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Modern Miaphysites vs. Orthodox Dyotheletism/Dyoenergism


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#1 Jon Barker

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 10:58 PM

Greetings, all.

This may seem a strange 'first thread' for an inquirer to post, but I have a personal curiosity regarding the Christological controversies and the clarification of teaching following the 4th-6th Oecumenical Councils and extending through modern times.

These questions are intended primarily for Miaphysites or Orthodox members informed on the subject.

First, I have at times read that 'miaphysitism' as taught today by the Miaphysite/'Oriental Orthodox' churches is more or less the same as the 'dyophysite' doctrine taught by the Orthodox Catholic Church and defended at Chalcedon in the 5th century.

However, I have also read that the reputed reluctance of the Miaphysites to embrace the doctrines of 'dyotheletism' and 'dyoenergism' as taught by the Orthodox Church and defended at the Sixth Oecumenical Council (in Ephesus? Constantinople?) is a sign that 'miaphysitism' is (still?) incompatible with the 'dyophysite' doctrine of the Church.

So here are my specific questions:

1) What, if anything, do modern-day Miaphysites teach regarding the willing or energies of Christ? Is Christ taught as having one will (the divine will) or two wills (the divine will and a completely obedient human will), and/or as having one action/energy (the divine energy) or two actions/energies (the divine energy and a completely obedient human energy)?

2) Do Miaphysites rely on any particular teachers regarding these doctrines, and if so, who are they? Are their works easily accessible to speakers/readers of English (are they on the Web, for example; if so, where)?

3) Assuming for the sake of argument that 'miaphysitism' is basically the same doctrine as 'dyophysitism,' do the Miaphysites have any publicly stated position regarding the specific doctrines defended by the Orthodox Church at the Sixth Oecumenical Council? Are these doctrines regarded as orthodox by the Miaphysites, or not?

Let it be clear: I am quite convinced that the Orthodox Church (that is, 'Chalcedonian' Orthodoxy) has taught and is teaching the truth regarding these doctrines. My questions here are concerned only with the teaching of the Miaphysites, and whether they agree with Orthodox doctrine.

Charitably,
Jon B.

#2 Michael Stickles

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 07:52 PM

I did find this on another forum online (emphasis in the original):

His Reverence Fr. V.C. Samuel says in a speech given in Geneva in 1970 at the third consultation of EO and OO theologians and available in the Greek Orthodox Theological Review, Vol. XVI, nos. 1 and 2, 1971, pp. 133-143 the following:

" Here, as earlier in the decree, the Tome of Leo is expressly affirmed. The decree actually calls the Tome "the pillar of the right faith." You can perhaps understand that all this is rather difficult for us to accept. For us Leo is still a heretic. It may be possible for us to refrain from condemning him by name, in the interests of restoring communion between us. But we cannot in good conscience accept the Tome of Leo as "the pillar of the right faith" or accept a council which made such a declaration. The council approves explicitly what I clearly regard as heresy in the Tome of Leo: "Each form does in communion with the other what pertains properly to it, the Word, namely doing that which pertains to the Word, and the flesh that which pertains to the flesh." If one rightly understands the hypostatic union, it is not possible to say that the flesh does something on its own, even if it is said to be in union with the Word. The flesh does not have its own hypostasis. It is the hypostasis of the Word which acts through the flesh. It is the same hypostasis of the Word which does the actions of the Word and of his own flesh. The argument of the horos [dogmatic definition] in this Sixth Council is basically unacceptable to us (Review, p. 139; Does Chalcedon, p. 133).

We are unable to say what this council says when it affirms "two wills and two operations concurring most fitly in him"....

To summarize: Acceptance of the Sixth Council is much more difficult for us than the acceptance of Chalcedon. The following are the chief reasons:...

b) We are unable to accept the dithelete formula, attributing will and energy to the natures rather than to the hypostasis. We can only affirm the one united and unconfused divine-human nature, will and energy of Christ the incarnate Lord.

c) We find that this Sixth Council exalts as its standard mainly the teaching of Leo and Agatho, popes of Rome, paying only lip-service to the teachings of the Blessed Cyril. We regard Leo as a heretic for his teaching that the will and operation of Christ is to be attributed to the two natures of Christ rather than to the one hypostasis. The human nature is as "natural" to Christ the incarnate Word as is the divine. It is one hypostasis who now is both divine and human, and all the activities come from the one hypostasis (Review, pp. 140-141; Does Chalcedon, pp. 134-135)."


