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“Theodoret On the Person of Christ - Greek Text with English translation”

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From Eranistes 2

Eran.—Therefore the Lord Jesus is God only.

Orth.—You hear that the divine Word was made man, and do you call him God only?

Eran.—Since He became man without being changed, but remained just what He was before, we must call Him just what He was.

Orth.—The divine Word was and is and will be immutable. But when He had taken man’s nature He became man. It behoves us therefore to confess both natures, both that which took, and that which was taken.

From Eranistes 3

Orth.—Well; in the story of Abraham you were not content with the letter, but unfolded it and made the meaning clear. In precisely the same manner examine the meaning of the words of the Apostle. You will then see that it was by no means the divine nature which was not withheld, but the flesh nailed to the Cross. And it is easy to perceive the truth even in the type. Do you regard Abraham’s sacrifice as a type of the oblation offered on behalf of the world?

Eran.—Not at all, nor yet can I make words spoken rhetorically in the churches a rule of faith.

Orth.—You ought by all means to follow teachers of the Church, but, since you improperly oppose yourself to these, hear the Saviour Himself when addressing the Jews; “Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see my day and he saw it and was glad.” Note that the Lord calls His passion “a day.”

Eran.—I accept the Lord’s testimony and do not doubt the type.

Orth.—Now compare the type with the reality and you will see the impassibility of the Godhead even in the type. Both in the former and in the latter there is a Father; both in the former and the latter a well beloved Son, each bearing the material for the sacrifice. The one bore the wood, the other the cross upon his shoulders. It is said that the top of the hill was dignified by the sacrifice of both. There is a correspondence moreover between the number of days and nights and the resurrection which followed, for after Isaac had been slain by his father’s willing heart, on the third day after the bountiful God had ordered the deed to be done, he rose to new life at the voice of Him who loves mankind. A lamb was seen caught in a thicket, furnishing an image of the cross, and slain instead of the lad. Now if this is a type of the reality, and in the type the only begotten Son did not undergo sacrifice, but a lamb was substituted and laid upon the altar and completed the mystery of the oblation, why then in the reality do you hesitate to assign the passion to the flesh, and to proclaim the impassibility of the Godhead?

Eran.—In your observations upon this type you represent Isaac as living again at the divine command. There is nothing therefore unseemly if, fitting the reality to the type, we declare that God the Word suffered and came to life again.

Orth.—I have said again and again that it is quite impossible for the type to match the archetypal reality in every respect, and this may also be easily understood in the present instance. Isaac and the lamb, as touching the difference of their natures, suit the image, but as touching the separation of their divided persons they do so no longer. We preach so close an union of Godhead and of manhood as to understand one person undivided, and to acknowledge the same to be both God and man, visible and invisible, circumscribed and uncircumscribed, and we apply to one of the persons all the attributes which are indicative alike of Godhead and of manhood. Now since the lamb, an unreasoning being, and not gifted with the divine image, could not possibly prefigure the restoration to life, the two divide between them the type of the mystery of the œconomy, and while one furnishes the image of death, the other supplies that of the resurrection. We find precisely the same thing in the Mosaic sacrifices, for in them too may be seen a type outlined in anticipation of the passion of salvation.

From Eranistes 3

Orth.—You say that the divine nature came down from heaven and that in consequence of the union it was called the Son of man. Thus it behoves us to say that the flesh was nailed to the tree, but to hold that the divine nature even on the cross and in the tomb was inseparable from this flesh, though from it it derived no sense of suffering, since the divine nature is naturally incapable of undergoing both suffering and death and its substance is immortal and impassible. It is in this sense that the crucified is styled Lord of Glory, by attribution of the title of the impassible nature to the passible, since, as we know, a body is described as belonging to this latter.
Now let us examine the matter thus. The words of the divine Apostle are “Had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.” They crucified the nature which they knew, not that of which they were wholly ignorant: had they known that of which they were ignorant they would not have crucified that which they knew: they crucified the human because they were ignorant of the divine. Have you forgotten their own words. “For a good work we stone thee not but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” These words are a plain proof that they recognised the nature they saw, while of the invisible they were wholly ignorant: had they known that nature they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Eran.—That is very probable, but the exposition of the faith laid down by the Fathers in council at Nicæa says that the only begotten Himself, very God, of one substance with the Father, suffered and was crucified.

Orth.—You seem to forget what we have agreed on again and again.

Eran.—What do you mean?

Orth.—I mean that after the union the holy Scripture applies to one person terms both of exaltation and of humiliation. But possibly you are also ignorant that the illustrious Fathers first mentioned His taking flesh and being made man, and then afterwards added that He suffered and was crucified, and thus spoke of the passion after they had set forth the nature capable of passion.

Eran.—The Fathers said that the Son of God, Light of Light, of the substance of the Father, suffered and was crucified.

Orth.—I have observed more than once that both the Divine and the human are ascribed to the one Person. It is in accordance with this position that the thrice blessed Fathers, after teaching how we should believe in the Father, and then passing on to the person of the Son, did not immediately add “and in the Son of God,” although it would have very naturally followed that after defining what touches God the Father they should straightway have introduced the name of Son. But their object was to give us at one and the same time instruction on the theology and on the œconomy, lest there should be supposed to be any distinction between the Person of the Godhead and the Person of the Manhood. On this account they added to their statement concerning the Father that we must believe also in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Now after the incarnation God the Word is called Christ, for this name includes alike all that is proper to the Godhead and to the manhood. We recognise nevertheless that some properties belong to the one nature and some to the others, and this may at once be understood from the actual terms of the Creed. For tell me: to what do you apply the phrase “of the substance of the Father”? to the Godhead, or to the nature that was fashioned of the seed of David?




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