The Trinitarian Perspectives on the Humanity of Jesus in Relation to Our Humanity

By Timothy Ching Lung LAM

An Outline of the Term Paper Submitted to Dr. Hung Biu KWOK of Alliance Bible Seminary in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Course of TH512-E: Systematic Theology II Fall 2003

Timothy Ching Lung LAM Student ID Number: D023111

December 29, 2003

Contents
1. 2. INTRODUCTION....................................................................................................................................... 1 THE DEFICIENCIES OF THE CLASSICAL DOCTRINES OF THE ANHYPOSTASIS-ENHYPOSTASIS COUPLET AND CHRISTOLOGICAL PERICHORESIS ......... 2

2.1. 2.2. 2.3. 2.4.
3.

THE MEANING OF THE ANHYPOSTASIS-ENHYPOSTASIS COUPLET ............................2 THE DEFICIENCIES OF THE ANHYPOSTASIS-ENHYPOSTASIS COUPLET .....................5 THE MEANING OF CHRISTOLOGICAL PERICHORESIS ...............................................7 THE DEFICIENCIES OF CHRISTOLOGICAL PERICHORESIS ......................................10

REASSESSMENTS OF THE CLASSICAL THEOLOGIES OF THE ANHYPOSTASIS-ENHYPOSTASIS COUPLET AND CHRISTOLOGICAL PERICHORESIS ....... 12

3.1. 3.2.
3.2.1. 3.2.2. 3.2.3.

THE RELATIONAL MODEL OF THE ANHYPOSTASIS-ENHYPOSTASIS COUPLET .......12 T.F. TORRANCE’S VICARIOUS HUMANITY OF CHRIST IN VIEW OF PERICHORECTIC COACTIVITY ............................................................................................................16
The Vicarious Humanity of Christ .............................................................................................. 16 The Trinitarian Perichorectic Coactivity.................................................................................... 18 The Integrated Model of the Relational Anhypostasis-Enhypostasis Couplet, the Vicarious Humanity of Christ, and the Trinitarian Perichorectic Coactivity ............................................. 20

4.

CONCLUSION.......................................................................................................................................... 21

BIBLIOGRAPHY................................................................................................................................................. I

The Trinitarian Perspectives on the Humanity of Jesus in Relation to Our Humanity

1.

Introduction According to Gregory of Nazianzus, “the unassumed is the unhealed,” and therefore Jesus should have assumed our fallen, sinful and alienated humanity in order to be a truly man in the same way as we are in order to save us.1 However, it appears to be logically impossible Stressing on for the unity of the fallen humanity and the divinity in the one Person of Jesus. throughout history such as Docetism, Apollinarianism, Eutychianism, etc. to the collapse of the entire Gospel. In this respect, many theologians had attempted to tackle the unity of the two apparently contradicted natures in Jesus using some theological concepts such as the anhypostasis-enhypostasis couplet and Christological perichoresis. debates continue even today due to their respective deficiencies. Nevertheless, the

either sides or synthesizing the two would result in a formation of heresy as witnessed Most importantly, failure to affirm this unity would result in inefficacy of the salvation, which accordingly leads

Some theologians even

admitted that the matter at issue was beyond human apprehension as the Scots Confession asserted the incarnation as the “most wondrous conjunction” and the Formula of Concord acknowledged it “next to the mystery of the Trinity, this is the chiefest mystery.”2 Having said that, there has been an increasing emphasis in relational approaches to this classical Christology and that a relational concept of person is being introduced by some contemporary theologians such as Wolfhart Pannenberg, Colin Gunton, and T.F. Torrance. Their main emphasis appears to stress on the relationality of personhood, which lies ultimately in relationship with God for the triune God is a relational God.3 In this respect, the goal of this paper is to reassess the classical theological concepts of the anhypostasis-enhypostasis couplet and the Christological perichoresis and refine them through the integration of the Trinitarian perspectives in order to affirm the full humanity of Jesus in relation to our humanity.

Walter A. Elwell, ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House Company, May 1990), 242. 2 Scots Confession, 7; Formula of Concord, Epitome, 8: Affirmative 12 quoted in Geoffrey Bromiley, “The Reformers and the Humanity of Christ,” eds. by Marguerite Shuster & Richard Muller, Perspectives on Christology. Essays in Honor of Paul K. Jewett, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991), 103. 3 Stanley J. Grenz, “The Social God and the Relational Self: Toward a Theology of the Imago Dei in the Postmodern Context,” Horizons in Biblical Theology, Vol. 24 (2002): 57. Systematic Theology II Page 1 By Timothy Ching Lung LAM

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2.

The Deficiencies of the Classical Doctrines of the Anhypostasis-Enhypostasis Couplet and Christological Perichoresis 2.1. The Meaning of the Anhypostasis-Enhypostasis Couplet The formation of the couplet, anhypostasis-enhypostasis was used to affirm the union of the two distinctive natures as well as the oneness of Christ’s hypostasis. In order to understand what this dual formula means, one should understand the meaning of the word, hypostasis first. In fact, hypostasis is a Greek noun, which usually refers to the ‘Person’ of the divine Trinity as designated by the Eastern theology.”4 However, this term was earlier used by the Council of Chalcedon to distinguish between the one person (“hypostasis”) of Christ’s incarnate being and the two natures (“physeis”), namely divine and human, which were united in what Cyril of Alexandria has referred to as a “hypostatic union.”5 Such union affirms that Jesus’ divine nature is fully united with a truly human nature in the one Person of the incarnate Son in such a way that the two natures are “neither separated from one another nor confounded with one another, and in such a way that neither nature suffers loss or change through relation to the other.”6 With this concept, the theologians after Chalcedon in the thought of John On the of Damascus asserted that the human nature of Christ had “no subsistence or person in and of itself,” or more precisely, “non-self-subsistence” or “anhypostasis.”7 other hand, they contended that such human nature of Christ, though anhypostasis, subsisted only in the subsistence of Christ as the eternal person of the Word for the sake of the incarnation, which came to an expression of what they called “enhypostasis.” 8 In other words, the incarnate Logos assumed the anhypostatic Accordingly, the one human nature while preserving “its own characteristic properties, without confusion, without change, without division, (and) without separation.”9

4

Sinclair B. Ferguson and David F. Wright, eds. New Dictionary of Theology, (Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1988),

325.