In Christ,
Michael

#3 Kosta

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 02:34 AM

Dear Jon

This post is probably best answered by a miaphysite since most of the questions are gear towards them. Im sure they do have their own fathers and teachers that have written treatise on these things through the ages. The OO and EO do say very close to the same thing and in actuality so do the Assyrians! But simply attributing these disagreements on semantics (as many in orthodox forums are quick to do), semantics is an oversimplification and overlooks the subtle variations.

For instance in (eastern) Orthodoxy, a person must accept both of the following formulas as orthodox; that Christ is OF two natures and that He is IN two natures. When applied correctly in context the former denounces nestorianism while the latter denounces monophysitism. In the 4th council, Dioscorus was condemned for eutychianism for only accepting the formula that Christ is of two natures but not accepting the formula that he is in two natures. In OO the latter phrase is a heresy, in the EO the rejection of such a phrase constitutes a soft monophysitism refusing to acknowledge that such a heresy exists or that nestorianism is a worse heresy making eutychianism a tolerable heresy.

OO believe in a composite nature, will & energy. Anotherwords there not comfortable with acknowledging a DISTINCTION between the 2 natures, wills and energies. Hence they label themselves as miaphyisites, mia= one nature (which can allow for a composite nature) as opposed to monophysite, mono- one in an absolute sense, 'one and only one'. As you can see there rejection for the label of monophysitism is that they are aware there are two natures, but act as one composite nature (mia) due to the uniqueness of the hypostatic union , but reject diophysite as this implys a discernable distinction.

Edited by Kosta, 17 April 2010 - 03:19 AM.


#4 Michael Stickles

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 11:36 AM

Another one I found, this time on the website of the Malankara Orthodox Church (OO):

For the Church, the one incarnate hypostasis of God the Word is the same as the one incarnate nature of God the Word. On this ground, we speak of the one will and one operation with reference to Christ. That is to say, Christ has disclosed in Himself the will of God on the one hand, and the `will’ of the man fulfilled in the ‘will’ of God and ‘the will of God’ united with the ‘will’ of man. Viewed in this way, it is not that there are two wills in the one Christ, but that His is the will in which the will of God and will of man found their absolute union. In the same way, the Church holds that there is one divine-human operation in Christ. This does not mean that the faculties of either of the natures became swallowed up by that of the other nature. The one incarnate nature was formed of the union of the two natures of godhead and manhood each with its own properties. Since these properties include will and operation, it is clear that they were in the one Christ.


This declaration seems explicitly to be miathelite and miaenergistic, though the terms aren't used. So, as regards your question #1, the answer to "one will or two wills" and to "one energy or two energies" seems to be "yes/both" in this case.

I'm not entirely sure if Fr. Samuel's statement in my first post should be taken as saying "one will/one energy", or as implying the same one-of-two composite that the Malankara OC page describes, but I suspect the latter. The only thing that gives me pause in concluding that, is that the Malankara OC page treats "will" and "operation" (energy) as properties of the "nature", while Fr. Samuel treats them as properties of the "hypostasis". But the Malankara page speaks of the "incarnate nature" as the same as the "incarnate hypostasis", so maybe the distinction between their view and Fr. Samuel's is only apparent, not actual.

In Christ,
Michael

#5 Kosta

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 08:48 PM

Dioscorus was the miaphysite patriarch of Alexandria at the time of Chalcedon who was deposed. He is an enormous saint in the OO. This should give a trustworthy insight on the miaphyisite belief. This is the excerpt from the Coptic Lives of the Saints for Dioscorus:


"When he saw that Leo, Archbishop of Rome, was teaching that Christ has two natures and two wills after the Union, he took the charge to refute this new belief. He stated that our Lord Jesus Christ is one, He who was invited to the wedding as a man and changed the water into wine as a God, and that the two natures were not separated in all of His works. Quoting Pope Cyril, he said, "The Hypostatic Union of the Word of God with the flesh is like the union of the soul with the body and like the union of fire and iron: even as they are of two different natures, by their union they became one. Likewise, our Lord Christ is one Messiah, one Lord, and one Nature." None of those who were gathered at that assembly dared to contradict him. Among them were some who had attended the Council of Ephesus, which had been convened against Nestorius. Some informed the Emperor Marcianus and the Empress Belkarya that no one disobeyed their commands concerning the faith except Dioscorus, Patriarch of the City of Alexandria. They brought St. Dioscorus, and the leading bishops of the Council who debated and discussed the matter till it was evening, but St. Dioscorus would not deviate from his Orthodox belief. The emperor and empress were irritated at this, and the empress commanded to smite St. Dioscorus on his mouth, and to pluck out the hair of his beard. He took the hair and the teeth that were knocked out and sent them to Alexandria saying, "This is the fruit of Faith."

