The One Will and the One Act

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Coptic Orthodox Cross
Note: This article or section represents an Oriental Orthodox (Non-Chalcedonian) perspective, which may differ from an Eastern Orthodox (Chalcedonian) understanding.

(Excerpts from The Nature of Christ by HH Pope Shenouda III, 117th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Apostolic See of St. Mark)

Has the Lord Christ two wills and two actions, that is a Divine will and a human will, as well as two actions, that is, a divine act and a human act? As we believe in the One Nature of the Incarnate Logos, as St. Cyril the Great called it, likewise:

We believe in One Will and One Act:

Naturally, as long as we consider that this Nature is One, the Will and the Act must also each be one.

What the Divine nature Chooses is undoubtedly the same as that chosen by the human Nature because there is not any contradiction or conflict whatever between the will and the action of both.

The Lord Jesus Christ said: "My meat is to do the Will of Him that sent Me to finish His work. " (John. 4:34). This proves that His Will is the same as that of the Father. In this context, He said about Himself " the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner." (John. 5:19).

He does not seek for Himself a will that is independent of that of the Father. Consequently He Says "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.��? (John 6:38).

It is obvious that the Father and the Son in the Holy Trinity have One Will, for the Lord Jesus Christ said: "I and My Father are One." (John. 10:30).

Hence, since He is one with Him in the Godhead, then He is essentially one with Him concerning the Will. Again, the Son, in His Incarnation on earth, was fulfilling the Will of the heavenly Father. Thus it must be that He Who united with the manhood had One Will.

In fact, Sin is nothing but a conflict between man's will and God's.

But remember that our Lord Jesus Christ had no sin at all. He challenged the Jews saying: "Which of you convicts Me of Sin?" (John. 8:46). Therefore, His Will was that of the Father.

The Saints who are perfect in their behaviour achieve complete agreement between their will and the Will of God, so that their will becomes that of God, and the Will of God becomes their will.

And St. Paul the Apostle said "But we have the mind of Christ. " (1 Cor. 2:16). He did not say that our thoughts are in accord with the mind of Christ, but that "we have the mind of Christ", and here the unity is stressed.

If this is said about those with whom and in whom God works, then how much more the unity between the Son and His Own manhood would be in all that is related to the will, the mind and the power to act! He, in Whom the Divine nature has united with the human nature, a Hypostatic and Essential union without separation-not for a second nor a twinkle of an eye.

If there was not unity between the Will of the Divine nature of Christ and His human nature, this would have resulted in internal conflict. Far be it from Him! How then could Christ be our guide and our example... to follow in His footsteps (1 John. 2:6)?

The complete righteousness which marked the life of our Lord Jesus was due to His Divine as well as His Human will. The same is true of the salvation of mankind, the message for which Christ came and said: "For the Son of Man has come to save that which was." (Matt. 18:11). This is the same Will of the Father who "He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. " (1 John. 4:10). Thus, the crucifixion was the choice of the Divine as well as the human nature. Had it not been One Will, it would not have been said that Christ died by His Own Will for our sake.

Since the Will is One, the Act is necessarily One.

Here we do not distinguish between the two natures.

Note by User:Arbible (non-Chalcedonian POV)

Monothelitism is rejected by non-Chalcedonians, as it includes an element of Dyophysitism. But before discussing the Will of Christ, we should define/agree on what 'will' is/means. A good article to read that touches on these issues can be found at [1]. The reader will find that Oriental Orthodox are not in disagreement with the Eastern Orthodox Christology. The Eastern Orthodox confess one hypostasis, that is one concrete reality in Christ. They acknowledge that it is the one hypostasis of the Logos incarnate who wills and acts. In the above text by HH Pope Shenouda III 'one' stands for a united one, not a simple one, and nature stands for hypostasis not ousia.