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#41 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 04:54 PM

I need to read through this page but I just want to ask this: can we say that there is no incompatibility (if that is the right word) between Christ, as Perfect Man, the New Adam, and as Perfect God, assuming pre-Fall human nature, and assuming the blameless passions and taking upon Himself the sins of the whole world? In other words, Christ did not have to assume our post-Fall human nature in order to take upon Himself the sins of the whole world?



#42 Panayotis

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 06:01 PM

A critical review of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware's The Orthodox Church presents Vladimir Lossky as viewing the Christology of St. Maximos in a way that is consistent with Fr. Emmanuel's presentation:

 

"In our  century, however, in keeping with the Patristic witness, at least two prominent Orthodox Theologians [Florovsky and Lossky] have vehemently maintained that Christ assumed our unfallen nature, that of pre-lapsarian man...Vladimir Lossky, for his part, following St. Maximos the Confessor (Questions to Thalassios, 21), states that our Lord's humanity "had the immortal and incorruptible character of the nature of Adam before he sinned, but Christ submitted it voluntarily to the condition of our fallen nature" (the Mystical Theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church [Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1976], p. 142. Like St. John of Damascus, Lossky emphasizes that Christ voluntarily experienced the infirmities of our pot-lapsarian nature; he did not assume and infirm nature. By His human will, Christ "accepted what was contrary to the incorruptible and deified humanity" - that is, the unblameworthy passions (ibid., p. 148).

 

http://orthodoxinfo....review_tow.aspx

 

Maybe reference to Lossky's text can add something to the discussion. Unfortunately I don't have it. 



#43 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 06:50 PM

Thanks to Panayiotis for this his post; the article to which the link leads is very helpful. Can we accept that article as representing the teaching of the Church?



#44 Panayotis

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:35 PM

Also, I can't agree with the comment on the previous page that faults Fr. Emmanuel for referring to Christ's "perfect humanity" instead of His "complete manhood" which claimed to be the language of the Fathers. In his 2wst response to Thalassios, St. Maximos refers to Christ as τέλειος γενόμενος ἄνθρωπος, and the meaning of τέλειος encompasses both perfection and completeness. If there is any fault here it would be with the translation of the text into English which in my opinion fails to fully capture the richness of meaning of the Greek word.

#45 Antonios

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 07:40 PM

Thanks to Panayiotis for this his post; the article to which the link leads is very helpful. Can we accept that article as representing the teaching of the Church?

 

Excellent aricle in the link!  I can accept the thesis in this article to represent the teaching of the Church, but then again, who am I?  lol

 

I think this thread ties nicely with the recent thread of Sean's which asks why there has been an (apparent) pause in the Ecumenical Councils.  With this particular topic at hand, we have Patristic testimony which seems to demonstrate a consensus, however I would hesitate it as being a dogmatic teaching since it hasn't really been specifically addressed in a past Holy Council.  We now find some contemporary theologians who advocate a different point of view.   Hypothetically, if this particular issue became a huge arguement within the life of the Church and threatened the peace and unity of the Church, then it may (hypothetically) require a Ecumenical Council.  Hopefully, nothing like this would be necessary, but I simply wanted to share with Sean an example of how such a Council could come to be.



#46 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 10:06 PM

The thing is about a Council is that it was called to refute something which was already called a heresy rather than deciding whether something was a heresy - I think! Someone correct me if I am wrong.

 

I get the sense that there is a strong consensus for Christ having a pre-Fall human nature but is the contention for a post-Fall human nature just erroneous or heretical? Who would decide that, and how? Would they marshal all the patristic evidence and see what weight it had?



#47 Lakis Papas

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 10:50 PM

St Cavasilas wrote:
"For God did not create human nature with any other purpose in mind... rather, He created it with this end in view, that, when it was fitting for Him to be born, He might receive His Mother from it; having first established this purpose [Christ, the hypostatic union] as a kind of standard, He then fashioned man in accordance with it. "

Here, once more, st Cavasilas made an important theological statement: Adam's nature was fashioned for Christ's incarnation from the start. It was the proper nature for incarnation, by design!

#48 Antonios

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 11:46 PM

The thing is about a Council is that it was called to refute something which was already called a heresy rather than deciding whether something was a heresy - I think! Someone correct me if I am wrong.

