Hypostatic Union and soul of Jesus

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Osage Bluestem

Puritan Board Junior
I don't understand very well the hypostatic union of Christ in regards to his human soul. I understand that Christ is both fully human and fully Divine. How does this relate to his human soul and not just his glorified body? What is the general status of the human soul of Christ?
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
Jesus' human nature consists of body and soul. This complete nature exists in hypostatic union with and is wholly dependent on the complete divine nature, without mixture, confusion, or separation.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
This is assuming the traditional mind-body or body-soul dualism. Some, such as Bahnsen, are of the opinion that man isn't composed of mind and body as two distinct substances but is instead composed of a single substance (i.e., matter). They point out that animals are also said to have a "soul" or "spirit", not just man.
 

Osage Bluestem

Puritan Board Junior
This is assuming the traditional mind-body or body-soul dualism. Some, such as Bahnsen, are of the opinion that man isn't composed of mind and body as two distinct substances but is instead composed of a single substance (i.e., matter). They point out that animals are also said to have a "soul" or "spirit", not just man.

Did he believe that man's soul was conscious after death?
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
This is assuming the traditional mind-body or body-soul dualism. Some, such as Bahnsen, are of the opinion that man isn't composed of mind and body as two distinct substances but is instead composed of a single substance (i.e., matter). They point out that animals are also said to have a "soul" or "spirit", not just man.

'They' would not be confessional.

LBC 8:4. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake,21 which that He might discharge He was made under the law,22 and did perfectly fulfill it, and underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have born and suffered,23 being made sin and a curse for us;24 enduring most grievous sorrows in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body;25 was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead, yet saw no corruption:26 on the third day He arose from the dead27 with the same body in which He suffered,28 with which He also ascended into heaven,29 and there sits at the right hand of His Father making intercession,30 and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.31
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
This is assuming the traditional mind-body or body-soul dualism. Some, such as Bahnsen, are of the opinion that man isn't composed of mind and body as two distinct substances but is instead composed of a single substance (i.e., matter). They point out that animals are also said to have a "soul" or "spirit", not just man.

Did he believe that man's soul was conscious after death?

So far as I know he did. Here's the article he wrote on the subject:

PA143

He gets into a lot of complicated philosophical mumbo-jumbo in the first half and then starts dealing with Scripture towards the end. The latter part is the much more interesting section, to my mind.

---------- Post added at 02:57 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:53 PM ----------

This is assuming the traditional mind-body or body-soul dualism. Some, such as Bahnsen, are of the opinion that man isn't composed of mind and body as two distinct substances but is instead composed of a single substance (i.e., matter). They point out that animals are also said to have a "soul" or "spirit", not just man.

'They' would not be confessional.

LBC 8:4. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake,21 which that He might discharge He was made under the law,22 and did perfectly fulfill it, and underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have born and suffered,23 being made sin and a curse for us;24 enduring most grievous sorrows in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body;25 was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead, yet saw no corruption:26 on the third day He arose from the dead27 with the same body in which He suffered,28 with which He also ascended into heaven,29 and there sits at the right hand of His Father making intercession,30 and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.31

I disagree that "they" would not be confessional. Bahnsen said in the article I cited that, biblically, the soul "experiences emotions and passions". He describes the soul as "the life, the self, the whole person, with public and inner self variously stressed." Nowhere does he say that "soul" is something that doesn't exist, only that the dualistic concept of an immaterial soul is wrong: "...the biblical use of "soul" does not connote the traditional understanding of an immaterial substance".
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
" Nowhere does he say that "soul" is something that doesn't exist, only that the dualistic concept of an immaterial soul is wrong: "...the biblical use of "soul" does not connote the traditional understanding of an immaterial substance".

The dualistic concept is the Reformed concept. The traditional understanding of the soul is the Reformed understanding. If he indeed says these are 'wrong', then he is saying the original intent of the confessions is 'wrong'.
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
Pastor Klein is correct.

Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body [ψυχην και σωμα] in hell.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
To declare that if you say the soul experiences something or doesn't experience something does not equal that we must affirm a full blown seperate substance that we call a soul. To do so is to violate the law of parsimony, which means that I cannot unnecesarally assume the exsistence of something. This would be like waking up in the morning and your slippers are gone and you assume that faries took them. If you are going to claim that the soul is a completly seperate entity from our body you must show that it is neccessary to assume so.
 

