Week 5 refuting arguments claiming Jesus was not the Word Incarnated. We meet Arius at last.
1 It is, however, not only about the body of Christ but also about His soul that one finds some bad opinions.
2 For Arius held that in Christ there was no soul, but that He assumed only flesh, and that divinity stood to this as soul. And he seems to have been led to this position by a certain necessity. For he wanted to maintain that the Son of God was a creature and less than the Father, and so for his proof he picked up those Scriptural passages which show human infirmity in Christ.
And to keep anyone from refuting him by saying that the passages he picked referred to Christ not in His divine, but in His human, nature, he evilly removed the soul from Christ to this purpose: since some things are not harmonious with a human body, that He wondered, for example, that He feared, that He prayed—all such must necessarily imply the inferiority of the Son of God Himself. Of course, he picked up for the assertion of his position the words of John just mentioned, “The Word was made flesh,” and from this he wanted to gather that the Word only assumed flesh, not a soul. And in this position even Apollinaris followed him.
Notes The origin of “Jesus was just a good man” fallacy, which is still with us.
3 But it is clear from what has been said that this position is impossible. For it was shown Ames that God cannot be the form of a body. Since, therefore, the Word of God is God, as was shown, it is impossible that the Word of God be the form of a body, so as to be able to stand as a soul to flesh.
4 This argument, of course, is useful against Apollinaris, who confessed the Word of God to be true God; and granted Arius would deny this last, the argument just given goes against him, also. For it is not God alone who cannot be the form of a body, neither can any of the supercelestial spirits among whom Arius held the Son of God supreme. Exception might be made for the position of Origen, who held that human souls were of the very same species and nature as the supercelestial spirits. The falsity of this opinion was explained above.
5 Take away, moreover, what is of the essence of man, and no true man can be. Clearly, of course, the soul is chiefly of the essence of man, since it is his form. Therefore, if Christ had no soul He was not true man, whereas the Apostle does call Him man: “There is one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
6 It is on the soul, furthermore, that not only man’s essence, but that of his single parts, depends; and so, with the soul gone, the eye, the flesh, and the bone of a dead man are equivocally named, “like a painted or a stone eye.” Therefore, if in Christ there was no soul, of necessity there was neither true flesh in Him nor any of the other parts of man, whereas our Lord says that He has these in Himself: “A spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see Me to have (Luke 24:39).
7 Further, what is generated from another cannot be called his son unless he comes forth in the same species; the maggot is not called the son of the animal from which it is generated. But, if Christ had no soul, He was not of the same species as other men, for things which differ in form cannot be identical in species. Therefore, one will not be able to say that Christ is the Son of the Virgin Mary or that she is His Mother. Nonetheless, Scripture asserts this in the Gospels (Mat. 1:18; Luke 7:7).
8 There is more. The Gospel expressly says that Christ had a soul; Matthew (26:38) for instance: “My soul is sorrowful even unto death,” and John (17:2.7): “Now is My soul troubled.”
9 And lest they say perhaps that the very Son of God is called soul because in their position He stands to the flesh as soul, one must take our Lord’s own saying: “I have power to lay My soul down: and I have power to take it up again” (John 10:18).
From this one understands that there is another than the soul in Christ, which had the power of laying the soul down and taking it up again. It was, of course, not in the power of the body to be united to the Son of God or be separated from Him, since this, too, exceeds the power of nature. One must, then, understand that in Christ the soul was one thing and the divinity of the Son of God another, to whom such power justly is attributed.
10 Another reason: Sorrow, anger and the like are passions of the sensitive soul; the Philosopher makes this plain. Therefore Christ must have had a sensitive soul: This is plainly different from the divine nature of the Son of God.
11 But, since one can say that the human things in the Gospels are said of Christ metaphorically, just as the sacred Scriptures speak of God in many places, one must take something which is understood properly of necessity. For, just as other bodily things which the Evangelists relate of Christ are understood properly and not metaphorically, so it must not be understood of Christ metaphorically that He ate and that He hungered. Only he who has a sensitive soul hungers, since hunger is the appetite for food. Necessarily, then, Christ had a sensitive soul.