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Author Topic: Our Understanding of St. Luke 2:52?  (Read 3249 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« on: December 30, 2011, 05:04:42 AM »

"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." [St. Luke 2:52]

What is our OO understanding of this verse? I was listening to Father Thomas Hopko tonight (an EO Priest whose podcasts I enjoy and respect), and he emphatically declared that the man Jesus was not omniscient. This seems to be a typical bifurcation of Our Lord's nature that we as Non-Chalcedonians reject. However, this verse does seem to indicate that Our Lord was not omniscient during His time on earth. Also, how does God the Son grow in favor with God the Father?

I know these are difficult questions (at least for an ignorant man like me), but I would be grateful for any enlightenment on this topic.

[I do ask that responses be limited to OO posters only. I do not wish for this thread to turn into a debate about Our Lord's nature.]

Thanks in advance.


Selam
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2011, 07:48:08 AM »

my theory:
in His humanity he was still growing and learning social skills and choosing again and again not to sin.
so i think it means he was an extra good kid, and God the Father was pleased to look at Him.
maybe u could do a search on the church fathers on this verse, i'm sure someone had commented.
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2011, 08:17:59 AM »

I grow increasingly concerned at the positions which are reported to be those of Fr. Thomas Hopko. He seems to be influencing many to adopt entirely non-Orthodox views on several subjects.

If you read the Fathers, especially St Cyril because he is accessible, you will see how to understand this passage.

Our Lord was omniscient in his humanity by virtue of the hypostatic union. He grew in wisdom only in the sense that he manifested his divinity in increasing measure in connection with the growth of his humanity. St Cyril says..

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

The body then advances in stature, and the soul in wisdom: for the divine nature is capable of increase in neither one nor the other; seeing that the Word of God is all perfect. And with good reason he connected the increase of wisdom with the growth of the bodily stature, because the divine nature revealed its own wisdom in proportion to the measure of the bodily growth.
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2011, 08:19:34 AM »

Quote
I was listening to Father Thomas Hopko tonight (an EO Priest whose podcasts I enjoy and respect), and he emphatically declared that the man Jesus was not omniscient.

While I am not OO, I can say without a shred of doubt that Fr Thomas is simply and utterly wrong on this, and I am completely at a loss as to how he can draw the conclusion that Christ was not omniscient. EO liturgical hymnography, the surest source of Orthodox doctrine, is stuffed full of references to the omniscience of Christ, both as a Child, and as a grown Man. The hymnography for the feasts of the Meeting of the Lord and of Midpentecost deal very much with the wisdom and omniscience of the young Christ.
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2011, 08:26:25 AM »

He has also apparently denied that the soul has a conscious existence after death, and I am presently writing a paper countering this view.
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2011, 11:54:06 AM »

"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." [St. Luke 2:52]

What is our OO understanding of this verse? I was listening to Father Thomas Hopko tonight (an EO Priest whose podcasts I enjoy and respect), and he emphatically declared that the man Jesus was not omniscient. This seems to be a typical bifurcation of Our Lord's nature that we as Non-Chalcedonians reject. However, this verse does seem to indicate that Our Lord was not omniscient during His time on earth. Also, how does God the Son grow in favor with God the Father?

I know these are difficult questions (at least for an ignorant man like me), but I would be grateful for any enlightenment on this topic.

[I do ask that responses be limited to OO posters only. I do not wish for this thread to turn into a debate about Our Lord's nature.]

Thanks in advance.


Selam

Is it possible to link the podcast?  I'm not requiring it, but it would be helpful.  Is it something that can be accessed through the internet?
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2011, 05:49:27 PM »

Father Bless,

Thank you Father Peter for that excellent answer. St. Cyril's quote is very helpful.

Salpy, I will try to find the podcast. I usually have AFR playing on my computer all the time, and I rarely pause to see what the title of the sermon or lecture is. But I'll see if I can find it. I always recognize Father Hopko's voice though. I really enjoy listening to him, but he does proffer some strange opinions from time to time.


Selam 
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2011, 06:00:22 PM »

I grow increasingly concerned at the positions which are reported to be those of Fr. Thomas Hopko. He seems to be influencing many to adopt entirely non-Orthodox views on several subjects.


There are quite a few people around here who are quite scandalized by some of Fr. Thomas' novel teachings. 

Quote

If you read the Fathers, especially St Cyril because he is accessible, you will see how to understand this passage.

Our Lord was omniscient in his humanity by virtue of the hypostatic union. He grew in wisdom only in the sense that he manifested his divinity in increasing measure in connection with the growth of his humanity. St Cyril says..

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

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


Thank you, Father Peter.  This is my understanding as well.  I know for a fact that this is also the teaching of our Holy Father John Chrysostom.  

He has also apparently denied that the soul has a conscious existence after death, and I am presently writing a paper countering this view.

Father, what a wonderful blessing for the faithful!  Please, please, let me know where I can get a copy of your paper when it is finished!
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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2011, 06:08:00 PM »

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

The Humanity of Jesus Christ, while perfectly One with His Divinity through the Union, is none-the-less perfectly remaining human just as when Oxygen and Hydrogen bond together to form water, both remain naturally their original elements of O and H in every respect, faculty, form, and function.  They unite and form a new compound with a new function, however it is a natural function of the functions of both elements prior to their union.  Chemically speaking, water is hydrogen and oxygen in Synergy.  The Incarnation is thus the same.  The Human remains human, the Divine remains Divine, and though they are perfectly One and now the Same they still retain their original and natural functions, merged without mixing so to speak.

