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Author Topic: Divine Person vs. Divine/Human Person  (Read 1306 times) Average Rating: 0
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Twenty Nine
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« on: April 30, 2012, 12:50:07 PM »

For Chalcedonians, hypostasis and physis have a "looser" connection than they do with Non-Chalcedonians (I am generalizing here). ISTM that Chalcedonians can say that Christ is a Divine Person in two natures since it is the Son of God who assumes our humanity, but ultimately the Son of God is the subject of Christ. I believe the OO would say that Christ is a Divine Person from two natures, but since person/hypostasis has such a close connection wouldn't the OO have to say that the subject of Christ is a Divine-Human Person (I am not implying confusion)?

IOW, Christ's hypostasis is no longer Divine, but Divine-Human (again, no confusion implied). However, I have seen OO refer to Christ's hypostasis as Divine. Is this to guard against any hint of Nestorianism?
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 06:23:26 PM »

I think we would both say that Jesus Christ the Word, the Son of God Incarnate is Theanthropos, the God-Man. He is a Divine Person, as according to His Divinity, but the Son of Man, as according to His humanity, the properties and substance of each nature remaining intact without mixture, without confusion, without alteration, His Divinity parting not from his humanity, in indissoluble hypostatic union forever. It is His Person, God-Man, which acts, which saves, etc.
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 06:52:02 PM »

It is the Son of God who assumes our humanity, but ultimately the Son of God is the subject of Christ.
That's some kind of weird version of nestorianism.

Christ and the Son of God are the same person.

There are two senses in which "son of God" is used in the Scriptures. A messianic king (see Psalm 2), and God's Son in eternity (John 1). Both apply to Christ. He is God's Son in eternity, and when he becomes human he also becomes the Messianic King. Christ's incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension make these two Sonships into one Sonship, and we are then able to participate in that Sonship through grace.

However, I have seen OO refer to Christ's hypostasis as Divine. Is this to guard against any hint of Nestorianism?
Orthodox also say that Christ's hypostasis is divine to secure the dogma that the Logos is the one who is incarnate.

That is "a divine hypostasis in the flesh" or "a divine hypostasis as a man" (more precisely THE hypostasis as THE Man) or "a divine hypostasis who has become a human being". So Christ here enters into and takes on a new reality, the entire human reality, but he's still who he is. Hypostasis is the subsistent personal reality he is from before all ages and is as a man as well.

« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 07:02:38 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 09:12:49 PM »

Christ is a pre-existent Divine person who, after the incarnation, assumed a human nature. He is a Divine person who is also truly human. But he is not a Divine person and a human person, for he is not two persons. This is kind of a gross oversimplification, but that's the picture simply put.
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 08:15:52 AM »

Christ is a pre-existent Divine person who, after the incarnation, assumed a human nature. He is a Divine person who is also truly human. But he is not a Divine person and a human person, for he is not two persons. This is kind of a gross oversimplification, but that's the picture simply put.

Yes, that is my understanding. However, there is no such thing as a nature/physis without a person/hypostasis. The Son did not assume a human person, but He assumed our humanity. The union of His divinity and our humanity is a hypostatic union; hence, Christ's person/hypostasis is not simply divine, but divine-human, without confusion and no "two sons".
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2012, 02:07:32 PM »

Christ is a pre-existent Divine person who, after the incarnation, assumed a human nature. He is a Divine person who is also truly human. But he is not a Divine person and a human person, for he is not two persons. This is kind of a gross oversimplification, but that's the picture simply put.

Yes, that is my understanding. However, there is no such thing as a nature/physis without a person/hypostasis. The Son did not assume a human person, but He assumed our humanity. The union of His divinity and our humanity is a hypostatic union; hence, Christ's person/hypostasis is not simply divine, but divine-human, without confusion and no "two sons".
The Fathers said "Divine Person" to refer to the fact that Christ's hypostasis was eternal in origin, and that a new part man part god hypostasis was not created upon the incarnation.
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 02:18:29 PM »

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

Christ is a pre-existent Divine person who, after the incarnation, assumed a human nature. He is a Divine person who is also truly human. But he is not a Divine person and a human person, for he is not two persons. This is kind of a gross oversimplification, but that's the picture simply put.

Yes, that is my understanding. However, there is no such thing as a nature/physis without a person/hypostasis. The Son did not assume a human person, but He assumed our humanity. The union of His divinity and our humanity is a hypostatic union; hence, Christ's person/hypostasis is not simply divine, but divine-human, without confusion and no "two sons".

