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Pentecost
12-29-2014, 09:45 PM
So as not to derail a certain other thread, and because it deserves it's own thread, here we are. Biblically speaking, what exactly is a person? Do we mean the same thing when we talk about human persons and the persons of the Trinity? How is being a human different from being a person? :popcorn:

Adrift
12-29-2014, 10:04 PM
I think what constitutes a person made in the image of God is his spirit, assuming that humans are body/spirit, or body/soul/spirit beings.

Pentecost
12-29-2014, 10:16 PM
I think what constitutes a person made in the image of God is his spirit, assuming that humans are body/spirit, or body/soul/spirit beings.

For what makes a human, I told Siam in a thread in Islam that:


If it does not have a body, mind, and sprit it cannot be human. A person without a spirit is trapped inside the body unable to control it. A person without a mind could perhaps describe a lunatic and is almost an animal. A person without a body is simply not human. The spirit is made in the image of God. You need all three to be a human. I have not studied the topic much, but he asked me a direct question, and that was the best I could come up with at the time. I still think it makes sense, but am not sure it's entirely Biblical.

Adrift
12-29-2014, 10:39 PM
For what makes a human, I told Siam in a thread in Islam that:

I have not studied the topic much, but he asked me a direct question, and that was the best I could come up with at the time. I still think it makes sense, but am not sure it's entirely Biblical.

Well, we definitely seem familiar with the body aspect of our being. That's the easy one. But the distinction between a soul and a spirit is a little more complicated. Some Christians believe we are only body/spirit beings, but others see a trinitarian sort of aspect to humanity in the concept of a body soul and spirit, and there seems to be scriptural evidence that we are (1 Thessalonians 5:23, and maybe Matthew 22:37).

I've often heard that our soul is that aspect of our being that is the seat of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I've also heard it explained as that aspect of our being that is what brings life to our bodies and animates us. In that way, animals could be said to have bodies and souls.

So then, the spirit would be that aspect of our being that is unique and uniquely made in the image of God. I think hypothetically, it could be our mind distinct from our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Maybe its the heart of man that knows God's will. That part of mankind that even the unregenerate has that allows them to know the law of God (Romans 2:15). Its that part of our being that the Holy Spirit communicates with when we are born again (Romans 8:16).

But if soul and spirit are one in the same, then it seems to me that we can put the thought/feelings/emotions aspect of our being into the spirit side, and the life/animation aspect of our being into the body side. I'm okay with both, though I lean towards body/soul/spirit.

Bill the Cat
12-30-2014, 05:01 AM
A "person" is a unique center of consciousness that is made in the image of God, who is 3 distinct centers of consciousness. It does not necessarily imply humanity or even corporeality, although possessing them does not invalidate personhood, nor does lacking them invalidate it.

footwasher
12-30-2014, 06:11 AM
Pneuma is the Greek word for spirit and it is what happens when you gain life, are plugged in. Psuche is the Greek word for soul and is how the spirit is manifested by each person through his life experience.

In other words you have a spirit, but ARE a soul.

Adrift
12-30-2014, 08:13 AM
I don't think its quite that simple. Or at least, not in Paul's writings.

Paul uses the term pneuma of the human spirit sparingly. Normally pneuma means Holy Spirit in Paul. First Corinthians 14:14 (32?) speaks about "my spirit," and in 14:15 spirit and mind are contrasted. Some have suggested, however, that spirit here refers to something God gives the Christian, not something inherent in human nature (i.e., the spiritual agency that activates gifts). Against this, however, Paul speaks only of the Holy Spirit in these terms, not my "spirit." Further, 2 Cor. 7:1 speaks of defilers of the spirit and of the flesh. It is hard to see how one could defile the Holy Spirit, but the human spirit is another matter. Thus spirit seems to refer to a part of one's being that involves the suprarational or noncognitive aspects of human experience--broadly speaking, that which goes beyond the material and empirical. Paul, however, does not seem to see the human "spirit" as a material part of a person. We can only conjecture that he associates it perhaps with something like the image of God in humanity, that which makes possible relationships and communion with God, who is Spirit.

