- They object, first, certain passages of the Scripture, in which the humanity of Christ is called the temple and habitation of God : “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up But he spoke of the temple of his body” (John, ii, 19 21). In another place it is said : ” For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporeally” (Col. ii, 9). We answer, that in these texts the personal union of the Word with the human nature is not denied, but is even more strongly confirmed. Why should we be surprised that the body of Christ, hypostatically united with his soul to the Divine Word, should be called a temple? Why, even our body united to the soul is called a house and tabernacle : ” For we know if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved” (II. Cor. v, 1). And again (ver. 4) : ” For we also who are in this tabernacle do groan, being burthened.” As, therefore, it is no argument against the personal union of the body and soul, to call the body a house and tabernacle, so calling the body of Christ a temple does not prove anything against the hypostatic union of the Word with the humanity of Christ; on the contrary, our Saviour even expresses this union himself in the words which follow : ” In three days I will raise it up;” for by that he shows that he was not only man, but God.
(7) St. Amb. De Incar. c. 5. (8) St. Hieron. trac. 49, in Joan. & seq. (9) Concil. Ephes. t. 3; Con. p. 115,
The Divinity of Christ is also clearly proved by the other text, in which St. Paul says that the followers of the Divinity dwelt bodily in him, thus declaring him to be at the same time true God and true man, according to the words of St. John : ” The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”
- They object, secondly, that text of the Epistle: ” Being made in the likeness of man, and in habit formed as a man” (Phil, ii, 7). According to that, they say that Christ was a man like unto all other men. We answer that in the previous part of the text the Apostle already answers this, for he shows that Christ was God and equal to God : ” Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Therefore the words quoted only prove that the Divine Word being God was made man like unto other men, but that he was not a mere man like all other men.
- They object, thirdly, that every thing in nature ought to have its own peculiar subsistentia, but the subsistentia of human nature is a human person, therefore if in Christ there was not a human person he was not true man. We reply that this is not necessary, if there be a higher or more noble subsistentia, as was the case in Christ, where the Word sustained both Natures, and, therefore, though in Christ there was only the Divine Person of the Word, still he was true man, because the human nature subsisted in the Word itself.
- They object, fourthly, if the humanity of Christ consisted of both soul and body, it was complete and perfect; there was, therefore, in him a human person, besides the Divine Person. We answer, that the humanity of Christ was complete by reason of nature, for it wanted nothing, but not by reason of the Person, because the Person in which the Nature subsisted and was comprised was not a human but a Divine Person, and, therefore, we cannot say that there were two Persons in Christ, for one Person alone, that of the Word, sustains and comprises both the Divine and human Nature.
- They object, fifthly, that St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Athanasius have sometimes called the humanity of Christ the house, the domicile, and the temple of God the Word. Besides that, St. Athanasius, Eusebius of Ceserea, and St. Cyril himself, have spoken of it as the instrument of the Divinity. St. Basil calls Christ” Deiferous,” the bearer of God. St. Epiphanius and St. Augustine, ” Hominem Dominicum,” and St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, in the ” Te Deum,” say that the Word assumed man. We answer, that the Fathers, as we have already seen, have clearly expressed that Christ is true God and true man, so that if there be any obscure passage in these words it is easily cleared up by many others. St. Basil calls Christ the God-bearing man, not because he admits a human person in Christ, but to quash the error of Apollinares, who denied that Christ had a rational soul, and the Holy Father only intended, therefore, to show by this expression that the Word assumed both a body and soul; when St. Ambrose and St. Augustine say that the Word assumed man, ” assumpsit hominem,” they only use the word ” hominem” for human nature.
- We may as well also here refute the errors of the Bishops Felix and Elipandus, who taught (ch. v, n. 39), that Jesus Christ as man was not the natural, but only the adopted Son of God. This opinion was condemned by several Councils, and also by the Popes Adrian and Leo X. The learned Petavius (1) says that it is not actually heretical, but at all events it is rash, and approaching to error, for it is more or less opposed to the unity of the Person of Christ, who, even as man, should be called the natural, and not the adopted Son of God, lest we might be drawn in to admit that in Christ there were two Sons, one natural, and the other adopted.
(1) Petav. l. 7, c. 4, n. 11, et c. 5, n. 8.
There are, however, two reasons to prove that Christ as man should be called the natural Son of God; the more simple one is found in that passage of the Scriptures, in which the Father speaks of the eternal and continual generation of the Son : ” Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Psalms, ii, 7). Hence, as the Divine Son was generated previous to his Incarnation, without being personally united to human nature by the flesh, so when he took flesh he was generated, and is always generated, with human nature, hypostatically united to the Divine Person; and hence the Apostle, speaking of Christ as man, applies to him the text of David now quoted : ” So Christ also did not glorify himself, that he might be made a high priest, but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Heb. v, 5). Jesus Christ, therefore, even according to his humanity, is the true Natural Son of God (2).