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Monophysitism Entails The Apollinarian View Of Christ's Human Nature As Merely An Animated Body


The Catholic welcomes these evidences of the duality of Christ's
intellectual life. On the theoretical side, they confirm the central
dogma of orthodox Christology. On the practical side, they give him
authority for seeking Christ's sympathy in matters intellectual. He
realises that since Christ understands the education of the mind and
can share his intellectual difficulties, there is hope for the
redemption and regeneration of the highest part of his nature. The
monophysite finds neither support for his dogma, nor inspiration for
life, in the fact that Christ had a human mind. He is blind to the
fact. He has seen half the picture and regards it as the whole. His
ideal is a being in whom intuition supersedes intellect, whose
knowledge is immediate, absolute, and complete. The orthodox who held
that Christ had and, at ordinary times, used a human reason, perfect of
its kind, but still human in all the implications of the word, were in
his eyes Agnoetae; they were unbelievers who asserted the ignorance of
Christ and set bounds to the vision and knowledge of the infinite. The
monophysite would modify his opinions and approach the catholic
position on other doctrinal points, but never on this. He might be
persuaded to admit that Christ's body and "animal soul" were real and
human, but to the consubstantiality of Christ's mind with man's he
would not subscribe. The Apollinarian strain in monophysitism was
persistent. The later monophysites never succeeded in banishing it
from their system. By Apollinarianism the humanity of Christ is
crippled in its highest member. It is a realm shorn of its fairest
province. According to Apollinaris, all that Christ assumed was an
animated body. His theory is like an ingenious system of canal locks
for letting divine personality descend from the upper to the lower
waters. The ingenuity displayed in it condemns it. It is an
artificial makeshift. The psychology on which it rests is antiquated.
The picture of Christ it presents does not correspond to the recorded
facts of His life. Christ's human nature, as chiselled by the
Apollinarian sculptor, is a torso. Such an image fails to satisfy the
demands of religious feeling, and the doctrines, Apollinarian and
monophysite, that enshrine it are therefore valueless.

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