Hypostatic union (from the Greek: ὑπόστασιςhypóstasis, "sediment, foundation, substance, subsistence") is a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ's humanity and divinity in one hypostasis, or individual existence.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures of Judaism, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.
Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also especially with epistemology, and asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.
Christology, literally "the understanding of Christ," is the study of the nature (person) and work of Jesus Christ. It studies Jesus Christ's humanity and divinity, and the relation between these two aspects; and the role he plays in salvation.
The most basic explanation for the hypostatic union is Jesus Christ being both God and man. He is both perfectly divine and perfectly human.
The Athanasian Creed recognized this doctrine and affirmed its importance, stating that "He is God from the essence of the Father, begotten before time; and he is human from the essence of his mother, born in time; completely God, completely human, with a rational soul and human flesh; equal to the Father as regards divinity, less than the Father as regards humanity. Although he is God and human, yet Christ is not two, but one. He is one, however, not by his divinity being turned into flesh, but by God's taking humanity to himself. He is one, certainly not by the blending of his essence, but by the unity of his person. For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh, so too the one Christ is both God and human."
The Athanasian Creed, also known as Pseudo-Athanasian Creed or Quicunque Vult, is a Christian statement of belief focused on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. The Latin name of the creed, Quicunque vult, is taken from the opening words, "Whosoever wishes". The creed has been used by Christian churches since the sixth century. It is the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity is explicitly stated. It differs from the Nicene-Constantinopolitan and Apostles' Creeds in the inclusion of anathemas, or condemnations of those who disagree with the creed.
The Greek term hypostasis had come into use as a technical term prior to the Christological debates of the late fourth and fifth centuries. In pre-Christian times, Greek philosophy (primarily Stoicism) used the word.Some occurrences of the term hypostasis in the New Testament foreshadow the later, technical understanding of the word. Although it can translate literally as "substance", this has been a cause of some confusion; accordingly the New American Standard Bible translates it as "subsistence". Hypostasis denotes an actual, concrete existence, in contrast to abstract categories such as Platonic ideals.
Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world. According to its teachings, as social beings, the path to eudaimonia (happiness) for humans is found in accepting the moment as it presents itself, by not allowing oneself to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one's mind to understand the world and to do one's part in nature's plan, and by working together and treating others fairly and justly.
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first being the Old Testament. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture.
The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is an English translation of the Bible by the Lockman Foundation. The New Testament was first published in 1963, and the complete Bible in 1971. The most recent edition of the NASB text was published in 1995.
In Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragments , the dual nature of Christ is explored as a paradox, as "the ultimate paradox", because God, understood as a perfectly good, perfectly wise, perfectly powerful being, fully became a human, in the Christian understanding of the term: burdened by sin, limited in goodness, knowledge, and understanding.This paradox can only be resolved, Kierkegaard believed, by a leap of faith away from one's understanding and reason towards belief in God; thus the paradox of the hypostatic union was crucial to an abiding faith in the Christian God.
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He wrote critical texts on organized religion, Christendom, morality, ethics, psychology, and the philosophy of religion, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and parables. Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a "single individual", giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment. He was against literary critics who defined idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, and thought that Swedenborg, Hegel, Fichte, Schelling, Schlegel and Hans Christian Andersen were all "understood" far too quickly by "scholars".
Philosophical Fragments is a Christian philosophical work written by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1844. It was the second of three works written under the pseudonym Johannes Climacus; the other two were De omnibus dubitandum est in 1841 and Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments in 1846.
The fall of man, or the fall, is a term used in Christianity to describe the transition of the first man and woman from a state of innocent obedience to God to a state of guilty disobedience. Although not named in the Bible, the doctrine of the fall comes from a biblical interpretation of Genesis chapter 3. At first, Adam and Eve lived with God in the Garden of Eden, but the serpent tempted them into eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which God had forbidden. After doing so, they became ashamed of their nakedness and God expelled them from the Garden to prevent them from eating from the tree of life and becoming immortal.
As the precise nature of this union is held to defy finite human comprehension, the hypostatic union is also referred to by the alternative term "mystical union".
|Part of a series on|
Apollinaris of Laodicea was the first to use the term hypostasis in trying to understand the Incarnation.Apollinaris described the union of the divine and human in Christ as being of a single nature and having a single essence — a single hypostasis.
