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Jesus Christ—True God and True Man (¶422-570) [Catholic Caucus]
AquinasRCIA2 ^ | November 20, 2007 | Denise Levertov/David W. Congdon

Posted on 01/11/2012 10:20:17 PM PST by Salvation

 Jesus Christ—True God and True Man (¶422-570)
“On the Mystery of the Incarnation”
By Denise Levertov

It’s when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother,
the Word.

“Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20)

1. Jesus, Christ, Only Son of God, Lord (¶430-55)
a. Jesus: He is the Savior of the world who delivers us from sin
b. Christ: He is the Messiah who fulfills the promise of redemption
c. Son of God: He is the eternal Son of the Father
d. Lord: He is the divine and sovereign king
2. Both divine and human, God and man (¶464-83)
a. The mystery of the incarnation is entirely rooted in the question of salvation. What must be true about Jesus for us to be saved by his life, death, and resurrection? This is the question that the church was forced to ask by the various controversies in the church.

b. On the one hand, Jesus must be truly divine, truly God in the flesh, because God alone is able to save. The church rejected Arianism, therefore, because it resulted in a Christ who is incapable of redeeming humanity. There are many different ways that the church has understood this mystery of salvation, and none of them has been accepted as the official doctrine of the church, so we can and should make use of them all. One view is that in Jesus, God conquered Satan and the forces of sin and evil. Another view is that in Jesus, God paid the debt of our sin. Another is that in Jesus, God reversed the disobedience of Adam and inaugurated a new humanity. These are all views that we find in Scripture, and they are just a few of the ways that the church has thought about the mystery of salvation. The important element is that in each view, salvation can only be accomplished by God. Humanity needs to be saved, and God alone is the Savior.

c. On the other hand, Jesus must be truly human, truly God in the flesh. The reason for this is expressed well in an axiom of the early church: “That which is not assumed is not saved.” Only what is brought into union with Christ is redeemed by Christ. If he only appeared human (Docetism), then our humanity is not healed. If he only took on a human body but not a human soul (Apollinarianism), then the center of our human identity is not healed. If he only indwelled in a human person but did not assume humanity to be his very own (Nestorianism), then our humanity is not healed. If human nature is dissolved into his divinity or if the divinity and humanity combine to form a composite nature (Monophysitism), then our humanity is not healed. If his human nature does not have its own activity and will (Monenergism, Monothelitism), then our humanity is not healed.
3. Fulfillment of the covenant (¶422, 489, 497, 522)
Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament covenants, beginning with God’s covenant with Abraham and including the covenant at Sinai with Moses and the covenant with King David. Jesus came as the one in whom all the promises of God converged and found their ultimate fulfillment.
4. Born by the Spirit and of the Virgin Mary (§2: ¶484-511)
a. Christ’s birth “by the power of the Holy Spirit” affirms his eternal divine origin, as the Son of the Father within the eternal Trinity. The Spirit is involved through the life of Christ: at his conception, at his baptism, in his miraculous works of healing, and in his life of obedience unto death, and as the power of his Resurrection. The Spirit always accompanies the Son as the two “hands” of the Father.

