Have Yourself a Merry Little Epiphany

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Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Will
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    says:

    Had you taught the Sunday School I attended, Dierkes, I would never have strayed from the Christian faith.Report

  2. Avatar Kyle Cupp
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    says:

    Thank you. And happy Epiphany to you as well!

    Gotta love biblical symbolism.Report

  3. Avatar Roque Nuevo
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    says:

    Hey, thanks for the good wishes! But how did you know that my epiphany was so “little?” You must have a big one, huh?

    Now that you mention Jesus, where do you stand on the Monophysitism vs. Monothelitism issue? It’s been eating at me lately. I’d say that he has one human/divine nature, but which was generated from two natures which came together making him fully divine. But then I waffle: How can he be both human and divine? What are the relative proportions of humanity/divinity in his nature, even if it is one united nature? Maybe he was really two men, one human and the other divine, but both existed within the same man. But then if that’s true, then Mary wasn’t the mother of god. She was just the mother of Christ, or the divine part of Jesus’s human/divine nature. Then I get all confused again. Can you help?Report

    • Avatar Chris Dierkes in reply to Roque Nuevo
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      says:

      I’m assuming this is a serious question (if not, this will be for other readers….)

      I’m from the Western tradition which is Diaphysite though there has recently been very good work on the mutual recognition of Diaphysitism and Miaphysitism (i.e. Oriental Orthodox Churches, e.g. Coptic Orthodox Church).

      The failure of Monophysitism (and Monothelitism as Maximus the Confessor understood) is that if Christ is not really human (including a human will), than humanity is not linked to God and therefore not saved. If Christ is not really God, then humanity is not saved, as only God saves.

      “God became human, so that humanity would become God.” -Irenaeus

      As to the Christotokos vs. Theotokos debate…

      I think Nestorius and the Assyrian Church of the East got a bit of a bum rap. Or at least Babai the Great later taught 2 qnoma (natures) in one prosopa (person), which is Diaphysitism. Western Christians tend to be more ok (than Miaphysites) with this tradition not surprisingly.

      The question then is how the Diaphysitism comes into play. The Nestorians typically want to “protect” (as they see it) the dignity of The Divine by saying no time/space-based words can be applied (i.e. The Word Died as in Cyril of Alexandria).

      I’m more influenced by The Orthodox tradition so I’m comfortable with the (paradoxically understood) Miaphysite language of Cyril. Nevertheless, I think there were those who (mis)understood such language to denude the humanity (i.e. Monophysitism). Hence I get the philosophico-theological exactitude and rigor that the Assyrian-Antiochean tradition wants to hold around not de-divinizing (and therefore de-humanizing or vice versa) the Godhead.

      The language of the Creeds is what the Buddhist-Hindu tradition would call Nondual (the language of paradox). The reason your struggling in your mind is because your mind can’t understand it. Usually this is then taken to be some sub-rational form of “belief” where you must believe because The Church says so or whatever. But the language itself is trans-rational (mystical language) and like a Zen Koan there is a “right answer” to it. But not one at the level of your mind. You have to try the meditation/contemplative way and let it in a sense break(through) your mind to find out.Report

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