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Value Of Bergson's Psychology To Orthodox Christology


Person and nature are then real and distinct psychic entities. They
are real alike in God and man. The distinction between them is not
artificial or verbal; it is perhaps elusive, but it is genuine and
capable of proof from experience. The synthetic faculty of personality
manifests itself in uniting without confusing, first, parts of the
nature, second, entire natures. These theses supply what is requisite
for an intelligent appreciation of Christology. Without them
Christology is a battle of shadows; with them it becomes a practical
problem of first importance for religious minds. The psychology which
justifies orthodox Christology is that which proclaims the
interpenetration of psychic states, and which distinguishes between the
surface states of a relaxed consciousness, and the deep-seated states
which are ever present, but of which we are conscious only at moments
of tension.

The catholic mind conceives the person of Christ as an eternal
self-existent synthetic unity that has combined in an indissoluble
union the natures of God and man. Human parallels make intelligible
the co-existence of the two natures in the one person and the one body.
What is normal in man is surely possible in the ideal man. Heretical
Christologies err in their psychology. In Nestorian Christology Christ
is presented as a dual personality, an abnormal association in one body
of two distinct self-existent beings. Thus a pathological case would
be elevated to the rank of mankind's ideal. The monophysite psychology
plunges men into the opposite error. An undiscriminating craving for
unity among the phenomena of psychic life prevents any recognition of
the dual character of experience. Monophysitism is blind to the
difference between person and nature because it places all psychic
experiences on the one level. Determined to find unity in its ideal,
it seeks an inappropriate unity, the mathematical unity, the unity that
excludes plurality. To the monophysite the major part of the gospels
is a sealed book, because the major part of the facts there recorded
about Christ could not possibly have happened to a one-natured Christ.
His human knowledge, normal, limited, progressive, His human will,
natural, adequate to the human, inadequate to the superhuman task, his
human feelings, his body consubstantial with ours are to the
monophysite merely shadows or symbols or aspects of something greater.
They are dwarfed into nothingness. They are lost in the divine
omniscience, omnipotence and transcendent love.

Next: Monophysitism In The Present Day

Previous: Human Personality And Human Nature

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