OBJECTIONS ANSWERED.

 

  

 

18. First, the Eutychians quote certain texts of Scripture, by which it would appear that one Nature is changed into the other, as that of St. John (i, 14) : ” The Word was made flesh ;” therefore the Word was  hanged into flesh. Also that passage of St. Paul, in which it is said, that ” Christ emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil, ii, 7); therefore, the Divine Nature is changed. We reply to the first objection, that the Word was not changed into flesh, but was made flesh by assuming humanity in the unity of the Person, without suffering any change in the union. Thus it is said also of Jesus Christ (Gal. iii, 13), that “he was made a curse for us,” inasmuch as he took on himself the malediction which we deserved, to free us from it. St. John Chrysostom says, that the very words which follow the text they lay so much stress on explain the difference of the two Natures : ” The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father.” Now, here the Word is said to have dwelt among us, which is a proof that he is different from us, for that which dwells is different from that which is dwelt in. Here are his words (1) : ” Quid enim subjicit ? “Et habitavit in nobis.” Non enim mutationem illam incommutabilis illius naturæ significavit, sed habitationem, et commemorationem porro id quod habitat, non est idem cum eo quod habitatur, sed diversum.” And here we may remark, that these expressions of St. John give a death blow, at the same time, to the Eutychian and Nestorian heresies, for when Nestorius says that the Word dwells in the humanity of Christ alone, because the Evangelist says, ” he dwelt among us,” he is refuted by the antecedent part of the sentence, ” the Word was made flesh,” which proves not alone a mere inhabitation, but a union with human nature in one Person; and, on the other hand, when Eutyches says that the Word is said to be turned into flesh, he is refuted by the subsequent expression, ” and dwelt among us,” which proves that the Word is not changed into flesh (even after the union of the flesh), but remains God the same as before, without confounding the Divine Nature with the human nature he assumed.

 

(1) St. John Chrys. Hom. 11, in Joan.

 

19. We should not be startled, either, at the expression, ” made flesh,” for this is but a manner of expressing a thing, and does not at all times mean the conversion of one thing into another, but  frequently that one thing was superadded to another, as in Genesis we read that Adam ” became (was made into, fact us est) a living soul” (ii, 7). Now, the obvious meaning of this is, not that the body of Adam, which was already created, was converted into a soul, but that the soul was created and joined to the body. St. Cyril makes a very pertinent remark on this in his Dialogue, ” De Incarnatione Unigeniti.” He says : ” At si Verbum inquiunt, factum est caro, jam non amplius mansit Verbum, sed potius desiit esse quod erat. Atqui hoc merum delirium, et dementia est, nihilque aliud quam mentis errata? ludibrium. Consent enim, ut videtur, per hoc factum est, necessaria quadam ratione mutationem, alterationemque ignificari. Ergo cum psallunt quidam, etfactus est nihilominus in refugium; et rursus, Domine refugium factus est nobis, quid respondebunt ? Anne deus, qui hie decantatur, definens esse Deus, mutatus est in refugium, et translatus est naturaliter in aliud, quod ab initio non erat ? Cum itaque Dei mentio fit, si ab alio dicatur illud factus est, quo pacto non absurdum, atque adeo vehementer absurdum existimare mutationem aliquam per id significari, et non potius conari id aliqua ratione intelligere, pudcnterque ad id quod Deo maxime convenit accommodari ? ” St. Augustine also explains how the Word was made flesh without any change (2) : ” Neque enim, quia dictum est, Dem erat Verbum, et Verbum caro factum, sic Verbum caro factum est, ut esse desineret Deus, quando in ipsa carne, quod Verbum caro factum est, Emmanuel natum est nobiscum Deus. Sicut Verbum, quod corde gestamus, sit vox, cum id ore proferimus, non tamen illud in hanc commutatur, sed illo integro, ista in qua procedat, assumitur, ut et intus maneat, quod intelligatur, et soris sonet, quod audiatur. Hoc idem tamen profertur in sono, quod ante sonuerat in silentio. Atque ita in Verbum, cum sit vox, non mutatur in vocem, sed maneus in mentis luce, et assumpta carnis voce procedit ad audientem, ut non deferat cogitantem.”

 

(2) St. August. Ser. 187, & al. 77, de Tempore.

