Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jesus, Mary, and Occam's Razor

I don't know how Jesus is both God and Man.

I don't know how God continually sustains creation, either, and don't expect to. God's God, I'm not: and I've learned to live with it.

The idea that Jesus of Nazareth is human and is God has bothered folks for about two millennia now.

Belief and Understanding

Some decided that my Lord wasn't really human. Others came to the conclusion that Jesus was human, with a 'God implant.' A new wrinkle is saying that Jesus didn't exist at all, or was just a human being with good ideas - who said he was God?!! (March 11, 2012)

I accept what the Nicene Creed says:
"...We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation,
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary,
and became man....
"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Credo)
That's "accept," not "understand:"
"If you understood him, it would not be God."
(St. Augustine)
(Catechism, 230)

Faith and Me

I'm a practicing Catholic, and an adult convert. I take my faith quite seriously, and accept what the Church teaches. That's not a blind faith, though, and that's another topic or two:

God as an Implant?!

The Nestorian idea was that Jesus is a human person, Jesus of Nazareth, who has been joined to a divine person, God's Son. The idea that Jesus was two persons welded together, human with a 'God implant,' caught on in the fifth century.

That was after the Council of Nicaea had established that Jesus is "God from God, Light from Light," and all the rest. Wikipedia has a pretty good article about the First Council of Nicaea, in 325.

I gather that a fifth century chap, Nestorius, didn't want to call Mary "Mother of Christ" He preferred calling her Mother of Christ. and not Mother of God.

Actually, the term Nestorius didn't like was Θεοτόκος, which translates into my native language as "Mother of God." I've opined on translation and transliteration before. (May 5, 2012; Another War-on-Terror Blog (February 21, 2011, January 25, 2009))

The Council of Ephesus in 431 (re)established that Jesus is, no kidding, "true God from true God:" and not two persons walking around in one body. More than a dozen centuries later, we've still got folks who don't seem comfortable with the idea that Jesus is I AM. (March 11, 2012)

I don't worship Mary, by the way. That would be idolatry, and strictly against the rules. (Catechism, 2097, 2112-2114, 2534) Also a very bad idea. I've been over that before. (July 15, 2012)

Mary, Gabriel, and the Son of God

Applying Occam's razor to Luke 1:31-32, plus what the Church has been saying for two millennia, I think it's reasonable to think that my Lord is the Son of God, and God.

Particularly since Jesus said so. (John 8:57-58)

Here's what got me started today:
"The Nestorian heresy regarded Christ as a human person joined to the divine person of God's Son. Opposing this heresy, St. Cyril of Alexandria and the third ecumenical council at Ephesus in 431 confessed 'that the Word, uniting to himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man.'89 Christ's humanity has no other subject than the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it and made it his own, from his conception. For this reason the Council of Ephesus proclaimed in 431 that Mary truly became the Mother of God by the human conception of the Son of God in her womb: 'Mother of God, not that the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of its existence from the holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself according to the hypostasis, was born from her, the Word is said to be born according to the flesh.'90"
(Catechism, 466)
In metaphysics, hypostasis means "essential nature or underlying reality." (Princeton's WordNet) And that's yet another topic. Topics.

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