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Author Topic: Does Christ have one essence?  (Read 809 times) Average Rating: 0
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ialmisry
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« on: December 14, 2012, 01:31:33 PM »

God is three Persons in one essence with one nature.

Christ is one Person.  EO say in two natures, OO in one nature.

What do we (EO and OO) say about Christ's essence: does He have one, or two?

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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 01:36:17 PM »

God is three Persons in one essence with one nature.

Christ is one Person.  EO say in two natures, OO in one nature.

What do we (EO and OO) say about Christ's essence: does He have one, or two?



How are you defining essence and nature differently? I'm used to them being meant synonymously.
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 01:41:54 PM »

What is not assumed is not....
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 01:59:07 PM »

Essence = source, denotes activity, energies proceeding from

Nature = origen, denotes shared or common essence

Is this how you see it Isa?
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2012, 02:03:39 PM »

Ousia is not physis.
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2012, 02:23:29 PM »

Ousia is not physis.

Cyrillic, can you translate Ousia and Physis?
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2012, 02:27:00 PM »

Ousia = essence
Physis = nature.


Those are the words the Fathers used.
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2012, 02:34:24 PM »

Essence is abstract.  You cannot say Christ is an abstract, from abstracts, or in abstracts.
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« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2012, 02:34:36 PM »

God is three Persons in one essence with one nature.

Christ is one Person.  EO say in two natures, OO in one nature.

What do we (EO and OO) say about Christ's essence: does He have one, or two?



How are you defining essence and nature differently? I'm used to them being meant synonymously.
The problem, at least for Chalcedonians, is to say that nature=essence, would all mean person=essence, as hypostasis is used both to mean person and nature:
Quote
The word hypostasis has two meanings. Thus, when used in the strict sense it means substance simply. However, the hypostasis subsisting in itself means the individual and the distinct person.  However, the hypostasis subsisting in itself means the individual and the distinct person. Enhypostaton, or what has real existence, has two meanings also. Thus, it may mean being in the strict sense. In this sense we not only call substance in the strict sense enhypostatic but the accident, also. And it also means the hypostasis in itself, that is to say, the individual.  Anhypostaton, or what has not real existence, is also used in two senses. Thus, that which has absolutely no existence at all is called anhypostaton, and the accident is also so called, because it does not subsist in itself but in the substance.
In this same way the pagan philosophers stated the difference between οὐσία, or substance, and φύσις;, or nature, by saying that substance was being in the strict sense, whereas nature was substance which had been made specific by essential differences so as to have, in addition to being in the strict sense, being in such a way, whether rational or irrational, mortal or immortal. In other words, we may say that, according to them, nature is that unchangeable and immutable principle and cause and virtue which has been implanted by the Creator in each species for its activity in the angels, for thinking and for communicating their thoughts to one another without the medium of speech; in men, for thinking, reasoning, and for communicating their innermost thoughts to one another through the medium of speech; in the brute beasts, for the vital, the sentient, and the respiratory operations; in the plants, for the power of assimilating nourishment, of growing, and reproducing; in the stones, the capacity for being heated or cooled and for being moved from place to place by another, that is to say, the inanimate capacity.  This they called nature, or the most specific species as, for example, angel, man, horse, dog, ox, and the like. For these are more general than the individual substances and contain them, and in each one of the individual substances contained by them they exist complete and in the same manner. And so, the more particular they called hypostasis, and the more general, which contained the hypostases, they called nature, but existence in the strict sense they called οὐσία, or substance.
The holy Fathers paid no attention to the many inane controversies, and that which is common to and affirmed of several things, that is to say, the most specific species, they called substance, and nature, and form as, for example, angel, man, horse, dog, and the like. For, indeed, οὐσία, or substance, is so called from its εἶναι, or being; and (φύσις;,or nature, is so called from its πεφυκέναι, or being. But εἶναι and πεφυκέναι both mean the same thing. Form, also, and species mean the same thing as nature. However, the particular they called individual, and person, and hypostasis or individual substance as, for example, would be Peter and Paul. Now, the hypostasis must have substance together with accidents, and it must subsist in itself and be found to be sensibly, that is, actually, existent. It is furthermore impossible for two hypostases not to differ from each other in their accidents and still to differ from each other numerically. And one should know that the characteristic properties are the accidents which distinguish the hypostasis.
 
http://books.google.com/books?id=H9wlrya9lXYC&pg=PA54&dq=%22The+word+hypostasis+has+two+meanings.++Thus,+when+used%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=MGjLUIPNFofi2AWvlID4Bg&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22The%20word%20hypostasis%20has%20two%20meanings.%20%20Thus%2C%20when%20used%22&f=false

That would contradict all Orthodox Trinitarianism: does it also contradict Chalcedonian Orthodox Christology?  And if it does, would that mean that we must say that Christ has two natures but one essence?  And if we say that, how different would that be from the Miaphysite understanding of Christology?
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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2012, 02:36:23 PM »

Ousia = essence
Physis = nature.


