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Was/Is Christ a human being?


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#421 Paul Cowan

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 02:18 AM

I also would hope the moderators would try to “insist on conformity to the principles of civility and charity.”

I also regret Fr. Aidan leaving us for even a short time; but I would ask, who's principle's are we to conform to? Or shouldn't we all just agree to be "nice" to each other?

Paul

#422 IoanC

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 07:19 AM

Sorry, to have to say this, but, personally, I would not consider Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev a safe source for information regarding the Faith. He may or may not be, but given the profoundly ecumenical and worldly affairs that I noticed he takes part in, I simply would not trust him without double checking. Also, this thread, even if it hasn't been perfect, has helped me a lot. I would not attempt to close it just for the sake of personal preferences. I encourage people to not take offense too easily (or at all would be ideal for a christian), and try to focus on the good parts rather than the bad. And we should be prepared to also be wrong and corrected by others; it's not the end of the world unless we hold ourselves in the highest regard (a passion).

#423 Matthew Panchisin

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 11:29 PM

We have seen in the kingdom of human beings, Christ can be spoken of as a human being. In the reality of the Orthodox Church, Christ is the God-man, Theanthropos.

In Christ,

Matthew Panchisin

Edited by Matthew Panchisin, 14 October 2012 - 11:30 PM.
typo


#424 Father David Moser

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 06:54 PM

I would not consider Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev a safe source for information regarding the Faith. He may or may not be, but given the profoundly ecumenical and worldly affairs that I noticed he takes part in, I simply would not trust him without double checking.


Please remember that Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk is the chairman of the Dept of External Affairs for the Moscow Patriarchate. That means that he is the "face" of the largest, most vital, national Orthodox Church to everyone outside of her - especially the heterodox Christian organizations (that is the "other Churches"). That means that it is his duty as an Orthodox bishop to interact with all those ecumenical and worldly people and organizations and represent the Orthodox position to them. I have met and served with Metropolitan Hilarion and I can say without reservation that his Orthodox faith runs deep and strong and that he truly is devoted to our Lord Jesus Christ. Don't be deceived by appearances and the "reports" of others concerning him (or anyone for that matter), but know that he is above all an Orthodox Christian who has been called to and entrusted with the episcopacy.

I have my own "issues" with Metropolitan Hilarion, but these are mostly issues of style and how he does things and one issue I do not have is being convinced of his Orthodoxy.

Fr David Moser

#425 Jack R.

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:48 PM

Could it not be said the the "Soul" of God the Holy Trinity is the Holy Spirit? I don't know. Is there not an analogy by St. Athanasius that indicates that as the Logos of the Father is God's Mind, and God could not be mindless, so also is the Holy Spirit the Life of God as God can not be lifeleless?

"Jacob is My Servant; I will help Him. Israel is My chosen; My soul accepts Him. I put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth judgment to the Gentiles" -Isaiah 42:1 (LXX)

"Great is the Mystery of Godliness, God was manifest in the flesh." St. Paul's Epistle to Timothy.

Jesus is the Eternal Son and Logos of the Father who became Complete Man, with a completely Human body, soul and spirit that is hypostatically united to His Divinity.

The body, soul, and spirit of Jesus were formed by the action of the Holy Spirit within the Virgin St. Mary, through whom the Hypostasis of the Logos became incarnate and united to himself the body, soul, and spirit.

Edited by Jack R., 18 October 2012 - 04:29 PM.
clarity


#426 Mary Lanser

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 08:23 PM

I realize that this thread has run its course and that I missed much of it as it was on-going. I am now reading it as a coherent whole and am about a third of the way through it. While there is both heat and light being generated, I see much more light than heat. It is a topic that is always returning to my thoughts and is dear to me really and spiritually rather than academically, so I will offer one recommendation here in terms of reading and future reference. If it has already been suggested in the sections that I have yet to read, my apologies:

Gilles Emery, OP, Trinity, Church and The Human Person, Thomistic Essays, Sapientia Press, 2007.

The pertinent chapters begin with Chapter 7 though I recommend the entire text. I think that there will be many surprises in it for those who are not accustomed to St. Thomas and his latter day students. I hope, for those who take up this recommendation, the surprises are pleasant and most positive.

