Featured Penal Substitution and Nestorianism Question

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Timmay, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Timmay

    Timmay Puritan Board Freshman

    I have an EO friend who told me that PSA is Nestorian. They base this on Christ going to hell and being damned, but if the two natures can’t be separated, thus how is it that the divine nature could be damned?

    Well I don’t think Christ went to hell since everything was finished on the cross. But if the two natures are without separation, how is it the human nature could endure God’s wrath and be separated from God, but not the divine nature as it is impossible for the Son to be separated from the Father?

    Is this where the concept of, whatever is applicable to one nature is assigned to the PERSON of Christ, yet there are distinct properties retained among each nature?


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  2. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Freshman

    It's sad to say but I think your EO friend is confused about what PSA is.
     
  3. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    It was Our Lord's human nature, consecrated and prepared especially so (Heb. 10:5), that was offered up upon that altar of His divine nature, hence a sanctified and worthy gift of infinite worth (based upon the divine nature).

    Our Lord's suffering was the work of the Person, the God-man, due to the mystical union (hypostatic union) between the two natures. The divine nature did not and does not suffer. Christ took up a human nature to bear the punishment for sin. Again, what was offered and was judicially punished was the human nature (body + soul). Our Lord's divinity sustained Him in the torment of infinite punishment due all those so given to Him by God the Father.
     
  4. Timmay

    Timmay Puritan Board Freshman

    How did the divinity sustain Him?


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  5. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    He instinctively knows that the two natures must be distinguished (though not separated) since he (with us) would confess that Christ truly died and yet only in his human nature, not his divinity, since the divine is not subject to mortality.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  6. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Some crude PSA accounts have the Father damning the Son to hell. The only way this could work is that if his human nature is seprated from his divine nature. If it is, ergo Nestorianism.
     
  7. Timmay

    Timmay Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes but Christ was “in hell” on the cross since the wrath of God was poured out on Christ. How then, would you answer that this is not Nestorianism?


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  8. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Well, Cyril of Alexandria, the arch-enemy of Nestorianism, espoused something very close to penal substitution...

    Cyril of Alexandria (patriarch 412-444): The Only-begotten was made man, bore a body by nature at enmity with death, and became flesh, so that, enduring the death which was hanging over us as the result of our sin, he might abolish sin; and further, that he might put an end to the accusations of Satan, inasmuch as we have paid in Christ himself the penalties for the charges of sin against us: ‘For he bore our sins, and was wounded because of us’, according to the voice of the prophet. Or are we not healed by his wounds? Cited in Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey, and Andrew Sach, Pierced For Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2007), p. 180.
    Greek text: γέγονε δὲ ἄνθρωπος ὁ Μονογενὴς, καὶ τῷ θανάτῳ φυσικῶς ἐνεχόμενον πεφόρηκε σῶμα, καὶ κεχρημάτικε σὰρξ, ἵνα ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἀνατλὰς τὸν ἐξ ἁμαρτίας ἡμῖν ἐπαρτηθέντα θάνατον, καταργήσῃ τὴν ἁμαρτίαν, καὶ παύσῃ 68.296 λοιπὸν ἐγκαλοῦντα τὸν Σατανᾶν, ὡς ἐκτετικότων ἡμῶν ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ Χριστῷ τῶν εἰς ἁμαρτίαν αἰτιαμάτων τὰς δίκας· «αἴρει γὰρ ἡμῶν τὰς ἁμαρτίας, καὶ περὶ ἡμῶν ὀδυνᾶται,» κατὰ τὴν τοῦ προφήτου φωνήν. Ἢ οὐχὶ τῷ μώλωπι αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς ἰάθημεν; De adoratione et cultu in spiritu et veritate, Liber III, PG 68:293-296.