Paul uses the term psuche sparingly as well, and its cognate psuchikos. It clearly does not mean soul for Paul. Thus, for instance at Romans 1, quoting the Old Testament, he uses psuche in its Old Testament sense of life or self (the Hebrew nephesh). So too at Rom. 16:4 Paul speaks of those who risked their "lives" for his life (similarly at Phil. 2:30). In 1 Cor. 15:45 in the Old Testament quotation, Adam is said to become a living being (a living psuche). At times then, the term psuche is simply synonymous with human being (cf. Rom. 2:9; 13:1), without stress on one's being alive, though that is necessarily implied. First Thessalonians 5:23 has sometimes been used to argue that Paul had a trichotomous view of human nature: body, soul, spirit. Against this, however, psuche likely means here the life principle that animates the body. Psuchikos as an adjective is used by Paul in its normal sense to mean physical (just the opposite of soul) or natural, or possibly even unspiritual (cf. 1 Cor. 2:14; 15:44, 46). This term describes the natural human being (i.e., a person without the Holy Spirit) over against a person who has the spirit.

Jedidiah
12-31-2014, 12:12 AM
I fail to see any distinction between a human being and a person. Any application to the persons of the Trinity is really not comprehensible to us.

Obsidian
12-31-2014, 03:11 AM
The spirit is the non-physical core of a person that gives him life.

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

The "soul" is a somewhat ambiguous term that usually means the sum of the spirit plus the body, synonymous with "person" or personality.

Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

But sometimes "soul" seems to refer primarily or exclusively to the spirit, apart from the body.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Also, animals seem to have spirits, too, but of a different kind.

Ecclesiastes 3:21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

The word soul can apply to the life or personality of animals as well, not just humans.

Revelation 16:3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

hedrick
12-31-2014, 01:38 PM
No, they don't mean the same thing. In both the incarnation and the trinity, the nature has a will and other things that we think of as characterizing a person. Thus the Trinity has a single will. The Catholic Encyclopedia maintains that the Trinity has a single mind, which knows itself with a three-fold consciousness. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15047a.htm) In most contexts that would make him (them? it?) closer to one person than three, I think. Similarly, it was ruled a heresy to deny that Christ has two wills: human and divine. I think you can substantiate that he has separate consciousness, memory, etc. Thus from a typical modern point of view Christ is two persons.

Pentecost
12-31-2014, 07:40 PM
No, they don't mean the same thing. In both the incarnation and the trinity, the nature has a will and other things that we think of as characterizing a person. Thus the Trinity has a single will. The Catholic Encyclopedia maintains that the Trinity has a single mind, which knows itself with a three-fold consciousness. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15047a.htm) In most contexts that would make him (them? it?) closer to one person than three, I think. Similarly, it was ruled a heresy to deny that Christ has two wills: human and divine. I think you can substantiate that he has separate consciousness, memory, etc. Thus from a typical modern point of view Christ is two persons.

I can see merit in the points made by everyone up until your post... I'm sure it's because I don't understand it then. Can you elaborate? It sounds to me like you're advocating Nestorianism.

hedrick
01-01-2015, 01:30 PM
I can see merit in the points made by everyone up until your post... I'm sure it's because I don't understand it then. Can you elaborate? It sounds to me like you're advocating Nestorianism.

No. If you look at Christology you will find that the orthodox position has always maintained that Christ had all the functions of a human. This includes a separate human soul (denying it is Apollinarianism) and will (denying it is the monothelite heresy). I don't believe consciousness was part of the patristic discussion, but I think it's a reasonable extension to assume a separate consciousness to go with the separate will.

The question is whether this means that there is a separate person. Obviously not as orthodox Christian theology uses "person." But most people I know would consider something with a soul and a will to be a person. I don't think the classical hypostasis is the same thing as the modern concept of personality. That was the original question, whether person as used in theology means the same thing as the modern concept of person. I think the answer is no.

As I understand the discussion of the Incarnation in Aquinas' Summa, the human nature is exactly like a normal human person, except that it is not "complete." That is, a normal human exists on its own. But Christ's human nature, although identical to a normal human person, exists only as the way for the Logos to be present in human form.

Pentecost
01-02-2015, 04:35 AM
No. If you look at Christology you will find that the orthodox position has always maintained that Christ had all the functions of a human. This includes a separate human soul (denying it is Apollinarianism) and will (denying it is the monothelite heresy). I don't believe consciousness was part of the patristic discussion, but I think it's a reasonable extension to assume a separate consciousness to go with the separate will. I do not. Will: "the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action."
Consciousness: "the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world." Are the two dictionary definitions Google provided that seem relevant. A will may be a product of a consciousness, but two consciousnesses seems to be two people, the question of what makes up a person is unsettled, but the basic secular understanding involves being self-aware, which is only half of the definition of consciousness, using non-idiosyncratic definitions, you have described two people in one Christ. (And to be contrarian) Having a human soul does not necessitate having a divine soul as well. And how are you meaning soul? From my understanding of Apollinarianism the divine Logos replaced the human soul, so does that make soul equivalent to nature?