This was famously contended by Cyril of Alexandria and that they had used the term, “physis” almost in the same manner as “hypostasis” for the one being of Christ. See Ibid. 6 Thomas F. Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1992), 80. 7 Richard A. Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House Company, 1985), 35. 8 Ibid, 103. 9 Ivor Davidson, “Theologizing the Human Jesus: An Ancient (and Modern) Approach to Christology Reassessed,” International Journal of Systematic Theology, Vol. 3 No. 2 (July 2001): 135. Systematic Theology II Page 2 By Timothy Ching Lung LAM

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person Jesus possessed both human and divine natures and that He had all essential attributes or qualities as a man and God. In fact, the renowned use of the above dual formula was deployed by Karl Barth, which was made influential to other theologians in the modern times. As Pannenberg noticed, this formula became for Barth a core way of expressing the “miraculous invasion of divine Lordship into our world,” and that “Christ’s human nature has its existence only “in the event of the unio.”10 Accordingly, Christ’s human nature, for Barth, has its subsistence only in the Logos as he says, “The human nature of Christ has no personhood of its own. more positively, is enhypostatos. It is

anhypostatos – the formula in which the description culminates. Or, It has personhood, subsistence, reality, only in its union with the Logos of God.”11 Furthermore, T.F. Torrance, who shares Barth’s view, contends that anhypostasis guards against all forms of adoptionism by asserting that the human nature of Jesus has no independent hypostasis or subsistence apart from the event of the incarnation, apart from hypostatic union, while enhypostasis undercuts any Apollinarian or all forms of monophysitism by affirming “a real concrete hypostasis or subsistence” of the human nature of Jesus within the hypostatic union in the incarnation.12 body of Jesus.13 Together the two terms rule out any form of Nestorian dualism error of two persons adjoined in one

Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jesus-God and Man. Translated by Duane A. Priebe, and Lewis L. Wilkins, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1964), 341-342. 11 Karl Barth, The Gottingen Dogmatics: Introduction in the Christian Religion, trans. G.W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991), 1, 157 quoted in Ivor Davidson, 142. 12 T.F. Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons, (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996), 160. 13 T.F. Torrance, “Karl Barth and Patristic Theology,” In Theology Beyond Christendom: Essays on the Centenary of the Birth of Karl Barth, Edited by John Thomson, (Alison Park, Penn.: Pickwick, 1986), 227-229 quoted in Elmer M. Colyer, How to Read T.F. Torrance: Understanding His Trinitarian and Scientific Theology, (Downers Grove, III.: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 118. Systematic Theology II Page 3 By Timothy Ching Lung LAM

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Despite the fact that it appears impossible to fully comprehend the ineffable God literally or schematically, the following diagram may help understand the dual formula of anhypostasis-enhypostasis: Divine Nature
The Incarnate Son of God

The Hypostatic Union of the Two Enhypostasis Natures

Human Nature

= Anhypostasis

Figure 1

Assuming that the divine nature of Jesus is represented by a rectangle (without color) while the human nature is represented by a color of purple without any shape, the two together are united in a purple rectangle. What this diagram is driving at is that the color, purple, has no independent form or shape in and of itself apart from the “unifying” purple rectangle, which denotes the human nature that has no independent subsistence apart from the event of incarnation. respective attributes through relation to the other. In the purple rectangle, the two In other words, the one purple natures, purple and rectangle, are united without suffering any loss or change of their rectangle (i.e. the one Person of Jesus) possesses both the two natures of purple and rectangle (i.e. humanity and divinity) without confusion, without change, without division, and without separation. Although one may challenge that the rectangle has been altered from the state of transparency to purple, it should be noted that the nature of a rectangle is merely a figure itself without mentioning of any color at all; otherwise, it would then possess two natures, i.e. figure and color. Nevertheless, though this diagram may not fully explain or illustrate all the aspects of the two natures in the one Person of Jesus, it does give us a better understanding under the perspective of the anhypostasis-enhypostasis couplet.

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2.2. The Deficiencies of the Anhypostasis-Enhypostasis Couplet Notwithstanding that the dual formula of anhypostasis-enhypostasis affirms the doctrine of the two natures possessed in the one Person of Jesus, there are indeed some problems with it. In fact, the notion of anhypostasis-enhypostasis had been criticized by many modern well-known writers in Christology such as J.A.T. Robinson, and D. Bonhoeffer that the anhypostatic human nature of Christ threatened its continuity with the rest of the human race for the term, anhypostasis suggests a tertium quid, a type of humanity different from ours, i.e. “impersonality.”14 In addition, R.C. Moberly argues that there is no such impersonal human nature for “Human nature, which is not personal, is not human nature.”15 Accordingly, the dual formula appears not only risking the authenticity of Jesus’ humanity as a person, but it also undermines the relatedness of His humanity to the whole human race. Another problem with anhypostatic humanity of Jesus, arising also from the concept of impersonality but in an opposite view to the above, is that “the divine Word became united with the whole human race or with human nature,” if Jesus is not a specific individual human as noted by Millard Erickson.16 It is against the teaching within the Biblical context that Jesus was the man of Nazareth, not other human being such as Paul the apostle or John the Baptist, and that His earthly life demonstrated His particular individuality.17 In addition, to say that the human nature of Christ is enhypostasis, actually denies the humanity of Jesus, and, as Colin Gunton says, such doctrine does not safeguard the threat of Christ’s humanity being swallowed up in the divinity.18 For Gunton, such problem is manifested as a result of Karl Barth’s treatment of Christ’s humanity, which

