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Was/Is Christ a human being?


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#1 Brian Patrick Mitchell

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 03:25 PM

This comment was made on a thread about women priests:

Another point worth mentioning I think is that our doctrine of the Theotokos, while not making her a fourth person of the "Trinity," comes close, by presenting her as the closest thing to a deified person who has ever lived.


To which I replied:

You must mean "deified" as "becoming like God" and not as "divine," and you must mean "person" as "human being." The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all divine persons, and Jesus Christ is the closest thing to a divine human being who has ever lived.


This brought the following objections:

It seems to suggest that Jesus Christ was an individual human being. He was not a human being in that He did not assume a human person.


You have said that Christ was a human person and a human being. This is heresy. Christ assumed human nature. He was not a human person/being/anthropos: He could not be a human person and a divine person. That makes two persons.


Our Lord Jesus Christ is correctly referred to as "theanthropos" (God-human)




I contend that these objections confuse "being" with "person" and that Christ was and is a human being — a man, an anthropos — in addition to being God, inasmuch as He was and is a divine Person sharing the human nature "in a single body," as St. Athanasius says.

It seems to me quite plain that you can't be human and not be a human being. Let me say that again: YOU CAN'T BE HUMAN AND NOT BE A HUMAN BEING. Ergo, if Christ was not a human being, if He was not an anthropos, then He was not human.

To say that Christ was not a human being and not an anthropos, but rather a peculiar kind of being that may only be called theanthropos or "God-man," smacks of monophysitism.

#2 Phoebe K.

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 05:26 PM

To me it seems a simple thing Christ is fully God and fully Man, I do not profess to understand how I just believe he is as I have learnt from the creed.

"And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For our sake and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became Man."

This is the foundation of our faith, the Fathers of the Church who were far closer to God than we are defined it, who are we to question their asetions under the gidence of the Holy Spirit.

Or so it seems to this Cattacumin.
Phoebe

#3 IoanC

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 01:13 PM

Christ has two natures but He remains one Person. To take on human nature, does not mean that He became, yet, another person. The fact that He became Incarnate, not that He became "a man", does not add, nor subtract anything to/from Him. He did it for humanity, so, that humanity can become god. Conversely, humanity does not cease, nor begin to be anything other than humanity, but is simply lifted up to becoming god. So, the confusion seems to be that Christ has a separate soul as a Human, or something like that? No, His human soul is His eternal soul, which is Divine in Nature; taking on Human nature does not change His eternal soul, does not add to Him. To Him it's like putting on flesh, to us it is like putting on God.

#4 Father Stephanos

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 02:55 AM

From all that I am aware of, all souls are only part of creation. I do not believe that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit each have an eternal soul or any other type of soul.

However, when the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was incarnate out of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Maria, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity while remaining fully God also became fully human — having a truly human body and a truly human soul in order to assume the fullness of human nature.

I hope this helps!

With agape in our Lord Jesus Christ,

+ Father Stephanos



#5 IoanC

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 06:22 AM

From all that I am aware of, all souls are only part of creation. I do not believe that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit each have an eternal soul or any other type of soul.

However, when the Second Person of the Holy Trinity was incarnate out of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Maria, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity while remaining fully God also became fully human — having a truly human body and a truly human soul in order to assume the fullness of human nature.

I hope this helps!

With agape in our Lord Jesus Christ,

+ Father Stephanos


Does not make sense to me; maybe I am missing something. The Person of Christ did not take on a human soul. His soul, and I use this word to basically say, His Person is eternal and only put on flesh (not a soul). Man has a soul, true, but man was never made to be separate from God. If man remains separate from God, then man's soul remains "human'. If man is restored and lifted up to his true nature, of being deified, than man's soul, while not being divine in nature, becomes more than merely flesh, it starts to resemble divinity. So, a big problem is what we understand the humans soul to be. If we see it as an entity disconnected form God, then we will also see Christ's Human Nature as something disconnected from His Divine Nature.

#6 IoanC

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 10:07 AM

From all that I am aware of, all souls are only part of creation. I do not believe that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit each have an eternal soul or any other type of soul.