    Cyril of Alexandria (patriarch 412-444) commenting on Luke 9:44-45: The mystery of the passion may be seen also in another instance. For according to the Mosaic law two goats were offered, differing in nothing from one another, but alike in size and appearance. Of those, one was called “the lord:” and the other, the “sent-away.” And when the lot had been cast for that which was called “lord,” it was sacrificed: while the other was sent away from the sacrifice: and therefore had the name of the “sent-away.” And Who was signified by this? The Word, though He was God, was in our likeness, and took the form of us sinners, as far as the nature of the flesh was concerned. The goat, then, male or female, was sacrificed for sins. But the death was our desert, inasmuch as by sin we had fallen under the divine curse. But when the Saviour of all Himself, so to speak, undertook the charge, He transferred to Himself what was our due, and laid down His life, that we might be sent away from death and destruction. Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of Saint Luke, Homily 53, trans. R. Payne Smith (Studion Publishers, Inc., 1983), p. 234. See also the edition S. Cyril Patriarch of Alexandria, A Commentary upon the Gospel according to S. Luke, Part 1, trans. R. Payne Smith (Oxford: The University Press, 1859), pp. 239-240.

    Cyril of Alexandria (patriarch 412-444) commenting on John 19:16-18: Bearing the Cross upon His shoulders, on which He was about to be crucified, He went forth; His doom was already fixed, and He had undergone, for our sakes, though innocent, the sentence of death. For, in His own Person, He bore the sentence righteously pronounced against sinners by the Law. For He became a curse for us, according to the Scripture: For cursed is everyone, it is said, that hangeth on a tree. And accursed are we all, for we are not able to fulfil the Law of God: For in many things we all stumble; and very prone to sin is the nature of man. And since, too, the Law of God says: Cursed is he which continueth not in all things thcd are written in the book of this Law, to do them, the curse, then, belongeth unto us, and not to others. For those against whom the transgression of the Law may be charged, and who are very prone to err from its commandments, surely deserve chastisement. Therefore, He That knew no sin was accursed for our sakes, that He might deliver us from the old curse. For all-sufficient was the God Who is above all, so dying for all; and by the death of His own Body, purchasing the redemption of all mankind. See Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Vol. 48, trans. Thomas Randell (London: Walter Smith, 1885), Vol. 2, Book XII, Chapter XIX, p. 623.
    Greek text: Τὸ δὲ ἐφʼ ὧπερ ἔμελλε σταυροῦσθαι ξύλον ἐπωμάδιον ἔχων πρόεισι λοιπὸν κατακεκριμένος ἤδη καὶ τὴν ἐφʼ αἵματι ψῆφον ἐπʼ οὐδενὶ παντελῶς ὑπομείνας κακῷ, καὶ τοῦτο διʼ ἡμᾶς. τὰς γὰρ τοῖς ἡμαρτηκόσιν ἐπηρτημένας εὐλόγως ἐκ τοῦ νόμου δίκας εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἐκομίζετο. «Γέγονε γὰρ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα,» κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον, «Ἐπικατάρατος γάρ φησι, πᾶς ὁ κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου.» Ἐπάρατοι δὲ πάντες ἡμεῖς, τὸν θεῖον ἀποπληροῦν οὐκ ἀνεχόμενοι νόμον, Πολλὰ γὰρ πταίομεν ἅπαντες, εὐολισθοτάτη τε πρὸς τοῦτο λίαν ἡ ἀνθρώπου φύσις. Ἐπειδὴ δὲ πάλιν ὁ θεῖος ἔφη που νόμος «Ἐπικατάρατος ὃς οὐκ ἐμμένει πᾶσι τοῖς ἐγγεγραμμένοις ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τοῦ νόμου τούτου, τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτά·» ἡμῶν ἄρα, καὶ οὐχ ἑτέρων ἡ ἀρά. Οἷς γὰρ ἔγκλημα μὲν ἡ παράβασις, τὸ δὲ τοῦ διορισθέντος ἐξολισθεῖν εὐπετέστατον, αὐτοῖς ἂν εἴη καὶ τὸ εὐθύνεσθαι πρέπον. οὐκοῦν ἐπάρατος δι' ἡμᾶς ὁ μὴ εἰδὼς ἁμαρτίαν, ἵν' ἡμᾶς ἀπολύσῃ τῆς ἀρχαίας ἀρᾶς. Ἐξήρκει γὰρ τοῦτο παθὼν ὑπὲρ πάντων ὁ ὑπὲρ πάντας Θεὸς, καὶ τῷ θανάτῳ τῆς ἰδίας σαρκὸς τὴν ἁπάντων λύτρωσιν ἐξωνούμενος. Commentarium in Evangelium Joannis, Liber XII, Caput xix, vv. 16-18, PG 74:649.