#6 Ryan

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 02:18 AM

OO believe in a composite nature, will & energy. Anotherwords there not comfortable with acknowledging a DISTINCTION between the 2 natures, wills and energies.


It might be worth quoting a recent tract on Christology by Pope Shenouda, The Nature of Christ.

The One Will and the One Act

Has the Lord Christ two wills and two actions, that is a Divine will and a human will, as
well as two actions, that is, a divine act and a human act? As we believe in the One
Nature of the Incarnate Logos, as St. Cyril the Great called it, likewise:
We believe in One Will and One Act:

Naturally, as long as we consider that this Nature is One, the Will and the Act must also
each be one. What the Divine nature Chooses is undoubtedly the same as that chosen
by the human nature because there is not any contradiction or conflict whatever
between the will and the action of both.
The Lord Jesus Christ said: "My meat is to do the Will of Him that sent Me to finish His
work. " (Jn. 4:34). This proves that His Will is the same as that of the Father. In this
context, He said about Himself "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees
the Father do, for what things soever He does, these also does the Son likewise. " (Jn.
5:19).
He does not seek for Himself a will that is independent of that of the Father.
Consequently He Says "Because I seek not Mine Own Will, but the Will of the Father,
who has sent Me. " (Jn. 6:38).
It is obvious that the Father and the Son in the Holy Trinity have One Will, for the
Lord Jesus Christ said: "I and My Father are One," (Jn. 10:30).
Hence, since He is one with Him in the Godhead, then He is essentially one with Him
concerning the Will. Again, the Son, in His Incarnation on earth, was fulfilling the Will of
the heavenly Father. Thus it must be that He Who united with the manhood had One
Will.

In fact, Sin is nothing but a conflict between man’s will and God’s.
But remember that our Lord Jesus Christ had no sin at all. He challenged the Jews
saying: "Which of you convicts Me of Sin?. " (Jn. 8:46). Therefore, His Will was that of
the Father.

The Saints who are perfect in their behavior achieve complete agreement
between their will and the Will of God, so that their will becomes that of God, and
the Will of God becomes their will.


And St., Paul the Apostle said "But we have the mind of Christ. "(1 Cor. 2:16). He did
not say that our thoughts are in accord with the mind of Christ, but that "we have the
mind of Christ", and here the unity is stressed.

If this is said about those with whom and in whom God works, then how much more the
unity between the Son and His Own manhood would be in all that is related to the will,
the mind and the power to act! He, in Whom the Divine nature has united with the
human nature, a Hypostatic and Essential union without separation-not for a second nor
a twinkle of an eye,

If there was not unity between the Will of the Divine nature of Christ and His human
nature, this would have resulted in internal conflict.
Far be it from Him! How then could
Christ be our guide and our example... to follow in His footsteps (1 Jn. 2:6)?.
The complete righteousness which marked the life of our Lord Jesus was due to
His Divine as well as His Human will.

The same is true of the salvation of mankind, the message for which Christ came and
said: "For the Son of Man is come to save that which was lost. " (Matt. 18:11). This is
the same Will of the Father who ‘Loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for
our sins. " (I Jn. 4:10). Thus, the crucifixion was the choice of the Divine as well as the
human nature. Had it not been One Will, it would not have been said that Christ died by
His Own Will for our sake.

Since the Will is One, the Act is necessarily One.

Here we do not distinguish between the two natures


I have bolded those parts which I think are particularly relevant in comparison to the Orthodox teaching of two wills. I believe this is a plainly monothelite document. First of all, it uses the same kind of reasoning condemned in the definition of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, the reasoning which asserts that for Christ to have two wills implies internal conflict.

For those who would suggest, perhaps this is just miatheletism and miaenergism, and that the wills and energies are only united in the same way that the natures are united in one nature, I would say that such a view the same as monotheletism and monoenergism. I say this because St. Maximus explicitly rules out and condemns attributing will and energy to the hypostasis; "one nature", per St. Cyril, is acceptable and Orthodox insofar as "nature" means "hypostasis." "One will" cannot have a similarly orthodox interpretation- will and energy are found only in the natures. We can find this distinction made not only in St. Maximus but in later Fathers like St. John Damascene.