God does have a soul. It's in the Scriptures. See, Isaiah 1,14. I can't find others right now. I think we try to make it seem as if the soul is an object, as in something, not someone. The soul is basically who you are, your person. So God is a Divine person by Nature, man is to be a divine person through Grace. But the soul is basically who one is, not what he is.
So, Christ in the Flesh does not make Him a different Person, in addition or in combination with His Divine Person. That would mean that He'd be something to the effect of a two-headed person, or worse, He'd be two persons as in, His own creature in addition to His Divine Person. And, this is crucial to our Salvation because if Christ becomes something other than Divine through the Incarnation, then we cannot be literally lifted to being god. We'd be a sort of creature, an object, not true sons and daughters of God. Our humanity would then be a limitation, as if we'd be something inferior to God, but that's not God's idea of what "creatures" are, it is our fallen conception of who we are. We've lost the knowledge of our Divine origin, we now think we are God's objects.

Edited by Ioan, 27 August 2012 - 10:26 AM.


#7 Father Stephanos

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 11:30 AM

God does have a soul. It's in the Scriptures. See, Isaiah 1,14. I can't find others right now.


Dear Mr. Ioan,

I checked Isaiah 1.14 in the LXX, and I could find no word for soul in the passage.

With agape in our Lord Jesus Christ,
+ Father Stephanos

#8 IoanC

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 11:43 AM

I used NKJV: http://www.biblegate... 1&version=NKJV

The passage is this, and again, don't know if there are others:

"Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
My soul hates;
They are a trouble to Me,
I am weary of bearing them."

#9 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 11:46 AM

The authority for what Fr Stephanos says in his post #4 is this:

St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Council of Ephesus in 431 said: "that the Word, uniting to himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man."

The Council of Chalcedon in 451 said:

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and body; consubstantial co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the unity, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

#10 IoanC

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 11:52 AM

The authority for what Fr Stephanos says in his post #4 is this:

St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Council of Ephesus in 431 said: "that the Word, uniting to himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man."


That doesn't mean that Christ has two souls, though, a Divine and a Human. His souls remains one. But, yes, this does add a certain nuance that is important. Christ is fully God and fully Man, but one Person.

#11 IoanC

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 11:54 AM

Father Stephanos,

To the best of my ability, God mentioning of His soul is also in the English translation of The Septuagint, if this is what you meant.

#12 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:09 PM

My soul hateth = I hate. The nouns נפשׁ nephesh, soul, and רוּח rûach, spirit, are often used to denote the person himself, and are to be construed as ‘I.’

The Greek use of ψυχή in the LXX is presumably to be understood in the same figurative way and not as denoting that God has a soul.

God is spoken of as having hands and mouth: ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David’ - 2 Chronicles 6:4. This is no authority for saying that God has hands and a mouth.

We speak of God in human terms because He is beyond our understanding.

#13 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:17 PM

That doesn't mean that Christ has two souls, though, a Divine and a Human. His souls remains one. But, yes, this does add a certain nuance that is important. Christ is fully God and fully Man, but one Person.


God does not have soul: souls are created. The rational soul of our Lord Jesus Christ is part of the human nature He assumed for our salvation. He could not be fully human - which authority tells us He was - if He did not assume a soul to animate the flesh He took from His All-Holy Mother.

#14 Father Stephanos

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:18 PM

Father Stephanos,

To the best of my ability, God mentioning of His soul is also in the English translation of The Septuagint, if this is what you meant.

Dr. Mr. Ioan,

I cannot find it in either the Greek or the English of the Septuagint.

Perhaps, you could provide more information.

Also, I do agree with our Holy Fathers and Reader Andreas that our Lord Jesus Christ had a rational human soul. He did not have a divine uncreated soul; for a divine uncreated soul does not exist.

I hope this helps!

With agape in our Lord Jesus Christ,
+ Father Stephanos

#15 IoanC

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:21 PM

My soul hateth = I hate. The nouns נפשׁ nephesh, soul, and רוּח rûach, spirit, are often used to denote the person himself, and are to be construed as ‘I.’