    Cyril of Alexandria (patriarch 412-444) commenting on John 19:16-18: The Cross, then, that Christ bore, was not for His own deserts, but was the cross that awaited us, and was our due, through our condemnation by the Law. For as He was numbered among the dead, not for Himself, but for our sakes, that we might find in Him, the Author of everlasting life, subduing of Himself the power of death; so also, He took upon Himself the Cross that was our due, passing on Himself the condemnation of the Law, that the mouth of all lawlessness might henceforth be stopped, according to the saying of the Psalmist; the Sinless having suffered condemnation for the sin of all. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Vol. 48, trans. Thomas Randell (London: Walter Smith, 1885), Vol. 2, Book XII, Chapter XIX, p. 624.
    Greek text: Ἐπικομίζεται τοίνυν, οὐ τὸν αὐτῷ πρέποντα σταυρὸν ὁ Χριστὸς, ἀλλὰ τὸν ἡμῖν ἐπηρτημένον τε καὶ χρεωστούμενον, ὅσον ἧκεν εἰπεῖν εἰς τὴν διὰ νόμου κατάκρισιν. Ὥσπερ γὰρ γέγονεν ἐν νεκροῖς, οὐ διʼ ἑαυτὸν, ἀλλὰ διʼ ἡμᾶς, ἵν' ἡμῖν ἀρχηγὸς τῆς εἰς αἰῶνα ζωῆς εὑρεθῇ, καταλύσας διʼ ἑαυτοῦ τοῦ θανάτου τὸ κράτος, οὕτω καὶ τὸν ἡμῖν πρέποντα σταυρὸν εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἀναλαμβάνει, τὴν ἐκ τοῦ νόμου κατάκρισιν ἐν ἑαυτῷ κατακρίνων, ἵνα πᾶσα λοιπὸν ἀνομία ἐμφράξῃ στόμα αὐτῆς, κατὰ τὸ ἐν Ψαλμοῖς μελῳδούμενον, τοῦ μὴ ἔχοντος ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ τῆς ἁπάντων ἁμαρτίας καταδεδικασμένου. Commentarium in Evangelium Joannis, Liber XII, Caput xix, vv. 16-18, PG 74:649, 652.