The question is whether this means that there is a separate person. Obviously not as orthodox Christian theology uses "person." But most people I know would consider something with a soul and a will to be a person. I don't think the classical hypostasis is the same thing as the modern concept of personality. That was the original question, whether person as used in theology means the same thing as the modern concept of person. I think the answer is no. Do you agree with most people you know? Why did you group the idea of personality=hypostasis with the other statements in this paragraph? They do not seem connected.


As I understand the discussion of the Incarnation in Aquinas' Summa, the human nature is exactly like a normal human person, except that it is not "complete." That is, a normal human exists on its own. But Christ's human nature, although identical to a normal human person, exists only as the way for the Logos to be present in human form. I am not sure it follows that you can be fully man, without having a "complete" human nature. For what it's worth, I think there is miscommunication here, because it seems like you're clearly expressing Nestorianism in your first paragraph of the quoted post, but then in the second it seems that you're denying your own point. I'm left confused about what you actually believe.

You mentioned earlier the Catholic encyclopedia, are you Catholic, or were you just using that as a resource? I ask because the councils are usually quite irrelevant to my faith, and I'm not sure how far I'd be willing to accept them. I can positively affirm the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed (without the Filioque), but beyond that? I am not sure. If the Eastern Orthodox are being ecumenical with the Miaphysites how do they understand the councils that they consider part of infallible church history? I do not know.

I refreshed myself on the relevant heterodoxies and the councils, although I confess, I've never extensively studied them, so that I could give a proper response, and I am just left puzzled by your seeming position of yes, all that leads to Nestorianism, but not. I feel I am missing something.

Leonhard
01-02-2015, 04:49 AM
Interestingly the word 'person' came into being when trying to describe what there were three of in the trinity. Three 'persona' one God.

hedrick
01-02-2015, 03:20 PM
I do not. Will: "the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action."
Consciousness: "the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world." Are the two dictionary definitions Google provided that seem relevant. A will may be a product of a consciousness, but two consciousnesses seems to be two people, the question of what makes up a person is unsettled, but the basic secular understanding involves being self-aware, which is only half of the definition of consciousness, using non-idiosyncratic definitions, you have described two people in one Christ. (And to be contrarian) Having a human soul does not necessitate having a divine soul as well. And how are you meaning soul? From my understanding of Apollinarianism the divine Logos replaced the human soul, so does that make soul equivalent to nature?

Do you agree with most people you know? Why did you group the idea of personality=hypostasis with the other statements in this paragraph? They do not seem connected.

I am not sure it follows that you can be fully man, without having a "complete" human nature. For what it's worth, I think there is miscommunication here, because it seems like you're clearly expressing Nestorianism in your first paragraph of the quoted post, but then in the second it seems that you're denying your own point. I'm left confused about what you actually believe.

You mentioned earlier the Catholic encyclopedia, are you Catholic, or were you just using that as a resource? I ask because the councils are usually quite irrelevant to my faith, and I'm not sure how far I'd be willing to accept them. I can positively affirm the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed (without the Filioque), but beyond that? I am not sure. If the Eastern Orthodox are being ecumenical with the Miaphysites how do they understand the councils that they consider part of infallible church history? I do not know.

I refreshed myself on the relevant heterodoxies and the councils, although I confess, I've never extensively studied them, so that I could give a proper response, and I am just left puzzled by your seeming position of yes, all that leads to Nestorianism, but not. I feel I am missing something.

I used the Catholic Encyclopedia because it expresses a traditional Western understanding. My own Christology is different, but I thought the question here was with respect to typical Christian theology.

I refer to typical understanding of person because I thought the question was about the meaning of the word. Words are defined by how they are commonly used. If the question was about "person" as used in the Trinity and Incarnation, that's a different question.

I believe Aquinas meant "complete in itself" or perhaps "self-contained." Obviously he would not say that Christ's human nature was incomplete, since that would violate Chalcedon.

I don't think any classical creeds spoke of consciousness. However the canons against monothelites say that Christ had a distinct human will and took distinct human actions. Previously he was decided to have a human soul. Obviously he had a human body. This seems to constitute him a human person within the common-language meaning of person. You may, of course, disagree.

hedrick
01-02-2015, 03:23 PM
I do not. Will: "the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action."
Consciousness: "the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world." Are the two dictionary definitions Google provided that seem relevant. A will may be a product of a consciousness, but two consciousnesses seems to be two people, the question of what makes up a person is unsettled, but the basic secular understanding involves being self-aware, which is only half of the definition of consciousness, using non-idiosyncratic definitions, you have described two people in one Christ. (And to be contrarian) Having a human soul does not necessitate having a divine soul as well. And how are you meaning soul? From my understanding of Apollinarianism the divine Logos replaced the human soul, so does that make soul equivalent to nature?