So just as our own human forms grow and evolve and progress, so to did the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ, in a mechanical sense.  His cells divided by natural processes, his muscles and bones formed and grew just as our own natural children amaze us in their growth.  His mind formed and developed new capacities just as our minds grow.  His Divinity is Eternal and All-Knowing, however His Human mind and brain and body had to grow and mature to be able to better articulate the fullness of His Divinity.  This is the growth of Jesus Christ's stature, that His Body grew naturally as ours do.

Now Wisdom is very specific.  Wisdom is the depth of how to understand and comprehend knowledge.  Knowledge is simply a collection of facts, widsom is understanding what they mean and what to do with them.  We all have knowledge of God, however wisdom is gained from our experiences with God. Jesus Christ is the same in His perfect Humanity. Over time, through His continual experience of His own Divinity in the Flesh, His Human mind began to better comprehend and process the profundity of His Divinity.  His Humanity conformed to His Divinity, just as in time our own Humanity does the same through Worship.  As God, Jesus Christ always had the Wisdom of God, but as Man, it took time for His Humanity to grow in wisdom of experience to comprehend the depth of His own Divinity, in Human terms.  It is not that there was anything unknown to God before the Incarnation, but we are talking about experience, and God did not experience humanity until He became Human, and hence as a Human His Wisdom of Himself grew in time, just as we tend to learn wisdom about our own selves as we grow and mature Smiley



Our Lord was omniscient in his humanity by virtue of the hypostatic union. He grew in wisdom only in the sense that he manifested his divinity in increasing measure in connection with the growth of his humanity.

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

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

..or what Father Peter says and quotes from Saint Cyril Wink
stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2011, 06:11:28 PM »

I'm not sure I agree entirely or that the Fathers say it exactly as you have.

They speak of a progressive manifestation by the Word, not a progressive apprehension by the humanity.
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2011, 06:12:56 PM »

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

I'm not sure I agree entirely or that the Fathers say it exactly as you have.

They speak of a progressive manifestation by the Word, not a progressive apprehension by the humanity.

What do you mean by apprehension Huh

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2011, 06:37:40 PM »

He has also apparently denied that the soul has a conscious existence after death, and I am presently writing a paper countering this view.
No. He does not believe this.

Instead, he does not believe that the saints in heaven are in a disembodied spiritual world awaiting the resurrection, but seems to believe that they are fully alive, mystically "at" the eschaton already, the same eschaton we enter into during the Divine Liturgy.

You may disagree with it still, I am just clarifying.
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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2011, 06:40:00 PM »

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

I'm not sure I agree entirely or that the Fathers say it exactly as you have.

They speak of a progressive manifestation by the Word, not a progressive apprehension by the humanity.

What do you mean by apprehension Huh

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I think he means that the Word reveals his omniscience gradually through his humanity, so that one might perceive a change in wisdom and stature in the incarnate Logos, but it would only be from a created observer's standpoint. The same way that in Nestorius's prosopic union, the observer perceives a unity in an apparent prosopon, but there is no ontological unity behind it.

I disagree with this view, but will hold off per OP's request.
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« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2011, 01:15:11 AM »

St Athanasius teaches that the Word's Humanity advances in wisdom actually rather than apparently. He correlates the Word's Humanity's gradual advancement in wisdom with its progressive deification. This position does not contradict that of St Cyril; it informs it. Very simply: it is by the gradual advancement of the Word's Humanity in Wisdom, in proportion to its physical advancement, that the Divine Wisdom of the Word is gradually manifest.

The Humanity of the Word had the capacity to be fully omniscient and perfectly deified in every respect from the very inception of the Hypostatic Union, by very virtue of the Hypostatic Union (Julian of Halicarnassus, the opponent of St Severus, in fact held that this capacity was realised in actuality). It was for the sake of the Divine Economy that the Word conceded to "empty Himself" completely by voluntarily "restraining" such an effect and thereby allowing Himself to authentically experience Humanity from His birth in the fullness of its fallen condition, with all of its weaknesses and limitations; overcoming, and in a sense "reversing" such in and through His Incarnate life.
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« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2011, 01:41:41 AM »

St Athanasius teaches that the Word's Humanity advances in wisdom actually rather than apparently. He correlates the Word's Humanity's gradual advancement in wisdom with its progressive deification. This position does not contradict that of St Cyril; it informs it. Very simply: it is by the gradual advancement of the Word's Humanity in Wisdom, in proportion to its physical advancement, that the Divine Wisdom of the Word is gradually manifest.

The Humanity of the Word had the capacity to be fully omniscient and perfectly deified in every respect from the very inception of the Hypostatic Union, by very virtue of the Hypostatic Union (Julian of Halicarnassus, the opponent of St Severus, in fact held that this capacity was realised in actuality). It was for the sake of the Divine Economy that the Word conceded to "empty Himself" completely by voluntarily "restraining" such an effect and thereby allowing Himself to authentically experience Humanity from His birth in the fullness of its fallen condition, with all of its weaknesses and limitations; overcoming, and in a sense "reversing" such in and through His Incarnate life.

