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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Calvin On the Hypostatic Union In the One Person of Jesus Christ

John Calvin:

2. Little dependence could be placed on these statements, were it not proved by numerous passages throughout the sacred volume that none of them is of man's devising. What Christ said of himself, "Before Abraham was I am," (John 8:58), was very foreign to his humanity. I am not unaware of the cavil by which erroneous spirits distort this passage—viz. that he was before all ages, inasmuch as he was foreknown as the Redeemer, as well in the counsel of the Father as in the minds of believers. But seeing he plainly distinguishes the period of his manifestation from his eternal existence, and professedly founds on his ancient government, to prove his precedence to Abraham, he undoubtedly claims for himself the peculiar attributes of divinity. Paul's assertion that he is "the first-born of every creature," that "he is before all things, and by him all things consist," (Col. 1:15, 17); his own declaration, that he had glory with the Father before the world was, and that he worketh together with the Father, are equally inapplicable to man. These and similar properties must be specially assigned to his divinity. Again, his being called the servant of the Father, his being said to grow in stature, and wisdom, and favour with God and man, not to seek his own glory, not to know the last day, not to speak of himself, not to do his own will, his being seen and handled, apply entirely to his humanity; since, as God, he cannot be in any respect said to grow, works always for himself, knows every thing, does all things after the counsel of his own will, and is incapable of being seen or handled. And yet he not merely ascribes these things separately to his human nature, but applies them to himself as suitable to his office of Mediator. There is a communication of ἰδιωμάτα, or properties, when Paul says, that God purchased the Church "with his own blood," (Acts 20:28), and that the Jews crucified the Lord of glory (1 Cor. 2:8). In like manner, John says, that the Word of God was "handled." God certainly has no blood, suffers not, cannot be touched with hands; but since that Christ, who was true God and true man, shed his blood on the cross for us, the acts which were performed in his human nature are transferred improperly, but not ceaselessly, to his divinity. We have a similar example in the passage where John says that God laid down his life for us (1 John 3:16). Here a property of his humanity is communicated with his other nature. On the other hand, when Christ, still living on the earth, said, "No man has ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven," (John 3:13), certainly regarded as man in the flesh which he had put on, he was not then in heaven, but inasmuch as he was both God and man, he, on account of the union of a twofold nature, attributed to the one what properly belonged to the other.

3. But, above all, the true substance of Christ is most clearly declared in those passages which comprehend both natures at once. Numbers of these exist in the Gospel of John. What we there read as to his having received power from the Father to forgive sins; as to his quickening whom he will; as to his bestowing righteousness, holiness, and salvation; as to his being appointed judge both of the quick and the dead; as to his being honoured even as the Father, are not peculiar either to his Godhead or his humanity, but applicable to both. In the same way he is called the Light of the world, the good Shepherd, the only Door, the true Vine.  WITH SUCH PREROGATIVES THE SON OF GOD WAS INVESTED ON HIS MANIFESTATION IN THE FLESH, AND THOUGH HE POSSESSED THE SAME WITH THE FATHER BEFORE THE WORLD WAS CREATED, STILL IT WAS NOT IN THE SAME MANNER OR RESPECT; NEITHER COULD THEY BE ATTRIBUTED TO ONE WHO WAS A MAN AND NOTHING MORE.
Institutes 2:14:2-3

Calvin, J. (1997).   Institutes of the Christian religion. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Calvin has explained it way better than I could in that passage. If you disagree with Calvin, you're going to have to explain WHY and explain it better than Calvin did.

Cutting one line out of Calvin won't cut it, Drake.  By the way, I would be interested to know where you went to seminary?
Charlie
 
  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
    Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

2 comments:

Nathan said...

WITH SUCH PREROGATIVES THE SON OF GOD WAS INVESTED ON HIS MANIFESTATION IN THE FLESH, AND THOUGH HE POSSESSED THE SAME WITH THE FATHER BEFORE THE WORLD WAS CREATED, STILL IT WAS NOT IN THE SAME MANNER OR RESPECT.

This statement seems to imply change in the hypostasis of the Word. The Word is impassable, and the incarnation added nothing to the divine Person of the Word (rather, the Word added of himself to human nature). I think Athanasius' explanation is superior.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Nathan, if one takes that one section out the total context of what Calvin had to say, I would agree. But in the context he clearly says the two natures do not communicate what is incommunicable and that the divine nature is not changed.

He is talking here of passages of Scripture which assign the attributes of both natures to the one Person of Jesus Christ.

I fail to see how Calvin is in error here when he is simply noting what the Scriptures plainly say.

What can be said of either nature can be said of the one Person, Jesus Christ. That's clear in the Scriptures.

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