Project Augustine

Chapter 8: “The Person and Work of Jesus Christ”

    1. Any comments or thoughts on the Nicene Creed and Formula of Chalcedon. On page 164, “For many scholars as well as laypeople these classical Christological formulas are cast in a language that is obscure, abstract, and far removed from the experience of faith.  In addition, critics say that the Christology of the old creeds comes close to losing sight of the concrete historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth in a maze of metaphysical speculation.”  Agree or disagree? Is it too archaic, relevant, obscure, sufficient?
        1. Nicene Creed
          1.  We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. Who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. Who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
        2. Formula of Chalcedon
          1. We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with us according to the manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the virgin Mary, the mother of God, according to the manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.
        3. On page 169 he writes, “5. The living Jesus Christ is greater than all of our confessions and creeds, and he surpasses all of our theological reflection about him.  The risen Lord continually upsets our neat categories and classifications of him and the salvation he brings…As Karl Rahner states… the church’s creeds are not the final word for our theological reflection, but points of departure.”


    2. On pages 165 – 166 he writes about several problems with Christology, namely the variety of interpretations or depictions of Jesus not only in the gospels but also in pop culture, art, counterculture, and differing ideologies.  Have you encountered any depictions of Jesus that you disagreed of, offended you, liked, or changed your perspective of Jesus?  Is there one singular, objective depiction of Jesus that everyone can agree upon?
        1. i.e. “Piss Christ”;  Crucified female version of Christ at Cathedral of St. John the Divine during the 80’s.


    3. In your own words, how would you describe the human nature and divine natures of Jesus?  On page 169 – 170 Migliore writes how the first ecumenical council in Nicea in 325 A.D. was called to combat Arianism.  Was there ever a time where you believed that Jesus was lower than the Father and was more understandable as literally a (say “biological”) son of God the Father?  (That Jesus was the “preeminent creature rather than the eternal Son of God)  Does Arianism have a point?  Do modern-day adaptations of Arianism, like the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses and Unitarians (those who deny the Trinity) have a point?  Could they be right?
        1. What about the Alexandrian school that emphasized the divinity of Christ and that he just “assumed” or “took on” flesh in the Incarnation and emphasized the unity of the person of Christ in regards to his dual nature?  What about Apollinariansim, where it was taught that the Logos replaced the human mind of Jesus in the Incarnation?
        2. What about the Antiochian school or Nestoriansim that emphasized the full humanity of Christ and downplayed his divinity?
        3. Can you even understand the Chalcedonian understanding of Jesus being “fully divine, fully human, two natures in one person”?


    4. On page 173, what are your thoughts about the doctrine of the “communication of properties” (communicatio idiomatum) where the divine and human natures are perfectly united in the Christ?  That there is a “communication” or “exchange” of properties b/w the human nature and divine natures of Jesus?  And do you see the relationship with the “wonderful exchange” (admirablile commercium) highlighted by Calvin, the early church fathers, and many later theologians?


    1. On page 174, Migliore describes how Jesus was fully human – that he was “deeply influenced by the culture and religious heritage of his people.  He grew and matured physically, intellectually, and spiritually… He experienced hunger and thirst.  He became tired.  His knowledge was not unlimited… he had real, rather than make-believe, temptations.”  Recently, a Harvard University professor came out publically that an ancient manuscript was recently discovered of a lost gospel where it purportedly reads, “And Jesus said unto them, ‘My wife…’”  Would your faith or trust in Jesus radically change if it were proven that he was married and had children?  If he was fully human, did he have sexual feelings and attractions like any one else?  Does that disturb you?  Why or why not?  Can you worship a Christ who was biologically born naturally (i.e. no virgin conception or birth) but somehow “became” divine afterwards?


    1. On page 180, he writes that “the union of the Word of God and humanity in Christ is a dynamic union.  Traditional Christological conceptuality has an inert, ahistorical quality about it… It is as though the union of God and humanity had no place for the genuine growth of Jesus as a human being or for a deepening of his relationship with God and others… We should think of the union of divine and human ‘natures’ in Jesus Christ not statically but dynamically.”


    1. Same page, any thoughts about the kenotic unity of God and humanity in Jesus?



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