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« on: January 26, 2012, 08:45:20 PM »

I've always been taught that Christ never got ill.  He just never caught the flu, or a cold, or anything.  I've also always thought that was a pretty universal belief among Christians.  However, I recently came across someone who said that is not the case.

Can others comment on this?  Do all Churches believe this?  What is the reason for the belief that Christ never got sick?
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2012, 09:04:41 PM »

Some people teach that Christ never laughed as well.
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 09:31:36 PM »

Some people teach that Christ never laughed as well.

There's a traditionalist Catholic bishop who says just that, because "Our Lord could never have been surprised."
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 09:35:06 PM »

 Grin I think if He ever caught a cold, it would be the happiest buggy on the face of the planet!

. . . .come to think of it. . .maybe that's why we can't find the cure for the common cold??! angel
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 09:36:20 PM »

Since Christ seemed to suffer from other physiological issues (e.g. sweating blood), as well as assuming all of our humanity, I would think he also got sick.
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 09:41:44 PM »

Maybe He never laughed because the Apostles just weren't funny. Wink
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 09:56:29 PM »

Maybe He never laughed because the Apostles just weren't funny. Wink

Impossible. Jewish humor has been around since Moses was a lad.  Wink laugh
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 10:16:26 PM »

Sure he did. He sweat blood...his body functioned normally, he could get hurt, he could die.
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2012, 11:01:41 PM »

OK, I'm looking at On the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius:

http://www.amazon.com/Incarnation-Incarnatione-Verbi-Popular-Patristics/dp/0913836400

In section 21 (pages 50-51 of the book I have,) he says:

Quote
The death of men under ordinary circumstances is the result of their natural weakness.  They are essentially impermanent, so after a time they fall ill and when worn out they die.  But the Lord is not like that.  He is not weak, He is the Power of God and Word of God and Very Life Itself….  But because He was Himself Word and Life and Power His body was made strong....  How could He fall sick, Who had healed others?”
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2012, 11:04:40 PM »

OK, I'm looking at On the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius:

http://www.amazon.com/Incarnation-Incarnatione-Verbi-Popular-Patristics/dp/0913836400

In section 21 (pages 50-51 of the book I have,) he says:

Quote
The death of men under ordinary circumstances is the result of their natural weakness.  They are essentially impermanent, so after a time they fall ill and when worn out they die.  But the Lord is not like that.  He is not weak, He is the Power of God and Word of God and Very Life Itself….  But because He was Himself Word and Life and Power His body was made strong....  How could He fall sick, Who had healed others?”


Huh. Yeah, reading it online now... interesting...
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2012, 11:53:42 PM »

St. Athanasius was an Alexandrian, though.
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 02:49:18 AM »

I don't think that matters.  St. Athanasius is universally respected.
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 03:12:02 AM »

I don't think that matters.  St. Athanasius is universally respected.
On the Incarnation is not infallible.

You see, it's like an athlete.  He runs everyday until he is able to run marathons without being as tired as he used to be.  Christ, being the self-sustained Divine Person He is, is like an athlete whose hunger properties are transcended because of the fact that He is self-sustaining.  It is why it is voluntary for Him.
An athlete struggles to get to that level. Your understanding of Christ simply has it statically by default.

That is not the kenotic Christ of the scriptures.
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2012, 12:20:44 PM »

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

None of the Patristics or Apologetics mention anything about Christ becoming ill, even when reading commentaries on Matthew 8:17 where it is written "He bore our sickness"

While the Fathers of course continually assert the perfect humanity of our Savior, that is to say, the potential for ordinary illness, none of the Fathers seems to suggest this potentiality was ever manifested. Further, the Fathers seem to explain illness as a consequence of Sin.  Since Jesus Christ Himself did not sin, then He did not get ill.  Weakened, even unto death, yes, but sick no.  It seems that the Fathers interpret physical illness and sickness with spiritual connections, that the spiritual state of a person determines their immune system so to speak.  A person burdened internally with sin, develops disease and sickness as a consequence.

I only have one criticism of this position, if sin is absolved by Confession, how come the negative effects on the body linger? For example, I can accept that even cancer can be a result of many sins, however, if a person repents sincerely and is absolved, why is their body continued to be afflicted with the wages of sins which were forgiven?  This is why I myself would not feel comfortable with illness solely stemming from sin in the existential sense.  Surely some illnesses are obviously the consequence of sin, however, couldn't sometimes illness be simply the same dice roll as the pillar of Siloam which fell and killed this eighteen in Jerusalem? Didn't our Lord insinuate that it was not a punishment for sin, but merely an accident?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2012, 01:49:50 PM »

I think that Christ must have had the possibility of illness, as he was afflicted with our fallen nature that is susceptible to illness. He bore the psychological stress of the human mind in the garden and suffered from physical pain through scourging and crucifixion. Could He not also suffer from illness? I suppose it is somewhat like the question, "Did Christ ever stub His toe?"

