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Author Topic: The Reality of the Human Will assumed by the Logos  (Read 1669 times) Average Rating: 0
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Daniel Smith
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« on: October 26, 2013, 11:47:23 PM »

A specific question for my non-Chalcedonian friends:

When the Logos assumed the humanity taken from the Theotokos, he took a true human nature with all the characteristics of humanity: Soul, mind, will, and energy. We agree here. We also agree that when we consider the Incarnate Logos, Jesus Christ, acting in time, his actions are all one, for they are the activities of the incarnate Logos. We cannot separate or Divide them. Nevertheless, following St. Cyril, we can make a clear distinction between those activities that are befitting for humanity, and those activities befitting for Godhead. So we both acknowledge the real, and enduring reality of the two complete nature of the Logos, which abide in him eternally in the unity of a single Being.

Now, my question is: When he prayed in the garden for the cup to pass from Him, did he retain the POTENTIAL (not DESIRE) to deny the will of the father in the humanity he assumed? I am not asking if he wanted to, I am not asking if he WOULD have, for we believe that he freely subjected his humanity and his human will to the will of the father: But as an entire and free human will, being the same as all of us, except for sin, did he retain in his humanity the CAPACITY to refuse? If the answer is no, then was his humanity really complete? Or was it merely an elaborate illusion? For the freedom of the will, whether you interpret that as freedom to be arbitrary, or freedom to act without internal or external compulsion, is a true and requisite condition of humanity, both fallen and unfallen.

So, did he retain a capacity to refuse to do the will of the father in the humanity he assumed?
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2013, 12:47:42 AM »

This thread, in particular the posts by Fr. Peter, may help you in understanding the OO view of these things:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25645.0.html
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2013, 12:50:14 AM »

This also may be helpful:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27788.0.html
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Daniel Smith
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2013, 08:23:53 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions, but these are not quite what I had in mind. Another way to phrase this: was the humanity of the incarnate logos, including the will, a purely passive instrument in the hands of the incarnate logos, or was the human will a truly real dynamic and active element? How does that reality play out in the unity of the Incarnate logos, from a non-chalcedonian perspective?
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2013, 11:33:18 PM »

This was in one of the threads Salpy provided:

As with all of these terms, it is necessary to ask what everyone means, otherwise terms become simply a means of polemics rather than understanding.

In the writings of St Cyril and St Severus, the willing nature of the humanity of Christ is described by the term 'rational'. St Cyril and especially St Severus, constantly speak of the rational flesh, meaning that it preserved in the union the integrity of human nature including the power of decision and choosing.

Since St Severus impresses so much upon his readers that it is the will of man which is the seat of sin, and the cause of the Fall, and that a man was required to undo the fault of Adam, then it is clear that his soteriology REQUIRES that the Word of God be truly incarnate, and truly be obedient in the exercise of a human will. Here is an excerpt from one of his homilies (LXXXIII).

The words 'he scorned', and 'he did not obey', and this other, 'he chose', show us that the Word of God is united hypostatically not only to flesh, but still to a soul endowed with will and reason, for the purpose of making our souls, bent towards sinfulness, incline toward the choice of good and the aversion to evil.

Whatever else we might want to say, we cannot say, and do not, and will not allow others to say of us, that we deny that the humanity of the incarnate Word was lacking the human faculty of will.

Father Peter
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2013, 08:25:42 PM »

The question is not if the humanity lacked the faculty of will, but whether it was active in itself by NATURE, or whether it was a passive instrument of the Logos.
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2013, 08:32:41 PM »

The question is not if the humanity lacked the faculty of will, but whether it was active in itself by NATURE, or whether it was a passive instrument of the Logos.

Quote from: St. Severus of Antioch
The words 'he scorned', and 'he did not obey', and this other, 'he chose', show us that the Word of God is united hypostatically not only to flesh, but still to a soul endowed with will and reason, for the purpose of making our souls, bent towards sinfulness, incline toward the choice of good and the aversion to evil.

It's not passive, but active, with a caveat: it's certainly not a nature independent from the Logos.  As Isaiah 7 teaches, before He knew evil, He chose good.  The Word of God experienced fully all things human, and actively using human free will to help heal our sinful inclinations of our free will.
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2013, 10:56:31 PM »

Let me provide two quotes:

From St. Severus of Antioch's Contra Grammariam III 33 (quoted from Cyril Hovorun's "Will, Freedom, and Action", p. 18):

Quote
The incarnate has done and said this, for it is united hypostatically to the body and through adhering together it had this as an organ for the deeds, as the soul too, which is peculiar to each one of us, has chosen its own body as organ; the Logos does not act through an extrinsically (united) God-bearing human being, as the ravings of Nestorius would have it, nor in the way in which an artisan uses a tool and thus completes the work and (not) like the way a cithara player strikes the cithara.

From St. Severus of Antioch's Homily LXXXIII (quoted from Cyril Hovorun's "Will, Freedom, and Action", pp. 27-28)

Quote
With respect to [the new Adam] the prophet Isaiah says: 'Before he knows or chooses evil, he will choose good'. (Isaiah 7:15) For before the child recognizes good or evil, he spurns evil in order to choose good. None of us, who is tested as as child, already has knowledge of good and evil. Only with the advance of time, [the child] begins to distinguish them. But because the Emmanuel is by nature also God and goodness itself, although he has become a child according to the economy, he did not await the time of the distinction; on the contrary. From the time of swaddling clothes, before he came to an age of distinguishing between good and evil, on the one side he spurned evil and did not listen to it, and on the other he chose good. These words 'he spurned' and 'he did not listen' and the other 'he chose' show us that the Logos of God has united himself not only to the flesh, but also to the soul, which is endowed with will and understanding, in order to allow our souls, which are inclined towards evil, to lean towards choosing good and turning away from evil. For God as God does not need to choose good; but because for our sakes he assumed flesh and spiritual soul, he took for us this redress.

The mystery of Christ's human nature is that it's neither independently acting on its own (like a divinely inspired prophet), nor is it a passive tool (like a handyman using a hammer or someone playing the flute), but an active "organon" through which the Divine Logos fully invests and acts in in the fullest experience possible and yet voluntarily.  To fully see how this mystery is further mysterious, he also talks about how the act of "choosing" is of a human nature, whereas by nature He doesn't "choose good", but "IS GOOD".  Therefore, the caveat is that being the Divine Person, the Divine Goodness, He "chooses good before knowing evil".  It's active and at the same time it's "divine".

Compare this with St. Maximus the Confessor, who teaches the idea that Christ has no gnomic will, which essentially means, Christ chooses good without doubt or inexperience, but being by nature Good, uses human choice in a divine manner, as he explains in his Disputation with Pyrrhus:

Quote
If this interpretation of the patristic definition be correct, then in the first place it is not possible to say that this [appropriated will] is a gnomic will, for how is it possible for a will to proceed from a will? Thus, those who say that there is a gnomie in Christ, as this inquiry is demonstrating, are maintaining that he is a mere man, deliberating in a manner like unto us, having ignorance, doubt and opposition, since one only deliberates about something which is doubtful, no concerning what is free of doubt. By nature we have an appetite simply for what by nature is good, but we gain experience of the goal in a particular way, through inquiry and counsel. Because of this, then, the gnomic will is fitly ascribed to us, being a mode of the employment [of the will], and not a principle of nature, otherwise nature [itself] would change innumerable times. But the humanity of Christ does not simply subsist [in a manner] similar to us, but divinely, for He who appeared in the flesh for our sakes was God. It is thus not possible to say that Christ had a gnomic will. For the Same had being itself, subsisting divinely, and thus naturally hath an inclination to the good, and a drawing away from evil, just as Basil, the great eye of the Church, said when explaining the interpretation for the forty-fourth Psalm: "By the same line of interpretation, Isaiah said the same thing: 'Before the child knew or advanced in evil, he chose the good.' (Isaiah 7:15) For the word 'before' indicates that He had by nature what is good, not inquiring and deliberating as we do, but because He subsisted divinely by virtue of His very being."

