The Two natures in Jesus Christ


Our faith teaches that God is immutable. In other words, God cannot die. In Jesus Christ, God assumed our nature and the two natures of Jesus are quite distinct from each other though united in the one person of Jesus. Now my question is: Who died on cross? Did God die on the cross?


“But, did the Divinity [of Christ] suffer? …] The holy fathers explained this point through the aforementioned clear example of the red-hot iron, it is the analogy equated for the Divine Nature which became united with the human nature. They explained that when the blacksmith strikes the red-hot iron, the hammer is actually striking both the iron and the fire united with it. The iron alone bends (suffers) whilst the fire is untouched though it bends with the iron.” - Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria

“As we often said, the holy council said that the Word himself, through whom all things were made, suffered; but suffered in his flesh, according to the Scriptures. For, because his body suffered, he himself is said to have suffered, just as also a man’s soul is said to suffer because its body suffers, although by its own nature the soul does not have pain.” - St Cyril of Alexandria, Letter 10:3


Immutable means unchangeable, unchanging.

Physical death: separation of the human soul from its human body.
Spiritual death: loss of God's supernatural life of grace (sanctifying grace) from the human soul.

As you note, Jesus had 2 natures, and therefore experienced both natures. He could experience the eternal unchanging Divine life of His Divine nature (no change in His Deity/Divinity) and at the same time experience a human physical death in the human nature He had assumed.

(Jesus NEVER experienced human spiritual death - His human soul was never separated from His Divine supernatural life.)

The person who experienced human death - that is, who experienced a separation of His human soul from His human body - was Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity.


Does that imply that God died?


[quote="Uzor_Oliver, post:4, topic:339471"]
Does that imply that God died?


When the question is phrased that way it gives the sense of asking if the Divine Nature died/underwent death, and the answer to that question is of course "No, God did not die."

If you put the question this way, "Did God die a human death while incarnate?" then the answer is "Yes" (because Jesus is God the Son).

The word "God" often denotes more the nature, rather than the Person/s.

In Jesus' death, it was only the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son, who underwent a human physical death - it was not the Father and the Holy Spirit


The Catechism of the Council of Trent, Article IV on the Creed, teaches Christ died only as a man.

There are, however, two things which demand particular attention; the one, that the body of Christ was in no degree corrupted in the sepulchre, according to the prediction of the Prophet: Thou wilt not give thy holy one to see corruption; the other, and it regards the several parts of this Article, that burial, Passion, and also death, apply to Christ Jesus not as God but as man.


[quote="Glacies, post:6, topic:339471"]
The Catechism of the Council of Trent, Article IV on the Creed, teaches Christ died only as a man.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church states it this way:
626 Since the "Author of life" who was killed is the same "living one [who has] risen", the divine person of the Son of God necessarily continued to possess his human soul and body, separated from each other by death:
[INDENT]By the fact that at Chnst's death his soul was separated from his flesh, his one person is not itself divided into two persons; for the human body and soul of Christ have existed in the same way from the beginning of his earthly existence, in the divine person of the Word; and in death, although separated from each other, both remained with one and the same person of the Word.

"You will not let your Holy One see corruption"

627 Christ's death was a real death in that it put an end to his earthly human existence. But because of the union his body retained with the person of the Son, his was not a mortal corpse like others, for "divine power preserved Christ's body from corruption." Both of these statements can be said of Christ: "He was cut off out of the land of the living", and "My flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption." Jesus' Resurrection "on the third day" was the proof of this, for bodily decay was held to begin on the fourth day after death.


[quote="Uzor_Oliver, post:4, topic:339471"]
Does that imply that God died?


Death, as told in Genesis, comes from sin. God is sinless, therefore while His body and human nature may have perished, all He did was go to Sheol and finish His job on saving the saved souls that were waiting for the Messiah, until He resurrected. He didn't really die! :thumbsup:


This issue has caused a lot of controversy over the centuries.

Note, that this issue falls in the realm of theology and Church doctrine. God the Son became man, so two natures were combined in one person. Jesus was the ultimate priest AND victim, and in his humanity, he freely submitted to death as a sacrifice for our sins. The death of the incarnate form of God was not the end of God. His death was a sacrifice to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- yes, Jesus' human death was a sacrifice to his divine self.

You see, all this is just the continuing saga of disputes over who Jesus really is.

I've been reading on a related subject in volume 1 (of 2) on The History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist. There's a lot that bears on this subject in the chapter on the doctrine of the Eastern churches from the 6th through fifteenth centuries.

In this book so far, I've been reading different bishops over the centuries saying the same thing, about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. The doctrine of the Eucharist explained here goes beyond the basics of the teaching, and shows how it applies in the Eucharist.


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