Is it really theologically correct to say that Jesus Christ "subsists in two natures"? I know that this is actually not what the Chalcedonian Creed said. It said rather "recognized in two natures". The Second Council of Constantinople later explained that this was not the introduction of a concrete twoness in Christ but rather theoretical and speculative recognition of the continuation of his full humanity and full divinity. How is it thus that the aforementioned phrase can be justified? How is it any different from saying, as the Nestorians, that Jesus Christ is one person (prosopon) in two concrete individuated existential realities (hypostases), especially given that "subsistence" is a common translation for "hypostasis"? Deusveritasest 01:44, March 9, 2009 (UTC)
- This is a good question. Hmmm, thinking out loud:
- A human can only have one essence since he shares of two seeds of the same essence, however,
- Christ's paternal line is not from a "human" seed but from a "divine seed" so his paternal essence is divine.
- Christ's maternal line IS of "human" seed; so that discounts the possibility that God "wore" humanity (much like a coat of human flesh over his divinity) ...
- So, he is born as "one hypostasis of the Triune God" but in that hypostasis has two "essences"; the "essence" of God (which is eternal not created) and the "essence" of Man (which started with Adam)...
- so, I agree, "subsists" may not be the right word to use because it implies that the two essences never united ...
- but my question is ... do they unity or do they not unite? I think that March 25 they unite. Help.
- Vasiliki 03:13, March 9, 2009 (UTC)
- I agree that the human and divine essences are united in the "one composite hypostasis of God the Word Incarnate", and thus it is appropriate to say that he is "of two natures" and "recognized in two natures". It seems that what you were talking about is simply the composition of the Incarnate Word, that He is composed of perfect humanity and perfect divinity that are unmixed and thus maintain their integrity. I personally always try to make a distinction between Christ's "composition" and His "subsistence", because speaking of a dual subsistence sounds theologically dangerous to me. And I think you are quite correct in saying that Christ is "one hypostasis", that being the union of the Incarnation, and that he possesses the divine essence of YHWH and the human essence of Adam.
- "Subsists in two natures" may very well imply a particular type of union, however this is a type of union I am wary of. There was a leader of the Assyrian Church of the East named "Babai the Great", who claimed to be a disciple of Theodore of Mopsuestia. Keep in mind that Theodore was condemned by the EOC at the Second Council of Constantinople (553) as being theologically akin to Nestorius. Babai happened to write a book called "The Book of the Union". In it, he proposed a theory of the union of the "Incarnation". However, Babai explicitly denied that the union was hypostatic. Instead, as Theodore had done, he suggested that the union was prosopic: that Christ was one person (prosopon) in whom there were two entirely distinct existential realities (hypostasis), Man (Jesus) and God (Logos). This form of Nestorian union is thus entirely abstract and can be chalked up to nothing more than intellectual identification. This is precisely the type of "union" that I fear when I hear the phrase "one person who subsists in two natures".
- Anyway, I didn't fully understand the question you asked at the end of your post. Could you try rephrasing it? Deusveritasest 03:37, March 9, 2009 (UTC)
- I dont use the word "hypostasis" to distinguish the divinity and the humanity .. hypostasis refers to a person .. so, when I used that word I meant God the Father (one hypostasis of the Holy Trinity), God the Son (second hypostastis of the Holy Trinity) and the Holy Spirit of God (third hypostasis of the Holy Trinity) - three persons of the same essence. Haha, I am scared to even "go there" with the next level of discussing "hyspostasis" which is the person of Christ himself ... I was reading up on this on Wikipedia ... it says that the Hypostatic Union is a core belief for RC and EO ... it seems to phrase it much better saying:
- It became official at the Council of Ephesus, which stated that the two natures (divine and human) are united in the one person (existence or reality, "hypostasis") of Christ.
- they dont use the word "subsists" which to me does tend to lean towards miaphysite understanding ... I dont know, I am not a theologian so I hope somone can help out.
- I am happy to take this conversation to PM on Monachos.net if you like.
- Vasiliki 06:33, March 9, 2009 (UTC)
Subsists can mean a lot of things. Indeed, if it is a sort of verbal form of hypostasis, it's actually quite appropriate, i.e., to say that Christ is enhypostasized (another common term for the same thing) in two natures. In any event, this terminology is quite common in Chalcedonian Christological writing. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 19:07, March 9, 2009 (UTC)