Person Vs Nature

When we say that the Second Person holds two natures, viz. one divine and one human, we are making a distinction between the person and his nature. Again, when we say that the 3-divine persons hold one undivided nature, we are making the same distinction. So the question is, what distinguishes the person from his nature, or, what is there in the “person” that is not there in the “nature” and vice versa?

[quote="afthomercy, post:1, topic:256571"]
When we say that the Second Person holds two natures, viz. one divine and one human, we are making a distinction between the person and his nature. Again, when we say that the 3-divine persons hold one undivided nature, we are making the same distinction. So the question is, what distinguishes the person from his nature, or, what is there in the "person" that is not there in the "nature" and vice versa?

[/quote]

I would say Jesus holds 2 natures.
Better see on the examples than in theory.
The term nature suffered multiples semantic distinctions along th XIX and XX centuries.

[quote="afthomercy, post:1, topic:256571"]
When we say that the Second Person holds two natures, viz. one divine and one human, we are making a distinction between the person and his nature. Again, when we say that the 3-divine persons hold one undivided nature, we are making the same distinction. So the question is, what distinguishes the person from his nature, or, what is there in the "person" that is not there in the "nature" and vice versa?

[/quote]

afthomercy

Men seek fulfillment in the flesh in the life of the flesh (the nature of man). God will have the fulfillment of His Word in His Presence (all three of trinity in agreement). What is given to men in the Holy Spirit, by God through His Word is fulfillment in His Spirit, in the Life of Christ, by Jesus sacrificing fulfillment in the flesh (King /High Priest, perfect, sinless, acceptable to live forever), in the life of the flesh (the blood). That we may have what Jesus has.

This post is in two parts, due to size issues:
Part I:
I will attempt to redefine “person” in a way that shall be valid in the context of both the Divine and the created persons. Boethius’ definition that a “person” is “an individual substance of a rational nature” holds good for the human and the angelic persons, but fails when it comes to the Trinity and the Incarnation, because in the Trinity we see three Persons consubstantial, and in the Incarnation we see one Person holding two natures. This forces us to revisit the concept and look for a better definition.

Let’s look at the human person and see what that we can glean. We say that “every person is unique”. If we can put our finger on what constitutes that uniqueness, we would get closer to our quest. For this, we need to go to the root of the person, even before his creation. God says in Jeremiah 1:5a “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you…” Hence it seems that God has a distinct thought in his mind under which He creates an individual. If true, this would be the ultimate differentiating factor between two individuals. Even if everything were the same right down to the last attribute, the original thought in the mind of the Creator would never be the same for two individuals. I say that whatever thought God has for the creation of each individual, He puts it on the soul of that individual as an indelible identifier. He tells the soul to hold on to that thought for ever. This could actually be that elusive “I” concept which philosophers find so difficult to pin down. Whenever God looks at a soul, whether in heaven, hell, purgatory or on earth, He immediately recognizes it through this unique indentifier. St. Thomas Aquinas says that the person is the noblest part of nature. In the case of the human being, what could be nobler than God’s thought concerning him? Hence I would venture to say that the God-thought imprinted on the soul is the essence of the person, This “I” concept is not dependant on consciousness, because it is imposed from above and exists whether the individual is aware of it or not.

We may validate the idea through the example of an artist who paints two canvases. The first one he paints as a village scene and the second one as a sunset scene. Onlookers will distinguish the two paintings on the basis of the scenery, but the artist will always distinguish the two works on the basis of the individual thoughts under which they came forth from his brush.
(Contd....2)

Part II:
If, as explained above, human persons are distinguished by God’s creative thought concerning them, the Divine persons shall be distinguished by the Godhead’s thought concerning itself. The Godhead seems to have three thoughts concerning itself, and these are named as “Father”, “Son” and “Holy Spirit”. The divine relationships viz. of the Father being the first principle, of the Son being begotten of him and of the Holy Spirit spirating from them both could be explained as an intrinsic part of the Godhead’s “I” consciousness.

In the case of the human being, personhood is imposed from above whereas in the case of the Godhead it springs from within, as the Godhead is uncreated. As the person cannot be separated from the nature we would never speak of either of the three “I”’s of God independently of the Divine nature. Hence whenever we speak of the Father, it would be the first “I” in conjunction with the Divine nature, the Son, the second “I” in conjunction with the Divine nature and the Holy Spirit, the third “I” in conjunction with the Divine nature. That’s how we say that the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. And that is also how we are prevented from saying that they are 3-gods, but that they are 3-persons in one God.

The Catechism says that “Inseparable in what they are, the divine persons are also inseparable in what they do. But within the single divine operation each shows forth what is proper to him in the Trinity, especially in the divine missions of the Son’s Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit [CCC267].” This, I understand to mean that when the Godhead acts, the action can be appropriated to one of the three “I” concepts.

