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Doubts over the second principle of Monothelitism

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by nicholas123, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. nicholas123

    nicholas123 New Member

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    Hello, I have contemplated monothelitism and now I'm full of doubts. I tried studying Saint Maximos, but it was of little help. If anyone has struggled with this position, or knows where I could inform myself better, please reply.

    My biggest problem is the second principle of monothelitism. It says that wills are to be attributed to a hypostasis and not to nature. At least for the moment and connotations I have of the words, it seems more intuitive to attribute wills to persons rather than nature. Thus, if we attribute wills to hypostasis, and Christ is only the Divine hypostasis, he has only the Divine will.
    The most common counterpoint to monothelitism is the phrase "Christ would not be fully human if he had no human will" but we do not say "Christ would not be fully human if he had no human hypostasis" - we do not argue that therefore nestorianism is necessary for us to be saved, as do the proponents of dyothelitism. It does not bother dyothelites that Christ has no human spirit and possesses only a purely Divine spirit, for his hypostasis is purely Divine.

    In sum, my question is: "Is will to be attributed to persons, natures or some mixture of the two?"
     
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  2. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    nature. it says in the 6th Council that Christ has two natural wills. if will was an aspect of person, then each member of the Trinity would have a different will.

    it's also natural since animals have wills (i.e. when a tiger is hungry, it wills to eat until satisfied), but animals aren't hypostatic (i.e. a tiger cannot intentionally choose to stay hungry because it's fasting).
     
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  3. nicholas123

    nicholas123 New Member

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    The Trinity is a terrible example, for it is three in one and one in three. It is very mystical and beyond intellect.
    So while being very liberal with the words, one might say the fact a will is hypostatic would not imply multiple hypostasis cannot share a single will, since they can be of full communion through love in one spirit. The spirit, which is hypostatic always and never natural, is not bound by the foolishness of thought, Christ himself says we can be one in spirit (and in will) with the Father (John 17: 21-23).

    Precisely! You spoke another principle of monothelism, that dyothelitism confides free will to what is natural (as did pagan philosophers). Attributing will to spirit/hypostasis guarantees its freedom which is not found in nature. Will as spiritual, rather than natural, distinguishes man from beasts while "natural will" does not. The kingdom of the spirit is of freedom, many church fathers speak of the spiritualization of creation/nature in the resurrection of the dead and new creation.

    I think we need to affirm spirit/hypostasis has at least some part in will, so it can be free. You and I agree man is endowed with free will and that man is different from beasts precisely for being a hypostasis as is Christ. Perhaps the "process of will" is natural while the choice itself is spiritual? Though I have not been able to find anything of the sorts in any dispute against monothelism. I find them lacking and more than once the arguments of dyothelites sound to me overly philosophical and very distrusting of will and free will.
     
  4. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    the hypostasis does have a part, since the hypostasis imposes on the will. but we can only say that the will is natural. it's not hypostatic.
     
  5. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    What do you mean he has no human spirit?
     
  6. nicholas123

    nicholas123 New Member

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    If what you said is true, the fact that there is harmony in will in the Triune God is also due to a voluntary submission of the Son and Comforter to the Father. Likewise with human communities. If one nature in multiple hypostasis implied agreement, there would be no strife in men. But since you said hypostasis imposes on will, it implies such voluntary submission that monothelitism also sees as the unity in Divine Will. The argument that basing will on hypostasis destroys the "One Will in the Triune God" is false, rather, it bases it much better than dyothelitism, for it bases on love, as do Christians, and not on nature, as do pagans.

    In Orthodoxy, spirit is proper to hypostasis and distinguishes a Divine hypostasis from a human one. A Divine hypostasis is fundamentally different from a created human hypostasis, that is, the hypostasis of the Father, Son and Comforter is fundamentally different than any man's. This is also a distinction between the Roman Catholic and other positions on the incarnation compared to Orthodoxy that most people do not know about. With the Roman Catholics, the human nature is dependent on the Divine nature and for this reason they call him God, for us it is because he has a divine hypostasis and spirit.
    In analogy to our position, in nestorianism Christ would have a human spirit proper to the human hypostasis and another Divine spirit proper to the Divine hypostasis, in Arianism Christ would have only the human hypostasis and spirit proper to it, etc.
     
  7. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    no, it does. for one, the 6th Ecumenical Council already ruled that will is an aspect of nature and not hypostasis.

    and now you're applying submission of will to Two Persons of the Trinity and not the Third. you can't do that with the Trinity. a quality is either common to all Three (nature) or disinct to each Person (hypostatic).

    but either way, the 6th Council already ruled on this. will is not hypostatic.

    and I gotta ask, where does it say that spirit is proper to hypostasis?
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
  8. nicholas123

    nicholas123 New Member

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    I know the words of the 6th council. My problem is that the material I could find and understand in English seemed poor to me and I found myself more sympathetic to the monothelites who seemed simpler and humbler, they seemed to care about freedom and persons while the dyothelites about reason and necessity. I am more than willing to be proven otherwise, but secondary sources are terrible so I asked here for more

    What is the problem of interpersonal relations in God? It is the interpersonal relations of the Triunity which differentiates one from another. The Son has not the "quality" of paternity, nor does the Father have filiation. The Father is the Father because it begets the Son and proceeds the Comforter, the Son is the Son because it is begotten by the Father and the Comforter is the Comforter because it proceeds from the Father. The Father is the greatest in begetting the Son and proceeding the Comforter, but all are equally glorious in essence by the Father's sustenance. Both the Son and the Comforter do the hypostatic will of the Father and they do not impose their will, as you said, and are of one will. This is not subordination in essence, which is heresy, but in hypostasis, which Christ testifies when he says "the Father is greater than me" and is the dogmatic basis of triunitarian distinction.

