Saturday, October 26, 2019

Kallistos Ware on What the Incarnation Means

The following snippet is taken from The Orthodox Way written by Bishop Kallistos Ware. I post this information in order to facilitate understanding between Trinitarians and non-Trinitarians. The language found in Trinitarian creeds is very difficult to fathom at first blush,m but it is my hope that the comments posted here will disambiguate the Trinity doctrine for non-Trinitarians:

"We are not to think of him [Jesus Christ] as 'half-in-half.' Jesus Christ is not fifty per cent [sic] God and fifty per cent man, but one hundred per cent God and one hundred per cent man. In the epigrammatic phrase of St Leo the Great, he is TOTUS IN SUIS, TOTUS IN NOSTRIS, 'complete in what is his own, complete in what is ours'" (page 73).


JimSpace said...

Yes, "truly God and truly man" as the Chalcedonian creed affirms.

However, at Luke 22:42 Jesus is praying to the Father for strength, and verse 43 has an angel strengthening him. If he is fully God, then surely that angel would not have been so indiscreet as to presume that he could encourage the human nature of the divine person of Jesus. The sacrifice of Jesus too is a stumper. What did he sacrifice if he was never fully dead?

Edgar Foster said...

Good points, Jim. I believe they would appeal to any reasonable Trinitarian although I can imagine what Trinitarian theologians will say:

1) Christ emptied himself and humbly submitted to his creation.

2) The person of Christ was dead even if his divine nature was not.

I'm going to quote from page 39 of Christology and the Trinity:

The kenosis event also signified, for Pope Leo, that both natures of
the only-begotten Son of God “met in one person.” Subsequently, “lowliness [was] assumed by majesty, weakness by power, mortality by eternity.” The upshot of such an exegesis is that one can fittingly describe the life of Christ as an ongoing dialectical tension between his supposed divine and human natures. Phil. 2:6-7 also supposedly explains the seeming contradictory events in the life of our Lord and Savior such as how he could both increase in knowledge while simultaneously knowing all things (Lk 2:51-52). For this reason, one who believes in the incarnation of Almighty God is supposedly able to reconcile (somewhat) the Scriptural occasions where Christ appears to lack divine knowledge and seems to be passible, by appealing to the kenosis event (Compare Mk. 13:32). As man, kenoticists contend that Christ (on earth) was mutable, mortal, lowly, and weak; as God, however, they claim that he was Impassible, Immortal, Transcendent and Omnipotent. To resolve the ostensibly conflicting elements of this theological stance, Christian scholars regularly invoke the apostle’s words in Philippians. Evidently, these Biblical verses adequately clarify the “enfleshment” (incarnatio) of “God the Son.” However, we must ask whether Paul’s words really justify Trinitarian explanations of Jesus' limitations on earth.