b. Christ’s birth “of the Virgin Mary” is a mark of his purity and holiness, his freedom from corruption, and his redemptive mission. The virgin birth is also a sign of Christ as the New Adam: just as Adam came from virgin soil, so too Christ came a virgin woman. Mary herself is caught up in this redemptive reality of Christ. Her Immaculate Conception, her life of faithful obedience, and her final Assumption are all part of the overflow of Christ’s life to those around him—to Mary first and foremost, then to his disciples, his church, and to the whole world.
5. His whole life is the mystery of salvation (¶512ff.)
The Catechism very nicely tells the story of Jesus’ life by reading the Scriptures in the light of Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection. In other words, it reads the life of Christ in light of his beginning and end, his origin and telos. The Catechism thus affirms that his entire life is salvific, and not just the events captured in the creed. What the creed affirms is that the whole of Christ’s incarnate existence is integral to the mystery of our redemption.
6. Sacrament of salvation (¶515)
Jesus’ humanity is the first and true sacrament, in that his human nature is the visible manifestation of the invisible grace of our salvation. In his humanity, we encounter the “sign and instrument” of his eternal identity and divine mission. In the Eucharist, we partake of this humanity as Christ’s gift of grace to the church.
7. Revelation of God (¶516)
Jesus is the revelation of God. The Son reveals the Father, not only in his resurrection but in his entire life of obedience to the will of his Father in heaven.
8. Recapitulation of the human race (¶430, 518, 538-39)
Jesus is the New Adam, the recapitulation of human history, and the one who reverses our fall so that in him we might partake of the divine life.
9. “For us,” pro nobis (¶519-21)
According to Hans Urs von Balthasar, “The ‘pro nobis’ contains the innermost core of the interplay between God and man, the center of all theo-drama.” Only on the basis of the pro nobis is there a stage in the first place or actors upon this stage. The pro nobis stands at the center as the controlling principle of the Christ-event; it “sums up the covenant” as the basis for divine and human action “in a way that does not blur the distinction between Christ’s preeminence and his followers.” The christological pro nobis, moreover, does not merely indicate that what Christ accomplishes is “for our benefit,” but it also indicates that Christ achieves our reconciliation “from inside,” “in our place.”

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; creed; orthodox
Praise be to Jesus Christ, our Savior, true God and true man.
1 posted on 01/11/2012 10:20:29 PM PST by Salvation
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To: All
This is a Catholic Caucus thread.

2 posted on 01/11/2012 10:21:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Please follow the Guidelines of the Religion Moderator when posting on this thread.
3 posted on 01/11/2012 10:27:09 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Catholic Ping!

4 posted on 01/11/2012 10:30:00 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation; All



Let’s know this and live HIM in our hearts which will display in our daily lives!! FOR HE IS WORTHY OF THE PRAISE!!



5 posted on 01/11/2012 10:55:49 PM PST by jesus4life
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To: Salvation
I was reading, On The Flesh of Christ by Tertullian a few months ago and compared to what passes for argument these days, Tertullian is amazing. Everything is laid out so logically, so clearly, and built up piece by piece to reach the important conclusions in a way that makes it almost impossible to follow the argument all the way through and not accept the conclusion. I strongly suspect that those who didn't agree with his conclusions stopped reading what he had to say very early in his writings. Otherwise, they'd have been forced to just admit that they didn't care what the truth was, they'd made up their mind and weren't going to change it.

These days, that seems to be the way most people approach their faith. They've made up their mind and while they may toss out cliches and catch phrases they've heard, they're not really all that concerned with whether or not what they believe is the absolute truth. It's as if people have become convinced that whatever they believe is fine. As long as they're very sincere about it think they're going to be given the OK by Christ. I think everyone should make the time to read On The Flesh of Christ, especially anyone in any way unclear about the humanity of Christ. Tertullian and the other Church Fathers are a great gift and a blessing to us if we make the time to study them.

Just my two cents on the subject.


(Thanks for another good article, too, Salvation)

6 posted on 01/11/2012 11:46:03 PM PST by Rashputin (Obama stark, raving, mad, and even his security people know it.)
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To: Salvation

Absolutely with all of me, Yes!

7 posted on 01/12/2012 2:30:25 AM PST by sayuncledave (et Verbum caro factum est (And the Word was made flesh))
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To: Salvation

And there's another poem by --I think --- Denise Levertov, which has stuck with me all my life, I mean over 40 years, since I read it as a teenager. I've never been able to find it again. If any FReeper poets recognize it, please let me know if Levertov is indeed the author (or was it Barbara Deming?) and/or where I can locate it.

This is from my (faulty) memory:

(Title Unknown)

"Am I a god at hand?" - Jeremiah

Pray for us.
Living and true,
God is each day a new
Abides in us,
But hides from us
Who it is He Is.

Pray for us.
He awaits us in unheard-of places,
With His despaired-of graces.

8 posted on 01/12/2012 8:33:54 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o (Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Great poem!

9 posted on 01/12/2012 8:48:33 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division or separation. The distinction between the natures was never abolished by their union, but rather the character proper to each of the two natures was preserved as they came together in one person (prosopon) and one hypostasis.

-- Council of Chalcedon

10 posted on 01/14/2012 10:09:23 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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