Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Mystical Union

I get more and more amazed at the theology behind the Holy Eucharist.  I knew a little of the Real Presence, that like the Catholics, the Presbyterians believe that Christ really is present in the sacraments. 

Now I have read Calvin's theology on it as told by R.C. Sproul.

First, I will cite Romans 10:5-8

Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: “The man who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming.

From quoting Deuteronomy, Paul notes that we cannot bring Christ down to our level.  We cannot raise him from the dead either.  Christ does all that on his own initiative.

Monday's Tabletalk discussed how Christ is in heaven yet all around us.  "According to the hypostatic union, Christ is both truly human and truly divine."

Then, people got confused about how he can be both.  So they had the Council of Chalcedon.  They discovered that "In the one person of Jesus, these two natures are perfectly united without mixture, confusion, separation, or division and each nature retains its own peculiar properties."

So Jesus the human had a body that was a real human body.  It could only be in one place at one time.  Jesus as God the Son is divine and can be in all places at once.  If his body is one place, his divine nature can be everywhere.  "Jesus's divine nature makes him always present with us...Thurs we can commune with him wherever we are."

This is in discussing the ascension.  Jesus had been with his disciples 40 days and then he rose to heaven in sight of all his disciples.  Therefore, his body is in heaven and stays on the throne in one place where he rules the world.  Here is the Coram Deo from Monday, "Since Jesus has a human body with all its limitations, it does not become omnipresent and distributed around the world in the elements.  Instead, as John Calvin explained, we are raised to heaven, where we feed on the whole Christ in his humanity and in his deity."  

So, the way Calvin has it systematized, in communion, Christ's body is not coming down in the bread and wine for us to taste.  Instead, he transports the souls of the true believers up to heaven where we can feast on both his body and his spirit.  This is mind boggling, and I am so glad I finally understand where Presbyterians stand on Real Presence.  It's so much better because Christ is completely alive, we are with him, and we are enjoying a kiss with him while still on earth.  We Protestants really do fail when we don't celebrate communion every week.  We don't get the full weekly dose of heaven.  Again, I'm so glad that God overrides our folly. 

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