Amyn!
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« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2011, 02:12:29 AM »

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

St Athanasius teaches that the Word's Humanity advances in wisdom actually rather than apparently. He correlates the Word's Humanity's gradual advancement in wisdom with its progressive deification. This position does not contradict that of St Cyril; it informs it. Very simply: it is by the gradual advancement of the Word's Humanity in Wisdom, in proportion to its physical advancement, that the Divine Wisdom of the Word is gradually manifest.

The Humanity of the Word had the capacity to be fully omniscient and perfectly deified in every respect from the very inception of the Hypostatic Union, by very virtue of the Hypostatic Union (Julian of Halicarnassus, the opponent of St Severus, in fact held that this capacity was realised in actuality). It was for the sake of the Divine Economy that the Word conceded to "empty Himself" completely by voluntarily "restraining" such an effect and thereby allowing Himself to authentically experience Humanity from His birth in the fullness of its fallen condition, with all of its weaknesses and limitations; overcoming, and in a sense "reversing" such in and through His Incarnate life.

Music aside we agree completely, thank you for posting this Smiley

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2011, 02:16:06 AM »

St Athanasius teaches that the Word's Humanity advances in wisdom actually rather than apparently. He correlates the Word's Humanity's gradual advancement in wisdom with its progressive deification. This position does not contradict that of St Cyril; it informs it. Very simply: it is by the gradual advancement of the Word's Humanity in Wisdom, in proportion to its physical advancement, that the Divine Wisdom of the Word is gradually manifest.

The Humanity of the Word had the capacity to be fully omniscient and perfectly deified in every respect from the very inception of the Hypostatic Union, by very virtue of the Hypostatic Union (Julian of Halicarnassus, the opponent of St Severus, in fact held that this capacity was realised in actuality). It was for the sake of the Divine Economy that the Word conceded to "empty Himself" completely by voluntarily "restraining" such an effect and thereby allowing Himself to authentically experience Humanity from His birth in the fullness of its fallen condition, with all of its weaknesses and limitations; overcoming, and in a sense "reversing" such in and through His Incarnate life.


Thank you dear brother. Is there any way you can simplify this a bit so that a dunce like me can comprehend it?  Embarrassed


Selam
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« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2011, 02:44:31 AM »

He has also apparently denied that the soul has a conscious existence after death, and I am presently writing a paper countering this view.

This sounds like "soul sleep," which I heard about other places.
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« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2011, 03:16:54 AM »

^No, Fr. Thomas does not teach soul sleep.
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« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2011, 03:33:44 AM »

^No, Fr. Thomas does not teach soul sleep.

Thank you Ionnis.
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« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2011, 03:58:24 AM »

St Athanasius teaches that the Word's Humanity advances in wisdom actually rather than apparently. He correlates the Word's Humanity's gradual advancement in wisdom with its progressive deification. This position does not contradict that of St Cyril; it informs it. Very simply: it is by the gradual advancement of the Word's Humanity in Wisdom, in proportion to its physical advancement, that the Divine Wisdom of the Word is gradually manifest.

The Humanity of the Word had the capacity to be fully omniscient and perfectly deified in every respect from the very inception of the Hypostatic Union, by very virtue of the Hypostatic Union (Julian of Halicarnassus, the opponent of St Severus, in fact held that this capacity was realised in actuality). It was for the sake of the Divine Economy that the Word conceded to "empty Himself" completely by voluntarily "restraining" such an effect and thereby allowing Himself to authentically experience Humanity from His birth in the fullness of its fallen condition, with all of its weaknesses and limitations; overcoming, and in a sense "reversing" such in and through His Incarnate life.

Would you say that Christ had obtained full omniscience in His humanity by His adulthood?
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« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2011, 06:18:23 AM »

I don't think that St Athanasius can be used to clarify St Cyril. The words of St Cyril must be used to clarify St Athanasius.

As far as I can see, from the earlier discussion on the heresy of the Agnoetae who denied that Christ had all knowledge in his humanity, there was no time when Christ was not omniscient, though this was not manifest.

Justinian says..

The holy soul of the Word possesed the entire knowledge of the Word whose soul it was, for the entire will of the divinity is in Christ, as Athanasius, who is with the saints, taught.

Anthimus of Constantinople says..

For us, however, there is one hypostasis and one nature of the Word of God incarnate, just as there is without doubt, one will. And we know only one operation and one wisdom, and one knowledge for both. Therefore whoever says that he knew as God, but as a man, however, did not know, unsuitably divides the one indivisible Son into two natures, and two hypostases, as did the impious Theodoret. But we, by the grace of God, believe, as we have already said, the divine soul, rational and intelligent, consubstantial with our souls, had, by the union with God the Word, an existence with his body, consubstantial with our bodies, and from that union, it has gained all its operation and wisdom, and divine omniscience, so that there is one and the same knowledge of God the Word, and of the intellectual soul.

Maximus the Confessor says..

If, then, among the holy prophets, things which were at a distance and beyond the scope of our power were recognized through the power of grace, how much more did the Son of God, and through him his humanity, know all things - not of the nature of that humanity, but through its union with the Word. Just as iron in the fire has all the properties of fire, since it both glows and burns, yet in its nature remains iron and not fire, so too the humanity of the Lord, in so far as it is united with the Word, knew all things, and displayed attributes proper to God. However, in so far as his humanity is considered as not united to the Word, it is said to be ignorant.

