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Re: Is Lutheran Christology Faithful to the Eastern Tradition?

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  • concernedlcms
    I skimmed this looking for the word Father, and didn t find it, so was this citation supposed to be what Chemnitz had to say about the Father being the
    Message 1 of 34 , Feb 20, 2007
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      I skimmed this looking for the word "Father," and didn't find it, so
      was this citation supposed to be what Chemnitz had to say about the
      Father being "the source and fountainhead of the Godhead," as Pastor
      Webber put it?



      --- In Orthodox-Lutheran_Dialogue@yahoogroups.com, William Weedon
      <weedon@...> wrote:
      >
      > Drew,
      >
      > Here is the approach of Chemnitz from his own mouth. You can see
      how
      > he wrestled with the question and the answer he came up with. I
      > didn't remember if you had read the Chemnitz sections before, but
      for
      > any who are interested they are copied out below. Warning: LONG
      POST.
      >
      > Pax!
      >
      > "These qualities are communicated to the assume nature, not by
      > themselves, through a separate or equated transference outside the
      > divine essence, but by nature of and by reason of the union, or
      > through the mode of the union, just as fire communicates itself
      > completely - its glow, its strength, its efficacy and its activity
      > (there's the energy word!) - to the heated iron, as we have
      already
      > pointed out." p. 304
      >
      > "In the first place, the opponents argue that if the person union
      is
      > defined as a communication of the essential divine attributes, or
      if
      > it is said that the activity (energeia) of the divine attributes
      in
      > and through the assumed nature arises out of the personal union,
      it
      > would follow that no only the Son but also the entire Trinity
      became
      > incarnate; for the essential attributes of the Deity are common to
      > the Trinity. However, we reply that in our churches we do not
      define
      > the personal union as a communication, as we have shown by our
      > description of the union in chapter 4, but rather we say that the
      > communication grows out of and follows from the union, as we have
      > explained in this chapter. For the facet that the essential
      > attributes of the Deity are common to the entire Trinity in no
      > hinders them from being communicated to the assumed nature in the
      > person of the Son, in the manner just now described." pp. 304, 305
      >
      > "The second objection is that since the essential attributes of
      the
      > Deity are the same as the divine essence, it follows that the
      human
      > nature has therefore become the divine essence, if the attributes
      of
      > the Deity are communicated to it." (p. 306)
      >
      > "But we have already replied to this objection by pointing out
      that
      > an essential or natural communication of the divine attributes
      does
      > not take place; but just as the divine essence is communicated to
      the
      > assumed nature by the personal union, so also its attributes are
      > communicated to the assumed nature by the dispensation of the
      union,
      > as we have explained at length." (p. 306)
      >
      > "The third sophistry is that since the attributes of the Deity are
      > the same as the essence, and since the essence is indivisible or
      > undivided, therefore all or none of the divine attributes are
      > communicated to the assumed nature; but it cannot be all of them,
      for
      > the flesh of Christ did not become an eternal, infinite, or
      spiritual
      > substance. Therefore, no divine attribute was communicated. You
      see
      > that these sophists are not governed by the revelation of
      Scripture,
      > which asserts that these attributes have been given in time to
      Christ
      > according to His human nature [note: he devotes the next chapter
      to
      > that entirely]. But these men have put their own arguments in
      > opposition to the revealed Word, so that when the Council of
      Ephesus
      > on the basis of Scripture stated that the power of giving life
      > (surely a divine attribute) is given in the flesh of Christ, they
      > deny this by their intellectual sophistry.
      >
      > "But I shall reply to these arguments of 'lying knowledge,' as
      Paul
      > calls them with the simplicity of the fisherman, and I shall only
      say
      > what I know and believe in this life about the entire mystery of
      the
      > incarnation, and thus also about the communication of majesty,
      must
      > be sought and learned only from Scripture and what has been
      expressly
      > revealed there, namely, that in time these attributes have been
      given
      > and communicated to the assumed nature. About these things only
      can
      > I make assertions and speak truth, and in these I can rest
      securely
      > and be wholly content. But that which might be investigated or
      > disputed, which does not have the express revelation in the Word
      > (since we cannot in this life explore or fully understand the
      depth
