Christological Dualism Nestorianism
Category: MONOPHYSITISM PAST AND PRESENT
The Christological counterpart of dualism and of deism is Nestorianism.
The Nestorians halt at the lowest stage of Christological thought.
They admit Christ to be the meeting-point of God and man, but they
nullify the admission by introducing dualism into the person of Christ.
They set out to find the solution of the cosmic problem in Christ; they
endeavour to express the relation between God and the world in terms of
His personality. They bring the two concepts together, but they do not
weld them. Faith and courage fail them at the critical moment. They
substitute an association for a union. They leave God and man
co-existing in Christ, but not united there.
Nestorianism is a halfway house on the road from Arianism to
Christianity. It is a weak compromise. The deity in Christ is
admitted, but its unity with humanity denied. The divine remains
external to the human nature. According to the doctrine ascribed to
Nestorius two persons, the son of God and the son of Mary, at the
Baptism were mysteriously associated. The union consists partly in
identity of name, partly in the gradual deepening of the association.
As Jesus grew in spiritual power and knowledge and obedience to the
divine will, the union which at first was relative gradually deepened
towards an absolute union. Divinity was not His birthright, but
acquired. Thus throughout His life the two personalities remained
external to one another. The divine worked miracles; the human
suffered. The Nestorian could pride himself on having preserved the
reality of the divine and the reality of the human; he could worship
the one and imitate the other. But his system was non-Christian,
because it excludes the element of mediation. A dual personality could
never make atonement or redeem humanity. God and man in Christ were
brought into nominal contact, but there was provided no channel by
which the divine virtue might pass into the human. The Nestorian
remains content with his solution, because the background of his
thought is dualist. The thinker's attitude to the cosmic problem
decides his attitude to the Christological problem. Content to couple
God and the world by an "and," he similarly couples by an "and" the
Logos and Jesus Christ. Dividing God from the world, he divides
Christ. Abandoning metaphysical relation between the cosmic
principles, he despairs of finding, or, rather, has no motive for
seeking a personal relation between God and man in the being of Christ.
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