To

Christology Unit Three

Trinity College of Biblical Studies

Trinity College of Biblical Studies-Undergraduate Studies

Trinity College of Biblical Studies Library

Students in this course will:

·       Understand the question "Who is Jesus Christ?";

·       Appreciate the context of the New Testament;

·       Learn about the various meanings and approaches to Christology;

·       Appreciate the historical Jesus and what He was all about;

·       Learn about the various terms and names of Jesus.

·       Appreciate what the resurrection is all about;

·       See the different Biblical Christology's;

·       Understand the role of Tradition;

·       Appreciate the patristic Christological struggles;

·       See how modern man interprets Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

The Cappadocians

- Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Macrina -

Lecture/tutorial reading: Studer. Trinity & Incarnation. Chp. 11, 12 & 15; Kelly. Early Xian Doctrines. Chp 10.3-4; 11.4-5.

Study questions:
1. How is the human composition of Christ described (i.e. what are the elements that make a person fully human)?
2. How is the union of the human and divine in the Word described? Note carefully the words they use.
3. How do the Cappadocians describe the suffering of Christ? Does God suffer? (Are they patripassionists?)
4. How to they describe Mary and her motherhood?
5. Look for and note the places where they convey the doctrine of theopoiesis; communion of properties.


Basil the Great (+379)

To the Sozopolitans (Letter 261)

1. You write that there are those among you who are trying to destroy the saving incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and, so far as they can, are overthrowing the grace of the great mystery unrevealed from everlasting, but manifested in his own times [see Rom 16.25-26], when the Lord, when he had gone thorough all things pertaining to the cure of the human race, bestowed on all of us the grace of his own sojourn among us. For he helped his own creation, first through the patriarchs, whose lives were set forth as examples to all willing to follow the footsteps of the saints, and with zeal like theirs to reach the perfection of good works. Next for relief he gave the Law, ordaining it by angels in the hand of Moses; then the prophets, foretelling the salvation to come; judges, kings, and righteous men, doing great works, with a mighty a hand. After all these in the last days he was himself manifested in the flesh, "made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of children" [Gal 4.4-5].

2. If, then, the sojourn of the Lord in flesh has never taken place, the Redeemer paid not the fine to death on our behalf, nor through himself destroyed death's reign. For if what was reigned over by death was not that which was assumed by the Lord, death would not have ceased working his own ends, nor would the sufferings of the God-bearing flesh have been our gain; he would not have killed sin in the flesh, we who had died in Adam should not have been made alive in Christ; the fallen to pieces would not have been framed again; the shattered would not have been set up again; that which by the serpent's trick had been estranged from God would never have been made once more his own. All these benefits are undone by those that assert that it was with a heavenly body that the Lord came among us. And if the God-bearing flesh was not ordained to be assumed of the lump of Adam, what need was there of the Holy Virgin? But who has the strength now once again to renew by the help of sophistical arguments and, of course, by scriptural evidence, that old dogma of Valentinus, now long ago silenced? For this impious doctrine of the seeming is no novelty. It was started long ago by the feeble-minded Valentinus, who, after tearing off a few of the Apostle's statements, constructed for himself this impious fabrication, asserting that the Lord assumed the "form of a servant," [cf. Paul's kenosis] and not the servant himself, and that he was made in the "likeness," but that actual humanity was not assumed by him. Similar sentiments are expressed by these men who can only be pitied for bringing new troubles upon you.

3.a. As to the statement that human feelings are transmitted to the actual godhead, it is one made by men who preserve no order in their thoughts, and are ignorant that there is a distinction between the feelings of flesh, of flesh endowed with soul, and of soul using a body. It is the property of flesh to undergo division, diminution, dissolution; of flesh endowed with soul to feel weariness, pain, hunger, thirst, and to be overcome by sleep; of soul using body to feel grief, heaviness, anxiety, and such like. Of these some are natural and necessary to every living creature; others come of evil will, and are superinduced because of life's lacking proper discipline and training for virtue. Hence it is evident that our Lord assumed the natural affections to establish his real incarnation, and not by way of an imaginary process, and that all the affections derived from evil that besmirch the purity of our life. He rejected as unworthy of his unsullied godhead. It is on this account that he is said to have been "made in the likeness of flesh of sin," (ROM 8.3) not, as these men hold, in likeness of flesh, but of flesh of sin. It follows that he took our flesh with its natural afflictions, but "did not sin" (see 1 Pet 2.22). Just as the death which is in the flesh, transmitted to us through Adam, was swallowed up by the godhead, so was the sin taken away by the righteousness which is in Christ Jesus, so that in the resurrection we receive back the flesh neither liable to death nor subject to sin.

b. These, brethren, are the mysteries of the church; these are the traditions of the fathers. Every person who fears the Lord, and is awaiting God's judgement, I charge not to be carried away by various doctrines. If any one teaches a different doctrine, and refuses to accede to the sound words of the faith, rejecting the oracles of the Spirit, and making his own teaching of more authority than the lessons of the Gospels, of such a person beware. May the Lord grant that one day we may meet, so that all that my argument has let slip I may supply when we stand face to face! I have written little when there was much to say, for I did not like to go beyond my letter's bounds. At the same time I do not doubt that to all that fear the Lord a brief reminder is enough.

Gregory of Nyssa (+394)

Catechetical Oration

Chapter 23

What, then, was it likely that the master of the slave would choose to receive in his stead? It is possible in the way of inference to make a guess as to his wishes in the matter, if, that is, the manifest indications of what we are seeking for should come into our hands. He then, who, as we before stated in the beginning of this treatise, shut his eyes to the good in his envy of humanity in its happy condition, he who generated in himself the murky cloud of wickedness, he who suffered from the disease of the love of rule, that primary and fundamental cause of propension to the bad and the mother, so to speak, of all the wickedness that follows,--what would he accept in exchange for the thing which he held, but something, to be sure, higher and better, in the way of ransom, that thus, by receiving a gain in the exchange, he might foster the more his own special passion of pride? Now unquestionably in not one of those who had lived in history from the beginning of the world had he been conscious of any such circumstance as he observed to surround him who then manifested himself, i.e. conception without carnal connection, birth without impurity, motherhood with virginity, [and other miracles in the Scriptures]. ... Therefore it was that the deity was covered with the flesh, in order, that is, to secure that he, by looking upon something well known and kindred to himself, might have no fears in approaching that supereminent power; and might yet by perceiving that power, showing as it did, yet only gradually, more and more splendour in the miracles, deem what was seen an object of desire rather than of fear. Thus, you see how goodness was conjoined with justice, and how wisdom was not divorced from them. For to have devised that the divine power should have been containable in the envelopment of a body, to the end that the dispensation in our behalf might not be thwarted through any fear inspired by the deity actually appearing, affords a demonstration of all these qualities at once-goodness, wisdom, justice. His choosing to save humanity is a testimony of his goodness; his making the redemption of the captive a matter of exchange exhibits his justice, while the invention whereby he enabled the Enemy to apprehend that of which he was before incapable, is a manifestation of supreme wisdom.

Chapter 24

But possibly one who has given his attention to the course of the preceding remarks may inquire: "wherein is the power of the deity, wherein is the imperishableness of that divine power, to be traced in the processes you have described?" In order, therefore, to make this also clear, let us take a survey of the sequel of the Gospel mystery, where that power conjoined with love is more especially exhibited. In the first place, then, that the omnipotence of the divine nature should have had strength to descend to the humiliation of humanity, furnishes a clearer proof of that omnipotence than even the greatness and supernatural character of the miracles. For that something pre-eminently great should be wrought out by divine power is, in a manner, in accordance with, and consequent upon the divine nature; nor is it startling to hear it said that the whole of the created world, and all that is understood to be beyond the range of visible things, subsists by the power of God, his will giving it existence according to his good pleasure. But this his descent to the humility of humankind is a kind of superabundant exercise of power, which thus finds no check even in directions which contravene nature. It is the peculiar property of the essence of fire to tend upwards; no one therefore, deems it wonderful in the case of flame to see that natural operation. But should the flame be seen to stream downwards, like heavy bodies, such a fact would be regarded as a miracle; namely, how fire still remains fire, and yet, by this change of direction in its motion, passes out of its nature by being borne downward. In like manner, it is not the vastness of the heavens, and the bright shining of its constellations, and the order of the universe and the unbroken administration over all existence that so manifestly displays the transcendent power of the deity, as this condescension to the weakness of our nature; the way, in fact, in which sublimity, existing in lowliness, is actually seen in lowliness, and yet descends not from its height, and in which deity, entwined as it is with the nature of human beings, becomes this, and yet still is that. For since, as has been said before, it was not in the nature of the opposing power to come in contact with the undiluted presence of God, and to undergo his unclouded manifestation, therefore, in order to secure that the ransom in our behalf might be easily accepted by him who required it, the deity was hidden under the veil of our nature, that so, as with ravenous fish, the hook of the deity might be gulped down along with the bait of flesh, and thus, life being introduced into the house of death, and light shining in darkness, that which is diametrically opposed to light and life might vanish; for it is not in the nature of darkness to remain when light is present, or of death to exist when life is active.

Against Eunomius

Book 5.3

... We on our part assert that even the body in which he underwent his passion, by being mingled with the divine nature, was made by that commixture to be that which the assuming nature is. So far are we from entertaining any low idea concerning the only-begotten God, that if anything belonging to our lowly nature was assumed in his dispensation of love for humanity, we believe that even this was transformed to what is divine and incorruptible; but Eunomius makes the suffering of the cross to be a sign of divergence in essence, in the sense of inferiority, considering, I know not how, the surpassing act of power, by which he was able to perform this, to be an evidence of weakness; failing to perceive the fact that, while nothing which moves according to its own nature is looked upon as surprisingly wonderful, all things that overpass the limitations of their own nature become especially the objects of admiration, and to them every ear is turned, every mind is attentive, in wonder at the marvel. And hence it is that all who preach the word point out the wonderful character of the mystery in this respect,-that "God was manifested in the flesh," that "the Word was made flesh," that "the Light shined in darkness," "the Life tasted death," and all such declarations which the heralds of the faith are wont to make, whereby is increased the marvellous character of him who manifested the superabundance of his power by means external to his own nature. But though they think fit to make this a subject for their insolence, though they make the dispensation of the cross a reason for partitioning off the Son from equality of glory with the Father... .

Book 5.5

a. For we both consider the dispensation in the flesh apart, and regard the divine power in itself. And he [Eunomius], in like manner with ourselves, says that the Word that was in the beginning has been manifested in the flesh: yet no one ever charged him, nor does he charge himself, with preaching "two Words", him who was in the beginning, and him who was made flesh; for he knows, surely, that the Word is identical with the Word, he who appeared in the flesh with him who was with God. But the flesh was not identical with the godhead, till this too was transformed to the godhead, so that of necessity one set of attributes befits God the Word, and a different set of attributes befits the "form of the servant."

b. If, then, in view of such a confession, he does not reproach himself with the duality of Words, why are we falsely charged with dividing the object of our faith into "two Christs"? We, who say that he who was highly exalted after his passion, was made Lord and Christ by his union with him who is verily Lord and Christ, knowing by what we have learnt that the divine nature is always one and the same, and with the same mode of existence, while the flesh in itself is that which reason and sense apprehend concerning it, but when mixed with the divine no longer remains in its own limitations and properties, but is taken up to that which is overwhelming and transcendent. Our contemplation, however, of the respective properties of the flesh and of the godhead remains free from confusion, so long as each of these is contemplated by itself, as, for example, "the Word was before the ages, but the flesh came into being in the last times"." But one could not reverse this statement, and say that the latter is pretemporal, or that the Word has come into being in the last times. The flesh is of a passible, the Word of an operative nature: and neither is the flesh capable of making the things that are, nor is the power possessed by the godhead capable of suffering. The Word was in the beginning with God, humanity was subject to the trial of death; and neither was the human nature from everlasting, nor the divine nature mortal: and all the rest of the attributes are contemplated in the same way. It is not the human nature that raises up Lazarus, nor is it the power that cannot suffer that weeps for him when he lies in the grave: the tear proceeds from the human, the life from the true life. It is not the human nature that feeds the thousands, nor is it omnipotent might that hastens to the fig-tree. Who is it that is weary with the journey, and who is it that by his word made all the world subsist? What is the brightness of the glory, and what is that was pierced with the nails? What form is it that is buffeted in the passion, and what form is it that is glorified from everlasting? So much as this is clear, (even if one does not follow the argument into detail), that the blows belong to the servant in whom the Lord was, the honours to the Lord whom the servant compassed about, so that by reason of contact and the union of natures the proper attributes of each belong to both, as the Lord receives the stripes of the servant, while the servant is glorified with the honour of the Lord; for this is why the Cross is said to be the Cross of the Lord of glory, and why every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

c. ... He who, because he is the Lord of glory, despised that which is shame among men, having concealed, as it were, the flame of his life in his bodily nature, by the dispensation of his death, kindled and inflamed it once more by the power of his own godhead, fostering into life that which had been brought to death, having infused with the infinity of his divine power that humble first-fruits of our nature, made it also to be that which he himself was-making the servile form to be Lord, and the man born of Mary to be Christ, and him who was crucified through weakness to be life and power, and making all that is piously conceived to be in God the Word to be also in that which the Word assumed, so that these attributes no longer seem to be in either nature by way of division, but that the perishable nature being, by its commixture with the divine, made anew in conformity with the nature that overwhelms it, participates in the power of the godhead, as if one were to say that mixture makes a drop of vinegar mingled in the deep to be sea, by reason that the natural quality of Ibis liquid does not continue in the infinity of that which overwhelms it.

d. This is our doctrine, which does not, as Eunomius charges against it, preach a plurality of Christs, but the union of the human with the divinity, and which calls by the name of "making" the transmutation of the mortal to the immortal, of the servant to the Lord, of sin to righteousness, of the curse to the blessing, of the human to Christ. What further have our slanderers left to say, to show that we preach "two Christs" in our doctrine, if we refuse to say that he who was in the beginning from the Father uncreatedly Lord, and Christ, and the Word, and God, was "made," and declare that the blessed Peter was pointing briefly and incidentally to the mystery of the Incarnation, according to the meaning now explained, that the nature which was crucified through weakness has itself also, as we have said, become, by the overwhelming power of him who dwells in it, that which the Indweller himself is in fact and in name, even Christ and Lord?