      > of that great mystery), must be deferred and held in abeyance
      until
      > we enter that great heavenly, eternal, and enlightened school
      where
      > we shall see the glory of Christ, our Savior and our Brother, face
      to
      > face. Although I cannot explain these things, I must not depart
      from
      > what is expressly revealed in the Word.
      >
      > "If this reply appears rather rude, simple, and puerile, I will
      not
      > deny it, but I know it is the truest, surest, and safest of all.
      For
      > we must not believe or say anything about God but what is
      expressly
      > revealed in the Scripture. And I am right in humbly limiting
      myself
      > to the bounds of divine revelation in regard to the discussion of
      the
      > communication of the majesty. To be sure, the entire Trinity,
      whose
      > essence is indivisible, dwells undivided in the saints, and yet
      the
      > Trinity does not perform all of His activities (energies!) in all
      of
      > them, nor does He do them at all times. If I ask how this can be
      > consistent with the indivisibility of the divine nature, of which
      we
      > as believers are made partakers (2 Pet 1:4), we have the reply of
      > Paul in 1 Cor 12:11, "He has distributed as He wishes."
      >
      > "But let us now press more closely in order to refute these
      > sophistries. The Scholastics and the other learned men have
      rightly
      > said that the essential attributes of the Deity are nothing more
      than
      > the absolute essence of God, since they are one and the same
      thing.
      > The essence of God considered by itself is undivided, and thus
      also
      > the essential attributes taken by themselves in an absolute sense
      are
      > not distinct from one another; for God is not wise in one respect,
      > powerful in another, and just in a third respect. Nor is one
      quality
      > in God His power, another His wisdom, another life, but the one
      > undivided, irreducible, divine essence is power itself, wisdom
      > itself, life itself.
      >
      > "But when this undivided essence of the Deity is applied to
      created
      > things and is considered in relation to something outside itself,
      as,
      > for example, in the case of created things, He does not accomplish
      > the same things in all of them but different things in different
      > creatures, somethings by His justice, something by His goodness,
      some
      > things by His power; in this relationship or frame of reference,
      for
      > the sake of teaching and learning, we must recognize that there is
      a
      > degree of distinction between His essence and His attributes,
      which
      > we prefer to call attributes here rather than peculiarities
      (idiomata).
      >
      > "Thus, for the sake of teaching and learning we commonly make a
      > distinction between the divine essence and certain attributes, and
      > then in this relationship or frame of reference the divine
      attributes
      > admit a certain degree of distinction among themselves. For there
      > are some attributes by which the divine essence works with a
      certain
      > power (energy) outside itself with respect to created beings.
      These
      > are attributes which show their power (energy) outside themselves;
      > that is, they reveal themselves by their work and from their
      effects
      > among created things. Thus they can be understood, described, and
      > distinguished by the secondary action. Such attributes are His
      > justice, His goodness, His power, majesty, glory, wisdom, and
      life.
      > Through these attributes the divine essence works and accomplishes
      > certain things in created beings, some in one and others in
      another.
      > For the effects of God's justice in created beings are one thing,
      > those of His goodness another, of His wisdom another, and the
      effect
      > of His power still another. As a result of this, creatures can be
      > described, so that they too can be called wise, good, just,
      powerful,
      > living.
      >
      > "This is what Damascenus says in his work on the two activities:
      > 'The Deity does not make creatures partakers of His nature but of
      His
      > activity (energy). For there are some attributes of God which, as
      it
      > were, remain within the essence and do not go outside of it into
      > creatures by special activities (energies), actions, operations or
      > effects; and they do not reveal themselves for us to see so that
      we
      > could describe or understand them by any secondary action. These
      are
      > such attributes as the eternity, immeasurability, infinity, and
      the
      > spiritual qualities of the essence. Nor are the descriptions of
      > creatures changed as a result of these attributes, so that they
      could
      > be called eternal or immeasurable.'
      >
      > "Since we may define this communication of the majesty in Christ,
      of
      > which we have been speaking, as an activity (energy), it is
      manifest
      > that the divine power of the Logos not only shows certain
      qualities
      > such as He demonstrates in other creatures, but He also
      demonstrates
      > His divine activities in and through the assumed nature.