M.

#427 Mary Lanser

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 05:10 PM

I don't know that I'd be so quick to assert that. At least two quotes I found in the records of the Sixth Ecumenical Council use language which appears to treat the human will of Christ as "its own acting subject." The first comes from the section on the Definition of Faith (emphasis added):



The second, and clearer, one is from the letter of Pope Agatho:



Unless I'm missing something, I do not see any way to call Met. Hilarion's statement Nestorian without also calling these statements Nestorian.


Dear Michael,

From your note #302 in this thread. I am in agreement with you. I have been reading and re-reading, in that section around #302, the notes between Father Aidan and Father Raphael and the various texts from which they draw quotes, and other than the fear that one may be loosing balance on Father Raphael's part, I see no real difference in the quotes. In the context of all the quotes used there I see no loss of perspective or balance.

The will is associated with the nature and not the person in Christian terms precisely so that the flesh may be organically connected with the spirit thereby precluding a dualism. The mystery therein is how one may have two natures and only one subject...a divine subject.

I also tend to agree with the dangers inherent in the uncontextualized use of the term "being"...That can, but not absolutely necessarily does, create some difficulty in understandings, which again is why I still recommend the Giles Emery book.

M.

#428 Owen Jones

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:41 AM

I'm certainly not opposed to studying Aquinas or reading about Aquinas in order to be fully educated in the history of ideas, so to speak, but I'm just wondering what's supposedly lacking in Orthodoxy that one would NEED to read Aquinas.

#429 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:56 AM

Particularly since Aquinas himself said, "All that I have written appears to me as much straw after the things that have been revealed to me."

#430 Mary Lanser

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 03:11 PM

Particularly since Aquinas himself said, "All that I have written appears to me as much straw after the things that have been revealed to me."


This is really not worth a response except to say that any and all of the holy fathers, could and should, say the same kind of thing. Some of them, many of them did, in their own ways.

M.

#431 Mary Lanser

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 03:19 PM

I'm certainly not opposed to studying Aquinas or reading about Aquinas in order to be fully educated in the history of ideas, so to speak, but I'm just wondering what's supposedly lacking in Orthodoxy that one would NEED to read Aquinas.


Personally I don't know what is lacking in Orthodoxy. It is somewhat more apparent what is lacking in some Orthodox believers but that is not particularly relevant here and not particularly noteworthy since one thing that does not change much from east to west is the number, nature and kinds of sin <smile>....and I do tend to beat the drum against comparison in any event.

However we do pretend to speak to one another on occasion and because it is better to hear what the other has to say, rather than telling them what they say, I suggest a reading of Father Giles Emery's text.

One thing, among several, that I think would be interesting to Orthodox readers: From chapter 7 onward there are several occasions when Father Giles notes specifically which of the Holy Father's that St. Thomas uses to make particular points or to take particular concepts or language. That alone is a good exercise for Orthodox who tend to assert that there's such a great gulp of emptiness twixt east and west...starting particularly with that most logical of thinkers, and lover of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

It's always nice to learn something that we hold most dear in terms of sure knowledge is wrong. Helps greatly with that most necessary virtue: humility.

Besides there's much in that book that helps in understanding the various perspectives on 'being' that exist in the holy fathers and between east and west, and with what over-lap.

M.

#432 Owen Jones

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 01:55 PM

Aquinas' primary Orthodox source is Dionysius the Aereopagite.

#433 Mary Lanser

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 03:15 PM

Aquinas' primary Orthodox source is Dionysius the Aereopagite.


That is not entirely true Owen. If it were I could have said that and saved anyone interested a trip to the library or the price of a Giles Emery book.

You see I've been writing on-line and listening to Orthodox believers talk about the faith of my baptism for 20 years now. I was thinking it was only 17 years or so but then I counted the years from 1990 to the present and I've been at this a whole lot longer than I realized.

In that time I've grown and read the fathers of the east and the west and those who have written about them in contemporary times. One of the things that I think it is safe to assume is that most people writing on the Internet, east and west, do not know Aquinas first hand or even a "good" second hand. There's more muddled thinking out there about Aquinas than is possible to believe among a generally very literate Internet population. I don't mind muddled thinking but when it is blended with a heavy dose of prideful presumption then it becomes quite dangerous to all concerned.