Have I confused you yet  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2013, 05:06:50 PM »

Not yet. But the fundamental point us, if we do not  ascribe to the humanity of the word the capacity function fully as man, it is not fully man. Therefore, the perspective of the humanity as a passive instrument simply becomes Apollinarian. And St. Athanasius' words come into play, what is unassumed is unhealed. So the human will in Christ must be something not merely "animated" by the Logos, but something that functions under its own power. It must truly be a true power of a really human soul which was indwelt by the Logos. Right?
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2013, 06:24:53 PM »

Not yet. But the fundamental point us, if we do not  ascribe to the humanity of the word the capacity function fully as man, it is not fully man. Therefore, the perspective of the humanity as a passive instrument simply becomes Apollinarian. And St. Athanasius' words come into play, what is unassumed is unhealed. So the human will in Christ must be something not merely "animated" by the Logos, but something that functions under its own power. It must truly be a true power of a really human soul which was indwelt by the Logos. Right?

Right! As St. Severus said, the human nature is not like a handyman's hammer or a cithara player's cithara, BUT at the same time, it's not an independently inspired man, like a God-bearing prophet or saint.

St. Maximus the Confessor writes elsewhere in his Disputation with Pyrrhus (pp. 17-18), which agrees technically with Severian Christology:

Quote
He assumed, as good, that which is proper to nature and which expresses that power, inherent in our nature, which holds fast to being, willing it for our behalf.  These natural things of the will are present in Him, but not exactly in the same manner as they are in us.  He indeed did hunger and thirst, not in a mode similar to ours, but in a mode which surpasses us, in other words, voluntarily.

All things that are natural in Christ have both the rational principle proper to human nature, but a super-natural mode of existence, in order that both the human nature, by means of its rational principle, and the Economy, by means of its super-natural mode of existence, might be believed.
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2013, 06:28:03 PM »

One of the most important attributes of Christ is the ability to humanly obey.  His obedience to the Father is the central focus upon which He can lead all humanity to conform their will to God.  Thus, if obedience is not human, it is essentially phantasy.  This is attested to very well by St. Severus' Christology as well, where "obedience" and "doing good" are all part of human nature, since He being God by nature does not need to do good or obey, because He is by nature Good and the source of obedience.
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2013, 09:01:37 AM »

If you admit the Logos indwelt the humanity he took and made one with his own hypostasis, and if you also admit that by nature he obviously retains and indwells his own divinity, then you must admit of Christ that after the union of the two natures in One Hypostasis, the Incarnate Word, he dwelt in two natures that had come together into an ineffable union. Isnt this what St. Cyril said?

"I know that the nature of God is impassible, unchangeable, and immutable, even though by nature of His humanity Christ is one in both natures and from both natures." (To Pope Sixtus, Letter 53.2)

And St. John Cassian, in his work on the incarnation said:

 "For it was not God the Father who was made man, nor the Holy Ghost, but the Only Begotten of the Father; and so we must hold that there is one Person of the Flesh and the Word: so as faithfully and without any doubt to believe that one and the same Son of God, who can never be divided, existing in two natures (who was also spoken of as a giant ) in the days of His Flesh truly took upon Him all that belongs to man, and ever truly had as His own what belongs to God: since even though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God."

So here we have two fathers talking about in two natures who were both clearly anti-nestorians. I admit that the phrase "in two natures" shouldn't be used at the end of a sentence, but rather, "in two natures that hove come together in the unity if a single hypostasis and retain their distinctions accirding to nature."

I fear that a mistake is being made on the miaphysite side to insist on a philisophical consistency that is unbefitting the Godhead if Christ. For example, we say that the trinity is three hypostases and yet one physis and one ousia. Three subsistences in the unity of a single nature and single essence. This is philosophically absurd, because every hypostases has its own physis and ousia and is manifested in its prosopon. Yet if we said that in regard to the trinity, we would be heretics (as were the tritheists). So, in the incarnation, no less a mystery, how is it we err by transcending the notions of philosiphy by saying the one hypostasis of the Incarnate Logos exists in two physis and two ousia that have been united in the one hypostasis? This is a mystery, Not Nestorianism. To try and apply a consistent logical category to an act of God is impossible, so how can we with confidence assert a kind if philosophical consistency (one Prosopon, one hypostasis, one physis, one ousia) that creates an incarnate Logos who is the only individual species of his genus, "Godman"?
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2013, 12:45:00 PM »

If you admit the Logos indwelt the humanity he took and made one with his own hypostasis, and if you also admit that by nature he obviously retains and indwells his own divinity, then you must admit of Christ that after the union of the two natures in One Hypostasis, the Incarnate Word, he dwelt in two natures that had come together into an ineffable union. Isnt this what St. Cyril said?

"I know that the nature of God is impassible, unchangeable, and immutable, even though by nature of His humanity Christ is one in both natures and from both natures." (To Pope Sixtus, Letter 53.2)

And St. John Cassian, in his work on the incarnation said:

 "For it was not God the Father who was made man, nor the Holy Ghost, but the Only Begotten of the Father; and so we must hold that there is one Person of the Flesh and the Word: so as faithfully and without any doubt to believe that one and the same Son of God, who can never be divided, existing in two natures (who was also spoken of as a giant ) in the days of His Flesh truly took upon Him all that belongs to man, and ever truly had as His own what belongs to God: since even though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God."

So here we have two fathers talking about in two natures who were both clearly anti-nestorians. I admit that the phrase "in two natures" shouldn't be used at the end of a sentence, but rather, "in two natures that hove come together in the unity if a single hypostasis and retain their distinctions accirding to nature."

I fear that a mistake is being made on the miaphysite side to insist on a philisophical consistency that is unbefitting the Godhead if Christ. For example, we say that the trinity is three hypostases and yet one physis and one ousia. Three subsistences in the unity of a single nature and single essence. This is philosophically absurd, because every hypostases has its own physis and ousia and is manifested in its prosopon. Yet if we said that in regard to the trinity, we would be heretics (as were the tritheists). So, in the incarnation, no less a mystery, how is it we err by transcending the notions of philosiphy by saying the one hypostasis of the Incarnate Logos exists in two physis and two ousia that have been united in the one hypostasis? This is a mystery, Not Nestorianism. To try and apply a consistent logical category to an act of God is impossible, so how can we with confidence assert a kind if philosophical consistency (one Prosopon, one hypostasis, one physis, one ousia) that creates an incarnate Logos who is the only individual species of his genus, "Godman"?

I'm not sure what this has to do with the original discussion you asked for.  Your original discussion was about Christ's humanity, whether it's "passive or active".  Now you're shifting the discussion on why OOs reject the terminology "in two natures"?
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2013, 12:49:57 PM »

Before I go into details of your last post, I just wanted to know what your intentions were in where this discussion is going, as I asked in my last post.  But in summary, I would generally agree with you the intentions of what is theologically taught is MORE IMPORTANT than mere terminology, which we will always fall short of when discussing our dogmatic mysteries.  But I would caution you that the OO Church wasn't the only Church high-strung on terminological strictness.  That would be a dishonest approach towards the historical context of the whole problem in the 5th Century and beyond.
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2013, 06:07:22 PM »

Sorry if it seems like I am jumping. These two issues are inextricably linked, and I would like to draw as many relevant connections as possible. When dealing with the true humanity of Christ, is it accurate to admit the Logos indwelt the humanity he assumed? The root of the spiritual component of man is the soul and its various powers and properties. Did The Logos assume and indwell the human mind and the human soul as his own? The divine mind within the depths of the human mind? Or did he allow the created humanity he assumed all the autonomy of human nature, all the while identifying it as his own? This question has relevance on multiple levels.
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« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2013, 12:05:55 AM »

Of course meaning, considered apart from terminology is important,  but I do not think that it is a stretch or inappropriate to say that what is taught is totally dependent on having the right terminology. We communicate with words which encapsulate ideas. To effectively convey an idea, we need an adequate medium, hence the importance of terminology. If we supposedly agree conceptually,  then our differences are linguistic. If that is the case, the side which has shown  the greatest conservation, ought to demonstrate its goodwill by showing liberality in the adoption of terminologies. The chalcedonians have always said from two natures, and one incarnate nature of the Logos. We have also said in two natures. The non-chalcedonians have always used of two natures, from two one, and one incarnate nature of the logos. Therefore, if we really agree, since the non-chalcedonians have been the most reticent in language, in fairness and in goodwill, they ought to be the first to confess "in two natures" without reservation.