The Greek use of ψυχή in the LXX is presumably to be understood in the same figurative way and not as denoting that God has a soul.


Though, I cannot validate your understanding (not an expert), it's basically the same as I've been saying. The soul is basically who one is. The soul is not something in and of itself, it's not an object, not even a concept, it's the reality of one's person. Man doesn't have a soul either, in the sense that his soul would be a limitation of his person-hood, as opposed to God's "soul". It's a way of saying "I am God", or "I am Ioan", so on. So, Christ is One Person regardless of His Incarnation, just as man remains one person regardless of his deification. There is no difference between God's "soul", and man's "soul" because we are made in God's image and we are as much of a person as He is, else we'd not be free and responsible; the difference is in likeness, in attributes -- man does not have God's attributes in and of himself, but receives them from God through theosis/deification. God gives, man recieves, but in the process man becomes more and more like God. This is the beauty of man as masterpiece of God's creativity; man being of flesh is not a limitation in becoming like God, but man's beautiful distinction.

#16 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:41 PM

Man is a unity of body and soul, united in one nature and belonging to both the physical and spiritual orders. Death involves the separation of the soul from the body; this is unnatural, but our true nature - to be a unity of body and soul - is to be restored after the end of the age.

However, this thread is not about man but Christ about Whom the conciliar, liturgical, and patristic deposit of the Church tells us in so far as it is in the power of human beings to know.

#17 IoanC

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 12:52 PM

Dr. Mr. Ioan,

I cannot find it in either the Greek or the English of the Septuagint.

Perhaps, you could provide more information.

Also, I do agree with our Holy Fathers and Reader Andreas that our Lord Jesus Christ had a rational human soul. He did not have a divine uncreated soul; for a divine uncreated soul does not exist.

I hope this helps!

With agape in our Lord Jesus Christ,
+ Father Stephanos


I used this version of The Septuagint:
http://orthodoxengland.org.uk/zot.htm (Isaiah chap 1, verse 14)
I've seen other english versions of The Septuagint that use the word "soul", as well as Romanian translation of The Bible (not sure about that one's validity 100%, but that how "soul" got stuck in my head.)

Man doesn't have a soul either by that logic because man's soul is not something, it is a way of saying that man is a person. The Fathers don't say that man has a soul as opposed to God who doesn't. Where do The Fathers say that God does not have a soul? I mean, we have Isaiah, for now, too.

Furthermore, the way you say that Christ had a human soul it implies that Christ is two Persons. This is my main argument, that Christ remains one Person through the Incarnation. His Human Nature does not imply that He is someone else as a human. Conclusion: Divinity and humanity are not mutually exclusive, and this is what Christ wanted to show through His Incarnation. The Incarnation was for us to become God, not for Him to become human because that makes no difference to Him, it doesn't add to Him, nor subtract from Him. It's only a tool for Him to teach us that our soul (or person-hood) is not lesser than His, it's only different, in a beautiful way.

#18 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 01:14 PM

Man consists of body and soul: this is the patristic witness. See eg St Irenaeus, ‘Against Heresies’, Book V, Chapter 6.

Souls are created: this is implicit in the condemnation of the heresy of the pre-existence in the Second Council of Constantinople in AD 553. Therefore, God does not have a soul.

#19 IoanC

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 01:20 PM

Man consists of body and soul: this is the patristic witness. See eg St Irenaeus, ‘Against Heresies’, Book V, Chapter 6.

Souls are created: this is implicit in the condemnation of the heresy of the pre-existence in the Second Council of Constantinople in AD 553. Therefore, God does not have a soul.


I never said man was not body and soul. Otherwise, I have no idea what you just said.
Let me ask you this, what is your definition of a soul?

#20 IoanC

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 02:23 PM

Man consists of body and soul: this is the patristic witness. See eg St Irenaeus, ‘Against Heresies’, Book V, Chapter 6.

Souls are created: this is implicit in the condemnation of the heresy of the pre-existence in the Second Council of Constantinople in AD 553. Therefore, God does not have a soul.


Are you saying that because human souls are created, then God does not have a soul?




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