Apollinaris the Younger, also known as Apollinaris of Laodicea, was a bishop of Laodicea in Syria. He is best known, however, as a noted opponent of Arianism. Apollinaris's eagerness to emphasize the deity of Jesus and the unity of his person led him so far as to deny the existence of a rational human soul in Christ's human nature. This view came to be called Apollinarism. It was condemned by the First Council of Constantinople in 381.
Incarnation literally means embodied in flesh or taking on flesh. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient being who is the material manifestation of an entity, god or force whose original nature is immaterial. In its religious context the word is used to mean the descent from Heaven of a god, deity, or divine being in human/animal form on Earth.
In the 5th century, a dispute arose between Cyril of Alexandria and Nestorius in which Nestorius claimed that the term theotokos could not be used to describe Mary, the mother of Christ. Nestorius argued for two distinct natures of Christ, maintaining that God could not be born because the divine nature is unoriginate. Therefore, Nestorius believed that the man Jesus of Nazareth was born in union with, but separate from and not strictly identifiable with, the Logos of God. The Council of Ephesus in 431, under the leadership of Cyril himself as well as the Ephesian bishop Memnon, labeled Nestorius a neo-adoptionist, implying that the man Jesus is divine and the Son of God only by grace and not by nature, and deposed him as a heretic. In his letter to Nestorius, Cyril used the term "hypostatic" (Greek, καθ᾽ ὑπόστασιν kath' hypostasin) to refer to Christ's divine and human natures being one, saying, “We must follow these words and teachings, keeping in mind what ‘having been made flesh’ means …. We say … that the Word, by having united to himself hypostatically flesh animated by a rational soul, inexplicably and incomprehensibly became man.”------
Cyril of Alexandria was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444. He was enthroned when the city was at the height of its influence and power within the Roman Empire. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the late-4th and 5th centuries. He was a central figure in the Council of Ephesus in 431, which led to the deposition of Nestorius as Patriarch of Constantinople.
Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople from 10 April 428 to August 431, when Emperor Theodosius II confirmed his condemnation by the Council of Ephesus on 22 June.
Theotokos is a title of Mary, mother of Jesus, used especially in Eastern Christianity. The usual Latin translations, Dei Genetrix or Deipara, are "Mother of God" or "God-bearer".
The preeminent Antiochene theologian Theodore of Mopsuestia, contending against the monophysite heresy of Apollinarism, is believed to have taught that in Christ there are two natures (dyophysite), human and divine, and two corresponding hypostases (in the sense of "subject", "essence", or "person") which co-existed.However, in Theodore's time the word hypostasis could be used in a sense synonymous with ousia (which clearly means "essence" rather than "person") as it had been used by Tatian and Origen. The Greek and Latin interpretations of Theodore's Christology have come under scrutiny since the recovery of his Catechetical Orations in the Syriac language.
In 451, the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon promulgated the Chalcedonian Definition. It agreed with Theodore that there were two natures in the Incarnation. However, the Council of Chalcedon also insisted that hypostasis be used as it was in the Trinitarian definition: to indicate the person (prosopon) and not the nature as with Apollinaris.
The Oriental Orthodox Churches, having rejected the Chalcedonian Creed, were known as Miaphysites because they maintain the Cyrilian definition that characterized the incarnate Son as having one nature. The Chalcedonian "in two natures" formula (based, at least partially, on Colossians 2:9) was seen as derived from and akin to a Nestorian Christology. μία φύσις τοῦ θεοῦ λόγου σεσαρκωμένη", "mía phýsis toû theoû lógou sesarkōménē". The term miaphysis means one united nature as opposed to one singular nature (monophysis). Thus the Miaphysite position maintains that although the nature of Christ is from two, it may only be referred to as one in its incarnate state because the natures always act in unity.Contrariwise, the Chalcedonians saw the Oriental Orthodox as tending towards Eutychian Monophysitism. However, the Oriental Orthodox persistently specified that they have never believed in the doctrines of Eutyches, that they have always affirmed that Christ's humanity is consubstantial with our own, and they thus prefer the term Miaphysite to be referred to as, a reference to Cyrillian Christology, which used the phrase "
In recent times,[ clarification needed ] leaders from the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches have signed joint statements in an attempt to work towards reunification. Likewise the leaders of the Assyrian Church of the East, which venerates Nestorius and Theodore, have in recent times[ clarification needed ] signed a joint agreement with leaders of the Roman Catholic Church acknowledging that their historical differences were over terminology rather than the actual intended meaning.
