. If the saints seek to do the will of God as their own end, aided by grace, how much more is it naturally human to the Word incarnate to always do the will of God, indeed to do his own will?

As the Church teaches ...

His human will follows and that not as resisting and reluctant, but rather as subject to his divine and omnipotent will.
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« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2011, 07:41:08 AM »

^ No argument there.
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« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2011, 09:44:06 AM »


Sounds good to me. But, would you say that such hatred is a 'feeling', or an action?

Isn't "hating sin" not feeling dislike for it, but the action of turning away from it?

I like your  second question. Allow me to play a little (and if posting history runs true to form, hereby get in trouble by doing so), if sin is "missing the mark" and Christ (or being Christ-like) IS the MARK, how does He miss Himself?
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« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2011, 10:25:21 AM »

Father Peter you truly are a wise and humble man. Thank you for your explanation... now that i think about it, i think when i was younger i did believe that but then drifted away as i got more into soteriology... so the temptations that Christ endures were the temptations of the natural body then? not necessarily of the will?
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« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2011, 01:34:29 PM »

Father Peter you truly are a wise and humble man. Thank you for your explanation... now that i think about it, i think when i was younger i did believe that but then drifted away as i got more into soteriology... so the temptations that Christ endures were the temptations of the natural body then? not necessarily of the will?
Nonono, Christ was tempted in every way.

The question is whether or not that temptation stirred up the same internal motivations toward sin that we experience, even when we choose good in the end. The Orthodox response seems to be that such internal motivations are not natural to humanity, but a perversion introduced by the fall, and that Christ did not possess them.
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« Reply #24 on: November 11, 2011, 01:41:00 PM »

The Orthodox view is that Christ was not perturbed at all in the way that we are.

Sin is a lack of obedience. Obedience is the direction of the will.

The Word became incarnate to be obedient as a man. Obedience is not about a struggle with disobedience, it is just about being obedient.

Is a saint not worthy because he is obedient? How much more is the Word always obedient to that will which is natural to his very being.
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« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2011, 01:50:06 PM »

Father Peter you truly are a wise and humble man. Thank you for your explanation... now that i think about it, i think when i was younger i did believe that but then drifted away as i got more into soteriology... so the temptations that Christ endures were the temptations of the natural body then? not necessarily of the will?
Nonono, Christ was tempted in every way.

The question is whether or not that temptation stirred up the same internal motivations toward sin that we experience, even when we choose good in the end. The Orthodox response seems to be that such internal motivations are not natural to humanity, but a perversion introduced by the fall, and that Christ did not possess them.
hmmm its just not clicking for me. how can Christ have been tempted by something that is not motivated within him?

The Orthodox view is that Christ was not perturbed at all in the way that we are.

Sin is a lack of obedience. Obedience is the direction of the will.

The Word became incarnate to be obedient as a man. Obedience is not about a struggle with disobedience, it is just about being obedient.

Is a saint not worthy because he is obedient? How much more is the Word always obedient to that will which is natural to his very being.
So Since Christ was always obedient he never sinned this I can understand what i cant understand is how He was tempted by something He could never do?
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« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2011, 01:55:27 PM »

Father Peter you truly are a wise and humble man. Thank you for your explanation... now that i think about it, i think when i was younger i did believe that but then drifted away as i got more into soteriology... so the temptations that Christ endures were the temptations of the natural body then? not necessarily of the will?
Nonono, Christ was tempted in every way.

The question is whether or not that temptation stirred up the same internal motivations toward sin that we experience, even when we choose good in the end. The Orthodox response seems to be that such internal motivations are not natural to humanity, but a perversion introduced by the fall, and that Christ did not possess them.
hmmm its just not clicking for me. how can Christ have been tempted by something that is not motivated within him?

The Orthodox view is that Christ was not perturbed at all in the way that we are.

Sin is a lack of obedience. Obedience is the direction of the will.

The Word became incarnate to be obedient as a man. Obedience is not about a struggle with disobedience, it is just about being obedient.

Is a saint not worthy because he is obedient? How much more is the Word always obedient to that will which is natural to his very being.
So Since Christ was always obedient he never sinned this I can understand what i cant understand is how He was tempted by something He could never do?
Because he was capable of doing it in the sense that he could have changed the stones into bread to satisfy his hunger. But he did not give in to the temptation or have the INTERNAL "devil on his shoulder" as we do in our consciences. That's why I said that the mechanism that invalidates his ability to sin is the critical part of our discussion.
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« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2011, 02:19:55 PM »

The saints are tempted without falling into sin. With continued perseverance in obedience and by the grace of God this becomes possible.

We don't say that they are not tempted, but they have learned not to allow temptation to have power over them.

Christ was tempted - because this is an external assault and not an internal process of playing around with the thought of sin - which is what most of us end up doing. We usually go beyond temptation to dallying with sin.