Do you agree with most people you know? Why did you group the idea of personality=hypostasis with the other statements in this paragraph? They do not seem connected.

I am not sure it follows that you can be fully man, without having a "complete" human nature. For what it's worth, I think there is miscommunication here, because it seems like you're clearly expressing Nestorianism in your first paragraph of the quoted post, but then in the second it seems that you're denying your own point. I'm left confused about what you actually believe.

You mentioned earlier the Catholic encyclopedia, are you Catholic, or were you just using that as a resource? I ask because the councils are usually quite irrelevant to my faith, and I'm not sure how far I'd be willing to accept them. I can positively affirm the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed (without the Filioque), but beyond that? I am not sure. If the Eastern Orthodox are being ecumenical with the Miaphysites how do they understand the councils that they consider part of infallible church history? I do not know.

I refreshed myself on the relevant heterodoxies and the councils, although I confess, I've never extensively studied them, so that I could give a proper response, and I am just left puzzled by your seeming position of yes, all that leads to Nestorianism, but not. I feel I am missing something.

I used the Catholic Encyclopedia because it expresses a traditional Western understanding. My own Christology is different, but I thought the question here was with respect to typical Christian theology.

I refer to typical understanding of person because I thought the question was about the meaning of the word. Words are defined by how they are commonly used. If the question was about "person" as used in the Trinity and Incarnation, that's a different question.

I believe Aquinas meant "complete in itself" or perhaps "self-contained." Obviously he would not say that Christ's human nature was incomplete, since that would violate Chalcedon.

I don't think any classical creeds spoke of consciousness. However the canons against monothelites say that Christ had a distinct human will and took distinct human actions. Previously he was decided to have a human soul. Obviously he had a human body. This seems to constitute him a human person within the common-language meaning of person. You may, of course, disagree.

However this came up in the context of statements like this: "A "person" is a unique center of consciousness that is made in the image of God, who is 3 distinct centers of consciousness. It does not necessarily imply humanity or even corporeality, although possessing them does not invalidate personhood, nor does lacking them invalidate it." I agree with his definition of person. However it's not so clear that the Trinity has three centers of consciousness. For what it's worth, the Catholic Encyclopedia sees him as having a single three-fold consciousness. In context I don't think this is the same thing as three separate centers of consciousness. At least the Trinity has a single will and acts with a single action. Though classical theology didn't deal with "consciousness," three separate centers of consciousness would seem weird.

Pentecost
01-02-2015, 04:42 PM
I used the Catholic Encyclopedia because it expresses a traditional Western understanding. My own Christology is different, but I thought the question here was with respect to typical Christian theology. The question here was extremely broad, being modified in that you tackled the issues of Trinitarianism and the doctrines of Incarnation, the question did not necessitate a "typical" response, just an orthodox one being that we are in Christianity 201.


I refer to typical understanding of person because I thought the question was about the meaning of the word. Words are defined by how they are commonly used. If the question was about "person" as used in the Trinity and Incarnation, that's a different question. I asked, if the normal meaning of person applied to the Trinity in the OP, and then you began speaking about the Trinity in post #10, I do not understand how you knew what I was asking then, but apparently just learned it now. I did also ask after what a person is a the human sense, but you broadly ignored that, and so when responding to you, so did I.


I believe Aquinas meant "complete in itself" or perhaps "self-contained." Obviously he would not say that Christ's human nature was incomplete, since that would violate Chalcedon. So Christ's human nature was not self-contained, and was therefore tied to his God nature, but they were still two distinct natures? Is that the understanding?


I don't think any classical creeds spoke of consciousness. However the canons against monothelites say that Christ had a distinct human will and took distinct human actions. Previously he was decided to have a human soul. Obviously he had a human body. This seems to constitute him a human person within the common-language meaning of person. You may, of course, disagree. Up to this point, I believe I can agree. Jesus is certainly a human.


