Teaching and the Teachings of the Lord Christ (The Word of God Encyclopedia Book 3)


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History of Trinitarian Doctrines

The author of life God is said to have been killed by the Jews Acts ; but He could not have been killed were He not Man. The forms vary, but the substance of each creed invariably attributes to one and the same Jesus Christ the predicates of the Godhead and of man see Denzinger , "Enchiridion". Franzelin thesis xvii calls special attention to the fact that, long before the heresy of Nestorius, according to Epiphanius Ancorat. This creed of the catechumens gives even the Divinity of the totality, i. Of this intricate question we shall speak later on. The witness of tradition to the fact of the union of the two natures in the one Person of Jesus is clear not only from the symbols or creeds in use before the condemnation of Nestorius, but also from the words of the ante-Nicaean Fathers.

We have already given the classic quotations from St. Ignatius the Martyr , St. Clement of Rome , St. Justin the Martyr , in all of which are attributed to the one Person, Jesus Christ , the actions or attributes of God and of Man. Melito, Bishop of Sardis about , says: "Since the same Christ was at the same time God and perfect Man, He made His two natures evident to us; His Divine nature by the miracles which He wrought during the three years after His baptism ; His human nature by those thirty years that He first lived, during which the lowliness of the Flesh covered over and hid away all signs of the Divinity, though He was at one and the same time true and everlasting God" Frag.

Tertullian bears firm witness: "Was not God really crucified? Did He not really die as He really was crucified? The nature of the incarnation We have treated the fact of the Incarnation, that is, the fact of the Divine nature of Jesus , the fact of the human nature of Jesus , the fact of the union of these two natures in Jesus. We now take up the crucial question of the nature of this fact, the manner of this tremendous miracle , the way of uniting the Divine with the human nature in one and the same Person.

Arius had denied the fact of this union. No other heresy rent and tore the body of the Church to any very great extent in the matter of this fact after the condemnation of Arius in the Council of Nicaea Soon a new heresy arose in the explanation of the fact of the union of the two natures in Christ. Nicaea had, indeed, defined the fact of the union; it had not explicitly defined the nature of that fact; it had not said whether that union was moral or physical. The council had implicitly defined the union of the two natures in one hypostasis , a union called physical in opposition to the mere juxtaposition or joining of the two natures called a moral union.

Nicaea had professed a belief in "One Lord Jesus Christ. Who took Flesh, became Man and suffered". This belief was in one Person Who was at the same time God and Man, that is, had at the same time Divine and human nature. Such teaching was an implicit definition of all that was later on denied by Nestorius. We shall find the great Athanasius , for fifty years the determined foe of the heresiarch, interpreting Nicaea's decree in just this sense; and Athanasius must have known the sense meant by Nicaea, in which he was the antagonist of the heretic Arius.

Nestorianism In spite of the efforts of Athanasius , Nestorius, who had been elected Patriarch of Constantinople , found a loophole to avoid the definition of Nicaea. Nestorius called the union of the two natures a mysterious and an inseparable joining symapheian , but would admit no unity enosin in the strict sense of the word to be the result of this joining see "Serm.


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The union of the two natures is not physical physike but moral, a mere juxtaposition in state of being schetike ; the Word indwells in Jesus like as God indwells in the just loc. As is usual in these Oriental heresies , the metaphysical refinement of Nestorius was faulty, and led him into a practical denial of the mystery that he had set himself to explain.

During the discussion that Nestorius aroused, he strove to explain that his indwelling enoikesis theory was quite enough to keep him within the demands of Nicaea; he insisted that "the Man Jesus should be co-adored with the Divine union and almighty God [ ton te theia symapheia to pantokratori theo symproskynoumenon anthropon ] " Serm. The oneness of the Person was however only moral, and not at all physical. Despite whatsoever Nestorius said as a pretext to save himself from the brand of heresy , he continually and explicitly denied the hypostatic union enosin kath hypostasin, kata physin, kat ousian , that union of physical entities and of substances which the Church defends in Jesus ; he affirmed a juxtaposition in authority, dignity, energy, relation, and state of being synapheia kat authentian, axian, energeian, anaphoran, schesin ; and he maintained that the Fathers of Nicaea had nowhere said that God was born of the Virgin Mary Sermo, v, nn.

