Friday, August 17, 2012

Heretical Christology 101

Dyophysitism is Orthodox Christology; however, there is a heretical form of Dyophysitism as advocated by Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia. They laid the ground work for the heretical Christology of Nestorius. Below is a quote from a protestant German scholar from the 19th century. I may not agree with all of his biases in other places, but he articulated their Christology very well and so I wanted to share it here so that people will know why Nestorianism was saying something totally different from the Cappadocian Fathers (also Dyophysites) and Chalcedon.
The great teachers of the Antiochene school, at the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth centuries, not satisfied with all that had been done, thought themselves bound to strike out a new path, so as to define in an intelligible manner the union of the two natures. All their predecessors seemed to them to have preserved insufficiently the particular and inviolable character of each nature, and not to have given a sufficiently fundamental opposition to Apollinaris, but to have more or less given in to his views. And thus Apollinaris now found much more violent opponents in his own native country, Syria, than elsewhere, men of high reputation and great endowments, particularly Diodorus of Tarsus and Theodore afterwards Bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia.
Everything the heretic Apollinaris said wasn't wrong. And so there was no need to disagree with him on every point. He got the Identity right, he was wrong in saying Jesus didn't have a human soul. Also, there is nothing wrong in those before their time believing in a full communication of the attributes. There is also nothing wrong in believing in a real Incarnation.

 In the latter we behold the special representative and spokesman of. this school, who, further developing and rectifying the ideas of ' Diodorus, built up a new christological system. In opposition to Apollinaris, Theodore holds most decidedly that complete humanity and so also moral freedom must be 4 ascribed to the redeemer. In order, however, to keep at a ' distance from the notion of the mutability of Christ,—a theory which, however objectionable, seemed to be involved in that of His liberty,—Theodore did not allow the idea of liberty to result in that of liberty of choice, but went on to the idea of a higher, ethical liberty, "which consists in the unchangeable harmony of the human will with the divine, and ascribed to the human nature of Christ such a higher liberty, a kind of liberty which practically excluded all sin. So far he was right. But he further regarded the union of the divine and human in Christ only in the sense of ivoucrjai^, that is, indwelling, because to him the idea of Incarnation seemed to be identical with transmutation of the Logos into a man, and was therefore rejected by him as absurd.

"When, however, God dwells in any one, he thinks, He does not dwell in Him according to His nature, and so not by the expression of His power, but by His good pleasure (evSoKia). This indwelling is not alike in all the righteous, but its measure is determined by the measure of the divine evBoKui. But in no one did it take place in so high a degree as in Christ. In order to show mankind its future perfected condition, to which it was destined, God formed a man in a miraculous manner, in the womb of the Virgin, by the Holy Ghost ; and in the moment in which this man was formed, the Logos limited Himself with Him. After some time the Logos led the man to baptism, then to death, then raised Him again, took Him up into heaven, placed Him (by reason of His union with Himself) at the right hand of the Father, and from that time He (the man) is worshiped by all and will judge all.

What he just said here is very important when it comes to understanding why Theodore's Christology was different.

As every one who strives after righteousness progresses in union with God, so also it is with Christ. His union with the Logos had first begun with His conception and birth, and now increased gradually as moral union, wherein His humanity was constantly impelled, elevated, strengthened, and preserved from all aberrations by the indwelling Logos.' This moral union was confirmed and strengthened peculiarly in the temptations and at the passion of Christ, but it receives its perfection only after the death of Christ, when He has exchanged the state of humiliation for that of exaltation. If,|according to this theory, the union of the divine and human in Christ is placed on the same level with the union of the divine good-pleasure with every righteous man, yet the two are in the highest degree essentially different, and Christ can in no way be compared with men. On the contrary. He transcends all men (a) by His supernatural birth, and (b) by His sinlessness ; but (c) also in this respect, that it is not merely the evhoKia of God generally, but the Logos, and so God Himself, the second Person of the Trinity, who dwells in Him ; and {d) the Logos is so closely imited with the man in whom He dwells, that He has destined him to participate in all the honours which properly belong to the Logos alone.

 It is true that in this manner Theodore could maintain the two natures in their perfection, and fundamentally oppose all mingling of the two ; and he also explains that this is his aim, when he says, " Mingling is not suitable for the two natures ; there is a difference between the divine form and the form of a servant, between the temple which is adopted and Him who dwells therein, between Him who was dissolved in death and Him who raised Him, between Him who was made perfect through sufferings and Him who perfected Him, and so forth. This difference must be preserved: each nature remains indissoluble by itself, in its essence." But Theodore, and here / is his fundamental error, ntjt merely maintained the existence ) of two Natures in Christ, but of two persons, as, he says himself, no subsistence can be thought of as perfect without personality.

 As, however, he did not ignore the fact that the consciousness of the Church rejected such a double personality in Christ, he endeavored to get rid of the difficulty, and he repeatedly says expressly : " The two natures united together make only one Person, as man and wife are only one flesh. . . . If we consider the natures in their distinction, we should define the nature of the Logos as perfect and complete, and so also His Person, and again the nature and the person of the man as perfect and complete. If, on the other hand, we have regard to the union (avvdjieia), we say it is one Person."^ The very illustration of the union of man and wife shows that Theodore did not suppose a true union of the two natures in Christ, but that his notion was rather that of an external connection of the two.

The expression (xvvd^eia, moreover, which he selected here, instead of the term ei/wcrt?, which he elsewhere employs, being derived from a-vvaTrrco [to join together^], expresses only an external connection, a fixing together, and is therefore expressly rejected in later times by the doctors of the Church. And again, Theodore designates a merely external connection also in the phrase already quoted, to the effect that " the Logos dwells in the man assumed as in a temple." As a temple and the statue set up within it are one whole merely in outward appearance, so the Godhead and manhood in Christ appear only from without in their actuality as one Person, while they remain essentially two Persons."

All quotes are from pages 5 to 7 from the book "A HISTORY of the
A.D. 431 TO A.D. 451"






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