If someone said to us 'Will you brutally murder your mother for $20?' it would be a temptation, but we would not be likely to start playing with the idea. If a very attractive woman said, 'I'd love to spend some time with you', then this would also be a temptation but we would be more likely to start playing with the idea in our heads and with a sinful component even if we then went on to say, 'No thanks'.

Christ was externally tempted as we are, but he did not play with the idea of sin as we do. We should not confuse that sinful dallyance with temptation. It has already gone beyond it.
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« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2011, 03:48:03 PM »

it seems like what i can remember reading was that though his natures were equal and did not mingle his wills kinda took turns or somehting. the human will kicked in for the passions and the divine will kicked in for the important things.... I dunno it all sounded fishy to me and i may have read a bogus teaching... but i do remember St John of damascus saying something about two wills in his exposition...

Who has ever said this nonsense? This is nothing but slander. That's like saying "I heard Oriental Orthodox believe Christ's humanity was swallowed up and lost in his divinity."
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« Reply #29 on: November 11, 2011, 04:23:21 PM »

it seems like what i can remember reading was that though his natures were equal and did not mingle his wills kinda took turns or somehting. the human will kicked in for the passions and the divine will kicked in for the important things.... I dunno it all sounded fishy to me and i may have read a bogus teaching... but i do remember St John of damascus saying something about two wills in his exposition...

Who has ever said this nonsense? This is nothing but slander. That's like saying "I heard Oriental Orthodox believe Christ's humanity was swallowed up and lost in his divinity."
sir i said on numerous occasions i was not saying this is taught but something i have heard. Aswell as read in St Johns of damascus' book the exact exposition of orthodox faith he hints at the fact that both wills serve their own individual purposes...
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« Reply #30 on: November 11, 2011, 05:38:56 PM »

thanks, father peter for the quotes and for making serious scholarly research available for folks like me!
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thanks seafra for asking the question  Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2011, 06:32:11 PM »

it seems like what i can remember reading was that though his natures were equal and did not mingle his wills kinda took turns or somehting. the human will kicked in for the passions and the divine will kicked in for the important things.... I dunno it all sounded fishy to me and i may have read a bogus teaching... but i do remember St John of damascus saying something about two wills in his exposition...

Who has ever said this nonsense? This is nothing but slander. That's like saying "I heard Oriental Orthodox believe Christ's humanity was swallowed up and lost in his divinity."
sir i said on numerous occasions i was not saying this is taught but something i have heard. Aswell as read in St Johns of damascus' book the exact exposition of orthodox faith he hints at the fact that both wills serve their own individual purposes...

I know. And I'm saying
Quote
That's like saying "I heard Oriental Orthodox believe Christ's humanity was swallowed up and lost in his divinity."

St. John of Damascus never says that.
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« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2011, 08:07:33 PM »

i said he hints at such things such as His humanity performing its actions and His divinity performing its as well as allowing the humanity to perform its...even still the way Fr Farrington explained it in the other topic explains what st.John was saying much better for me
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« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2011, 08:11:31 PM »

i said he hints at such things such as His humanity performing its actions and His divinity performing its as well as allowing the humanity to perform its...even still the way Fr Farrington explained it in the other topic explains what st.John was saying much better for me
Is that like the cardiovascular heresy, which divides the one body by stating the heart serves the body's blood distribution needs?  laugh
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« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2011, 08:13:39 PM »

in his book he says that he humanity could only operate as his divinity gave permission he only feel hunger because his divinity willed his humanity to feel that...
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« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2011, 09:07:57 PM »

in his book he says that he humanity could only operate as his divinity gave permission he only feel hunger because his divinity willed his humanity to feel that...
Can you quote that?
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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 #36 on: November 12, 2011, 09:27:07 PM »



So, then, He had by nature, both as God and as man, the power of will. But His human will was obedient anti subordinate to His divine will, not being guided by its own inclination, but willing those things which the divine will willed. For it was with the permission of the divine will that He suffered by nature what was proper to Him(1). For when He prayed that He might escape the death, it was with His divine will naturally willing and permitting it that He did so pray and agonize and fear, and again when His divine will willed that His human will should choose tire death, the passion became voluntary to Him(2)

Damascene, St. John (2010-08-08). An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (Kindle Locations 2598-2602). Unknown. Kindle Edition.
...So that the soul s of the Lord being moved of its own free-will willed, but willed of its free-will those things which His divine will willed it to will. For the flesh was not moved at a sign from the Word, as Moses and all the holy men were moved at a sign from heaven. But He Himself, Who was one and yet both God and man, willed according to both His divine and His human will.

Damascene, St. John (2010-08-08). An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (Kindle Locations 2618-2621). Unknown. Kindle Edition.


this was the part about the actions it says they were joined but makes the distinction of a division... For He Who is the one or the other, that is God or man, is one and the same, and both what is divine and what is human belong to Himself. For while His divinity performed the miracles, they were not done apart from the flesh, and while His flesh performed its lowly offices, they were not done apart from the divinity.