I get the sense that there is a strong consensus for Christ having a pre-Fall human nature but is the contention for a post-Fall human nature just erroneous or heretical? Who would decide that, and how? Would they marshal all the patristic evidence and see what weight it had?

I am no scholar on the history of the Ecumencial Councils, but I think there is a gradual development at times between erroneous thinking and heresy. Erroneous thinking is the precursor towards heresy. That is, there can be differing theological opinions on a matter, but when one is proclaimed orthodox and the other heretical via the synodical system of say a Ecumencial Council, then it becomes a heresy, and those who willfully choose to persist in their erroneous belief would be labeled a heretic.

From my recollection, sometimes what is orthodox and what is heresy is not clearly distinguished until the Council is complete, and the topic is deliberated and a vote is made. At least that is how I understand the First Ecumencial Council functioned. Thus, Arius could be said to have had a theological opinion on the Person of Jesus Christ which after the Council concluded (which was not by unaminous vote), could then be called heretical because Arius persisted in his erroneous belief.

I can't imagine a topic like this we are discussing would lead to requiring a Ecumencial Council to deliberate on, but this is a small example of how I *think* Ecumencial Councils can develop, especially if prominent theologians are at complete odds on the question and it begins to foment strife and contention. This would certainly be preceded by Local Synods and such before it would get to the point of requiring a Ecumencial Council, and I think that is where this topic (as others which have sprung up in the life of the Church) would be clarified and established. If however Local Synods begin to counter one another, then it sets the stage for a Ecumencial Council to convene.

Again, I don't believe this topic would ever lead to that, but I use it as an example for Sean to understand how these things could come about. At least, that is my understanding of the process and I am happy to be corrected.

Edited by Antonios, 02 August 2016 - 11:48 PM.


#49 Anna Stickles

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 02:08 AM

A critical review of Metropolitan Kallistos Ware's The Orthodox Church presents Vladimir Lossky as viewing the Christology of St. Maximos in a way that is consistent with Fr. Emmanuel's presentation:

"In our century, however, in keeping with the Patristic witness, at least two prominent Orthodox Theologians [Florovsky and Lossky] have vehemently maintained that Christ assumed our unfallen nature, that of pre-lapsarian man...Vladimir Lossky, for his part, following St. Maximos the Confessor (Questions to Thalassios, 21), states that our Lord's humanity "had the immortal and incorruptible character of the nature of Adam before he sinned, but Christ submitted it voluntarily to the condition of our fallen nature" (the Mystical Theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church [Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1976], p. 142. Like St. John of Damascus, Lossky emphasizes that Christ voluntarily experienced the infirmities of our pot-lapsarian nature; he did not assume and infirm nature. By His human will, Christ "accepted what was contrary to the incorruptible and deified humanity" - that is, the unblameworthy passions (ibid., p. 148).

http://orthodoxinfo....review_tow.aspx

Maybe reference to Lossky's text can add something to the discussion. Unfortunately I don't have it.


Thank you for jumping into the discussion. The question is - what exactly is meant by "unfallen nature"? In the paragraph before your quote the main point is brought up. "Father Florovsky, for example, asserts that "in the Incarnation the Word assumes the original human nature, innocent and free from original sin, without any stain." "This,"he continues, "does not violate the fullness of nature, nor does it affect the Saviours likeness to us sinful people. For sin does not belong to human nature, but is a parasitic and abnormal growth" I don't think anyone will disagree with this - that Christ was in His whole incarnate being completely free from sin or any inclination to sin.

 

However, this part is questionable ".Vladimir Lossky, for his part, following St. Maximos the Confessor (Questions to Thalassios, 21), states that our Lord's humanity "had the immortal and incorruptible character of the nature of Adam before he sinned, but Christ submitted it voluntarily to the condition of our fallen nature"

I don't have Lossky's book either, but I do have Ad Thass 21 and since the author of the article is misinterpreting St Maximos, I have to wonder if he is also misinterpreting Lossky. St Maximos does not say that the Lord's humanity had the immortal and incorruptible character of the nature of Adam before he sinned. He says
 

"He (Logos) appeared like the first man Adam in both (1) his creaturely origin (γένεσις) and (2) his birth (γέννησις).


in reference to creaturly origin of Adam- The first man received his existence from God and came into being... and was free from corruption and sin - for God did not create either of these.


in reference to birth - When however he sinned by breaking God's commandment, he was condemned to birth based on sexual passion. Sin henceforth constrained his true natural origin within the liability to passions that had accompanied the first sin, as though placing it under a law...." (by "sin" here he is talking not about Adam's actual transgression, but sin as a force toward rebellion that after the fist disobedience was present in our shared existence.)


