Christological Dualism Nestorianism

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

is 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.