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


We have seen above that monophysitism discredits the reality of
Christ's sufferings. Dogmatic reasons apart, the monophysite is
motived by a repugnance to physical pain and by a wish to exclude it
from the experience of the human ideal. To this motive we can trace
the modern tendency to transfer the doctrinal centre of gravity from
the Passion to the incarnation. The Passion and Death used to occupy
the first place in the thoughts of Christians and formed the foundation
for all theories of atonement. The incarnation was regarded as, for
the purposes of dogma, subsidiary. Within recent times the position
has been reversed. The main stress falls now on the incarnation. The
Passion seems of secondary importance, if, as modern theology often
teaches, all purposes of redemption were secured prior to it. In thus
changing the venue of redemption modern theology is wrong. The mistake
is prompted largely, so it seems to the writer, by monophysitism latent
in modern religious thought; at any rate strict adherence to the
catholic doctrine of two natures would have prevented it. The human
nature that Christ assumed had to be perfected through suffering;
otherwise it could not attain that universality and representative
character which enabled it to become the medium of universal salvation.
If it had been enough for the divine spirit to mingle with men, to show
them a pattern life, and to touch them to higher things, an apparition
would have been adequate, and no community of suffering would have been
necessary. Since Christ not only appeared as man, but experienced in
His flesh all man's experiences, death which is the climax of human
experience fell to His lot and set the seal to the divine enterprise.
Since He who died was the flesh and blood embodiment of the cosmic
relation. His death has cosmic significance. The doctrinal edifice in
which Calvary is of ornamental and not of structural value has
monophysitism for its foundation.

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