Book 6.2

a. And although we make these remarks in passing, the parenthetic addition seems, perhaps, not less important than the main question before us. For since, when St. Peter says, "God made him Lord and Christ (Act 2.36)," and again, when the Apostle Paul says to the Hebrews that God made him a priest (Heb 5.5), Eunomius catches at the word "made" as being applicable to his pre-temporal existence, and thinks thereby to establish his doctrine that the Lord is a thing made, let him now listen to Paul when he says, "he made him to be sin for us, who knew not sin" (2 Cor 5.21). If he refers the word "made," which is used of the Lord in the passages from the Epistle to the Hebrews, and from the words of Peter, to the pretemporal idea, he might fairly refer the word in that passage which says that God made him to be sin, to the first existence of his essence, and try to show by this, as in the case of his other testimonies, that he was "made", so as to refer the word "made" to the essence, acting consistently with himself, and to discern sin in that essence. But if he shrinks from this by reason of its manifest absurdity, and argues that, by saying, "he made him to be sin," the Apostle indicates the dispensation of the last times, let him persuade himself by the same train of reasoning that the word "made" refers to that dispensation in the other passages also.

b. [Paul] while he everywhere proclaims the combination of the human with the divine, he none the less discerns in each its proper nature, in the sense that while the human weakness is changed for the better by its communion with the imperishable, the divine power, on the other hand, is not abased by its contact with the lowly form of nature. When therefore he says, "he spared not his own Son," he contrasts the true Son with the other sons, begotten, or exalted, or adopted (those, I mean, who were brought into being at his command), marking the specialty of nature by the addition of "own." And, to the end that no one should connect the suffering of the cross with the imperishable nature, he gives in other words a fairly distinct correction of such an error, when he calls him "mediator between God and humanity [cf. 1. Tim 2.5]" and "humanity," and "God," that, from the fact that both are predicated of the one Being, the fit conception might be entertained concerning each nature-concerning the divine nature, impassibility, concerning the human nature, the dispensation of the passion.

c. As his thought, then, divides that which in love to humanity was made one, but is distinguished in idea, he uses, when he is proclaiming that nature which transcends and surpasses all intelligence, the more exalted order of names, calling him "God over all (ROM 9.5)," "the great God (Titus 2.13)," "the power" of God, and "the wisdom" of God (1 Cor 1.24), and the like; but when he is alluding to all that experience of suffering which, by reason of our weakness, was necessarily assumed with our nature, he gives to the union of the natures that name which is derived from ours, and calls him human, not by this word placing him whom he is setting forth to us on a common level with the rest of nature, but so that orthodoxy is protected as regards each nature, in the sense that the human nature is glorified by his assumption of it, and the divine is not polluted by its condescension, but makes the human element subject to sufferings, while working, through its divine power, the resurrection of that which suffered. And thus the experience of death is not referred to him who had communion in our passible nature by reason of the union with him of the human, while at the same time the exalted and divine names descend to the human, so that he who was manifested upon the cross is called even "the Lord of glory" (1 Cor 1.28), since the majesty implied in these names is transmitted from the divine to the human by the commixture of its nature with that nature which is lowly.

d. For this cause he describes him in varied and different language, at one time as him who came down from heaven, at another time as him who was born of woman, as God from eternity, and man in the last days; thus too the only-begotten God is held to be impassible, and Christ to be capable of suffering; nor does his discourse speak falsely in these opposing statements, as it adapts in its conceptions to each nature the terms that belong to it. If then these are the doctrines which we have learnt from inspired teaching, how do we refer the cause of our salvation to an ordinary human? and if we declare the word "made" employed by the blessed Peter to have regard not to the pre-temporal existence, but to the new dispensation of the incarnation, what has this to do with the charge against us? For this great Apostle says that that which was seen in the form of the servant has been made, by being assumed, to be that which he who assumed it was in his own nature. Moreover, in the Epistle to the Hebrews we may learn the same truth from Paul, when he says that Jesus was made an apostle and High Priest by God, "being faithful to God who made him" (Heb 3.1). ... For in that passage too, in giving the name of High Priest to him who made with his own blood the priestly propitiation for our sins, he does not by the word "made" declare the first existence of the Only-begotten, but says "made" with the intention of representing that grace which is commonly spoken of in connection with the appointment of priests. For Jesus, the great High Priest (as Zechariah 3.1 says ), who offered up his own lamb, that is, his own Body, for the sin of the world; who, by reason of the children that are partakers of flesh and blood, himself also in like manner took part with them in blood (not in that he was in the beginning, being the Word and God, and being in the form of God, and equal with God, but in that he emptied himself in the form of the servant, and offered an oblation and sacrifice for us), he, I say, became a High Priest many generations later, after the order of Melchisedech [Heb 7.21].

e. For, being what he was, God, and Word, and Life, and Light, and Grace, and Truth, and Lord, and Christ, and every name exalted and divine, he did become, in the humanity assumed by him, who was none of these, all else which the Word was and among the rest did become Lord and Christ, according to the teaching of Peter, and according to the confession of Eunomius;-not in the sense that the godhead [divinity] acquired anything by way of advancement, but (all exalted majesty being contemplated in the divine nature) he thus becomes Lord and Christ, not by arriving at any addition of grace in respect of his godhead (for the nature of the godhead is acknowledged to be lacking in no good), but by bringing the human nature to the participation in the godhead which is signified by the terms "Christ" and "Lord."

Gregory Nazianzen (+390)

To Cledonius the Priest (Against Apollinarius)

. ... The most grievous part of it is not (though this too is shocking) that the men instil their own heresy into simpler souls by means of those who are worse; but that they also tell lies about us and say that we share their opinions and sentiments; thus baiting their hooks, and by this cloak villainously fulfilling their will, and making our simplicity, which looked upon them as brothers and not as foes, into a support of their wickedness. And not only so, but they also assert, as I am told, that they have been received by the Western Synod, by which they were formerly condemned, as is well known to everyone. If, however, those who hold the views of Apollinarius have either now or formerly been received, let them prove it and we will be content. For it is evident that they can only have been so received as assenting to the orthodox faith, for this were an impossibility on any other terms. And they can surely prove it, either by the minutes of the synod, or by letters of communion, for this is the regular custom of synods. But if it is mere words, and an invention of their own, devised for the sake of appearances and to give them weight with the multitude through the credit of the persons, teach them to hold their tongues, and confute them; for we believe that such a task is well suited to your manner of life and orthodoxy. Do not let the men deceive themselves and others with the assertion that the "man of the Lord," as they call him, who is rather our Lord and God, is without human mind. For we do not sever the humanity from the godhead, but we lay down as a dogma the Unity and Identity of Person, who of old was not Human but God, and the Only Son before all ages, unmingled with body or anything corporeal; but who in these last days has assumed humanity also for our salvation; passible in his flesh, impassible in his godhead [divinity]; circumscript in the body, uncircumscript in the Spirit; at once earthly and heavenly, tangible and intangible, comprehensible and incomprehensible; that by one and the same Person, who was perfect human and also God, the entire humanity fallen through sin might be created anew.

a. If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God [which will be defined at Ephesus, 431], he is severed from the godhead. If anyone should assert that he passed through the virgin as through a channel, and was not at once divinely and humanly formed in her (divinely, because without the intervention of a man; humanly, because in accordance with the laws of gestation), he is in like manner godless. If any assert that the humanity was formed and afterward was clothed with the godhead, he too is to be condemned. For this were not a generation of God, but a shirking of generation. If any introduce the notion of two Sons, one of God the Father, the other of the Mother, and discredits the unity and identity, may he lose his part in the adoption promised to those who believe aright. For God and Human are two natures, as also soul and body are; but there are not two Sons nor two Gods. For neither in this life are there two manhoods; though Paul speaks in some such language of the inner and outer human. And (if I am to speak concisely) the Saviour is made of elements which are distinct from one another (for the invisible is not the same with the visible, nor the timeless with that which is subject to time), yet he is not two persons. God forbid! For both natures are one by the combination, the deity being made Human, and the Manhood deified or however one should express it. And I say different elements, because it is the reverse of what is the case in the Trinity; for there we acknowledge different persons so as not to confound the persons; but not different elements, for the Three are One and the same in godhead [~homoousios].

b. If any should say that it wrought in him by grace as in a prophet, but was not and is not united with him in essence - let him be empty of the higher energy, or rather full of the opposite. If any worship not the crucified, let him be anathema and be numbered among the deicides [god-murderers]. If any assert that he was made perfect by works, or that after his baptism, or after his resurrection from the dead, he was counted worthy of an adoptive sonship, like those whom the Greeks interpolate as added to the ranks of the gods, let him be anathema. For that which has a beginning or a progress or is made perfect, is not God, although the expressions may be used of his gradual manifestation. If any assert that he has now put off his holy flesh, and that his godhead is stripped of the body, and deny that he is now with his body and will come again with it, let him not see the glory of his coming. For where is his body now, if not with him who assumed it? For it is not laid by in the sun, according to the babble of the Manichaeans, that it should be honoured by a dishonour; nor was it poured forth into the air and dissolved, us is the nature of a voice or the flow of an odour, or the course of a lightning flash that never stands. Where in that case were his being handled after the resurrection, or his being seen hereafter by them that pierced him, for godhead is in its nature invisible. Nay; he will come with his body-so I have learnt-such as he was seen by his disciples in the Mount, or as he showed himself for a moment, when his godhead overpowered the carnality. And as we say this to disarm suspicion, so we write the other to correct the novel teaching. If anyone assert that his flesh came down from heaven, and is not from hence, nor of us though above us, let him be anathema. For the words, "The Second Man is the Lord from heaven"; and, "As is the heavenly, such are they that are heavenly"; and, "No man has ascended up into heaven save he which came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven"; [phrases from Eusebius & others] and the like, are to be understood as said on account of the union with the heavenly; just as that all things were made by Christ, and that Christ dwells in your hearts is said, not of the visible nature which belongs to God, but of what is perceived by the mind, the names being mingled like the natures, and flowing into one another, according to the law of their intimate union [~communion of properties].

c. If anyone has put his trust in him as a human without a human mind, he is really bereft of mind, and quite unworthy of salvation. For that which he has not assumed he has not healed; but that which is united to his godhead is also saved [~theopoiesis]. If only half Adam fell, then that which Christ assumes and saves may be half also; but if the whole of his nature fell, it must be united to the whole nature of him that was begotten, and so be saved as a whole. Let them not, then, begrudge us our complete salvation, or clothe the Saviour only with bones and nerves and the portraiture of humanity. For if his manhood is without soul, even the Arians admit this, that they may attribute his passion to the godhead, as that which gives motion to the body is also that which suffers. But if he has a soul, and yet is without a mind, how is he human, for humanity is not a mindless animal? And this would necessarily involve that while his form and tabernacle was human, his soul should be that of a horse or an ox, or some other of the brute creation. This, then, would be what he saves; and I have been deceived by the truth, and led to boast of an honour which had been bestowed upon another. But if his manhood is intellectual and nor without mind, let them cease to be thus really mindless. But, says such an one, the godhead took the place of the human intellect. How does this touch me? For godhead joined to flesh alone is not a human being, nor to soul alone, nor to both apart from intellect, which is the most essential part of humans. Keep then the whole human, and mingle godhead therewith, that you may benefit me in my completeness. But, he asserts, he could not contain two perfect natures. Not if you only look at him in a bodily fashion. For a bushel measure will not hold two bushels, nor will the space of one body hold two or more bodies. But if you will look at what is mental and incorporeal, remember that I in my one personality can contain soul and reason and mind and the Holy Spirit; and before me this world, by which I mean the system of things visible and invisible, contained Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For such is the nature of intellectual existences, that they can mingle with one another and with bodies, incorporeally and invisibly. For many sounds are comprehended by one ear; and the eyes of many are occupied by the same visible objects, and the smell by odours; nor are the senses narrowed by each other, or crowded out, nor the objects of sense diminished by the multitude of the perceptions.

d. Further let us see what is their account of the assumption of manhood, or the assumption of flesh, as they call it. If it was in order that God, otherwise incomprehensible, might be comprehended, and might converse with men through his Flesh as through a veil, their mask and the drama which they represent is a pretty one, not to say that it was open to him to converse with us in other ways, as of old, in the burning bush and in the appearance of a human. But if it was that he might destroy the condemnation by sanctifying like by like, then as he needed flesh for the sake of the flesh which had incurred condemnation, and soul for the sake of our soul, so, too, he needed mind for the sake of mind, which not only fell in Adam, but was the first to be affected, as the doctors say of illnesses. For that which received the command was that which failed to keep the command, and that which failed to keep it was that also which dared to transgress; and that which transgressed was that which stood most in need of salvation; and that which needed salvation was that which also he took upon him. Therefore, mind was taken upon him. This has now been demonstrated, whether they like it or not, by, to use their own expression, geometrical and necessary proofs. But you are acting as if, when a human's eye had been injured and his foot had been injured in consequence, you were to attend to the foot and leave the eye uncared for; or as if, when a painter had drown something badly, you were to alter the picture, but to pass over the artist as if he had succeeded. But if they, overwhelmed by these arguments, take refuge in the proposition that it is possible for God to save humans even apart from mind, why, I suppose that it would be possible for him to do so also apart from flesh by a mere act of will, just as he works all other things, and has wrought them without body. Take away, then, the flesh as well as the mind, that your monstrous folly may be complete. But they are deceived by the latter, and, therefore, they run to the flesh, because they do not know the custom of Scripture. We will teach them this also. For what need is there even to mention to those who know it, the fact that everywhere in Scripture he is called man, and the Son of Man?

e. Moreover, in no other way was it possible for the love of God toward us to be manifested than by making mention of our flesh, and that for our sake he descended even to our lower part. For that flesh is less precious than soul, everyone who has a spark of sense will acknowledge. And so the passage, "The Word was made flesh," seems to me to be equivalent to that in which it is said that he was made sin, or a curse for us; not that the Lord was transformed into either of these, how could he be? But because by taking them upon him he took away our sins and bore our iniquities. This, then, is sufficient to say at the present time for the sake of clearness and of being understood by the many. And I write it, not with any desire to compose a treatise, but only to check the progress of deceit; and if it is thought well, I will give a fuller account of these matters at greater length.

f. But there is a matter which is graver than these, a special point which it is necessary that I should not pass over. I would they were even cut off that trouble you, and would reintroduce a second Judaism, and a second circumcision, and a second system of sacrifices. For if this be done, what hinders Christ also being born again to set them aside, and again being betrayed by Judas, and crucified and buried, and rising again, that all may be fulfilled in the same order, like the Greek system of cycles, in which the same revolutions of the stars bring round the same events? For what the method of selection is, in accordance with which some of the events are to occur and others to be omitted, let these wise men who glory in the multitude of their books show us.

g. But since, puffed up by their theory of the Trinity, they falsely accuse us of being unsound in the faith and entice the multitude, it is necessary that people should know that Apollinarius, while granting the Name of godhead to the Holy Spirit, did not preserve the Power of the godhead. For to make the Trinity consist of Great, Greater, and Greatest, as of Light, Ray, and Sun, the Spirit and the Son and the Father (as is clearly stated in his writings), is a ladder of godhead not leading to heaven, but down from heaven. But we recognize God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and these not as bare titles, dividing inequalities of ranks or of power, but as there is one and the same title [epinoiai], so there is one nature and one substance in the godhead.

Oration 29 (Third Theological Oration - Concerning the Son)

2. The three most ancient opinions concerning God are Anarchia, Polyarchia, and Monarchia. The first two are the sport of the children of Hellas, and may they continue to be so. For Anarchy is a thing without order; and the Rule of Many is factious, and thus anarchical, and thus disorderly. For both these tend to the same thing, namely disorder; and this to dissolution, for disorder is the first step to dissolution.

But monarchy [= monarchia; not to be confused with monarchianism] is that which we hold in honour. It is, however, a monarchy that is not limited to one person, for it is possible for unity if at variance with itself to come into a condition of plurality; but one which is made of an equality of nature and a union of mind. And an identity of motion, and a convergence of its elements to unity-a thing which is impossible to the created nature-so that though numerically distinct there is no severance of essence. Therefore unity having from all eternity arrived by motion at duality, found its rest in trinity. This is what we mean by Father and Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is the Begetter and the Emitter; without passion of course [v.s. gnostics], and without reference to time, and not in a corporeal manner [v.s. Arians & others]. The Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Spirit the Emission; for I know not how this could be expressed in terms altogether excluding visible things. For we shall not venture to speak of "an overflow of goodness," as one of the Greek philosophers dared to say, as if it were a bowl overflowing. ... Therefore let us confine ourselves within our limits, and speak of the Unbegotten and the Begotten and that which proceeds from the Father, as somewhere God the Word himself said.

18. [On Christ] To give you the explanation in one sentence. What is lofty you are to apply to the godhead, and to that nature in him which is superior to sufferings and incorporeal; but all that is lowly to the composite condition of him who for your sakes made himself of no reputation and was Incarnate-yes, for it is no worse thing to say, was made man, and afterwards was also exalted. The result will be that you will abandon these carnal and grovelling doctrines, and learn to be more sublime, and to ascend with his godhead, and you will not remain permanently among the things of sight, but will rise up with him into the world of thought, and come to know which passages refer to his nature, and which to his assumption of human nature.

29. For he whom you now treat with contempt was once above you. He who is now a human was once the uncompounded. What he was he continued to be; what he was not he took to himself. In the beginning he was, uncaused; for what is the cause of God? But afterwards for a cause he was born. And that came was that you might be saved, who insult him and despise his godhead, because of this, that he took upon him your denser nature, having converse with flesh by means of mind. While his inferior nature, the humanity, became God, because it was united to God, and became one person because the higher nature prevailed in order that I too might be made God so far as God is made human. He was born-but he had been begotten: he was born of a woman-but she was a Virgin. The first is human the second divine. In his human nature he had no father, but also in his divine nature no mother. Both these belong to godhead. He dwelt in the womb - but he was recognized by the prophet, himself still in the womb, leaping before the Word, for whose sake he came into being. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes - but he took off the swathing bands of the grave by his rising again. He was laid in a manger - but he was glorified by angels, and proclaimed by a star, and worshipped by the magi. Why are you offended by that which is presented to your sight, because you will not look at that which is presented to your mind? he was driven into exile into Egypt - but he drove away the Egyptian idols. He had no form nor comeliness in the eyes of the Jews - but to David he is fairer than the children of men. And on the mountain he was bright as the lightning, and became more luminous than the sun, initiating us into the mystery of the future.

