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Some Notes on the Christology of Nestorius

The nature/person distinction is absolutely crucial to understanding Orthodox Christology and Triadology. Without it one falls into various errors. I really recommend that one reads this post in its entirety. I will certainly have to get the book quoted here at some stage.

Interesting, it seems there seems to be a soteriological Nestorianism at play where salvation becomes about the human will being passive to the divine in a union of wills, based on an external relationship of grace. As opposed to the synergistic outworking of divine and human energy, with the free will of both in the human person.

The passive/determined will is ruled out by proper Christology which says there is only one subject or person. Since persons are the subject of the wills, a passive/determined human will to the divine will at the incarnation would mean that the *person* Logos would have something *behind* him; the divine will. But if the Logos is divine, the divine will is His and cannot be behind him.

So a passive human will means that either the Logos is a creature (Arianism), or that there are two subjects, but the human is subject is passive to the divine subject (Nestorianism). Whereas per Orthodox Christology, salvation is accomplished by one subject who brought his free human will into synergy with the divine will.

It was the synergy of the human and divine energy in the one subject which accomplished salvation. The basis of our own human free will is rooted in the free will of the Logos who took on human nature formed after his own image, and is the *examplar* of proper humanity. It would be to divorce humanity & Christology to posit a free human will in Christ, but a determined one for all the rest. The only other options seem to be to claim either that the will is hypostatic, Arianism or Nestorianism.

Another thing is that the Eunomius posited that the divine essence was identical with Unbegottenness. As such the Son couldn’t be divine or of one essence with the Unbegotten. Father was not also not equivalent with the divine essence but was a divine activity. So between the God the Unbegotten and the Son, there was an activity; Fatherhood. The Cappadocians however posited contra Eunomius that there is nothing inbetween Father and Son, they are of one essence. If there were something, say a divine activity between them it would imply they are not of one essence.

If the predestination of divine causal determinism applies to Christ as it is said to apply to humanity in general it would put the activity/attribute of predestination between the Father and Son.


Energetic Procession

Since there seems to be widespread misunderstanding regarding the heresy of Nestorianism and what Nestorius actually taught, I’ve decided to post some notes illustrating and explicating Nestorius’ teaching. I have used McGuckin’s, Saint Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy. I’ve numbered selections for ease of reference. There are a number of things to notice in the notes. Notice the problem of mixture. This was a significant issue all by itself in antiquity since for Platonists as well as Aristotle, matter was not intrinsically extensional as the modern conception has it. A mixture was a meeting of powers. Notice also that Nestorius takes the will to be almost exclusively hypostatic rather than natural so that there is only one will in “Christ.”  Terms like “Christ” also do not refer to the eternal Logos exclusively but the end result of the union. There is also an apparent confusion between person…

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3 comments on “Some Notes on the Christology of Nestorius

  1. Pingback: Saving One’s Self: The Mornegist Objection | Irish With A Tan

  2. Pingback: Saving One’s Self: The Monergist Objection | Irish With A Tan

  3. Pingback: Saving Oneself: The Monergist Objection – Irish Orthoblogger

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This entry was posted on October 15, 2016 by in Uncategorized.
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