Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Was it ever possible for our Lord Jesus Christ to have sinned?


  • Please log in to reply
115 replies to this topic

#41 Antonios

Antonios

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,039 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:22 PM

This is most definitely not true. There was no inner conflict. At no point did Christ's human will contend against the one divine will. How could it? The will is not an independent actor; it is the instrument of the person, the hypostasis, which in this case is the Son.


I disagree Father. For Jesus to weep tears and sweat blood and pray to the Father to have the cup pass before Him seems pretty clear to me their was inner conflict between his human will and divine will. Otherwise, any agony was just an illusion. His human nature feared what He was about to endure, but as He always did on account of His perfect obedience to the Father and the divine will, He overcome this human weakness saying 'Not my will, but yours'.

No again. He didn't quote the psalm to fulfill prophecy; He quoted the psalm to make the connection between the prophecy and Himself -- to show us that He is the fulfillment of the prophecy. He was never separated from God. How could he be? He was himself still God.


I again respectfully disagree Father. To think that Christ said 'My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?' without really meaning it but simply in order to prove some connection with a particular psalm does not ring true to me. The psalm is prophetic by the fact that Christ fulfilled it. It seems more likely to me from reading the psalm that Christ in that moment truly felt in His human nature a sense of approaching abandonment and separation from life and God. Of course, Christ was never separated from God, but it was the human fear of such separation and doubt which He experienced in order to heal this fear and destroy this doubt. It was the final temptation He would overcome in order to finally and forever destroy death and separation from God and reverse the curse of Adam.

#42 Antonios

Antonios

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,039 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:31 PM

There was never at time when fear or dread caused uncertainty in Christ or made Him shrink from obeying the Father. He kept Himself from danger while He still had work to do; when His time came, He faced the danger and gave Himself up to it.


I agree that there was never a time when Christ did not shrink from obeying the Father. That being said, it does not mean Christ never felt fear or dread or there was never a moment of conflict between His human and divine will. Otherwise, why the tears in the garden and the sweating of blood? Why did He pray to the Father to have the cup pass before Him? Surely it was sincere and not simply for a show.

If Christ never felt fear or dread, then He was not fully human and He did not heal us completely.

#43 Antonios

Antonios

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,039 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:43 PM

What we must avoid in this however is any idea that Christ's fully taking on our condition means that He must also have experienced our life in a sinful manner. Our life after all is a matter of life and not death and so Christ came to bring us life- indeed His life. In this sense then we go full circle to the above explanation that Christ could not experience what assails us except in a manner that leads to life- not death.


Thank you for mentioning this, Father. I don't want to give the impression from my above posts that in experiencing fear and doubt in His human nature, Christ did this is a sinful way. Of course not! In fact, it was His very sinless way of experiencing it which brings on the healing and the restoring of our nature.

#44 Father David Moser

Father David Moser

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 3,581 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Cleric

Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:44 PM

The agony of Golgotha and Gethsemene were not isolated, but were with our Lord at least from the moment of His baptism. After baptism, He withdrew into the wilderness where He was tempted by the evil one. The Mount of Temptation is in the midst of the Judean desert - within sight of Jericho (which is an oasis in the desert) - and very near the spot on the Jordan where our Lord was baptized. On the mountain is a monastery located at the spot where our Lord endured his temptation. (A pilgrimage to the Holy Land includes a climb up the mountain to the place of temptation where we pray ourselves to be delivered from temptation.) This spot on the mountain is located near a precipice where the goat bearing the sins of the people was released on the Day of Atonement. When the devil tempted Jesus to "throw Himself off the precipice" he was tempting Jesus to do exactly what He came to do - to become the goat and to die for the sins of the people. And when the devil suggested that the angels would prevent any harm from coming to Jesus, he was prefiguring the temptation in Gethsemene, when Jesus said, "do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?" as He was being seized by the mob sent with Judas. The devil did not understand however, that even death could not hold Jesus and so did not understand that the Resurrection was the true fulfillment of Psalm which he quoted. When the devil next tempted Jesus with "all the kingdoms of the world" this again was the contradiction of the Resurrection which the devil could not understand.

