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Author Topic: Can Christ do Evil according to Catholics?  (Read 492 times) Average Rating: 0
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Pharaoh714
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« on: December 06, 2012, 09:31:41 AM »

I once had a chat with a R.Catholic and he was trying to learn about Coptic Orthodox belief. While he was confused and accused me of not believing in both Natures of Christ (ie His Full Humanity and Full Divinity). I had to prove him wrong by liturgical and historical Coptic text.

Anyways to make a long story short he then asked me "Well, if Christ is full human also does he have the will to do evil/sin"?

I answered him with "No, Christ cannot sin"

And he then accused me of being a heretic because if Christ cannot Sin than He is not fully Human therefore My Orthodox Church is false or Monophysite (ie rejects the full humanity of Christ) or what ever!!

So I replied to him, you are confusing Human Nature with Sin. Human nature is not sinful and Christ was perfectly Human without separation from God / ie sin.


Anyways can anyone enlighten me! Does any Roman Catholic hold to this view? Do you guys believe that Christ is able/capable to sin by his human nature?



 
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2012, 03:20:29 PM »

I don't think Catholics believe this.  I think this is a person who knows nothing about proper theology.


All the church fathers before Chalcedon profess that Christ was fully human, that is He was like us in all things EXCEPT sin.

For there to be a possibility for Christ to sin is either saying that God can do evil (just plain blasphemous), or that the man Christ is not God (Nestorian).  Christ still possesses free human will.  This sometimes confuses people to think that Christ could possibly sin.  Ok the contrary, anything Christ could do or experiences is precisely normal or exemplary in fact, never wrong or hint of going in the wrong direction.

We had a discussion somewhere on this.  Isaiah in a mysterious fashion tells us that BEFORE He even knew right from wrong, He learned to do good and reject evil.  This is an amazing mystery of the balance of freedom of will and inability to sin.  It is one of those mysteries that is best kept at not explaining further, otherwise people would fall into error.

This was discussed elsewhere:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,8268.0.html
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2012, 03:26:43 PM »

Christ has two wills, for Christ to sin it means he either has only one human will, or that there is no unity of wills and natures between the Man Jesus Christ, and God the Son.  Both of course are condemned as heresy.

Given that his human will is exactly like ours, then it has by itself the capacity to sin.  The conundrum here is that Christ's humanity was never by itself, separate from his divinity.
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2012, 03:41:46 PM »

While I'm not Catholic, I'm pretty sure that he's not representative of their beliefs.

For example,

Anyways to make a long story short he then asked me "Well, if Christ is full human also does he have the will to do evil/sin"?
He is equating the human will with the inclination/desire to sin. This inclination is only due to the fall and having a fallen (i.e sinful) human nature. Christ's humanity was perfect and unfallen ("without sin"), and thus he did not have "the will to do evil/sin."
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2012, 03:45:50 PM »

As a former Roman Catholic, I can honestly say with some authority (my own, namely) that this person has no idea what he's talking about
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2012, 04:45:30 PM »

Catholics do not believe that Christ could sin.
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2012, 04:52:15 PM »

While I'm not Catholic, I'm pretty sure that he's not representative of their beliefs.

For example,

Anyways to make a long story short he then asked me "Well, if Christ is full human also does he have the will to do evil/sin"?
He is equating the human will with the inclination/desire to sin. This inclination is only due to the fall and having a fallen (i.e sinful) human nature. Christ's humanity was perfect and unfallen ("without sin"), and thus he did not have "the will to do evil/sin."

I'd like to read more on this, do you have a source?  Because from my understanding, God did assume the fallen human nature that we have.  But of course because he assumed it with his perfect divine nature, the human nature is perfected by it.  This is why we believe in Theosis.  So Christ's human nature is perfected by his divine nature, not perfect and unfallen like Adam at the beginning.  Also explains why we won't sin ourselves after the Resurrection.
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2012, 05:45:46 PM »

He assumed a corruptible body, liable to death, to hunger, to suffering.  "Fallen" and "unfallen" humanity is a bit confusing, and might be misleading.  St. Athanasius did not speak of human nature as different before or after the Fall, and so the use of "fallen" or "unfallen" seems vague at best.