Ivor Davidson, 136. R.C. Moberly, Atonement and Personality, (London: John Murray, 1901), 93 quoted in Ibid. 16 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House Company, 1998; nd 2 reprint, June 1999), 748. 17 Ivor Davidson, 138. 18 Colin E. Gunton, Christ and Creation, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992), 48.
15

14

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has been made equivalent to the humanity of God.19

Barth treated this dual formula

as the total determination of Jesus’ humanity by the logic of grace (i.e. fully divine agency) as he said of anhypostasis-enhypostasis that is “the sum and root of all the grace addressed to Him.”20 As such, all things happened in Jesus’ humanity are the Should it be the case, His full humanity is open to acts of God (i.e. due to enhypostasis), which raise the question on whether or not His actions as man are the acts of God. question. In this regard, the dual formula, for Gunton, not only jeopardizes the

integrity of Jesus’ human nature, it also risks the free human activity of Jesus should Christ’s humanity be subsistent only in the incarnate Son or Logos and that the divine nature in some way predetermines Jesus’ action as a man. In addition to the above challenges stressing on Jesus’ authentic humanity where the relatedness thereupon to our humanity is questionable, Wolfhart Pannenberg argues against such dual formula for its lack of relatedness to God. In contrary to the ontological dependence of Jesus’ entire human existence on the person of the incarnate Logos as suggested by enhypostasis, Pannenberg finds this problematic as the man Jesus does have His independence as the Son of God with respect to His historical existence.21 In Pannenberg’s words, “…He (Jesus) lived in self-sacrifice to the Father and in dependence upon Him in accomplishment of His existence. He did not live in dependence upon the Son; this obvious understanding of the enhypostasis of Jesus in the logos does not do justice to the Father, but precisely in so doing shows him to be one with the Son.”22 Nonetheless, Pannenberg does not reject the concept of Jesus’ human being subsistent only in the person of the incarnate Son that the dual formula affirms. What he is trying to raise out is that Jesus’ true humanity would be diminished should one fail to distinguish between the human historical existence of Jesus through His dedication to the Father and the identity of person with Son.
19 20

He explains that the concept of

Ibid. Barth, Dogmatics IV/2, 91 quoted in F. LeRon Shults, “A Dubious Christological Formula: From Leontius of Byzantium to Karl Barth,” Theological Studies, Vol. 57, Issue 3 (Sep. 96): 439. 21 Wolfhart Pannenberg, 339. 22 Ibid. Systematic Theology II Page 6 By Timothy Ching Lung LAM

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‘Person’ is relational and that “the relation of Jesus to the Father in His dedication to Him is identical with the relation to the Father intended by the designation ‘the Son.’”23 In this respect, Jesus is identical with the person of the Son in view of His human dedication to the Father rather than ontologically dependence on the person of the Logos under this perspective. Based on Pannenberg’s insight, one may conclude that the anhypostasis-enhypostasis couplet is only one of the aspects explaining the union of the two natures in the one Person of Jesus, and that a reciprocal relationship between the human nature and divine nature should be addressed under the perspectives from both the dual formula and the relational character of Jesus to God the Father. 2.3. The Meaning of Christological Perichoresis With respect to the above analysis examined by Pannenberg, there appears to be a reciprocal relationship between the human nature and the divine nature within the Person of the incarnate Son with the affirmation of the unity of one hypostasis. Throughout history, one of the attempts to clarify such relationship would be “perichoresis.” The Greek term, perichoresis or its Latin equivalent, circumencessio, In circuminsessio means “mutual indwelling or, better, mutual interpenetration.”24

fact, the meaning of perichoresis can be best explained from its verb form, perichorein where chorein means, “to make room for another,” and peri means “round about.” according to Liddell and Scott.25 In this respect, this term indicates a kind of mutual making room for another around oneself, which is indeed commonly used to denote “the mutual indwelling or interpretation of the three Persons of the Trinity whereby one is as invariably in the other two as they are in the one.”26 However, Torrance noticed that this term was not first used to describe the coinherent relations between the Persons of the Trinity, but rather used to express the coinherence of the two natures in the one Person of Christ.27 In his findings, it was Gregory Nazianzen who used this term in its verbal form (i.e. perichorein) to “help express the way in which the
Ibid. Walter A. Elwell, ed., 906-907. 25 Henry Liddell and Robert Scott, Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon, 1964) quoted in Michael G. Lawler, “Perichoresis: New Theological Wine in An Old Theological Wineskin,” Horizon, 22/1 (Spr. 1995): 49. 26 Alan Richardson and John Bowden, ed. A New Dictionary of Christian Theology, (London: SCM Press Ltd., 1983), 112. 27 Thomas F. Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons, 102.
24 23

