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Monophysitism Limits The Scope Of Redemption


Monophysitism shows itself also in the modern tendency to narrow the
scope of redemption. Partial salvation is offered as a substitute for
the salvation of the entire man. This tendency is a natural result of
narrowing the import of the incarnation. It runs counter to orthodox
Christology and the derivate doctrines. A divine economy is traceable
in God's dealings with men; there is nothing purposeless, nothing
otiose in God's dispensation. The Church's invariable answer to the
Apollinarians was grounded in belief in this economy. She argued that
Christ could not redeem what He did not assume, and, conversely, that
what He assumed He redeemed. He assumed human nature in its entirety,
thought, will, feeling and body; therefore not one of those elements of
human nature lies outside the scope of redemption. Monophysitism
excludes some or all of those elements from the being of the incarnate
Christ, and by so doing deprives the corresponding elements in man's
nature of their rightful share in the benefit of redemption.

The feeling that some parts of human nature are more fitted to survive
than others is wide-spread to-day. It is found within as well as
without the Church. We constantly read of the "survival factor." The
term implies the belief that at death part of the man's nature survives
and part perishes. There is, however, no general agreement as to which
part constitutes the "survival factor." The intellectualist pins his
faith to the immortality of the reason. He is content to let death
deprive him of everything except the logical faculty. For the aesthete
beauty alone is eternal, and his hope for the future lies in the
continuance of his aesthetic sense. The materialist sees permanence
only in the indestructibility of the ultimate physical constituents of
his body. The epigenesis of a spiritual body lies outside his horizon.
The volitionist finds all the value of life in the moral nature. For
him the good will persists when all else is resolved into nothingness.
Character alone, he says, survives the shock of death. All these
limited views of survival are symptoms of monophysite ways of thinking.
The Christian, on the contrary, holds that what is redeemed eo ipso
survives. Whatever else is involved in redemption persistence
certainly is included. Monophysitism stands for a partial redemption;
but to the orthodox who believe that Christ assumed human nature in its
entirety, each part and the whole are of infinite value. He holds that
the strengthening, purifying, and perfecting that salvation brings
apply to the psychic and the physical natures, that no part is exempt,
that neither intellect nor will nor feeling ceases with death, that the
range of reason will be increased, and its operation made more sure,
that lofty and sustained endeavour will replace the transient energy of
the earthly will, that feeling will be enhanced, harmonised, and
purified, that a spiritual body continuous with the body of the flesh
will express man's heavenly experience. These high far-reaching hopes
rest on the doctrines of catholic Christology. Christ assumed our
nature complete in body and psychic parts. He did so with a purpose,
and that purpose could be none other than the redemption of the body
and of all the psychic elements. To the mystic, body and human
activities may seem only transient and unworthy of a place in heaven.
Such is false spirituality. It is contrary to the tenor of catholic
teaching. The incarnation brought divine and human together on earth.
The resurrection fixed their union. The ascension gave humanity an
eternal place among eternal things.

Next: Monophysitism Shown In The Modern Tendency To Make The Death Of Christ A Secondary Factor In The Scheme Of Redemption

Previous: The Doctrine Of Subjective Redemption Due To Monophysitism

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