      Regarding
      > this teaching some have put it quite well when they say that
      certain
      > peculiarities or attributes of the Deity are communicable, others
      are
      > incommunicable. In this relationship or frame of reference there
      is
      > no partitioning or separating of the divine attributes among
      > themselves; but we do speak of a distinction in regard to things
      > outside the Godhead, that is, in regard to creatures. Yet because
      > the Logos communicated by the personal union the whole fullness of
      > His deity personally to the assumed nature, He certainly left
      nothing
      > uncommunicated; for He communicated Himself personally, as the
      total
      > and entire fullness of the Godhead to the assumed nature.
      > Furthermore, such characteristics or attributes as eternity and
      > immeasurability are jointed to the other divine attributes by an
      > indissoluble connection. For the divine power which carries on
      its
      > work through the assumed nature is an eternal, immeasurable,
      > infinite, and divine power.
      >
      > "The same reasoning holds true with regard to the eternity and
      > infinite immeasurability, and also in the case of the majesty,
      > wisdom, and the life which we have said have been communicated to
      the
      > human nature in Christ, as we will show more fully later on.
      Others
      > assert on this matter also that the entire essence and all the
      > attributes of the Deity have been personally communicated to the
      > assumed nature by the union. These points do not conflict with
      each
      > other, but show simply that there is a difference in the mode of
      > communication. For the eternity and boundlessness of the divine
      > Logos dwell personally in the assumed nature of Christ because
      they
      > are part of the whole fullness of the Godhead, but they do not
      show
      > themselves or stand out by themselves as peculiar activities
      > (energies) in the assumed nature. But the other attributes of God
      > the Logos dwell personally in the assumed nature in such a way
      that
      > they manifest their activities (energies) in and through it, as we
      > have said. However, the eternity and boundlessness cohere with an
      > indivisible connection. For the divine power of the Logos which
      > manifests its activities through the assumed nature is an eternal
      and
      > boundless power. These things are plain to those who love the
      truth.
      >
      > "Other created things are changed in respect to certain qualities
      by
      > the activity (energy) of the divine attributes, just as a rive
      which
      > flows from a fountain or rays which are given off of a light. But
      in
      > Christ's assumed nature the divine power of the Logos produces not
      > only conditions or qualities, but it also manifests its own divine
      > activities through the assumed flesh in the manner described. And
      > the result is that we use of the figure of the flesh of Christ as
      > being life-giving. But it is said that the flesh of Christ as a
      > result of the union was not made an eternal, infinite, boundless,
      > spiritual essence, and therefore the entire fullness of the
      Godhead
      > was not personally communicated to the assumed nature. This
      problem
      > is easily solved. For by the person communication of the other
      > attributes the humanity of Christ is not made omnipotent,
      omniscient,
      > or vivifying of itself or in itself, essentially, or in essence,
      by
      > some property or condition of its own nature, but because the
      assumed
      > humanity possesses personally, united to itself, the attributes of
      > the divine Logos in such a way that the attributes show their
      > activities (energies) in and through the humanity, just as we have
      > described concerning the heated iron. And thus it is said to have
      > communion with them. (pp. 306-309)
      >
    • William Weedon
      They don t, but that s not to say that they shouldn t. NOT to reopen this perennial can of worms again, but you might want to search the archives for a
      Message 34 of 34 , Feb 23, 2007
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        They don't, but that's not to say that they shouldn't. NOT to reopen
        this perennial can of worms again, but you might want to search the
        archives for a discussion of perpetual virginity. The following link
        might also be of some help:

        http://www.stpaullutheranchurchhamel.org/Perpetual_Virginity.doc

        FWIW.

        On Feb 20, 2007, at 5:29 PM, concernedlcms wrote:

        > Well put, Ake, although I don't believe that all Lutherans hold
        > to "semper virgo," even if it is referred to in the Lutheran
        > Confessions. For me, Matt. 1:25 demolishes it completely.

        William Weedon
        Pastor, St. Paul Lutheran Church
        Hamel, IL USA

        ________

        But what is the "law of faith?" It is, being saved by grace. Here he
        shows God's power, in that He has not only saved, but has even
        justified, and led them to boasting, and this too without needing
        works, but looking for faith only. - St. John Chrysostom, Homily on
        Romans 3.
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