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
n 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.