Those are the words the Fathers used.

I think it's not as straightforward as that. This is what I'm accustomed to:

Ousia = essence = substance = nature
Physis = person = hypostasis

For example, "of one essence with" = "consubstantial with." Consubstantial is used in reference to nature (e.g. human nature, divine nature). So essence/substance = nature.
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« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2012, 02:37:31 PM »

Essence is abstract.  You cannot say Christ is an abstract, from abstracts, or in abstracts.
Are you saying the Trinity is one in abstraction? Huh That Christ is in abstraction with us and in abstraction with the Father?  Huh
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« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2012, 02:38:00 PM »

Ousia = essence = substance = nature
Physis = person = hypostasis

That's a very Oriental Orthodox understanding.
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« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2012, 02:38:49 PM »

The problem, at least for Chalcedonians, is to say that nature=essence, would all mean person=essence, as hypostasis is used both to mean person and nature:

[snip]

That would contradict all Orthodox Trinitarianism: does it also contradict Chalcedonian Orthodox Christology?  And if it does, would that mean that we must say that Christ has two natures but one essence?  And if we say that, how different would that be from the Miaphysite understanding of Christology?
I think that as long as we keep in mind the individual intended usage of the word, then there's not such a problem.
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2012, 02:46:20 PM »

Essence is abstract.  You cannot say Christ is an abstract, from abstracts, or in abstracts.
Are you saying the Trinity is one in abstraction? Huh That Christ is in abstraction with us and in abstraction with the Father?  Huh

The way I understand it, an essence was something abstract to describe what an actual tangible thing (hypostasis) is made of.  To say that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit united in one essence does not mean there's a thing called divinity, from which Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were molded from.  Rather, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, their divinity is essentially the same, while their unity is in the Father, which is a personal unity.

Likewise with Christ's humanity, being essentially the same as us.  But Christ did not "become humanity", but He "became man".  I am not Christianity, I am a Christian. Etc.

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« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2012, 03:01:00 PM »


Physis = person = hypostasis

So you believe Christ is in two Persons?  Shocked
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« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2012, 03:15:22 PM »

Nature = origen, denotes shared or common essence
Just a helpful hint: "Origen" (the name of a Christian philosopher) is from "(H)orus" (the Egyptian Deity) and "genos" (Greek for "offspring; family"), not to be confused with "origin" ("beginning", from the Latin orīgo, genitive orīginis).
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« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2012, 03:18:15 PM »


Physis = person = hypostasis

So you believe Christ is in two Persons?  Shocked

Naw, he's confessing "One Incarnate Nature of God the Word" now.

 Wink
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2012, 03:39:11 PM »

Naw, he's confessing "One Incarnate Nature of God the Word" now.

 Wink

Good Lord, I turned into a non-Chalcedonian without even realizing it! Shocked laugh

But I think it could still be reconciled with Chalcedonian thought, because Christ's humanity is not physis - person - hypostasis, but rather essence/nature.

So Christ has two natures, or essences, in one person (hypostasis).
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« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2012, 03:47:39 PM »

Well if Chalcedonians are correct in saying that Chalcedon upholds Cyrillian Christology, then you wouldn't have become anything new by professing St. Cyril's formula...  Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2012, 03:49:16 PM »

Well if Chalcedonians are correct in saying that Chalcedon upholds Cyrillian Christology, then you wouldn't have become anything new by professing St. Cyril's formula...  Smiley
True enough. I certainly think that Chalcedonian Christology is faithful to St. Cyril. Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2012, 04:26:25 PM »

I thought the following letter of Mor Severus the Patriarch of Antioch written to Maron in the 500s is relevant to be quoted here.
Quote
Enough has, I think, been said about essence and hypostasis. But the name 'nature'  is sometimes taken in place of ‘essence', sometimes in place of hypostasis.

For even the whole of mankind we call comprehensively 'nature', as it is indeed written: “For all natures of beasts and of birds, and of reptiles and of things that are in the water are subjected and are made subject to human nature” (James 3:7) and again we speak of one nature in reference to a single man, Paul for example or Peter, or maybe James.