Since therefore sin came about on account of the transgression, and the liability to passions... entered human nature on account of sin, and since through sin the original transgression continued unabatedly to flourish right along with this passibility of childbirth, there was no hope of liberation. ...because of its physical condition, human nature suffered the increase of sin within this very liability to passions, and it retained the energies of all opposing forces, principalities, and powers - energies which in view of the universal sin operative in human passibility, used the unnatural passions to hide under the guise of natural passions. driving the deliberative will with the natural passions into the corruption of natural passions."


(This refers to the kind of delusion we are in when we think we are doing something good or natural and in reality selfishness, and other forms of vice are mixed in with and forming to some extent our actions and thoughts. The struggle toward purification of mind and heart in Christ are how we start to escape this delusion and see the sin hiding there - which is why baptism is called enlightenment)


He then talks about the Incarnation:

Thus in His love for humanity, the Only Begotten Son and Logos of God became perfect man... Taking on the original condition of Adam as he was in the very beginning (γένεσις), he was sinless but not incorruptible, and he assumed from the procreative process (γέννησις) introduced into human nature as a consequence of sin, only the liability to passions not the sin itself."


The saint continues talking about how Satan, "seeing in God our savior the same natural liability to passions as in Adam... and thinking he was necessarily and circumstantially a mere man, that the Lord had to submit to the law of nature.. assailed Him. These evil powers hoped to use natural passibility to induce the Lord Himself to fantasize unnatural passion... They tried to do this to Him who in his first experience of temptations by pleasure subjected himself to being deluded by these evil powers deceits only to put off those powers by eliminating them from human nature, remaining unapproachable and untouchable for them."


In Ambigua 42 St Maximos again specifies exactly what of Adam's pre-fallen nature Christ did assume (sinlessness, the blameless image of God)  and what He did not, (incorruptibility)  and also what of Adam's fallen nature He did assume (liability to passion, corruption, mortality) and what He did not  (condition of sin,  being under the necessity of the law of sin, death and passion)
 

"He embraced creaturely origin just as it was before the transgression of Adam, and in being formed as a man He naturally assumed... the condition of sinlessness -- but He did not assume incorruptibility. On the other hand, when in His voluntary self-emptying He experienced the form of birth that emerged subsequent to the divine condemnation of the transgression, He naturally assumed human passibility -- but not the proclivity to sin. ... In thoroughly and mutually combining these two conditions in relation to Himself, He powerfully remedied their deficiencies by their extremes. In other words, He made the second and ignoble birth the salvation and renewal of the first one, and at the same time He made the first birth constitutive and preservative of the second one. ... "


Edited by Anna Stickles, 03 August 2016 - 02:19 AM.


#50 Lakis Papas

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 10:50 AM

Let me provide an image, that's how I understand the issue, as it is presented by church fathers.

Let's depict the fallen human nature with the image of a bucket full of water and holes at the bottom inside a gravitational field. It is obvious that the gravity will create the effect of flow of the water out of the bucket through the holes from the bottom.

In the above picture the flow of water out of the holes denotes falling into sin, each hole presents different passion. Some of the holes are blameless passions. The passions are created by the flow.

This image provides two elements which BOTH belong to fallen human nature: 1) the structural frame of fallen human nature as a bucket full of water with holes and 2) the inclination for sin of fallen human nature as a gravitational force that acts upon the structural frame's elements and causes its activation by the flow of water out of the bucket.

All humans take both the structural frame and the inclination potential, but Christ took only the structrural frame.

Therefore, in Christ there is no potential to generate the flow of water out of the bucket. While the holes are there in the structural frame, the gravitational force is missing and the dynamics of flow have no generator.

Then, He is in control of letting the flow of the water only through the holes that present the blameless passions, according to His will.

I find the above picture sufficient to explain in a visual way the issue at hand. It works for me.

Edited by Lakis Papas, 03 August 2016 - 10:52 AM.


