Saturday, June 15, 2019

Monoousios vs. Homoousios - further reflections

In the previous AF thread which dealt with the topic of monoousios vs. homoousios (link), I provided selections from Christian theologians and historians who acknowledged that the term homoousion, used in the Nicene Creed and by a number of subsequent Church Fathers, was most likely understood in a generic sense, rather than an absolute numeric sense. In this new post, I hope to establish beyond any reasonable doubt that the generic understanding is the most viable option.

At the end of the opening post of the above referenced thread, I mentioned that the generic understanding of homoousios, "is the dominant understanding of many Eastern Orthodox theologians". Interestingly enough, a LDS author back in 2004 provided substantial support for my reflections—the following quote is from the book, Prelude to the Restoration (2004):

Christos Yannaras proposes that “schematically: God is a Nature and three Persons; man is a nature and ‘innumerable’ persons. God is consubstantial and in three hypostases, man is consubstantial and in innumerable hypostases.” Essence could thus be characterized as that nature which, for the Trinity, is divinity, and that nature which, for humans, is humanity. (J. B. Haws, "Defenders of the Doctrine of Deification", p. 77) [The quote that Haws provided from the EO theologian Yannaras, is from the book Elements of Faith, p, 36.]

Haws' understanding of the Yannaras quote, brings to mind the Christology delineated in the Chalcedonian Definition (451)—the germane portion is provided below:

Following therefore the holy Fathers, we all with one accord teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Divinity (theotēti) and also perfect in humanity (anthrōpotēti); truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and body; same essence (homoousion) with the Father according to the Divinity (theotēta), and same essence (homoousion) with us according to the humanity (anthrōpotēta) ...

Ἑπόμενοι τοίνυν τοῖς ἁγίοις πατράσιν ἕνα καὶ τὸν αὐτὸν ὁμολογεῖν υἱὸν τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν συμφώνως ἅπαντες ἐκδιδάσκομεν, τέλειον τὸν αὐτὸν ἐν θεότητι καὶ τέλειον τὸν αὐτὸν ἐν ἀνθρωπότητι, θεὸν ἀληθῶς καὶ ἄνθρωπον ἀληθῶς τὸν αὐτὸν, ἐκ ψυχῆς λογικῆς καὶ σώματος, ὁμοούσιον τῷ πατρὶ κατὰ τὴν θεότητα, καὶ ὁμοούσιον τὸν αὐτὸν ἡμῖν κατὰ τὴν ἀνθρωπότητα ...

Clearly we have before us an application of the term homoousion in a generic sense. As such, we can add the Chalcedonian Definition to the list of examples wherein the term homoousion is used in the generic sense—e.g. Nicene Creed, numerous post-Nicene Church Fathers and EO theologians.

The concept that "man is consubstantial and in innumerable hypostases" means all the members of mankind share one and the same nature/essence. When the same type of concept is applied to the Godhead, it means that all members of the Godhead share one and the same nature/essence; or as Haws states it:

Essence could thus be characterized as that nature which, for the Trinity, is divinity, and that nature which, for humans, is humanity.

For one to be human from human, one has to be fully human—possessing the nature of humanity in its fullness—not partially human, or even mostly human. For one to be God from God, one has to be fully God—possessing the nature of divinity in its fullness—not partially God, or even mostly God.

To end, I would like to submit that when the related concepts of 'God from God', 'homoosion with the Father', and 'begotten not made' are applied to Jesus Christ, two early theological errors are avoided: first, modalism, which changed the understanding of homoosios into monoousios, and denied the causality of the Son from the Father; and second, Arianism, which denied that the Son of God was fully God.

Grace and peace,


Thursday, June 6, 2019

Todd Lawson's, The Crucifixion and the Qur'an, now available online for free download

Back on November 21, 2009, I published the following post:

Does the Qur'an deny the crucifixion and physical death of Jesus?

This post introduced AF readers to Dr. Todd Lawson's definitive work concerning the controversial issue of the crucifixion Jesus in the Qur'an and early Islamic interpretation.

Earlier today, I discovered that Dr. Lawson has made this book available on his website for free download—link for PDF provided below:

The Crucifixion and the Qur'an - PDF

Enjoy !!!

Grace and peace,