What happened in the case of the Incarnation was that in creating the soul of Jesus, God simply impressed upon it the same “I” concept He held in the Divine intellect as “Son”.

The dogma of the Trinity says that the three persons are wholly inside each other [CCC255]. Spatially speaking this is impossible, but if we see them as just “I” concepts, then it is not so absurd at all. The notion of each being “inside” the other would merely be a logical aside without any special significance.

[quote="afthomercy, post:1, topic:256571"]
So the question is, what distinguishes the person from his nature, or, what is there in the "person" that is not there in the "nature" and vice versa?

[/quote]

Identity.

The person is* who* we are.
The nature is* what* we are.

Or so I have read.:)

[quote="afthomercy, post:1, topic:256571"]
So the question is, what distinguishes the person from his nature, or, what is there in the "person" that is not there in the "nature" and vice versa?

[/quote]

We can say "the nature of a person" but not "the person of a nature"! This shows that person is a more fundamental concept. The nature of God may seem an exception but it isn't because the three divine Persons are One! If we say "the God of nature" we are pantheists not Christians... :)

[quote="vz71, post:6, topic:256571"]
Identity.

The person is* who* we are.
The nature is* what* we are.

Or so I have read.:)

[/quote]

Sometimes few words is all that is required. This is most perfect summary of Aquinas on the issue of person and nature I have seen in a while on threads here.

[quote="tonyrey, post:7, topic:256571"]
We can say "the nature of a person" but not "the person of a nature"! This shows that person is a more fundamental concept. The nature of God may seem **an exception **but it isn't because the three divine Persons are One! If we say "the God of nature" we are pantheists not Christians... :)

[/quote]

The explanation I have offered in posts 4 & 5 above does not force us to make this exception. I feel that my explanation of "person" is valid across both the human as well as the Divine nature.

Also you say that the three divine Persons are One, with a capital 'O'. Don't you feel that this tends to erase the distinction between the Persons, which is unacceptable?

[quote="vz71, post:6, topic:256571"]
Identity.
The person is* who* we are.
The nature is* what* we are.

[/quote]

I fully agree that the person is the identity, but we need to drill deeper into this identity concept. How is my identity different from yours? The answer should lie in the eyes of the Creator. How does He distinguish you from me? Certainly not by our qualities, because that's what He himself has supplied. I have suggested the answer in post #4. According to me, He does that according to the (Jeremiah 1:5a) thought under which He created us. That thought surely would be unique. If so, we have found the elusive identity differentiator.

If you are with me till here, then I'd like to ask you to pull that inference to the Godhead (Divine nature). Since the Godhead is uncreated (always existed), its identity should be its thought concerning itself, no? CCC261 says: The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life. God alone can make it known to us by revealing himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Our identity is God's Jeremiah1:5a thought concerning us, and God's identity is the "Father" thought, the "Son" thought and the "Holy Spirit" thought of the Godhead.

[quote="afthomercy, post:9, topic:256571"]

We can say "the nature of a person" but not "the person of a nature"! This shows that person is a more fundamental concept. The nature of God may seem an exception but it isn't because the three divine Persons are One! If we say "the God of nature" we are pantheists not Christians...

The explanation I have offered in posts 4 & 5 above does not force us to make this exception. I feel that my explanation of "person" is valid across both the human as well as the Divine nature.

Also you say that the three divine Persons are One, with a capital 'O'. Don't you feel that this tends to erase the distinction between the Persons, which is unacceptable?

[/quote]

To say the three divine Persons are One doesn't mean they are one Person but One Being! Catholic faith holds that each Person has the same nature. That is why the Creed states that Jesus is "consubstantial with the Father."

I like the Simple Elegance! I would also like to share a personal extension to this.

The person is the body, mind, and will.
The soul is the immaterial counterpart of the person.
The nature is how and why the person does what it does.

Human Nature: Because of limited purpose or wisdom, the person’s body, mind, will, and soul, either does not work together in complete unity, or does not fulfill complete purpose.
God’s Nature: Because of Complete Purpose and Wisdom, the person’s body, mind, will, and soul, will work together in Unity and Fulfills Complete Purpose.

Jesus has both Natures.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

[quote="tonyrey, post:10, topic:256571"]
To say the three divine Persons are One doesn't mean they are one Person but One Being! Catholic faith holds that each Person has the same nature. That is why the Creed states that Jesus is "consubstantial with the Father."

[/quote]

I know that you don't mean to say that they are one Person, and I also agree that they are one Being, so the question is, what is it about the Persons that distinguishes them within the single Being?

I'm attempting to answer that limited question by saying that the Persons essentially are the identities of the one Being. Each identity encompasses the Being entirely and each identity in conjunction with the Being constitutes a Person.