And St Cyril and St Severus say the same, though it is early here and I have to pop out so I can't post more now.

As I said, I believe that the Fathers teach that there is a growing manifestation of knowledge and wisdom, but that Christ always has all the knowledge and wisdom of God as being the humanity of the Word. The position that Christ was ignorant is that of the Agnoetae and is condemned.

I am wanting to avoid arguing about words however. Yet I do sense a difference of view. How would you think your view is different from that of the Agnoetae?
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« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2011, 07:33:01 AM »

Quote
I don't think that St Athanasius can be used to clarify St Cyril. The words of St Cyril must be used to clarify St Athanasius.

There is a prima facie assumption that Sts Cyril and Athanasius are in agreement (which is of course rebuttable if the texts and their respective contexts demand that a contradiction be admitted), so it doesn't really matter either way.
 
The only reason I used St Athanasius to clarify the passage of St Cyril you quoted is because the latter, in contrast to the former, is not in any way direct or explicit on the actual degree of Christ's human wisdom; it simply makes an account of the manner in which it was expressed. St Cyril's main concern in giving such an account was to defend the omniscience of the Incarnate Word per se (and in so doing, the divine identity of the person of Christ), but He gives us no real insight into whether that divine omniscience was shared equally by His Humanity as much as His Divinity.

The idea (expressed explicitly by both Sts Cyril and Severus) that the Divine Wisdom of the Word was gradually manifest via His Humanity does not resolve the question of whether or not He was omniscient in His Humanity; for that idea is as compatible with the proposition that He was as it is with the proposition that He wasn't.

In contrast to the passage of St Cyril provided thus far, St Athanasius' Third Oration of his Three Discourses against the Arians, speaks directly and unequivocally on the matter of the degree of Christ's human wisdom. He appeals to human nature's limited capacity for wisdom and Christ's genuine assumption of such human nature to explain Christ's humanly limited capacity for wisdom. He then connects the actual, gradual advancement of His humanity in wisdom with the gradual manifestation of His Divine Wisdom and then expressly associates the former with the progressive advancement of His Humanity's deification:

It was not...the Word, considered as the Word, who advanced; who is perfect from the perfect Father, who needs nothing, nay brings forward others to an advance; but humanly is He here also said to advance, since advance belongs to man.

Hence the Evangelist, speaking with cautious exactness, has mentioned stature in the advance; but being Word and God He is not measured by stature, which belongs to bodies. Of the body then is the advance; for, it advancing, in it advanced also the manifestation of the Godhead to those who saw it...

...And as we said that He suffered in the flesh, and hungered in the flesh, and was fatigued in the flesh, so also reasonably may He be said to have advanced in the flesh; for neither did the advance, such as we have described it, take place with the Word external to the flesh, for in Him was the flesh which advanced and His is it called, and that as before, that man’s advance might abide and fail not, because of the Word which is with it.

Neither then was the advance the Word’s, nor was the flesh Wisdom, but the flesh became the body of Wisdom. Therefore, as we have already said, not Wisdom, as Wisdom, advanced in respect of itself; but the manhood advanced in Wisdom, transcending by degrees human nature, and being deified, and becoming and appearing to all as the organ of Wisdom for the operation and the shining forth of the Godhead. Wherefore neither said he, ‘The Word advanced,’ but Jesus, by which Name the Lord was called when He became man; so that the advance is of the human nature in such wise as we explained above.”


Quote
The position that Christ was ignorant is that of the Agnoetae and is condemned.

I don't think anyone here holds the general open-blanket position that Christ was ignorant. The Orthodox position is more nuanced: Christ was, by divine volition, humanly ignorant, yet simultaneously divinely wise and knowledgeable in all things on account of His being the eternal Person of God the Word. As stated in the express words of St Athanasius:

...the flesh indeed is ignorant, but the Word Himself, considered as the Word, knows all things even before they come to be.
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« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2011, 07:38:52 AM »

GMK,

The problem is not with you; the problem is with me. I tend, unintentionally, to be a little unecessarily convoluted in the way I express my thoughts in writing. Since the position I've presented is being contested, perhaps it will become clearer to you the more I elaborate upon and clarify it in the course of engaging with those who find a problem with it.

William,

I would assume that such would be the case post-Resurrection at the very least.

HabteSelassie,

I'm sure you'll come around and get your "Kingdom Swag" on soon enough.  Wink
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« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2011, 09:47:13 AM »

That is, however, the position of the Agnoetae.

Christ surely means the incarnate Word, and does not refer to the Word in his divinity alone. You are saying that the Word willed that his humanity be ignorant. This is not what St Cyril and St Severus teach. On the contrary, they insist that the humanity was according to human nature ignorant in the sense of requiring to recieve knowledge from without but was by hypostatic union filled with all knowledge.

Your position, by extension, surely ends up with the Word being filled with all knowledge and the flesh subject to ignorance, which is the condemned position of the Tome. We end up with two subjects.

It would be helpful if you engaged with those Fathers who rejected the position that Christ was ignorant as heresy. There is a thread on the Agnoetae where I posted quite a few primary texts.
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« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2011, 11:19:39 AM »

Dear Father,

Your passage from St Cyril does not, as I have argued, demonstrate the position you attribute to him. If there is another passage from St Cyril which demonstrates your position more directly and unequivocally, I'd be happy to consider it. As of now, however, the passages I have quoted from the works of St Athanasius which you have not yet engaged with are the only passages quoted in this thread that address the question under discussion directly and unequivocally, and they clearly support the position that I have presented.