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divine and the human natures in the one Person of Christ coinhere in one another without the integrity of either being diminished by the presence of the other.”28 Actually, Torrance was partially correct in identifying the origin of perichoresis, but the term was first used by Gregory Nazianzen to describe the relation between life and death at his father’s funeral where he argued that “life comes from and leads to corruption and death transforms us from earthly ills to a higher life.”29 Nevertheless, the term became more popular in its usage for describing the two natures in Jesus, which was introduced by Maximus the Confessor and first appeared in patristic philology in its noun form, i.e. perichoresis denoting that “the human nature totally makes room for the divine nature, to which it is united without any confusion.”30 In an attempt to explain such concept, Maximus used an analogy of “a red-hot knife” as follows: “As a red-hot knife burns and cuts simultaneously because of the perichoresis of the nature of iron and the nature of fire, so also Christ is simultaneously God and man because of the perichoresis of the divine and human natures.”31 With this theological term, the two natures of Jesus are affirmed in one Person perichorectically and that He is indeed both God and man. Later on, an anonymous author, Pseudo-Cyril in his De Sacrosancta Trinitate, continued to use this term to describe the two natures of Jesus.32 perichoresis was indeed asymmetrical. As he said, When Cyril spoke of the incarnation, he demonstrated that the mutual interpenetrating concept of

“But the interpenetration does not come to be from the flesh but from the Godhead, for it is impossible that the flesh should penetrate through the
Ibid. In fact, the verb was found three times in Gregory of Nazianzen (d.ca. 389) who used it to describe (1) the coinherent relation between life and death, and (2) satiety where “all things coinhere in or make room for one another,” and (3) the coinherence between Christ’s humanity and divinity. See Michael G. Lawler, 50. 30 Ambig. Liber, 112b, PG 91, 1053 quoted in Ibid. 31 Ibid, 50. 32 Ibid, 50-51.
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Godhead, but the divine nature, having once penetrated through the flesh, gave also to the flesh the ineffable penetration toward itself, which is called union.”33 Cyril further explained that perichoresis was not fully mutual for “the divinity is the anointing element, the humanity the anointed element, the anointing itself the perichoresis of the anointer in the anointed,” which came to a conclusion that “the perichoresis is achieved by the divinity not by the humanity” in order to preserve the impassiblity of God.34 In this respect, it is Jesus’ anointing divinity that makes room Having for the anointed humanity and that the humanity is intertwined with the divinity without being diminished, but rather being granted room for around itself.35 said that, perichoresis, for Cyril, is not exclusively “one-sided” and that Jesus’ divinity not only penetrates into the human nature but also empowers the human nature to penetrate into itself in return.36 After Pseudo-Cyril, John of Damascus, who shared with Cyril’s view that the perichoresis in Christ was not wholly symmetrical, but nonetheless it could not exclusively be one-sided.37 In his words:

“Although we say that the natures of the Lord coinhere in each other, we know that this coinherence arises out of the divine nature. For this last pervades all things and penetrates as it wishes, but nothing pervades or penetrates through it. And it grants the flesh For, participation in its own splendors while remaining impassible and without participating in the passions (or passivity) of the flesh. if the sun grants us participation in its own energies yet does not participate in ours, then how much more so the Lord and Creator of the sun?”38

Ps-Cyril, De Trin..24, PG 77.1165C-D=John of Damascus, Expos. Fid. 91=Fid. Orth. 4.18, Kotter 2:214 quoted in Verna Harrison, “Perichoresis in the Greek Fathers,” St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 35 No. 1 (1991): 60. 34 Ps-Cyril, De Trin.. 22, PG 77, 1162-1163 quoted in Michael G. Lawler, 51. 35 Ibid. 36 Verna Harrison, 60. 37 Ibid, 62. 38 Expos. Fid. 51= Fid. Orth. 3.7, Kotter 2:126 quoted in Ibid. Systematic Theology II Page 9 By Timothy Ching Lung LAM

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Upon incarnation, a state of coinherence is established in which the divine and human natures remain forever present in each other. asymmetry.39 Thus, there is symmetry within To sum The perichoresis arises out of the divine nature as it pervades the

human, but through this divine action, it becomes mutual (though not fully).

up, the concept of perichoresis is used to affirm the reciprocal relationship between the two natures of Christ that coinhere in one another without the integrity of either being diminished by the presence of the other. 2.4. The Deficiencies of Christological Perichoresis Similar to the notion of anhypostasis-enhypostasis, this classical doctrine of Christological perichoresis also has several problems as set out below: The first problem appears to be the wrong use of the word, perichoresis to describe the union of the two natures in Jesus Christ. Although both the Pseudo-Cyril and John of Damascus contended that the perichoresis was achieved by the divinity not by the humanity and that the penetration of the two natures was not wholly mutual, the word itself indeed had the meaning of mutual interpenetration. Such meaning should not be disregarded or altered; otherwise, it would be inappropriate to use such word to describe what it is not intended to be. The second problem of Christological perichoresis would be the infeasible communication of all attributes of one to the other should the meaning of perichoresis be remained. It should be noted that there are some attributes distinctly related to each nature, which are not communicated to the other. For instance, the infinitude, while fully attributed to the divine nature, cannot be interchanged with the human nature. Likewise, the finitude of the human nature cannot be communicated to the Should Jesus possess an infinite human nature, the doctrine of On the other hand, it will also be problematic if Jesus divine nature.

soteriology will be at risk as He would no longer be truly human in the same way as we are in order to save us. possesses a finitude divine nature, as He would not be considered truly God. One way or the other would inevitably put the entire soteriology in danger.