#51 Anna Stickles

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 12:29 PM

Thanks for this picture, I was also trying to think of something to show this more clearly. (Maybe we could add though how in Christ the bucket is getting refilled by an ever-flowing spring, as well as there being a lack of gravitational pull. :)

 

I was thinking of how our nature is prone to break down (physically or psychologically) under pressure but this doesn't necessarily mean it will breakdown. Sin provides the conditions under which one will definitely break-down, but in Christ, even though his humanity may have this basic weakness, because He is sinless then he is not constrained or changed by the stress.  Also, because He as God is the source of life and incorruption, not only does He not break down, but His Incarnation is a source of restoration.

 

Christ is the source but the saints share in what we find in Him. Consider St Paul's statement which I think illustrates this whole idea of a weakened structural integrity, but not any kind of breakdown.

 

II Cor 4  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh." 

 

Fr. E in the Jesus Fallen book talks about two types of corruption - the one which Christ had being man's liability to break-down, but the one which Christ did not have which is any possibility of actual break-down. Thus He could die, but there was no dissolution of His being. 

 

Christ too had an earthen vessel, although this was not by necessity, but according to His economy for us. After the resurrection the vessel was no longer earthly but heavenly, but this too was according to His dispensation and example for us, not under necessity.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 03 August 2016 - 12:30 PM.


#52 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 01:36 PM

I was just reading pp 145-149 in Lossky's Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church to which Anna refers in her post #49. Basing himself (he says) on St Maximus, Lossky says this:


'For St Maximus, the divine humiliation, the kenosis, was not an impoverishment of the deity, but an ineffable descent of the Son who is reduced to the 'form of a slave' without ceasing to be fully God. It is in virtue of this humiliation that Christ, the new Adam, incorruptible and immortal in His human nature – a nature which was completely deified by the hypostatic union – submitted voluntarily to all the consequences of sin and became Isaiah’s ‘Man of sorrows’ (iii, 3). Thus, by assimilating the historic reality in which the Incarnation had to take place He introduced into His divine person all sin-scarred, fallen human nature. That is why the earthly life of Christ was a continual humiliation. His human will unceasingly renounced what naturally belonged to it, and accepted what was contrary to incorruptible and deified humanity: hunger, thirst, weariness, grief, sufferings, and finally, death on the cross. Thus, one could say that the person of Christ, before the end of His redemptive work, before the Resurrection, possessed in His humanity as it were two different poles – the incorruptibility and impassibility proper to a perfect and deified nature, as well as the corruptibility and possibility voluntarily assumed, under which conditions His kenotic person submitted and continued to submit His sin-free humanity. That is why St. Maximus distinguishes two assumptions of humanity by the Word: the natural assumption and the relative or economic assumption. The first is, so to speak, concealed by the second. It is only manifested once before the Passion, when Christ appeared to the three Apostles in His deified humanity, resplendent with the light of His divinity. The hymn for the feast of the Transfiguration clearly expresses the two aspects of Christ’s humanity – His natural state and His state of voluntary submission to conditions of fallen humanity: ‘Thou wast transfigured on the mountain, O Christ our Lord, and the glory has so caught the wonder of Thy disciples, that when they saw Thee crucified they will understand that Thy Passion is voluntary, and they will proclaim to the world that Thou art truly the Splendour of the Father.’


At p 153, Lossky continues:
‘Christ assumed our nature; He voluntarily submitted to all the consequences of sin; He took on Himself the responsibility for our error, while remaining a stranger to sin, in order to resolve the tragedy of human liberty, and in order to bridge the gulf between God and man by leading him into the heart of His Person where there is no room for any division or interior conflict. According to St. Maximus, Christ healed all that belonged to man, but particularly the will which was the main source of his sin. By His ineffable kenosis, the God-man was integrated into corruptible reality, draining and emptying it from within by means of His incorruptible will. This voluntary integration into the condition of fallen humanity had to end in the death on the cross, and the descent into hell [hades]. Thus, the whole of our fallen nature – death included – and all the existential consequences of sin, such as had the character of penalty, chastisement and curse, have been transformed by the Cross of Christ into our means of salvation.’
 



#53 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 06:08 PM

We may note that after the Resurrection, Christ threw off the blameless passions.



#54 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 07:22 PM

I have been reading the hymns of the Feast of the Transfiguration and a number of them refer directly to this matter.



#55 Lakis Papas

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 08:58 PM

We may note that after the Resurrection, Christ threw off the blameless passions.

 

It is also important to have in our hearts the knowledge that the Lord will keep for all eternity the marks of the crucifixion on His Holy Body.