For instance, the following from St. John's Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith:

Moreover, one cannot speak of one compound thing made of two wills in the same way as a subsistence is a composition of two natures. Firstly because the compositions are of things in subsistence (hypostasis), not of things viewed in a different category, not in one proper to them: and secondly, because if we speak of composition of wills and energies, we will be obliged to speak of composition of the other natural properties, such as the uncreated and the created, the invisible and the visible, and so on. And what will be the name of the will that is compounded out of two wills? For the compound cannot be called by the name of the elements that make it up. For otherwise we should call that which is compounded of natures nature and not subsistence. And further, if we say that there is one compound will in Christ, we separate Him in will from the Father, for the Father's will is not compound. It remains, therefore, to say that the subsistence of Christ alone is compound and common, as in the case of the natures so also in that of the natural properties.


What this implies about the "Oriental Orthodox" in general I'm not sure, but in my opinion the current head of the Coptic Church is espousing monotheletism.

The question of the wills of Christ absolutely needs to be addressed in future consultations with the non-Chalcedonians.

Edited by Ryan, 03 June 2010 - 02:34 AM.


#7 Kosta

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 04:48 PM

Ryan i agree, and i also reject all the "agreed upon" statements made at these eo/oo dialogues. These statements which can bbe viewed on that website orthodoxunity.com, are heretical in my opinion. As the Lord's Prayer reads "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". Christ's human will submitted to its divine will ,as we christians are asked to submit to the divine will of the Father. Christ wished how the cup could pass from him, but not his will but his Fathers be done. Anotherwords there is a distinction made by Christ, his human will naturally wanting to preserve his life. The composite/oo understanding blurs free will. If Christ is fully man then he has free will to choose which is an attribute of human nature.

The one boldfaced phrase in your post actually touches upon another Orthodox teaching which needs to be addressed with the OO specifically, "...this would have resulted in internal conflict." Orthodoxy has the teacing of the gnomic will which Christ lacked. Is their a concept of gnomic will in OO?

#8 Ryan

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 03:26 PM

I think Pope Shenouda's commentary on the "mind of Christ" passage is particularly telling. He says:

And St., Paul the Apostle said "But we have the mind of Christ. "(1 Cor. 2:16). He did
not say that our thoughts are in accord with the mind of Christ
, but that "we have the
mind of Christ", and here the unity is stressed.


Some might argue that by "one will", Pope Shenouda merely means that the divine and human natures have the same object of willing, that the human will merely accords with the divine will, but here Shenouda explicitly rules out such an interpretation or any distinction between the wills.

#9 Mario S.

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Posted 21 October 2010 - 02:47 AM

Hi, I'm a young Oriental Orthodox and I have some questions

Can someone please explain to me the necessity of dyotheletism. Also why is monothelitism condemned? Is it all monothelitism or just a certain understanding (just as the understanding of two ununified natures of Christ is condemned)

Are there any ante(before)-chalcedonian writings on dyothelitism.

Furthermore, my understanding is that the Eastern Orthodox understanding of dyophysitism is the same as that of the Oriental's understanding of Miaphysitism.

Also in regards to HH Pope Shenouda's writings to remember that this is a translation. Furthermore I find that it is easy to misunderstand such writings, and that hearing Pope Shenouda's lectures give much more answers and embody a more fuller picture of what he believes.


As for Dioscorus here is what Fr. Raphael Vereshack wrote on the subject

the deposition of dioscoros

I have spent much of today reading about the Council of Chalcedon. First of all the context of Dioscoros appearing at Chalcedon is that he was summoned to answer for his actions at the Council of Ephesus in 449 where Flavian had been deposed & Eutyches restored to his rank.

What becomes apparent from reading about Chalcedon is that even though Dioscoros was eventually deposed for his actions at Ephesus, many bishops present were very hesitant about this action. We can I think, as Athansius Abdullah says, see this with Patriarch Anastasius himself who replied to the Papal delgates' contention about the language of the formula that, "Dioscorus was condemned not for his doctrine but for the illegality of his actions at Ephesus." (This is quoted from The First Seven Ecumenical Councils by L D Davis).

It could very well be that from the Papal side Dioscoros represented as much of a theological as a disciplinary problem when he so emphatically rejected the Tome of Leo. However it is important to recognise that the clear evidence of the Council is that many bishops including the Patriarch of Constantinople himself did not see Dioscoros' theology as being the main problem. This is why they kept resisting the Papal legates' pressure for deposing Dioscoros. And this resistance continued until Dioscoros' eventual refusal to attend the Council to answer the charges against him led to the point where a feasible defense for him could no longer be kept up.