I do not know what the position of the Agnoetae is. I simply know the position of St Athanasius and other supporting Fathers, and as far as the evidence stands (in this thread at least), that is the position that I have presented. I will try and have a look into the thread on the Agnoetae later if I have the time.
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« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2011, 11:47:31 AM »

I would like to introduce another passage from St Cyril which I believe reinforces the Athanasian interpretation of the passage quoted from him by Fr. Peter:

"And just as for our sake He humbled Himself, so too for our sake He admits advancement, in order that we again in Him might advance in wisdom."

Christ experiences human advancement in wisdom in order that we too might advance in wisdom. If, however, that advancement was merely apparent, then it wasn't authentically experienced, and so it lacks an effective redemptive function.

I do not see, in this respect, how Christ experiencing true human ignorance is any different from Christ experiencing true human suffering, hunger, etc. To suggest that admitting genuine human ignorance in Christ is to divide Him into two subjects is no different than to suggest that admitting genuine human suffering in Christ is to divide Him into two subjects. The Miaphysite doctrine does not seek to resolve the paradox of the incarnation; but rather to preserve it: God the Word suffers in the flesh, yet remains impassible in His Divinity; He hungers in the flesh, yet remains perfectly satisfied in His Divinity; He advances in wisdom in the flesh, yet remains perfectly wise in His Divinity.
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« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2011, 11:49:57 AM »

For ease of reference, the debate was here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,40542.0.html

And a non-debate FYI thread was here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,40693.0.html
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« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2011, 01:06:18 PM »

Fr. Peter,

I have upon your instruction taken a look at the thread on the Agnoetae. I was only able to find a quote from one OO Father (Anthimus of Constantinople) which undeniably dismisses the idea that it can legitimately be said of Christ that He was ever in any respect humanly ignorant, whether by volition or not. Given that that an English translation of that quote was only made available very recently thanks to your commendable ongoing efforts to make OO works accessible to an english speaking audience, it is hardly a surprise that I was not familiar with this quote until now.

I also took it upon myself to try and do a little of my own research into the relevant post-Chalcedon controversy surrounding Themistius and have consequently discovered more support for Anthimus' position in the works of a certain Theodore the Monk (though I was only able to go off of a summary account of his position given that an English translation of the relevant work of his does not seem available as of yet).

I am of course willing to ultimately concede the position I have presented if indeed the idea that Christ was ignorant only insofar as His Humanity is considered in theoria proves to reflect the wider consensus of patristic thought. It would be helpful in this regard if you would:

i.   Engage with St Athanasius' account of Christ advancing in wisdom. It is difficult to see how his words might be construed so as to deny an authentic advancement in wisdom. That he on the contrary affirms such is not only to be inferred from a plain reading of the text, but is also the interpretation supported by patristic scholars like Susan Wessel.
ii.   Providing a more direct and explicit account from St Cyril of the nature of Christ's human wisdom.
iii.   Explaining how Christ advancing in wisdom was able to serve a redemptive function as per the words of St Cyril quoted above if such advancing was indeed merely apparent.
iv.   Providing a direct and explicit account from St Severus given that you have appealed to him for support of the position you have presented.

Thank you.
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« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2011, 01:08:49 PM »

Is it possible to link the podcast?  I'm not requiring it, but it would be helpful.  Is it something that can be accessed through the internet?
http://ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/the_incarnation_do_we_really_believe_it
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« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2011, 01:38:15 PM »

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

Father Peter, thank you so much for contributing such crucially crucial Patristics on this thread, I have been reading them deeply and taking their words to heart in the context of other concurrent Christological discussions ongoing on other threads.

However, I don't see how any of us have been in disagreement, we have all seemed to be saying the same things in different ways, and much like the synoptic Gospels shedding a fuller light on the subject Smiley

I am in total agreement that Jesus Christ, because of the hypostatic Union, was perfectly Omniscient as God Incarnate.  I would even agree that He was fully God even at the moment of Conception.  However, what it seems we have been discussing is the biological mechanics which is what Luke 2 seems to be referring to.  When He grew in stature, it was the human body of His Person right?  This is what I liked when you said,
Quote
He grew in wisdom only in the sense that he manifested his divinity in increasing measure in connection with the growth of his humanity.

"..manifested His Divinity in increasing measure" is exactly what I would agree with in the context of the growth and mature of the "stature" of His human body.  The Fathers obviously needed to make sense (as do all of us as did His own contemporaries who were eyewitnesses) of the reality that Jesus Christ came as an  infant and grew as other children grow and mature.  His cells biologically divided in the same natural functions as our cells do,  I think the Fathers would agree that in their emphasis of the biological humanity of Jesus Christ (as opposed to the Gnostic/Arian illusory human apparition Jesus) that His human biology, like our own and functioned from the same weaknesses, the same clocks, the same metabolisms, the same needs and wants mechanically speaking.  So He grew in stature, His body grew and progressed manifesting Himself "in connection with the growth of His humanity" as you said or again where you reiterated a "They speak of a progressive manifestation by the Word."

