1. The Monothelites object, first, that prayer of St. Dionisius in his Epistle to Caius : ” Deo viro facto unam quandum Theandricam, seu Deivirilem operationem expressit in vita ;” that is, that in the God made man there is one Theandric or human-divine operation. We answer, with Sophronius, that this passage was corrupted by the Monothelites, by changing the word, ” novam quamdam” into ” unam quandam,” or a new sort of Theandric operation, into some one Theandric operation. This was noticed in the Third Council of Lateran, in which St. Martin commanded the Notary Paschasias to read the Greek copy that was preserved, and the words were found to be novam quandam, &c., and not unam, &c., and this was in no wise opposed to the Catholic doctrine, and can be explained two ways in an orthodox sense. First As St. John of Damascus says, every operation (1) performed by Christ by the Divine and human nature is Theandric, or human-divine, because it is the operation of a Man-God, and is attributed to the Person of Christ, the term, at the same time, of both the Divine and human nature. The second sense, as Sophronius and St. Maximus lay down is this, that the new Theandric operation St. Dionisius speaks of should be restricted to those operations of Christ alone, in which the Divine and human natures concur, and, therefore, there are three distinct operations to be noted in him : first, those which peculiarly belong to human nature alone, as walking, eating, sitting, and so forth; secondly, those which belong purely to the Divine Nature, as remitting sins, working miracles, and the like; and, thirdly, those which proceed from both Natures, as healing the sick by touching them, raising the dead by calling them, &c.; and it is of operations of this sort that the passage of St. Dionisius is to be explained.
  2. Secondly, They object that St. Athanasius (2) admits the Divine Will only, ” voluntatem Deitatis  tantum;” but we answer that this does not exclude human will, but only that opposing will which springs from sin, as the context proves. Thirdly They object that St. Gregory of Nazianzen (3) says that the will of Christ was not opposed to God, as it was totally Deified : ” Christi velle non fuisse Deo contrarium, utpote Deificatem totum.” We answer, with St. Maximus and St. Agatho, that there is not the least doubt but that St. Gregory admitted two wills, and the whole meaning of this expression is that the human will of Christ was never opposed to the Divine will. They object, fourthly, that St. Gregory of Nyssa, writing against Eunomius says, that the Deity worked out the salvation of man; the suffering, he says, was of the flesh, but the operation was of God : ” Operatur vere Deitas per corpus, quod circa ipsam est omnium salutem, ut sit carnis quidem passio, Dei autem operatio.”

(1) St. Jo. Damas. l. 3, de Fide Or thodox. c. 19. – (2) St. Athanas. in I. de Adv. Chri. (3) St. Greg. Naz. Orat, 2 de Filio.

This objection was answered in the Sixth Council, for the Saint having said that the humanity of Christ suffered, admitted by that that Christ operated by the humanity. All that St. Gregory in fact wanted to prove against Eunomius was, that the sufferings and the operations of Christ received a supreme value from the Person of the Word who sustains his humanity, and therefore he attributed these operations to the Word. They object, fifthly, that St. Cyril of Alexandria (4) says that Christ showed some cognate operation, “quandum cognatam operationem.” We reply, that from the context it is manifest that the Saint speaks of the miracles of Christ in which his Divine Nature operated by his omnipotence, and his human nature by the contact, commanded by his human will; and thus this operation is called by the Saint an associated one. Sixthly, they object that many of the Fathers called the human nature of Christ the instrument of the Divinity. We answer, that these Fathers never understood the humanity to have been an inanimate instrument, which operated nothing of itself, as the Monothelites say, but their meaning was that the Word being united with the humanity, governed it as its own, and operated through its powers and faculties. Finally, they oppose to us some passages of Pope Julius, of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, and some writings of Menna to Vigilius, and of Vigilius to Menna; but our reply to this is that these passages are not authentic, but were foisted into the works of the Fathers by the Apollinarists and Eutychians. It was proved in the Sixth Council (Act. XIV.), that the writings attributed to Menna and Vigilius were forged by the Monothelites.

  1. The Monothelites endeavour to prop up their opinions by several other reasons. If you admit two wills in Christ, they say, you must also admit an opposition between them. But we, Catholics, say that this supposition is totally false; the human will of Christ never could oppose the Divine will, for he took our nature, and was made in all things like us but with the exception of sin; as St. Paul says (Heb. iv, 15), he was ” one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin.” He never, therefore, had those movements we have to violate the Divine law, but his will was always conformable to the Divine will.

(4) St. Cyril, Alex. l. 4, in Joan.

The Fathers make a distinction between the natural and arbitrary will; the natural will is the power itself of wishing, the arbitrary will is the power of wishing anything, either good or bad. Christ had the natural human will, but not the arbitrary human will, for he always wished, and could only wish what was most conformable to the Divine will, and hence he says; ” I do always the things that please him” (John, viii, 29). It is because the Monothelites have not made this distinction of the will that they deny altogether to Christ human will : ” Sicut origo erroris Nestorianorum et Eutychianorum fuit, quod non satis distinguerent personam, et naturam; sic et Monothelitis, et quod nescirent quia inter voluntatem Naturalem, et Personalem, sive Arbitrarium discriminis interesset, hoc in causa fuisse, ut unam in Christo dicerent voluntatem” (5).

  1. They say, secondly, that there being only one Person there must be only one will, because, the Mover being but one, the faculty by which he moves the inferior powers must be but one likewise. We answer, that where there is but one Person and one Nature there can- be only one will and one operation, but where there is one Person and two Natures, as the Divine and human nature in Christ, we must admit two wills and two distinct operations, corresponding to the two Natures. They say, very properly, that the will and the operations are not multiplied according as the Persons are multipled, for in the case where one Nature is the term of several Persons, as is the case in the Most Holy Trinity, then in this Nature there is only one will and one operation alone, common to all the Persons included in the term of the Nature. Here the Monothelites have reason on their side, for the Mover is but one. But it is quite otherwise when the Person is one of the two Natures, for then the Mover, although but one, has to move two Natures, by which he operates, and, consequently, he must have two wills and two operations.
  2. They make a third objection. The operations, they say, belong to two Persons, and, consequently, when the Person is but one, the operation must be but one likewise. We answer, that it is not always the case that when there is but one Person that there is but one operating faculty, but when there are more Persons than one, then there must be more than one operating faculty. There are three Persons in God, but only one operation common to all three, because the Divine Nature is one and in divisible in God. But as in Jesus Christ there are two distinct Natures, there are, therefore, two wills, by which he operates, and two operations corresponding to each Nature; and, although all the operations, both of the Divine and human Nature are attributed to the Word, which terminates and sustains the two Natures, still the will and operations of the Divine Nature should not be confounded with those of the human nature; neither are the two Natures confused because the Person is one.

(5) St. Joan.Damas Orat. de 2 Chris. Volent.