#10 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 04:44 PM

What I have been taught is that if Christ's human will has been subsumed/destroyed/dissolved/etc. by the Divine Will, then He is not fully human and cannot be Mediator, and he cannot save us. If His human and Divine wills are somehow "hybridized" into something that is not completely and unmixedly human nor completely and unmixedly Divine, then He is neither fully human nor fully Divine and cannot be Mediator, and He cannot save us. Only if Christ's human will is full, complete, and not hybridized and His Divine will is full, complete, and not hybridized. One might argue that a hybrid ("admixed") nature could satisfy the needs of Mediation, but admixture invents an inferior will. God is ontologically distinct from creation. Any hybridization of will or nature would result in something ontologically inferior to God, thus meaning that Christ would not be God.

That being said, Christ is still one person. When He said "this is my blood" it was not the "man Jesus" nor the "Divine Christ" who said this. It was Jesus the Christ, who is both fully human and fully Divine, with neither will nor nature admixed, with neither will nor nature separated into distinct beings. There is one Jesus the Christ. He is fully human. He is fully God. His human nature and will are not subsumed into, dissolved into, destroyed by, nor hybridized with His Divine nature and will. His divine nature and will are, likewise, not subsumed into, dissolved into, destroyed by, nor hybridized with His human nature and will. His human nature and will are in perfect obedience to His Divine Nature and Will, but that does not mean the destruction of one by the other nor the hybridization of the two into something that is neither quite human nor quite God.

At least that is what I think I have been taught.

#11 Perry Robinson

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 12:10 AM

Mario,

The necessity of dyothelitism is found in the necessity to uphold the full humanity of Christ. If Christ is fully human then he has a human intellect and will. The problem comes when people identify the person or hypostasis with the natural power of choosing or thinking. Jesus has a human will, but Jesus is not a human person-he is always and only a divine person on Dyothelitism.


There are a number of texts that can be seen in Cyril Hovorun’s book, Will, Action and Freedom: Christological Heresies in the Seventh Century.

#12 Donald Lee McDaniel

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 08:03 PM

What I have been taught is that if Christ's human will has been subsumed/destroyed/dissolved/etc. by the Divine Will, then He is not fully human and cannot be Mediator, and he cannot save us. If His human and Divine wills are somehow "hybridized" into something that is not completely and unmixedly human nor completely and unmixedly Divine, then He is neither fully human nor fully Divine and cannot be Mediator, and He cannot save us. Only if Christ's human will is full, complete, and not hybridized and His Divine will is full, complete, and not hybridized. One might argue that a hybrid ("admixed") nature could satisfy the needs of Mediation, but admixture invents an inferior will. God is ontologically distinct from creation. Any hybridization of will or nature would result in something ontologically inferior to God, thus meaning that Christ would not be God.

That being said, Christ is still one person. When He said "this is my blood" it was not the "man Jesus" nor the "Divine Christ" who said this. It was Jesus the Christ, who is both fully human and fully Divine, with neither will nor nature admixed, with neither will nor nature separated into distinct beings. There is one Jesus the Christ. He is fully human. He is fully God. His human nature and will are not subsumed into, dissolved into, destroyed by, nor hybridized with His Divine nature and will. His divine nature and will are, likewise, not subsumed into, dissolved into, destroyed by, nor hybridized with His human nature and will. His human nature and will are in perfect obedience to His Divine Nature and Will, but that does not mean the destruction of one by the other nor the hybridization of the two into something that is neither quite human nor quite God.

At least that is what I think I have been taught.


I would ask:
"If Christ's human nature and will were in perfect obedience to the Father's Divine Nature and Will", why was it necessary for Him to be "perfected in obedience through the things He suffered"?
This is NOT what I "have been taught", but what the Book of Hebrews states implicitly. If we believe what we "have been taught", yet the Word of God states differently, are we being perfected in obedience?

It seems to me that if Jesus had to be perfected in obedience, He will was not yet in perfect obedience to the Will of the Father before He was thus perfected. The Cross of His sufferings was the means of this perfection, just as
the cross of our sufferings are the means of our wills being brought into perfect obedience to the Will of the Father.

Since His perfection in obedience to the will of the Father through the cross, and after the resurrection of His body and assumption into Heaven,
His Nature and Will are in perfect likeness and subjection to the Nature and Will of the Father.

I say that not before His suffering, resurrection, and assumption into Heaven was He is any way perfected in nature and will with the Father.
How could we be perfected in obedience and nature, if He were not also perfected in obedience and nature?
We must share in His sufferings if we are also to share in His resurrection and assumption into Heaven.
We must NOT "cling to Him" as He was on the earth, since He had not yet been glorified, even after His resurrection, as He told the second Mary:
"Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet been glorified."

Let the implications of this enter your hearts and minds, by the grace and mercy of God.
And let the rocks fall where they may.