At the same time we hold that Christ is the Pre-Eternal Word Who knows all things, yet the Scriptures also bare out that there are things in His humanity that He did not know, though He would know in His divinity (such as the hour of judgment). Does this also mean that Christ, in His humanity could've been surprised and laughed, while in His divinity He could not be surprised?

I greatly enjoyed Habte's comments above, and I would enjoy getting an OO perspective on the things I mentioned above. It's all very interesting...
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2012, 01:59:05 PM »

As to illness, I think he got sick at least once because in all ways he was human. As to laughing, Im sure he did.

PP
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« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2012, 02:40:39 PM »

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

I think we and the Fathers all agree that according to the Union, He had the potentiality for human illness, but again, the Fathers seem to unanimously say that He did not get sick at all.  Again, this is because of their interpretation of the connections of sin and disease.  I personally find it hard to agree with their interpretations in 100% of cases (surely many diseases are obviously and subtly caused by sin, but not all, some folks just get sick, and that is that), but I must admit, considering that we  have no where in the Scriptures mentioning Jesus Christ Himself sick or ill, and we have no where in the Fathers to suggest the same, we must conclude that from our lack of knowledge on the matter that we do not know.  Could Jesus Christ have gotten sick? Surely yes, but as to can we say He actually did with authority, that is not realistically an option.

I am not discomforted by the idea of a sick or ill Jesus Christ, as Paul mentions in Hebrews that He is acquainted with our infirmities, and again in Matthew we read that He bore our sickness.  However, again, we have no examples.

In a mechanical sense could we bridge this gap this way:  His Body was susceptible to human diseases and viruses, but by the Grace of His own inherent Divinity He never weakened Himself by kenosis so succumb to these illnesses, rather cured Himself retroactively so to speak?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2012, 03:19:36 PM »

I'm still pretty sure he got sick. If he didn't, we aren't saved IMO.
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2012, 03:35:14 PM »

I'm still pretty sure he got sick. If he didn't, we aren't saved IMO.

I wouldn't go that far. I think the same logic could be used to say that "Christ didn't sin, so we aren't saved." What matters is that He takes up the ability to sin. To be tempted. Though, of course it is vital he not sin. In the same way, I think as long as Christ had the possibility of falling ill, insomuch that He has taken up "all our nature corrupted by sin", then we are saved.
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« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2012, 03:52:24 PM »

I don't think that matters.  St. Athanasius is universally respected.
On the Incarnation is not infallible.

It's awfully reliable and accepted though. To distrust St. Athanasius the Apostolic, would require much stronger arguments with patristic support than "it doesn't seem right to me".

Before the fall, Adam and eve ate, felt emotion, were fully human. But they were not subject to corruption, disease, fear of animals. They had dominion over creation, so an animal could not attack them, their master. A virus for a bacterium could not attack in the same way.

Through sin, death and corruption entered the world. Man became vulnerable to everything from a lion to a virus.

The righteous though, often manifest a restoration of this dominion. Daniel was saved by God from the lions in the den. Many of the saints, until today, could pat a lion with no fear or harm.

Christ took upon Himself our very nature, with death in it, and defeated that death on the cross. But His Body, though separated from His Spirit, remained united to the Godhead, and did not suffer corruption. I cannot imagine Christ, greater than any of the saints, being afraid of a lion. He never sinned, He is perfectly righteous, He is the creator of all. Surely He would have dominion over the lion. Just as surely He would have dominion over the virus or bacterium. I don't think that corruption won a few rounds with Him, weakening Him through disease, but was ultimately defeated by Him upon the Cross. I think that He was victorious, our saviour, from the moment of His conception until His Resurrection, defeating death, until His Ascension and Second Coming.

Sweating, laughing, eating. These are normal human functions. Illness is not. It is a result of our fall. The sickness He bore is our sin, the death in us, not a virus. Christ bore our sickness, death, but He defeated it, He did not succumb to it. I see nothing that necessitate finding fault in St. Athanasius, were any of us even remotely qualified to do so without reference to a single conflicting patristic opinion.
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« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2012, 04:38:16 PM »

I don't think that matters.  St. Athanasius is universally respected.
On the Incarnation is not infallible.

It's awfully reliable and accepted though. To distrust St. Athanasius the Apostolic, would require much stronger arguments with patristic support than "it doesn't seem right to me".