Osage Bluestem

Puritan Board Junior
To declare that if you say the soul experiences something or doesn't experience something does not equal that we must affirm a full blown seperate substance that we call a soul. To do so is to violate the law of parsimony, which means that I cannot unnecesarally assume the exsistence of something. This would be like waking up in the morning and your slippers are gone and you assume that faries took them. If you are going to claim that the soul is a completly seperate entity from our body you must show that it is neccessary to assume so.

But the bible separates the body and soul as the passages cited by Bob confirm. Also Paul said this:

2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV
[8] We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
Bahnsen addresses those objections in his article, but if the subject is unconfessional I'll drop it.
 

Skyler

Puritan Board Graduate
I'll go ahead and quote his Scripture-based arguments here. Apologies for length, but his arguments build upon each other so I think you really have to start at the beginning to follow his reasoning. If it's too long I can take it down; it's the last few paragraphs from the article I linked to above.

How does this comport with the scriptural use of the words "soul" and "spirit" however? Does it warrant a view of immaterial substance in man? Lengthy study and analysis of the relevant scriptural words and their extremely manifold appearances in the text of scripture results in the following. Man is definitely seen as having a private (inner) life as well as a public (outer) life; however, this is not expressed in terms warranting a view of dual substance. The unity of man is never compromise by dividing him up into definite components. We note the following about "soul" (nephesh-psuche): it is attributed to God (Isa. 42:1; Jer. 6:8; 15:1; Amos 6:3; Matt. 12:18; Heb. 10:38) as well as to animals (e.g. Gen 1:29; 2:19; 9:10; Lev. 11:46; Ezek. 47:9; Rev. 8:9; 16:3), so it is hardly a distinctive of man. It is pervasively used for the whole man (e.g. Gen. 2:7; 17:14; Job 9:21: Acts 2:41; Rom. 13:1; etc. etc.); as such it functions as a reflexive pronoun (e.g. Gen. 12:13; etc.; Lk. 12:19; 2 Cor. 12:5; etc), standing for the person (e.g. 2 Sam. 14:14; Rom. 2:9 etc. etc.). The soul is quite plainly the self (Isa. 42:1; Ps. 146:1; Mk. 8:36; cf. Lk. 9:23). It is the life, then, of man (e.g. Gen. 9:5; 1 Sam. 19:5; Job 12:19; John 10:11; Rom. 11:3; Rev. 12:11), even the blood of man (Gen. 9:3; Lev. 17:11, 14; Deut. 12:230. The soul refers both to the inner and outer man; it touches (Lev. 5:2), does work (Lev. 23:30), is torn by a lion (Ps. 7:2), has blood (Prov. 28:17), is murdered (Num. 31:19); is healed (Ps. 41:4), is made fat (Prov. 13:4), grows weary and faint (Heb. 12:3, hungers for food and is satisfied, thirsts for water and is quenched (Ps. 107:5, 9; Prov. 25:25; Isa. 29:8; Num. 11:6; Eccl. 2:24; 4:8; 6:2-9; 7:28); experiences emotions and passions (Gen. 42:21; Deut. 12:15; Ps. 35:9; Deut. 12:15; Ps. 35:9; Deut. 6:5; Matt. 26:38; John 10:24; Acts 14:2; Lk. 10:27); it performs mental acts (e.g. Ps. 139:14; Prov. 23:7; Acts 14:22), as well as volitional acts (e.g. Gen. 23:8; Isa. 66:3; Ps. 77:3); along with the flesh it desires God (e.g. Ps. 63:2). The combination of "heart and soul" or "body and soul" are idiomatic for the whole person (every part of him, inner and outer): e.g. Deut. 4:9; Josh. 23:14; Matt. 10:28; Isa. 10:18 - for if something is done from the inner self, it is done with the whole self (Eph. 6:6; Col 3:23). A group of united mind and intention has such as a "soul" (e.g. Num. 21:4f; Acts 4:32; Phil. 1:27). So, salvation of the soul is salvation of the whole person (e.g. Lev. 17:11; Ps. 34:22; 1 Peter 1:9; 3:20; Jas. 1:21; 5:20; Heb. 10:39). Death can be called giving up the soul (e.g. Gen. 35:18; Acts 15:26), yet the corpse can be called the soul (e.g. Lev. 19:28; 21:1; Num. 5:2; 6:6, 11; 19:11; Hag. 2:13; etc. etc.) even as the disembodied person is called a soul (e.g. Rev. 6:9; 20:4). The dead corpse is still given the personal pronoun (e.g. 3:19; "and he died" in Genesis; Mat. 23:6; Jn. 11:43; 1 Cor. 15:4). Therefore, the biblical use of "soul" does not connote the traditional understanding of an immaterial substance; it is the life, the self, the whole person, with public and inner self variously stressed.