The question of the activity of the will in Christ is an attempt to understand if the non-chalcedonians do in fact espouse the idea of the Logos existing in two natures, when considering Christs incarnation abstractly. Mono tei theoria. You seemed to admit that you do think this way when you agreed the Logos indwelt the humanity he took as his own. The Logos IN the nature of humanity and IN his own nature, the divinity. He himself being the prinviple of unity of the two, ad the Logos incarnate. No?
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« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2013, 12:21:32 AM »

If we supposedly agree conceptually,  then our differences are linguistic. If that is the case, the side which has shown  the greatest conservation, ought to demonstrate its goodwill by showing liberality in the adoption of terminologies. The chalcedonians have always said from two natures, and one incarnate nature of the Logos. We have also said in two natures. The non-chalcedonians have always used of two natures, from two one, and one incarnate nature of the logos. Therefore, if we really agree, since the non-chalcedonians have been the most reticent in language, in fairness and in goodwill, they ought to be the first to confess "in two natures" without reservation.

How does that work?  Assuming that "we really agree", I can see letting the Chalcedonians retain their language and letting the Non-Chalcedonians retain theirs while re-establishing communion, or even having the Chalcedonians put aside the terminology and politics upon which the schism was based in the first place.  Why would substantial agreement instead require that the Non-Chalcedonians adopt the innovation? 

Perhaps I'm missing part of your argument, but it just seems like another attempt to protect a sacred cow.  If we really believe the same and have done so all this time, Chalcedon is really more of a problem for Chalcedonians.     

Quote
The question of the activity of the will in Christ is an attempt to understand if the non-chalcedonians do in fact espouse the idea of the Logos existing in two natures...

Which question?   

Quote
...when considering Christs incarnation abstractly.

What does this mean?  There's nothing abstract about the Incarnation. 
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« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2013, 12:37:56 AM »

Read from the beginning.
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2013, 02:11:53 AM »

If our faiths are the same, then our respective traditions can fully and honestly confess the same faith in the terminology of the other side. So why not do it? I freely say, that there is one incarnate nature of the Logos, understanding this phrase as St. Cyril himself expounded it.

But the fact is "in two natures" is not an innovation, it was taught by St. Cyril in his letter to Pope Sixtus (The Word existing in both natures) and it was taught by St. John Cassian who was the one who composed a work against Nestorius at Pope Leos request when Leo was Archdeacon. There is clear patristic precedence for it, and Leo drew his terminology and ideas from several saints, though perhaps he could have presented it better.

Did the Word subsist in the Humanity he took from the Virgin? Did he subsist in the Divinity natural to him in his Godhead? Did any of that change at the moment of the incarnation? Then he subsists in two natures which have come together in the unity of a single hypostasis.

Which is why I wanted to know about will. Does the Logos indwell the Human Mind and animate it, or does the human mind of Christ posses a natural autonomy the Logos identifies as his own autonomy?
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« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2013, 09:13:38 AM »

Therefore, if we really agree, since the non-chalcedonians have been the most reticent in language, in fairness and in goodwill, they ought to be the first to confess "in two natures" without reservation.

If our faiths are the same, then our respective traditions can fully and honestly confess the same faith in the terminology of the other side. So why not do it? I freely say, that there is one incarnate nature of the Logos, understanding this phrase as St. Cyril himself expounded it.

So far as I'm aware, in light of the official theological dialogues of the 20th century, we have acknowledged the Chalcedonian formula as an Orthodox one, or one that could be interpreted in an Orthodox manner.  We have agreed that:

Quote
Ever since the fifth century, we have used different formulae to confess our common faith in the One Lord Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect man. Some of us affirm two natures, wills and energies hypostatically united in the One Lord Jesus Christ. Some of us affirm one united divine-human nature, will and energy in the same Christ. Both sides speak of a union without confusion, without change, without division, without separation. The four adverbs belong to our common tradition. Both affirm the dynamic permanence of the Godhead and the manhood, with all their natural properties and faculties, in the one Christ. Those who speak in terms of “two” do not thereby divide or separate. Those who speak in terms of “one” need to specially underlined, in order that we may understand each other.


Quote
In our common study of the council of Chalcedon, the well-known phrase used by our common father in Christ, St. Cyril of Alexandria, mia physis ( or mia hypostasis) tou Theou logou sesarkomene ( the one physis or hypostasis of God's Word Incarnate) with its implications, was at the center of our conversations. On the essence of Christological dogma we found ourselves in full agreement. Through the different terminologies used by each side, we saw the same truth expressed. Since we agree in rejecting without reservation the teaching of Eutyches as well as of Nestorius, the acceptance or non-acceptance of the Council of Chalcedon does not entail the acceptance of either heresy. Both sides found themselves fundamentally following the Christological teaching of the one undivided church as expressed by St. Cyril.

The council of Chalcedon (451), we realize, can only be understood as reaffirming the decisions of Ephesus (431), and best understood in the light of the later Council of Constantinople (533). All councils, we recognize, have to be seen as stages in an integral development and no council or document should be studied in isolation.

Isn't this sufficient?  What more of a "confession" do you want?  Are you saying that we should adopt the Chalcedonian formula for ourselves?  Add it to our liturgies or something?  In what ways, other than the above and related statements, would you like to see the "confession" you are calling for carried out?

Does the Logos indwell the Human Mind and animate it, or does the human mind of Christ posses a natural autonomy the Logos identifies as his own autonomy?

I don't think that anyone on our side has ever insisted that the humanity assumed by the Logos was in some way a robot or deficient, lacking in any of the properties of man.  So far as I can tell, the questions you are asking have been answered in our ongoing official theological dialogues.

Quote
In this spirit, we have discussed also the continuity of doctrine in the Councils of the Church, and especially the monenergistic and monothelete controversies of the seventh century. All of us agree that the human will is neither absorbed nor suppressed by the divine will in the Incarnate Logos, nor are they contrary one to the other. The uncreated and created natures, with the fullness of their natural properties and faculties, were united without confusion or separation, and continue to operate in the one Christ, our Saviour. The position of those who wish to speak of one divine-human will and energy united without confusion or separation does not appear therefore to be incompatible with the decision of the Council of Constantinople (680-81), which affirms two natural wills and two natural energies in Him existing indivisibly, inconvertibly, inseparably, inconfusedly.

Quote
It is the same hypostasis of the Second Person of the Trinity, eternally begotten from the Father, who in these last days became a human being and was born of the Blessed Virgin. This is the mystery of the hypostatic union we confess in humble adoration - the real union of the divine with the human, with all the properties and functions of the uncreated divine nature, including natural will and natural energy, inseparably and unconfusedly united with the created human nature with all its properties and functions, including natural will and natural energy. It is the Logos Incarnate who is the subject of all the willing and acting of Jesus Christ.

I'm really not sure what you're looking for here that hasn't already been addressed.  I don't want to ascribe this idea to you unfairly, but it almost seems as if you want us to go further than the Eastern Orthodox fathers and scholars of the Joint Commission have required of us and pretty much become Chalcedonian ourselves.  I'm hoping that what you're after will become clear when you've answered my questions above concerning in what ways you'd like to see our Oriental Orthodox family "confess" the formula of Chalcedon beyond the above.
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« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2013, 09:41:21 AM »

Sorry if it seems like I am jumping. These two issues are inextricably linked, and I would like to draw as many relevant connections as possible. When dealing with the true humanity of Christ, is it accurate to admit the Logos indwelt the humanity he assumed? The root of the spiritual component of man is the soul and its various powers and properties. Did The Logos assume and indwell the human mind and the human soul as his own? The divine mind within the depths of the human mind? Or did he allow the created humanity he assumed all the autonomy of human nature, all the while identifying it as his own? This question has relevance on multiple levels.

I'm going to answer your post one by one, because this is a very loaded question.  Already, you're saying terminology is important, but the terminology you're using here is vague.  "Assumption" and "Indwelling" are fair terms to use, but they're vague in and of themselves.  The Holy Spirit indwells in me.  Christ hypostatically united with His very own human nature, including rational free mind, AS HIS VERY OWN.