Some Christian denominations believe that the hypostatic union wasn't from ever and that instead it took place from a specific point of the human history onwards. They believe that Jesus Christ God started to have a human-divine body at the time of the Incarnation into the womb of the Virgin Mary, y the work of the Holy Spirit God. In such a belief, it is unclear how Jesus could have been a man without a human body before the Incarnation, or if he hadn't any body at all.
On the contrary, the pre-existence of Christ asserts that Jesus Christ God has from ever and forever a Body (a human flesh) which is altogether Man and God. It means that God the Father generated Jesus Christ God before all centuries (ab aeterno) as the true Man and the true God, and that it was in flesh, in soul and in spirit. In such a way, it doesn't exist a time of the hypostatic union of the human and divine nature of Christ, in his body, soul and spirit. The hypostaticunion was befpre all centuries.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, was used to distinguish the following Latin terms: nature(s), Person, Hypostasis and the (untranslated) word suppositum. According to his Summa theologica, the definition of suppositum is derived from the other terms: it can be the "hypostasis of human nature" (ST III, q. 16 a. 1), "the Person of the Son of God, because there is only one suppositum of both natures" (III, q. 16, a. 1), the suppositum "of the human and Divine natures" (III, q. 16, a. 1).
While the divine and human natures of Christ remain distinct, both of them are instead united into the same unique Person and also into the same unique Hypostasis (ST III, q. 16, a. 2). Only the human nature suffered, whereas the Divine nature was impassible and incorporeal (ST III. q. 16, a. 8). But both the human and the Divine nature belong to same unique Person and the same unique Hypostasis. The suppositum seems to be of two types, for both the human and the Divine natures: an ethernal suppositum of both natures for "the Man Christ Jesus" (III, q. 16, a. 3), and also a suppositum in the mistery of the Incarnation, "in which neither exists accidentally, but [both] essentially" (III, q. 16, a. 1).
|ST III, q. 16, a. 1||Natura autem divina et humana, quamvis sint maxime distantes, tamen conveniunt per incarnationis mysterium in uno supposito, cui neutra illarum inest per accidens, sed secundum se. Et ideo haec propositio, Deus est homo, non est neque in materia remota neque in materia contingenti, sed in materia naturali. Et praedicatur homo de Deo, non per accidens, sed per se, sicut de sua hypostasi, non quidem ratione formae significatae per hoc nomen Deus; sed ratione suppositi, quod est hypostasis humanae naturae.||Now the Divine and human natures, although most widely apart, nevertheless come together by the mystery of the Incarnation in one suppositum, in which neither exists accidentally, but [both] essentially. Hence this proposition is neither in remote nor in contingent, but in natural matter; and man is not predicated of God accidentally, but essentially, as being predicated of its hypostasis---not, indeed, by reason of the form signified by this word "God," but by reason of the suppositum, which is a hypostasis of human nature.|
|ST III, q. 16, a. 3||Respondeo dicendum quod sicut, supra dictum est, cum dicitur homo Christus Iesus, designatur suppositum aeternum, quod est persona filii Dei, propter hoc quod unum suppositum est utriusque naturae.. [...] |
As was said above (Article , ad 3), when we say "the Man Christ Jesus," we signify the eternal suppositum, which is the Person of the Son of God, because there is only one suppositum of both natures.. [...]