39

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The third problem would be the same as those contentions against Lutheran’s realistic view of the communicatio idiomatum. In fact, communicatio idiomatum means “the Accordingly, both Christological properties of both natures – deity and humanity – are communicated to, or interchanged in, the one person of Jesus Christ.”40 perichoresis and communicatio idiomatum serve as the same purpose in an attempt to resolve the reciprocal relationship of the two natures within the one Person of Jesus wherein perichoresis seemed to become a platform for developing Lutheran’s realistic view of the communicatio idiomatum. Martin Luther, who shared Maximus’ analogy of the red-hot knife, appealed to an image of heat and iron to explain such concept whereby Jesus’ divinity extended throughout His humanity in the incarnation just in a way as heat pervading an iron.41 Accordingly, Jesus’ human nature participates in His divinity sharing the divine attributes whereas the attributes of humanity are not destroyed nor are transferred to His divinity just like the analogy of iron being glowed by heat without losing its attributes.42 the Jesus. Nonetheless, this very concept still could not avoid the human nature being swallowed up by the divinity within the eternal being of As the Reformed accused, Lutheran’s realistic view of communicatio idiomatum could not safeguard itself from the heresy of Eutychianism “that the divine and human nature are commingled into one essence, and the human nature is changed into Deity, as Eutyches has madly affirmed.”43 With the above problems, what the notion of Christological perichoresis is intended to affirm is not so much as what it fails to say. Even worse than the dual formula of anhypostasis-enhypostasis, the term itself may not be appropriate to be applied in explaining the two natures in the one hypostasis of Jesus.

Stanley J. Grenz, Theology for the Community of God, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000), 298. 41 Ibid. 42 Ibid. 43 Geoffrey Bromiley, 98. Systematic Theology II Page 11 By Timothy Ching Lung LAM

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3.

Reassessments of the Classical Theologies of the Anhypostasis-Enhypostasis Couplet and Christological Perichoresis Notwithstanding that the two classical doctrines have their respective limitations and deficiencies, the two together could be reassessed and even integrated to form a more refined notion to better comprehend the very concept of the two natures in the one Person of Jesus in relation to both God and human. 3.1. The Relational Model of the Anhypostasis-Enhypostasis Couplet Based on the above analysis on the deficiencies of this dual formula, it is inevitable to admit that the major problem is its lack of a relational concept in terms of both the eternal being of God and our humanity. concept of Trinitarian theology. As mentioned above, Pannenberg, who contends for Christology ‘from below,’ goes beyond Barth by distinguishing between the human historical existence of Jesus through His self-sacrificial dedication to the Father and the identity of person with Son. With this notion, as Pannenberg asserts, not only Jesus’ divine Sonship establishes His human particularity as affirmed by the enhypostatic Christology, but the reverse is also correct that His humanity in His dedication to the Father constitutes Himself as the Son of God in His historical life.44 In light of this reciprocal relationship, Jesus’ divine Sonship is affirmed precisely as the man Jesus without leading to a consequence of a synthesis of the two natures nor is the absorption of one nature into the other. Notwithstanding that this relational model further reinforces and enhances the assertion of the two natures union in the one Person of Jesus that the anhypostasis-enhypostasis couplet intends to, one may argue that this relational character may only be applied to Jesus’ own humanity in His unique historical human life, which has no continuity to all human race. To respond, Pannenberg argues for Jesus’ Sonship constituted by His In response to this problem, both Pannenberg and Gunton provide us an insight to perceive this couplet with the aid of a relational

44

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human dedication to the Father as the fulfillment of Human destiny.45 Pannenberg says:

In his words,

“Precisely in his Sonship, in His relation to the Father, all others shall receive a share through him…Because we are sons of God through Jesus, God has also sent the Spirit of sonship into our heart through which we say, “Abba! Father” (Gal. 4:5 f,: cf. Rom. 8:15).”46 Obviously, Pannenberg’s Sonship argument demonstrates the continuity between Jesus’ humanity and ours in the Trinitarian language that we could share the Sonship through Jesus constituted by His human dedication to God in the Spirit. In this regard, the dual formula of anhypostasis-enhypostasis of Jesus’ humanity is not only a Christological matter, but is also being extended to the doctrine of Trinity in relation to human reality as in the context of soteriology. Sharing the similar view of Pannenberg, Gunton states it rightly that Christ in His perfect offering of Himself to the Father through the eternal Spirit serves as “one sample” for the creation’s directedness to perfection before God the Father. 47 Furthermore, he argues that “the weakness of the enhypostasis teaching are alleviated, if not removed, if we give a more prominent place than has been the case to the place of the Holy Spirit in Christology.” 48 Thus, what appears to be missing in Pannenberg’s reassessment of the dual formula is the significance of the Spirit in the man Jesus (though he mentions it), which is indeed elaborated by Gunton into more details. As Gunton demonstrates, it is the Spirit who directs the human life of Jesus However, as others would challenge, the human life In order to avoid such a predominant life of through his three major stages such as (1) the virgin birth, (2) the baptism and temptation, and (3) the death.49 of Jesus would then be totally predetermined by the Spirit (divine action), which would undermine Jesus’ truly human action. Jesus, Gunton affirms Jesus’ freedom by saying that it is His freedom to “accept it as

45 46 47 48 49

Pannenberg, 345. Ibid, 345-346. Gunton, 57. Ibid, 50. Ibid, 53. Page 13 By Timothy Ching Lung LAM

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gift from the Father’s sending of the Spirit.”50

While affirming the real humanity of

Jesus in view of the Spirit’s empowerment, Gunton further asserts that it is the same Spirit who relates us to the Father through the perfect offering of Jesus to the Father as “a renewed and cleansed sample of the life in the flesh in which human being consists.”51 Jesus. Schematically, the above profound Trinitarian concepts presented by both Pannenberg and Gunton in relation to the dual formula of anhypostasis-enhypostasis may look something like the following diagram after taking into account of the Figure 1 as discussed above:As a result, Gunton demonstrates a matter of relationality, i.e. how our humanity is restored to God through Jesus in the Spirit as an act of God and the human

The Hypostatic Union of the Two Natures in The Incarnate Son Son

Human Dedication

Father
Sonship Constitution

Empowerment

Spirit
Restoration

Human Race

Figure 2

Based on the above diagram, a reciprocal relationship between the two natures in the one Person is illustrated that not only is the human nature enhypostatic to the incarnate Son (the purple formed in the purple rectangle), but also the incarnate Son in His human dedication to the Father constitutes His Sonship (the arrows pointing inside denoting the incarnate Son’s dependence, in His human dedication, on the Father). In
50