Before the fall, Adam and eve ate, felt emotion, were fully human. But they were not subject to corruption, disease, fear of animals. They had dominion over creation, so an animal could not attack them, their master. A virus for a bacterium could not attack in the same way.

Through sin, death and corruption entered the world. Man became vulnerable to everything from a lion to a virus.

The righteous though, often manifest a restoration of this dominion. Daniel was saved by God from the lions in the den. Many of the saints, until today, could pat a lion with no fear or harm.

Christ took upon Himself our very nature, with death in it, and defeated that death on the cross. But His Body, though separated from His Spirit, remained united to the Godhead, and did not suffer corruption. I cannot imagine Christ, greater than any of the saints, being afraid of a lion. He never sinned, He is perfectly righteous, He is the creator of all. Surely He would have dominion over the lion. Just as surely He would have dominion over the virus or bacterium. I don't think that corruption won a few rounds with Him, weakening Him through disease, but was ultimately defeated by Him upon the Cross. I think that He was victorious, our saviour, from the moment of His conception until His Resurrection, defeating death, until His Ascension and Second Coming.

Sweating, laughing, eating. These are normal human functions. Illness is not. It is a result of our fall. The sickness He bore is our sin, the death in us, not a virus. Christ bore our sickness, death, but He defeated it, He did not succumb to it. I see nothing that necessitate finding fault in St. Athanasius, were any of us even remotely qualified to do so without reference to a single conflicting patristic opinion.

Prior to the fall, death was impossible.  So if the argument is that Christ didn't become ill because illness is only a result of the fall, then how did Christ die?
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« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2012, 04:39:02 PM »

I'm still pretty sure he got sick. If he didn't, we aren't saved IMO.

I wouldn't go that far. I think the same logic could be used to say that "Christ didn't sin, so we aren't saved." What matters is that He takes up the ability to sin. To be tempted. Though, of course it is vital he not sin. In the same way, I think as long as Christ had the possibility of falling ill, insomuch that He has taken up "all our nature corrupted by sin", then we are saved.

But wouldn't you agree that there is a fundamental difference between being able to sin, yet never sinning, and being able to be ill, yet never becoming ill?  Sin is a choice; illness is not.

EDIT: Oh, and Habte, certainly sin and illness can be linked.  However, there have been countless saints who - while leading extraordinarily holy lives - have become sick, even for lengthy periods of time.
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« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2012, 04:50:41 PM »

Further, the Fathers seem to explain illness as a consequence of Sin.  Since Jesus Christ Himself did not sin, then He did not get ill.  Weakened, even unto death, yes, but sick no.
Interesting. I can respect this position.

I suppose one could also say that micro-organisms would refuse to become pathogenic towards Christ.  Cheesy
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« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2012, 05:00:18 PM »

I don't think that matters.  St. Athanasius is universally respected.
On the Incarnation is not infallible.

It's awfully reliable and accepted though. To distrust St. Athanasius the Apostolic, would require much stronger arguments with patristic support than "it doesn't seem right to me".

Before the fall, Adam and eve ate, felt emotion, were fully human. But they were not subject to corruption, disease, fear of animals. They had dominion over creation, so an animal could not attack them, their master. A virus for a bacterium could not attack in the same way.

Through sin, death and corruption entered the world. Man became vulnerable to everything from a lion to a virus.

The righteous though, often manifest a restoration of this dominion. Daniel was saved by God from the lions in the den. Many of the saints, until today, could pat a lion with no fear or harm.

Christ took upon Himself our very nature, with death in it, and defeated that death on the cross. But His Body, though separated from His Spirit, remained united to the Godhead, and did not suffer corruption. I cannot imagine Christ, greater than any of the saints, being afraid of a lion. He never sinned, He is perfectly righteous, He is the creator of all. Surely He would have dominion over the lion. Just as surely He would have dominion over the virus or bacterium. I don't think that corruption won a few rounds with Him, weakening Him through disease, but was ultimately defeated by Him upon the Cross. I think that He was victorious, our saviour, from the moment of His conception until His Resurrection, defeating death, until His Ascension and Second Coming.

Sweating, laughing, eating. These are normal human functions. Illness is not. It is a result of our fall. The sickness He bore is our sin, the death in us, not a virus. Christ bore our sickness, death, but He defeated it, He did not succumb to it. I see nothing that necessitate finding fault in St. Athanasius, were any of us even remotely qualified to do so without reference to a single conflicting patristic opinion.

Prior to the fall, death was impossible.  So if the argument is that Christ didn't become ill because illness is only a result of the fall, then how did Christ die?