However this came up in the context of statements like this: "A "person" is a unique center of consciousness that is made in the image of God, who is 3 distinct centers of consciousness. It does not necessarily imply humanity or even corporeality, although possessing them does not invalidate personhood, nor does lacking them invalidate it." I agree with his definition of person. However it's not so clear that the Trinity has three centers of consciousness. For what it's worth, the Catholic Encyclopedia sees him as having a single three-fold consciousness. In context I don't think this is the same thing as three separate centers of consciousness. At least the Trinity has a single will and acts with a single action. Though classical theology didn't deal with "consciousness," three separate centers of consciousness would seem weird. Now you are quoting Bill's definition of person, which I approve of, but he said the Trinity has three centers of consciousness, and you are saying one, yes? I agree with Bill, but even if I agreed with you and said the Trinity has only one awareness you still seem self contradictory because you already said Jesus has two consciousnesses, one human, one divine. So then is the human part of Christ participating in the Godhead? You must not think so it the Trinity has only one conciousness, but how is it "weird" for the Trinity to have three conciousnesses, but not weird that Jesus has two?

I really doubt it's what you mean, but you're saying something both Sabellian and Nestorian.

Because I think it is inadequate to merely say you're wrong, I will try to postively affirm something else:
Jesus has two natures, in harmony with each other in such away that both his Wills lead to the same conclusion, and both his energies work towards the same goal, and this is because he has one conciousness that is both God and Man. This is one person. He is of the same God essance as the Father, and the Spirit, but they are three different people, because they are three distinct conciousnesses. Being God, they share the same divine Will, and the same divine energy. The human will and energy of Christ works together with that of the overall Godhead.

I believe that is an orthodox phraseology, and that comes close to Miaphysitism, but is not. Maybe, I should have put this thread in Theology... :smile:

I believe we are both orthodox, but your phrasings and the way you segment your posts are odd to me, I hope I am being understood by you?

Edit: My previous post was done when I was very tired so it took about an hour, I'm happy to report that this only took about 15 minutes.

Obsidian
01-02-2015, 06:10 PM
I think the talk about Jesus having two "wills" just tends to confuse people, and is fairly meaningless anyway.

Pentecost
01-02-2015, 06:12 PM
I think the talk about Jesus having two "wills" just tends to confuse people, and is fairly meaningless anyway.
Well, yes. I can't think of any time I would bring it up except in this context, or to teach the history of schisms and heresies. It is a very impractical teaching.

37818
01-03-2015, 01:21 PM
Jesus who had two natures, I believe, only had one will. In His human nature had to learn obience to it.

hedrick
01-03-2015, 01:57 PM
Well, yes. I can't think of any time I would bring it up except in this context, or to teach the history of schisms and heresies. It is a very impractical teaching.

The intent was to preserve the true humanity of Christ. That's a pretty practical concern. Without a human will, we end up with a body being manipulated by the Logos, but not an actual human being. Despite the accusations of Nestorianism, it is not Nestorian to insist that Jesus was a full human being.

Two wills that are in agreement is of course perfectly fine. One consciousness with two wills seems impossible. How could the two wills make decisions if they are one consciousness? I think your position is effectively monothelite. (37818 is, of course, overtly monothelite.) The Third Council of Constantinople said "for although joined together yet each nature wills and does the things proper to it and that indivisibly and inconfusedly. Wherefore we confess two wills and two operations, concurring most fitly in him for the salvation of the human race." “For each form (μορφὴ) 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.”

It's hard to see how the human nature could have its own natural operations and its own actions without having a separate consciousness. Note that this language speaks of the nature is willing and doing things. This is treating "nature" not as we do in modern language, where it is effectively a set of characteristics that define a particular type of thing, but as an actual entity that does things, with the natures "in communion" with each other.

The original question was about the Trinity. However if the things that characterize a person in the modern sense are associated with the nature, then it would make sense that there is only one for the Trinity, as there are two for Christ, based on the number of natures.

Is this Nestorian? That's a hard question to answer. The condemnations of him have an almost hysterical tone, accusing him of teaching "two Christs." Obviously that would be heresy if anyone actually said it. Unfortunately the official documents don't come to grips with the details of what he said and meant. Many modern scholars think that's because he was essential orthodox, and the condemnation was primarily political. But it leaves us without an easy way to define what is and is not Nestorian. Thus we see even to this day regular accusations by Lutherans that Reformed theology is Nestorian. I'm saying that the doctrine of the 3rd Council of Constantinople can't reasonably be considered to be heretical, even if Nestorius would have actually agreed with it. Of course the other possibility is that the whole approach of using natures and hypostases to describe the Incarnation and the Trinity was flawed to begin with.

Obsidian
01-03-2015, 02:27 PM
The two-consciousness theory pretends that Jesus never changed his form from being "the form of God" to "the form of a servant." That is why it is wrong.