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addition, the diagram demonstrates that it is the same Spirit (depicted by the green rectangle), who empowers Jesus in His perfect offering to the Father (depicted by the blue rectangle), restores the human race (depicted by the purple rectangle without frame so as to distinguish itself from the Person of Jesus while maintaining the human nature as denoted by purple) to the Father through the Son. With the aid of this diagram, an integration of Trinitarian character of the anhypostasis-enhypostasis couplet with the relational concept of our humanity to the Triune God has come into view while maintaining the real and fully humanity of Jesus enhypostatic in the operation of the divine essence (i.e. the incarnation through the agency of the Spirit) without suspension of its human subject hood (i.e. in human dedication to the Father). Notwithstanding that this reassessed model of the anhypostasis-enhypostasis couplet incorporating both Pannenberg’s and Gunton’s Trinitarian notions has resolved the relational deficiencies, the active participation of the Spirit in perfecting the human action of Jesus is problematic for it implies no real and truly human response in Jesus which, as a result, discontinues His humanity from ours (back to the original problem for the dual formula discussed above). Furthermore, the Trinitarian characters of the dual formula introduced by Pannenberg and Gunton should be further refined as such model may imply three discrete persons with the Son and the Spirit serving as instruments to bring humanity to the Father rather than the communion of the Trinity in unity. Accordingly, a more integral understanding of the interrelationship between the three Persons should be developed against such problem. Although the Christological In fact, Torrance’s perichoresis fails to explain the two natures in Jesus, the Trinitarian perichoresis is useful to elucidate the onto-relational character of the triune God. insightful reassessment of this Trinitarian perichoresis, or more precisely, the Trinitarian perichorectic coactivity, together with his very concept of “the vicarious humanity of Christ” may help resolve the deficiencies of the above model, which will be discussed in the next session.

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3.2. T.F. Torrance’s Vicarious Humanity of Christ in view of Perichorectic Coactivity As mentioned before, hypostasis or person is a relational concept and that, as Torrance contends, “we must think of God, rather, as ‘personalizing Person,’ and of ourselves as ‘personalized persons,’” for “human personhood is to be understood properly by relation to the creative Personhood of God.” 52 Here Torrance develops an onto-relational model of person, which relates our humanity to the three Persons of God through Christ’s vicarious humanity perceived in the perichorectic coactivities by the three Persons of God. 3.2.1. The Vicarious Humanity of Christ The concept, what Torrance has called “the vicarious humanity of Christ,” has become vital in understanding Torrance’s Christology and soteriology for it ascertains the gospel not being emptied of saving reality. 53 For Torrance, Jesus Christ is the “Mediator” between God and man for He, in the incarnation, has assumed our actual human nature completely that He “came to take our place, in all our human, earthly life and activity, in order that we may have his place as God’s beloved children, in all our human and earthly life and activity, sharing with Jesus in the communion of God’s own life and love as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”54 With Torrance’s theology of Christ’s vicarious humanity, the Son of God is not simply our substitute, but also our perfect representative who assumes our fallen and alienated place and in return, give us His place of righteousness, wholeness and oneness with God the Father by offering His perfect obedience to God through His true human response on earth on our behalf.55 As a result, our fallen humanity is restored and redeemed. However, one may challenge that such doctrine of vicarious humanity may overemphasize the divine act and undermines our human response. In response,

T. F. Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, 160. T. F. Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church, (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988), 4-5. 54 Ibid, 8. See also Colyer, How to Read T.F. Torrance, 110. 55 Ibid, 166.
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Torrance argues that the incarnation, although is “wholly an act of God,” is “no less true human life truly lived in our actual humanity.”56 He further contends,

“All through the incarnate life and activity of the Lord Jesus we are shown that ‘all of grace’ does not mean ‘nothing of man,’ but precisely the opposite: all of grace means all of man, for the fullness of grace creatively includes the fullness and completeness of our human response in the equation.”57 In order to understand Torrance’s profound concept of the so-called ‘logic of grace’, in which full divine agency (all of grace) includes full human agency (all of man), his understanding of the dual formula, anhypostasis-enhypostasis, which has been discussed above, should be addressed. As previously explained, Torrance, sharing the same views as the Chalcedon’s Fathers, contends that there is no independent human hypostasis apart from the incarnation (anhypostasis) while there is still a fully human hypostasis enhypostatic in the incarnate Son of God.58 As such, our human being is personalized and humanized in Jesus, “so that in all our relations with Him we are made more truly and fully human in our personal response of faith than ever before.”59 In this respect, what Torrance is trying to explain is that we, in Jesus’ vicarious humanity, could be directed into “intimate union with God and into the Communion of the Holy Trinity” through the fullness and completeness of human response personalized in Jesus the Logos to God.60 Notwithstanding that Torrance’s theology of Christ’s vicarious humanity together with his adoption of the “anhypostasis-enhypostasis” couplet do help resolve the human relatedness to, or more precisely, union and communion with the Triune God through Jesus, a concept should be addressed in order to reinforce, deepen, and consummate his profound theology, namely, the homoousion of Christ and the Spirit. For Torrance, the mediation of Christ between God and man is possible because Christ is homoousion as God the Father and that He is only begotten Son of God who is of the
T.F. Torrance, Theology in Reconstruction, (London: SCM Press, 1965), 131 quoted in Elmer M. Colyer, How to Read T.F. Torrance, 119. 57 T.F. Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, xii. 58 T.F. Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, 160-161. 59 T.F. Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, xiii. Systematic Theology II Page 17 By Timothy Ching Lung LAM
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same being with the Father and thus He is true God from true God.61