But he is not the only one of the holy fathers who gets short shrift. He's not the only one who is talked about out of habit more than any real knowledge.

So try the Emery book all the way through and see if you don't pick up a few new ideas or bits of knowledge. It might help you in your discussions to be a bit more fair and accurate and perhaps a tad more sympathetic and maybe even empathetic...or compassionate about the faith of your western Catholic brothers and sisters.

I hasn't hurt me to explore more deeply the entire Catholic patrimony from the early centuries through Aquinas. I am most likely no smarter or more holy than when I started but I certainly can "see" the faith of my eastern Catholic brothers and sisters more clearly, and have a great deal more respect and compassion on account...and I can see my own western brothers and sister more clearly as well.

M.

#434 Darrin Rasberry

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 04:25 AM

From my understanding, God does not have a soul, for God does not need an animating principle as He is (energetically) animation and principle itself. Perhaps it would be better stated

We must not equate souls with personhood, as the Cartesian dualists do. That would mean either Christ was two persons, or that He was animated by the divine soul of Christ and thus was an incomplete human.

#435 Darrin Rasberry

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 05:21 PM

Sorry, I meant to write "Perhaps it could be better stated, however." but didn't realize I failed to make the correction!

#436 Owen Jones

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 11:31 AM

First, I am not a student of Aquinas, Mary. What I know is largely second hand and an authority I admire greatly and have no reason to question whose Phd thesis was on Aquinas argued very persuasively to me that Aquinas had to square everything he wrote with Dionysius (and Aristotle of course). I cannot quote chapter and verse but if you would like I will try to locate his thesis for you and make it available. That is not to argue that Dionysius is his ONLY source. As you say, my statement is not entirely true, and I would agree, because it was not intended as an absolute statement. As for your personal thoughts, I have great "empathy" for my Catholic and Protestant friends, which is why I think it so important to assert from time to time why I am Orthodox and why I think the Catholic Church and Protestantism have gone off in wrong directions. I also lost some Catholic friends who shunned me after I became Orthodox so I know how these things go.

#437 Mary Lanser

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 07:28 PM

From my understanding, God does not have a soul, for God does not need an animating principle as He is (energetically) animation and principle itself. Perhaps it would be better stated

We must not equate souls with personhood, as the Cartesian dualists do. That would mean either Christ was two persons, or that He was animated by the divine soul of Christ and thus was an incomplete human.


Very interesting and cogent points, Mr. Rasberry. I agree fully that we must not equate the animating principle with the subject of personhood. And I agree that God is the Principle itself, the source and breath of Life. But I would not qualify that he is energetically animation with respect to the human soul, since the human soul is created and particular to each human subject and not drawn out of a great divine vat of uncreated stuff [energies] labeled "Human Soul Stuff"....We are much more important to God as individuals than that would suggest.

M.

PS: If you did not write about energetic animation yourself please forgive me for the attribution but the point remains.

#438 Mary Lanser

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 07:35 PM

First, I am not a student of Aquinas, Mary. What I know is largely second hand and an authority I admire greatly and have no reason to question whose Phd thesis was on Aquinas argued very persuasively to me that Aquinas had to square everything he wrote with Dionysius (and Aristotle of course). I cannot quote chapter and verse but if you would like I will try to locate his thesis for you and make it available. That is not to argue that Dionysius is his ONLY source. As you say, my statement is not entirely true, and I would agree, because it was not intended as an absolute statement. As for your personal thoughts, I have great "empathy" for my Catholic and Protestant friends, which is why I think it so important to assert from time to time why I am Orthodox and why I think the Catholic Church and Protestantism have gone off in wrong directions. I also lost some Catholic friends who shunned me after I became Orthodox so I know how these things go.


I am very sorry that you lost friends, Owen. On the other hand it is sometimes difficult to keep friendships when you radically change your way of thinking about things and doing and being. So perhaps it is for the best for all concerned. Not all temptations are equally useful and empty argumentation over religion isn't something a new convert needs..eh?