Christ did not die involuntarily. He could have called down a host of angels and been delivered. He chose to accept death in order to save us. It was not a virus or an animal that killed its Creator, but man, created in His own image an likeness, with the freedom to choose disobedience.
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« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2012, 05:06:28 PM »


Christ did not die involuntarily. I could have called down a host of angels and been delivered. He chose to accept death in order to save us.
Angels are not a biblical metaphor for the divine nature. God has protected countless fallen, corruptible humans with angels throughout the ages. The angels argument does not support your point.
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« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2012, 05:09:05 PM »


Christ did not die involuntarily. He could have called down a host of angels and been delivered. He chose to accept death in order to save us.
Angels are not a biblical metaphor for the divine nature. God has protected countless fallen, corruptible humans with angels throughout the ages. The angels argument does not support your point.

No, they're beings Smiley

Christ was able to save Himself from us, being God, and having His own might, and command over His Heavenly host. Christ chose to die for us (not instead of us, but for us) in order to save us. This does not imply that He chose to have a cold in order to save us, or had to do so, as was argued.
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« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2012, 06:07:30 PM »

I'm still pretty sure he got sick. If he didn't, we aren't saved IMO.

I wouldn't go that far. I think the same logic could be used to say that "Christ didn't sin, so we aren't saved." What matters is that He takes up the ability to sin. To be tempted. Though, of course it is vital he not sin. In the same way, I think as long as Christ had the possibility of falling ill, insomuch that He has taken up "all our nature corrupted by sin", then we are saved.

But wouldn't you agree that there is a fundamental difference between being able to sin, yet never sinning, and being able to be ill, yet never becoming ill?  Sin is a choice; illness is not.

EDIT: Oh, and Habte, certainly sin and illness can be linked.  However, there have been countless saints who - while leading extraordinarily holy lives - have become sick, even for lengthy periods of time.

Many sins are choices, but humanity now contains a propensity to sin. The nature we inherit is itself fallen and we are subject to many an involuntary sin that is simply a result of our fallen state. It is an illness that comes with being human.

We mortals also don't get to choose to be human, we are simply created. Christ, however, chose to become incarnate.
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« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2012, 06:21:41 PM »


Christ did not die involuntarily. He could have called down a host of angels and been delivered. He chose to accept death in order to save us.
Angels are not a biblical metaphor for the divine nature. God has protected countless fallen, corruptible humans with angels throughout the ages. The angels argument does not support your point.

No, they're beings Smiley

Christ was able to save Himself from us, being God, and having His own might, and command over His Heavenly host. Christ chose to die for us (not instead of us, but for us) in order to save us. This does not imply that He chose to have a cold in order to save us, or had to do so, as was argued.

Christ was indeed able to not die on the Cross.  However, this would have only occurred because of intervention, because of angels coming and removing Him from the Cross, or because of His skin becoming impenetrable to the nails.  As a human being, He was every bit as susceptible to death as you and I.  If He became incarnate today, and there were a drive-by shooting at His house, would the bullets be unable to pass through Him even if they hit Him?  Did He have to say "Ok, and now I will cause my flesh to be weakened so that this nail can pass through my left hand, and now for the right."?  Is that what He said?  Or, by becoming Man - in every sense of that word - did He not already agree to die, did He not already agree to be susceptible to injury, even injury leading unto death?
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« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2012, 06:45:18 PM »


Christ did not die involuntarily. He could have called down a host of angels and been delivered. He chose to accept death in order to save us.
Angels are not a biblical metaphor for the divine nature. God has protected countless fallen, corruptible humans with angels throughout the ages. The angels argument does not support your point.

No, they're beings Smiley

Christ was able to save Himself from us, being God, and having His own might, and command over His Heavenly host. Christ chose to die for us (not instead of us, but for us) in order to save us. This does not imply that He chose to have a cold in order to save us, or had to do so, as was argued.

Christ was indeed able to not die on the Cross.  However, this would have only occurred because of intervention, because of angels coming and removing Him from the Cross, or because of His skin becoming impenetrable to the nails.  As a human being, He was every bit as susceptible to death as you and I.  If He became incarnate today, and there were a drive-by shooting at His house, would the bullets be unable to pass through Him even if they hit Him?  Did He have to say "Ok, and now I will cause my flesh to be weakened so that this nail can pass through my left hand, and now for the right."?  Is that what He said?  Or, by becoming Man - in every sense of that word - did He not already agree to die, did He not already agree to be susceptible to injury, even injury leading unto death?

