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 i
telligent 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.