What does the "divine mind within the depths of the human mind" mean?  Are you talking about human ignorance and divine knowledge?  Because, that's a whoooooole different animal that caused a lot of stirring of hearts, but I can quote you some Chalcedonian fathers who I agree with on that issue, who agree with non-Chalcedonian Christology about the divine and human minds of Christ (if we can even say the divine has a "mind).

What does autonomy even mean?  These are words that are not used in Christology.  Are you talking about natural human free will?  Yes, this was hypostatically united to His divine nature.  Are you talking about a human free will independent of His divine nature.  No...because that would mean Nestorianism.

If the quotes I provided for you don't suffice, I don't understand why you seem to repeat or shift questions.
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« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2013, 09:59:59 AM »

Of course meaning, considered apart from terminology is important,  but I do not think that it is a stretch or inappropriate to say that what is taught is totally dependent on having the right terminology. We communicate with words which encapsulate ideas. To effectively convey an idea, we need an adequate medium, hence the importance of terminology. If we supposedly agree conceptually,  then our differences are linguistic. If that is the case, the side which has shown  the greatest conservation, ought to demonstrate its goodwill by showing liberality in the adoption of terminologies. The chalcedonians have always said from two natures, and one incarnate nature of the Logos. We have also said in two natures. The non-chalcedonians have always used of two natures, from two one, and one incarnate nature of the logos. Therefore, if we really agree, since the non-chalcedonians have been the most reticent in language, in fairness and in goodwill, they ought to be the first to confess "in two natures" without reservation.


This is a veeeeery loaded question, and I disagree with some of your presuppositions.  For example, I bolded the problematic part of your paragraph.  Your assumption is because you have St. Cyril, Chalcedon, Constantinople, that Chalcedonians have had leniency of terminology, for which the OOs have a huge disagreement with.  If we delve into who really had shown liberality of terminologies, the answer is NEITHER SIDE...and this includes also the 6th Ecumenical Council with the wills, and this is intrinsic in St. Maximus the Confessor and even St. John of Damascus, who did not really like liberality with terminology, whether it be natures of Christ or wills of Christ.  I can point to you that we had all the same intentions of theology, and we most probably believed the same thing all along.  But neither side had liberality of language.  It's a false assumption to think Chalcedonians were more accepting of a language than the non-Chalcedonians, in my opinion.  A careful reading of history shows otherwise, if "fairness and goodwill" requires that you know the history before you judge that non-Chalcedonians were "the most reticent in language".

Quote
The question of the activity of the will in Christ is an attempt to understand if the non-chalcedonians do in fact espouse the idea of the Logos existing in two natures, when considering Christs incarnation abstractly. Mono tei theoria. You seemed to admit that you do think this way when you agreed the Logos indwelt the humanity he took as his own. The Logos IN the nature of humanity and IN his own nature, the divinity. He himself being the prinviple of unity of the two, ad the Logos incarnate. No?

If you interpret the language in an Orthodox manner.  Fine...but I have a problem with the way you're using the terminology here, mistakes that I don't usually see Chalcedonian theologians make.  "In two natures" is a description of making distinct the natures of Christ "en theoria", or in contemplation.  Another Orthodox interpretation of "in two natures" is "without mixture, without confusion", each nature preserving its own characteristics and essence, but fully united at the same time.  But to say the Logos exists or "dwell in" His own Divinity, let along talking about "indwelling" in humanity, which is a huge can of worms, as I mentioned in my previous post, is bad theology.  God does not dwell in Divinity.  God is Divinity.  We use terminology like prosopon, hypostasis, physis, ousia because we have nothing better to describe eternal truths.
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« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2013, 10:33:50 AM »

You touched on a letter of St. Cyril to St. Sixtus.  The letter of question was discussed here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37616.0.html

This letter is fragmentary, and we don't even have the full translation or its context.  Assuming this is what St. Cyril said, we don't know what he meant by it.  In fact, the terminology is nuanced.  This is all the text gives us:

Quote from: Letter 53 of St. Cyril
For I never am accused of having thought anything different from the truth in my opinions, nor have I ever said that the divine nature of the Word was subject to suffering.

(break in the text)

I know that the nature of God is impassible, unchangeable, and immutable, even though by the nature of His humanity Christ is one in both natures and from both natures.

Do you not see something strange in this second part of the fragment?  It just doesn't make any sense, even in a Chalcedonian concept.  How is "even though by the nature of His humanity"...and here I was expecting St. Cyril to say something about the human nature of Christ, but he all of a sudden jumps ship on talking about Christ's unity..."by the nature of His humanity Christ is one in both natures"...what does one have to do with the other?

Obviously, the fragmentary letter renders this quote useless because we don't even know how St. Cyril utilized the phrase or explained himself.  He probably did explain himself in the letter, but the letter is probably all damaged, and this is all we can come up with.  Furthermore, this is Migne.  I'm no scholar, but Migne does have collections that are yet to be verified.  He has quite a valuable source of collections, but he also has other sources where the alleged writing was questioned as well.  I'm not saying this letter is spurious, but I am saying this letter is incomplete and leaves us with no satisfaction of how to approach it.

When the EO/OO fathers of the 1960s got together to discuss terminological differences, they most probably know about this letter, but it was never discussed for two main reasons:

1.  It makes no sense and is fragmentary, thus leaving conversation about it useless, as I explained earlier
2.  The corpus of ALL of St. Cyril's writings never had "in two natures", so this is ONE anomaly out of a whole Cyrillian collection.  In fact, St. Cyril when talking about the Antiochian Orthodox, he only said "two natures" or even "of two natures" to describe their, and I'm quoting St. Cyril, "simple-mindedness", which implies that Alexandrian terminology carries a grander and deeper sophistication and theological importance to St. Cyril

Antonious Nikolas quoted some passages from the EO/OO consultations that makes a lot more sense on what should entail for agreement and unity in our respective churches.
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« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2013, 03:04:42 PM »

Thanks mina, that answers my question regarding the humanity and divinity and their unity. I understand the complication of terms. So all the characteristics of both natures remain united in a single nature?

As far as will and indwelling, I re-read those other posts, and I think I have my answer. I thought my terms were clear, but I guess they could be vague.

Thanks alot!
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« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2013, 05:31:30 PM »

Let me provide two quotes:

From St. Severus of Antioch's Contra Grammariam III 33 (quoted from Cyril Hovorun's "Will, Freedom, and Action", p. 18):

Quote
The incarnate has done and said this, for it is united hypostatically to the body and through adhering together it had this as an organ for the deeds, as the soul too, which is peculiar to each one of us, has chosen its own body as organ; the Logos does not act through an extrinsically (united) God-bearing human being, as the ravings of Nestorius would have it, nor in the way in which an artisan uses a tool and thus completes the work and (not) like the way a cithara player strikes the cithara.
Btw, a source of confusion is that the Chalcedonians preached against John the Grammarian-whom they took as representing the anti-Chalcedonians-and the anti-Chalcedonians (>OO) abandoned him and followed Pat. Severus of Antioch in his condemnation of John the Grammarian.
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« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2013, 08:06:06 PM »

"I know that the nature of God is impassible, unchangeable, and immutable, even though by the nature of His humanity Christ is one in both natures and from both natures."

St. Cyril is observing the fact that the union of the two Natures in one Hypostasis in no way detracts from the integrity of either nature. For example, he begins ruminating on the nature of the Logos, "I know that the nature of God is impassible, unchangeable, and immutable..." and then it DOES look like there is some sort of break, because the union is not via the human nature, and then it is coming back to Christ subsisting from and in both natures.

So, yeah, it does look problematic, but it is still a fact that he is referring to Christ subsisting in both natures. Perhaps a translation error? You read Greek?
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« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2013, 09:11:46 PM »

"I know that the nature of God is impassible, unchangeable, and immutable, even though by the nature of His humanity Christ is one in both natures and from both natures."

St. Cyril is observing the fact that the union of the two Natures in one Hypostasis in no way detracts from the integrity of either nature. For example, he begins ruminating on the nature of the Logos, "I know that the nature of God is impassible, unchangeable, and immutable..." and then it DOES look like there is some sort of break, because the union is not via the human nature, and then it is coming back to Christ subsisting from and in both natures.