At the very beginning of His earthly ministry, Jesus was confronted with Gethsemene and Golgotha. This is where the agony began, but also where the temptation was banished. In the Garden of Gethsemene and on the Cross, He was not "tempted" to abandon the path of the cross, but He was instead reaping the fruit of His former decision to reject the temptation of the devil. To cry out on the cross, "my God my God..." was indeed a lesson for the people connecting His death to the prophecy of the Psalmist. But it was not a dry statement, but a cry full of the agony which accompanies the life of every Christian who chooses to follow Christ rather than the world. Not only does this cry signify the fulfillment of the prophecy, but it also reminds us that the Christian life is filled with agony, with struggle against our love of pleasure and the passions, with the difficulty of our rejection of the world.

Fr David Moser

#45 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:54 PM

Darlene Griffith wrote:

But if His will is free then doesn't that at least imply that Christ had a choice to sin?


No. As God, Christ is and an essential aspect of what He is is sinless. Therefore Christ has no choice within Himself to sin.

Also consider this for a while- Christ's (and the holy Trinity's) will is not as ours is. For us on every step of the way between will/impulse and act,then resolution and decision are part of the process. In other words for us there is always a step by step process, from will or desire, leading to act, and this is accompanied by resolution (ie trying to figure things out).

With Christ though will though acts in a radically differently way. He simply acts according to Who He is in divine simplicity.

Is Christ then really free to act? Yes He is free- because freedom is not freedom to do whatever you want (which is a complete illusion anyway when you think about it) but rather to be what you really are (or for us to be what we were meant to be). Looked at in this way we are struggling to become free while Christ Himself is always free.

Or another way to put it is that freedom can only mean freedom to be free from sin and then to be what God created us to be.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#46 Brian Patrick Mitchell

Brian Patrick Mitchell

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 719 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 September 2011 - 04:16 PM

Is Christ then really free to act? Yes He is free- because freedom is not freedom to do whatever you want (which is a complete illusion anyway when you think about it) but rather to be what you really are (or for us to be what we were meant to be). Looked at in this way we are struggling to become free while Christ Himself is always free.


Thank you, Father. It does seem that our argument is a largely semantic one, resulting from different uses of the words free, possible, able, and could, but your point about freedom is very well taken.

#47 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 15 September 2011 - 04:18 PM

Darlene Griffith wrote:

If I understand this properly, would it mean that Christ could only be made like us in that He took on human flesh, so that He hungered, thirsted, was tired, etc., but He did not and could not have the "baggage" that came with it, that is the propensity to sin?


Yes- this is what the Fathers call 'the sinless passions': hunger, thirst, not wanting to die.

This subject has caused me to think about the conception of our Lord in the womb of Mary the Theotokos. Is our Lord's conception within the womb of a virgin a sign, or proof, (not sure what word I'm reaching for here) that it was not possible for Christ to sin? Otherwise, why couldn't He have been conceived within one who was not a virgin? In other words, why was it necessary for Him to be born of a virgin, other than for the reason to fulfill the Scriptures? I've often wondered about this. Because on one hand, the Scriptures say He was made like His brethren in every respect....yet, we know that none of us were born of a virgin. So in that respect He was unique and set apart from us.


The Fathers often refer to the virgin birth of Christ in terms that connect this to His own incorruptibility. Of course in Christ, incorruptibility and sinlessness are connected. So the birth from the Virgin was sinless and incorruptible. These follow from each other naturally from the divine onto the human plane of existence.

How do we address this subject properly without reiterating the heresy of Monophysitism, specifically in the respect that Christ's humanity was absorbed by His deity? It seems to me that we can sound like we're saying that Christ is one person with only one nature, in which that nature is divine and human, and that His human nature was dissolved so that only His Divine nature was in operation.


I think that Fr David mentioned reading up on the 6th Ec Council. Also St Maximus the Confessor if possible. In any case the question is excellent. As Orthodox we firmly maintain the integrity of Christ's human will so that exactly, His humanity is not 'swallowed up' in His divinity. A general way of putting this relationship is that His humanity freely accords with His divinity. Theologically this is how Christ fully experiences our condition- through the full integrity of His humanity.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#48 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 15 September 2011 - 04:25 PM

Thank you, Father. It does seem that our argument is a largely semantic one, resulting from different uses of the words free, possible, able, and could, but your point about freedom is very well taken.


This brought to mind that within us there's some sort of deep rupture due to the Fall between what we want and what we really are. This split causes a life long struggle for many of us in order to one day draw together and harmonize the two. So that the aim for us as Christians is that one day we will only want what we were meant to be.

For Christ though there is no such rupture between will and being. Another sign of why certain things are not possible for Him.


