was taken up with such emphasis by St. Irenaeus from St. Paul.
This was the “humiliation” of the Word [cf. Phil. 2:7]. But this
was no reduction of His Divinity, which in theIncarnation continues unchanged,
It was, on the contrary, a lifting-up of man, the“deification” of human nature, the
As St. John Damascene says, in the Incarnation“three things were accomplished at once: the assumption, the existence, and the deification of humanity by the Word.”
It must be stressed that in the Incarnation the Word assumes theoriginal human nature, innocent and free from original sin,
without any stain. This does not violate the fulness of nature, nor does this affect the Saviour’slikeness to us sinful people. For sin does not belong to human nature, but is a parasitic andabnormal growth. This point was vigorously stressed by St. Gregory of Nyssa and particularly bySt. Maximus the Confessor in connection with their teaching of the will as the seat of sin.
In theIncarnation the Word assumes the first-formed human nature, created “in the image of God,”and thereby the image of God is again re-established in man.
This was not yet the assumption
“sed quando incarnatus est, et homo factus, longam bominum expositionem in seipso recapitulavit,in compendio nobis salutem praestans.”
(c. 932); III.18.7:
quapropler et per omnem venit aetatem omnibusrestituens eam quae est ad Deum communionem
(c. 937); II.22.4:
sed omnem aetatem sanctificans per illam,quae ad ipsum erat, similitudinem… ideo per omnem venit aetatem, et infantibus infans factus, sanctificansinfantes, in parvulis parvulus, sanctificans hanc ipsam habentes aetatem…, in juvenibus juvenis, exemplus juvenibus fiens et sanctificans Domino; sicut senior in senioribus
etc., c. 784. Cf. F.R. Montgomery Hitchcock,
Irenaeus of Lugdunum, A Study of his Teaching
(Cambridge, 1914), p. 158f.; A. d’Ales,
La doctrine de larécapitulation en S. Irénée, Recherches de Science religieuse,
VI, 1916, pp. 185-211.
St. John Damascene,
De fide orth
. III.12, M.G. XCIV, c. 1032:
tên proslêpsin, tên hyparxin, tên theôsin autês hypotou logou.
St. Gregory of Nyssa,
, h. VII,
. XLIV, p. UW 725
“evil, considered by itself, does not existapart from free choice.” See on St. Gregory of Nyssa J. B. Aufhauser,
Die Heilslehre des hl. Gregor von Nyssa
(München, 1910); F. Hilt,
Des hl. Gregor von Nyssa Lehre vom Mensch
(Köln, 1890). In St. Maximus thedistinction, between “nature” and “will” was the main point in his polemics against the monotheletists. There is a“natural will” (
), and this is sinless; and there is a “selective will” (
and this isthe root
sin. This “natural will” is just what makes man a free being, and freedom belongs to man by nature, aswell as reason. Without this “natural will” or freedom man simply would not be man at all,
hou chôris einai tênanthrôpinên physin adunaton
. See St. Maximus,
M.G. XCI, c. 45:
thelêma gar esti physikondynamis tou kata physin ontos orektikê, kai tôn ousiôdôs têi physei prosontôn, synektikên pantôn idiomatôsis
; cf.49. This “natural will” is not any definite choice or resolve, not yet a
, but rather a presupposition of allchoices and decisions, an innate impulse of freedom, an
, or an
as Comfebis renders the term,and not yet a
Disputatio cum Pyrrho
, c. 304:
oudeis gar pote thelein didaskei. ara physei thelêtikos ho anthrôpos. kai palin, ei physei logikos ho anthropos. to de physei logikon kai physei autexousion. togar autexousion… thelêsis estin. .
On St. Maximus see H. Straubinger,
Die Christologie des hl. MaximusConfessor
(Diss. Bonn, 1906). A brief but excellent study on the whole of the theology of St. Maximus is given byS.L. Epifanovich,
St. Maximus the Confessor and Byzantine Theology
(Kiev, 1915) [Russian].
See also M. Lot Borodine,
La Doctrine de la “déification” dans I’église grecque jusqu’au XI siècle, Revue del’histoire des religions,
t. CV, CVI and CVII, 1932-1933; J. Gross,
La Divinisation du chétien d’après les PèresGrecs