So I'll say once again, that the "Father" identity in conjunction with the Divine nature constitutes the First Person, the "Son" identity in conjunction with the same Divine nature constitutes the Second Person and the "Holy Spirit" identity in conjunction with the same Divine nature constitutes the Third Person. In relation to myself, I'd say that God's Jeremiah 1:5a thought in regard to me (which is my unique identity) in conjunction with my nature (i.e. my body and soul) constitutes the person that is me.

In human and angelic beings, the co-relation of identity to nature is 1:1; in the case of the Christ, the co-relation is 1:2 and in the case of the Godhead, the co-relation is 3:1

[quote="jochoa, post:11, topic:256571"]
The person is the body, mind, and will.
The soul is the immaterial counterpart of the person.
The nature is how and why the person does what it does.

Human Nature: Because of limited purpose or wisdom, the person's body, mind, will, and soul, either does not work together in complete unity, or does not fulfill complete purpose.
God's Nature: Because of Complete Purpose and Wisdom, the person's body, mind, will, and soul, will work together in Unity and Fulfills Complete Purpose.

Jesus has both Natures.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

[/quote]

I think your formulations suffer from some logical inconsistencies:
First, you say that the person is the body, mind and will. Please be it noted that the mind and will are the powers of the soul, hence you can't logically say as you do in the second line, that the soul is the immaterial counterpart of the person as once having included the soul into the defn of person, you can't simultaneously put it outside and say that it is the counterpart!
Then again you use the word structure "the person's body, mind, will, soul...". I think what you mean to say is "the being's body, mind....."
When you say generally that "Human Nature: Because of limited purpose or wisdom, the person's body, mind, will, and soul, either does not work together in complete unity, or does not fulfill complete purpose." you have to be mindful that Jesus also holds the human nature!!

[quote="afthomercy, post:12, topic:256571"]
I know that you don't mean to say that they are one Person, and I also agree that they are one Being, so the question is, what is it about the Persons that distinguishes them within the single Being?

I'm attempting to answer that limited question by saying that the Persons essentially are the identities of the one Being. Each identity encompasses the Being entirely and each identity in conjunction with the Being constitutes a Person.

So I'll say once again, that the "Father" identity in conjunction with the Divine nature constitutes the First Person, the "Son" identity in conjunction with the same Divine nature constitutes the Second Person and the "Holy Spirit" identity in conjunction with the same Divine nature constitutes the Third Person. In relation to myself, I'd say that God's Jeremiah 1:5a thought in regard to me (which is my unique identity) in conjunction with my nature (i.e. my body and soul) constitutes the person that is me.

In human and angelic beings, the co-relation of identity to nature is 1:1; in the case of the Christ, the co-relation is 1uch a de case of the Godhead, the co-relation is 3:1

[/quote]

I may well be mistaken but I think that when we reach such a degree of abstraction regarding the nature of God we go beyond the limits of our comprehension...

[quote="tonyrey, post:13, topic:256571"]
I may well be mistaken but I think that when we reach such a degree of abstraction regarding the nature of God we go beyond the limits of our comprehension...

[/quote]

I agree that we are pushing the envelope here, but I believe that we are still within the limits of the revealed truth. I'll again quote Catechism of the Catholic Church para 261 which says that "The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life. God alone can make it known to us by revealing himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit."
My inference: If God reveals himself to us as F,S and HS, these are his identities, are they not? This is how He views himself, is it not? The presumption is that He reveals himself in the same way as He considers himself. I do not think that He would wear a mask. Duplicity is a human attribute, not a divine one.

*Para 255: The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another: "In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance. Indeed "everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship." *
My inference: If the relationship is the only opposition between them, then it (the relationship) springs up only and only because of the identities. I cannot see anything else in the Godhead that could give rise to the opposition.

[quote="afthomercy, post:12, topic:256571"]

I think your formulations suffer from some logical inconsistencies:
First, you say that the person is the body, mind and will. Please be it noted that the mind and will are the powers of the soul, hence you can't logically say as you do in the second line, that the soul is the immaterial counterpart of the person as once having included the soul into the defn of person, you can't simultaneously put it outside and say that it is the counterpart!
Then again you use the word structure "the person's body, mind, will, soul...". I think what you mean to say is "the being's body, mind....."
When you say generally that "Human Nature: Because of limited purpose or wisdom, the person's body, mind, will, and soul, either does not work together in complete unity, or does not fulfill complete purpose." you have to be mindful that Jesus also holds the human nature!!

[/quote]

Thank you very much for your considerations! Please consider the updates to my understandings:

Regarding the Definition of Person
A Human Being is the Material (as perceivable by humans) Version of the Person.
A Soul is the Immaterial (as God Knows It) Version of the Person.
The person is a body and mind with a will proceeding from the two.