Philippians 2:6-7
...who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.

hedrick
01-03-2015, 03:29 PM
The two-consciousness theory pretends that Jesus never changed his form from being "the form of God" to "the form of a servant." That is why it is wrong.

Philippians 2:6-7
...who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.

The usual approach, as I understand it, is that the incarnation doesn't change the Logos, i.e. form of God, but rather the Logos took on a second form.

Pentecost
01-03-2015, 04:42 PM
The intent was to preserve the true humanity of Christ. That's a pretty practical concern. Without a human will, we end up with a body being manipulated by the Logos, but not an actual human being. Despite the accusations of Nestorianism, it is not Nestorian to insist that Jesus was a full human being. Yes, of course I did not mean Jesus being a full man was not important, merely that this discussion is impractical because we most explicitly make that claim that he was and now we're quibbling over whether or not how the other reached that conclusion might be implicitly self denying.


Two wills that are in agreement is of course perfectly fine. One consciousness with two wills seems impossible. How could the two wills make decisions if they are one consciousness? I think your position is effectively monothelite. (37818 is, of course, overtly monothelite.) A will, is a way to make a decision. As a fallen man my will is never going to align fully with the will of God, Jesus had an unfallen man will, meaning it had potential to be in perfect concert with the will of God, and Jesus consciously chose to keep it in line with the will of God, which he knew perfectly, being that he is God... Really I don't think that answers your assertion that two wills with one conciousness seems impossible, but I can conceptualize it, and if pressed could likely make a metaphor to your satisfaction.
The Third Council of Constantinople said "for although joined together yet each nature wills and does the things proper to it and that indivisibly and inconfusedly. Wherefore we confess two wills and two operations, concurring most fitly in him for the salvation of the human race." “For each form (μορφὴ) 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.” Was that a response to 37818? Because I can affirm it.


It's hard to see how the human nature could have its own natural operations and its own actions without having a separate consciousness. Note that this language speaks of the nature is willing and doing things. This is treating "nature" not as we do in modern language, where it is effectively a set of characteristics that define a particular type of thing, but as an actual entity that does things, with the natures "in communion" with each other. A thing can have operations and perform actions without being concious, and those things can be interconnected with other things. Gears come immediately to mind. They are made to spin and move things (it's natural operation), it does spin and move things (it's own actions) and it is not concious. Of course it is imperfect because it lacks will and only has the energy given to it, but it has a definite nature.


The original question was about the Trinity. However if the things that characterize a person in the modern sense are associated with the nature, then it would make sense that there is only one for the Trinity, as there are two for Christ, based on the number of natures. I think I might have gotten confused along the way. There is one God nature, and presumably that means God has only one nature. Christ has two natures. One God and one Man. That seems to eliminate the Man nature from participating in the Trinity. Which essentially separates Christ from the Trinitt, of which he is an essential member thereof. I don't know if I'm objecting to myself, you, or longstanding traditional truth, and I really want to be in agreement with the last. On this point I am confused, will you please help me with it?


Is this Nestorian? That's a hard question to answer. The condemnations of him have an almost hysterical tone, accusing him of teaching "two Christs." Obviously that would be heresy if anyone actually said it. Unfortunately the official documents don't come to grips with the details of what he said and meant. Many modern scholars think that's because he was essential orthodox, and the condemnation was primarily political. But it leaves us without an easy way to define what is and is not Nestorian. Thus we see even to this day regular accusations by Lutherans that Reformed theology is Nestorian. I'm saying that the doctrine of the 3rd Council of Constantinople can't reasonably be considered to be heretical, even if Nestorius would have actually agreed with it. Of course the other possibility is that the whole approach of using natures and hypostases to describe the Incarnation and the Trinity was flawed to begin with. I am very conflicted, because I hate the idea of abandoning the councils because they must have served some good purpose, but they were largely just competitions between Antioch and Alexandria... I know I want to emphasize the Godhood of Jesus and the essential unity of his God-Manness but I do not want to stray from orthodoxy, because even if I don't understand it, I desperately want to trust it. I have nothing but scorn for Arian, Modalist, and Tritheist beliefs, but it's hard to accept other rulings, since the Neo-Platonism that was once rampant only seems to carry into modern orthodoxy via the councils... :shrug:

hedrick
01-03-2015, 06:39 PM
I think I might have gotten confused along the way. There is one God nature, and presumably that means God has only one nature. Christ has two natures. One God and one Man. That seems to eliminate the Man nature from participating in the Trinity. Which essentially separates Christ from the Trinitt, of which he is an essential member thereof. I don't know if I'm objecting to myself, you, or longstanding traditional truth, and I really want to be in agreement with the last. On this point I am confused, will you please help me with it?