So, yeah, it does look problematic, but it is still a fact that he is referring to Christ subsisting in both natures. Perhaps a translation error? You read Greek?

You got all that certainty from a letter that exists only in fragments? 
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« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2013, 10:10:57 PM »

A complete phrase is an expression of one complete thought. Of that I am certain. I also would not write off anything a saint said, especially a saint as wonderful as St. Cyril of Alexandria. Plus, it is in total continuity with his other works on two natures which he mentions in letters to his friends, like acacius. The "problem" with St. Cyril, the more I read him, is that he had a very clear idea of WHAT he was trying to say, but he did not always say it consistently. For example, in certain letters, he says this:

"The brethren at Antioch, understanding in simple thoughts only those from which Christ is understood to be, have maintained a difference of natures, because, as I said, divinity and humanity are not the same in natural quality, but proclaimed one Son and Christ and Lord as being truly one; they say his person is one, and in no manner do they separate what has been united. Neither do they admit the natural division as the author of the wretched inventions was pleased to think, but they strongly maintain that only the sayings concerning the Lord are separated, not that they say that some of them separately are proper to the Son, the Word of God the Father, and others are proper to another son again, the one from a woman, but they say that some are proper to his divinity and others again are proper to his humanity. For the same one is God and man. But they say that there are others which have been made common in a certain way and, as it were, look toward both, I mean both the divinity and the humanity. What I am saying is the same as this…since he is one Christ, both Son and Lord, we say that his person also is one, both we and they say it." (Letter 40.10-14, 16-18)

And again, St. Cyril himself refers to some of his partisans who are a bit wild-eyed and radical (People like Eutyches)-

"But if the two natures have been brought into one mingling, because they happen to be of different substances, neither one is preserved but both have disappeared after they have been blended." (To Priest Photius of Alexandria, Letter 98)

"Some attack the exposition of faith which those from the East have made and ask, 'For what reason did the Bishop of Alexandria endure or even praise those who say that there are two natures?' Those who hold the same teachings as Nestorius say that he thinks the same thing too, snatching to their side those who do not understand precision. But it is necessary to say the following to those who are accusing me, namely, that it is not necessary to flee and avoid everything which heretics say, for they confess many of the things which we confess. For example, when the Arians say that the Father is the creator and Lord of all, does it follow that we avoid such confessions? Thus also is the case of Nestorius even if he says there are two natures signifying the difference of the flesh and the Word of God, for the nature of the Word is one nature and the nature of his flesh is another, but Nestorius does not any longer confess the union as we do." (To Eulogius the Priest, Letter 44)

He would have said this to perhaps a Timothy Aleurus or Severus, who both said that when Cyril speaks of two natures he is to be rejected

Anyway, my point is he is complex and he really has to be read, not only in his theological works, but also his personal letters clarifying what he meant in those works. And BECAUSE of what he has written in the past, we can see that this fragment is in continuity with his line of thought.

That's all.
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« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2013, 04:05:41 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions, but these are not quite what I had in mind. Another way to phrase this: was the humanity of the incarnate logos, including the will, a purely passive instrument in the hands of the incarnate logos, or was the human will a truly real dynamic and active element? How does that reality play out in the unity of the Incarnate logos, from a non-chalcedonian perspective?

May I suggest that one way out of this dilemma is the doctrine of the communication of attributes. The divine nature took upon Himself the limitations of humanity by its union with the human nature of Christ. However, the human nature of Christ was deified by its union with the divine nature. The divine nature of Christ is "of one essence" with the Father, while the human nature of Christ is "of one essence" with all humanity. The human nature is not absorbed by its union  with the divine nature, nor did the divine nature cease to be divine. Since there was no separation between the human and divine natures of Christ everything that Our Lord did, He did as one person without division between His two natures. Thus I would think that attributing some things that Christ did to His human nature and others to His divine nature should be avoided. I believe that the Coptic Liturgy expresses it best by stating that the two natures were always united and were never separated, even for the time of the twinging of the eye.
By the way someone quoted St. Cyril as writing, "That which is not assumed is not saved." It actually was St. Gregory the Theologian who wrote that in his Epistle 101.

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« Reply #29 on: December 09, 2013, 05:13:33 PM »

A complete phrase is an expression of one complete thought. Of that I am certain. I also would not write off anything a saint said, especially a saint as wonderful as St. Cyril of Alexandria. Plus, it is in total continuity with his other works on two natures which he mentions in letters to his friends, like acacius. The "problem" with St. Cyril, the more I read him, is that he had a very clear idea of WHAT he was trying to say, but he did not always say it consistently. For example, in certain letters, he says this:

"The brethren at Antioch, understanding in simple thoughts only those from which Christ is understood to be, have maintained a difference of natures, because, as I said, divinity and humanity are not the same in natural quality, but proclaimed one Son and Christ and Lord as being truly one; they say his person is one, and in no manner do they separate what has been united. Neither do they admit the natural division as the author of the wretched inventions was pleased to think, but they strongly maintain that only the sayings concerning the Lord are separated, not that they say that some of them separately are proper to the Son, the Word of God the Father, and others are proper to another son again, the one from a woman, but they say that some are proper to his divinity and others again are proper to his humanity. For the same one is God and man. But they say that there are others which have been made common in a certain way and, as it were, look toward both, I mean both the divinity and the humanity. What I am saying is the same as this…since he is one Christ, both Son and Lord, we say that his person also is one, both we and they say it." (Letter 40.10-14, 16-18)

And again, St. Cyril himself refers to some of his partisans who are a bit wild-eyed and radical (People like Eutyches)-

"But if the two natures have been brought into one mingling, because they happen to be of different substances, neither one is preserved but both have disappeared after they have been blended." (To Priest Photius of Alexandria, Letter 98)

"Some attack the exposition of faith which those from the East have made and ask, 'For what reason did the Bishop of Alexandria endure or even praise those who say that there are two natures?' Those who hold the same teachings as Nestorius say that he thinks the same thing too, snatching to their side those who do not understand precision. But it is necessary to say the following to those who are accusing me, namely, that it is not necessary to flee and avoid everything which heretics say, for they confess many of the things which we confess. For example, when the Arians say that the Father is the creator and Lord of all, does it follow that we avoid such confessions? Thus also is the case of Nestorius even if he says there are two natures signifying the difference of the flesh and the Word of God, for the nature of the Word is one nature and the nature of his flesh is another, but Nestorius does not any longer confess the union as we do." (To Eulogius the Priest, Letter 44)

He would have said this to perhaps a Timothy Aleurus or Severus, who both said that when Cyril speaks of two natures he is to be rejected

Anyway, my point is he is complex and he really has to be read, not only in his theological works, but also his personal letters clarifying what he meant in those works. And BECAUSE of what he has written in the past, we can see that this fragment is in continuity with his line of thought.

That's all.

Would you be shocked if I tell you that St. Severus of Antioch does not disagree with you one bit?  He just had a different interpretation of what went on in 451, that's all, which lead him to the develop into the opposition of the phrase at a particular moment in time.

Concerning this part:

Quote
He would have said this to perhaps a Timothy Aleurus or Severus, who both said that when Cyril speaks of two natures he is to be rejected

There is actually no record we know of that they said anything against St. Cyril on this regard.  Supposedly, it came from a quote from an ancient Chalcedonian Church father, who did not reference where he read this from.

It actually contradicts what St. Severus said here:

Quote
Severus admits that it is possible to find evidence in the works of the earlier Fathers for the use of the ‘two natures’ formula adopted by the Council of Chalcedon, but he argues that those Fathers employed it before the outbreak of the Nestorian controversy. Since then the situation had changed, and the imprecise expressions of the past had been given up in favour of a theological tradition based on the Nicene Creed as confirmed by the Councils of Constantinople and Ephesus.{footnote}ibid., p. 1. Severus refers to the imprecise expressions of fathers such as Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus and even Cyril before the beginning of the Nestorian controversy.
From Fr. Timothy Thomas' article, Severus of Antioch's objections to the Council of Chalcedon: a re-assessment

The monachos website underwent some reconstruction and seems to have lost the author's name (he was originally Tenny Thomas, now a priest of the Indian Orthodox Church), as well as proper html way to put in the citations.  It seems to me the reference is from St. Severus' "Contra Grammaticum".

