Monday, July 8, 2013

Nicaea and Chalcedon

I finished the letters that Ignatius did not write yet are still under his name.  Mostly, I thought they were good theology that Ig would have written.  It has emphasis on following the bishop, church unity, and creeds.  Whoever wrote them greatly admired him. 

The main confusion in these letters is that the different letters have different ambiguities on the Trinity and Christ's deity.  Sometimes he's a created being.  Sometimes he is God who created.

For this post, I will recount Trinitarian heresies based on R.C. Sproul's booklet: What Is the Trinity?

Monarchianism works hard to protect God's monotheism amid the glorification of Jesus.

The first kind of monarchianism is Modalism, which teaches that all three persons of the Trinity are the same person, but they behave in unique "modes" at different times.  God revealed himself as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at different times in history.  This belief denies that the Son and the Holy Spirit existed from eternity and says that they are just emanations of God the Father. 

True Christianity does not agree with Modalism because the Bible clearly teaches that the Spirit of God hovered over the waters at creation and that Jesus Christ was in a covenant with the Father and the Spirit from eternity.

The other monarchianism is Adoptionism.  For some reasons, the proponents such as Arius, believe this protects monotheism.  I think this creates false gods.  According to Adoptionists, God created Jesus before he created anything else.  Then, they both created the world.  God sent Jesus to redeem the world, and since Jesus obeyed perfectly and his sacrifice saves sinners, he gets to be counted as God with the Father.

No, no, no.  This is a blasphemy to Jesus who always is, was, and will be.  Jesus existed from eternity with the Father and the Spirit.  If Colossians 1:15 says he was firstborn over creation, it means that Jesus was the greatest man, not that he was created or had a beginning.  Plus, adoptionism makes Jesus less than God, a demigod.  God clearly commanded that we worship only him.  To count Jesus as God in this theology would be to have two gods.  There is only one God who will not share his throne.  Jesus must be the true God from all time and uncreated.  He was begotten but not made.

The council of Nicaea declared God to be one in essence, but three in persons.  These persons are distinct but not separated.

After the Council of Nicaea, later heresies developed.  People concentrated too long and hard about how Jesus could be both God and man.

Monophysites proclaim that Jesus's human and divine nature are fused into one entity that is neither God nor human.  It is divinely human or humanly divine. 

This makes Jesus less than God when the truth is, he is completely God at the same time as being completely man.  His divine nature is completely divine, and his human nature is completely human.  They do not mix.

Nestorians proclaimed the two natures to be separate, but with no unity.  Jesus's spirit was simply a Siamese twin struggling within his body.  This cannot be.  There is only one Jesus.  He is not double-minded.  He is completely divine and completely human.  His natures are distinct, but they are not separate.  To separate them would be to erase Jesus.  Jesus's two natures connect and are together.

The Council of Chalcedon solved these two problems by saying that Jesus is one man but with two natures expressed in four negatives.  His human nature and his divine nature are united but without confusion, change, division, or separation.  We limited creatures cannot say what exactly it is, but we know that there are no two separate personalities within Jesus.

I shall talk more about this subject.

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