Damascene, St. John (2010-08-08). An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith (Kindle Locations 2471-2473). Unknown. Kindle Edition.
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« Reply #37 on: November 12, 2011, 09:30:41 PM »

but i could just be reliving the age old controversy of not fully understanding what he means by making such division?
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« Reply #38 on: November 12, 2011, 09:38:12 PM »

Ok. Saying that the Logos's divine will did something is not the same as saying that the "divinity" did something.
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« Reply #39 on: November 12, 2011, 09:42:42 PM »

his divine will is not part of his divinity? he is fully divine and fully human so the wills are of his divinity and his humanity are they not?
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« Reply #40 on: November 12, 2011, 11:13:01 PM »

his divine will is not part of his divinity? he is fully divine and fully human so the wills are of his divinity and his humanity are they not?
You cannot functionally speak of a will apart from a person, though. It's basically saying that the Person is the Logos, thus his human will follows his divine will theanthropically in the same way that his body and soul are directed by that self-same Divine Person.

The terminology may be clunky (I think Fr. Peter would agree that speaking of wills in the Hellenistic world was a mess) but the basic idea is sound, IMO. If you can say "my will" and not just "me" then a Person has a will.
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« Reply #41 on: November 12, 2011, 11:30:18 PM »

thats why i said Fr Farrington's explanation made it make a little more sense but at first it seemed more like puppetry... but even in that sense there is really one will that is the driving force... I? am still thoroughly confused in it all. St John calls it free will how ever the human will may only will what the Divine will wills it to will... lol I think i will stick to this  so far...

Sorry Salpy, I hadn't read that.

jnorm888, yes, the Oriental Orthodox position, which of course we consider the Orthodox one, is a complex (because unknowable) unity of diversity. As St Severus says (in paraphrase) 'we don't reject diversity, God forbid, but division and dividing everything up so that we end up with two subjects'.

We had mentioned in the previous posts that the notion of one will or two did not seem an entirely satisfactory response to the actual experience we wanted to describe, either in Christ or in ourselves. At the very least, I am sitting here and I am willing to write this post, but there is also a desire in me to turn to prayer, and I am also hungry because it is the start of the Apostles Fast. There seem to me to be at least three desires at work, and that desire is not entirely the same as will, which suggests a more deliberative personal activity.

Or perhaps, there is more deliberative personal activity of willing, but this can be subsumed under the force of animal desire (such as in the person who means to eat one biscuit and then finds they have eaten the whole packet without being able to stop!), or subsumed under a psychological desire perhaps, and subsumed under a spiritual desire/experience.

Who is choosing to write this post rather than eat something or turn to prayer? In what way is the desire to eat an aspect of will? If I am the chooser then what is the relationship between me and the choice, and where does the choice take place?

Likewise if there is within me a desire to write, and pray, and eat, then in what sense is one a willed activity, and the others non-willed, even though all are desires?

It seems to me that we need to understand and seek to describe ourselves more comprehensively before we start talking about one will or two. Because I am sure that I do not yet understand the process as I am experiencing it in myself now, and therefore it seems foolish to extrapolate from my lack of understanding of myself to some sort of authoritative position in respect of all people, and in respect of Christ.

But perhaps I can say a little about hunger and other such desires. As a beginning to use the Oriental Orthodox patristic sources. Hunger is routinely described as one aspect of will, and especially in regard to pointing out that Christ had a human will. If the Oriental Orthodox allow that Christ truly hungers then it seems to me that this aspect of human will is considered to be present in Christ.

He says in Letter I.. when discussing a passage from St Cyril.

..he was a warden to himself of hungering as well as of being tired after a journey, and of accepting the other human passions, such as do not fall under sin, in order to display the Humanization truly and without phantasy.

In Letter XXXV he says...

...he came to be with us as God who became man he was named Emmanuel, and that he was made like unto us in all things except sin, suffers like us and is susceptible of innocent passions... the impassible God united to himself those of our passions which do not fall under the description of sin ...

I could produce lots more of such passages from his other works, but it is morning here and I am supposed to start working. I think even these two show that there is no problem with accepting that Christ, the incarnate Word, experiences the blameless human passions such as hunger.

The question remains in my mind, how do these blameless passions relate to will in the controversial sense? And how do they relate to will in the description we are hopefully trying to determine here so as to avoid slipping into a polemics which misses the point?

St Severus also speaks very often of the rational and intelligent nature of the humanity of Christ. It seems to me that it is not possible to speak of rationality and intelligence without considering some aspect of rational and intelligent volition. What is rationality and intelligence if not some constant movement of some ascect of will?

He says..

..one of the three hypostases [..] was rationally and hypostatically united to soul-possessing flesh.

..Flesh does not renounce its existence as flesh, even if it has become God's flesh, nor has the Word departed from his nature, even if he has been hypostatically united to flesh which possesses a rational and intelligent soul: but the difference also is preserved, and the propriety in the form of natural characteristics of the natures of which Emmanuel consists, since the flesh was not converted into the nature of the Word, nor was the Word changed into flesh.


These all seem to me to speak of an intelligently volitional being, who is the Word of God incarnate.

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