Monophysitism Ignores The Duality In Christ's Experience

Such in outline is Bergson's theory of the interpenetration of psychic

states. If this psychology be adopted, the abstract character of the

catholic doctrine of Christ's being in large measure disappears. It

becomes easy to conceive the interpenetration of two natures in one

Christ. Further, the Bergsonian psychology furnishes a standpoint from

which criticism of monophysitism is easy. Psychology at the

stage of thought conceives the moments of Christ's

consciousness in their mutual externality; they follow each other as do

the ticks of a clock. They are discrete elements strung along on a

hypothetical ego. Christ's experience is conceived as unilinear. All

that He did, suffered and thought is regarded as having taken place on

one and the same plane of experience. This psychology has no room for

another plane of experience. It has no room for a positive

sub-consciousness. Consequently that one plane must be the one divine

nature, which, as the monophysites taught, absorbed the human.

The one-nature theory is not true to the facts. It overlooks the

complexity of Christ's experience. His experiences lie on two

different planes. He has different universes of thought, different

actuating wills and sets of feelings. Christ is not in one nature.

The phases of His consciousness are twofold. His experiences fall

naturally into two groups. While one group is in consciousness, the

other is below the level of consciousness. Now the human experiences,

now the divine, are uppermost. Both are always present. Life under

such conditions is inconceivable, unless full recognition be accorded

to the fact that conscious states interpermeate. If each state fall

outside the other, and consciousness be a chain of successive ideas or

emotions, a twofold nature within the one experience is meaningless.

The view of conscious states as discrete leads inevitably to

determinism. The place of one state in the chain is conditioned by its

predecessor. There is no room for the spontaneity and the creative

power which characterise conscious life. Associationism cannot

countenance the unforeseen and incalculable. So it is out of sympathy

with Christian psychology. A function of the divine in Christ is to

introduce the element of the unforeseen and incalculable into His

normal and human experience. The Bergsonian psychology thus supplies

an intellectual basis for belief in the possibility of two natures in

Christ. When ideas are regarded as psychic entities whose essential

property is mutual penetration, the ground is prepared for the catholic

formula. Where this truth is not recognised, there arises inevitably

the tendency to assert that Christ had and must have had but one

uniform level of experience, and that assertion is the essence of