The words "soul" and "spirit" are interchangeable in scripture, as consultation of any concordance will demonstrate (e.g. Lk. 1:46-47); so we would expect that similar conclusions must be reached on spirit, as on soul. Spirit (ruach-pneuma) means breath (e.g. Job 15:30; 2 Thess. 2:8) or wind (e.g. Gen. 8:1; Heb. 1:7; Jn. 3:8). God is characterized as Spirit (e.g. Num. 17:25; Isa. 11:2; Ps. 51:13; Matt. 3:16; Acts 5:9; Phil. 1:19; etc.), animals have spirit (e.g. Eccl. 3:21) as do men (Gen. 2:7; Zech. 12:1; Job 27:3; 1 Cor. 2:11; etc. etc.). Hence it is a sign or symbol of life (e.g. Gen. 6:17; 7:15, 22; Ezek. 37:5-14; Matt. 27:50; Lk. 8:55; 23:46; Acts 7:59; Jas. 2:26). It can stand for the self or ego (e.g. Rom. 8:16; 1 Cor. 16:18; Gal. 6:18; 2 Tim. 4:22) and can emphasize the inner life (e.g. Matt. 5:3; 26:41), emotions (e.g. Isa. 26:9; Lk. 1:47), will (e.g. Ps. 51:12; Ex. 35:21; Acts 19:21), mental acts (e.g. Ex. 28:3; Ps. 77:7; Deut. 34:9; Mk. 2:8), disposition and moral character (Isa. 59:21; Ps. 32:2; Gen. 41:8; Deut. 2:30; 1 Cor. 4:21; Gal. 6:1; Rom. 11:8; 1 Peter 3:4; Lk. 9:55, etc. etc.). Hence, spirit can be joined with "flesh" to idiomatically speak of the whole man (e.g. 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Cor. 7:34), or with body or soul with the same effect (e.g. 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12); yet it can be contrasted with sinful "flesh" (e.g. Rom. 8:4; 8:10-11; Gal. 3:3; Jn. 6:63). As with "soul," "spirit" can be said to depart at death (e.g. Ps. 78;39; Job 17:1; Isa. 57:16; Eccl. 12:7; Lk. 23:46; Acts 7:59; Ps. 104:29; etc.); the disembodied dead are designated as "spirit" (e.g. Job 4:15; 1 Peter 3:19; Heb. 12:23) - indicating a living selfhood. Consequently "spirit" cannot be taken from scripture to support a doctrine of immaterial substance in man; even a passage so strongly positing discontinuity between "spirit" and bodily flesh as Col. 2:5 cannot be read to mean a man's immaterial substance left his body to be elsewhere! "Spirit" can certainly designate man's inner, private life(e.g Dan. 7:15; 1 Cor. 2:11), and death can be seen as the loss of "life-breath" (="spirit"; e.g. Ps. 104:29), and the dead can be affirmed to still have self-conscious life by being called "spirit" (though very infrequently in scripture to be sure), but nowhere does scripture imply that man is a dual substance which divides as he dies (unless you read the Bible through Cartesian glasses). "Spirit" means life (centered in the breath image - just as "soul" is life centered in the blood image).