Oration 30 (Fourth Theological Oration)

3. Next is the fact of his being called Servant [cf. Is.] and serving many well, and that it is a great thing for him to be called the Child of God. For in truth he was in servitude to flesh and to birth and to the conditions of our life with a view to our liberation, and to that of all those whom he has saved, who were in bondage under sin. What greater destiny can befall humanity's humility than that he should be intermingled with God, and by this intermingling should be deified, and that we should be so visited by the Dayspring from on high, that even that Holy Thing that should be born should be called the Son of the Highest (Phil 2.9), and that there should be bestowed upon him a Name which is above every name? And what else can this be than God?-and that every knee should bow to him that was made of no reputation for us, and that mingled the form of God with the form of a servant, and that all the House of Israel should know that God has made him both Lord and Christ? (Acts 2.36) For all this was done by the action of the Begotten, and by the good pleasure of him that begat him.

5. Take, in the next place, the subjection by which you subject the Son to the Father. What, you say, is he not now subject, or must he, if he is God, be subject to God? You are fashioning your argument as if it concerned some robber, or some hostile deity. But look at it in this manner: that as for my sake he was called a curse, who destroyed my curse; and sin, who takes away the sin of the world; and became a new Adam to take the place of the old, just so he makes my disobedience his own as head of the whole body. As long then as I am disobedient and rebellious, both by denial of God and by my passions, so long Christ also is called disobedient on my account. But when all things shall be subdued unto him on the one hand by acknowledgment of him, and on the other by a reformation, then he himself also will have fulfilled his submission, bringing me whom he has saved to God. For this, according to my view, is the subjection of Christ; namely, the fulfilling of the Father's Will. But as the Son subjects all to the Father, so does the Father to the Son; the One by his Work, the Other by his good pleasure, as we have already said. And thus he who subjects presents to God that which he has subjected, making our condition his own. Of the same kind, it appears to me, is the expression, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" [cf. Ps 22.1] It was not he who was forsaken either by the Father, or by his own godhead, as some have thought, as if it were afraid of the passion, and therefore withdrew itself from him in his sufferings (for who compelled him either to be born on earth at all, or to be lifted up on the cross?) But as I said, he was in his own person representing us. For we were the forsaken and despised before, but now by the sufferings of him who could not suffer, we were taken up and saved. Similarly, he makes his own our folly and our transgressions; and says what follows in the Psalm, for it is very evident that the twenty-first Psalm refers to Christ.

6. The same consideration applies to another passage, "he learnt obedience by the things which he suffered," (Heb 5.8) and to his "strong crying and tears," and his "entreaties," and his "being heard," and his "reverence," all of which he wonderfully wrought out, like a drama whose plot was devised on our behalf. For in his character of the Word he was neither obedient nor disobedient. For such expressions belong to servants, and inferiors, and the one applies to the better sort of them, while the other belongs to those who deserve punishment. But, in the character of the form of a servant, he condescends to his fellow servants, nay, to his servants, and takes upon him a strange form, bearing all me and mine in himself, that in himself he may exhaust the bad, as fire does wax, or as the sun does the mists of earth; and that I may partake of his nature by the blending. Thus he honours obedience by his action, and proves it experimentally by his passion. For to possess the disposition is not enough, just as it would not be enough for us, unless we also proved it by our acts; for action is the proof of disposition.

And perhaps it would not be wrong to assume this also, that by the art of his love for humans he gauges our obedience, and measures all by comparison with his own sufferings, so that he may know our condition by his own, and how much is demanded of us, and how much we yield, taking into the account, along with our environment, our weakness also. For if the Light shining through the veil upon the darkness, that is upon this life, was persecuted by the other darkness (I mean, the Evil One and the Tempter), how much more will the darkness be persecuted, as being weaker than it? And what marvel is it, that though he entirely escaped, we have been, at any rate in part, overtaken? For it is a more wonderful thing that he should have been chased than that we should have been captured; - at least to the minds of all who reason aright on the subject. I will add yet another passage to those I have mentioned, because I think that it clearly tends to the same sense. I mean "In that he has suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted" (Heb 2.18). But God will be all in all in the time of restitution; not in the sense that the Father alone will be; and the Son be wholly resolved into him, like a torch into a great pyre, from which it was reft away for a little space, and then put back (for I would not have even the Sabellians injured by such an expression); but the entire godhead when we shall be no longer divided (as we now are by movements and passions), and containing nothing at all of God, or very little, but shall be entirely like.

14. ... They allege, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb 7.25). O, how beautiful and mystical and kind. For to intercede does not imply to seek for vengeance, as is most men's way (for in that there would be something of humiliation), but it is to plead for us by reason of his mediatorship, just as the Spirit also is said to make intercession for us. For there is One God, and One Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2.15). For he still pleads even now as a human for my salvation; for he continues to wear the body which he assumed, until he makes me God by the power of his incarnation; although he is no longer known after the flesh (2 Cor 5.16) - I mean, the passions of the flesh, the same, except sin, as ours. Thus too, we have an Advocate (1 Jn 2.1), Jesus Christ, not indeed prostrating himself for us before the Father, and falling down before him in slavish fashion ... Away with a suspicion so truly slavish and unworthy of the Spirit! For neither is it seemly for the Father to require this, nor for the Son to submit to it; nor is it just to think it of God. But by what he suffered as human, he as the Word and the Counsellor persuades him to be patient. I think this is the meaning of his advocacy.

Oration 45

9. And that was that the Word of God himself, who is before all worlds, the invisible, the incomprehensible, the bodiless, the beginning of beginning, the light of light, the source of life and immortality, the image of the archetype, the immovable seal, the unchangeable image, the Father's definition and Word, came to his own image, and took on him flesh for the sake of our flesh, and mingled himself with an intelligent soul for my soul's sake, purifying like by like; and in all points except sin was made human; conceived by the Virgin, who first in body and soul was purified by the Holy Spirit, for it was needful both that child-bearing should be honoured and that virginity should receive a higher honour. He came forth then, as God, with that which he had assumed; one person in two natures, flesh and spirit, of which the latter deified the former. O new commingling; o strange conjunction! the self-existent comes into being, the uncreated is created, that which cannot be contained is contained by the intervention of an intellectual soul mediating between the deity and the corporeality of the flesh. And he who gives riches becomes poor; for he assumes the poverty of my flesh, that I may assume the riches of his godhead. He that is full empties himself; for he empties himself of his glory for a short while, that I may have a share in his fulness. What is the riches of his goodness? What is this mystery that is around me? I had a share in the image and I did not keep it; he partakes of my flesh that he may both save the image and make the flesh immortal. He communicates a second communion, far more marvellous than the first, inasmuch as then he imparted the better nature, but now he himself assumes the worse. This is more godlike than the former action; this is loftier in the eyes of all men of understanding.

 

Constantinople I & Later Latin Fathers
- Ambrose, Augustine -

Lecture/tutorial reading: Readings: Studer. Trinity & Incarnation. Chp. 13 & 14; Kelly. Early Xian Doctrines. Chp 10.5-6.

Study Questions:
1. Note the doctrinal developments as expressed in the Creed from Nicea to Constantinople I.
2. Are the authors beginning to employ some of the "new" terminology/concepts being used in christology in the East?
3. What two main elements comprise human nature? Which heresies (described in these texts) deny or downplay one the elements of human nature?
4. In Augustine, how is Christ's preexistence related to created humanity?
How does he explain the sending of the Son?
5. Why is Mary's virginity constantly stressed in these texts?
6. How to they account for the possibility of suffering in the Son of God?
7. Do these authors have a doctrine of theopoiesis?

 

Constantinople I (381)

Review the colour-coded Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed handed out in class.

Ambrose of Milan (+397)

On the Death of his Brother

Book 1

11. [Jesus Christ] wept for what affected us, not himself; for the Godhead sheds no tears; but he wept in that nature in which he was sad; he wept in that in which he was crucified, in that in which he died, in that in which he was buried. He wept in that which the prophet this day brought to our minds: "Mother Sion shall say, a human was made in her, and the Most High himself established her" (Ps 87.5). He wept in that nature in which he called Sion Mother, born in Judaea, conceived by the Virgin. But according to his divine nature he could not have a mother, for he is the creator of his mother. So far as he was made, it was not by divine but by human generation, because he was made human, God was born.

12. But you read in another place: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given" (Is 9.6). In the word child is an indication of age, in that of Son is the "fulness of the divinity" (Col 2.9). Made of his mother, born of the Father yet the same person was both born and given. You must not think of two but of one. For one is the Son of God, born of the Father and sprung from the Virgin, differing in order, but in name agreeing in one, ... for "a human being was made in her and the Most High established her." Human indeed in the body, the most high in power. And though he be God and human in diversity of nature, yet is he at the same time one in each nature. One property, then, is peculiar to God's own nature, another he has in common with us, but in both is he one, and in both is he perfect [=communion of properties].

13. Therefore it is no subject of wonder that God made him to be both Lord and Christ (Acts 2.36). God made him Jesus, him, that is, who received the name in his bodily nature. God made him of whom also the patriarch David writes: "Mother Sion shall say, a human, yes, a human is made in her." But being made human, he is unlike the Father, not in Godhead but in his body; not separated from the Father, but differing in office, abiding united in power, but separated in the mystery of the passion.

Book 2

46. Why should more be said? By the death of one the world was redeemed. For Christ, had he willed, need not have died, but he neither thought that death should be shunned as though there were any cowardice in it, nor could he have saved us better than by dying. And so his death is the life of all. We are signed with the sign of his death, we show forth his death when we pray; when we offer the sacrifice we declare his death, for his death is victory, his death is our mystery, his death is the yearly recurring solemnity of the world. What now should we say concerning his death, since we prove by this divine example that death alone found immortality, and that death itself redeemed itself. Death, then, is not to be mourned over, for it is the cause of salvation for all; death is not to be shunned, for the Son of God did not think it unworthy of him, and did not shun it. The order of nature is not to be loosed, for what is common to all cannot admit of exception in individuals.

On the Sacrament of the Incarnation

Chapter 5

39. He was, therefore, immortal in death and incapable of suffering even as he suffered; for the affliction of death did not grasp him since he was God, and at the same time the lower world saw him since he was a human being. In the end he "gave up his spirit" (Mt 27.50), but he gave it up like one who is in charge of laying down and assuming a body, and so he did not lose the spirit. [He was crucified and underwent the pains of the passion]; he became the sin of all and washed away the sins of humanity. Finally he died ... so that his death might become the life of those who have died.

Chapter 7

65-66. When he took on the flesh of the human being, it follows that he took on the perfection and plenitude of becoming flesh; for there is nothing imperfect in Christ. ... He assumed a soul, but he assumed and took on a perfect, human, rational soul. I say took on a soul for the Word of God did not become alive in its flesh by replacing its soul. The Word, rather, assumed both our flesh and our soul by assuming human nature perfectly. ... What good is it, however, if he did not redeem me totally? But the one who says, "Are you angry with me, who healed a man totally on the Sabbath?" (Jn 7.23) did redeem me completely.

76. God the Word was not in its flesh to replace the soul that is rational and capable of comprehending God. The Word of God took on both a soul that is rational and capable of understanding, human, and of the same substance [~homoousios?] as our souls, and flesh that is like ours and of the same substance as ours, and thus became a perfect human being, but without any stain of sin. ... His flesh and soul, therefore, are of the same substance as our soul and flesh.

Concerning the Faith

Book 3

Chapter 2

7. It was a bodily weakness, then, that is to say, a weakness of ours, that he hungered; when he wept, and was sorrowful even unto death, it was of our nature (cf. MT 4.2; Jn 11.35; MT 26.38). Why ascribe the properties and incidents of our nature to the divinity? That he was even, as we are told, "made," is a property of a body (see Jn 1.14). Thus, indeed, we read: "Sion our mother shall say: 'He is a human being,' and in her he was made a human, and the Most High himself laid her foundations" (Ps 87.5). "He was made a human being," mark you, not "God was made."

8. But what is he who is at once the Most High and human, what but "the Mediator between God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for us"? (1 Tim 2.5-6) This place indeed refers properly to his incarnation, for our redemption was made by his blood, our pardon comes through his power, our life is secured through his grace. He gives as the Most High; he prays as a human. The one is the office of the Creator, the other of a Redeemer. Be the gifts as distinct as they may, yet the giver is one, for it was fitting that our maker should be our redeemer (see Heb 2.10).

Chapter 5

35. At the same time, becoming does not always imply creation for we read: "Lord, You have become our refuge," (Ps 90.1) and "You have become my salvation" (Ps 118.14). Plainly, here is no statement of the fact or purpose of a creation, but God is said to have become my "refuge" and has turned to my "salvation," even as the Apostle has said: "Who became for us Wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," (1 Cor 1.30) that is, that Christ was "made" for us, not created of the Father. Again, the writer has explained in the sequel in what sense he says that Christ was made Wisdom for us: "But we preach the Wisdom of God in doctrine of mystery, which Wisdom is hidden, foreordained by God before the existence of the world for our glory, and which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known they would never have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Cor 2.7-8). When the mystery of the passion is set forth, surely there is no speaking of an eternal process of generation.

36. The Lord's cross, then, is my wisdom; the Lord's death my redemption; for we are redeemed with his precious blood, as the Apostle Peter said (1 Pet 1.19). With his blood, then, as man, the Lord redeemed us, who also, as God, has forgiven sins (see Mk 2.8-12).

Chapter 7

46. Hereby we are brought to understand that the prophecy of the incarnation, "The Lord created me the beginning of his ways for his works," (Prov 8.22) means that the Lord Jesus was created of the Virgin for the redeeming of the Father's works. Truly, we cannot doubt that this is spoken of the mystery of the incarnation, for as much as the Lord took upon him our flesh, in order to save the works of his hands from the slavery of corruption, so that he might, by the sufferings of his own body, overthrow him who had the power of death (Heb 2.14). For Christ's flesh is for the sake of things created, but his Godhead existed before them, seeing that he is before all things, while all things exist together in him (Col 1.17).

47. His divinity, then, is not by reason of creation, but creation exists because of the divinity; even as the apostle showed, saying that all things exist because of the Son of God, for we read as follows: "But it was fitting that he, through whom and because of whom are all things, after bringing many sons to glory, should, as captain of their salvation, be made perfect through suffering" (Heb 2.10). Has he not plainly declared that the Son of God, who, by reason of his divinity, was the Creator of all, did in after time, for the salvation of his people, submit to the taking on of the flesh and the suffering of death?

48. Now for the sake of what works the Lord was "created" of a virgin, he himself, whilst healing the blind man, has shown, saying: "In him must I work the works of the one who sent me" (Jn 9.4). Furthermore, he said in the same Scripture, that we might believe him to speak of the incarnation: "As long as I am in this world, I am the Light of this world," (Jn 9.5) for, so far as he is man, he is in this world for a season, but as God he exists at all times. In another place, too, he says: "Lo, I am with you even unto the end of the world" (MT 28.20).

49. Nor is there any room for questioning with respect to "the beginning," seeing that when, during his earthly life, he was asked, "who are you?" He answered: "The beginning, even as I tell you" (Jn 8.25). This refers not only to the essential nature of the eternal divinity, but also to the visible proofs of virtues, for hereby has he proved himself the eternal God, in that he is the beginning of all things, and the author of each several virtue, in that he is the head of the Church, as it is written: "Because he is the head of the Body, of the Church, who is the beginning, first-begotten from the dead" (Eph 4.15).

50. It is clear, then, that the words "beginning of his ways," which, as it seems, we must refer to the mystery of the putting on of his body, are a prophecy of the incarnation. For Christ's purpose in the incarnation was to pave for us the road to heaven. Mark how he says: "I go up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God" (Jn 20.17). Then, to give you to know that the Almighty Father appointed his [sic.] ways to the Son, after the incarnation, you have in Zechariah the words of the angel speaking to Joshua clothed in filthy garments: "Thus said the Lord Almighty: 'If you will walk in my ways and observe my precepts'" (Zech 3.7). What is the meaning of that filthy garb save the putting on of the flesh?