On the other

hand, Torrance applies the homoousion to the Holy Spirit affirming His deity as God, and in whom Christ has been empowered to fulfill His vicarious life and ministries on our behalf.62 Accordingly, from Torrance’s viewpoint, Christ receives the Holy Spirit on our behalf and redeems our humanity throughout His vicarious life, death, and resurrection in the power and presence of the Spirit, so as to reunite our humanity to Christ, sharing in His vicarious humanity, and through which we are in communion with God.63 With this perspective, the mutual mediation between the incarnate Son and the Spirit throughout God’s economy are at the heart of what the concept, “perichoresis” comes to an expression.64 3.2.2. The Trinitarian Perichorectic Coactivity In fact, Torrance finds the concept of perichoresis extremely useful in deepening our understanding of the onto-relations between the Trinitarian persons within the unity of the Trinity. For Torrance, perichoresis refers to “a circle of reciprocal relations” between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in which they mutually indwell, “wholly coexist and inexist in one another,” and “contain one another without any coalescing or commingling with one another and yet without any separation from one another, for they are completely equal and identical in Deity and Power.”65 With his adoption of perichoresis, Torrance develops an onto-relational concept of expressing the relations between the divine Trinitarian Persons, that God is not three discrete Persons but rather “a communion of Persons in which Being and Communion are ultimately one.” 66 Accordingly, the “onto-relational” concept expresses the interrelationship of the three Persons (hypostasis) within the one Being (Ousia) of the Trinity. In order to understand this relationship, Torrance starts off from the one Being, which is understood in His interior relations as the communion of the three divine Persons with one another (“One Being, Three Persons”). Then, he focuses

T.F. Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, 161. T.F. Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith, 93. 62 T.F. Torrance, Theology in Reconstruction, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1965), 246 quoted in Elmer Colyer, “T.F. Torrance on the Trinity: An Invitation for Dialogue,” 12. 63 Elmer Colyer, “T.F. Torrance on the Trinity: An Invitation for Dialogue,” 13. 64 T.F. Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, 169-171. 65 T.F. Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, 170-171, 174. 66 Elmer M. Colyer, “T.F. Torrance on the Trinity: An Invitation for Dialogue,” 6.
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more on the communion of the three divine Persons who in their perichorectic interrelation are the one Being of God (“Three Persons, One Being”). 67 the obverse of each other.68 Not only God in three divine Persons should be thought in perichorectic term, but also all of God’s activities should be thought in the same way. With Torrance’s perichorectic coactivity of the Trinity, all God’s activities indwell in God’s Being and vice versa, and that all these activities are God’s act in which each Person acts in a way in accordance with that Person’s distinctive activities, but in union and communion with the other divine Persons.69 Accordingly, though certain divine acts are primarily Thus, in terms of the incarnation, it is In Torrance’s words, the works of the One Person rather than the Others among the Three, all of them participate to certain degree in the acts. obviously the Son’s primary act, but, in view of perichorectic coactivity, it is also an involvement of both the Father and the Spirit. Most profoundly he states, “One Being, Three Persons” and “Three Persons, One Being” are

“This does not mean of course that the Father and the Spirit became incarnate with the Son, but that with and in the incarnate Son the whole undivided Trinity was present and active in fulfilling the eternal purpose of God’s Love for mankind, for all three divine Persons have their Being in homoousial and hypostatic interrelations with one another, and they are all inseparably united in God’s activity in creation and redemption, not least as those activities are consummated in the incarnate economy of the Son.”70 With this affirmation of the perichorectic coactivity, the presence of the Spirit in the humanity of Jesus not only empowers Jesus to live out a perfect obedient life to the Father, but also composes the Spirit Himself to dwell with the human nature in order for the human nature accustomed to receive Him.71 Consequently, the Spirit is not some “isolated and naked Spirit,” but rather, “as Spirit charged with all the experience
67 68 69 70 71

Ibid, 136. Ibid. Ibid. T. F. Torrance, The Christian Doctrine of God, 162. T.F. Torrance, Theology in Reconstruction, 246 quoted in Elmer M. Colyer, “T.F. Torrance on the Trinity: An Page 19 By Timothy Ching Lung LAM

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of Jesus as He shared to the full our mortal nature and weakness, and endured its temptation and grief and suffering and death.”72 Furthermore, the same principle could also be applied to the Father who not only sends the Son and proceeds the Spirit, but also participates in dwelling with human nature in light of the perichorectic coactivity in the incarnation. Together with the notion of Jesus’ vicarious humanity, our humanity are not diminished, but rather intensely personalized not only in relation to Jesus, but also to all three Persons of the Trinity in unity, with which this very concept further reinforces Torrance’s logic of grace that all of grace means all of man. 3.2.3. The Integrated Model of the Relational Anhypostasis-Enhypostasis Couplet, the Vicarious Humanity of Christ, and the Trinitarian Perichorectic Coactivity To integrate the above concepts, a schematic presentation in respect of a relational model of the anhypostasis-enhypostasis couplet and Jesus’ vicarious humanity together with the Trinitarian perichorectic coactivity could be illustrated as follows:-73

Sonship Constitution Father Spirit

Human Dedication Son

Spirit Empowerment Figure 3

In this diagram, the three Persons of the Trinity are represented by three adjoined almond-shaped figures distinguished by their respective colors and that the blue one depicts for the Person of the Father, the purple for the Son, and the green for the Spirit.
Invitation for Dialogue,” 13. 72 Ibid. 73 In fact, this figure is made reference to the cover of the book, Trinity, by Joseph F. Girzone. See Joseph F. Systematic Theology II Page 20 By Timothy Ching Lung LAM

