The Hypostatic Union


#1

There is no one issue more complex and central to our Christian faith than the doctrine of the Incarnation. I am strudying philosophy right now, and I have come to reject atheism, but I am struggling with this. I want someone here to explain here to me how the person of the 2nd person of the Trinity could become inseperably united to human nature. How could God -who is infinite and cannot be divided- assume a body? For human flesh is a finite thing, and finite things are defined by what they lack, implying that there is nonexistance with finite creation. How could an infinite God assume human flesh? Thanks in advance for your replies. :slight_smile:


#2

The question “How could an infinite God assume human flesh?” is somewhat lacking in precision. The question is rather, how can one person, already possessing a divine nature, also assume a human nature.

Person is Who. Nature is What. The hypostatic union means one Who being two Whats. The “Who” is the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, who posseses the divine nature. That Person (not the Father or the Holy Spirit) takes upon himself a human nature, which includes a human body and a human soul.

How could a divine Person take on a human nature? I don’t know. You can think of it analogically if you try to think what it might be like if you, while retaining your human nature, could also assume the nature of a dog, so as to be able to mingle with the dogs. It might be easier to imagine if you think of yourself as a human spirit taking upon himself a dog nature.

The Second Person of the Trinity, being only spirit, had no body as God, But as man, He took on humanity completely, body and soul. What is it like for divinity to speak, act, and think through a human nature? We can only guess at that through reading of the Gospels, the story of the God-Man.


#3

Think about what you call “you”. When you think about what is really “you” you probably don’t think about you’re arms and legs, you think about that which is deep inside you and what, if taken away, would make you cease to be you.

Now imagine if that which you consider “you” really is removed from you’re body. What would be left? You’re body would be left, and I think that body would still be able to breathe, and maybe drool or something, but what would really be left would be a human nature absent a human person.

Now once “you” are vacated from you’re nature, imagine that “the Word that was with God” is inserted into you’re nature in “you’re” place. That is how I picture Jesus.


I believe a Catholic Apologist would say I believe Jesus was a divine person with a human nature. I should also warn you that I think a Catholic Apologist would probably call that heresy.

I am not entirely attatched to that view myself. It is what makes sense to me at this time. My view may change.


#4

El Catolico,

This issue is not new to the Catholic Church. In fact, the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) and I think also the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) have tackled this issue of Christ, His Nature and Person. I suggest you study or read the contents of that Council, plus the exchange of letters between Nestorius (who authored the Nestorian Heresy) and St. Athanasius (defender of the Catholic faith). You can find a better explanation of how and what the Church believes on this very important doctrine of the faith.

Pio


closed #5

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