Donald Lee McDaniel
a sinner, and servant of Jesus Christ by the grace and mercy of the Father.

Edited by Father David Moser, 03 October 2011 - 12:36 AM.
fix quote


#13 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:14 PM

Dear Donald Lee McDaniel,

I was just about to reply on your tread "On the image God placed in mankind" when I saw this, so I will reply rather to what you have said here for now. Anyway I think by the will of God, I just happened to be reading about this in the works of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, which I must read again for I am tired and so I need to read it better on the morrow, and which I would like to post tomorrow.

This is NOT what I "have been taught", but what the Book of Hebrews states implicitly. If we believe what we "have been taught", yet the Word of God states differently, are we being perfected in obedience?


First of all the Holy Bible is not the Word of God Christ is the Word of God, the Bible simply is a written portion (and the most important) of that which has been handed down to us by word of mouth and by epistle to which we must hold fast as the Apostle says. The New Testement did not suddenly appear for each individual to learn from but rather it was the work of members of the Church who wrote it to a local church (Corinthians, Romans ect..) and it was then distributed over time to all the Churches but slowly and it was not available for the individual. It is the work of the Church for the Church. It cannot be understood outside the Church. As the Ephopian said "And how can I, unless some man show me?" when asked by Saint Philip "Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?" scripture is to be understood within the Holy Tradition (of which is a part) of the Church.

How say you that He who is the very Word of God and indeed God not perfect by nature as God?
For it is written,
'In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God'
again,
'Thy throne of God is unto the ages of ages'
also,
'Let God arise and let Gis enemies be scattered'
and again,
'Thou, O Lord, art my hope. Thou madest the Most High Thy refuge.'
further,
'Unto us a Child was born, and unto us a Son was given, Whose Sovereignty
was upon His shoulder: and His name is called Messenger of Great Counsel,
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Potentate, Prince of Peace, Father of the
Age to Come; for I will bring peace upon the princes, peace and health unto
him.'
What is is Sovereignty but his Godhead?

And the Lord himself says,
'Amen, Amen, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am'
And pay heed that in all things the Lord says not as the prophets 'thus saith the Lord' but ' I say unto you' who but God Himself can speak unto the people thus,
'Ye have heard that it was said' 'But I say unto you'

And that you might not think that He in some way god yet not God.
It is written
'Thy God, O Israel is one.'
again
'There shall no new God be in thee.'
and again,
'Thou art God alone'

And how is it that is 'Author of Life' is not God?

For the Apostle here is speaking of Christ as the High Priest, and I believe he is speaking of Christ in terms of His humanity, not of His Divinity. For He is both fully God and fully man.

In Christ.
Daniel,

#14 Georgianna

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 10:26 PM

I would ask:
"If Christ's human nature and will were in perfect obedience to the Father's Divine Nature and Will", why was it necessary for Him to be "perfected in obedience through the things He suffered"?
This is NOT what I "have been taught", but what the Book of Hebrews states implicitly. If we believe what we "have been taught", yet the Word of God states differently, are we being perfected in obedience?

It seems to me that if Jesus had to be perfected in obedience, He will was not yet in perfect obedience to the Will of the Father before He was thus perfected. The Cross of His sufferings was the means of this perfection, just as the cross of our sufferings are the means of our wills being brought into perfect obedience to the Will of the Father.



In The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary, Archbishop Dmitri Royster of blessed memory provides the following explanation on Hebrews 2:10:

The very purpose of man's creation was to know God and to share in His blessedness and glory. Man had not achieved his purpose, so God, who loved His creation, proposed to bring men, "many sons," to glory, that is, to participation in the divine life (II Peter 1:4); hence the Incarnation: wherein the Son of God became man to lead men to salvation. Now this leader, Christ, is one with the human race, but He is also God. He is the Captain (archegos, "leader," "cause" or "author"), in that He undergoes on behalf of all men what they must undergo, suffering and death. Thus, as such, His work is accomplished or completed: He was glorified, "crowned with glory and honor," by His voluntary sacrifice. In this sense, He is perfected, that is, He brought His work to perfection or completion. He is the way, and no one comes to the Father except by Him (John 14:6); by the blood of Jesus, the new and living way into the presence of God is made possible (Hebrews 10:19-20).


A note in The Orthodox New Testament vol 2 further clarifies:

To make perfect does not imply moral imperfection in Jesus, but only the consummation of the human experience of sorrow and pain through which He must pass in order to become the Cause of our salvation. - p 410.