I understand your point re: Aquinas and hope that some day you make time to read a bit of Emery's book.

M.

#439 Darrin Rasberry

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 07:01 PM

Very interesting and cogent points, Mr. Rasberry. I agree fully that we must not equate the animating principle with the subject of personhood. And I agree that God is the Principle itself, the source and breath of Life. But I would not qualify that he is energetically animation with respect to the human soul, since the human soul is created and particular to each human subject and not drawn out of a great divine vat of uncreated stuff [energies] labeled "Human Soul Stuff"....We are much more important to God as individuals than that would suggest.

M.

PS: If you did not write about energetic animation yourself please forgive me for the attribution but the point remains.


Well, if something is not finite in time then it is not necessarily uncreated, but yes, I'd agree with you that souls are created and (contrary to some opinions e.g. Augustine's IIRC) begin to exist created by God at the moment of conception rather than being in some sense present all the way back to Adam and created via father's issue.

God is not the sole animating principle of everything (that would be strict pantheism/panentheism), but has to be so in a similar and even primary sense as He is the being/Logoi/becoming of things energetically. With the creation of us truth-making natures in His image, that image being precisely the animative ability to affect reality in line with our own ends, He has thus decreed a nature to which He in turn must act to obey like all the others, thus He does not "move" in line with our actions permissively, but does so *because* it is in response to our natures to so freely create.

This to me really explains the Problem of Evil in full, in that He "permits" evil acts in so much as He has precommitted truth-making natures that can, if they so choose, act toward ends they ought not desire. This leads to directly evil acts (or perhaps even unfortunate accidents of nature which we may have avoided had we chosen properly from Adam on down, with studying prediction and prevention of such accidents as part of that idealistic paradigm) which He doesn't necessarily "allow" to happen a la Aquinan accounts, but is bound to "allow" qua sourcing the being, material, etc. of those courses of human action due to His committing to bringing about our free natures. God is simply "helpless to comply," in the sense that He *must* act in accordance to the natures He created, including the contingency of created truth-makers going awry. And why make such a possibility to begin with? That's His own reasoning, but perhaps Paul's retort in Romans 8 about God's intent of renewing a fallen creation even makes created wills that choose evil in act still something that could ultimately lead to good by God's redemption action anyway.

I'm not too familiar in the placement of soul in patristic terminology. I know it is linked with mind, in humans our definitive Form or that which holds the ideals (and if Aristotle/Aquinas are to be believed, *is* the ideal it holds) and in God would at least analogously then be the Logos. The spirit would be that (nonmaterial) animation or displaying of the person "toward" the soul and also the moving of the soul "toward" the fullness of being of the person (provided the soul is fundamentally immaterial), much like the Father, the one first unbegotten principle of being, "moves toward" the Son His begotten Image or Logos, and the Logos moves "toward" the fullness of the Father, the Spirit making known and resting in the Son like our spirit makes known our soul and rests in our soul without necessarily proceeding from it. This doesn't mean e.g. the Father is soulless or spiritless fundamentally if the hypostases of the Son and Spirit can be identified with the Soul or Spirit of God since they all are the full Being of God, but I am having trouble with whether to identify Soul with hypostasis or with ousia. Certainly soul isn't of the Person or Christ would be a human person or lack a human soul, and certainly it isn't of nature or else everyone would have the same soul, but whether it is of the ousia or hypostasis (subsistence of ousia and thus identifiable with subsistence) I don't know but could guess: if it is of the hypostasis and not the ousia that would mean the soul is the principle of subsistence and so since Christ has a human soul, then he has something that provides human subsistence of its own accord and that would immediately imply He's a human person, so I'd take a *guess* that soul is of ousia but I am welcome to opinions.

Thus, I'd say that Christ whose hypostasis is consubstantial with God and with man should have a divine and human souls in the since that the divine is kinda "soul itself" (but Christ's human soul is of course created!).

#440 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 07:24 PM

Dear all;

Please note that I have closed this thread to new postings, only as a temporary measure while we go through it to re-focus / remove off-topic discussions as part of our November clean-up. As soon as this process is complete, the thread will be re-opened for posting.




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