Chapter 15

... The Arians, inasmuch as they assert the Son to be "of another substance," plainly acknowledge substance in God. The only reason why they avoid the use of this term is that they will not, as Eusebius of Nicomedia has made it evident, confess Christ to be the true Son of God.

123. How can the Arians deny the substance of God? How can they suppose that the word "substance," which is found in many places of Scripture, ought to be debarred from use, when they themselves do, yet, by saying that the Son is of another substance, admit substance in God?

124. It is not the term itself, then, but its force and consequences, that they shun, because they will not confess the Son of God to be true [God]. For though the process of the divine generation cannot be comprehended in human language, still the fathers judged that their faith might be appropriately distinguished by the use of such a term, as against that of "heterousios," following the authority of the prophet, who said: "who has stood in the truth (substantial) of the Lord, and seen his Word?" (Jer 23.18) Arians, therefore, admit the term "substance" when it is used so as to square with their blasphemy. In contrary fashion, when it is adopted in accordance with the pious devotion of the faithful, they reject and dispute against it.

125. What other reason can there be for their unwillingness to have the Son spoken of as "homoousios," of the same substance, with the Father, but that they are unwilling to confess him the true Son of God? This is betrayed in the letter of Eusebius of Nicomedia. "If," writes he, "we say that the Son is true God and uncreated, then we are on the way to confessing him to be of one substance (homoousios) with the Father." When this letter had been read before the Council assembled at Nicea, the Fathers put this word in their exposition of the faith. Because they saw that it daunted their adversaries; in order that they might take the sword, which their opponents had drawn, to smite off the head of those opponents' own blasphemous heresy.

126. Vain, however, is their plea, that they avoid the use of the term, because of the Sabellians [modalists], whereby they betray their own ignorance, for a being is of the same substance (homoousion) with another, not with itself. Rightly, then, do we call the Son "homoousios" (of the same substance), with the Father, for as much as that term expresses both the distinction of persons and the unity of nature.

127. Can they deny that the term "ousia" is met with in Scripture, when the Lord has spoken of bread, that is, "epiousioi [subsistence]" (MT 6.11)? What does "ousia" mean, whence comes the name, but from "ousiaei," that which endures for ever? For he who is, and is for ever, is God; and therefore the divine substance, abiding everlastingly, is called ousia. Bread is epiousioi, because, taking the substance of abiding power from the substance of the Word, it supplies this to heart and soul, for it is written: "And bread strengthens man's heart" (Ps 104.15).

Chapter 8

105. But in the faith of the Church one and the same is both Son of God the Father and Son of David. For the mystery of the incarnation of God is the salvation of the whole of creation, according to that which is written: "That without God he should taste death for every human;" (Heb 2.9) that is, that every creature might be redeemed without any suffering at the price of the blood of the Lord's divinity. As it stands elsewhere: "Every creature shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption" (Rom 8.21).

106. It is one thing to be named Son according to the divine substance, it is another thing to be so called according to the adoption of human flesh. For, according to the divine generation, the Son is equal to God the Father; and, according to the adoption of a body, he is a servant to God the Father. "For," it says, "he took upon him the form of a servant" (Phil 2.7). The Son is, however, one and the same. On the other hand, according to his glory, he is Lord to the holy patriarch David, but his Son in the line of actual descent, ... acquiring for himself the rights that go with the adoption into our race.

107. ... To whom is this said, if not to Christ, who being in the form of God, emptied himself and took upon him the form of a servant [kenosis]. But what can be in the form of God, except that which exists in the fulness of divinity?

108. Learn, then, what this means: "He took upon him the form of a servant." It means that he took upon him all the perfections of humanity in their completeness, and obedience in its completeness. ... "Servant" means the human being in whom he was sanctified; it means the human in whom he was anointed; it means the human in whom he was made under the law, made of the Virgin; and, to put it briefly, it means the human in whose person he has a mother ... .

On the Holy Spirit

Book 1, Chapter 9

105. But what wonder, since both the Father and the Son are said to be Spirit. Of which we shall speak more fully when we begin to speak of the unity of the name. Yet since the most suitable place occurs here, that we may not seem to have passed on without a conclusion, let them read that both the Father is called Spirit, as the Lord said in the Gospel, "for God is Spirit;" (Jn 4.24) and Christ is called Spirit, for Jeremiah said: "The Spirit before our face, Christ the Lord" (Lam 4.20).

106. So, then, both the Father is Spirit and Christ is Spirit, for that which is not a created body is spirit, but the Holy Spirit is not commingled with the Father and the Son, but is distinct from the Father and from the Son. For the Holy Spirit did not die, who could not die because he had not taken flesh upon him, and the eternal divinity (ROM 1.20) was incapable of dying, but Christ died according to the flesh.

107. For of a truth he died in that which he took of the Virgin, not in that which he had of the Father, for Christ died in that nature in which he was crucified. But the Holy Spirit could not be crucified, who had not flesh and bones, but the Son of God was crucified, who took flesh and bones, that on that cross the temptations of our flesh might die. For he took on him that which he was not that he might hide that which he was; he hid that which he was that he might be tempted in it, and that which he was not might be redeemed, in order that he might call us by means of that which he was not to that which he was.

109. ... Therefore do you also crucify sin, that you may die to sin; he who dies to sin lives to God. Do you live to him who spared not his own Son, that in his body he might crucify our passions. For Christ died for us, that we might live in his revived body. Therefore not our life but our guilt died in him, "who," it is said, "bore our sins in his own body on the tree; that being set free from our sins we might live in righteousness, by the wound of whose blows we are healed" (1 Pet 2.24).

On Repentance

Book 1, Chapter 3

12. Interpreting which truth, the apostle says: "For God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us" (ROM 8.3-4). He does not say "in the likeness of flesh," for Christ took on himself the reality not the likeness of flesh; nor does he say in the likeness of sin, for he did not sin, but was made sin for us (see 2 Cor 5.21). Yet he came "in the likeness of sinful flesh" that is, he took on him the likeness of sinful flesh, the likeness, because it is written: "He is a human being, and who shall know him?"(Jer 17.9 [LXX]). He was man in the flesh, according to his human nature, that he might be recognized, but in power was above man, that he might not be recognized, so he has our flesh, but has not the failings of this flesh.

13. For he was not begotten, as is every man, by intercourse between male and female, but born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin; he received a stainless body, which not only no sins polluted, but which neither the generation nor the conception had been stained by any admixture of defilement. For we men are all born under sin, and our very origin is in evil, as we read in the words of David: "For lo, I was conceived in wickedness, and in sin did my mother beget me" (Ps 51.5). Therefore the flesh of Paul was a body of death, as he himself says: "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (ROM 7.24) But the flesh of Christ condemned sin, which he felt not at his birth, and crucified by his death, so that in our flesh there might be justification through grace, in which before there had been pollution by guilt.

 

Augustine of Hippo (+430)

On Perseverance (Second Book, On Predestination of Saints)

Chapter 67

There is no more eminent instance, I say, of predestination than the Mediator [Jesus] himself. If any believer wishes thoroughly to understand this doctrine, let him consider him, and in him he will find himself also. The believer, I say; who in him believes and confesses the true human nature that is our own, however singularly elevated by assumption by God the Word into the only Son of God, so that he who assumed, and what he assumed, should be one person in Trinity. For it was not a Quaternity that resulted from the assumption of humanity, but it remained a Trinity, inasmuch as that assumption ineffably made the truth of one person in God and human. Because we say that Christ was not only God, as the Manichean heretics contend; nor only human, as the Photinian heretics assert; nor in such wise man as to have less of anything which of a certainty pertains to human nature - whether a soul, or in the soul itself a rational mind, or flesh not taken of the woman, but made from the Word converted and changed into flesh - all which three false and empty notions have made the three various and diverse parties of the Apollinarian heretics. But we say that Christ was true God, born of God the Father without any beginning of time; and that he was also true or real human, born of human mother in the certain fulness of time; and that his humanity, whereby he is less than the Father, does not diminish anything from his divinity, whereby he is equal to the Father. For both of them are One Christ - who, moreover, most truly said in respect of the God, "I and the Father are one" (Jn 10.30) and most truly said in respect of the man, "My Father is greater than I" (Jn 14.28).

He, therefore, who made of the seed of David this righteous man, who never should be unrighteous, without any merit of his preceding will, is the same who also makes righteous men of unrighteous, without any merit of their will preceding; that he might be the head, and they his members. He, therefore, who made that man with no precedent merits of his, neither to deduce from his origin nor to commit by his will any sin which should be remitted to him, the same makes believers on him with no preceding merits of theirs, to whom he forgives all sin. He who made him such that he never had or should have an evil will, the same makes in his members a good will out of an evil one. Therefore he predestinated both him and us, because both in him that he might be our head, and in us that we should be his body, he foreknew that our merits would not precede, but that his doings should.

City of God

Book 21, Chapter 15

a. Nevertheless, in the "heavy yoke that is laid upon the sons of Adam, from the day that they go out of their mother's womb to the day that they return to the mother of all things," (Sir 40.1) there is found an admirable though painful reminder teaching us to be sober-minded, and convincing us that this life has become penal in consequence of that outrageous wickedness which was perpetrated in Paradise, and that all to which the New Testament invites belongs to that future inheritance which awaits us in the world to come, and is offered for our acceptance, as the earnest that we may, in its own due time, obtain that of which it is the pledge.

b. Now, therefore, let us walk in hope, and let us by the spirit mortify the deeds of the flesh, and so make progress from day to day. For "the Lord knows them that are his" (2 Tim 2.19) and "as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are sons of God" (ROM 8.14) but by grace, not by nature. For there is but one Son of God by nature, who in his compassion became Son of Man for our sakes, that we, by nature sons and daughters of human beings, might by grace become through him sons and daughters of God. For he, abiding unchangeable, took upon him our nature, that thereby he might take us to himself; and, holding fast his own divinity, he became partaker of our infirmity, that we, being changed into some better thing, might, by participating in his righteousness and immortality, lose our own properties of sin and mortality, and preserve whatever good quality he had implanted in our nature perfected now by sharing in the goodness of his nature. For as by the sin of one human we have fallen into a misery so deplorable, so by the righteousness of one human, who also is God, shall we come to a blessedness inconceivably exalted.

c. Nor ought any one to trust that he has passed from the one human being to the other until he shall have reached that place where there is no temptation, and have entered into the peace which he seeks in the many and various conflicts of this war, in which "the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh" (Gal 5.17). Now, such a war as this would have had no existence if human nature had, in the exercise of free will, continued steadfast in the uprightness in which it was created. But now in its misery it makes war upon itself, because in its blessedness it would not continue at peace with God; and this, though it be a miserable calamity, is better than the earlier stages of this life, which do not recognize that a war is to be maintained. For better is it to contend with vices than without conflict to be subdued by them. Better, I say, is war with the hope of peace everlasting than captivity without any thought of deliverance. We long, indeed, for the cessation of this war, and, kindled by the flame of divine love, we burn for entrance on that well-ordered peace in which whatever is inferior is for ever subordinated to what is above it. But if (which God forbid) there had been no hope of so blessed a consummation, we should still have preferred to endure the hardness of this conflict, rather than, by our non-resistance, to yield ourselves to the dominion of vice.

On the Trinity

Book 1, Chapter 6 - That the Son is God, and of the Same Substance of God the Father. All things come from the Trinity. The Divinity of the Holy Spirit.

9. They who have said that our Lord Jesus Christ is not God, or not very God, or not with the Father the One and only God, or not truly immortal because changeable, are proved wrong by the most plain and unanimous voice of divine testimonies; as, for instance, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" [John's prologue]. For it is plain that we are to take the Word of God to be the only Son of God, of whom it is afterwards said, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us," on account of that birth of his incarnation, which was wrought in time of the Virgin. But herein is declared, not only that he is God, but also that he is of the same substance with the Father; because, after saying, "And the Word was God," it is said also, "The same was in the beginning with God: all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made." Not simply "all things;" but only all things that were made, that is; the whole creature. From which it appears clearly, that he himself was not made, by whom all things were made. And if he was not made, then he is not a creature; but if he is not a creature, then he is of the same substance with the Father. For all substance that is not God is creature; and all that is not creature is God. And if the Son is not of the same substance with the Father, then he is a substance that was made: and if he is a substance that was made, then all things were not made by him; but "all things were made by Him," therefore he is of one and the same substance with the Father. And so he is not only God, but also very God. And the same John most expressly affirms this in his epistle: "For we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know the true God, and that we may be in His true Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life."

Book 2, Chapter 5

9.a. Perhaps some one may wish to drive us to say, that the Son is sent also by himself, because the conception and childbirth of Mary is the working of the Trinity, by whose act of creating all things are created. And how, he will go on to say, has the Father sent Him, if he sent himself? To whom I answer first, by asking him to tell me, if he can, in what manner the Father has sanctified him, if he had sanctified himself? For the same Lord says both; "Say that of Him," he says, "whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, you blaspheme, because I said, I am the Son of God;" while in another place He says, "And for their sake I sanctify myself." I ask, also, in what manner the Father delivered Him, if He delivered Himself? For the Apostle Paul says both: "Who," he says, "spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all;" while elsewhere he says of the Saviour Himself, "Who loved me, and delivered himself for me." He will reply, I suppose, if he has a right sense in these things, because the will of the Father and the Son is one, and their working indivisible. In like manner, then, let him understand the incarnation and nativity of the Virgin, wherein the Son is understood as sent, to have been wrought by one and the same operation of the Father and of the Son indivisibly; the Holy Spirit certainly not being thence excluded, of whom it is expressly said, "She was found with child by the Holy Ghost." For perhaps our meaning will be more plainly unfolded, if we ask in what manner God sent the Son. God commanded that he should come, and he, complying with the commandment, came. Did God then request, or did God only suggest? But whichever of these it was, certainly it was done by a word, and the Word of God is the Son of God. Wherefore, since the Father sent him by a word, his being sent was the work of both the Father and the Word; therefore the same Son was sent by the Father and the Son, because the Son himself is the Word of the Father. For who would embrace so impious an opinion as to think the Father to have uttered a word in time, in order that the eternal Son might thereby be sent and might appear in the flesh in the fullness of time?

b. But assuredly it was in that Word of God itself which was in the beginning with God and was God, namely, in the wisdom itself of God, apart from time, at what time that wisdom must needs appear in the flesh. Therefore, since without any commencement of time, the Word was in the beginning, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, it was in the Word itself without any time, at what time the Word was to be made flesh and dwell among us. And when this fullness of time had come, "God sent His Son, made of a woman," that is, made in time, that the Incarnate Word might appear to humanity; while it was in that Word himself, apart from time, at what time this was to be done; for the order of times is in the eternal wisdom of God without time. Since, then, that the Son should appear in the flesh was wrought by both the Father and the Son, it is aptly said that he who appeared in that flesh was sent, and that he who did not appear in it, sent him; because those things which are transacted outwardly before the bodily eyes have their existence from the inward structure (apparatus) of the spiritual nature, and on that account are filly said to be sent. Further, that form of human which he took is the person of the Son, not also of the Father; on which account the invisible Father, together with the Son, who with the Father is invisible, is said to have sent the same Son by making him visible. But if he became visible in such way as to cease to be invisible with the Father, that is, if the substance of the invisible Word were turned by a change and transition into a visible creature, then the Son would be so understood to be sent by the Father, that he would be found to be only sent; not also, with the Father, sending. But since he so took the form of a servant, as that the unchangeable form of God remained, it is clear that that which became apparent in the Son was done by the Father and the Son not being apparent; that is, that by the invisible Father, with the invisible Son, the same Son Himself was sent so as to be visible. Why, therefore, does he say, "Neither came I of myself?" This, we may now say, is said according to the form of a servant, in the same way as it is said, "I judge no man."

Book 13, Chapter 11

15. But what is meant by "justified in his blood?" (ROM 5.9) What power is there in this blood, I beseech you, that they who believe should be justified in it? And what is meant by "being reconciled by the death of God's Son?" (ROM 5.10) Was it indeed so, that when God the Father was angry with us, he saw the death of the Son for us, and was kindly disposed towards us? Was then the Son already so far kindly disposed towards us, that God even deigned to die for us; while the Father was still so far angry, that except the Son die for us, God would not be appeased? And what, then, is that which the same teacher of the Gentiles himself says in another place: "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us, the God that spared not his [sic.] own Son, but delivered him up for us all ... (ROM 8.31ff.). Pray, unless the Father had been already appeased, would he have delivered up his own Son, not sparing him for us? Does not this opinion seem to be as it were contrary to that? In the one, the Son dies for us, and the Father is reconciled to us by his death; in the other, as though the Father first loved us, God on our account does not spare the Son, but for us delivers him up to death. But I see that the Father loved us also before, not only before the Son died for us, but before God created the world; the apostle himself being witness, who says, "According as God has chosen us before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1.4). Nor was the Son delivered up for us as it were unwillingly, the Father not sparing him; for it is said also concerning God, "who loved me, and delivered up himself for me" (Gal 2.20). Therefore together both the Father and the Son, and the Spirit of both, work all things equally and harmoniously; yet we are justified in the blood of Christ, and we are reconciled to God by the death of God's Son.

Chapter 17

22. There are many other things also in the incarnation of Christ, displeasing as it is to the proud, that are to be observed and thought of advantageously. And one of them is, that it has been demonstrated to humans what place they have in the things which God has created; since human nature could so be joined to God, that one person could be made of two substances, and thereby indeed of three: God, soul, and flesh, so that those proud malignant spirits, who interpose themselves as mediators to deceive, although as if to help, do not therefore dare to place themselves above humans because they have not flesh; and chiefly because the Son of God deigned to die also in the same flesh, lest they, because they seem to be immortal, should therefore succeed in getting themselves worshipped as gods. Further, that the grace of God might be commended to us in the human Christ without any precedent merits; because not even he himself obtained by any precedent merits that he should be joined in such great unity with the true God, and should become the Son of God, one Person with God; but from the time when he began to be human, from that time he is also God; whence it is said, "The Word was made flesh" (Jn 1.14). Then, again, there is this, that the pride of human, which is the chief hindrance against his cleaving to God, can be confuted and healed through such great humility of God. Persons learn also how far they have gone away from God; and what it is worth to them as a pain to cure them, when they return through such a Mediator, who both as God assists humans by divinity, and as human agrees with humans by his weakness. For what greater example of obedience could be given to us, who had perished through disobedience, than God the Son obedient to God the Father, even to the death of the cross? (Phil 2.8) Where could the reward of obedience itself be better shown, than in the flesh of so great a Mediator, which rose again to eternal life? It belonged also to the justice and goodness of the Creator, that the devil should be conquered by the same rational creature which he rejoiced to have conquered, and by one that came from that same race which, by the corruption of its origin through one, he held altogether.

Chapter 18

23. For assuredly God could have taken upon the divinity to be human, that in that humanity God might be the Mediator between God and humans, from some other source, and not from the race of that Adam who bound the human race by his sin; as God did not create him whom God first created, of the race of someone else. Therefore God was able, either so, or in any other mode that God would, to create yet one other, by whom the conqueror of the first might be conquered. But God judged it better both to take upon man through whom to conquer the enemy of the human race, from the race itself that had been conquered; and yet to do this of a virgin, whose conception, not flesh but spirit, not lust but faith, preceded.

Nor did that concupiscence of the flesh intervene, by which the rest of human beings, who derive original sin, are propagated and conceived; but holy virginity became pregnant, not by conjugal intercourse, but by faith - lust being utterly absent - so that that which was born from the root of the first human might derive only the origin of race, not also of guilt. For there was born, not a nature corrupted by the contagion of transgression, but the one only remedy of all such corruptions. There was born, I say, a human having nothing at all, and to have nothing at all, of sin; through whom they were to be born again so as to be freed from sin, who could not be born without sin. ... It was necessary, therefore, that this carnal concupiscence should be entirely absent, when the offspring of the Virgin was conceived; in whom the author of death was to find nothing worthy of death, and yet was to slay him in order that he might be conquered by the death of the author of life: the conqueror of the first Adam, who held fast the human race, conquered by the second Adam, and saving the Christian race, freed the human race from guilt, through him who was not in guilt, although he was of the race; that that deceiver might be conquered by that race which he had conquered by guilt. And this was so done, in order that humans may not be lifted up, but "that he that glorieth should glory in the Lord" (2 Cor 10.17). For he who was conquered was only human; and he was therefore conquered, because he lusted proudly to be a god. But he who conquered was both human and God; and therefore he so conquered, being born of a virgin, because God in humility did not, as God governs other saints, so govern that human, but bore him [as a Son]. These so great gifts of God, and whatever else there are, which it is too long for us now upon this subject both to inquire and to discuss, could not exist unless the Word had been made flesh.

   

Constantinople I & Later Latin Fathers
- Ambrose, Augustine -

 

Study Questions:
1. Note the doctrinal developments as expressed in the Creed from Nicea to Constantinople I.
2. Are the authors beginning to employ some of the "new" terminology/concepts being used in christology in the East?
3. What two main elements comprise human nature? Which heresies (described in these texts) deny or downplay one the elements of human nature?
4. In Augustine, how is Christ's preexistence related to created humanity?
How does he explain the sending of the Son?
5. Why is Mary's virginity constantly stressed in these texts?
6. How to they account for the possibility of suffering in the Son of God?
7. Do these authors have a doctrine of theopoiesis?

 

Constantinople I (381)

s.

Ambrose of Milan (+397)

On the Death of his Brother

Book 1

11. [Jesus Christ] wept for what affected us, not himself; for the Godhead sheds no tears; but he wept in that nature in which he was sad; he wept in that in which he was crucified, in that in which he died, in that in which he was buried. He wept in that which the prophet this day brought to our minds: "Mother Sion shall say, a human was made in her, and the Most High himself established her" (Ps 87.5). He wept in that nature in which he called Sion Mother, born in Judaea, conceived by the Virgin. But according to his divine nature he could not have a mother, for he is the creator of his mother. So far as he was made, it was not by divine but by human generation, because he was made human, God was born.

12. But you read in another place: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given" (Is 9.6). In the word child is an indication of age, in that of Son is the "fulness of the divinity" (Col 2.9). Made of his mother, born of the Father yet the same person was both born and given. You must not think of two but of one. For one is the Son of God, born of the Father and sprung from the Virgin, differing in order, but in name agreeing in one, ... for "a human being was made in her and the Most High established her." Human indeed in the body, the most high in power. And though he be God and human in diversity of nature, yet is he at the same time one in each nature. One property, then, is peculiar to God's own nature, another he has in common with us, but in both is he one, and in both is he perfect [=communion of properties].

13. Therefore it is no subject of wonder that God made him to be both Lord and Christ (Acts 2.36). God made him Jesus, him, that is, who received the name in his bodily nature. God made him of whom also the patriarch David writes: "Mother Sion shall say, a human, yes, a human is made in her." But being made human, he is unlike the Father, not in Godhead but in his body; not separated from the Father, but differing in office, abiding united in power, but separated in the mystery of the passion.

Book 2

46. Why should more be said? By the death of one the world was redeemed. For Christ, had he willed, need not have died, but he neither thought that death should be shunned as though there were any cowardice in it, nor could he have saved us better than by dying. And so his death is the life of all. We are signed with the sign of his death, we show forth his death when we pray; when we offer the sacrifice we declare his death, for his death is victory, his death is our mystery, his death is the yearly recurring solemnity of the world. What now should we say concerning his death, since we prove by this divine example that death alone found immortality, and that death itself redeemed itself. Death, then, is not to be mourned over, for it is the cause of salvation for all; death is not to be shunned, for the Son of God did not think it unworthy of him, and did not shun it. The order of nature is not to be loosed, for what is common to all cannot admit of exception in individuals.

On the Sacrament of the Incarnation

Chapter 5

39. He was, therefore, immortal in death and incapable of suffering even as he suffered; for the affliction of death did not grasp him since he was God, and at the same time the lower world saw him since he was a human being. In the end he "gave up his spirit" (Mt 27.50), but he gave it up like one who is in charge of laying down and assuming a body, and so he did not lose the spirit. [He was crucified and underwent the pains of the passion]; he became the sin of all and washed away the sins of humanity. Finally he died ... so that his death might become the life of those who have died.

Chapter 7

65-66. When he took on the flesh of the human being, it follows that he took on the perfection and plenitude of becoming flesh; for there is nothing imperfect in Christ. ... He assumed a soul, but he assumed and took on a perfect, human, rational soul. I say took on a soul for the Word of God did not become alive in its flesh by replacing its soul. The Word, rather, assumed both our flesh and our soul by assuming human nature perfectly. ... What good is it, however, if he did not redeem me totally? But the one who says, "Are you angry with me, who healed a man totally on the Sabbath?" (Jn 7.23) did redeem me completely.

76. God the Word was not in its flesh to replace the soul that is rational and capable of comprehending God. The Word of God took on both a soul that is rational and capable of understanding, human, and of the same substance [~homoousios?] as our souls, and flesh that is like ours and of the same substance as ours, and thus became a perfect human being, but without any stain of sin. ... His flesh and soul, therefore, are of the same substance as our soul and flesh.

Concerning the Faith

Book 3

Chapter 2

7. It was a bodily weakness, then, that is to say, a weakness of ours, that he hungered; when he wept, and was sorrowful even unto death, it was of our nature (cf. MT 4.2; Jn 11.35; MT 26.38). Why ascribe the properties and incidents of our nature to the divinity? That he was even, as we are told, "made," is a property of a body (see Jn 1.14). Thus, indeed, we read: "Sion our mother shall say: 'He is a human being,' and in her he was made a human, and the Most High himself laid her foundations" (Ps 87.5). "He was made a human being," mark you, not "God was made."

8. But what is he who is at once the Most High and human, what but "the Mediator between God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as a ransom for us"? (1 Tim 2.5-6) This place indeed refers properly to his incarnation, for our redemption was made by his blood, our pardon comes through his power, our life is secured through his grace. He gives as the Most High; he prays as a human. The one is the office of the Creator, the other of a Redeemer. Be the gifts as distinct as they may, yet the giver is one, for it was fitting that our maker should be our redeemer (see Heb 2.10).

Chapter 5

35. At the same time, becoming does not always imply creation for we read: "Lord, You have become our refuge," (Ps 90.1) and "You have become my salvation" (Ps 118.14). Plainly, here is no statement of the fact or purpose of a creation, but God is said to have become my "refuge" and has turned to my "salvation," even as the Apostle has said: "Who became for us Wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," (1 Cor 1.30) that is, that Christ was "made" for us, not created of the Father. Again, the writer has explained in the sequel in what sense he says that Christ was made Wisdom for us: "But we preach the Wisdom of God in doctrine of mystery, which Wisdom is hidden, foreordained by God before the existence of the world for our glory, and which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they known they would never have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Cor 2.7-8). When the mystery of the passion is set forth, surely there is no speaking of an eternal process of generation.

36. The Lord's cross, then, is my wisdom; the Lord's death my redemption; for we are redeemed with his precious blood, as the Apostle Peter said (1 Pet 1.19). With his blood, then, as man, the Lord redeemed us, who also, as God, has forgiven sins (see Mk 2.8-12).

Chapter 7

46. Hereby we are brought to understand that the prophecy of the incarnation, "The Lord created me the beginning of his ways for his works," (Prov 8.22) means that the Lord Jesus was created of the Virgin for the redeeming of the Father's works. Truly, we cannot doubt that this is spoken of the mystery of the incarnation, for as much as the Lord took upon him our flesh, in order to save the works of his hands from the slavery of corruption, so that he might, by the sufferings of his own body, overthrow him who had the power of death (Heb 2.14). For Christ's flesh is for the sake of things created, but his Godhead existed before them, seeing that he is before all things, while all things exist together in him (Col 1.17).

47. His divinity, then, is not by reason of creation, but creation exists because of the divinity; even as the apostle showed, saying that all things exist because of the Son of God, for we read as follows: "But it was fitting that he, through whom and because of whom are all things, after bringing many sons to glory, should, as captain of their salvation, be made perfect through suffering" (Heb 2.10). Has he not plainly declared that the Son of God, who, by reason of his divinity, was the Creator of all, did in after time, for the salvation of his people, submit to the taking on of the flesh and the suffering of death?

48. Now for the sake of what works the Lord was "created" of a virgin, he himself, whilst healing the blind man, has shown, saying: "In him must I work the works of the one who sent me" (Jn 9.4). Furthermore, he said in the same Scripture, that we might believe him to speak of the incarnation: "As long as I am in this world, I am the Light of this world," (Jn 9.5) for, so far as he is man, he is in this world for a season, but as God he exists at all times. In another place, too, he says: "Lo, I am with you even unto the end of the world" (MT 28.20).

49. Nor is there any room for questioning with respect to "the beginning," seeing that when, during his earthly life, he was asked, "who are you?" He answered: "The beginning, even as I tell you" (Jn 8.25). This refers not only to the essential nature of the eternal divinity, but also to the visible proofs of virtues, for hereby has he proved himself the eternal God, in that he is the beginning of all things, and the author of each several virtue, in that he is the head of the Church, as it is written: "Because he is the head of the Body, of the Church, who is the beginning, first-begotten from the dead" (Eph 4.15).

50. It is clear, then, that the words "beginning of his ways," which, as it seems, we must refer to the mystery of the putting on of his body, are a prophecy of the incarnation. For Christ's purpose in the incarnation was to pave for us the road to heaven. Mark how he says: "I go up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God" (Jn 20.17). Then, to give you to know that the Almighty Father appointed his [sic.] ways to the Son, after the incarnation, you have in Zechariah the words of the angel speaking to Joshua clothed in filthy garments: "Thus said the Lord Almighty: 'If you will walk in my ways and observe my precepts'" (Zech 3.7). What is the meaning of that filthy garb save the putting on of the flesh?

Chapter 15

... The Arians, inasmuch as they assert the Son to be "of another substance," plainly acknowledge substance in God. The only reason why they avoid the use of this term is that they will not, as Eusebius of Nicomedia has made it evident, confess Christ to be the true Son of God.

123. How can the Arians deny the substance of God? How can they suppose that the word "substance," which is found in many places of Scripture, ought to be debarred from use, when they themselves do, yet, by saying that the Son is of another substance, admit substance in God?

124. It is not the term itself, then, but its force and consequences, that they shun, because they will not confess the Son of God to be true [God]. For though the process of the divine generation cannot be comprehended in human language, still the fathers judged that their faith might be appropriately distinguished by the use of such a term, as against that of "heterousios," following the authority of the prophet, who said: "who has stood in the truth (substantial) of the Lord, and seen his Word?" (Jer 23.18) Arians, therefore, admit the term "substance" when it is used so as to square with their blasphemy. In contrary fashion, when it is adopted in accordance with the pious devotion of the faithful, they reject and dispute against it.

125. What other reason can there be for their unwillingness to have the Son spoken of as "homoousios," of the same substance, with the Father, but that they are unwilling to confess him the true Son of God? This is betrayed in the letter of Eusebius of Nicomedia. "If," writes he, "we say that the Son is true God and uncreated, then we are on the way to confessing him to be of one substance (homoousios) with the Father." When this letter had been read before the Council assembled at Nicea, the Fathers put this word in their exposition of the faith. Because they saw that it daunted their adversaries; in order that they might take the sword, which their opponents had drawn, to smite off the head of those opponents' own blasphemous heresy.

126. Vain, however, is their plea, that they avoid the use of the term, because of the Sabellians [modalists], whereby they betray their own ignorance, for a being is of the same substance (homoousion) with another, not with itself. Rightly, then, do we call the Son "homoousios" (of the same substance), with the Father, for as much as that term expresses both the distinction of persons and the unity of nature.

127. Can they deny that the term "ousia" is met with in Scripture, when the Lord has spoken of bread, that is, "epiousioi [subsistence]" (MT 6.11)? What does "ousia" mean, whence comes the name, but from "ousiaei," that which endures for ever? For he who is, and is for ever, is God; and therefore the divine substance, abiding everlastingly, is called ousia. Bread is epiousioi, because, taking the substance of abiding power from the substance of the Word, it supplies this to heart and soul, for it is written: "And bread strengthens man's heart" (Ps 104.15).

Chapter 8

105. But in the faith of the Church one and the same is both Son of God the Father and Son of David. For the mystery of the incarnation of God is the salvation of the whole of creation, according to that which is written: "That without God he should taste death for every human;" (Heb 2.9) that is, that every creature might be redeemed without any suffering at the price of the blood of the Lord's divinity. As it stands elsewhere: "Every creature shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption" (Rom 8.21).

106. It is one thing to be named Son according to the divine substance, it is another thing to be so called according to the adoption of human flesh. For, according to the divine generation, the Son is equal to God the Father; and, according to the adoption of a body, he is a servant to God the Father. "For," it says, "he took upon him the form of a servant" (Phil 2.7). The Son is, however, one and the same. On the other hand, according to his glory, he is Lord to the holy patriarch David, but his Son in the line of actual descent, ... acquiring for himself the rights that go with the adoption into our race.

107. ... To whom is this said, if not to Christ, who being in the form of God, emptied himself and took upon him the form of a servant [kenosis]. But what can be in the form of God, except that which exists in the fulness of divinity?

108. Learn, then, what this means: "He took upon him the form of a servant." It means that he took upon him all the perfections of humanity in their completeness, and obedience in its completeness. ... "Servant" means the human being in whom he was sanctified; it means the human in whom he was anointed; it means the human in whom he was made under the law, made of the Virgin; and, to put it briefly, it means the human in whose person he has a mother ... .

On the Holy Spirit

Book 1, Chapter 9

105. But what wonder, since both the Father and the Son are said to be Spirit. Of which we shall speak more fully when we begin to speak of the unity of the name. Yet since the most suitable place occurs here, that we may not seem to have passed on without a conclusion, let them read that both the Father is called Spirit, as the Lord said in the Gospel, "for God is Spirit;" (Jn 4.24) and Christ is called Spirit, for Jeremiah said: "The Spirit before our face, Christ the Lord" (Lam 4.20).

106. So, then, both the Father is Spirit and Christ is Spirit, for that which is not a created body is spirit, but the Holy Spirit is not commingled with the Father and the Son, but is distinct from the Father and from the Son. For the Holy Spirit did not die, who could not die because he had not taken flesh upon him, and the eternal divinity (ROM 1.20) was incapable of dying, but Christ died according to the flesh.

107. For of a truth he died in that which he took of the Virgin, not in that which he had of the Father, for Christ died in that nature in which he was crucified. But the Holy Spirit could not be crucified, who had not flesh and bones, but the Son of God was crucified, who took flesh and bones, that on that cross the temptations of our flesh might die. For he took on him that which he was not that he might hide that which he was; he hid that which he was that he might be tempted in it, and that which he was not might be redeemed, in order that he might call us by means of that which he was not to that which he was.

109. ... Therefore do you also crucify sin, that you may die to sin; he who dies to sin lives to God. Do you live to him who spared not his own Son, that in his body he might crucify our passions. For Christ died for us, that we might live in his revived body. Therefore not our life but our guilt died in him, "who," it is said, "bore our sins in his own body on the tree; that being set free from our sins we might live in righteousness, by the wound of whose blows we are healed" (1 Pet 2.24).

On Repentance

Book 1, Chapter 3

12. Interpreting which truth, the apostle says: "For God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us" (ROM 8.3-4). He does not say "in the likeness of flesh," for Christ took on himself the reality not the likeness of flesh; nor does he say in the likeness of sin, for he did not sin, but was made sin for us (see 2 Cor 5.21). Yet he came "in the likeness of sinful flesh" that is, he took on him the likeness of sinful flesh, the likeness, because it is written: "He is a human being, and who shall know him?"(Jer 17.9 [LXX]). He was man in the flesh, according to his human nature, that he might be recognized, but in power was above man, that he might not be recognized, so he has our flesh, but has not the failings of this flesh.

13. For he was not begotten, as is every man, by intercourse between male and female, but born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin; he received a stainless body, which not only no sins polluted, but which neither the generation nor the conception had been stained by any admixture of defilement. For we men are all born under sin, and our very origin is in evil, as we read in the words of David: "For lo, I was conceived in wickedness, and in sin did my mother beget me" (Ps 51.5). Therefore the flesh of Paul was a body of death, as he himself says: "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (ROM 7.24) But the flesh of Christ condemned sin, which he felt not at his birth, and crucified by his death, so that in our flesh there might be justification through grace, in which before there had been pollution by guilt.

 

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Ephesus (431) & Nestorianism
- Theodore of Mopseustia, John Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Nestorius -

 

Study Questions:
Review the questions from the previous weeks. By now, you should have appropriated the methodology used in analyzing the texts for their theology of Christ.

 

John Chrysostom

Homily 11 - On the Gospel of John

"And the Word was made Flesh," [John said], "and dwelt among us."

1. Having declared that they who received him were "born of God," and had become "sons of God," he adds the cause and reason of this unspeakable honour. It is that "the Word became Flesh," that the Master took on him the form of a servant. For he became Son of man, who was God's own Son, in order that he might make the children of humanity to be the children of God. For the high when it associates with the low touches not at all its own honour, while it raises up the other from its excessive lowness; and even thus it was with the Lord. He in nothing diminished His own Nature by this condescension [kenosis], but raised us, who had always sat in disgrace and darkness, to glory unspeakable. Thus it may be, a king, conversing with interest and kindness with a poor mean man, does not at all shame himself, yet makes the other observed by all and illustrious. Now if in the case of the adventitious dignity of humans, intercourse with the humbler person in nothing injuries the more honourable, much less can it do so in the case of that simple and blessed Essence which has nothing adventitious, or subject to growth or decay, but has all good things immovable, and fixed for ever. So that when you hear that "the Word became Flesh," be not disturbed nor cast down, for that Essence did not change to flesh, (it is impiety to imagine this,) but continuing what it is, it so took upon it the form of a servant.

2. Wherefore then does he use the expression, "was made"? To stop the mouths of the heretics. For since there are some who say that all the circumstances of the Dispensation [economy] were an appearance, a piece of acting, an allegory, at once to remove beforehand their blasphemy, he has put "was made"; desiring to show thereby not a change of substance, (away with the thought,) but the assumption of very flesh. For as when (Paul) says, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us," he does not mean that His essence removing from Its proper glory took upon it the being of an accused thing, (this not even devils could imagine, nor even the very foolish, nor those deprived of their natural understanding, such impiety as well as madness does it contain,) as (St. Paul) does not say this, but that he, taking upon himself the curse pronounced against us, leaves us no more under the curse; so also here he [St. John] says that he "was made Flesh," not by changing His Essence to flesh, but by taking flesh to himself, His Essence remained untouched.

3. If they say that being God, he is Omnipotent, so that he could lower himself to the substance of flesh, we will reply to them, that he is Omnipotent as long as he continues to be God. But if he admit of change, change for the worse, how could he be God? for change is far from that simple Nature. Wherefore the Prophet said, "They all shall wax old as does a garment, and as a vesture shall you roll them up, and they shall be changed; but you are the same, and your years shall not fail." [Ps 102.27 LXX.] For that Essence is superior to all change. There is nothing better than he, to which he might advance and reach. Better do I say? No, nor equal to, nor the least approaching him. It remains, therefore, that if he change, he must admit a change for the worse; and this would not be God. But let the blasphemy return upon the heads of those who utter it. Nay, to show that he uses the expression,'" was made" only that you should not suppose a mere appearance, hear from what follows how he clears the argument, and overthrows that wicked suggestion. For what does he add? "And dwelt among us." All but saying, "Imagine nothing improper from the word 'was made'; I spoke not of any change of that unchangeable Nature, but of Its dwelling and in habiting. But that which dwells cannot be the same with that in which it dwells, but different; one thing dwells in a different thing, otherwise it would not be dwelling; for nothing can inhabit itself. I mean, different as to essence; for by an union, and conjoining God the Word and the Flesh are One, not by any confusion or obliteration of substances, but by a certain ineffable union ... .

4. What then was the tabernacle in which he dwelt? Hear the Prophet say; "I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen" (Amos 9.11.). It was fallen indeed, our nature had fallen an incurable fall, and needed only that mighty Hand. There was no possibility of raising it again, had not he who fashioned it at first stretched forth to it His Hand, and stamped it mew with His Image, by the regeneration of water and the Spirit. And observe I pray you, the awful and ineffable nature of the mystery. He inhabits this tabernacle for ever, for he clothed himself with our flesh, not as again to leave it, but always to have it with him. Had not this been the case, he would not have deemed it worthy of the royal throne, nor would he while wearing it have been worshipped by all the host of heaven, angels archangel, thrones, principalities, dominions, powers. What word, what though can represent such great honour done to our race, so truly marvellous and awful? What angel what archangel? Not one in any place, whether in heaven, or upon earth. For such are the mighty works of God, so great and marvellous are His benefits, that a right description of them exceeds not only the tongue of men, but even the power of angels.

5. Wherefore we will for a while dose our discourse, and be silent; only delivering to you this charge, that you repay this our so great Benefactor by a return which again shall bring round to us all profit. The return is, that we look with all carefulness to the state of our souls. For this too is the work of His loving-kindness, that he who stands in no need of anything of ours says that he is repaid when we take care of our own souls. It is therefore an act of extremist folly, and one deserving ten thousand chastisements, if we, when such honour has been lavished upon us, will not even contribute what we can, and that too when profit comes round to us again by these means, and ten thousand blessings are laid before us on these conditions. For all these things let us returns glory to our merciful God, not by words only, but much more by works that we may obtain the good things hereafter, which may it be that we all attain to, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom and with whom, to the Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


Nestorius

Nestorius' Sermon Against the Theotokos

a. The human race was adorned with ten thousand gifts when it was dignified by a gift which was furthest away and nearest to hand—the Lord's incarnation. Humanity is the image of the divine nature; but the devil overthrew this image and cast it down into incorruption, and God grieved over this image as a king might grieve over his statue, and renewed the likeness. Without male seed, he fashioned from the Virgin a nature like Adam's (who was himself formed without male seed) and through a human being brought about the revival of the human race. "Since," Paul says, "death came through a human being, through a human being also came the resurrection of the dead" [1 Cor 15.21].

b. Let those people pay attention to these words [of Paul], I mean those who, as we know have learned, are always inquiring among us now this way and now that: "Is Mary Theotokos," they say (that is, the bearer or mother of God), "or is she on the contrary anthropotokos" (that is, the bearer or mother of a human being)?

c. Does God have a mother? ... Is Paul then a liar when he says of the deity of Christ, "without father, without mother, without genealogy" [Heb 7.3]? Mary, my friend, did not give birth to the Godhead ... . A creature did not produce he who is uncreatable. The Father has not just recently generated God the Logos from the Virgin (for in the "beginning was the Logos" as John says). A creature did not produce the Creator, rather she gave birth to the human being, the instrument of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit did not create God the Logos (for what is "born of her is of the Holy Spirit" [Mt 1.20]). Rather, the Spirit formed out of the Virgin a temple for God the Logos, a temple in which he dwelt.

d. Moreover, the incarnate God did not die; he raised up the one in whom he was incarnate. ... God saw the ruined nature, and the power of the Godhead took hold of it in its shattered state. God held on to it while himself remaining what he had been, and lifted it up high. ... Paul recounts all at once everything which happened, and the [divine] being has become incarnate and that the immutability of the incarnate deity is always maintained after the union.

Nestorius' Reply to the Second Letter of Cyril

a. So if it seems right, examine what was said more closely [at Nicea], and you will discover that the divine chorus of the Fathers did not say that the coessential Godhead is passible or that the Godhead which is coeternal with the Father has only just been born, or that he who has raised up the temple which was destroyed has [himself] risen. ...

b. "We also believe," [Nicea] said, "in our Lord Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son." Observe how first of all they establish, as foundations, the titles which are common to the deity and the humanity—"Lord" and "Jesus" and "Christ" and "Only-begotten" and "Son"—and then build upon them the teaching about his becoming human and his passion and resurrection, or order, since the titles which signify and are common to both natures are set in the foreground, the things which pertain to the sonship and lordship are not divided and the things peculiar to the natures within the unitary sonship do not get endangered by the suggestion of a confusion.

c. Paul was himself the instructor in this matter. He refers to the divine act of becoming human, and since he is about to add mention of the passion, he first posits the title Christ, the title which as I said earlier, is common to the two natures, and then introduces words that are appropriate to the two natures. What does he say? "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not think equality with God something to be snatched at, but [...] became obedient to death, even death on the Cross" [Phil 2.5-8]. Since he was about to recall the death, lest anyone for that reason suppose that the Logos is passible, he inserts the word "Christ" because it is the term which signifies the impassible and the passible in one unitary person, with the result that Christ is without risk called both passible and impassible—impassible in the Godhead and passible in the nature of the body.

d. ... Everywhere in Scripture, whenever mention is made of the saving dispensation of the Lord, what is conveyed to us is the birth and suffering not of the deity but of the humanity of Christ, so that by a more exact manner of speech the holy Virgin is called Mother of Christ [Christotokos], and not Mother of God [Theotokos]. ... [One may read in the Scriptures] thousand of other statements warning the human race not to think that the deity of the Son is a new thing, or susceptible to bodily passion, but rather the flesh which is united to the nature of the Godhead.

e. That is why Christ calls himself both Lord and son of David. He says, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" They say to him, "David's." Jesus answered and said to them, "How then does David, speaking in the Spirit, call him Lord, saying, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit on my right hand."'" [Mat 22.42-44]. Because he is entirely the son of David according to the flesh but Lord according to the deity. The body therefore is the temple of the Son's deity, and a temple united to it by a complete and divine conjunction, so that the nature of the deity associates itself with the things belonging to the body, and the body is acknowledged to be noble and worthy of the wonders related in the Gospels.


Cyril of Alexandria

The Epistle of Cyril to Nestorius (with the 12 Anathemas)

1. When our Saviour says clearly: "He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me," what is to become of us, from whom your Holiness requires that we love you more than Christ the Saviour of us all? Who can help us in the day of judgment, or what kind of excuse shall we find for thus keeping silence so long, with regard to the blasphemies made by you against him? If you injured yourself alone, by teaching and holding such things, perhaps it would be less matter; but you have greatly scandalized the whole Church, and have cast among the people the leaven of a strange and new heresy. And not to those there [i.e. at Constantinople] only; but also to those everywhere [your letters were sent]. How can we any longer, under these circumstances, make a defence for our silence, or how shall we not be forced to remember that Christ said: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother." For if faith be injured, let there be lost the honour due to parents, as stale and tottering, let even the law of tender love towards children and brothers be silenced, let death be better to the pious than living; "that they might obtain a better resurrection," as it is written.

2. Behold, therefore, how we, together with the holy synod which met in great Rome, presided over by the most holy and most reverend brother and fellow-minister, Celestine the Bishop, also testify by this third letter to you, and counsel you to abstain from these mischievous and distorted dogmas, which you hold and teach, and to receive the right faith, handed down to the churches from the beginning through the holy Apostles and Evangelists, who "were eye-witnesses, and ministers of the Word." And if your holiness has not a mind to this according to the limits defined in the writings of our brother of blessed memory and most reverend fellow-minister Celestine, Bishop of the Church of Rome, be well assured then that you have no lot with us, nor place or standing among the priests and bishops of God. For it is not possible for us to overlook the churches thus troubled, and the people scandalized, and the right faith set aside, and the sheep scattered by you, who ought to save them, if indeed we are ourselves adherents of the right faith, and followers of the devotion of the holy fathers. And we are in communion with all those laymen and clergymen cast out or deposed by your holiness on account of the faith; for it is not right that those, who resolved to believe rightly, should suffer by your choice; for they do well in opposing you. This very thing you have mentioned in your epistle written to our most holy and fellow-bishop Celestine of great Rome.

3. But it would not be sufficient for your reverence to confess with us only the symbol of the faith set out some time ago by the Holy Spirit at the great and holy synod convened in Nicea: for you have not held and interpreted it rightly, but rather perversely; even though you confess with your voice the form of words. But in addition, in writing and by oath, you must confess that you also anathematize those polluted and unholy dogmas of yours, and that you will hold and teach that which we all, bishops, teachers, and leaders of the people both East and West, hold. The holy synod of Rome and we all agreed on the epistle written to your Holiness from the Alexandrian Church as being right and blameless. We have added to these our own letters and that which it is necessary for you to hold and teach, and what you should be careful to avoid. Now this is the Faith of the Catholic and Apostolic Church to which all Orthodox Bishops, both East and West, agree:

4. "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father, that is, of the substance of the Father; God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made, both those in heaven and those in the earth. Who for us men and for our salvation, came down, and was incarnate, and was made man. He suffered, and rose again the third day. He ascended into the heavens, from thence he shall come to judge both the living and tile dead. And in the Holy Spirit: But those that say, There was a time when he was not, and, before he was begotten he was not, and that he was made of that which previously was not, or that he was of some other substance or essence; and that the Son of God was capable of change or alteration; those the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes."

5. Following in all points the confessions of the Holy Fathers which they made (the Holy Spirit speaking in them), and following the scope of their opinions, and going, as it were, in the royal way, we confess that the Only begotten Word of God, begotten of the same substance of the Father, True God from True God, Light from Light, through Whom all things were made, the things in heaven and the things in the earth, coming down for our salvation, making himself of no reputation, was incarnate and made man; that is, taking flesh of the holy Virgin, and having made it his own from the womb, he subjected himself to birth for us, and came forth man from a woman, without casting off that which he was; but although he assumed flesh and blood, he remained what he was, God in essence and in truth. Neither do we say that his flesh was changed into the nature of divinity, nor that the ineffable nature of the Word of God has laid aside for the nature of flesh; for he is unchanged and absolutely unchangeable, being the same always, according to the Scriptures. For although visible and a child in swaddling clothes, and even in the bosom of his Virgin Mother, he filled all creation as God, and was a fellow-ruler with him who begat him, for the Godhead is without quantity and dimension, and cannot have limits.

6. Confessing the Word to be made one with the flesh according to substance, we adore one Son and Lord Jesus Christ: we do not divide the God from the man, nor separate him into parts, as though the two natures were mutually united in him only through a sharing of dignity and authority (for that is a novelty and nothing else), neither do we give separately to the Word of God the name Christ and the same name separately to a different one born of a woman; but we know only one Christ, the Word from God the Father with his own Flesh. For as man he was anointed with us, although it is he himself who gives the Spirit to those who are worthy and not in measure, according to the saying of the blessed Evangelist John.

7. But we do not say that the Word of God dwelt in him as in a common man born of the holy Virgin, lest Christ be thought of as a God-bearing man; for although the Word tabernacled among us, it is also said that in Christ "dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily"; but we understand that be became flesh, not just as he is said to dwell in the saints, but we define that that tabernacling in him was according to equality. But being made one and not converted into flesh, he made his indwelling in such a way, as we may say that the soul of man does in his own body.

8. One therefore is Christ both Son and Lord, not as if a man had attained only such a conjunction with God as consists in a unity of dignity alone or of authority. For it is not equality of honour which unites natures; for then Peter and John, who were of equal honour with each other, being both Apostles and holy disciples [would have been one, and], yet the two are not one. Neither do we understand the manner of conjunction to be apposition, for this does not suffice for natural oneness. Nor yet according to relative participation, as we are also joined to the Lord, as it is written "we are one Spirit in him." Rather we deprecate the term of "junction" [or "conjoining"] as not having sufficiently signified the oneness. But we do not call the Word of God the Father, the God nor the Lord of Christ, less we openly cut in two the one Christ, the Son and Lord, and fall under the charge of blasphemy, making him the God and Lord of himself. For the Word of God, as we have said already, was made hypostatically one in flesh, yet he is God of all and he rules all; but he is not the slave of himself, nor his own Lord. For it is foolish, or rather impious, to think or teach thus. For he said that God was his Father, although he was God by nature, and of his substance. Yet we are not ignorant that while he remained God, he also became man and subject to God, according to the law suitable to the nature of the manhood. But how could he become the God or Lord of himself? Consequently as man, and with regard to the measure of his humiliation, it is said that he is equally with us subject to God; thus he became under the Law, although as God he spake the Law and was the Law-giver.

9. We are careful also how we say about Christ: "I worship the one clothed on account of the one clothing him, and on account of the unseen, I worship the seen." It is horrible to say in this connection as follows: "The assumed as well as the assuming have the name of God." For the saying of this divides again Christ into two, and puts the man separately by himself and God also by himself. For this saying denies openly the Unity according to which one is not worshipped in the other, nor does God exist together with the other; but Jesus Christ is considered as One, the Only-begotten Son, to be honoured with one adoration together with his own flesh.

10. We confess that he is the Son, begotten of God the Father, and Only-begotten God; and although according to his own nature he was not subject to suffering, yet he suffered for us in the flesh according to the Scriptures, and although impassible, yet in his Crucified Body he made his own the sufferings of his own flesh; and by the grace of God he tasted death for all: he gave his own Body thereto, although he was by nature himself the life and the resurrection, in order that, having trodden down death by his unspeakable power, first in his own flesh, he might become the first born from the dead, and the first-fruits of them that slept. And that he might make a way for the nature of man to attain incorruption, by the grace of God (as we just now said), he tasted death for every man, and after three days rose again, having despoiled hell. So although it is said that the resurrection of the dead was through man, yet we understand that man to have been the Word of God, and the power of death was loosed through him, and he shall come in the fulness of time as the One Son and Lord, in the glory of the Father, in order to judge the world in righteousness, as it is written.

11. We will necessarily add this also. Proclaiming the death, according to the flesh, of the Only-begotten Son of God, that is Jesus Christ, confessing his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, we offer the Unbloody Sacrifice in the churches, and so go on to the mystical thanksgivings, and are sanctified, having received his Holy Flesh and the Precious Blood of Christ the Saviour of us all. And not as common flesh do we receive it; God forbid: nor as of a man sanctified and associated with the Word according to the unity of worth, or as having a divine indwelling, but as truly the Life-giving and very flesh of the Word himself. For he is the Life according to his nature as God, and when he became united to his Flesh, he made it also to be Life-giving, as also he said to us: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood." For we must not think that it is flesh of a man like us (for how can the flesh of man be life-giving by its own nature?) but as having become truly the very own of him who for us both became and was called Son of Man. Besides, what the Gospels say our Saviour said of himself, we do not divide between two hypostaseis or persons [prosopa]. For neither is he, the one and only Christ, to be thought of as double, although of two and diverse, yet he has joined them in an indivisible union, just as everyone knows a man is not double although made up of soul and body, but is one of both. Wherefore when thinking rightly, we transfer the human and the divine to the same person.

12. a. For when as God he speaks about himself: "He who has seen me has seen the Father," and "I and my Father are one," we consider his ineffable divine nature according to which he is One with his Father through the identity of essence—"The image and impress and brightness of his glory." But when not scorning the measure of his humanity, he said: "But now you seek to kill me, a man that has told you the truth." Again no less than before we recognize that he is the Word of God from his identity and likeness to the Father and from the circumstances of his humanity. For if it is necessary to believe that being by nature God, he became flesh, that is, a man endowed with a reasonable soul, what reason can certain ones have to be ashamed of this language about him, which is suitable to him as man? For if he should reject the words suitable to him as man, who compelled him to become man like us? And as he humbled himself to a voluntary abasement for us, for what cause can any one reject the words suitable to such abasement?

b. Therefore all the words which are read in the Gospels are to be applied to One Person [prosopon], to one hypostasis of the Word incarnate. For the Lord Jesus Christ is one, according to the Scriptures, although he is called "the Apostle and High Priest of our profession," as offering to God and the Father the confession of faith which we make to him, and through him to God even the Father and also to the Holy Spirit; yet we say he is, according to nature, the Only-begotten of God. And not to any man different from him do we assign the name of priesthood, and the thing, for be became "the Mediator between God and men," and a Reconciler unto peace, having offered himself as a sweet smelling savour to God and the Father. Therefore also he said: "Sacrifice and offering you would not; but a body you have prepared for me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O God." For on account of us he offered his body as a sweet smelling savour, and not for himself; for what offering or sacrifice was needed for himself, who as God existed above all sins? For "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," so that we became prone to fall, and the nature of man has fallen into sin, yet not so he (and therefore we fall short of his glory).

c. How then can there be further doubt that the true Lamb died for us and on our account? And to say that he offered himself for himself and us, could in no way escape the charge of impiety. For he never committed a fault at all, neither did he sin. What offering then did he need, not having sin for which sacrifices are rightly offered? But when he spoke about the Spirit, he said: "He shall glorify me." If we think rightly, we do not say that the one Christ and Son as needing glory from another received glory from the Holy Spirit; for neither greater than he nor above him is his Spirit, but because he used the Holy Spirit to show forth his own divinity in his mighty works, therefore he is said to have been glorified by him just as if any one of us should say concerning his inherent strength, for example, or his knowledge of anything, "They glorified me."For although the Spirit is the same essence, yet we think of it by itself, as it is the Spirit and not the Son; but it is not different from him; for it is called the Spirit of Truth and Christ is the Truth, and it is sent by him, just as, moreover, it is from God and the Father. When then the Spirit worked miracles through the hands of the holy apostles after the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven, it glorified him. For it is believed that he who works through his own Spirit is God according to nature. Therefore he said: "He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." But we do not say this as if the Spirit is wise and powerful through some sharing with another; for it is all perfect and in need of no good thing. Since, therefore, he is the Spirit of the Power and Wisdom of the Father (that is, of the Son), he is evidently Wisdom and Power.

13. And since the holy Virgin brought forth corporally God made one with flesh according to nature, for this reason we also call her Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh.

14. For "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God," and he is the Maker of the ages, coeternal with the Father, and Creator of all; but, as we have already said, since he united to himself hypostatically human nature from her womb, also he subjected himself to birth as man, not as needing necessarily in his own nature birth in time and in these last times of the world, but in order that he might bless the beginning of our existence, and that which sent the earthly bodies of our whole race to death, might lose its power for the future by his being born of a woman in the flesh. And this: "In sorrow you shall bring forth children,"being removed through him, he showed the truth of that spoken by the prophet, "Death swallowed them up, and again God has wiped away every tear from off all faces." For this cause also we say that he attended, having been called, and also blessed, the marriage in Cana of Galilee, with his holy Apostles in accordance with the economy. We have been taught to hold these things by the holy Apostles and Evangelists, and all the God-inspired Scriptures, and in the true confessions of the blessed Fathers.

The Anathemas of Cyril in Opposition to Nestorius

1. If any one refuses to confess that the Emmanuel is in truth God, and therefore that the holy Virgin is Mother of God, for she gave birth after a fleshly manner to the Word of God made flesh; let him be anathema.

2. If any one refuses to confess that the Word of God the Father is united in hypostasis to flesh, and is one Christ with his own flesh, the same being at once both God and man, let him be anathema.

3. If any one in the case of the one Christ divides the hypostaseis after the union, conjoining them by the conjunction alone which is according to dignity, independence, or prerogative, and not rather by the concurrence which is according to natural union, let him be anathema.

4. If any one divides between two persons or hypostaseis the expressions used in the writings of evangelists and apostles, whether spoken by the saints of Christ or by him about himself, and applies the one as to a man considered properly apart from the Word of God, and the others as appropriate to the divine and the Word of God the Father alone, let him be anathema.

5. If any one dares to maintain that the Christ is man bearing God, and not rather that he is God in truth, and one Son, and by nature, according as the Word was made flesh, and shared blood and flesh in like manner with ourselves, let him be anathema.

6. If any one dares to maintain that the Word of God the Father was God or Lord of the Christ, and does not rather confess that the same was at once both God and man, the Word being made flesh according to the Scriptures, let him be anathema.

7. If any one says that Jesus was energized as man by God the Word, and that he was invested with the glory of the only begotten as being another beside him, let him be anathema.

8. If any one dares to maintain that the ascended man ought to be worshipped together with the divine Word, and be glorified with him, and with him be called God as one with another, and does not rather in one act of worship honour the Emmanuel and praise him in one doxology, in that he is the Word made flesh, let him be anathema.

9. If any one says that the one Lord Jesus Christ is glorified by the Spirit, using the power that works through him as a foreign power, and receiving from him the ability to operate against unclean spirits, and to complete his miracles among men; and does not rather say that the Spirit is his own, whereby also he wrought his miracles, let him be anathema.

10. Holy Scripture states that Christ is High Priest and Apostle of our confession, and offered himself on our behalf for a sweet-smelling savour to God and our Father. If, then, any one says that he, the Word of God, was not made our High Priest and Apostle when he was made flesh and man after our manner; but as being another, other than himself, properly man made of a woman; or if any one says that he offered the offering on his own behalf, and not rather on our behalf alone; for he that knew no sin would not have needed an offering, let him be anathema.

11. If any one confesses not that the Lord's flesh is giver of life, and proper to the Word of God himself, but [states] that it is of another than him, united indeed to him in dignity, yet as only possessing a divine indwelling; and not rather, as we said, giver of life, because it is proper to the Word of him who has might to engender all things alive, let him be anathema.

12. If any one confesses not that the Word of God suffered in flesh, and was crucified in flesh, and tasted death in flesh, and was made firstborn of the dead, in so far as he is life and giver of life, as God, let him be anathema.

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Chalcedon & Summary
- Leo & Eutyches -


 

Study Questions:
Review the questions from the previous weeks. By now, you should have appropriated the methodology used in analyzing the texts for their theology of Christ.

 

Eutyches

Confession of Faith

I call upon you before God, who gives life to all things, and Christ Jesus, who witnessed that good confession under Pontius Pilate, that you do nothing by favour. For I have held the same as my forefathers and from my boyhood have been illuminated by the same faith as that which was laid down by the holy Synod of 318 most blessed bishops who were gathered at Nicea from the whole world, and which was confirmed and ratified afresh for sole acceptance by the holy Synod assembled at Ephesus: and I have never thought otherwise than as the right and only true orthodox faith has enjoined. And I agree to everything that was laid down about the same faith by the same holy Synod: of which Synod the leader and chief was Cyril of blessed memory bishop of the Alexandrians, the partner and sharer in the preaching and in the faith of those saints and elect of God, Gregory the Greater, and the other Gregory, Basil, Athanasius, Atticus and Proclus. Him and all of them I have held orthodox and faithful, and have honoured as saints, and have esteemed my masters. But I utter an anathema on Nestorius, Apollinarius, and all heretics down to Simon, and those who say that the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven. For he who is the Word of God came down from heaven without flesh and was made flesh in the holy Virgin's womb unchangeably and unalterably as he himself knew and willed. And he who was always perfect God before the ages, was also made perfect human in the end of the days for us and for our salvation. This my full profession may your holiness consider.

Pope Leo the Great

Letter 28: To Flavian ["The Tome of Leo"]

1. Having read your letter, beloved, at the late arrival of which we are surprised, and having perused the detailed account of the bishops' acts, we have at last found out what the scandal was which had arisen among you against the purity of the Faith: and what before seemed concealed has now been unlocked and laid open to our view: from which it is shown that Eutyches, who used to seem worthy of all respect in virtue of his priestly office, is very unwary and exceedingly ignorant, so that it is even of him that the prophet has said: "he refused to understand so as to do well: he thought upon iniquity in his bed." But what more iniquitous than to hold blasphemous opinions, and not to give way to those who are wiser and more learned than yourself. Now into this unwisdom fall they who, finding themselves hindered from knowing the truth by some obscurity, have recourse not to the prophets' utterances, not to the Apostles' letters, nor to the injunctions of the Gospel but to their own selves: and thus they stand out as masters of error because they were never disciples of truth. For what learning has he acquired about the pages of the New and Old Testament, who has not even grasped the rudiments of the Creed? And that which, throughout the world, is professed by the mouth of every one who is to be born again, is not yet taken in by the heart of this old man.

2. Not knowing, therefore, what he was bound to think concerning the incarnation of the Word of God, and not wishing to gain the light of knowledge by researches through the length and breadth of the Holy Scriptures, he might at least have listened attentively to that general and uniform confession, whereby the whole body of the faithful confess that they believe in God the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. By which three statements the devices of almost all heretics are overthrown. For not only is God believed to be both Almighty and the Father, but the Son is shown to be co-eternal with Him, differing in nothing from the Father because he is God from God, Almighty from Almighty, and being born from the Eternal one is co-eternal with God; not later in point of time, not lower in power, not unlike in glory, not divided in essence: but at the same time the only begotten of the eternal Father was born eternal of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. And this nativity which took place in time took nothing from, and added nothing to that divine and eternal birth, but expended itself wholly on the restoration of man who had been deceived: in order that he might both vanquish death and overthrow by his strength, the devil who possessed the power of death. For we should not now be able to overcome the author of sin and death unless he took our nature on him and made it his own, whom neither sin could pollute nor death retain. Doubtless then, he was conceived of the Holy Spirit within the womb of his Virgin Mother, who brought him forth without the loss of her virginity, even as she conceived him without its loss.

3. But if he could not draw a rightful understanding [of the matter] from this pure source of the Christian belief, because he had darkened the brightness of the clear truth by a veil of blindness peculiar to himself, he might have submitted himself to the teaching of the Gospels. And when Matthew speaks of "the book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham," he might have also sought out the instruction afforded by the statements of the apostles. And reading in the epistle to the romans, "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called an apostle, separated unto the Gospel of god, which he had promised before by his prophets in the Holy Scripture concerning God's Son, who was made ... of the seed of David after the flesh," he might have bestowed a loyal carefulness upon the pages of the prophets. And finding the promise of God who says to Abraham, "In thy seed shall all nations be blest," to avoid all doubt as to the reference of this seed, he might have followed the Apostle when he says, "To Abraham were the promises made and to his seed. He said not and to seeds, as if in many, but as it in one, and to thy seed which is Christ's."

4. Isaiah's prophecy also he might have grasped by a closer attention to what he says, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and they shall call his name Emmanuel," which is interpreted "God with us." And the same prophet's words he might have read faithfully. "A child is born to us, a Son is given to us, whose power is upon his shoulder, and they shall call his name the Angel of the Great Counsel, Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the age to come." And then he would not speak so erroneously as to say that the Word became flesh in such a way that Christ, born of the Virgin's womb, had the form of man, but had not the reality of his mother's body. Or is it possible that he thought our Lord Jesus Christ was not of our nature for this reason, that the angel, who was sent to the blessed Mary ever Virgin, says, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: and therefore that Holy Thing also that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God," on the supposition that as the conception of the Virgin was a Divine act, the flesh of the conceived did not partake of the conceiver's nature? But that birth so uniquely wondrous and so wondrously unique, is not to be understood in such wise that the properties of his kind were removed through the novelty of his creation. For though the Holy Spirit imparted fertility to the Virgin, yet a real body was received from her body; and, "Wisdom building her a house," "the Word became flesh and dwelt in us," that is, in that flesh which he took from man and which he quickened with the breath of a higher life.

5. Without detriment therefore to the properties of either nature and substance which then came together in one person, majesty took on humility, strength weakness, eternity mortality: and for the paying off of the debt belonging to our condition inviolable nature was united with possible nature, so that, as suited the needs of our case, one and the same Mediator between God and humanity, the human [incarnate] Christ Jesus, could both die with the one and not die with the other. Thus in the whole and perfect nature of a true human was true God born, complete in what was his own, complete in what was ours. And by "ours" we mean what the Creator formed in us from the beginning and what he undertook to repair. For what the deceiver brought in and man deceived committed, had no trace in the Saviour. Nor, because he partook of man's weaknesses, did he therefore share our faults. He took the form of a slave without stain of sin, increasing the human and not diminishing the divine: because that emptying of himself whereby the invisible made himself visible and, Creator and Lord of all things though he be, wished to be a mortal, was the bending down of pity, not the failing of power.

6. Accordingly he who while remaining in the form of God made human, was also made human in the form of a slave. For both natures retain their own proper character without loss: and as the form of God did not do away with the form of a slave, so the form of a slave did not impair the form of God. For inasmuch as the devil used to boast that man had been cheated by his guile into losing the divine gifts, and bereft of the gift of immortality had undergone sentence of death, and that he had found some solace in his troubles from having a partner in delinquency, and that God also at the demand of the principle of justice had changed his own purpose towards man whom he had created in such honour: there was need for the issue of a secret counsel, that the unchangeable God whose will cannot be robbed of its own kindness, might carry out the first design of his fatherly care towards us by a more hidden mystery; and that man who had been driven into his fault by the treacherous cunning of the devil might not perish contrary to the purpose of God.

7. There enters then these lower parts of the world the Son of God, descending from his heavenly home and yet not quitting his Father's glory, begotten in a new order by a new nativity. In a new order, because being invisible in his own nature, he became visible in ours, and he whom nothing could contain was content to be contained: abiding before all time he began to be in time: the Lord of all things, he obscured his immeasurable majesty and took on Him the form of a servant: being God that cannot suffer, he did not disdain to be man that can, and, immortal as he is, to subject himself to the laws of death. The Lord assumed his mother's nature without her faultiness: nor in the Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin's womb, does the wonderfulness of his birth make his nature unlike ours. For he who is true God is also true man: and in this union there is no lie, since the humility of manhood and the loftiness of the Godhead both meet there. For as God is not changed by the showing of pity, so man is not swallowed up by the dignity. For each form does what is proper to it with the co-operation of the other; that is the Word performing what appertains to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what appertains to the flesh. One of them sparkles with miracles, the other succumbs to injuries. And as the Word does not cease to be on an equality with his Father's glory, so the flesh does not forego the nature of our race. For it must again and again be repeated that one and the same is truly Son of God and truly son of man. God in that "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;" man in that "the Word became flesh and dwelt in us." God in that "all things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made:" man in that "he was made of a woman, made under law."

8. The nativity of the flesh was the manifestation of human nature: the childbearing of a virgin is the proof of divine power. The infancy of a babe is shown in the humbleness of its cradle: the greatness of the Most High is proclaimed by the angels' voices. He whom Herod treacherously endeavours to destroy is like ourselves in our earliest stage: but whom the Magi delight to worship on their knees is the Lord of all. So too when he came to the baptism of John, his forerunner, lest he should not be known through the veil of flesh which covered his Divinity, the Father's voice thundering from the sky, said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And thus him whom the devil's craftiness attacks as man, the ministries of angels serve as God. To be hungry and thirsty, to be weary, and to sleep, is clearly human: but to satisfy 5,000 men with five loaves, and to bestow on the woman of Samaria living water, droughts of which can secure the drinker from thirsting any more, to walk upon the surface of the sea with feet that do not sink, and to quell the risings of the waves by rebuking the winds, is, without any doubt, divine. Just as therefore, to pass over many other instances, it is not part of the same nature to be moved to tears of pity for a dead friend, and when the stone that closed the four-days' grave was removed, to raise that same friend to life with a voice of command: or, to hang on the cross, and turning day to night, to make all the elements tremble: or, to be pierced with nails, and yet open the gates of paradise to the robber's faith: so it is not part of the same nature to say, "I and the Father are one," and to say, "the Father is greater than I." For although in the Lord Jesus Christ God and man is one person, yet the source of the degradation, which is shared by both, is one, and the source of the glory, which is shared by both, is another. For his manhood, which is less than the Father, comes from our side: his Godhead, which is equal to the Father, comes from the Father.

9. Therefore in consequence of this unity of person which is to be understood in both natures, we read of the Son of Man also descending from heaven, when the Son of God took flesh from the Virgin who bore him. And again the Son of God is said to have been crucified and buried, although it was not actually in his divinity whereby the Only-begotten is co-eternal and con-substantial with the Father, but in his weak human nature that he suffered these things. And so it is that in the Creed also we all confess that the Only-begotten Son of God was crucified and buried, according to that saying of the Apostle: "for if they had known, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory." But when our Lord and Saviour Himself would instruct his disciples' faith by his questioning, he said, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" And when they had put on record the various opinions of other people, he said, "But you, whom do you say that I am?" Me, that is, who am the Son of Man, and whom you see in the form of a slave, and in true flesh, whom do ye say that I am? Whereupon blessed Peter, whose divinely inspired confession was destined to profit all nations, said, "You are Christ, the Son of the living God." And not undeservedly was he pronounced blessed by the Lord, drawing from the chief corner-stone the solidity of power which his name also expresses, he, who, through the revelation of the Father, confessed him to be at once Christ and Son of God: because the receiving of the one of these without the other was of no avail to salvation, and it was equally perilous to have believed the Lord Jesus Christ to be either only God without man, or only man without God.

10. But after the Lord's resurrection (which, of course, was of his true body, because he was raised the same as he had died and been buried), what else was effected by the forty days' delay than the cleansing of our faith's purity from all darkness? For to that end he talked with his disciples, and dwelt and ate with them, he allowed Himself to be handled with diligent and curious touch by those who were affected by doubt, he entered when the doors were shut upon the Apostles, and by his breathing upon them gave them the Holy Spirit, and bestowing on them the light of understanding, opened the secrets of the Holy Scriptures. So again he showed the wound in his side, the marks of the nails, and all the signs of his quite recent suffering, saying, "See my hands and feet, that it is I. Handle me and see that a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have;" in order that the properties of his divine and human nature might be acknowledged to remain still inseparable: and that we might know the Word not to be different from the flesh, in such a sense as also to confess that the one Son of God is both the Word and flesh.

11. Of this mystery of the faith your opponent Eutyches must be reckoned to have but little sense if he has not recognized our nature in the Only-begotten of God neither through the humiliation of his having to die, nor through the glory of his rising again. Nor has he any fear of the blessed apostle and evangelist John's declaration when he says, "every spirit which confesses Jesus Christ to have come in the flesh, is of God: and every spirit which destroys Jesus is not of God, and this is antichrist." But what is "to destroy Jesus," except to take away the human nature from Him, and to render void the mystery, by which alone we were saved, by the most barefaced fictions. The truth is that being in darkness about the nature of Christ's body, he must also be fooled by the same blindness in the matter of his sufferings. For if he does not think the cross of the Lord fictitious, and does not doubt that the punishment he underwent to save the world is likewise true, let him acknowledge the flesh of him whose death he already believes: and let him not disbelieve him man with a body like ours, since he acknowledges him to have been able to suffer: seeing that the denial of his true flesh is also the denial of his bodily suffering. If therefore he receives the Christian faith, and does not turn away his ears from the preaching of the Gospel, let him see what was the nature that hung pierced with nails on the wooden cross, and, when the side of the Crucified was opened by the soldier's spear, let him understand whence it was that blood and water flowed, that the Church of God might be watered from the font and from the cup. Let him hear also the blessed Apostle Peter, proclaiming that the sanctification of the Spirit takes place through the sprinkling of Christ's blood. And let him not read cursorily the same Apostle's words when he says, "Knowing that not with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, have ye been redeemed from your vain manner of life which is part of your fathers' tradition, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ as of a lamb without spot and blemish." Let him not resist too the witness of the blessed Apostle John, who says: "and the blood of Jesus the Son of God cleanses us from all sin." And again: "this is the victory which overcomes the world, even our faith." And "who is he that overcomes the world save he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God. This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that testifies, because the Spirit is the truth, because there are three that bear witness, the Spirit, the water and the blood, and the three are one." The Spirit, that is, of sanctification, and the blood of redemption, and the water of baptism: because the three are one, and remain undivided, and none of them is separated from this connection; because the catholic Church lives and progresses by this faith, so that in Christ Jesus neither the manhood without the true Godhead nor the Godhead without the true manhood is believed in.

12. But when during your cross-examination Eutyches replied and said, "I confess that our Lord had two natures before the union but after the union I confess but one," I am surprised that so absurd and mistaken a statement of his should not have been criticised and rebuked by his judges, and that an utterance which reaches the height of stupidity and blasphemy should be allowed to pass as if nothing offensive had been heard: for the impiety of saying that the Son of God was of two natures before his incarnation is only equalled by the iniquity of asserting that there was but one nature in him after "the Word became flesh." And to the end that Eutyches may not think this a right or defensible opinion because it was not contradicted by any expression of yourselves, we warn you beloved brother, to take anxious care that if ever through the inspiration of God's mercy the case is brought to a satisfactory conclusion, his ignorant mind be purged from this pernicious idea as well as others. He was, indeed, just beginning to beat a retreat from his erroneous conviction, as the order of proceedings shows, in so far as when hemmed in by your remonstrances he agreed to say what he had not said before and to acquiesce in that belief to which before he had been opposed. However, when he refused to give his consent to the anathematizing of his blasphemous dogma, you understood, brother, that he abode by his treachery and deserved to receive a verdict of condemnation. And yet, if he grieves over it faithfully and to good purpose, and, late though it be, acknowledges how rightly the bishops' authority has been set in motion; or if with his own mouth and hand in your presence he recants his wrong opinions, no mercy that is shown to him when penitent can be found fault with: because our Lord, that true and "good shepherd" who laid down his life for his sheep and who came to save not lose humanity's souls, wishes us to imitate his kindness; in order that while justice constrains us when we sin, mercy may prevent our rejection when we have returned. For then at last is the true faith most profitably defended when a false belief is condemned even by the supporters of it.

The Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon

[Extracts from the Definition of Faith]

1. [We affirm] the Creed of the three hundred and eighteen Fathers at Nice: "We believe in one God," [reciting the Creed of Nicea].

[And we hold] the Creed of the one hundred and fifty holy Fathers who were assembled at Constantinople: "We believe in one God," [reciting the Creed of Constantinople].

2. This wise and salutary formula of divine grace sufficed for the perfect knowledge and confirmation of religion; for it teaches the perfect [doctrine] concerning Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and sets forth the Incarnation of the Lord to them that faithfully receive it. But, forasmuch as persons undertaking to make void the preaching of the truth have through their individual heresies given rise to empty babblings; some of them daring to corrupt the mystery of the Lord's incarnation for us and refusing [to use] the name Mother of God [Theotokos] in reference to the Virgin, while others, bringing in a confusion and mixture, and idly conceiving that the nature of the flesh and of the godhead is all one, maintaining that the divine nature of the Only Begotten is, by mixture, capable of suffering [passible]. Therefore this present holy, great, and ecumenical [universal] synod, desiring to exclude every device against the truth, and teaching that which is unchanged from the beginning, has at the very outset decreed that the faith of the 318 Fathers [at Nicea] shall be preserved inviolate. And on account of them that contend against the Holy Spirit, it confirms the doctrine afterwards delivered concerning the substance of the Spirit by the 150 holy Fathers who assembled in the imperial City [at Constantinople]; which doctrine they declared unto all men, not as though they were introducing anything that had been lacking in their predecessors, but in order to explain through written documents their faith concerning the Holy Spirit against those who were seeking to destroy his sovereignty.

3. And because of those who attempt to corrupt the mystery of the economy, shamelessly pretending that the one born of the holy Mary was an ordinary human being, it has received, as in agreement [with this faith], the synodical letters of the blessed Cyril [of Alexandria], ... to Nestorios and the Orientals, for the sake of refuting the follies of Nestorios and for the instruction of those who, in religious zeal, seek understanding of the saving symbol.

4. With these letters, for the confirmation of the orthodox teachings, it has appropriately included the letter which the most blessed and holy archbishop Leo [Leo's Tome]], who presides in the great and elder Rome, wrote to the holy archbishop Flavian for the removal of the error of Eutyches, for it agrees with confession of the great Peter and is a common pillar against those who think incorrectly.

5. For [this synod] sets itself against those who attempt to split up the mystery of the dispensation into a duality of sons; and those who dare assert that the deity of the Only Begotten is passible it expels from the college of priest; and it opposes those who conceive of a confusion or mixture in the case of the two natures of Christ. And it drives out those who foolishly think that the "form of a slave" which was assumed by him from among us is heavenly, or of some other essence. It also anathematizes those who make up the teaching that before the union there are two natures of the Lord, but imagine that after the union there is one.

6. Following the holy Fathers we teach with one voice that the Son [of God] and our Lord Jesus Christ is to be confessed as one and the same [Person], that he is perfect [complete] in Godhead and perfect in manhood, truly God and truly human, consisting of a rational soul and [human] body, consubstantial with the Father as to the divinity, and consubstantial with us as to the humanity; made like us in all things, except sin; begotten of his Father before the worlds according to his Godhead; but in these last days for us men and for our salvation born [into the world] of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God according to his humanity. This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures, unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, distinctly [the alpha-privatives: without change, confusion, separation, or admixture], since the difference of the natures is not destroyed because of the union, but on the contrary, the character of each natures is preserved and comes together in one person [prosopon] and one hypostasis, not divided nor torn into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-Begotten God, Logos, Lord Jesus Christ—just as in earlier times the prophets and also the lord Jesus Christ himself taught us about him, and the symbol [Creed] of the Fathers transmitted to us.