The human body which Jesus Christ incarnated from Our Lady is the hypostasis of His humanity.  However His Body is in perfect union with the Divine Word, so He is at once hypostatically Divine and Human.  They are not separate hypostases united as one, the Word became Incarnate through the human body, uniting with it as His own.  Hence the Word became Man.  His Human nature is then perfect and real as our own, existing in through a natural human body.  However, He was always the Divine Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, and so the hypostasis of the Word is united with human nature in Christ's human body so that they are mutually One.  This is the meaning of the term miaphysis, a composite nature.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2012, 07:11:59 PM »

My understanding is that taking on our humanity involved more than taking on a human body.  Perhaps Fr. Peter, or some other person more knowledgeable than I, can explain this.
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 07:20:12 PM »

Christ is a pre-existent Divine person who, after the incarnation, assumed a human nature. He is a Divine person who is also truly human. But he is not a Divine person and a human person, for he is not two persons. This is kind of a gross oversimplification, but that's the picture simply put.

Yes, that is my understanding. However, there is no such thing as a nature/physis without a person/hypostasis. The Son did not assume a human person, but He assumed our humanity. The union of His divinity and our humanity is a hypostatic union; hence, Christ's person/hypostasis is not simply divine, but divine-human, without confusion and no "two sons".

This was debated and discussed by some EO's here a while back in a very lengthy thread that ended up in the private forum:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19081.0.html

If you belong to the private forum, you may want to see this post relating what an EO metropolitan said about Christ's Hypostasis being a Divine Hypostasis that took on Humanity, and Christ's Prosopon being a Divine Prosopon that took on Humanity:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19081.msg283979.html#msg283979

That was how the metropolitan put it, and I believe it also expresses what the OO's believe.

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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 07:22:29 PM »

My understanding is that taking on our humanity involved more than taking on a human body.  Perhaps Fr. Peter, or some other person more knowledgeable than I, can explain this.


The idea that Christ had a fully human body but not a human mind is Apollinarianism, a heresy condemned at the 2nd Ecumenical Council.  I'm presuming that Habte did not mean to imply that the humanity of Christ was restricted to His physical body.
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 07:27:03 PM »

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

My understanding is that taking on our humanity involved more than taking on a human body.  Perhaps Fr. Peter, or some other person more knowledgeable than I, can explain this.


There is no  body without essence, no hypostasis without a respective nature.  Of course Jesus Christ is essentially human as well as physically. I was talking about His human body in the context of the concrete reality of the Union in that He has a perfect human nature which is manifested through His Incarnation in a perfect human Body.  The body is the hypostasis of the human essence.  In Oriental theology, there is no essence that does not exist concretely in some way. The Divine Essence of the Father exists through the Divine hypostasis of the Father which is incomprehensible however actually existing.  Without a hypostatic form, there is no essence, and without an essence there can be no respective form, they define each other interdependently like DNA and chemistry of cells.  The Son, who is the Word, united both essentially and hypostatically, that is by nature and person with human nature which existed through His human body. Now and forever after the Divine nature of the Word also exists through His human-divine Person, that is His Body. The union resulted in a miaphysis, a composite nature.  The Oriental Fathers would not realistically feel the need  make this clarification or distinguishing, as the term hypostasis in Oriental thought at once implies mutually nature and person.  Of course this is also what had assisted the heretic confusions before Chalcedon which partially sought to better define this term.  Unfortunately it seems to have only made matters worse and furthered level of miscommunication and misunderstanding.  We have learned over the past 1400 years of ecumenical dialogue that indeed we have always been saying the same things in different ways, but that is the problem sometimes isn't it.  This is why the Latins preferred a single clerical language, and the Ethiopian fathers dealing with an even more complex linguistic diversity across Ethiopia preferred the same with Ge'ez, the intellectual language of the Axum Empire.  While vernaculars are beneficial, sometimes picking a single language as the middle ground is quite necessary.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2012, 03:33:08 PM »

By humanity of course we mean the human body, the human mind, the human soul, the human faculty of willing.

We would say that Christ is one person because we wish to stress the identity, but we might also say that he is one person who is human and divine. We would want to make it absolutely clear that to touch Jesus Christ is to touch God the Word in a direct sense. We would not wish to damage in any way the reality of the humanity which he took, but however we describe him it would be necessary to indicate that the eternal Word has become human without ceasing to be who and what he is.

The person who is Jesus Christ is God the Word. That is clear. But it seems to be a matter of semantics, all other things being considered, when we say either that he the person who is Jesus Christ is truly human (which looks at things from the bottom up), or whether we say that the person of the divine Word is truly human (which looks at things from the top down).

He is the same person/identity who now exists as God and man. What we would want to exclude would be the thought that the person of Jesus Christ was not the same in identity as the person of the Word. To say that he is a human person tends to seem to do that. But we must say that the person who he is, is truly human as well as truly divine.

To say that the person of Christ is human and divine does not seem to me to necessarily be different to saying that the divine person of the Word is human and divine. To say that the person of Christ was only human would of course be unacceptable. To say that the person of the Word, or the divine person of the Word, was only divine would also be unacceptable, although he is only divine by nature, he is human by his own voluntary assumption of our humanity.
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