    Cyril of Alexandria (patriarch 412-444) commenting on John 19:19: For God's anger did not cease with Adam's fall, but He was also provoked by those who after him dishonoured the Creator's decree; and the denunciation of the Law against transgressors was extended continuously over all. We were, then, accursed and condemned, by the sentence of God, through Adam’s transgression, and through breach of the Law laid down after him; but the Saviour wiped out the handwriting against us, by nailing the title to His Cross, which very clearly pointed to the death upon the Cross which He underwent for the salvation of men, who lay under condemnation. For our sake He paid the penalty for our sins. For though He was One that suffered, yet was He far above any creature, as God, and more precious than the life of all. Therefore, as the Psalmist says, the mouth of all lawlessness was stopped, and the tongue of sin was silenced, unable any more to speak against sinners. For we are justified, now that Christ has paid the penalty for us; for by His stripes we are healed, according to the Scripture. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on John, A Library of Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, Vol. 48, trans. Thomas Randell (London: Walter Smith, 1885), Vol. 2, Book XII, Chapter XIX, pp. 627-628.
    Greek text: Οὐ γὰρ δήπου λελύπηται μὲν ἐν Ἀδὰμ διαπταίσαντι Θεὸς, οὐκέτι δὲ ἦν τοιοῦτος ἐν τοῖς μετʼ ἐκεῖνον ἀτιμάζουσι τὸ τῷ κτίσαντι δοκοῦν, ἀλλʼ ὡς ἐφʼ ἑνὸς κατὰ πάντων ὁ τοῖς πλημμελοῦσιν ἐπηρτημένος ἐξετείνετο νόμος. Ἦμεν οὖν ἐπάρατοι, καὶ τῇ θείᾳ ψήφῳ κατακεκριμένοι, διά τε τὴν ἐν Ἀδὰμ παράβασιν, καὶ τὴν ἐκ τοῦ μετʼ ἐκεῖνον διορισθέντος νόμου· ἀλλὰ τοῦτο τὸ καθʼ ἡμῶν χειρόγραφον ἐξήλειψεν ὁ Σωτὴρ, προσηλώσας τὸν τίτλον τῷ ἰδίῳ σταυρῷ, σαφῶς εὖ μάλα σημαίνοντα τὸν ἐπὶ τῷ ξύλῳ θάνατον, ὃν ὑπὲρ τῆς τῶν καταδεδικασμένων ὑπέστη ζωῆς. Ἐξέτισε γὰρ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τὰς ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐγκλημάτων δίκας. Εἰ γὰρ καὶ εἷς ἦν ὁ πάσχων, ἀλλʼ ἦν ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν τὴν κτίσιν, ὡς Θεὸς, καὶ τῆς ἁπάντων ζωῆς ἀξιώτερος. Διά τοι τοῦτο, καθὰ καὶ ὁ Ψάλλων φησὶν, «Ἐνέφραξε μὲν ἀνομία πᾶσα τὸ στόμα αὐτῆς,» κατηργήθη δὲ τρόπον τινὰ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ἡ γλῶττα, καταλέγειν ἔτι τῶν ἡμαρτηκότων οὐκ ἔχουσα. Δεδικαιώμεθα γὰρ, ἐκτετικότος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τὰ ὀφλήματα τοῦ Χριστοῦ· «τῷ γὰρ μώλωπι αὐτοῦ ἡμεῖς ἰάθημεν,» κατὰ τὸ γεγραμμένον. Commentarium in Evangelium Joannis, Liber XII, Caput xix, v. 19, PG 74:656.

    And I don't think the EO guy would want to accuse Athanasius of being a proto-Nestorian...