The point is what I see in this quote made by Fr. Timothy is the idea that St. Severus recognized the Orthodoxy of the term "two natures", but fought against it when he felt it supported the ambiguities of Nestorianism.  He did not condemn the Church fathers who used the term, but his excuse was that he lives in a time when Nestorians next door are using the term in a heretical manner.  (he was after all a Syrian man who listened to people from Persia repeat the same Nestorian mistakes)

I think TODAY is a different reality than then, in my opinion.  You will find usually that people like me in the OO Church will only justify St. Severus' opposition then, but at the same time are sympathetic to the use of the phrase by the Eastern Orthodox TODAY, recognizing in them the true Orthodox faith.

There is a fairly priced book out by Pauline Allen that could probably help you understand what St. Severus was up against.  It's a fairly non-polemical book, but it seems to me from a Chalcedonian point of view that could aid in those who have been accustomed to the same accusations or at least modified accusations against the OO fathers.
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« Reply #30 on: December 09, 2013, 05:16:28 PM »

Thanks for the suggestions, but these are not quite what I had in mind. Another way to phrase this: was the humanity of the incarnate logos, including the will, a purely passive instrument in the hands of the incarnate logos, or was the human will a truly real dynamic and active element? How does that reality play out in the unity of the Incarnate logos, from a non-chalcedonian perspective?

May I suggest that one way out of this dilemma is the doctrine of the communication of attributes. The divine nature took upon Himself the limitations of humanity by its union with the human nature of Christ. However, the human nature of Christ was deified by its union with the divine nature. The divine nature of Christ is "of one essence" with the Father, while the human nature of Christ is "of one essence" with all humanity. The human nature is not absorbed by its union  with the divine nature, nor did the divine nature cease to be divine. Since there was no separation between the human and divine natures of Christ everything that Our Lord did, He did as one person without division between His two natures. Thus I would think that attributing some things that Christ did to His human nature and others to His divine nature should be avoided. I believe that the Coptic Liturgy expresses it best by stating that the two natures were always united and were never separated, even for the time of the twinging of the eye.
By the way someone quoted St. Cyril as writing, "That which is not assumed is not saved." It actually was St. Gregory the Theologian who wrote that in his Epistle 101.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father bless!

Amen!  Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: December 09, 2013, 08:34:10 PM »

If our faiths are the same, then our respective traditions can fully and honestly confess the same faith in the terminology of the other side. So why not do it? I freely say, that there is one incarnate nature of the Logos, understanding this phrase as St. Cyril himself expounded it.

But the fact is "in two natures" is not an innovation, it was taught by St. Cyril in his letter to Pope Sixtus (The Word existing in both natures) and it was taught by St. John Cassian who was the one who composed a work against Nestorius at Pope Leos request when Leo was Archdeacon. There is clear patristic precedence for it, and Leo drew his terminology and ideas from several saints, though perhaps he could have presented it better.

Did the Word subsist in the Humanity he took from the Virgin? Did he subsist in the Divinity natural to him in his Godhead? Did any of that change at the moment of the incarnation? Then he subsists in two natures which have come together in the unity of a single hypostasis.

Which is why I wanted to know about will. Does the Logos indwell the Human Mind and animate it, or does the human mind of Christ posses a natural autonomy the Logos identifies as his own autonomy?

The use of the word, "indwell" troubles me, because it seems almost Nestorian. Nestorius taught that the Divine Logos dwelt in the body of Christ as in a temple. The logical result of Nestorianism is the belief that Our Lord was simply an inspired man, which is the basic belief of liberal Protestants.
Would it not be more correct to state that the human and divine natures of Christ were united in one person?

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« Reply #32 on: December 09, 2013, 08:44:21 PM »

A complete phrase is an expression of one complete thought. Of that I am certain. I also would not write off anything a saint said, especially a saint as wonderful as St. Cyril of Alexandria. Plus, it is in total continuity with his other works on two natures which he mentions in letters to his friends, like acacius. The "problem" with St. Cyril, the more I read him, is that he had a very clear idea of WHAT he was trying to say, but he did not always say it consistently. For example, in certain letters, he says this:

"The brethren at Antioch, understanding in simple thoughts only those from which Christ is understood to be, have maintained a difference of natures, because, as I said, divinity and humanity are not the same in natural quality, but proclaimed one Son and Christ and Lord as being truly one; they say his person is one, and in no manner do they separate what has been united. Neither do they admit the natural division as the author of the wretched inventions was pleased to think, but they strongly maintain that only the sayings concerning the Lord are separated, not that they say that some of them separately are proper to the Son, the Word of God the Father, and others are proper to another son again, the one from a woman, but they say that some are proper to his divinity and others again are proper to his humanity. For the same one is God and man. But they say that there are others which have been made common in a certain way and, as it were, look toward both, I mean both the divinity and the humanity. What I am saying is the same as this…since he is one Christ, both Son and Lord, we say that his person also is one, both we and they say it." (Letter 40.10-14, 16-18)

And again, St. Cyril himself refers to some of his partisans who are a bit wild-eyed and radical (People like Eutyches)-

"But if the two natures have been brought into one mingling, because they happen to be of different substances, neither one is preserved but both have disappeared after they have been blended." (To Priest Photius of Alexandria, Letter 98)

"Some attack the exposition of faith which those from the East have made and ask, 'For what reason did the Bishop of Alexandria endure or even praise those who say that there are two natures?' Those who hold the same teachings as Nestorius say that he thinks the same thing too, snatching to their side those who do not understand precision. But it is necessary to say the following to those who are accusing me, namely, that it is not necessary to flee and avoid everything which heretics say, for they confess many of the things which we confess. For example, when the Arians say that the Father is the creator and Lord of all, does it follow that we avoid such confessions? Thus also is the case of Nestorius even if he says there are two natures signifying the difference of the flesh and the Word of God, for the nature of the Word is one nature and the nature of his flesh is another, but Nestorius does not any longer confess the union as we do." (To Eulogius the Priest, Letter 44)

He would have said this to perhaps a Timothy Aleurus or Severus, who both said that when Cyril speaks of two natures he is to be rejected

Anyway, my point is he is complex and he really has to be read, not only in his theological works, but also his personal letters clarifying what he meant in those works. And BECAUSE of what he has written in the past, we can see that this fragment is in continuity with his line of thought.

That's all.

Would you be shocked if I tell you that St. Severus of Antioch does not disagree with you one bit?  He just had a different interpretation of what went on in 451, that's all, which lead him to the develop into the opposition of the phrase at a particular moment in time.

Concerning this part:

Quote
He would have said this to perhaps a Timothy Aleurus or Severus, who both said that when Cyril speaks of two natures he is to be rejected

There is actually no record we know of that they said anything against St. Cyril on this regard.  Supposedly, it came from a quote from an ancient Chalcedonian Church father, who did not reference where he read this from.

It actually contradicts what St. Severus said here:

Quote
Severus admits that it is possible to find evidence in the works of the earlier Fathers for the use of the ‘two natures’ formula adopted by the Council of Chalcedon, but he argues that those Fathers employed it before the outbreak of the Nestorian controversy. Since then the situation had changed, and the imprecise expressions of the past had been given up in favour of a theological tradition based on the Nicene Creed as confirmed by the Councils of Constantinople and Ephesus.{footnote}ibid., p. 1. Severus refers to the imprecise expressions of fathers such as Athanasius, Gregory of Nazianzus and even Cyril before the beginning of the Nestorian controversy.
From Fr. Timothy Thomas' article, Severus of Antioch's objections to the Council of Chalcedon: a re-assessment

The monachos website underwent some reconstruction and seems to have lost the author's name (he was originally Tenny Thomas, now a priest of the Indian Orthodox Church), as well as proper html way to put in the citations.  It seems to me the reference is from St. Severus' "Contra Grammaticum".