 

Also, after His resurrection Christ eat food before the Apostles, His glorified human body still kept the capacity to eat food - although some fathers state that at this instance the consumption of  the food was not in compliance with the natural operation.



#56 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 09:22 PM

I recall reading somewhere that Christ kept His wounds and ate in front of the disciples to convince them - especially Thomas - that He was real and indeed their Lord. The food He ate wold have mysteriously been absorbed though.



#57 Panayotis

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Posted 01 September 2016 - 01:31 AM

Thanks for your comments Anna. It's a great privilege for me to participate in this discussion with you and others on this forum. I hope I never take for granted the deep knowledge that you so freely share or the time you take to make your astute contributions.

I'm by no means well versed in St. Maximos or in Patristics in general so I need to defer to Orthodox Patristic scholars but I'm at peace with that and I've found Fr. Emmanuel Hatzidakis' presentation in <i>Jesus Fallen?</i> to be consistent with the theology that I have encountered elsewhere. For example, in his book Deification in Christ, the Patrologist Panayiotis Nellas, while basing himself on St. Maximos points out that:

"In fact, because the Lord had one generation (coming into life) which was radically different from the usual biological generation that is called birth, he was free of all post-lapsarian biological conditions and certainly from death. He accepted them voluntarily through his real birth...in order to destroy them." *

This view corresponds with the quote from St. Maximos that Fr. Emmanuel has provided on his blog Over The Rooftops:

"When it comes to the Lord the natural characteristics do not precede His will, as it happens with us. For even though He truly hungered and thirsted, He did not hunger and thirst after our manner, but in a manner that exceeds ours, because He accepted such things voluntarily."

Also, just the other day I came across a statement that is in full agreement with the above by a professor of Patristics at St. Tikhon's Seminary and spiritual child of Elder Sophrony of Essex:

"<b>As with Christ's voluntary death, in which it is not possible for the Body of the Logos of Life to see corruption</b>, and which was raised together with His human soul on the third day, so too will it be with the bodies of those saints which have known great grace in this life, and who have been able to preserve it." **

For these scholars, the incarnate Word of God is the archetype of mankind. But if He was subject to corruption and the passions, what sort of Archetype would he be?

Someone pointed out on the first page the fact that <i>Jesus Fallen?</i> was not published in Greek and found that "interesting" which I suppose may be their way of saying that the author was afraid of the criticism of the Greek audience. On the contrary, what I've attempted to do with the examples that I have given in this post and in the previous one was to show that the basic points that Fr. Emmanuel made in his book are consistent with the Orthodox tradition.

*My translation from my Greek copy of the book

** In <i>The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation</i>, pg. 23

#58 Anna Stickles

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 04:55 PM

I am not checking Monachos every day, so I just noticed your post Panayotis.

 

"In fact, because the Lord had one generation (coming into life) which was radically different from the usual biological generation that is called birth, he was free of all post-lapsarian biological conditions and certainly from death. He accepted them voluntarily through his real birth...in order to destroy them." *

I will admit up front that I tend to be picky about language.

 

But if He accepted voluntarily those conditions of human nature to which we are subject, then how can we say He is free of them?  The Fathers always stress that He is free of natural necessity, none of them would say that He is free of the human condition. This is to fragment and distort the whole point of the theology.

 

It is actually in Prof. Veniamin's article which you quote which gives us the real hermeneutic through which we need to understand the Incarnation. He quotes Elder Sophrony "Christ is the unshakable foundation and the ultimate criterion for the anthropological teaching of the Church. Whatever we confess concerning the humanity of Christ is also an indication of the eternal divine plan for man in general. The fact that in the Christ-Man His hypostasis is God, in no way diminishes the possibility for us humans to follow His example after which in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethern (Heb 2:17)" 
Veniamin goes on to say, "The fundamental theological concern behind all that we have said so far is soteriological... It concerns our salvation in the most fundamental way. Why? because of the simple fact that we cannot live with Christ if we are not like Him in all respects."

 

There are two errors to avoid.  The first which we all seem to be able to see and agree on, is the modern tendency to want to make Christ exactly like ourselves in our fallen condition of sin and passion.  This is exactly the opposite of the call to become like Him.

 

The other error though is when theologians as a rational endeavor, start trying to understand the Incarnation in itself, when the Fathers always have this soteriological focus. We can't know in essence the mystery of the Incarnation, but the saints teach us about Christ through the medium of their own experience of knowing themselves and God. What they know by experience, and which rational speculation will always mess up, is the divine plan for man.