    Athanasius (297-373): And Psalm 22, speaking in the Saviour's own person, describes the manner of His death. Thou has brought me into the dust of death, for many dogs have compassed me, the assembly of the wicked have laid siege to me. They peirced my hands and my feet, they numbered all my bones, they gazed and stared at me, they parted my garments among them and cast lots for my vesture. They pierced my hands and my feet- what else can that mean except the cross? and Psalms 22 and 69, again speaking in the Lord's own person, tell us further that He suffered these things, not for His own sake but for ours. Thou has made Thy wrath to rest upon me, says the one; and the other adds, I paid them things I never took. For He did not die as being Himself liable to death: He suffered for us, and bore in Himself the wrath that was the penalty of our transgression, even as Isaiah says, Himself bore our weaknesses. [Mt 8:17] So in Psalm 138 we say, The Lord will make requital for me; and in the 72nd the Spirit says, He shall save the children of the poor and bring the slanderer low, for from the hand of the mighty He has set the poor man free, the needy man whom there was none to help. Athanasius, On the Incarnation, trans. and ed. A Religious of C.S.M.V. (Crestwood: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1996), to which is appended a Letter of St. Athanasius to Marcellinus on the Interpretation of the Psalms, pp. 100-101; Cf. also the translation provided in Athanasius, The Life of Anthony and The Letter to Marcellinus, trans. Robert C. Gregg (New York: Paulist Press, 1980), p. 105.
    Greek text: ἐν δὲ τῷ εἰκοστῷ καὶ πρώτῳ τὴν ποιότητα τοῦ θανάτου ἐκ προσώπου τοῦ Σωτῆρός φησιν· Εἰς χοῦν θανάτου κατήγαγές με· ὅτι ἐκύκλωσάν με κύνες πολλοὶ, συναγωγὴ πονηρευομένων περιέσχον με. Ὤρυξαν χεῖράς μου καὶ πόδας μου, ἐξηρίθμησαν πάντα τὰ ὀστᾶ μου. Αὐτοὶ δὲ κατενόησαν, καὶ ἐπεῖδόν με· διεμερίσαντο τὰ ἱμάτιά μου ἑαυτοῖς, καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν ἱματισμόν μου ἔβαλον κλῆρον. Τὸ δὲ τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τοὺς πόδας ὀρύττεσθαι, τί ἕτερον ἢ σταυρὸν λέγων σημαίνει; Πάντα ταῦτα διδάσκουσα προστίθησιν, ὅτι μὴ δι' ἑαυτὸν, διʼ ἡμᾶς δὲ ταῦτα πάσχει ὁ Κύριος. Καί φησιν ἐκ προσώπου πάλιν αὐτοῦ ἐν μὲν τῷ πζʹ· Ἐπʼ ἐμὲ ἐπεστηρίχθη ὁ θυμός σου· ἐν δὲ τῷ ἑξηκοστῷ ὀγδόῳ· Ἃ οὐχ ἥρπασα, τότε ἀπετίννυον. Οὐ γὰρ ὑπεύθυνος ὢν ἀπέθνησκεν, ἀλλʼ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἔπασχε, καὶ τὸν καθʼ ἡμῶν θυμὸν διὰ τὴν παράβασιν ἐφʼ ἑαυτὸν ἐβάσταζε, λέγοντα διὰ τοῦ Ἡσαΐου· Αὐτὸς τὰς ἀσθενείας ἡμῶν ἔλαβε· καὶ λεγόντων μὲν ἡμῶν ἐν τῷ ἑκατοστῷ τριακοστῷ ἑβδόμῳ ψαλμῷ· Κύριος ἀντ αποδώσει ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ· λέγοντος δὲ καὶ τοῦ Πνεύματος ἐν ἑβδομηκοστῷ πρώτῳ· Καὶ σώσει τοὺς υἱοὺς τῶν πενήτων, καὶ ταπεινώσει συκοφάντην, ὅτι ἐῤῥύσατο, πτωχὸν ἐκ χειρὸς δυνάστου, καὶ πένητα, ᾧ οὐχ ὑπῆρχε βοηθός. Epistola ad Marcellinum de interpretatione Psalmorum, §7, PG 27:16-17.

    EO folk and Romanists alike love to level the charge of Nestorianism against those outside of their communions because it creates their own climate controlled comfort zone . . . it's better than a monastic retreat!
     
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  9. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    "in hell" was very misleading, and if we take it literally it is Nestorianism. I don't say Christ was "in hell" in that sense.
     
  10. Timmay

    Timmay Puritan Board Freshman

    Ok but how is it not Nestorian on the cross?


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  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Because on my view there is no separation of the two natures. Nestorianism entails two acting subjects in the Person of Christ.
     
  12. Timmay

    Timmay Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes Chalcedon. I guess I’m looking for how to respond.

    If someone said PSA is Nestorian how would you answer that it is not?


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  13. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I would ask them what they mean. I've been down this road before. Many have no clue what they are talking about.
     
  14. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    Sin is committed against an infinite God. The guilt of that sin is infinite. Man cannot satisfy the justice of God for this infinite guilt. Accordingly, man is punished eternally. Our Lord is God...hence, He is infinite. As an infinite Person, Our Lord's sufferings and torments of judicial punishment of His human nature are able to satisfy the justice of God for the infinite guilt of men.

