Monday, 20 October 2014

Two wills

Hi and welcome to Monday's blog-entry, the goal of 3/week remains thus far upheld, so why not publically state it and keep going? So Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, rock on.

Ever since viewing Holmes' talk on Inseparable operations at Fuller, and a small email exchange with this fascinating scholar (big privilege for me), I cannot stop the questions gushing.

If Nicea 325 (Trinity, with a capital T) leads to Chalcedon 451 (two-natures of Christ, his "hypostatic union"), then Chalcedon leads to the third Council of Constantinople, in which monothelitism and monoenergism are designated heretical, i.e. that Christ cannot have only one will, for the same reason that God cannot be divided or have more than one will. For me, this makes sense

This rather epic doctrinal voyage needs to be seen - in my view - as necessary. That is to say, with hindsight, that these three ports-of-call were always going to be necessary once having docked at the first. It is not a simple affair, as I might previously have thought, to follow the Reformed and Lutheran traditions, who object to such a prescribed itinerary, since they only recognise the first four ecumenical councils (or parts of). This means that they accept Nicea I and II (Trinity), Ephesus (?!) and Chalcedon (hypostatic union of Christ), but from the sixth ecumenical council (the one in question), they are out of the game, no doubt put off by the debate around Mary's title (although note my "?!" around the third ecumenical council in Ephesus which is already condemning the title Christokos.)

Right, onto the questions, and assuming that the doctrinal itinerary relative to Christ - rather than his Mum - is necessary (that obviously needs to be explored in greater depth at another time to see quite how the Lutherans can consider "bowing out" of the doctrinal journey as a legitimate option):

Firstly, declaring that Christ has two natures, is one thing, but to declare that he has two wills, or “centres of volition”, and that this is foundational to orthodox Christian faith, does this not mean that we as Christians accept that Christ has more wills than God?

Secondly, do we uphold that the hypostatic union once forged and in maintaining these two wills, remains eternally so within an eternal hypostatic union? If Jesus at times wills, does and says certain things that are not His divine will, divine actions and divine words, then where does that leave the cross and the resurrection? Is there a fourth port of call? That God died on the cross, that Christ only died in respect to his humanity, or do we finally have to defer to mystery at this point? In my main scriptural overview, the question of God raising Jesus is the third largest and most consistent distinctive placed between "God" and "Jesus" in the New Testament, only behind "God and Jesus" passages and "Son of God" passages. So with no less than 12 (although possibly more, I have yet to finish the first run-through) occurrences of this sort (within which, 2 Corinthians fits but refers to God with His pronoun), I think we need to take the following very seriously in questioning the great doctrinal voyage:

1 Pet 1:21
Col 2:12
Heb 13:20
Acts 10:40

Ephesians 1:20

God[a] put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places

Ephesians 2:6

But God [...] raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places

Romans 8:11

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ[a] from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through[b] his Spirit that dwells in you

Romans 10:9

if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

1 Corinthians 15:15

We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.

Galatians 1:1

Paul an apostle—sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

For the people of those regions[b]report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus

2 Corinthians 4:14

we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence.

1 Peter 1:21

Through him you now trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory

Colossians 2:12

Having been buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead.

Hebrews 13:20

may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep

It seems like a lot of doctrinal work had to be done to navigate through contrasting wills, the greatness of the Father exceeding the s/Son’s, but what is the catholic view around the divine Son's death at the cross?

Your thoughts please.

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