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In regard to Figures 1 and 2, the same principle can be applied to this purple almond-shaped figure illustrating that the color of purple has no hypostasis in and of itself (anhypostasis) apart from the purple figure (enhypostasis). With the assistance of Torrance’s theologies of Christ’s vicarious humanity and the Trinitarian perichorectic coactivity, the schematic model should illustrate the following assertions:1. The three distinctive figures are inseparably united in one entity making them capable for mutual interpenetration, which depicts a dynamic interrelationship between the three Persons of the Trinity (perichoresis). 2. 3. 4. 5. The purple figure (the incarnate Son) in its color connects to the blue figure (the Father) inasmuch as the incarnate Son in His human dedication to the Father. The blue figure (the Father), in return, connects to the purple figure (the Son) denoting His constitution of the Sonship. The green figure (the Spirit), also in its connection to the purple figure, denotes the empowerment of the Spirit in the incarnate Son’s earthly life. In the purple figure, the color of purple becomes actualized fully and completely in relation to the interconnection of the three figures, which denotes the fullness and completeness of our human response personalized in the Son relating to the communion of the three Persons of the Trinity (i.e. the concept of Jesus’ vicarious humanity). 6. Although it appears that the three figures have their distinctive characters, they are inseparably united together in one figure and that the color of purple is also actualized in the one unifying figure (i.e. our humanity fully and completely personalized in the perichorectic coactivity). 4. Conclusion The above discussion demonstrates that the humanity of Jesus is not merely a matter of Christology, but rather an important doctrine at the heart of the Gospel. In this regard, many theologians, throughout history, attempted to tackle the two apparently contradicted natures in the one Person of Jesus using theological concepts such as the dual formula of

Girzone, Trinity, (New York: Doubleday, 2002), cover. Systematic Theology II Page 21 By Timothy Ching Lung LAM

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anhypostasis-enhypostasis and Christological perichoresis as discussed above. well as its continuity to our humanity.

However, it

had been shown that their attempts failed to affirm the real and truly humanity of Jesus as Nevertheless, the two classical concepts are still As useful in solving these deficiencies upon thorough reassessment and reconstruction.

such, an integration of a relational model of anhypostasis-enhypostasis couplet together with Torrance’s vicarious humanity of Jesus and the Trinitarian perichorectic coactivity has been established here to affirm that Jesus has assumed our fallen humanity and lived out His vicarious life in perfect obedience to the Father in the Spirit while we, in the Spirit, are united to Jesus sharing His vicarious humanity and through Him, we are united to the Father. Here the notion of the onto-relational concept of person (i.e. God as ‘personalizing Person,’ and human as ‘personalized persons’) has been adopted to unite all these superb concepts as follows:Firstly, we, in light of the anhypostasis-enhypotasis couplet, find the personalization of God’s relationship with humanity in Jesus Christ. Secondly, in Christ’s vicarious humanity, we find our humanity personalized in relation to God, and also brought into communion with the whole undivided Trinity who, in their homoousial and hypostatic onto-relations, are present and active in the realization of Jesus’ humanity. Thirdly, we find the entire personalizing process of our humanity occurs not merely in Jesus’ saving activities, but also in the Trinitarian perichorectic coactivity that the three Persons mutually mediate each other throughout the entire order of salvation without undermining our real and truly human response. By integrating all these insightful relational concepts, the full humanity of Jesus is indeed affirmed while His relatedness to our humanity in light of the Trinitarian perichoresis is therefore maintained.

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Bibliography Books: Bromiley, Geoffrey. “The Reformers and the Humanity of Christ,” eds. by Shuster, Marguerite & Muller, Richard. Perspectives on Christology. Essays in Honor of Paul K. Jewett. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991, 79-104. Colyer, Elmer M. How to Read T.F. Torrance: Understanding His Trinitarian & Scientific Theology. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2001. Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House Company, 1998; 2nd reprint, June 1999. Girzone, Joseph F. Trinity. New York: Doubleday, 2002. Grenz, Stanley J. Theology for the Community of God. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000. Gunton, Colin E. Christ and Creation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1992. Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Jesus-God and Man. Translated by Priebe, Duane A. and Wilkins, Lewis L. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. 1964. Torrance, Thomas F. The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996. Torrance, Thomas F. The Mediation of Christ. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1992. Torrance, Thomas F. The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988.

Dictionaries Elwell, Walter A. ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House Company, May 1990. Ferguson, Sinclair B. and Wright, David F. eds. New Dictionary of Theology. Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1988. Muller, Richard A. Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House Company, 1985. Richardson, Alan and Bowden, John. ed. A New Dictionary of Christian Theology. London: SCM Press Ltd., 1983.

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Articles Colyer, Elmer M. “T.F. Torrance on the Trinity: An Invitation for Dialogue.”

Journal Articles Davidson, Ivor. “Theologizing the Human Jesus: An Ancient (and Modern) Approach to Christology Reassessed.” International Journal of Systematic Theology, Vol. 3 No. 2 (July 2001): 123-153. Harrison,Verna. “Perichoresis in the Greek Fathers,” St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 35 No. 1 (1991): 53-65. Grenz, Stanley J. “The Social God and the Relational Self: Toward a Theology of the Imago Dei in the Postmodern Context.” Horizons in Biblical Theology, Vol. 24 (2002): 33-57. Lawler, Michael G. “Perichoresis: New Theological Wine in An Old Theological Wineskin,” Horizon, 22/1 (Spr. 1995): 49-66. Shults F. LeRon. “A Dubious Christological Formula: From Leontius of Byzantium to Karl Barth.” Theological Studies. Vol. 57 Issue 3 (Sep. 96): 431-446.

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