    Given this, Our Lord does not need to be punished eternally. He bore the punishment of sinners, Christ was not a sinner (polluted by sin in Himself), but a righteous sufferer, Son beloved of God, hence, vindicated by God, resurrected, rewarded per the demands of divine righteousness.

    The torments and sufferings brought upon Christ's human nature were enabled to endure what He was bearing for His peopletheir actual sins, for He was sinless, yet accounted judicially a sinner deserving the demands of justice—by the power of His divine nature such that He was victorious, sinless.

    Ralph Erskine, The Sword of Justice awakened against God's Fellow, Sermons 1:20-21:

    The cause of God and the cause of man is referred to Christ; therefore he partakes of both natures, that he may be faithful to God and merciful to man: a fit Mediator between God and man, to lay his hand upon both parties, while he partakes of both natures. – Our Redeemer must be both subject to the law, and fulfil the law meritoriously. Now, if he had not been man, he could not be subject to the law; and if he had not been God, he could not have merited by fulfilling the law: but now, being God-man by his obedience, he hath magnified the law and made it honourable. – Our Redeemer was to give his soul an offering for sin. Now, if he had not been man, he could not have had a soul to offer; if he had not been God, his soul could not have upheld itself; but must have died when his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: but now, his divine nature did support his human body, and his human soul, under the weight of that burden which would have crushed a world of men and angels. – Our Redeemer must both suffer and satisfy. Now, if he had not been man, he could not have suffered; and if he had not been God, he could not have given satisfaction by his sufferings; but, being God-man, his sufferings are dignified with infinite value and virtue. – Our Redeemer must both die for us, and conquer death. Now, if he had not been man, he could not have died; and if he had not been God, he could not have destroyed death, conquered death: but now, “He is declared to be the Son of God with power, by his resurrection from the dead.”
     
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  15. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Believe the scriptures teach that Jesus went to hades itself, and announced to the saved OT folks that he was bringing them back to heaven when he arose again.
     
  16. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

  17. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I believe, based on textual evidence, that "preaching to the spirits in prison" is literally that: he preached to the fallen beney ha-elohim who were chained in Tartarus, announcing to them that they lost.
     
  18. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I thought that it meant that He had preached through Noah regarding all of the lost in there due to the Flood?
     
  19. terry43

    terry43 Puritan Board Freshman

    Strange, I just questioned my Pastor on this Sunday with reference to the apostle creed and His promise to the thief.The pastor did not have a great answer and left me with continuing questions when he said "some say that Christ went to hell to pay for our sin" Which I totally deny .. also has been my thought that the humanity of Christ dies on the cross and was later resurrected ... The humanity (body) laid lifeless in the grave while the divinity remained ... did that divinity to go hell? go to Sheol ? go to paradise?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019 at 2:59 PM
  20. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Christ's humanity also includes his human soul. He went to Sheol, not hell. I know what the Creed says, and that's because the concept of "hell" didn't quite mean then what it means now (Bar B Q pit).
     
  21. terry43

    terry43 Puritan Board Freshman

    The soul.."Mind,will and emotions" ...all would have perished with the "man Christ" what would remain is the Spirit ..which in His case would be divine ??????
     
  22. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Christ's humanity had a human mind/soul which wasn't the same thing as his divine mind.
     
  23. terry43

    terry43 Puritan Board Freshman

    I guess I do not "get " this.. Paul clearly man has a body, soul and spirit ...The soul is the "breath of life " that would have died leaving as it will with us, just His Spirit which is divine.. was not the mind of Christ divine ?
     
  24. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Christ has two minds.
     
  25. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Terry,
    I recommend taking some time with your pastor, when he has a block of time to answer your questions. Maybe even give him them in writing ahead of time, and then have an appointment. That way, he's not just trying to help you out "off the cuff." He may not be able to give a "great answer" in the midst of a busy Sunday.

    Possibly, when he said "some say...," he was not personally advocating that view, just mentioning one of the interpretive options.

