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The Humanity of Christ: A Question #346886
04/18/10 08:40 PM
04/18/10 08:40 PM
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LatinbyDefault Offline OP
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Hi Again, smile

I am currently leading a family Bible/catechetical class and a question was raised that I need help answering.

I was explaining to them, that Christ is, strictly speaking not a human person, but a divine person with a human nature (consisting of a soul, will, intellect, body ect). Then my sister asked, "Isn't our souls the same as our egos?

Quote
Ego:
the ā€œIā€ or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.


I was stumped. I had always assumed the same thing. But if Christ possesses a human ego, a human "me" or "I", is He then a human person?

If you can help, thanks.

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: LatinbyDefault] #346903
04/19/10 07:05 AM
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The ego can best be defined as the will or energy, whereas the soul is the immortal kernel of existence and identity. In the monoenergist or monothelite controversy, it was postulated that Christ had but one energy or will--a divine one. This was ultimately rejected by the Third Council of Constantinople, which taught that Christ has two distinct natures and two distinct wills, which are united, without confusion or admixture, in the person (hypostasis) of the God-man Jesus Christ.

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: StuartK] #346904
04/19/10 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
The ego can best be defined as the will or energy, whereas the soul is the immortal kernel of existence and identity. In the monoenergist or monothelite controversy, it was postulated that Christ had but one energy or will--a divine one. This was ultimately rejected by the Third Council of Constantinople, which taught that Christ has two distinct natures and two distinct wills, which are united, without confusion or admixture, in the person (hypostasis) of the God-man Jesus Christ.


Hi Stuart.

Thanks for the correction.

Let me rephrase my question. What is the difference between personhood and the soul (if the soul is associated with one's identity)? Or to put it another way, why does the Church say Christ is not a human person, if He has everything which pertains to being human including a soul (ie a human identity)?

Thanks

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: LatinbyDefault] #346905
04/19/10 08:16 AM
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The human person is a psychosomatic entity that consists of a body, a soul and an animating Spirit; that is human nature. Human identity (hypstasis) depends upon the union of all three. The tragedy of death is its separation of the body from the soul, which between Adam's fall and Christ's resurrection looked like a permanent state. Now, however, because Christ has trampled down death, the separation is temporary, and we shall be reunited with our perfected and glorified bodies when Christ comes again.

The Church does say Christ is a human person. He is true God and perfect man, the two natures being perfectly united in one hypostasis. You cannot separate Christ from his humanity or his divinity, because they are hypostatically united.

The "how" is a great mystery, and should be left as such,

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: StuartK] #346933
04/20/10 04:36 AM
04/20/10 04:36 AM
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[quote=StuartK]The human person is a psychosomatic entity that consists of a body, a soul and an animating Spirit; that is human nature. Human identity (hypstasis) depends upon the union of all three. The tragedy of death is its separation of the body from the soul, which between Adam's fall and Christ's resurrection looked like a permanent state. Now, however, because Christ has trampled down death, the separation is temporary, and we shall be reunited with our perfected and glorified bodies when Christ comes again.

The Church does say Christ is a human person. He is true God and perfect man, the two natures being perfectly united in one hypostasis. You cannot separate Christ from his humanity or his divinity, because they are hypostatically united. The "how" is a great mystery, and should be left as such, [/quote]

???
But there are not two persons in Christ, the human person and the divine person. At least that's what I understand the councils to be saying. The following is from the RC Catechism (I highlighted the parts most pertinent to our discussion):

[color:#3333FF][i]466 The Nestorian heresy regarded Christ as a [b]human person joined to the divine person of God's Son[/b]. Opposing this heresy, St. Cyril of Alexandria and the third ecumenical council, at Ephesus in 431, confessed "that the Word, uniting to himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man."89 [b]Christ's humanity has no other subject than the divine person of the Son of God[/b], who assumed it and made it his own, from his conception. For this reason the Council of Ephesus proclaimed in 431 that Mary truly became the Mother of God by the human conception of the Son of God in her womb: "Mother of God, not that the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of its existence from the holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself according to the hypostasis, was born from her, the Word is said to be born according to the flesh."90