Where therefore we name all mankind one nature, we use the name 'nature' generically in place of 'essence'; but, where we say that there is one nature of Paul, the name 'nature' is employed in place of 'individual hypostasis'. So also we call the Holy Trinity one nature, employing the term 'nature' in place of the general designation 'essence'; as Gregorios the Theologian the bishop of Nazianzus also said in the sermon on the Holy Pentecost:

“Confess the Trinity to be of one Godhead, my friends; or, if you like, of one nature; and we will ask for you from the Spirit the expression 'God” (Gregory the Theologian Oration XLI:8 )

But, when we say 'one incarnate nature of God the Word', as Athanasius the prop of the truth and the apostolic faith said in the books on the Incarnation of the Word, we use 'nature' in place of 'individual designation', denoting the one hypostasis of the Word himself, like that of Peter also or of Paul, or of any other single man. Wherefore also, when we say 'one nature which became incarnate', we do not say it absolutely, but by adding 'one nature of the Word himself clearly denote the one hypostasis. But the very men who blasphemously call the one Christ, two natures use the name 'nature' in place of 'individual designation', saying that the ‘Word of God’ is one nature, and the man as they say from Mary another. For they do not reach such a height of fatuity as to say that they are using the name 'natures' in place of 'general designation', I mean in the same sense as essence: for, if the Holy Trinity is one nature, and all mankind one nature, in the same sense as anything which is shown to be so on this principle, the Holy Trinity will be found (to say a very absurd thing) to have become incarnate in all mankind, that is the human race.

But the Holy Scriptures instruct us otherwise, teaching us that God the Word one only of the three hypostases became incarnate and humanized. For 'the Word became flesh, and dwelt in us'.

But, when you hear these things, you will perhaps say that we ought not to have spoken of difference between the natures from which Emmanuel is, lest we ourselves be found to be repeating and using the same expression as these proud men. Accordingly, let us also refrain from confessing the union, because they also profess to speak of a union which consists in an association of honour; and, because they speak of two natures after the union, let us also not say that the union was made from two natures, rejecting even the very mention of natures, like silly children, who tremble at terrifying alarms that are fictitious and invented, as if they were truth, and flee to their mothers' bosoms. If on account of the blasphemies contained in the opinions of those men we yield to them words and names which establish the truth, together with the sound of the words the great mystery of religion goes from us. But, if we be right-minded, we shall both religiously hold to the words and cast out the foul opinions as evil speaking.

You see that we must confess the difference between the natures from which the one Christ is, and avoid the cutting into two, and extol one Son and Christ, and one incarnate nature of God the Word.
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« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2012, 04:50:56 PM »

Jesus just left Chicago and He's headed down to New Orleans, walkin from one place to another and all points in between...... This is my new official Christology
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« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2012, 05:03:21 PM »

Jesus just left Chicago and He's headed down to New Orleans, walkin from one place to another and all points in between...... This is my new official Christology
Destination: Atlanta, the New Jerusalem
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« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2012, 06:25:25 PM »

Ousia = essence = substance = nature
Physis = person = hypostasis

That's a very Oriental Orthodox understanding.

From what I understand, OO understand is:

Ousia = essence (may equal physis sometimes)
hypostasis =/= person
hypostasis may equal nature sometimes
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« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2012, 06:47:27 PM »

Physis = person = hypostasis

These selections from the chapter "Personhood and Being" of Metropolitan John Zizoulas's Being as Communion may help you get a taste of the Rum/Greek/Eastern Orthodox understanding of Hypostasis:

Quote
In the ancient Greek world for someone to be a person means that he has something added to his being; the "person" is not his true "hypostasis". "Hypostasis" still means basically "nature" or "substance". Many centuries would have to elapse before Greek thought would reach the historic identification of "hypostasis" with "person"...

Similar conclusions can be drawn from a consideration of the idea of "person" in ancient Roman thought...the persona is the role which one plays in one's social or legal relationships, the moral or "legal" person which either collectively or individually has nothing to do with the ontology of the person...

This is as far as the ancient Graeco-Roman world takes the idea of personhood. The glory of this world consists in its having shown man a dimension of existence which may be called personal. Its weakness lies in the fact that its cosmological framework did not allow this dimension to be justified ontologically...

The concept of the person with its absolute and ontological content was born historically from the endeavor of the [Rum Orthodox] Church to give ontological expression to its faith in the Triune God... This revelation is expressed historically through an identification: The identification of the hypostasis with the "person".