 

When Lossky says "His human will unceasingly renounced what naturally belonged to it," (ie to his humanity) this is extremely problematic. Nowhere in the divine economy of salvation are we called to renounce what we are by nature, nor what we by nature are given by God. Rather we, (and Christ as the first among many brethren shows us the way) are called precisely to have our will healed so that we are renouncing what is distorted, and again pursuing what is according to nature.

 

What this view, (that I see at times in Fr Emmanuel and in this quote by Lossky) teaches is that the condition of man after the fall is somehow itself sinful and thus needs to be renounced by Christ - but what the Fathers teach is that this fallen condition is something given by God as part of the divine economy of salvation - thus it is not shameful for Christ to live in this condition - out of His love He lives in it voluntarily, and He lives in it without sin. So too we see saints who are deified, and who yet may suffer from sicknesses, etc, and who even on their deathbed are still healing others and being an example of who we are as men created in God's image, living fully filled with Him.

 

Notice though that while the condition of man after the fall is itself not sinful, nevertheless man himself lives in it sinfully, and thus needs the restoration and example that Christ brings to us.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 12 September 2016 - 05:02 PM.


#59 Anna Stickles

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 04:06 PM

Hello all,

 

I don't know if anyone is still interested in this topic which has moved from human nature in general into the relationship of God and Man in the Person of the Word.

 

Dumitru Staniloae sums up, I think, St Maximos more accurately -  He quotes Gal 4:4-6 and says,

"Namely the Son of God became man not only through creation, but also through birth, thus taking from our nature the innocent passions and the corruptibility resulting from sin, but without the sin. This has placed Him under the law of these consequences in order to overcome them and to liberate all His brothers and sisters under the law... "

 

He goes on to say that although the nature the Word assumed had in itself only the proper God oriented motion of its natural will, nevertheless  due to how He adopted nature as it was in its weakened condition after the Fall, this natural will was under the pressure of hunger, thirst, fear of death, and other post-fall pressures just like ours.  He says, "That is why His human will had to strive against these innocent passions in order to remain in conformity with the divine will. Certainly God the Word strengthened the human will with the power irradiating from His divine nature, but He did not want to overwhelm it in such a way that the human will no longer had to strive."

 

Staniloae's image of the Incarnation is of a communication between God and man that unlike us is not going on btwn two person's but is going on within Himself and for our sake. In living as a man He is showing us how and enabling us to communicate with/cooperate with God.

 

Instead of offering a view of the Incarnation in which an auto-deification takes place, which then has to be renounced by Christ's human will in order for Him to take on the innocent passions - His human nature suffers the pressure toward corruption as ours does, and his will operates naturally in retaining it's natural striving toward God, even in the midst of pressures against this.  From Staniloae's point of view it is precisely the Divine power manifested in the midst of weakness - In Himself, in an unbreakable bond strengthening human nature - that is the perogative of the God-man and which provides the example, and the power for us.

 

For Santiloae - being "above nature" has to do with the perfect working in Christ of the divine authority and economy and power, not a change in the attributes or operations of human nature as a necessary condition of the Incarnation.

 

"Herein lies precisely the meaning of kenosis, : to facilitate the direct participation of the Son of God in the strengthening of human nature, in order to make it an active medium of the divine love through the manifestation of power, and through the bearing and overcoming of suffering."

 

In this way Staniloae's view of the Incarnation I think is much more sensitive to how Christ is the first-born among many brothers,  "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." 

 

the difference between man and the man of the God-man, is not in kind, but in how the latter subsists substantially in God the Son, and thus never ceases to be a source of divine life and salvation. Man in himself always subsists contingently, not substantially.

 

(all quotes from vol 3 of Staniloae's "The Experience of God: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology")


Edited by Anna Stickles, 27 September 2016 - 04:14 PM.


#60 Anna Stickles

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Posted 27 September 2016 - 04:21 PM

Just one more thought, it is interesting that in the Incarnation we see how Christ's body and soul and mind are truly His own, in a way that an individual man cannot really be, and yet, Staniloae hints, in the saints we see this distinction decreasing - the saints become more and more truly His in the way that His own body and soul are truly His own.


Edited by Anna Stickles, 27 September 2016 - 04:21 PM.





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