467 The Monophysites affirmed that the human nature had ceased to exist as such in Christ when the divine person of God's Son assumed it. Faced with this heresy, the fourth ecumenical council, at Chalcedon in 451, confessed:

Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity; "like us in all things but sin". He was begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, was born as to his humanity of the virgin Mary, the Mother of God.91
We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division or separation. The distinction between the natures was never abolished by their union, but rather the character proper to each of the two natures was preserved [b]as they came together in one person (prosopon) [/b]and one hypostasis.92

468 After the Council of Chalcedon, some made of Christ's human nature a kind of personal subject. Against them, the fifth ecumenical council, at Constantinople in 553, confessed that "[b]there is but one hypostasis [or person], which is our Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Trinity.[/b]"93 Thus everything in Christ's human nature is to be attributed to his divine person as its proper subject, not only his miracles but also his sufferings and even his death: "He who was crucified in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, is true God, Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity."94[/i] [/color]

Thanks.

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: LatinbyDefault] #346938
04/20/10 07:27 AM
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No, there are not two persons in Christ (and Stuart did not say that there are). There are two natures united in one person.

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: Athanasius The L] #346939
04/20/10 08:22 AM
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One might also point out that the Catechism is grossly simplistic in its description of both nestorianism and monophysitism, neither of which really existed in the forms described above. In point of fact, the Churches which were commonly described as "nestorian" (rejected Council of Ephesis) and "monophysite" (rejected Council of Chalcedon) actually believed and continue to believe the same things about the relationship of the human and the divine in Jesus Christ, albeit each expressing itself in accordance with its own theological tradition.

The CCC also glosses over that Chalcedon was not the end of the Christological synthesis, which required an additional two (some would say three) Ecumenical Councils to complete. But, insofar as the West play little part in those subsequent Councils, they tend to be overlooked there.

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: StuartK] #346942
04/20/10 08:56 AM
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Stuart,

I tend to agree with you. Often, what we get is a caricature of the actual beliefs of a group. For example, as I understand the matter, the christological beliefs of Eutyches (whose teachings prompted the calling of the Council of Chalcedon) do amount to heresy; however, not all those who have been labeled Monophysites share the monophysitism of Eutyches, which perhaps should be called Eutychianism.

Ryan

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: Athanasius The L] #346951
04/20/10 10:41 AM
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Ah, but Eutychianism is such a mouthful!

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: StuartK] #346976
04/21/10 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
Ah, but Eutychianism is such a mouthful!

No more sylables than monophysitism...

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: aramis] #346977
04/21/10 05:43 AM
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Which is why the Churches in question were usually just called "Jacobite", after the Coptic Patriarch who began establishing a parallel hierarchy of Cyrilian bishops. The main lessons of this are we should pay more attention to what people mean, and not the way in which they say it; and many apparently theological controversies are actually cove for deeper social and political disputes.

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: StuartK] #347003
04/21/10 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by StuartK
The main lessons of this are we should pay more attention to what people mean, and not the way in which they say it; and many apparently theological controversies are actually cove for deeper social and political disputes.


Careful! You could end a dozen schisms at once with that kind of thinking!

smile

hawk

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: dochawk] #347011
04/22/10 07:31 AM
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Oops! My bad!

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: Athanasius The L] #347118
04/24/10 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Athanasius The L
No, there are not two persons in Christ (and Stuart did not say that there are). There are two natures united in one person.


Stuart did say that "Christ is a human person". Yet Christ is a divine person. Ergo: two persons (one human and one divine).

Where am I going wrong? confused

PS. I apologize for not replying sooner. I haven't been feeling well. My responses will probably be "hit and miss" for awhile. But, I really appreciate you and Stuart trying to help me. smile

Cheryl

Re: The Humanity of Christ: A Question [Re: LatinbyDefault] #347151
04/24/10 03:59 PM
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I should have been more careful in my wording and said, "Christ is a human being". This shows how delicate the issue of terminology can be, and why such discussions are fraught with misunderstandings.

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