I agree with that, and it seems that EkhristosAnesti did to, we are just taking different angles to the biological mechanics of this progressive manifestation as you put it, and gradual advancement as he phrased it.  This also agrees with the quoted Saint Athanasius

Quote
but humanly is He here also said to advance, since advance belongs to man..  advanced in respect of itself; but the manhood advanced in Wisdom, transcending by degrees human nature, and being deified, and becoming and appearing to all as the organ of Wisdom for the operation and the shining forth of the Godhead

I think this passage agrees with what I was saying regarding the biological capacity of Jesus Christ's human body and brain to express His Divine attributes. Surely His consciousness was always United, but His human brain is just like His body and must grow and develop and mature.  This is the kenosis I think that  EkhristosAnesti was implying.  If Jesus Christ was perfectly a Human infant, and needed the breast to suckled and be carried around because biologically He did not yet possess the strength to walk, then would not also His brain need to mature and develop as our own infants' do today?  This is what I feel the Gospel means by "growing in wisdom" that is, His physical brain developed the increasing cognitive abilities to express and communicate the Transcendence of His Divine Omniscience in terms of His own human experience and Person.  While He is always God, He also was a growing Man, and grew in maturation physically, and part of our psychological maturation as humans is associated with the physical development of our brains.  This at least is what I was talking about when I suggest to explain how His wisdom grew.

stay blessed,
habte selassie



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« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2011, 06:29:37 PM »

perhaps this matter can be resolved by understanding the stated scripture as applying  to us not in a logical manner but in an existential one; the Lord did indeed limit Himself to the degree of not being  omniscient; as a baby, did he know all things but had not learned yet how to speak?  Perhaps in an intuitive manner... but absolutely not in an "I can foretell the future" kind of way.  If He did not develop as a human develops, growing continually in knowledge, how then is He truly human?  I understand the fears and doubts this type of self limitation in our Lord must give rise to... however, does not His will preempt his nature, how is our Lord to be bound by His nature?  But in fact He makes His way in the world through His will and therefore the almighty God reduces Himself to a defenseless baby "dependent" on His mother and caregivers.  There is no problem here on an existential level; it is only on a logical level that these questions present to us a challenge (God is not bound by logic).  What a challenge for us, and an ascension into true experience to realize the Lord is truly not bound by anything!
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« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2011, 07:32:04 PM »

"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." [St. Luke 2:52]

Pardon a sidebar question, but does anyone thinks this means Jesus was particularly tall? Not that such a thing really matters, I just wondered.
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« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2011, 07:35:09 PM »

"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." [St. Luke 2:52]

Pardon a sidebar question, but does anyone thinks this means Jesus was particularly tall? Not that such a thing really matters, I just wondered.

I would guess not (though I'm obviously just speculating here). Even if he was considered tall at the time, that'd still only be of average height to us today (ie. 5'9" would be tall for them, not for us).
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« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2011, 08:11:48 PM »

I want to thank everyone for the valuable thoughts and contributions in addressing the OP, especially to Father Peter, Ekhristos, and Habte for their learned responses. This complex matter makes me have an even greater appreciation for our Tewahedo Fathers who wrestled with this weighty issue and nobly defended the Oneness of Our Lord's nature. I confess that much of this is way over my head, and I'm grateful for those of you who have the minds and hearts to clarify it for the rest of us.

I tend to take an Ockham's Razor approach to theology. I believe that theological truth is simple, although it is not easy to embrace or easy to live out. So in reading through the responses, I have found myself drawn to the "manifestation" concept. This makes sense to me, and seems to be a pretty simple answer. Our Lord chose in His immutable omniscience and omnipotence to manifest His wisdom in accordance with His physical maturation. But He was never in need of learning anything, although it may have appeared to others that He was learning.

Now, I may be way off track here, so please correct me if I am going astray. I'm trying to understand this and find a simple way to convey this Tewahedo truth to others.

Thanks again, and I look forward to reading your continued contributions.


Selam
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« Reply #35 on: December 31, 2011, 11:20:14 PM »

HabteSelassie,

Reading over your response, I cannot honestly say that what I have been saying is precisely what you've been saying as you suggest.

It seems to me that you have drawn a conscious distinction between knowledge and wisdom, and I think it is one worth further consideration. I have, perhaps hastily, assumed that authentic advancement in wisdom presumes authentic advancement in knowledge. If, however, the capacity of Christ's human knowledge and the capacity of Christ's human wisdom do not necessarily determine the other, then perhaps discussion of the former only serves to confuse discussion of the latter.

Is there a way perhaps of reconciling the idea that Christ possessed all knowledge humanly (which I must admit after looking further into the controversy surrounding Themistius, seems to me to be the patristic position), though on account of His submission to ordinary physical and physiological development, He experienced an inherently limited human capacity to process, appreciate and communicate that knowledge (i.e. a limited human capacity for wisdom)?

If Fr. Peter has the time to address this particular issue I think it will be most helpful to the constructive progress of this discussion.
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« Reply #36 on: January 01, 2012, 01:55:05 AM »

In Hebrew/semitic thought, as Fr. Hopko himself points out, to know something is to have a relationship/experience of it.