 

  

 

20. As to the second objection, taken from the words, ” He emptied himself,” the answer is very clear, from what we have said already; for the Word ” emptied himself,” not by losing what he was, but by assuming what he was not, for he, being God, equal to the Father in his Divine Nature, ” took the form of a servant,” thereby making himself less than the Father in his assumed nature, and humbling himself in it even to the death of the Cross : “He humbled himself, being made obedient unto death, even to the death of the Cross ;” but, notwithstanding, he retained his Divinity, and was, therefore, equal to the Father.

 

21. It was not, however, the Eutychians, properly speaking, who made use of these objections, for they did not assert that the Divine was changed into the human nature, but that the human was changed into the Divine Nature, and they quoted some passages of the Holy Fathers, which they did not understand in their true sense, in their favour. First They say that St. Justin, in his Second Apology, writes, that in the Eucharist the bread is converted into the body of Christ, as the Word was into flesh. But Catholics answer, that the Saint only wished, by this expression, to say that the real and true body of Christ is in the Eucharist, just as the Word in reality assumed and retained human flesh; and the context, if read, shows that this is the true meaning of the passage. The argument is this : that as, in the Incarnation, the Word was made flesh, so, in the Eucharist, the bread is made the body of Christ; but if he intended to teach, as the Eutychians assert, that in the Incarnation of the Word the humanity was absorbed into the Divinity, he never could have said that in the Eucharist the true body of our Lord exists.

 

22. Secondly They found an objection on that passage of the Athanasian Creed : ” As a rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ.” Hence, they argue the two Natures are but one. To this we reply, that these words denote an unity of Person, and not of Nature, in Christ, and that is manifest from the words, ” one Christ,” for by Christ is properly understood the Person, and not the Nature.

 

23. They object, thirdly, that St. Iræneus, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Augustine, and St. Leo (3), call the union of the two Natures a mixture or fusion, and compare it to the mixture of two fluids one with the other. We answer with St. Augustine (as quoted), that these Fathers did not make use of these expressions, because they believed that the two Natures were confounded, but to explain how close the union was, and that the Divine was united to the human nature as closely and intimately as the colouring poured into a liquid unites with every portion of it. This is St. Augustine’s explanation : ” Sicut in unitate Personæ Anima unitur corpori, ut homo sit : ita in unitate Personæ Deus unitur homini, ut Christus sit. In ilia ergo persona mixtura est Animaa et corporis; in hac Persona mixtura est Dei et hominis : si tamen recedat auditor a consuetudine corporum, qua solent duo liquores ita commisceri, ut neuter servet integritatem suam, quamquam et in ipsis corporibus æri lux incorrupta misceatur.”  Tertullian previously gave the same explanation.

 

24. They object, fourthly, the authority of Pope Julius in his Epistle to Dionisius, Bishop of Corinth, in which he blames those who believed that there were two Natures in Christ, and also one expression of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, quoted by Photius, who says that there are not two Persons, nor two Natures, for then we should be adoring four. But we answer, with Leontius(4), that these Epistles are falsely attributed to these Holy Fathers, for the Epistle attributed to Julius is supposed to have been the production of Apollinares, since St. Gregory of Nyssa quotes several passages from it, as written by Apollinares, and refutes them. We have the same reply to make to the quotation from St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, for it is universally supposed to have been written by the Apollinarists, or Eutychians.

 

(3) St. Iræn. l. 2, ad. User. c. 21; Tertull. Apol. c 21; St. Cyprian, Van. Idol.; St Grog. Nyss. Catech c. 25; St. Angus. Ep. 137, al. 3, ad Volusian.; St. Leo, Ser. 3, in die Natal.(4) Leon, de Sect. art. 4

 

They object, fifthly, that St. Gregory of Nyssa says, in his Fourth Oration against Eunomius, that human nature was united with the Divine Word; but we answer, that notwithstanding this union, each Nature retained its own properties, as St. Gregory himself says : ” Nihilominus in utraque, quod cuique proprium  est, intuetur.” Finally, they say, if there were two Natures in Christ, there would be also two Persons; but we have already disposed of that objection in our Refutation of Nestorianism (Ref. vii, n. 16), in which we have shown that there is nothing repugnant in the existence of two Natures, distinct and unmixed, in the sole Person of Christ.