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Logos (Christianity)

Nestorius in this distortion of the sense of Nicaea clearly went against the tradition of the Church. Before he had denied the hypostatic union of the two natures in Jesus , that union had been taught by the greatest Fathers of their time. Hippolytus about taught: "the Flesh [ sarx ] apart from the Logos had no hypostasis [ oude. Epiphanius about : "The Logos united body, mind, and soul into one totality and spiritual hypostasis" "Haer. Athanasius about : "They err who say that it is one person who is the Son that suffered, and another person who did not suffer Athanasius directly attacks the specious pretexts of the Arians and the arguments that Nestorius later took up, and defends the union of two physical natures in Christ [ kata physin ], as opposed to the mere juxtaposition or joining of the same natures [ kata physin ].

Cyril of Alexandria about makes use of this formula oftener even than the other Fathers; he calls Christ "the Word of the Father united in nature with the Flesh [ ton ek theou Patros Logon kata physin henothenta sarki ] "De Recta Fide", n. For other and very numerous citations, see Petavius , 4.

The Fathers always explain that this physical union of the two natures does not mean the intermingling of the natures, nor any such union as would imply a change in God , but only such union as was necessary to explain the fact that one Divine Person had human nature as His own true nature together with His Divine nature.

The Council of Ephesus condemned the heresy of Nestorius, and defined that Mary was mother in the flesh of God's Word made Flesh can. It anathematized all who deny that the Word of God the Father was united with the Flesh in one hypostasis kath hypostasin ; all who deny that there is only one Christ with Flesh that is His own; all who deny that the same Christ is God at the same time and man can. In the remaining ten canons drawn up by St. Cyril of Alexandria , the anathema is aimed directly at Nestorius. These twelve canons condemn piecemeal the various subterfuges of Nestorius.

Cyril saw heresy lurking in phrases that seemed innocent enough to the unsuspecting. Even the co-adoration theory is condemned as an attempt to separate the Divine from the human nature in Jesus by giving to each a separate hypostasis see Denzinger , "Enchiridion", ed. Monophysitism The condemnation of the heresy of Nestorius saved for the Church the dogma of the Incarnation, "the great mystery of godliness" 1 Timothy , but lost to her a portion of her children, who, though dwindled down to insignificant numbers, still remain apart from her care.

The union of the two natures in one Person was saved. The battle for the dogma was not yet won. Nestorius had postulated two persons in Jesus Christ. A new heresy soon began. It postulated only one Person in Jesus , and that the Divine Person. It went farther. It went too far. The new heresy defended only one nature, as well as one Person in Jesus. The leader of this heresy was Eutyches. His followers were called Monophysites.


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  • They varied in their ways of explanation. Some thought the two natures were intermingled into one.

    The Lost Forbidden Teachings of Jesus

    Others are said to have worked out some sort of a conversion of the human into the Divine. All were condemned by the Council of Chalcedon By this condemnation of error and definition of truth , the dogma of the Incarnation was once again saved to the Church. Once again a large portion of the faithful of the Oriental Church were lost to their mother.

    Jesus | Facts, Teachings, Miracles, & Doctrines | ebidaboser.ml

    Monophysitism resulted in the national Churches of Syria , Egypt , and Armenia. These national Churches are still heretic , although there have in later times been formed Catholic rites called the Catholic Syriac, Coptic, and Armenian rites. The Catholic rites, as the Catholic Chaldaic rite, are less numerous than the heretic rites.

    Monothelitism One would suppose that there was no more room for heresy in the explanation of the mystery of the nature of the Incarnation. There is always room for heresy in the matter of explanation of a mystery, if one does not hear the infallible teaching body to whom and to whom alone Christ entrusted His mysteries to have and to keep and to teach them till the end of time. Three patriarchs of the Oriental Church gave rise, so far as we know , to the new heresy. Sophronius, the Patriarch of Jerusalem , remained true and delated his fellow patriarchs to Pope Honorius.

    His successor in the see of Peter, St. Martin, bravely condemned the error of the three Oriental patriarchs , who admitted the decrees of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon; defended the union of two natures in one Divine Person; but denied that this Divine Person had two wills. Their principle was expressed by the words, en thelema kai mia energeia , by which they would seem to have meant one will and one activity, i. These heretics were called Monothelites. It defined that in Christ there were two natural wills and two natural activities, the Divine and the human, and that the human will was not at all contrary to the Divine, but rather perfectly subject thereto Denzinger , n.

    The Emperor Constans sent St. Martin into exile in Chersonesus. We have trace of only one body of Monothelites. The Maronites , about the monastery of John Maron, were converted from Monothelism in the time of the Crusades and have been true to the faith ever since. The other Monothelites seem to have been absorbed in Monophysitism , or in the schism of the Byzantine Church later one The error of Monothelism is clear from the Scripture as well as from tradition.

    Christ did acts of adoration John , humility Matthew , reverence Hebrews These acts are those of a human will. The Monothelites denied that there was a human will in Christ. Jesus prayed : "Father, if Thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done," Luke Here there is question of two wills, the Father's and Christ's.

    The will of Christ was subject to the will of the Father. He became obedient even unto death Philippians The Divine will in Jesus could not have been subject to the will of the Father, with which will it was really identified. The Catholic faith Thus far we have that which is of Faith in this matter of the nature of the Incarnation. The human and Divine natures are united in one Divine Person so as to remain that exactly which they are, namely, Divine and human natures with distinct and perfect activities of their own.

    Theologians go farther in their attempts to give some account of the mystery of the Incarnation, so as, at least, to show that there is therein no contradiction, nothing that right reason may not safely adhere to. This union of the two natures in one Person has been for centuries called a hypostatic union , that is, a union in the Divine Hypostasis. What is an hypostasis? The definition of Boethius is classic: rationalis naturae individua substantia P. This book is a complete whole; its nature is not rational; it is not an hypostasis.

    An hypostasis is a complete rational individual. Thomas defines hypostasis as substantia cum ultimo complemento III, ad 2um , a substance in its entirety. Hypostasis superadds to the notion of rational substance this idea of entirety; nor does the idea of rational nature include this notion of entirety. Human nature is the principle of human activities; but only an hypostasis, a person , can exercise these activities.

    The Schoolmen discuss the question whether the hypostasis has anything more of reality than human nature. To understand the discussion, one must needs be versed in scholastic Philosophy. Be the case as it may in the matter of human nature that is not united with the Divine, the human nature that is hypostatically united with the Divine, that is, the human nature that the Divine Hypostasis or Person assumes to Itself, has certainly more of reality united to it than the human nature of Christ would have were it not hypostatically united in the Word.

    The Divine Logos identified with Divine nature Hypostatic Union means then that the Divine Hypostasis or Person, or Word, or Logos appropriates to Itself human nature , and takes in every respect the place of the human person. In this way, the human nature of Christ , though not a human person , loses nothing of the perfection of the perfect man; for the Divine Person supplies the place of the human.

    It is to be remembered that, when the Word took Flesh, there was no change in the Word; all the change was in the Flesh. At the moment of conception, in the womb of the Blessed Mother, through the forcefulness of God's activity, not only was the human soul of Christ created but the Word assumed the man that was conceived. When God created the world, the world was changed, that is, it passed from the state of nonentity to the state of existence; and there was no change in the Logos or Creative Word of God the Father.

    Nor was there change in that Logos when it began to terminate the human nature. A new relation ensued, to be sure; but this new relation implied in the Logos no new reality, no real change; all new reality, all real change, was in the human nature. Anyone who wishes to go into this very intricate question of the manner of the Hypostatic Union of the two natures in the one Divine Personality, may with great profit read St. II, sec.

    God the Father

    Any modern text book on theology will give various opinions in regard to the way of the union of the Person assuming with the nature assumed Effects of the incarnation On Christ Himself On the body of Christ Did union with the Divine nature do away, with all bodily imperfections? The Monophysites were split up into two parties by this question. Catholics hold that, before the Resurrection , the Body of Christ was subject to all the bodily weaknesses to which human nature unassumed is universally subject; such are hunger, thirst, pain, death. Christ hungered Matthew , thirsted John , was fatigued John , suffered pain and death.

    All these bodily weaknesses were not miraculously brought about by Jesus ; they were the natural results of the human nature He assumed. To be sure, they might have been impeded and were freely willed by Christ. They were part of the free oblation that began with the moment of the Incarnation. The Fathers deny that Christ assumed sickness. There is no mention in Scripture of any sickness of Jesus. Sickness is not a weakness that is a necessary belonging of human nature. It is true that pretty much all mankind suffers sickness. It is not true that any specific sickness is suffered by all mankind.

    Not all men must needs have measles. No one definite sickness universally belongs to human nature ; hence no one definite sickness was assumed by Christ. Athanasius gives the reason that it were unbecoming that He should heal others who was Himself not healed P. Weaknesses due to old age are common to mankind. Had Christ lived to an old age, He would have suffered such weaknesses just as He suffered the weaknesses that are common to infancy.

    Death from old age would have come to Jesus , had He not been violently put to death see St. Augustine , "De Peccat. The reasonableness of these bodily imperfections in Christ is clear from the fact that He assumed human nature so as to satisfy for that nature's sin. Now, to satisfy forthe sin of another is to accept the penalty of that sin. Hence it was fitting that Christ should take upon himself all those penalties of the sin of Adam that are common to man and becoming.

    As Christ did not take sickness upon Himself, so other imperfections, such as deformities, which are not common to mankind , were not His. They misinterpreted the words of Isaias: "There is no beauty in him, nor comeliness; and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness" etc. The words refer only to the suffering Christ. Theologians now are unanimous in the view that Christ was noble in bearing and beautiful in form, such as a perfect man should be; for Christ was, by virtue of His incarnation, a perfect man see Stentrup, "Christologia", theses lx, lxi.

    It was absolutely impossible that any stain of sin should soil the soul of Christ. Neither sinful act of the will nor sinful habit of the soul were in keeping with the Hypostatic Union. The fact that Christ never sinned is an article of faith see Council, Ephes. This fact of Christ's sinlessness is evident from the Scripture.

    Him, who knew no sin , he hath made sin for us" i. The impossibility of a sinful act by Christ is taught by all theologians , but variously explained. This is no impossibility at all. Christ is God. It is absolutely impossible, antecedent to the Divine prevision, that God should allow His flesh to sin. If God allowed His flesh to sin , He might sin , that is, He might turn away from Himself; and it is absolutely impossible that God should turn from Himself, be untrue to His Divine attributes. The Scotists teach that this impossibility to sin , antecedent to God's revision, is not due to the Hypostatic Union , but is like to the impossibility of the beatified to sin , and is due to a special Divine Providence see Scotus , in III, d.

    Liberty The will of Christ remained free after the Incarnation. This is an article of faith. The Scripture is most clear on this point. The liberty of Christ was such that He merited. For which cause God also hath exalted him" Philippians That Christ was free in the matter of death, is the teaching of all Catholics ; else He did not merit nor satisfy for us by His death.

    Just how to reconcile this liberty of Christ with the impossibility of His committing sin has ever been a crux for theologians. The grace of union, i. Besides this substantial sanctity of the grace of Hypostatic Union , there was in the soul of Christ , the accidental sanctity called sanctifying grace.

    Summary of Jesus’ life

    This is the teaching of St. Augustine , St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom , St. Cyril of Alexandria , and of the Fathers generally. The Word was "full of grace" John , and "of his fullness we all have received, and grace for grace" John The Word were not full of grace, if any grace were wanting in Him which would be a perfection fitting to His human nature.

    All theologians teach that sanctifying grace is a perfection fitting the humanity of Christ. The mystical body of Christ is the Church , whereof Christ is the Head Romans ; 1 Corinthians ; Ephesians ; ; Colossians , It is especially in this sense that we say the grace of the Head flows through the channels of the sacraments of the Church --through the veins of the body of Christ. Theologians commonly teach that from the very beginning of His existence, He received the fullness of sanctifying grace and other supernatural gifts except faith , hope, and the moral virtue of penance ; nor did He ever increase in these gifts or this sanctifying grace.

    For so to increase would be to become more pleasing to the Divine Majesty; and this were impossible in Christ. Hence St. Luke meant ii, 52 that Christ showed more and more day after day the effects of grace in His outward bearing. Footnotes: 2 Timothy Or that you, a man of God,.

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    More on the NIV. Viewing of. In defense of that oneness, he was obliged to dispute the sameness of essence of the Son and the Holy Spirit with God the Father. It was not until later in the 4th century that the distinctness of the three and their unity were brought together in a single orthodox doctrine of one essence and three persons. Over the next half century, St. Athanasius defended and refined the Nicene formula, and, by the end of the 4th century, under the leadership of St.

    Basil of Caesarea , St. Gregory of Nyssa , and St. Gregory of Nazianzus the Cappadocian Fathers , the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since. It is accepted in all of the historic confessions of Christianity , even though the impact of the Enlightenment decreased its importance in some traditions. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind.

    Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions. Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. See Article History. Read More on This Topic.

    The central Christian affirmations about God are condensed and focused in the classic doctrine of the Trinity , which has….


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    • Start your free trial today for unlimited access to Britannica. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. The central Christian affirmations about God are condensed and focused in the classic doctrine of the Trinity , which has its ultimate foundation in the special religious experience of the Christians in the first communities. Pure God-mysticism is rare in Christianity, though not unknown, as Catherine of Genoa shows.

      Teaching and the Teachings of the Lord Christ (The Word of God Encyclopedia Book 3) Teaching and the Teachings of the Lord Christ (The Word of God Encyclopedia Book 3)
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