For example, in John 1, when it says "the darkness did not comprehend it" some believe it means "comprehend" in the way that one perceives the movements or strategy of one's enemy in battle. To "know" your enemy in this way is to overcome him.
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« Reply #37 on: January 01, 2012, 02:13:38 AM »

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« Reply #38 on: January 01, 2012, 06:55:59 PM »

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



Is there a way perhaps of reconciling the idea that Christ possessed all knowledge humanly (which I must admit after looking further into the controversy surrounding Themistius, seems to me to be the patristic position), though on account of His submission to ordinary physical and physiological development, He experienced an inherently limited human capacity to process, appreciate and communicate that knowledge (i.e. a limited human capacity for wisdom)?

If Fr. Peter has the time to address this particular issue I think it will be most helpful to the constructive progress of this discussion.


Happy New Year Y'all!

That is exactly what I am discussing when I speak of biological mechanics of the humanity of Jesus Christ (i.e., His human body).  We can reconcile how Jesus Christ "possessed all knowledge humanly" in the sense of examining the reality that Jesus Christ has at once a perfectly rational human conscious mind and soul along with His human body.  These are united hypostatically (that is, existentially) with the Divine Word who is Omniscient and Omnipotent as God Almighty.  Therefore in His human consciousness, Jesus Christ knew all things according to the Omniscience of His Divinity, however as I said, perhaps it is that the biology of His developing infant brain could not express or communicate in a human way this knowledge as human wisdom (i.e., application of knowledge in action, Omniscience is merely infinite fact gathering, the Will of God makes sense of the data as the wisdom of God, human wisdom is to make sense of our human experiences) just as perhaps infants both in the womb and in their early infancy are fully conscious, fully aware, fully human in their mind and soul, but unable to express this to us.  I would say Jesus Christ as an infant was biologically the same, that perhaps in His inner mind and soul He was an Omniscient human, and yet unable to express or communicate this in His human body until appropriate physical maturation and brain development. 

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #39 on: January 01, 2012, 10:10:28 PM »

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



Is there a way perhaps of reconciling the idea that Christ possessed all knowledge humanly (which I must admit after looking further into the controversy surrounding Themistius, seems to me to be the patristic position), though on account of His submission to ordinary physical and physiological development, He experienced an inherently limited human capacity to process, appreciate and communicate that knowledge (i.e. a limited human capacity for wisdom)?

If Fr. Peter has the time to address this particular issue I think it will be most helpful to the constructive progress of this discussion.


Happy New Year Y'all!

That is exactly what I am discussing when I speak of biological mechanics of the humanity of Jesus Christ (i.e., His human body).  We can reconcile how Jesus Christ "possessed all knowledge humanly" in the sense of examining the reality that Jesus Christ has at once a perfectly rational human conscious mind and soul along with His human body.  These are united hypostatically (that is, existentially) with the Divine Word who is Omniscient and Omnipotent as God Almighty.  Therefore in His human consciousness, Jesus Christ knew all things according to the Omniscience of His Divinity, however as I said, perhaps it is that the biology of His developing infant brain could not express or communicate in a human way this knowledge as human wisdom (i.e., application of knowledge in action, Omniscience is merely infinite fact gathering, the Will of God makes sense of the data as the wisdom of God, human wisdom is to make sense of our human experiences) just as perhaps infants both in the womb and in their early infancy are fully conscious, fully aware, fully human in their mind and soul, but unable to express this to us.  I would say Jesus Christ as an infant was biologically the same, that perhaps in His inner mind and soul He was an Omniscient human, and yet unable to express or communicate this in His human body until appropriate physical maturation and brain development. 

stay blessed,
habte selassie

This an interesting explanation, and it makes sense to me. However, I still struggle with any notion of Christ being "unable" in any capacity. After the Incarnation, Our Lord was still fully omniscient, omnipotent, - and I would venture to say - even had the ability to be omnipresent if He so chose.

I think of Christ when He was on the Cross and draw some parallels to the infant Christ. In other words, when Christ was dying on the Cross His divine power was in no way diminished. Our Lord said that He could have called 12 legions of angels (St. Matthew 26:53), but He chose not to manifest that power. At the Cross, it appeared to those around Him that He was powerless, helpless, and dependent on the few who kept vigil while He died. And when He was an infant, it appeared that He was completely helpless and dependent upon His mother and father. But what appeared to be so was not the reality, for Our Lord lost nothing at His Incarnation.

I found this brief expanation that refutes the "kenosis" theory to be helpful. I think it is written by an evangelical, but it makes sense to me and seems to address the issue at hand.
http://carm.org/kenosis

Please tell me if I am off base here.


Selam
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« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2012, 03:05:23 PM »

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


This an interesting explanation, and it makes sense to me. However, I still struggle with any notion of Christ being "unable" in any capacity. After the Incarnation, Our Lord was still fully omniscient, omnipotent, - and I would venture to say - even had the ability to be omnipresent if He so chose.