#15 Rob Bergen

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 01:59 AM

Greetings,

Everyone here should read a wonderful work by Maximus the Confessor called, "The Disputation with Pyrrhus." It is written by St. Maximus in response to questions posed by a certain Pyrrhus on the divine will, and more specifically, the mode of willing. It is certainly a beautiful work.

#16 Donald Lee McDaniel

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 07:03 AM

Glorianna,

In The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary, Archbishop Dmitri Royster of blessed memory provides the following explanation on Hebrews 2:10:



A note in The Orthodox New Testament vol 2 further clarifies:


I must ask a simple question: I know that it is a hard question to answer, and a hard one for me to ask, since its importance is so present with me day and night. It is exactly what I am wrestling with at the present time. I have not yet reached a firm conclusion, and Paul teaches that we must each be firm in our convictions, and persuaded in the spirit of our minds.

I ask, "Who died on the Cross?", which only leads to a further question, "Was His death an actual death, as all men consider death?"
This leads to further questions, the answers of which depend on the answers to the first two.

Since the Gospel records claim that the One Who died was Jesus of Nazareth, who was in all actuality, truly a man of flesh and bones, I have my answers to the first two questions.
Now, I must deal with the implications of these answers.

Jesus was truly a man, like all men, and He truly died, like all men. Not only did He die, but He was also buried. We must both agree with this, else we are of the spirit of antichrist, which spirit
refuses to claim that Jesus was truly a man of flesh and bones. Read 1 John to see this. It is clear from Saint John's writing. This is a settled matter for the Churches.

Next, I must deal with the claims of "orthodox" Christianity that Jesus the man is also the eternally pre-existent Logos of the Father, Who is alone God, since there is only one God, not a new god, or new gods.
Orthodox Christians have dealt with this by claiming that Jesus had two natures [human and Divine], but only one personality. This is called the "Incarnation of the Word".

I am sure we would both agree that Jesus had no human father, since His generation was such that it was not through human sexual generation. Mary was truly a virgin, and had not known a man.
As Gabriel put it, "The Power of the Almighty will overshadow you, and for that reason, the Thing which is begotten of you will be called 'the Son of God'." [a free paraphrase].

Knowing a little biology, I must assume that the only way this could come to pass would be if the Spirit of God caused an ovum of Mary's to receive life, and begin growing in her womb. This was a mystery in the days of the Gospel.
Today, it is no longer a mystery. Science understands how life begins. Science does NOT know HOW or WHY the Spirit of God entered the womb of Mary. The Church only knows WHY life began in her womb. Science does not even believe that there is a Spirit of God. We do: A virgin became pregnant. This may or may not be possible according to the world's understanding. But faith says this is how it happened. We ,must accept this, if we are to believe in the Power of God at all.

So much for His birth and reality as a Man, like all men. Since we have no ability to test His DNA, we can only assume that He had at least the DNA of His mother.
God is the Creator of the DNA of humanity, so He is perfectly capable of creating DNA in her womb. This I believe. This DNA must have been perfect in all ways, as Adam's DNA must have been.

The Question is: Was this Life, this DNA in her enlivened ova the Life of God, the Word of God, which is our Life? Our Christian-Greek Scriptures tell us that it was. God speaks, has always spoken, and will always speak, and what He speaks becomes. But, was Jesus actually God Himself? The Almighty God, the Everlasting God, the Eternal Father, the Source of all Life.

I realize that the Church, through the years, as come to a conclusion: This conclusion is called the Incarnation of the Word of God. That Jesus the Man had two natures, but one Personality. They've built up this edifice of logic and philosophy, mixed it with human understanding of the Bible, and concluded that the only way He could have been fully man is if He were also "fully God, the Word".

My question is, was the Personality of Jesus a Union of God's and Man's personality? How could God, Who is simple, be a composite of two [actually, Three] Personalities. Can Unity be Trinity? Is this logical?
This is what I am wrestling with, what I have been wrestling with since I first became a Christian, since I was first baptized into Christ as a young man.
I realize that only God can truly answer this question to my satisfaction, to anyone's life. I am not yet satisfied. I do not apologize for this. I cannot apologize for this. Jacob wrestled with the Angel, but in his wrestling, he was crippled the rest of his life. But he prevailed in his struggle with the Answer to all of life. I must prevail, or I am not a true man. If I am "crippled" the rest of my life, it will be worth the effort.

I suppose it all comes down to Faith. Until the Spirit of God gives me this answer, I am half a m

#17 Salaam Yitbarek

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 01:03 PM

But simply attributing these disagreements on semantics (as many in orthodox forums are quick to do), semantics is an oversimplification and overlooks the subtle variations.