The deeper significance of the identification of "hypostasis" with "person"---a significance the revolutionary nature of which in the development of Greek thought seems to have escaped the attention of the history of philosophy---consists in a twofold thesis: (a) The Person is no longer an adjunct to a being, a category which we add to a concrete entity once we have first verified its ontological hypostasis. It is itself the hypostasis of the being. (B) Entities no longer trace their being to being itself---that is, being is not an absolute category in itself---but to the person, to precisely that which constitutes being, that is, enables entities to be entities. In other words from an adjunct to a being (a kind of mask) the person becomes the being itself and is simultaneously--a most significant point---the constitutive element (the "principle" or "cause") of beings.
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« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2012, 06:57:50 PM »

These selections from the chapter "Personhood and Being" of Metropolitan John Zizoulas's Being as Communion may help you get a taste of the Rum/Greek/Eastern Orthodox understanding of Hypostasis:

Quote
In the ancient Greek world for someone to be a person means that he has something added to his being; the "person" is not his true "hypostasis". "Hypostasis" still means basically "nature" or "substance". Many centuries would have to elapse before Greek thought would reach the historic identification of "hypostasis" with "person"...

Similar conclusions can be drawn from a consideration of the idea of "person" in ancient Roman thought...the persona is the role which one plays in one's social or legal relationships, the moral or "legal" person which either collectively or individually has nothing to do with the ontology of the person...

This is as far as the ancient Graeco-Roman world takes the idea of personhood. The glory of this world consists in its having shown man a dimension of existence which may be called personal. Its weakness lies in the fact that its cosmological framework did not allow this dimension to be justified ontologically...

The concept of the person with its absolute and ontological content was born historically from the endeavor of the [Rum Orthodox] Church to give ontological expression to its faith in the Triune God... This revelation is expressed historically through an identification: The identification of the hypostasis with the "person".

The deeper significance of the identification of "hypostasis" with "person"---a significance the revolutionary nature of which in the development of Greek thought seems to have escaped the attention of the history of philosophy---consists in a twofold thesis: (a) The Person is no longer an adjunct to a being, a category which we add to a concrete entity once we have first verified its ontological hypostasis. It is itself the hypostasis of the being. (B) Entities no longer trace their being to being itself---that is, being is not an absolute category in itself---but to the person, to precisely that which constitutes being, that is, enables entities to be entities. In other words from an adjunct to a being (a kind of mask) the person becomes the being itself and is simultaneously--a most significant point---the constitutive element (the "principle" or "cause") of beings.

Interesting. I knew of the change over time, but didn't realize how.

So then I am justified in using person and hypostasis interchangeably, even with an EO basis.
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Nepsis or Sepsis™


« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2012, 07:08:25 PM »

These selections from the chapter "Personhood and Being" of Metropolitan John Zizoulas's Being as Communion may help you get a taste of the Rum/Greek/Eastern Orthodox understanding of Hypostasis:

Quote
In the ancient Greek world for someone to be a person means that he has something added to his being; the "person" is not his true "hypostasis". "Hypostasis" still means basically "nature" or "substance". Many centuries would have to elapse before Greek thought would reach the historic identification of "hypostasis" with "person"...

Similar conclusions can be drawn from a consideration of the idea of "person" in ancient Roman thought...the persona is the role which one plays in one's social or legal relationships, the moral or "legal" person which either collectively or individually has nothing to do with the ontology of the person...

This is as far as the ancient Graeco-Roman world takes the idea of personhood. The glory of this world consists in its having shown man a dimension of existence which may be called personal. Its weakness lies in the fact that its cosmological framework did not allow this dimension to be justified ontologically...

The concept of the person with its absolute and ontological content was born historically from the endeavor of the [Rum Orthodox] Church to give ontological expression to its faith in the Triune God... This revelation is expressed historically through an identification: The identification of the hypostasis with the "person".

The deeper significance of the identification of "hypostasis" with "person"---a significance the revolutionary nature of which in the development of Greek thought seems to have escaped the attention of the history of philosophy---consists in a twofold thesis: (a) The Person is no longer an adjunct to a being, a category which we add to a concrete entity once we have first verified its ontological hypostasis. It is itself the hypostasis of the being. (B) Entities no longer trace their being to being itself---that is, being is not an absolute category in itself---but to the person, to precisely that which constitutes being, that is, enables entities to be entities. In other words from an adjunct to a being (a kind of mask) the person becomes the being itself and is simultaneously--a most significant point---the constitutive element (the "principle" or "cause") of beings.

Interesting. I knew of the change over time, but didn't realize how.

So then I am justified in using person and hypostasis interchangeably, even with an EO basis.

If understood as that which constitutes being, yes.

So Christ's Person constitutes His being, is the constitutive element of His being.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 07:10:43 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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