The point is what I see in this quote made by Fr. Timothy is the idea that St. Severus recognized the Orthodoxy of the term "two natures", but fought against it when he felt it supported the ambiguities of Nestorianism.  He did not condemn the Church fathers who used the term, but his excuse was that he lives in a time when Nestorians next door are using the term in a heretical manner.  (he was after all a Syrian man who listened to people from Persia repeat the same Nestorian mistakes)

I think TODAY is a different reality than then, in my opinion.  You will find usually that people like me in the OO Church will only justify St. Severus' opposition then, but at the same time are sympathetic to the use of the phrase by the Eastern Orthodox TODAY, recognizing in them the true Orthodox faith.

There is a fairly priced book out by Pauline Allen that could probably help you understand what St. Severus was up against.  It's a fairly non-polemical book, but it seems to me from a Chalcedonian point of view that could aid in those who have been accustomed to the same accusations or at least modified accusations against the OO fathers.

What word besides "nature" would you use to describe what we Chalcedonians call the human and divine natures of Christ? I am not trying to start an argument. I just would like to know what other term than "nature" could be used to express the doctrine that Christ is both human and divine.
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« Reply #33 on: December 09, 2013, 09:39:00 PM »

Let me provide two quotes:

From St. Severus of Antioch's Contra Grammariam III 33 (quoted from Cyril Hovorun's "Will, Freedom, and Action", p. 18):

Quote
The incarnate has done and said this, for it is united hypostatically to the body and through adhering together it had this as an organ for the deeds, as the soul too, which is peculiar to each one of us, has chosen its own body as organ; the Logos does not act through an extrinsically (united) God-bearing human being, as the ravings of Nestorius would have it, nor in the way in which an artisan uses a tool and thus completes the work and (not) like the way a cithara player strikes the cithara.
Btw, a source of confusion is that the Chalcedonians preached against John the Grammarian-whom they took as representing the anti-Chalcedonians-and the anti-Chalcedonians (>OO) abandoned him and followed Pat. Severus of Antioch in his condemnation of John the Grammarian.

We just need to find a way to mutually condemn heretics together at the same time. Smiley
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« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2013, 10:17:01 PM »

We just need to find a way to mutually condemn heretics together at the same time. Smiley

It helps to have a common enemy.  I suggest focusing on the Jehovah's Witnesses: they have interrupted me in the middle of many a pancake, and I know they have interrupted you too. 
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« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2013, 11:04:17 PM »

What word besides "nature" would you use to describe what we Chalcedonians call the human and divine natures of Christ? I am not trying to start an argument. I just would like to know what other term than "nature" could be used to express the doctrine that Christ is both human and divine.

Father bless!

I don't think words suffice, but if you follow along the article from monachos by Fr. Timothy Thomas, you will find an interesting tendency in St. Severus.  Hypostasis today is defined in a manner much differently than then.  Fr. V.C. Samuel also goes through this in some detail in his monumental book, The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined.  St. Severus defines hypostasis as a real existence.  Not every hypostasis is a person.

Let's use a very simple example of a rock.  This rock's ousia would be "rockness."  When "rockness" exists, it exists as a rock, which is a hypostasis.  Nature can mean either an abstract essence, an ousia, or a real existence, a hypostasis.

For St. Severus, to describe the full reality of Christ's humanity, he called it an hypostasis.  However, because the eternal Word of God became incarnate and made this humanity His very own, the humanity is called a "non-self-subsistent hypostasis".  (non-self-hypostatic hypostasis).  In other words, the humanity of Christ is real, but does not exist on its own.  Its existence depends on the hypostasis of the Word, a self-subsistent hypostasis (an existence that exists on its own).  Nevertheless, the Word of God incarnate is ONE hypostasis, which mean it is one real existence.  When we say "one nature", it is used in the sense that it is "one existence".

So, for St. Severus, he says that the humanity of Christ is "hypostatic", that is literally, it "really exists", body, soul, spirit, all properties of humanity all exist truly.  When the Word became flesh, he became REAL flesh.

Later theologians who defined hypostasis with a different definition as synonymous with prosopon made a theory of "enhypostasia", which goes pretty much against the definitions St. Severus defined.  For later theologians, it is correct for them to say the humanity has no hypostasis, because it has no prosopon.  But St. Severus said that all prosopa has hypostases, but not all hypostases have prosopa (see the example of the rock).  Thus, when a student of St. Severus hears that the humanity has no hypostasis, in his mind, he thinks "the humanity has no existence", ironically falling into the thoughts of docetism.  Of course, no body made the mistake of docetism, but this is what Fr. V.C. Samuel's analysis if using the thought and definitions.  Likewise when a student of, let's say St. John of Damascus hears St. Severus say that the humanity of Christ is hypostatic, they ironically accuse the man who was accused with Eutyches of the same heresy a "Nestorian".

I'd say for Chalcedonians there's also a nuanced definition with the word "nature".  Nature seems to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, a real existence based off an ousia that is "inseparable" in its basic element.  In other words, in the ears of those who heard "one nature", it seemed to them a mixture, a new ousia had to be made in order for this nature to be "one".  But of course, the definition of nature for the other side is "a real existence" or more accurately "a state of existence".  Therefore, to them when the state of existence is "two", to them they think two separate independent hypostases are present.  So, this became a war of definitions.  Each side trying to justify his predecessor's tradition defined terms in a way that was consistent in its own system and leads polemically to condemn the other system.

For St. Cyril, the problem lies in the flexibility of the use of the term "nature".  Because he knew that nature can be used as "ousia" and used as "hypostasis", he used it very liberally, and it needed to be understood in its context.  Interestingly enough, many of those in the Antiochian side were accusing St. Cyril and the council of Ephesus of docetism for his use of the word nature, and they felt he used it inconsistently.  His monumental work with John of Antioch shows that he did not allow misunderstandings get in the way, nor did he enforce in it to accept a council, but the faith of the letter he saw in it the faith of the council of Ephesus without verbal acceptance.  He even allowed the veneration of Theodore of Mopsuestia and Diodore of Tarsus to continue, despite the fact that he refuted their writings as forerunners to Nestorianism.

Unfortunately 20 years later, something went wrong, and here we are.  Smiley  But I believe if we avoid ambiguity today and are far from the constraints of imperial pressure, and are asked in humility "what do you mean when you say..." and the meaning is Orthodox, then we shouldn't be afraid of unity in the faith today.  It goes through pains when someone has to rely on some sort of strict formula to define the faith.  I think today, we need not use terms like "nature" or others to confuse people.  We need to define the terms we use before we use them.  But I think it suffices to just use the terms "humanity" and "divinity".  When I read about both families of Orthodoxy, I believe in both of them carries this one faith:

The One Word of God after the incarnation is both fully man and fully God, or fully human and fully divine.  I believe in the One Word of God, the same One Word of God who was begotten of the Father before all ages, this same One Word of God became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Virgin Theotokos.  The One Word of God by whom all things were created became man.  The same One Word of God who created man in His image and likeness took on the name of Jesus.  The same One Word of God who sends His Holy Spirit to anoint prophets and kings became anointed as the Christ.  The same begotten not created One Word of god became created.  The same One Word of God who is co-essential with the Father became co-essential with all of humanity in truth and perfection, in body, soul, spirit, will, energy, any and all properties of humanity except sin (which is after all not an essential property of humanity).  The Source of all goodness and righteousness, the same One Word of God while without sin became a sin offering, as the Lamb of God, that He may take away the sins of the world, and grant us the Life from His eternal divinity. 

I think when we contemplate on the good things both our families have to offer to the same One Christological faith, we can go on for pages that would be more pleasant than the arguments of language.
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« Reply #36 on: December 10, 2013, 12:32:34 AM »

What word besides "nature" would you use to describe what we Chalcedonians call the human and divine natures of Christ? I am not trying to start an argument. I just would like to know what other term than "nature" could be used to express the doctrine that Christ is both human and divine.

Father bless!

I don't think words suffice, but if you follow along the article from monachos by Fr. Timothy Thomas, you will find an interesting tendency in St. Severus.  Hypostasis today is defined in a manner much differently than then.  Fr. V.C. Samuel also goes through this in some detail in his monumental book, The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined.  St. Severus defines hypostasis as a real existence.  Not every hypostasis is a person.

Let's use a very simple example of a rock.  This rock's ousia would be "rockness."  When "rockness" exists, it exists as a rock, which is a hypostasis.  Nature can mean either an abstract essence, an ousia, or a real existence, a hypostasis.