Regarding Definition of Human Nature
Because of limited knowledge or purpose, the person's body, mind, and will, either does not work together in Complete Unity and/or does not fulfill Complete Purpose.

Reflection on Alignment with Jesus' Human Nature
The Bible indicates that the Son does not know Everything (Matthew 24:36 - “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.
We believe that it takes All Three Persons to Complete The Purpose.
It is evident that in Jesus' Final Words, His Mind and Will may have fallen from Complete Unity.

Regarding Your Seeking to Understand the Holy Trinity, please consider the following:
In the Beginning, the Creator, a Distinct Person [soul with mind, body, and will] wanted to have others freely share in His Infinite Blessings.
Therefore, The Creator thought of a plan to achieve this Goal (Word)
The Creator ensured the Word was of His Nature (Word with God)
The Creator Willed the Word with His Being by becoming the Word (Word was God)
Therefore Everything that Happens is of the Creator's Mind.
The Creator's Body becoming Man is the Son, a Distinct Person Begotten Fully from God's Being (In particular His Body)
The Creator's Will becoming Man is the Holy Spirit, a Distinct Person which Fully Proceeds from the Creator and the Son.

Thoughts?

I would like to withdraw my reference to Jesus’ Final Words. After being demonstrated the Alignment of His Words and the Prayer in Psalms, this is by no means an indication of lack of Complete Unity. It does reveal some other extremely interesting concepts.

However, Jesus’ Human Nature would still not be of Complete Knowledge, nor would it Fulfill Complete Purpose of God. The Complete Purpose of God can only be achieved by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, working together as One.

Thoughts?

[quote="afthomercy, post:14, topic:256571"]
I agree that we are pushing the envelope here, but I believe that we are still within the limits of the revealed truth. I'll again quote Catechism of the Catholic Church para 261 which says that "The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life. God alone can make it known to us by revealing himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit."
My inference: If God reveals himself to us as F,S and HS, these are his identities, are they not? This is how He views himself, is it not? The presumption is that He reveals himself in the same way as He considers himself. I do not think that He would wear a mask. Duplicity is a human attribute, not a divine one.

*Para 255: The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another: "In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance. Indeed "everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship." *
My inference: If the relationship is the only opposition between them, then it (the relationship) springs up only and only because of the identities. I cannot see anything else in the Godhead that could give rise to the opposition.

[/quote]

The problem doesn't arise because "relationship" is a human category which doesn't apply to God. We cannot analyse the Supreme Reality precisely. :)

[quote="jochoa, post:15, topic:256571"]
Thank you very much for your considerations! Please consider the updates to my understandings....

[/quote]

My friend, before you go into overdrive :), I would like to direct you to some very good sources:
Catechism of the Catholic Church:

scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s2c1p2.htm#II

Exposition of the Trinity by F.J.Sheed, a renowned catholic apologist of the mid-twentieth century:
katapi.org.uk/

Summa Thelogica by St. Thomas Aquinas:
ccel.org/a/aquinas/summa/FP.html

After you have perused the above sources, particularly in relation to the Trinity, maybe we can discuss.

[quote="tonyrey, post:17, topic:256571"]
The problem doesn't arise because "relationship" is a human category which doesn't apply to God. We cannot analyse the Supreme Reality precisely. :)

[/quote]

Agreed that we cannot analyse the Supreme Reality precisely, but we can make some logical assumptions based on whatever little has been revealed. I also agree with you that the relationships of the three Persons within the Godhead are beyond human understanding, and so I don't try to understand/explain the same. All I'm saying is that the Godhead reconciles its three identities/personhoods by building a very specific relationship between them, a relationship that it alone understands.

Human beings are not wired to hold more than one core identity at any given point of time, but that limitation does not apply to the Godhead, or we can say that the Godhead gets over that "limitation" by building a peculiar relationship matrix around its three identities.

[quote="afthomercy, post:18, topic:256571"]
My friend, before you go into overdrive :), I would like to direct you to some very good sources:
Catechism of the Catholic Church:

scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s2c1p2.htm#II

Exposition of the Trinity by F.J.Sheed, a renowned catholic apologist of the mid-twentieth century:
katapi.org.uk/

Summa Thelogica by St. Thomas Aquinas:
ccel.org/a/aquinas/summa/FP.html

After you have perused the above sources, particularly in relation to the Trinity, maybe we can discuss.

[/quote]

Thank you very much for the direction! From the start of my work, I have been guided by Prayer, the Catechism, the Summa Thelogica, and Dr. William Lane Craig's Doctrines on Existence and Holy Trinity. I had not been directed to study the Exposition of the Trinity, and I am grateful you shared.

Please note: my intention for sharing is to draw me and others closer to God through Jesus and the Catholic Church and to subject the understandings to Harsh Criticisms regarding mis-alignment with Catholicism.

With that said, please share your thoughts.

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