Physically, yes, Christ is susceptible to all that we are, however we must also remember that all of His submission to this is voluntary, particularly so we must remember this about this death. As Christ says in the Gospels, "I have the power to lay my life down and to take it up again." and "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you by my Father." (said to Pilate). Also remember that Christ would've been stoned several times over before his crucifixion, but He did not allow it because as the Gospels say, "it was not yet his time."

Christ is surely, in theory, susceptible to all that we are. Yet, being God, it all occurs on His terms.
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« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2012, 07:03:03 PM »


Christ did not die involuntarily. He could have called down a host of angels and been delivered. He chose to accept death in order to save us.
Angels are not a biblical metaphor for the divine nature. God has protected countless fallen, corruptible humans with angels throughout the ages. The angels argument does not support your point.

No, they're beings Smiley

Christ was able to save Himself from us, being God, and having His own might, and command over His Heavenly host. Christ chose to die for us (not instead of us, but for us) in order to save us. This does not imply that He chose to have a cold in order to save us, or had to do so, as was argued.

Christ was indeed able to not die on the Cross.  However, this would have only occurred because of intervention, because of angels coming and removing Him from the Cross, or because of His skin becoming impenetrable to the nails.  As a human being, He was every bit as susceptible to death as you and I.  If He became incarnate today, and there were a drive-by shooting at His house, would the bullets be unable to pass through Him even if they hit Him?  Did He have to say "Ok, and now I will cause my flesh to be weakened so that this nail can pass through my left hand, and now for the right."?  Is that what He said?  Or, by becoming Man - in every sense of that word - did He not already agree to die, did He not already agree to be susceptible to injury, even injury leading unto death?

Physically, yes, Christ is susceptible to all that we are, however we must also remember that all of His submission to this is voluntary, particularly so we must remember this about this death. As Christ says in the Gospels, "I have the power to lay my life down and to take it up again." and "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you by my Father." (said to Pilate). Also remember that Christ would've been stoned several times over before his crucifixion, but He did not allow it because as the Gospels say, "it was not yet his time."

Christ is surely, in theory, susceptible to all that we are. Yet, being God, it all occurs on His terms.

I completely agree.  But the thing is that, to say He was never sick, I think might go beyond what we can know.  He certainly could have never been sick, by actively preventing this (or, I suppose, by an extremely unlikely coincidence).  However, I don't see any particular reason to believe that He did prevent Himself from suffering any ailment.  If there really is a patristic consensus about this - something more than just one father (even if that father is the very venerable St. Athanasius) claiming that Christ was never ill - I will agree.  But, unless it is something that there is a clear patristic agreement on, I don't see any particular reason to believe that Christ never became sick in His entire life. 
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« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2012, 08:12:03 PM »

I don't think that matters.  St. Athanasius is universally respected.

I only accept Christological writings from the Antiochene school.

(kidding)
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« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2012, 10:29:56 PM »

I don't think that matters.  St. Athanasius is universally respected.
On the Incarnation is not infallible.

Are there any patristic sources that contradict St. Athanasius on this point?  Are there any Church Fathers who disagreed with him on this?
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« Reply #32 on: January 27, 2012, 10:37:31 PM »

I'm a bit surprised by how many people are disagreeing with St. Athanasius about this.  I was sure that this was a universal belief.

Don't the Chalcedonians also have the "sword in the fire" allegory?  I did not think it was unique to the OO's.  The way it goes, if I recall correctly, is that when an iron sword is put in fire, it becomes red and hot like the fire, and can scorch things, like the fire, but it still remains an iron sword.  I think that is supposed to be an allegory for what happened to Christ's humanity as a result of its union with His divinity.  His humanity remained perfectly human, just as the sword still remained an iron sword, but His humanity was "divinized," just as the sword became hot, red, etc.

If I am not remembering the allegory correctly, please someone correct me.   Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: January 28, 2012, 11:59:08 AM »

Bump.

Don't the EO's and Catholics have the "sword in the fire" allegory?  The heat of the fire penetrates the sword, but the sword remains iron.

Someone tell me if I'm getting this wrong. 
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« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2012, 01:06:52 PM »

The reason he never had a cold was because he headed to Egypt for the winter.  laugh
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« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2012, 12:32:46 AM »

I'm still pretty sure he got sick. If he didn't, we aren't saved IMO.

I wouldn't go that far. I think the same logic could be used to say that "Christ didn't sin, so we aren't saved." What matters is that He takes up the ability to sin. To be tempted. Though, of course it is vital he not sin. In the same way, I think as long as Christ had the possibility of falling ill, insomuch that He has taken up "all our nature corrupted by sin", then we are saved.

I don't have much to add, but I did want to come back and say that you make a good point here. Still chewing this one over...
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