    Monothelitism is a heterodox position much more difficult to dispense than others. One might dispel it for other reasons, but the reasons I have seen discussed such as the supposed lack of humanity in Christ and disunity in the Triune God are based on half-thoughts. Its principles are more solid and well-thought than the contemporaneous dyothelites take them to be. It promises greater freedom of the will by assigning to it spirit rather than nature, the second principle I cannot shake off, and bases itself on voluntarism and not necessity, things highly valued for Orthodoxy but not the heterodox.
    The motive I could never be a Roman Catholic is their bungled confession which submits God's will to his essence and in researching dyothelitism I began to see, or be deceived in seeing, the same patterns.
    The question the second principle raises is: how can there be free will if the will is natural thus determined but not spiritual thus free?
     
  9. buzuxi02

    buzuxi02 Veteran

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    I'm still confused. What do you mean by spirit or the human spirit is a hypostasis? I imagine you mean this thing your calling the "human spirit" is something different from the soul and nous?
    And this thing your calling the "divine Spirit" is an altogether different hypostasis than the Holy Spirit, third person in the Trinity ?
     
  10. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    it doesn't matter if you don't like the wording of the 6th Council. the 6th says that will is an aspect of nature, not person. this also makes will not an aspect of interpersonal relationships.

    monotheletism's rejection isn't based on half-thoughts. if will is natural and not hypostatic, then both of those critiques logically follow.

    and lastly, nowhere has anyone ever said that since the will is natural, it's therefore determinism.
     
  11. nicholas123

    nicholas123 New Member

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    A spirit is not a hypostasis. A spirit is what differentiates a hypostasis from another, crudely saying. A Divine hypostasis is not a created hypostasis because they differ in spirit, each having the one proper to it. The Holy Spirit, genuinely a person, is not mere spirit, but is called so because his hypostasis hidden from us and we know him by spirit.

    They follow because they suppose multiple people cannot have the same hypostatic will through free love, which is something monothelitism sees as the healing of sin. Sin did not corrupt nature in the sense of a sinful human nature.

    Defenses against monothelitism explicitly say a "natural will" is to preserve the intelligibility of will, which is determinism. If a will is oriented intrinsically towards intelligible goods according to natural laws, it is not free. The ability to choose between good and evil is not free will, but an effect of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - thus slavery to sin par excellence.
     
  12. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    no, people don't suppose that at all, at least not what I have read. be that as it may, if the will was the same, it definitely would not be hypostatic, but natural.

    and no it's not. your second paragraph is just an assertion.
     
  13. nicholas123

    nicholas123 New Member

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    What do you mean? I have said one thing only, that the will is spiritual and subjugating to idols such as the "the good" is sin. The Laws of Nature and Reason are not good, God alone is good and beyond good.
    I have asked one question and you have not answered: how can something determined by nature be free?
     
  14. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    there's the assertion. no one ever said the will is determined by nature. just because it's of the nature as opposed to personhood, that doesn't mean it's determined by nature. plus, you forgot that earlier I said it's the hypostasis which can impose upon the will.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2020
  15. nicholas123

    nicholas123 New Member

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    It is precisely what dyothelites say. Maximos says the natural will is "a faculty desirous of what is in accordance with nature" and an inclination to something unnatural is due to sin. The monothelites said the will is free, for it is based on spirit, and one ought to search for God and his spiritual gifts and not desire "what is accordance to nature".
     
  16. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    "in accordance with" doesn't mean "determined by." so, no. that's not what we say.

    and I don't care what the monothelites say.
     
  17. nicholas123

    nicholas123 New Member

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    All I will are things not in accordance to nature, but if you don't care to listen there can be no discourse.
     
  18. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    I don't care to listen like I don't listen to a Nestorian or Arian. that heresy of monotheletism has already been figured out.

    and that might be you, but it's not everyone.
     
  19. trulytheone

    trulytheone Member

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    I have a related question:

    How could Adam and Eve, with their pre-fall human wills, sin? They didn’t have gnomic wills yet.

    Was it due to the fact that they were still creatures who were yet to receive glory if they chose not to sin? Was the reason Christ can’t sin because He Himself is Divine (in addition to possessing a human non-gnomic will)?
     
  20. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    the human will wasn't deified yet, because the Incarnation hadn't happened yet.
     
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