St. Maximus the Confessor does describe something called a "gnomic will", under Chalcedonian tradition.  This corroborates pretty much with the idea that Christ did not have the propensity to sin, as other humans do, not because it is intrinsic in their nature, but because of living in a fallen world.
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2012, 06:10:44 PM »

I'd like to read more on this, do you have a source?  Because from my understanding, God did assume the fallen human nature that we have.  But of course because he assumed it with his perfect divine nature, the human nature is perfected by it.  This is why we believe in Theosis.  So Christ's human nature is perfected by his divine nature, not perfect and unfallen like Adam at the beginning.  Also explains why we won't sin ourselves after the Resurrection.

I realize my explanation was vague. I meant it the way you explained it; I didn't mean that the humanity Christ assumed wasn't like ours.
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2012, 06:16:11 PM »

St. Maximus the Confessor does describe something called a "gnomic will", under Chalcedonian tradition.  This corroborates pretty much with the idea that Christ did not have the propensity to sin, as other humans do, not because it is intrinsic in their nature, but because of living in a fallen world.

You're right, Mina. I think it's important to look at other very holy people to understand this. While the gnomic will is present in fallen humans, it is my understanding that the saints, even while still in this Kosmos, are able to stop having one. This is because the gnomic will is the discursive will, and in the context of sin, it is the discourse one has when one is trying to choose between good and evil. That is, to engage a gnomic will is to entertain the idea of sinning, to dialogue with it, as Fr. Thom says, which is itself a fallen and sinful act.

I would say, then, that Christ did not have a gnomic will because he always chose not to have one.

To see this in action, look at an icon of Christ working a wonder. Examine the facial expression and position of the body.

He assumed a corruptible body, liable to death, to hunger, to suffering.  "Fallen" and "unfallen" humanity is a bit confusing, and might be misleading.  St. Athanasius did not speak of human nature as different before or after the Fall, and so the use of "fallen" or "unfallen" seems vague at best.
I think you are saying that the fallen attributes are "accidents" and not "essential" to human nature.

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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2012, 08:33:35 PM »

Thank you guys for the reply, and I apologize because I am new here and didn't know it was discussed else where. This herecy is also condemned at Nicea and is a belief held by Arius himself.

Letter of the Council of Nicaea to the Egyptian Church

(1.) To the great church of the Alexandrians, which is holy by the grace of God, and to our beloved brothers throughout Egypt, Libya, and the Pentapolis. We bishops assembled at Nicaea, constituting the great and holy council, send greetings in the Lord.

(2.) Since, by the grace of God, a great and holy council has been convened at Nicaea, after our most pious sovereign Constantine summoned us out of various cities and provinces for that purpose, we at the sacred council thought it most necessary to write you a letter, in order that you may know what subjects were considered and examined, and what was eventually decided on and decreed. In the first place, the impiety and guilt of Arius and his adherents was examined in the presence of our most pious emperor Constantine. (3.) We unanimously decided that his impious opinion should be anathematized, with all the blasphemous expressions he has uttered, namely that “the Son of God came to be out of nothing,” that “there was a time when he was not,” and even that “the Son of God, because he possessed free will, was capable of either both evil and good.” They also call him a creature (ktisma) and a work (poiēma).....
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2012, 09:12:34 PM »

He assumed a corruptible body, liable to death, to hunger, to suffering.  "Fallen" and "unfallen" humanity is a bit confusing, and might be misleading.  St. Athanasius did not speak of human nature as different before or after the Fall, and so the use of "fallen" or "unfallen" seems vague at best.
I think you are saying that the fallen attributes are "accidents" and not "essential" to human nature.

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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2012, 09:40:54 PM »

As a former Roman Catholic, I can honestly say with some authority (my own, namely) that this person has no idea what he's talking about

Yeah. They taught us some interesting things in religion class, but that wasn't one of them.  Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2012, 09:50:02 PM »

Never heard that when I was in the RCC, either. Seems like a bunch of crazy nonsense.
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