In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#49 Brian Patrick Mitchell

Brian Patrick Mitchell

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 719 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 September 2011 - 04:46 PM

I disagree Father. For Jesus to weep tears and sweat blood and pray to the Father to have the cup pass before Him seems pretty clear to me their was inner conflict between his human will and divine will. Otherwise, any agony was just an illusion.


In the sense that His humanity had natural desires that He would not satisfy and natural inclinations that He would resist, yes. In that sense, we all have "inner conflicts." But these inner conflicts do not necessarily cause us to doubt what we are to do and struggle within ourselves over it, which is what I thought you were saying in my first thought, which you responded to before I could withdraw it.

To think that Christ said 'My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?' without really meaning it but simply in order to prove some connection with a particular psalm does not ring true to me. The psalm is prophetic by the fact that Christ fulfilled it. It seems more likely to me from reading the psalm that Christ in that moment truly felt in His human nature a sense of approaching abandonment and separation from life and God. Of course, Christ was never separated from God, but it was the human fear of such separation and doubt which He experienced in order to heal this fear and destroy this doubt. It was the final temptation He would overcome in order to finally and forever destroy death and separation from God and reverse the curse of Adam.


I like what Fr. David says above about Christ also expressing the separation from God we feel as we suffer in imitation of Him, and I agree with him that Christ was not in doubt and was no longer being tempted when He cried out as He did. Some modern Protestants make much of this idea of the Father actually forsaking the Son, even imagining a conflict between Them, but that is very wrong.

#50 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 15 September 2011 - 05:54 PM

This brought to mind that within us there's some sort of deep rupture due to the Fall between what we want and what we really are. This split causes a life long struggle for many of us in order to one day draw together and harmonize the two. So that the aim for us as Christians is that one day we will only want what we were meant to be.

For Christ though there is no such rupture between will and being. Another sign of why certain things are not possible for Him.


Father Raphael,

IN regard the sinlessness of the Theotokos, would we say that for the Theotokos her good will never changes to a bad will and thus she never wanted something other then what God has made her for? This came not as a result of being like you describe Christ but because she never strayed from this harmony?

In Orthodox theology the sinlessness and perfection of the saints is one that is always contingent upon a continuous effort of will. Can we understand St Athanasius in On the Incarnation saying that even of Adam before the Fall, this effort was required and it was when he was distracted from this effort of will toward God by Satan that he fell? Is the sinlessness of the Theotokos the same as Adam's state before the Fall? I know that Orthodox theology teaches that in Christ something new has come into being, beyond that which Adam had, so I was wondering if before her death and resurrection into Christ the Theotokos would be considered to be sinless in the way Adam was before the fall or is this a sinlessness different from Adam's as well as Christ's?

Darlene,
You mentioned fall and get up, fall and get up... and yes this is the experience of most of us, but falling is not a forgone conclusion predicated on what it means for our nature to be in a fallen state. A person can simply never fall. But this is not because this person has attained a natural sinlessness, but because they are constantly holding themselves upright with God's help.

In the Orthodox ascetical literature one hears so much about the need for constant vigilance. And the fact that the state one dies in is the state one is judged in. Any type of permanent and irreversible change is not part of the Orthodox understanding of man. (except after the final judgement) Although change does happen. Experience of the good, of God and His grace draws us on towards Him and we do make progress such that the falls become less often or even disappear altogether for some few saints, like St Seraphim of Sarov and others. Or never happen in the first place, which is also maybe the case of more saints then just the Theotokos, although no other is seen as her equal because it was her very flesh that Christ assumed.

#51 Antonios

Antonios

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,039 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:25 AM

I like what Fr. David says above about Christ also expressing the separation from God we feel as we suffer in imitation of Him, and I agree with him that Christ was not in doubt and was no longer being tempted when He cried out as He did. Some modern Protestants make much of this idea of the Father actually forsaking the Son, even imagining a conflict between Them, but that is very wrong.


Thank you Father for replying. I too like what both you and Father David wrote (as usual!). I still remain confused however about what Christ experienced when He said 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken me'. I understand that some modern Protestants do take this to the extreme that the Father actually forsook the Son and I agree that this would be very wrong. But could not have Christ in His dying moments felt the full experience of human death in His flesh, that is, the approach of separation from life and from God in His human nature and as such felt that fear and agony enough to call out as He did? Of course, the Father never abandoned the Son, but the human experience of death in His flesh was real nonetheless, no?