Even the scriptural term "heart" (lavav-kardia) is not so divorced from the body (how could such a bodily image?!) that it does not speak of it as being satisfied with food (i.e. having physical appetite: e.g. Gen. 18:5; Jud. 19:5, 8, 9; Ps. 104:15; Acts 14:17; Jas. 5:5). The term most basically denotes "the inner, middle, or central part" as is demonstrated in its non-personal applications (e.g. Ex. 15:8; Pr. 23:34; 30:19; Ps. 46:3; Ezek. 27:4, 25-27; 28:2, 8; 2 Sam. 18:14; Ps. 45:2; Deut. 4:1; Jonah 2:3; Matt. 12:40). Hence when applied to man it designates his inner life and events (not substance; neither "transcendental"): e.g. Ps. 73:26; Joel 2:13; Deut. 6:5; Josh. 22:5; Prov. 14:30; Jer. 22:17; 1 Kings 8:23; 2 Cor. 5:12; Matt. 15:8; Lk. 16:15; 1 Tim. 1:5; etc. etc. etc. including emotions, mental and volitional events, and disposition (e.g. Isa. 30:29; Ps. 27:14; Prov. 6:23; Deut. 8:5; 1 Sam. 7:3; Ps. 119:112; Ps. 24:4; Deut. 9:5; Ezek. 18:31; Rom. 1:24; Jn. 14:1 Acts 7:23; Rom. 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:9; Lk. 2:51; 2 Cor. 9:7; Acts 5:4; Heb. 3:8; Matt. 11:29; Eph. 6:5; etc. etc. etc.). "Heart" can even stand for the whole man himself (e.g. Deut. 7:17; Ps. 4:5; Isa. 14:3; Job 1:5; Zeph. 1:12; Gen. 17:17; 1 Sam. 1:13; etc. etc.). The heart represents the person, then, especially as concerns his inner life and events (but not exclusively, and not substantively) - in this "heart" is akin the N.T. use of "mind" (nouns: thought, thinking understanding; e.g. Rom. 11:34; 1 Cor. 2:16; Lk. 24:45; 2 Thess. 2:2; Rom. 12:2; Col. 2:18; 1 Tim. 6:5; Titus 1:15; etc. etc.). And even though scripture recognizes this inner life of man, it does not make it out as the essential man. The man is to serve God with his body as well as his mind (e.g. 2 Cor. 7:1; 1 Thess. 5:23; Rom. 12:1; 6:12-13; 1 Cor. 6:13-20; cf. Ps. 84:3; 63:2). And even when Paul speaks of putting off the observable, public form of his existence (i.e. the earthly dwelling place; e.g. 2 Cor. 5:1-10; cf. 2 Peter 1:13-14; Job 4:19) he stresses an alternative tabernacle with which the "unclothed" self will be "clothed upon" so as not to be naked in the intermediate state! The idea of an immaterial substance surviving death is foreign to the scriptural account. God created man as a unity, a personal body made as the image of the Personal God; scripture deals with the whole man. In the intermediate and mysterious-to-us state God will make some provision for the person who has had his personal body put in the ground by supplying a heavenly tabernacle (replacing the earthly tent). This state is an "irrational" one from the standpoint of man's created normalcy; it has been necessitated by sin (an irrational force) and made possible by God's gracious del of punishment on the sinner and desire to have persona fellowship with His elect during the playing-out of the period of grace upon earth. It is certain that man does not sleep in death until the resurrection (cf. Lk. 23:43; 16:22f; Matt. 22:32; 2 Cor. 5:1; Phil. 1:19-24; Eccles. 12:7; Matt. 17:3; 1 Sam. 28:11-20), but it is also certain that the man as body decays in the ground. Hence it is not yet manifest what we shall be! (1 John 3:2). Those who live out all of life in this earthly mode of existence have nothing to compare for a different mode (especially an irrational mode). But the human mind is not the source of possibility; all things are possible with God. So Paul can call those who entertain skeptical questions with respect to the future state of man after death (his stress is on the resurrection state) "fools" (1 Cor. 15:35-36). Being tied to earthly imagery and analogies, Paul speaks of being "absent from the body, present with the Lord" by means of a reflexive anthropomorphism (speaking as though he were still in the state which he now knows). Though there may be great mystery here (and it is understandable that there should be, for the future condition is necessitated by irrational causes in sin, the gracious plan for the future as God holds it is incomprehensible, and in understanding man's constitution we are attempting to understand that which is the analogue of God, who contains mystery for us) Paul yet stresses the fact that man will not be a mental substance in the intermediate state but will have something corresponding to his earthly tabernacle, and Jesus indicates that the intermediate state but will have something corresponding to his earthly tabernacle, and Jesus indicates that the intermediate state will know bodily misery such as burning thirst (Lk. 16:24). Man is not to be viewed as essentially ghost who temporarily gets placed in a machine (i.e. during this life).
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I have no final theory on this issue, but I'll say what I do believe. I don't completly agree with Bahnsen on this point but I agree with him that a strict substantial dualism is a very problamatic theory. It is clear that there is a at the very least, and this is very least no lower than this, a linguistic difference between our body and our soul. That means that I can make statements about a body and soul seperatly and they are basically meaningful. Also I can use the word soul to refer to something but just because I can use the word to refer to something doesn't imply that I am talking about a whole substantialy different thing.
I believe our bodies and souls are so united as to be practically the same thing and the distinction I make is at the very least linguistic. Do we have a part of us that survives the grave, yes this part we lable soul. Is this part of us the main participant in the use of reason or morality, yes. So I believe my view to be within the bounds of both Scripture and the conffession. I don't know what this has to do with the OP.

