Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

True God and True Man: Reflections on the Hypostatic Union, Part 5

For since one of the Holy Trinity has been made man, viz.:  God the Word, the Holy Trinity has not been increased by the addition of another person or hypostasis. (From: the Second Council of Constantinople, Capitulum V.)

Summarizing the findings of the Second Council of Constantinople (553), Fred Sanders writes in Jesus in Trinitarian Perspective [page 31]: “The human nature of Christ, therefore, is both anhypostatic (not personal in itself) and enhypostatic (personalized by union with the eternal person of the Son).”

Sanders notes: “The fifth council has always been suspected of being a covert return to the Apollinarian error [the heresy stating that Christ’s humanity only consists of a human body, with a divine–but not a human–soul], because it seems that the human nature is missing something that it takes to be fully human: human personhood” [page 34].

Obviously, an affirmation that Christ has both human personhood and divine personhood is the very definition of the Nestorian heresy, but is a denial that Christ has human personhood a form of Apollinarianism? Sanders denies this conclusion, but gives little detail as to how this conclusion is to be avoided.

The key to understanding how Constantinople II avoids Apollinarianism lies in a robust understanding of nature. As the person of Christ IS the eternal, divine second person of the Trinity, and as Christ, in order to accomplish our salvation, must must have assumed every facet of true humanity–for “what is not assumed is not healed”–then human nature must include a soul. The soul, likewise, must have faculties including a will. This is why dyothelitism [the teaching that Christ, according to His two natures, had both a divine and human will] is so important, and why modern affirmations of monothelitism [see, for example, J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, page 611] are so troubling. Monothelitism and related errors do make the affirmation of Constantinople II into a kind of Apollinarianism. And these kinds of errors have direct consequences for us and our salvation. If Christ had no human will, then the human will–which is certainly fallen–has not been redeemed.



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