|This one suppositum, which is of the human and Divine natures, was first of the Divine Nature, i.e. from eternity. Afterwards in time it was made a suppositum of human nature by the Incarnation. And for this reason it is said to be "humanized"---not that it assumed a man, but that it assumed human nature. But the converse of this is not true, viz. that a suppositum of human nature assumed the Divine Nature; hence we may not say a "deified" or "lordly" man.|
|ST III, q. 16, a. 5||Ad secundum dicendum quod incarnatio magis importat unionem ad carnem quam carnis proprietatem. Utraque autem natura est in Christo unita alteri in persona, ratione cuius unionis et natura divina dicitur incarnata, et humana natura deificata, ut supra dictum est.||Incarnation implies union with flesh, rather than any property of flesh. Now in Christ each nature is united to the other in person; and by reason of this union the Divine Nature is said to be incarnate and the human nature deified, as stated above. (NdA, 'III, q. 2, a.1, ad. 3)|
|ST III, q. 16, a. 8||Ad secundum dicendum quod omnes proprietates humanae naturae, sicut et divinae, possunt aliqualiter dici de Christo. Unde et Damascenus dicit, in III libro, quod Christus, qui Deus et homo dicitur, creabilis est et increabilis, et partibilis et impartibilis. Sed tamen illa quae dubitationem habent circa alterutram naturam, non sunt dicenda absque determinatione. Unde et ipse postea alibi subdit, ipsa una hypostasis, scilicet Christi, et increata est deitate, et creata est humanitate. Sicut et e converso non esset dicendum sine determinatione quod Christus est incorporeus, vel impassibilis, ad evitandum errorem Manichaei, qui posuit Christum verum corpus non habuisse, nec vere passum esse, sed dicendum est cum determinatione quod Christus secundum deitatem est incorporeus et impassibilis.||All the properties of the human, just as of the Divine Nature, may be predicated equally of Christ. Hence Damascene says (De Fide Orth. iii, 4) that "Christ Who God and Man, is called created and uncreated, passible and impassible." Nevertheless things of which we may doubt to what nature they belong, are not to be predicated without a qualification. Hence he afterwards adds (De Fide Orth. iv, 5) that "the one hypostasis," i.e. of Christ, "is uncreated in its Godhead and created in its manhood": even so conversely, we may not say without qualification, "Christ is incorporeal" or "impassible"; in order to avoid the error of Manes, who held that Christ had not a true body, nor truly suffered, but we must say, with a qualification, that Christ was incorporeal and impassible "in His Godhead."|
|Look up hypostasis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
The Chalcedonian Definition was adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. Chalcedon was an early centre of Christianity located in Asia Minor. The council was the fourth of the Ecumenical Councils that are accepted by Chalcedonian churches which include the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, and most Protestant churches. It was the first council not to be recognised by any Oriental Orthodox church; these churches may be classified as non-Chalcedonian.
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is an Oriental Orthodox Christian church based in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East. The head of the Church and the See of Alexandria is the Patriarch of Alexandria on the Holy See of Saint Mark, who also carries the title of Coptic Pope. The See of Alexandria is titular, and today the Coptic Pope presides from Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the Abbassia District in Cairo. The church follows the Alexandrian Rite for its liturgy, prayer and devotional patrimony. With 18–22 million members worldwide, whereof about 15 to 20 million are in Egypt, it is the country's largest Christian church.
Nestorianism is a Christian theological doctrine that upholds several distinctive teachings in the fields of Christology and Mariology. It opposes the concept of hypostatic union and emphasizes that the two natures of Jesus Christ were joined by will rather than nature. This Christological position is defined as radical dyophisitism. Nestorianism was named after Christian theologian Nestorius (386–450), Patriarch of Constantinople from 428 to 431, who was influenced by Christological teachings of Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch.
Monophysitism is the Christological position that, after the union of the divine and the human in the historical incarnation, Jesus Christ, as the incarnation of the eternal Son or Word (Logos) of God, had only a single "nature" which was either divine or a synthesis of divine and human. Monophysitism is contrasted to dyophysitism which maintains that Christ maintained two natures, one divine and one human, after the incarnation.
Chalcedonian Christianity refers to the Christian denominations adhering to the christological definitions and ecclesiological resolutions of the Council of Chalcedon, the Fourth Ecumenical Council held in 451. Chalcedonian Christians follow the Definition of Chalcedon, a religious doctrine concerning the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ. The great majority of Christian communions and confessions in the 21st century are Chalcedonian, but from the 5th to the 8th centuries the ascendancy of Chalcedonian Christology was not always certain.