The hypostatic union of Christ is going to be ultimatly a mystery to us. The conffession and the creeds both set boundries on what can be orthodoxically said. I would study the Athanasian creed if I were you.
 

EricP

Puritan Board Freshman
I think that the theological turmoils of the first half a dozen centuries of Christendom out of which the concepts of "substance" and "person" (and thus hypostatic union) came led to very specific and important theological and philosophical ways of understanding the human and Godly aspects of our Savior; they were set down in the Chalcedon symbol and Athanasian creed (and perhaps formatively in Nicean); philosophical language of the time was borrowed to help define difficult theological concepts. And yet they never were meant to be exhaustive philosophical definitions of body & soul for us mere humans. Perhaps philosophical areas on which Scripture is less than definite should more or less be left so by those of us who are not Reformed Christian philosophers (and I'll bet they aren't a dime a dozen)--a mystery is a mystery.
 

MarieP

Puritan Board Senior
This is assuming the traditional mind-body or body-soul dualism. Some, such as Bahnsen, are of the opinion that man isn't composed of mind and body as two distinct substances but is instead composed of a single substance (i.e., matter). They point out that animals are also said to have a "soul" or "spirit", not just man.

If you adopted Bahnsen's position, wouldn't you necessarily have to believe in soul-sleep to be consistent?
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
This is assuming the traditional mind-body or body-soul dualism. Some, such as Bahnsen, are of the opinion that man isn't composed of mind and body as two distinct substances but is instead composed of a single substance (i.e., matter). They point out that animals are also said to have a "soul" or "spirit", not just man.

If you adopted Bahnsen's position, wouldn't you necessarily have to believe in soul-sleep to be consistent?

I'm not sure about soul-sleep, but to be consistent with the view that the body and soul are not two seperate things makes implications to a false view of what happens to one when he dies. I think it is plain ridiculous to assume that they are not two seperate things. My question to those who believe so would be: Since the body stays when you die, how are we "present with the Lord" when we die? Too much of scripture(and the confessions are very clear as well) speaks of the soul and body being united but two seperate "things"(as i call it).
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm not sure about soul-sleep, but to be consistent with the view that the body and soul are not two seperate things makes implications to a false view of what happens to one when he dies. I think it is plain ridiculous to assume that they are not two seperate things. My question to those who believe so would be: Since the body stays when you die, how are we "present with the Lord" when we die? Too much of scripture(and the confessions are very clear as well) speaks of the soul and body being united but two seperate "things"(as i call it).

I see your point but this doesn't get around the problems that are inherent in such a strict dualistic point of view. To reject a strict dualistic understanding of human beings does not necessaraly put you in the camp of heresy. Obviously Bahnsen's fellow members of the OPC didn't seem to think so, although I do not like everything about Bahnsen's view he does say here that the soul of people will be put into a temporary physical body of some kind.

It is true that the conffession does rule out certian P.O.V.'s but it is far from a detailed philosophical treatment of the subject.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
It is true that the conffession does rule out certian P.O.V.'s but it is far from a detailed philosophical treatment of the subject.

True. The Puritans apparently did not feel it was necessary to defend their confession with 'philosophy'.
 
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