One classical answer I know to your question is the “communication of attributes.” It says that because Christ is a single person, things which metaphysically would seem to apply only to one nature actually apply to the person as a whole because of the union. This was pushed furthest by the Lutherans, because of their doctrine of communion. That required Christ’s body to be unbiquitous. That is possible because omnipresence applied to Christ’s human body through the communication of attributes.

See also the following page from the Orthodox perspective: http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/doctrine1.aspx, and partcularly the following: “Thus, in death itself—for Jesus' death was indeed a fully human death—the Son of God was the "subject" of the Passion. The theopaschite formula ("God suffered in the flesh") became, together with the Theotokos formula, a standard of orthodoxy in the Eastern Church, especially after the second Council of Constantinople (553). It implied that Christ's humanity was indeed real not only in itself but also for God, since it brought him to death on the cross, and that the salvation and redemption of humanity can be accomplished by God alone—hence the necessity for him to condescend to death, which held humanity captive.”



I am very conflicted, because I hate the idea of abandoning the councils because they must have served some good purpose, but they were largely just competitions between Antioch and Alexandria... I know I want to emphasize the Godhood of Jesus and the essential unity of his God-Manness but I do not want to stray from orthodoxy, because even if I don't understand it, I desperately want to trust it. I have nothing but scorn for Arian, Modalist, and Tritheist beliefs, but it's hard to accept other rulings, since the Neo-Platonism that was once rampant only seems to carry into modern orthodoxy via the councils... :shrug:

Most modern Christology is not rooted in the councils, but in current understandings of the NT language. Thus N T Wright, who is pretty much the most conservative representative of modern Jesus scholarship, has frankly stated that Chalcedon seems like a “confidence trick.” For his approach to the Incarnation see http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_JIG.htm. I think his NT exegesis is hard to argue with, though that that particular paper doesn’t deal enough with the preexistence passages to be complete.

Modern theology tends to see the union between God and man as a functional union, though there have been other suggestions, such as one that Jesus is part of the identity of God. I don’t believe this approach is Arian, Modalist or Tritheist. Whether it is Nestorian is less clear, since as you point out that particular debate was as much politics as anything else. I think if you don’t use neo-Platonic categories Nestorianism doesn’t mean anything.

To answer your question about the participation of the human in God, I would object to the classical formulation because it tends to imply that humanity is a nature that is separate from God’s nature. But that makes no sense, because the fact that God is trinitarian rather than unitarian, which surely is essential to his nature, is a result of the incarnation. Historically, the Trinity comes from the preexistence passages in the NT, which say that Jesus is the human form of what Wright will argue is basically the Jewish concept Wisdom. And that became the Logos in the Trinity. Because I don’t understand the Trinity using person and nature, I see the preexistence passages, and the Trinity that resulted from them, as a pointer to the fact that the human being Jesus reflects something that was true of God all along. That is, the Incarnation isn’t something that can be added to a God of the philosophers by uniting it with a human nature. A God who can be incarnate is different from a unitarian God from the beginning. An incarnatable God has from the beginning the experience of the obedient son as well as the Father. So the Logos, which is the preexistence of Christ, represents that incarnatableness of God. Thus there is at least the potential of being human present in the nature of God all along. This may not be so far from the Eastern Orthodox passage i quoted. It also seems to have been present in 17th Cent Reformed thought (in the concept of the Logos incarnandus) and Karl Barth, though I haven’t had a chance to see just how close these ideas really are to mine.

As for the battle between Alexandria and Antioch: Chalcedon adopted two-nature language that was originally Antiochene, though I think Chalcedon is best understood as broad enough to allow moderate versions of either formulation. I accept Chalcedon, under the understanding (fairly common among Church historians) that it wasn’t intended as a complete Christology, but simply a way to set reasonable limits. The next ecumenical council, in excommunicating Theodore as well as Nestorius, betrayed that compromise. The result was an overly uncritical Alexandrian approach, which led to the monothelite controversy. To resolve it, they ended up with a formulation that is fairly similar in intent to Theodore’s (though the terminology is very different), giving the natures some level of ontological reality, whether you accept my characterization of “pseudo-hypostasis” or not.

37818
01-04-2015, 07:54 AM
Two wills that are in agreement is of course perfectly fine. One consciousness with two wills seems impossible. How could the two wills make decisions if they are one consciousness? I think your position is effectively monothelite. (37818 is, of course, overtly monothelite.) The Third Council of Constantinople said ". . . ."Please show me from the word of God, Jesus had two wills being one soul/person, having two natures not being mixed and not being the same person of the Father.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/monotheletism

Obsidian
01-04-2015, 10:57 AM
The usual approach, as I understand it, is that the incarnation doesn't change the Logos, i.e. form of God, but rather the Logos took on a second form.

