SAMT

Summary Against Modern Thought: Errors About The Incarnation IV

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Week 4 refuting arguments claiming Jesus was not the Word Incarnated. Like last, this is a simple week, too. But of interest to see how some controversies fade in time.

ON THE ERROR OF APOLLINARIS ABOUT THE BODY OF CHRIST

1 Even more irrational than these were the errors of Apollinaris about the mystery of the Incarnation. Nonetheless, he agrees with those mentioned in one thing: Christ’s body was not assumed from the Virgin, but (and this is a greater impiety) he says that something of the Word was changed into the flesh of Christ. The occasion of his error he finds in John (1:24): “The Word was made flesh.” He thought this must be understood as though the Word Himself were changed into flesh, as the other text in John (2:9) is understood: “When the steward tasted the water made wine.” For this latter is said because the water was changed into wine.

2 The impossibility in this error is easy to grasp from the things shown above. For it was shown that God is entirely immutable, but whatever is changed into another is manifestly mutable. Since, then, the Word of God is true God, as was shown, it is impossible that the Word of God be changed into flesh.

3 The Word of God, again, since He is God, is simple, for it was shown above that there is no composition in God. Therefore, if something of the Word of God is changed into flesh, the whole Word must be changed. But what is changed into another ceases to be what it was before; just as the water changed into wine is no longer water, but wine. Therefore, after the Incarnation, according to the position described the Word will simply not be. And this is evidently impossible: both because the Word is eternal, as in John (1:1): “In the beginning was the Word”; as well as because after the Incarnation Christ is said to be the Word of God, as in the Apocalypse (19:13): “He was clothed with a garment sprinkled with blood; and His name is called the Word of God.”

4 There is more. Things which do not share matter and are not in one genus cannot possibly undergo conversion into one another. For from a line whiteness is not made: they are of different genera; nor can an elementary body be converted into one of the celestial bodies, or into some incorporeal substance, nor conversely, since they have no matter in common. But the Word of God, since He is God, has neither genus nor matter in common with anything else whatsoever, for God is not in a genus and has no matter. It is, therefore, impossible that the Word was converted into flesh or into anything else whatever.

Notes The thing of note is “Things which do not share matter and are not in one genus cannot possibly undergo conversion into one another”, a concept science ought to embrace.

5 Furthermore, it is essential to flesh, to bone, to other parts of this sort that they be of determined matter. Therefore, if the Word of God be converted into flesh, as the position described holds, it will follow that there was not in Christ true flesh or anything else of the sort. And thus, also, He will not be true man, but an apparent one only; and so for the other points which we made against Valentine previously.

6 Plainly, then, the saying of John, “The Word was made flesh,” must not be understood as though the Word had been changed into flesh, but that He assumed flesh so as to dwell with men and appear visible to them. Hence there is added: “And dwelt among us, and we saw His glory,” and so forth; just as Baruch (3:38) also says of God: “He was seen upon earth, and conversed with men.”

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2 replies »

  1. Love the note … for science … and: “6 Plainly, then, the saying of John, “The Word was made flesh,” must not be understood as though the Word had been changed into flesh, but that He assumed flesh so as to dwell with men and appear visible to them. Hence there is added: “And dwelt among us, and we saw His glory,” and so forth; just as Baruch (3:38) also says of God: “He was seen upon earth, and conversed with men.”

    God bless, C-Marie

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