Say whether the following statements are orthodox, Arian, Nestorian, Docetist, Apollinarian, Eutychian, or Pneumatomachist.
- There was a time when the Son did not exist.
- The body of Jesus was made from the material creation.
- Jesus had a human body, but a divine mind.
- “Christ is a man in the sense that all men are made up of three parts, body, soul and spirit, and he is made up of three parts, body, soul and Logos; if he had body, soul, spirit and Logos, then he would be made up of four parts and would not be a man but a man-God.”
- Jesus’ human nature suffered on the cross, but his divinity did not.
- Mary gave birth to the human Christ, but the divine Logos was present everywhere.
- “He is not a man, but is like a man, since he is not coessential with humanity in his highest part.”
- “The eternal Logos assumed, or took on, a man.”
- “The eternal Son of God, who is and remains true and eternal God, took upon himself true human nature from the flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary.”
- “We worship the humanity of Christ together with the Godhead because he is a sharer in the divine authority.”
- “It is not that the Logos of God suffered in his own nature, being overcome by stripes or the nail-piercing or any of the other injuries; for the divine, since it is incorporeal, is impassible. Since, however, the body that had become his own underwent suffering, he is – once again – said to have suffered these things for our sakes, for the impassible One was within the suffering body.”
- The subject of all Christ’s acts, both the incarnation but also the death on the Cross, is ‘the Son of God’.
- “Christ had to be true God so that by the power of his divine nature he might bear in his human nature the burden of God’s wrath.”
- “‘How is it then that David inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand”?’”. He said this as being indeed son of David according to the flesh, but his Lord according to his godhead.”
- “Before the union our Lord was of two natures, but after the union I confess one nature.”
Answers (and explanations) below the spoiler space.
Answers: 1. Arian. (The Logos is eternal.) 2. Orthodox. (The denial involves docetism.) 3. Apollinarianism. (If Jesus’ nous is not human, then He is not fully human.) 4. Quotation from Apollinaris. (The replacement of Jesus’ human spirit by the Logos would make Jesus lacking in a necessary criterion of humanity. Furthermore, the Logos is not a part or aspect of Jesus’ being. Being God is not like being possessed by an evil spirit.) 5. Nestorianism. (R.C. Sproul just committed this error too. The entire divine-human Christ suffered as a person. It is true that when nails were driven through his wrists, that was only possible because this Person had a recently acquired human nature, and thus this eternally existent Person now had a body, and thus wrists. But saying that “His wrists hurt” is not the same as saying that “only the human nature suffered.” The eternal Logos had wrists. So the eternal Logos suffered in His own human body. The agent who suffered was a person, not a nature.) 6. Nestorianism. (Again, the baby born of Mary was the second person of the Trinity. He was God already; He was not a mere man who became united to God later. Furthermore, while it is true that the Logos is omnipresent, Mary gave birth to a body that was His own.) 7. Quotation from Apollinaris. (The highest part of the mind, or Nous, was not, contra Apollinaris, replaced by the Logos.) 8. Quotation from Theodore of Mopsuestia (proto-Nestorian, since the Logos did not take on a preexistent Man, but became a man by taking on, not a man, but a human nature). 9. Orthodox (from the Heidelberg Catechism). 10. Quotation from Nestorius. (We do not worship the humanity of Christ for this reason. We worship the Person of Christ, and we worship Him in both natures, because both natures are His own. We do not worship one because it is allied with the other, or shares in its authority.) 11. Orthodox, from one of Cyril’s letters to the Council of Ephesus. 12. Orthodox. Quotation from Cyril again. 13. Orthodox, quotation from Heidelberg Catechism Q 17. (This formulation flirts with Nestorianism, however, by appearing to make only the human nature of Christ, rather than the Person of Christ, the object of God’s wrath on the cross. The vexed question of penal substitution arises here.) 14. Nestorius, quotation from his second letter to the council of Ephesus. (Nestorius falls afoul of Cyril’s anathema against those who read the Scripture and chop up the statements about Christ, allotting some to one of His two natures, and others to the other – a procedure that all too many preachers and theologians do in blithe ignorance of the orthodox rule here.) 15. Quotation from Eutyches. (Christ continues to have two natures, not one. Eutyches’ single nature of Christ was arrived at by a Stoic conception of “total mixture”. See, Mr. Wedgeworth, what horrible things happen when we grab seemingly useful concepts from Greek philosophy? If Eutyches were correct, his Christ would be neither truly human nor truly Divine.)