For St. Severus, to describe the full reality of Christ's humanity, he called it an hypostasis.  However, because the eternal Word of God became incarnate and made this humanity His very own, the humanity is called a "non-self-subsistent hypostasis".  (non-self-hypostatic hypostasis).  In other words, the humanity of Christ is real, but does not exist on its own.  Its existence depends on the hypostasis of the Word, a self-subsistent hypostasis (an existence that exists on its own).  Nevertheless, the Word of God incarnate is ONE hypostasis, which mean it is one real existence.  When we say "one nature", it is used in the sense that it is "one existence".

So, for St. Severus, he says that the humanity of Christ is "hypostatic", that is literally, it "really exists", body, soul, spirit, all properties of humanity all exist truly.  When the Word became flesh, he became REAL flesh.

Later theologians who defined hypostasis with a different definition as synonymous with prosopon made a theory of "enhypostasia", which goes pretty much against the definitions St. Severus defined.  For later theologians, it is correct for them to say the humanity has no hypostasis, because it has no prosopon.  But St. Severus said that all prosopa has hypostases, but not all hypostases have prosopa (see the example of the rock).  Thus, when a student of St. Severus hears that the humanity has no hypostasis, in his mind, he thinks "the humanity has no existence", ironically falling into the thoughts of docetism.  Of course, no body made the mistake of docetism, but this is what Fr. V.C. Samuel's analysis if using the thought and definitions.  Likewise when a student of, let's say St. John of Damascus hears St. Severus say that the humanity of Christ is hypostatic, they ironically accuse the man who was accused with Eutyches of the same heresy a "Nestorian".

I'd say for Chalcedonians there's also a nuanced definition with the word "nature".  Nature seems to me, and correct me if I'm wrong, a real existence based off an ousia that is "inseparable" in its basic element.  In other words, in the ears of those who heard "one nature", it seemed to them a mixture, a new ousia had to be made in order for this nature to be "one".  But of course, the definition of nature for the other side is "a real existence" or more accurately "a state of existence".  Therefore, to them when the state of existence is "two", to them they think two separate independent hypostases are present.  So, this became a war of definitions.  Each side trying to justify his predecessor's tradition defined terms in a way that was consistent in its own system and leads polemically to condemn the other system.

For St. Cyril, the problem lies in the flexibility of the use of the term "nature".  Because he knew that nature can be used as "ousia" and used as "hypostasis", he used it very liberally, and it needed to be understood in its context.  Interestingly enough, many of those in the Antiochian side were accusing St. Cyril and the council of Ephesus of docetism for his use of the word nature, and they felt he used it inconsistently.  His monumental work with John of Antioch shows that he did not allow misunderstandings get in the way, nor did he enforce in it to accept a council, but the faith of the letter he saw in it the faith of the council of Ephesus without verbal acceptance.  He even allowed the veneration of Theodore of Mopsuestia and Diodore of Tarsus to continue, despite the fact that he refuted their writings as forerunners to Nestorianism.

Unfortunately 20 years later, something went wrong, and here we are.  Smiley  But I believe if we avoid ambiguity today and are far from the constraints of imperial pressure, and are asked in humility "what do you mean when you say..." and the meaning is Orthodox, then we shouldn't be afraid of unity in the faith today.  It goes through pains when someone has to rely on some sort of strict formula to define the faith.  I think today, we need not use terms like "nature" or others to confuse people.  We need to define the terms we use before we use them.  But I think it suffices to just use the terms "humanity" and "divinity".  When I read about both families of Orthodoxy, I believe in both of them carries this one faith:

The One Word of God after the incarnation is both fully man and fully God, or fully human and fully divine.  I believe in the One Word of God, the same One Word of God who was begotten of the Father before all ages, this same One Word of God became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Virgin Theotokos.  The One Word of God by whom all things were created became man.  The same One Word of God who created man in His image and likeness took on the name of Jesus.  The same One Word of God who sends His Holy Spirit to anoint prophets and kings became anointed as the Christ.  The same begotten not created One Word of god became created.  The same One Word of God who is co-essential with the Father became co-essential with all of humanity in truth and perfection, in body, soul, spirit, will, energy, any and all properties of humanity except sin (which is after all not an essential property of humanity).  The Source of all goodness and righteousness, the same One Word of God while without sin became a sin offering, as the Lamb of God, that He may take away the sins of the world, and grant us the Life from His eternal divinity. 

I think when we contemplate on the good things both our families have to offer to the same One Christological faith, we can go on for pages that would be more pleasant than the arguments of language.

I appreciate the time that you took to write this very detailed response to my question. I agree that the root of the problem lies in the fact that the meaning of terms like hypostasis changed as different Fathers used them. Your point about those influenced by St. John of Damascus is very true. I may be wrong but I think of Christ as one hypostasis or person with two natures, human and divine. It is wrong to separate the humanity from the divinity, but it is also wrong to teach that the divinity absorbed the humanity, so that Christ was not fully human. He was both fully human and fully divine, but after the Incarnation His humanity was never separated from his divinity.
I have always thought that the path to re-unity between Chalcdonian and non-Chalcedonian lies in the example of St. Cyril's letter to John of Antioch, which affirms that we can use different terms to describe the same belief. 

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« Reply #37 on: December 10, 2013, 12:11:59 PM »

Let me provide two quotes:

From St. Severus of Antioch's Contra Grammariam III 33 (quoted from Cyril Hovorun's "Will, Freedom, and Action", p. 18):

Quote
The incarnate has done and said this, for it is united hypostatically to the body and through adhering together it had this as an organ for the deeds, as the soul too, which is peculiar to each one of us, has chosen its own body as organ; the Logos does not act through an extrinsically (united) God-bearing human being, as the ravings of Nestorius would have it, nor in the way in which an artisan uses a tool and thus completes the work and (not) like the way a cithara player strikes the cithara.
Btw, a source of confusion is that the Chalcedonians preached against John the Grammarian-whom they took as representing the anti-Chalcedonians-and the anti-Chalcedonians (>OO) abandoned him and followed Pat. Severus of Antioch in his condemnation of John the Grammarian.

I recently learned that John Damascene's "Against the Jacobites" and his other related writings were, at least in part, directed against John Philoponus who was already condemned by the OO.
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« Reply #38 on: December 10, 2013, 08:33:39 PM »

Let me provide two quotes:

From St. Severus of Antioch's Contra Grammariam III 33 (quoted from Cyril Hovorun's "Will, Freedom, and Action", p. 18):

Quote
The incarnate has done and said this, for it is united hypostatically to the body and through adhering together it had this as an organ for the deeds, as the soul too, which is peculiar to each one of us, has chosen its own body as organ; the Logos does not act through an extrinsically (united) God-bearing human being, as the ravings of Nestorius would have it, nor in the way in which an artisan uses a tool and thus completes the work and (not) like the way a cithara player strikes the cithara.
Btw, a source of confusion is that the Chalcedonians preached against John the Grammarian-whom they took as representing the anti-Chalcedonians-and the anti-Chalcedonians (>OO) abandoned him and followed Pat. Severus of Antioch in his condemnation of John the Grammarian.

I recently learned that John Damascene's "Against the Jacobites" and his other related writings were, at least in part, directed against John Philoponus who was already condemned by the OO.

Three mutually condemned heretics! We must be onto something.
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« Reply #39 on: December 11, 2013, 12:57:51 PM »

Three mutually condemned heretics! We must be onto something.

Poor John Philoponus. He should be remembered as one of the greatest scientific minds of late antiquity but instead gets dragged into the Christological controversies of the time (I think at the Emperor Justinian's urging?), only to wind up getting condemned by both sides.
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« Reply #40 on: December 11, 2013, 01:22:09 PM »

Three mutually condemned heretics! We must be onto something.

Poor John Philoponus. He should be remembered as one of the greatest scientific minds of late antiquity but instead gets dragged into the Christological controversies of the time (I think at the Emperor Justinian's urging?), only to wind up getting condemned by both sides.

He was doing fine, until he professed tri-theism...then even Justinian was like, "dude! What in the?"
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Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
Tags: Oriental  orthodox  monothelitism  monothelite  miathelite  Will  nature one will cheval mort 
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