Is it oversimplification?

I cannot comment from any position of knowledge. I can't even say that I fully understand the definition of the basic concepts in Christology - nature, will, energies, hypostasis, etc. I'm getting better at understanding, I think, but I'm a long way away.

However, my gut instinct, for what it's worth, leads me to ask a couple of things, and please, I'd like to get the comments of the rest of you who are more learned than me on this:

1. How well can we expect to understand and to express in human language the mystery of the Trinity? I don't know what this concept is called, but I'm sure it exists - the idea that the more we try to describe such concepts in human terms, the more we are likely to get in trouble. This is the root of our aversion to 'innovation', I think.

2. Semantics - what exactly do the basic terms mean and imply? Do they mean the same thing to everyone? Did they mean the same thing to everyone during Chalcedon?

I look forward to reading more on this - I am learning a lot.

Salaam

#18 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 01:39 PM

I can't find it right now, but yesterday Fr Irenee had a post that was very helpful for me at least to come an understanding about this. Jesus Christ then is one divine-human Person. He is not a union of two persons, divine and human, but rather the one Person of the pre-eternal Logos Who then adopts humanity through His incarnation through the Holy Virgin. In other words, as we put it in more technical theological language, the pre-eternal Word is the 'subject' of the incarnate Christ, because He is the acting Person within the divine-human union, divine as pre-eternal Word, but at once also incarnate man. To come back to this point very briefly then- we must avoid anything that suggests that Christ is the Word of God Who then adopts a human Jesus. This would indeed leave us with idea that Christ is two persons and nothing really more than a moral union of God & man such as we already find in the prophets. Then Christ is no more than the greatest of the prophets and of the saints- which of course is a crude heresy. So then in Orthodox understanding Christ is the pre-eternal Word, both God and man.

One last point is that we use the word person to refer to Christ rather than personality. This is because the word 'person' was developed over many centuries by the Fathers in order to convey the concept of distinct divine or human being (eg Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as distinct; or St Peter, St Paul as distinct) in distinction from the common nature (eg Father, Son and Holy Spirit are God, people are human). Personality though is a modern concept that conveys the idea that a person is defined by various psychological states. This is an idea which actually is in contradiction to what person means in Orthodox theology.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#19 Bryan J. Maloney

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 03:08 PM

Fr. John Romanides wrote an essay on the Orthodox and Oriental consultation of some years back: http://www.romanity....htm/ro4enfm.htm

#20 Jack R.

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 03:49 AM

Is it oversimplification?

I cannot comment from any position of knowledge. I can't even say that I fully understand the definition of the basic concepts in Christology - nature, will, energies, hypostasis, etc. I'm getting better at understanding, I think, but I'm a long way away.

However, my gut instinct, for what it's worth, leads me to ask a couple of things, and please, I'd like to get the comments of the rest of you who are more learned than me on this:

1. How well can we expect to understand and to express in human language the mystery of the Trinity? I don't know what this concept is called, but I'm sure it exists - the idea that the more we try to describe such concepts in human terms, the more we are likely to get in trouble. This is the root of our aversion to 'innovation', I think.

2. Semantics - what exactly do the basic terms mean and imply? Do they mean the same thing to everyone? Did they mean the same thing to everyone during Chalcedon?

I look forward to reading more on this - I am learning a lot.

Salaam


"...without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh" 1 Tim 3:16

controvery occurs when a heresy such as arianism, nestorianism or eutychiansim attacks the Orthodox Faith. However, the exact splitting of hairs to formulate very specific terminology among groups who undestand terms in different ways and in different languages will also inevitibly lead to controversy and disagreemnt. As the Incarnation of our Lord is a "mystery," I would have hoped it would be sufficient as common ground between the Eastern (Chalcedonian) Orthodox and Oriental (Non-Chalcedonian) Orthodox the affirmation that our Lord Jesus the Christ is Fully God and Fully Man and that the Logos of the Father hypostatically united His Divinity with His Humanity without mingling, confusion, alteration, or separation of the two natures.


As Oriental Orthodox, we condemn Eutechiansim and Nestorianism, and as we were vehemently involved by our Coptic (Egyptian) Fathers, Sts. Athanasius and St. Cyril agains the Nestornian heresy in particular, we hold firm to the teaching of St. Cyril of the formula, One Nature of the Logos Incarnate.

The One who wills, the One who acts, the One who was crucified, descended into Hades, Rose from the dead and ascended into heaven is Christ, Incarnate Logos who is at once perfect God and perfect Man.

God bless you.




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