Monday, March 29, 2010

The Incarnation

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One Divine-Human Hypostasis Subsisting in Two Natures
1. A lot of my peers seem to be unwitting crypto-Nestorians, so I want to help them understand the faith better. The following is a clarification about the Incarnation based on the brilliant Summa Theologica of the great St. Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor of the Schools. The man Jesus Christ is God the Logos [Rom 9:5]; God the Logos is the man Jesus Christ [Phil 2:6-7].{1} What belongs to the human nature of Jesus Christ can be predicated of God the Logos (e.g., God the Logos died on the Cross) because the hypostasis of the divine nature is the same as the hypostasis of the human nature.{2} The properties of the human nature cannot be predicated of the divine nature, because the two natures remain distinct from one another and do not become one nature.{3}

More on the Communication of Idioms
2. God the Logos was made man [Jn 1:14] because Jesus began to be man; He was not man from eternity, but became a man at the moment of His conception in the womb of the Theotókos by the power of the Holy Spirit [Lk 1:35].{4} The man Jesus Christ did not begin to be God, because the man Jesus Christ is the same hypostasis as the pre-existent God the Logos [Jn 3:13].{5} The man Jesus Christ did not begin to exist [Heb 13:8], for the same reason.{6} Nevertheless, Christ as man is a creature, because Christ as man is not Creator.{7} It is not the case that Christ as man is God, because the human nature and the divine nature are not one and the same nature.{8} Christ as man is not a hypostasis, as Nestorius wrongly said, because in Christ there is no "proper personality, caused by the principles of human nature," says St. Thomas.{9} The union, which took place by grace{10} in the person{11} rather than in the nature,{12} is something created.{13}

True Body & Defects of the Assumed Soul
3. Our Lord assumed a true flesh-and-blood body [Lk 24:39].{14} He also assumed a rational soul [Mt 26:38]{15} and human mind.{16} His passible [Ps 87:4]{17} human soul is all-powerful as regards the execution of His will.{18} Because the sinless Christ [Jn 8:46; 1 Pt 2:22]{19} assumed the defects of our soul, in His soul there was sensible pain [Is 53:4],{20} sorrow [Mt 26:38],{21} fear [Mk 14:33],{22} wonder [Mt 8:10],{23} and righteous anger [Jn 2:17].{24}

Knowledge of the Soul of Christ
4. Since it is created, the soul of Christ does not comprehend the divine essence,{25} although it knows all things in the Logos via beatific knowledge [Rev 5:12],{26} knows the infinite in the Logos,{27} and sees the Logos more clearly than any other creature [Eph 1:20-21].{28} The soul of Christ knows all things by its infused knowledge [Is 11:2; Col 2:3].{29} New things could occur to the empiric or acquired knowledge of the soul of Christ [Lk 2:52; Heb 5:8].{30}

Two Harmonious Energies & Wills
5. There are two energies (operations) in Christ,{31} and two distinct wills [Lk 22:42]: the divine and human.{32} In Christ there is a will of sensuality in addition to the will of reason [Lk 22:42].{33} Christ has free will [Is 7:15].{34} The human sensual will of Christ was not completely conformed to the divine will in the thing willed [Lk 22:42],{35} even though there was no contrariety between the divine and human will.{36}

One Act of Adoration of Christ
6. Finally, we adore the divine nature and the human nature of Christ with one and the same act of adoration,{37} and give the adoration of latria to the flesh of our Lord and Savior by reason of its assumption by the Logos.{38}
Notes & References
{1} Summa Theologica III, q. 16, art. 1; art. 2.
{2} III, q. 16, art. 4, corp.
{3} III, q. 16, art. 5, corp. If the two natures became one nature, Christ would not be consubstantial with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, since They do not subsist in a divine-human nature. Nor would Christ be consubstantial with us, because we do not subsist in a divine-human nature.
{4} III, q. 16, art. 6, corp.
{5} III, q. 16, art. 7, corp. When St. Gregory the Theologian says [Epistle 101:3 to Cledonius] "man was deified," he means that by the union of the natures it was brought about that man is God, not that this man, pointing to Jesus Christ, began to be God [ad 3]. That is why St. Gregory adds in the same letter, "If any assert that the Manhood was formed and afterward was clothed with the Godhead, he too is to be condemned."
{6} III, q. 16, art. 9, corp.
{7} III, q. 16, art. 10.
{8} III, q. 16, art. 11, corp.
{9} III, q. 16, art. 12, corp.
{10} III, q. 2, art. 10, corp.
{11} III, q. 2, art. 2, corp.
{12} III, q. 2, art. 1, corp.
{13} III, q. 2, art 7., corp.
{14} III, q. 5, art. 2, corp.
{15} III, q. 5, art. 3, corp.
{16} III, q. 5, art. 4, corp.
{17} III, q. 15, art. 4, corp.
{18} III, q. 13, art. 4, corp.
{19} III, q. 15, art. 1, corp.
{20} III, q. 15, art. 5, corp.
{21} III, q. 15, art. 6, corp.
{22} III, q. 15, art. 7, corp.
{23} III, q. 15, art. 8, corp.
{24} III, q. 15, art. 9, corp.
{25} III, q. 10, art. 1, corp.
{26} III, q. 10, art. 2, corp.
{27} III, q. 10, art. 3, corp.
{28} III, q. 10, art. 4, corp.
{29} III, q. 11, art. 1, corp.
{30} III, q. 12, art. 2, corp.
{31} III, q. 19, art. 1, corp.
{32} III, q. 18, art. 1, corp.
{33} III, q. 18, art. 2, corp.
{34} III, q. 18, art. 4, corp.
{35} III, q. 18, art. 5, corp.
{36} III, q. 18, art. 6, corp.
{37} III, q. 25, art. 1, corp.
{38} III, q. 25, art. 2, corp.

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