In addition, if Christ did not mean what He said when He said 'My God why have You forsaken me?', then how are we to interpret what this means? It is difficult for me to simply accept that He said this only to reference a prophetic psalm, though of course I may very easily be wrong. It seems to me rather that this was the very climax of His earthly ministry, the overcoming of doubt and fear and temptation of faithlessness in His human nature at those very final moments of life, only to be overcome (and thus healed) by His steadfast and perfect obedience and faith. That is, while such conflict arose in His human nature, He experienced it and proclaimed it (as Kind David prophecized), but did not ascent to it, and thus overcame it, without sin. And when He overcame it He said 'Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit', that is, quoting psalm 31 (Into your hand I commit my spirit: you have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth). Redeemed and having overcome the final obstacle of His earthly ministry (the human agony and experience of death), He said triumphantly 'It is finished'.

Anyway, I've rambled long enough but I just wanted to express how I understood things so that I might be corrected in my thinking and not be in error.

#52 Brian Patrick Mitchell

Brian Patrick Mitchell

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 719 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 16 September 2011 - 01:20 PM

Thank you Father for replying. I too like what both you and Father David wrote (as usual!). I still remain confused however about what Christ experienced when He said 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken me'. I understand that some modern Protestants do take this to the extreme that the Father actually forsook the Son and I agree that this would be very wrong. But could not have Christ in His dying moments felt the full experience of human death in His flesh, that is, the approach of separation from life and from God in His human nature and as such felt that fear and agony enough to call out as He did? Of course, the Father never abandoned the Son, but the human experience of death in His flesh was real nonetheless, no?


Certainly He experienced everything human in death except sin, but all of what that entails is a mystery. As for the cry of dereliction, I can only say what we have already said, that He was quoting the psalm to make the connection between Himself and the prophecy and that He was expressing the human predicament in death. The truth is, even we are not abandoned by God in death, though God does allow us to die. The psalm therefore could be understood to ask a rhetorical question, "Why, God, must I die?" more as a lament of our mortality than as a complaint against God.

#53 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 16 September 2011 - 03:13 PM

Anna Stickles wrote:

IN regard the sinlessness of the Theotokos, would we say that for the Theotokos her good will never changes to a bad will and thus she never wanted something other then what God has made her for? This came not as a result of being like you describe Christ but because she never strayed from this harmony?



Yes- this is the result of using her human will in the manner God intended for us.

Here for example is St Gregory Palamas referring to the Mother of God:

Possessing so many spiritual gifts and natural endowments from her mother's womb, she did not take in any sort of additional knowledge (which in my opinion is how we should regard what is learned from lessons) by studying with teachers. Instead, making her sovereign mind obedient to God in everything, she decisively abandoned human instruction and so received abundant wisdom from above, while at an age when parents place children into the care of teachers and hand them over to schoolmasters, regardless of their own will as they are so young.
(On the Entry of the Mother of God into the Holy of Holies- Homily 53)


Likely we all see how that we would never speak of Christ in such terms even though He was raised as a child by His parents (although it would be a very helpful exercise for us to look at why- taking the above paragraph as a pattern- we would not refer to Him in such a way). Notice how St Gregory refers to the Mother of God as "making her sovereign mind obedient to God in everything", and also how she "she decisively abandoned human instruction". In other words St Gregory explains that the Mother of God turned by her own will towards God and it is indicative of this that throughout this homily he uses verbs that express this willing turning of herself towards God. Thus it is not meant as a passing note when St Gregory points out as a kind of counter pattern that in normal cases parents hand their children over to schoolteachers "regardless of their own will". In other words here again the Mother of God is noted as having turned decisively in will to God from her childhood and that this provided her unique education.

As for the Mother of God in relation to Adam & Eve: the Fathers & Church hymnography continually portray her as being the New Eve. In this sense she relates to what came before and to all of humanity also. But she also decisively refers to the fulfillment of all that came before. That is why she is the New Eve who fulfills Eve's original calling towards obedience but which now leads towards that new resurrectional life in Christ her Son.

Also in relation to the question of whether Christ could ever have sinned several posters referred to gnomic will. This is what I was also trying to refer to yesterday when I explained that our way (mode) of willing is radically different from that of Christ. In any case I have found this in St Maximus' Disputation with Pyrrhus:

So then, the gnomic will is nothing other than an act of willing in a particular way, in relation to some real or assumed good. [ie: our human manner of willing always involves deliberation on our part; as some put it, it involves 'hesitation & doubt' because we do not know immediately and fully what is good or how to achieve this. I have a question though: many speak of gnomic will as being affected by the Fall, ie it always involves doubt & hesitation something which in our renewed state will cease to exist. But is the gnomic will itself actually a result of the Fall or is it a natural function of the will that will be renewed later on in Christ? Here I cannot find a clear answer in St Maximus].

Thus those who say that there is a gnomic will in Christ...are maintaining that He is a mere man, deliberating in a manner like us, having ignorance, doubt and opposition, since one only deliberates about something which is doubtful, not 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. [many point out that this means that the gnomic mode of willing is not an aspect of our nature for otherwise it would imply that every different deliberation on our part would reflect a change in our nature; rather gnomic willing occurs in the personal mode of our being. At first sight this would appear to clinch the case that gnomic will is the result of the Fall- to what else after all can we ascribe the 'ignorance, doubt and opposition' that St Maximus refers to and that he connects to deliberation as a root cause? However if the gnomic will is gradually purified in Christ then deliberation becomes discernment and nature is not changed as we resolve things. Does this mean that the gnomic mode of willing is meant to disappear- or that it will be renewed in us to be shorn of its doubt and hesitation?].

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 has a gnomic will. For the Same had being itself, subsisting divinely, and thus naturally has an inclination to the good, and a drawing away from evil, just as St Basil, the great eye of the Church said when explaining the interpretation of the 44th Psalm: "By the same line of interpretation Isaiah said the same thing: 'Before the child knew or advanced in evil, He chose the good.' 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.


I underlined the sentence above because it is so crucial to an Orthodox understanding of Christ. Yes- Christ has fully taken on humanity in the Incarnation. But in a sinless manner (this relates to the Virgin birth in the mind of the Fathers). These two have always been central to Orthodox thought for otherwise we lose track of the very principle of salvation itself and of Who Christ is.

But this also relates to what we mean by salvation which is not in the Fathers 'sharing in everything that we are'. This never was something found in the Fathers for by 'what we are' they meant our true nature which aspires towards good and towards God. As I said in a previous post there is absolutely no salvation to be found in Christ just by 'sharing'. This is a modern concept without Patristic precedent and which verges towards the idea that he/she who shares emotionally with you best knows you and then redeems you.

However in this we are no longer speaking of Christ but of what we would wish for in our unregenerated state: that there is someone to stand by me. And if not Christ then how can we proclaim Him our friend and Saviour? If He hasn't gone through everything I have then how is He that true friend and Saviour?

Again though it is crucial to point out how debased this gets. How soon Christ is no longer sought for as God and Saviour in an Orthodox fashion because we unknowingly impose our standards on how we are to approach Christ in the first place.

Christ then is not found because we feel more assured in that He even knows what it means to sin. Rather He is gradually found in how we seek. And how we seek is the way always counseled from the time of Christ and the Apostles- 'take up your cross and follow Me'. Only to that degree will we come to know Him for only in that way will we understand the manner in which He has taken on our sin and forgiven it.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

Edited by Fr Raphael Vereshack, 16 September 2011 - 03:42 PM.


#54 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 16 September 2011 - 06:29 PM

I assume the inserts are your commentary Father, but I had a question about this idea of our willing and whether it is quite right to define "willing in a particular way" with deliberation, hesitation or doubt, or the lack thereof as being what differentiates one way from the other..

After all we speak of acting without thinking, and this is not always simply impulsiveness. It could be the football player who knows the game so well he now longer has to think about it -- the act of taking in the situation, and the knowing how to act, and the acting are all basically a unified movement that come from long experience - an appropriate reponse is second nature to him.

But also, my child when I am guiding them in something new has little doubt or hesitation as long as I am doing most of the work and he is doing it with me, but when left on their own to face a new situation that they haven't been guided through then doubt and hesitation come in, but goes away when guided.

In neither of these cases is deliberation present, and yet even so they are two different cases .

But with Christ being God and omniscient, not only would it not be possible for him to suffer from the need for deliberation due to how sin blinds us, but it would be impossible for him to suffer from hesitation due to immaturity or lack of knowledge. So here lack of deliberation is not due either to needed guidance being present, nor to experience in which the good becomes second nature, but to His being God Incarnate.

Good for Adam was embedded in his nature, but for himself as a person maybe we could say that the goal was for it to become second nature. But for Christ, the second person of the Trinity, good was His nature.

#55 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 16 September 2011 - 08:46 PM

"Willing in a particular way" is how St Maximus describes gnomic will. It is the manner of our deliberating about what is right and wrong before we make a decision. Since Christ has no lack of knowledge about what is right and wrong then He does not have gnomic will as we do but rather...divine Personal will. This whole discussion just to clarify things a bit occurs in the context of the dispute about Monothelitism- the heresy that Christ only has an effective divine will, not a human will.

The reasoning here in terms of the present point is that we can see that the human will is unstable since it has to deliberate, be taught, or learn (your last two examples I think come under the unstable category for that reason) and is thus something fallen that we could never ascribe to Christ. In other words Christ could not have an effective and operating (real) human will in Monothelite thinking because the human will is inherently unstable for the reasons just described.

However notice that St Maximus isn't denying that the human will needs to deliberate; and that for us this is accompanied by lack of sure knowledge. Rather he is adding the crucial point that for us the way in which the will actually operates is by person rather than by nature. This is what allows us to freely deliberate on matters since the gnomic/deliberating will is "not a principle of nature, otherwise nature itself would change innumerable times".

But more than that this is how Christ operates in relation to His full and real human will. In Him, His human will freely accords in complete union with the Divine Word of God and is deified by it and thus does not act in a gnomic uncertain manner. That is why "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." In this sense Christ's humanity is not as ours is now and thus the Monothelite challenge can be faced down.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#56 Antonios

Antonios

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,039 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 16 September 2011 - 09:55 PM

Certainly He experienced everything human in death except sin, but all of what that entails is a mystery. As for the cry of dereliction, I can only say what we have already said, that He was quoting the psalm to make the connection between Himself and the prophecy and that He was expressing the human predicament in death. The truth is, even we are not abandoned by God in death, though God does allow us to die. The psalm therefore could be understood to ask a rhetorical question, "Why, God, must I die?" more as a lament of our mortality than as a complaint against God.


Thank you Father!

#57 Yannis

Yannis

    Junior Poster

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 17 September 2011 - 09:26 AM

Dear Darlene,
if you read 1 John 3-9( I quote Whoever is a child of GOD does not sin for GOD's very seed is in him and because GOD is his father he cannot continue to sin.unquote)
Now if this applies to us as normal people, as Christ is the the son of GOD how could he have sinned.
Remember Christ came down from heaven and was incarnet of the Holy Spirt and of the Virgin Mary( the holy Theotokos) and became man.
Christ could not sin if you believe in the above, as he is the only begotten son and had compassion for all mankind even to the end,if he had any sin someone would have reported it with great haste.
I believe Christ and the Theotokos to be free of sin if you can try to attend a course called THE way that will help you with a lot of life's questions regarding theology.

In Christ Rd Yannis

#58 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 17 September 2011 - 07:46 PM

Fr Raphael,
I grasp the point that you are making that there is an inherent difference between Christ's humanity and our humanity. And also that this must also include there being a difference between his human will and our human will. I guess this would come under that phrase "He is by nature what we are by grace"

The reasoning here in terms of the present point is that we can see that the human will is unstable since it has to deliberate, be taught, or learn (your last two examples I think come under the unstable category for that reason) and is thus something fallen that we could never ascribe to Christ.


But wouldn't it be more accurate to say in this statement of yours "thus something created that we could never ascribe to Christ"? (since we have talked before about the fact that instability is ours by nature, not something inherited at the fall) Or is there some context here that I am missing?

I haven't read St Maximos and so am not familiar with the tact that he took against the monothelites, nor with his vocabulary or subtlety of thought, so when I use the word "created" above, I am coming at this more in terms of taking the basic priniciples of who we are in relation to who God is that are found in St Athanasius and St Ireneaus and moving them over to this discussion. But I realize this leaves a lot of room for error, so I wasn't quite sure if I was missing something. I've tried reading some of St Maximos' writing and it is a bit above my head.

Except for this I think I am following what you have said, and appreciate the clarification. Thank you.

#59 Fr Raphael Vereshack

Fr Raphael Vereshack

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 4,420 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member
  • Verified Monastic Cleric

Posted 17 September 2011 - 08:11 PM

Anna Stickles wrote:


Fr Raphael... wouldn't it be more accurate to say in this statement of yours "thus something created that we could never ascribe to Christ"? (since we have talked before about the fact that instability is ours by nature, not something inherited at the fall) Or is there some context here that I am missing?


No. That's exactly what I'm trying to avoid saying.

In Christ-
Fr Raphael

#60 Anna Stickles

Anna Stickles

    Very Frequent Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,365 posts
  • Orthodox Christian Member

Posted 18 September 2011 - 02:35 AM

I'm sorry then, I guess I am just not getting what you are trying to say.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users