That interpretation is flawed, though, because it disregards the whole point of the passage (shown in the surrounding verses below), which is that Christ humbled himself. Taking on a persona while maintaining his own glory would not be humbling himself.

Philippians 2
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: . . . 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

hedrick
01-04-2015, 12:07 PM
We're now beginning to see arguments against orthodoxy, not against my personal theology. There's only so far I'm prepared to defend Christology as it developed after Chalcedon, since my own posting 25 indicates that I think the NT used very different categories from the neo-Platonic ones. However


Please show me from the word of God, Jesus had two wills being one soul/person, having two natures not being mixed and not being the same person of the Father.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/monotheletism

I've been speaking with respect to orthodox theology, not the NT. For my understanding of NT Christology see the second section of posting 25 above.

The Scriptural passages that were used in the original discussion were passages like Mat 26:34, which assume a human will that submits itself to the divine will. The difficulty with those citations is that Jesus always refers to the Father, so one could presumably maintain that this was the Logos submitting to the Father. However those do seem to be the original Scriptural support.

For me, a distinct human will is part of full humanity. I don’t see how you can remove such a major function from humanity as the will and still claim it to be full humanity. But when we start looking at whether the will is part of the nature or the person, we’re getting into a metaphysics that I don’t think works anyway, as I noted in 25.

There’s also a soterological issue. Jesus’ humanity is taken to be a fully restored humanity, and we benefit from its restoration by the double exchange. But there’s a basic principle going back to Irenaeus: “what was not assumed was not restored.” The corruption of the will is the most serious problem of the fall. If Jesus didn’t assume a real human will but in restored form, I think we’ve got a big problem.

37818
01-04-2015, 01:18 PM
We're now beginning to see arguments against orthodoxy, not against my personal theology. There's only so far I'm prepared to defend Christology as it developed after Chalcedon, since my own posting 25 indicates that I think the NT used very different categories from the neo-Platonic ones. However



I've been speaking with respect to orthodox theology, not the NT. For my understanding of NT Christology see the second section of posting 25 above.

The Scriptural passages that were used in the original discussion were passages like Mat 26:34, which assume a human will that submits itself to the divine will. The difficulty with those citations is that Jesus always refers to the Father, so one could presumably maintain that this was the Logos submitting to the Father. However those do seem to be the original Scriptural support.

For me, a distinct human will is part of full humanity. I don’t see how you can remove such a major function from humanity as the will and still claim it to be full humanity. But when we start looking at whether the will is part of the nature or the person, we’re getting into a metaphysics that I don’t think works anyway, as I noted in 25.

There’s also a soterological issue. Jesus’ humanity is taken to be a fully restored humanity, and we benefit from its restoration by the double exchange. But there’s a basic principle going back to Irenaeus: “what was not assumed was not restored.” The corruption of the will is the most serious problem of the fall. If Jesus didn’t assume a real human will but in restored form, I think we’ve got a big problem.

Jesus' full humanity is not at issue. His full deity being the Son is not at issue. Jesus being one individual, a distinct person from God the Father and the Holy Spirit is not at issue. The issue of will being of two natures versus the will of being a real person. The truth on this matter is the true othodoxie.

Pentecost
01-05-2015, 07:39 PM
Jesus' full humanity is not at issue. His full deity being the Son is not at issue. Jesus being one individual, a distinct person from God the Father and the Holy Spirit is not at issue. The issue of will being of two natures versus the will of being a real person. The truth on this matter is the true othodoxie. Come to think of it, what prompted my questioning of you hendrik was the seeming of there being two Christs, which I know you do not believe. The terminology we've been using leads us down odd roads.

I appreciate the two links you shared hendrik, I was getting so caught up in the Neo-Platonism (which I actively accepted 5 years ago before my conversion) that I forgot to think like a Christian, someone who's God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I was thinking very abstract, as a scholar rather than a believer, who has seen God move in such a way that I couldn't keep from nodding at the Orthodox site's idea of experiencing truth (which is what being a Pentecostal is arguably about as compared to other traditions), and I had to agree that God isn't necessarily something because we connecture it, we know what God is like because we see it, and Jesus lived as only God could have lived.

I always enjoy reading of the Eastern church's views because they are so concrete and reminiscent of my own, perhaps it sounds foolishly circular, but it reaffirms my grounding.