Eutyches was a presbyter and archimandrite at Constantinople. He first came to notice in 431 at the First Council of Ephesus, for his vehement opposition to the teachings of Nestorius; his condemnation of Nestorianism as heresy led him to an equally extreme, although opposite view, which precipitated his being denounced as a heretic himself.
Pope Dioscorus I of Alexandria, 25th Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark. He was deposed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451 but was recognized as Patriarch by the Coptic Church until his death. He died on the Island of Gangra, Paphlagonia, in September 454. He is venerated as a saint by the Coptic and other Oriental Orthodox churches.
The Henotikon was a christological document issued by Byzantine emperor Zeno in 482, in an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the differences between the supporters of the Council of Chalcedon and the council's opponents. It was followed by the Acacian schism.
Babai the Great was an early church father of the Church of the East. He set several of the foundational pillars of the Church, revived the monastic movement, and formulated its Christology in a systematic way. He served as a monastic visitor and coadjutor with Mar Aba as unofficial heads of the Church of the East after Catholicos Gregory until to 628 AD, leaving a legacy of strong discipline and deep religious Orthodoxy. He is revered in the modern Assyrian Church of the East.
Miaphysitism is Cyril of Alexandria's Christological formula holding that in the person of Jesus Christ, divine nature and human nature are united in a compound nature ("physis"), the two being united without separation, without mixture, without confusion and without alteration.
Eutychianism refers to a set of Christian theological doctrines derived from the ideas of Eutyches of Constantinople. Eutychianism is a specific understanding of how the human and divine relate within the person of Jesus Christ.
Prosopon is a technical term encountered in Christian theology. It is most often translated as "person", and as such is sometimes confused with hypostasis, which is sometimes also translated as "person." Prosopon originally meant "face" or "mask" and derives from Greek theatre, in which actors on a stage wore masks to reveal their character and emotional state to the audience. Both prosopon and hypostasis played central roles in the development of theology about the Trinity and about Jesus Christ (Christology) in the debates of the fourth through seventh centuries.
In Christian theology, dyophysitism is the Christological position that two natures, divine and human, exist in the person of Jesus Christ. It contrasts with monophysitism and miaphysitism.
Coptic history is part of history of Egypt that begins with the introduction of Christianity in Egypt in the 1st century AD during the Roman period, and covers the history of the Copts to the present day. Many of the historic items related to Coptic Christianity are on display in many museums around the world and a large number is in the Coptic Museum in Coptic Cairo.
Oriental Orthodoxy is the communion of Christian Churches that adheres to Miaphysite Christology and theology, with 60 to 70 million members worldwide. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Armenia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and parts of the Middle East and India. An Eastern Christian communion of autocephalous churches, its bishops are equal by virtue of episcopal ordination, and its doctrines can be summarised in that the communion recognizes the validity of only the first three ecumenical councils.
In the 5th century in Christianity, there were many developments which led to further fracturing of the State church of the Roman Empire. Emperor Theodosius II called two synods in Ephesus, one in 431 and one in 449, that addressed the teachings of Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius and similar teachings. Nestorius had taught that Christ's divine and human nature were distinct persons, and hence Mary was the mother of Christ but not the mother of God. The Council rejected Nestorius' view causing many churches, centered on the School of Edessa, to a Nestorian break with the imperial church. Persecuted within the Roman Empire, many Nestorians fled to Persia and joined the Sassanid Church thereby making it a center of Nestorianism. By the end of the 5th century, the global Christian population was estimated at 10-11 million. In 451 the Council of Chalcedon was held to clarify the issue further. The council ultimately stated that Christ's divine and human nature were separate but both part of a single entity, a viewpoint rejected by many churches who called themselves miaphysites. The resulting schism created a communion of churches, including the Armenian, Syrian, and Egyptian churches, that is today known as Oriental Orthodoxy. In spite of these schisms, however, the imperial church still came to represent the majority of Christians within the Roman Empire.
Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis and argument. Theologians may undertake the study of Christian theology for a variety of reasons, such as in order to: