Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Wills of Christ II





In regards to Christology, what stood out to me was a number of things. Some of which were:


201. Pyrrus: But the Fathers said this on the level of Theology and not on the level of Economy.113 Hence, no one who loveth the truth should change the appointed meaning of their statements which refer to Theology into statements that refer to the Economy, and therby introduce an absurdity.114


202. Maximus: If the Fathers say it of the Theology alone, then after the Incarnation it is not possible--so thou wouldst have us say -- to regard the Son as equally divine as the Father. And if it be not possible to regard Him as equally divine, then He hath no place in the invocation [of the Divine Name] at baptism. So both faith and preaching shall, in the last analysis, to be proven to be in vain.

203.   And again, if it be not possible to regard the Son as equally divine with the Father after the Incarnation, then [how will these statements be explained]? "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work."115 Or "Whatever the Son seeth the Father doing, the Son doeth likewise"?116 Or "If ye believe not me, believe my works"?117
Or "The works which I do bear witness of me"?118 Or "For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will"?119 For all these prove that He was not only of the same essence as the Father after the Incarnation, but of the same energy as well.

204. And again, if the foreknowledge of beings be a divine energy, and if it be not only proper to the Father and the Spirit, but further, be also proper to the Son even after the Incarnation, then the Son is of the same energy after the Incarnation as the Father.

205. And again, if the miracles be a divine operation, and if we know from the miracles that He is of the same essence as the Father, then from the same energy He is shown to be of the same essence as the Father, and is to be regarded as equally divine [with Him] after the Incarnation [as He was before it].

206. And again, if the creative energy be an attribute proper to the essence of God, then the attributes of the essence are by necessity inseparable. S those who say that after then Incarnation He is not of the same energy as the Father also say that He is not of the same essence, for where the energy proper to a given nature is not found neither shall that nature be found. Conversely, those who say that He is of the same essence say that He is of the same energy as well, and regard Him to be equally divine [with the Father] after the Incarnation [as He was before it]. For wherever the natures is, there also is the energy proper to it, without diminution.

207. Pyrrhus: But we do not say "one energy" as a denial of human operation. It is said to be passable by opposition to the divine nature.120

208. Maximus: Then by the same principle those who say one nature do not say this as a denial of the humanity, but by this means oppose its passable character to the divine nature.

209. Pyrrhus: So? Did not the fathers define passibility by means of its difference from the divine operation [of impassibility]?

210. Maximus: God forbid! For no [father], ever defined an existence by comparison to its opposite or found the one to be the cause of the other. For if human passion is caused in such a manner by the divine energy, then doubtless human imperfection existeth because of the goodness of the divine nature. And the exact opposite may also then be stated: that through the passable human motion the divine energy existeth, and that because the human nature is evil, the divine nature is good. But enough of this! For such[conceptions are quite perverse.121


211. Pyrrhus: Why? Did the Fathers not designate passion as the human motion?


212. Maximus: Yes, but the spoke in various ways about these same propositions and conceptions.


213. Pyrrhus:
How canst thou say this?


214. Maximus: They referred to the same thing as power, energy, distinctions, motion, property, quality, and passion, but not by opposition to the divine [energy]. Power they defined as that which maintaineth immutability, energy as that which characterizeth the same forms by indistinquishable productions, distinction as that which defineth a thing, motion as that which manifesteth, property as a component attributed only to one thing and not to another, quality as that which imparteth form, and passion as that which is moved. For all things that are from God and after God change by motion, for they are not self-moved beings of omnipotent power.122 Therefore, they cannot be defined by opposition, but only by means of the rational principle created and placed into them, which are the established causes in each thing.123
So[the human] energy is designated at the same time as the divine, for what else can one make of the expression "He operateth in the form of each of the two by the communion of each of the two"? Or "after He continued also for forty days fasting, He hungered, for He granted to nature when He so willed to enact those things proper to it?" Or of those who say either that there is a distinction of energy, or of those who say there are two energies, one, and another one?

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113  This would seem to explain why Pyrrhus persists in the literary spirit of St. Cyril of Alexandria, using physis  in Theology and Economy differently, whereas St. Maximus, firmly within the Cyrillic Chalcedonian tradition, uses a consistent terminology, where the meanings of hypostasis and nature remain the same, whether referring to Triadology(i.e., Theology) or Christology(i.e., Economy).


114 Pyrrhus seems to object to the whole enterprise of Cyrillic Chalcedonianism itself, and to its (eventually successful) effort to use technical terms such as hypostasis and nature univocally in both Theology and Economy.


120 Pyrrhus' argument is dependent upon the Neoplatonic and Plotinian paradigm, which would define all distinctions by means of a dialectical opposition. cf. EnneadsIII:2:16,17:

"The All is in accordance with its rational formative pattern, and it is necessary that this one formative pattern should be one pattern made out of opposites, since it is opposition of this kind which gives it its structure, and, we might say, its existence..........distinction is opposition......the more it is differentiated the more opposed will it make the things it makes."(trans. A.H. Armstrong, Loeb Classical Library, No. 442, p.99)

121 Once again, St. Maximus' response is upon the implication of Pyrrhus' Neoplatonic dialectic which underwrites Monotheletism.


122 That is, created beings are self-moved, but not in the manner of God, with complete omnipotence, independence, and autonomy. In this sense, they are not "autonomous", which would be dualism, nor merely passive automatons in the face of an irresistible divine energy, which would be fatalism, nor are they mere emanations of the divine essence, which would be pantheism. rather, they are "semi-autonomous", i.e., precisely created, and therefore a uniquely different kind of being, with a different kind of free choice and activity, which nevertheless depended at all times on the divine will for their existence and activity.

123 That is, the nature of created beings is not defined by dialectical oppositions between them or between God, but by the distinguishing logoi in them.




pages 68 - 72 from the book The Disputation with Pyrrhus of our Father Among The Saints Maximus The Confessor. Translated from the greek by Joseph P. Farrel

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