    It is true that Christ died, according to his humanity; and, according to his divinity he did not die, for it is impossible for divinity (as such) to go through death. Nevertheless, Christ (we say) died, he really did; it's just that his experience of death was everything we human beings experience in death, and more due to his possession of a divine nature as well.

    This is a big subject, and some of your question may reveal some gaps in how you've thought about it in the past. Your pastor is a great resource for you to work on clarity and depth of understanding.

    Christ's body did lie in the grave. His human spirit (or soul) went to Paradise (heaven), as did the spirit of the thief on the cross. Thus, we make sense of the Lord's words to him from the cross. Christ's divinity has never been "limited" in or by the human body or the whole human nature that was united to his divinity in the Incarnation. It is the nature of God to "fill all space," he is "omnipresent." God the Son was still "everywhere" in the first century; even as Jesus of Nazareth was local to his homeland, God the Son having a unique Personal presence where Jesus is, then and now.

    We don't want to affirm that the "spirit" of God/Jesus was the "divine part" of his identity, and the body was his "humanity" having a "lower order" of "animal" immaterial faculties. That way of thinking/trying to grasp the Person of Christ is in fact one of the early Christian heresies the faithful church rejected.

    1 Thess. 5:23, with its reference to body/soul/spirit, is not a verse (the only text like it) that we want to say defines biblical anthropology, that is the composite "anatomy" of the material and immaterial human nature. We are better off thinking of a duality: body and soul-or-spirit. We find both immaterial terms used interchangeably for the same thing in Scripture. And we are reminded that we are, down to the very bottom of our being, body-souls and soul-bodies. That is what makes the resurrection so important, because without it, we are half of what we were created to be.

    One valuable commentator has suggested that a good way of thinking about the immaterial part of us, and the two terms, is (generally) to think of "soul" as the immaterial part in reference to the material world (including the body); and "spirit" as the immaterial part in reference to the immaterial world. That idea seems to handle the great majority of the varied uses of those terms in the Bible. And it keeps us from devaluing the body. Then, Paul's one-time use of that phrase, "body, soul, and spirit," looks less like an anatomy, and more like his tendency to pile up terms and descriptions, a not-uncommon feature of his style.

    God the Son took to himself a true, full and complete human nature. He united the human (and all its own faculties) with his divine (and all its own faculties). He did not deem any part of our humanity "redundant" and so dispense with it. Or else, how would he have redeemed that part of us? No, he made himself like us in every way. So, he had a human body and a human soul/spirit.

    He (as God) did not simply "inhabit" a human shell, or "borrow" our human life-force (a false definition of the soul). He united our humanity--using the virgin born Jesus of Nazareth--to his divinity, thus becoming the God-man (theanthropos), having two natures in hypostatic union, in one Person, unmixed, unconfused, forever and harmoniously bound together as Himself.

    I hope these definitions are helpful to you, especially as you formulate some questions for your caring pastor.
     
  26. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    I'm curious as to what alternative your friend offers as to the nature of the atonement.
     
  27. Timmay

    Timmay Puritan Board Freshman

    Recapitulation theory. The idea that Christ conquered death and sin and fulfilled what Adam did not but did not pay a penalty. Now those who are willing can walk with Christ and conquer sin in their life as salvation is not a one time act, but a lifelong process.

    It’s semi-Pelagian (they deny this) and actually saves no one. It seems to make sanctification the salvific method (though they define those terms differently). They treat sinnners as those in a hospital and they just need medicine, not that we need to be acquitted by a judge and risen from death.

    I wouldn’t say that none of that is true, they just place a greatest importance on it, confuse things, and reject the source of all that, which is vicarious sacrifice.

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  28. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Recapitulation is a legitmate take on the atonement. It's not the complete one, but it is part of the biblical witness.
     
  29. terry43

    terry43 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you, I appreciate your time and teaching on this..I am hoping to grasp this mystery
     
  30. Timmay

    Timmay Puritan Board Freshman

    I know I said that. Problem is you can’t start from there. Only having it is incomplete. Not having it is incomplete. Starting from it is erroneous.


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