That is precisely why I have made the distinction between Christ's consciousness and His physical brain.  I do not believe that our human consciousness is limited to our brain, so why would Christ's? Through the Union, Christ has a unified Human-Divine consciousness (mind and soul) which is surely Omniscient and Omnipotent, however the physicality of His human body is as limited as our own to biological development.  So just like our own infants may be fully conscious and aware and simply biologically unable to express themselves and what they are thinking inside, so to perhaps Christ's infant body was fully aware as God-Man and yet fully limited in expressing this by brain development.  This is similar to how we say that the Word experienced Dead in the flesh (i.e., through the physicality of the body)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2012, 04:25:53 PM »

From the Fathers in the "Cantena Aurea" regarding Luke 2:52

THEOPHYL. Not that He became wise by making progress, but that by degrees He revealed His wisdom. As it was when He disputed with the Scribes, asking them questions of their law to the astonishment of all who heard Him. You see then how He increased in wisdom, in that He became known to many, and caused them to wonder, for the showing forth of His wisdom is His increase. But mark how the Evangelist, having interpreted what it is to increase in wisdom, adds, and in stature, declaring thereby that an increase or growth in age is an increase in wisdom.

CYRIL; But the Eunomian Heretics say, “How can He be equal to the Father in substance, who is said to increase, as if before imperfect.” But not because He is the Word, but because He is made man, He is said to receive increase. For if He really increased after that He was made flesh, as having before existed imperfect, why then do we give Him thanks as having thence become incarnate for us? But how if He is the true wisdom can He be increased, or how can He who gives grace to others be Himself advanced in grace. Again, if bearing that the Word humbled Himself, no one is offended (thinking slightingly of the true God,) but rather marvels at His compassion, how is it not absurd to be offended at hearing that He increases? For as He was humbled for us, so for us He increased, that we who have fallen through sin might increase in Him. For whatever concerns us, Christ Himself has truly undertaken for us, that He might restore us to a better state. And mark what He says, not that the Word, but Jesus, increases, that you should not suppose that the pure Word increases, but the Word made flesh; and as we confess that the Word suffered in the flesh, although the flesh only suffered, because of the Word the flesh was which suffered, so He is said to increase, because the human nature of the Word increased in Him. But He is said to increase in His human nature, not as if that nature which was perfect from the beginning received increase, but that by degrees it was manifested. For the law of nature brooks not that man should have higher faculties than the age of his body permits. The Word then (made man) was perfect, as being the power and wisdom of the Father, but because something was to be yielded to the habits of our nature, lest He should be counted strange by those who saw Him, He manifested Himself as man with a body, gradually advancing in growth, and was daily thought wiser by those who saw and heard Him.

GREEK EX. He increased then in age, His body growing to the stature of man; but in wisdom through those who were taught divine truths by Him; in grace, that is, whereby we are advanced with joy, trusting at last to obtain the promises; and this indeed before God, because having put on the flesh, He performed His Father's work, but before men by their conversion from the worship of idols to the knowledge of the Most High Trinity.

THEOPHYL. He says before God and men, because we must first please God, then man.

GREG NYSS. The word also increases in different degrees in those who receive it; and according to the measure of its increase a man appears either an infant, grown up, or a perfect man.

Source http://www.veritasbible.com/commentary/catena-aurea/Luke_2:51-52
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« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2012, 06:03:11 PM »

i think everyone should at least listen to the words of the man himself before condemning him.
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« Reply #43 on: January 02, 2012, 06:04:53 PM »

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



CYRIL; But the Eunomian Heretics say, “How can He be equal to the Father in substance, who is said to increase, as if before imperfect.” But not because He is the Word, but because He is made man, He is said to receive increase. For if He really increased after that He was made flesh, as having before existed imperfect, why then do we give Him thanks as having thence become incarnate for us? But how if He is the true wisdom can He be increased, or how can He who gives grace to others be Himself advanced in grace. Again, if bearing that the Word humbled Himself, no one is offended (thinking slightingly of the true God,) but rather marvels at His compassion, how is it not absurd to be offended at hearing that He increases? For as He was humbled for us, so for us He increased, that we who have fallen through sin might increase in Him. For whatever concerns us, Christ Himself has truly undertaken for us, that He might restore us to a better state. And mark what He says, not that the Word, but Jesus, increases, that you should not suppose that the pure Word increases, but the Word made flesh; and as we confess that the Word suffered in the flesh, although the flesh only suffered, because of the Word the flesh was which suffered, so He is said to increase, because the human nature of the Word increased in Him. But He is said to increase in His human nature, not as if that nature which was perfect from the beginning received increase, but that by degrees it was manifested. For the law of nature brooks not that man should have higher faculties than the age of his body permits. The Word then (made man) was perfect, as being the power and wisdom of the Father, but because something was to be yielded to the habits of our nature, lest He should be counted strange by those who saw Him, He manifested Himself as man with a body, gradually advancing in growth, and was daily thought wiser by those who saw and heard Him.



Brilliant, thank you for posting this Smiley  

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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Job 19:25-27


« Reply #44 on: January 02, 2012, 06:50:02 PM »

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

The Humanity of Jesus Christ, while perfectly One with His Divinity through the Union, is none-the-less perfectly remaining human just as when Oxygen and Hydrogen bond together to form water, both remain naturally their original elements of O and H in every respect, faculty, form, and function.  They unite and form a new compound with a new function, however it is a natural function of the functions of both elements prior to their union. Chemically speaking, water is hydrogen and oxygen in Synergy.  The Incarnation is thus the same.  The Human remains human, the Divine remains Divine, and though they are perfectly One and now the Same they still retain their original and natural functions, merged without mixing so to speak.


So, Can somebody explain to me, how the hypostatic union is in any way similar to a Chemical union between Oxygen and Hydrogen to form water a third nature that is fully shared by neither one of the elements involved? tnx.
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