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Four Families of Christology

Every Christological doctrine, orthodox or heretical, can be located in one of the four categories created by this logic box. There are only four possible ways of thinking about the divinity and humanity of Jesus.

Jesus is God.

Jesus is not human.

  • Docetism
  • Apollinarianism
  • Monotheletism
Jesus is God.

Jesus is human.

  • Nicene Christianity
Jesus is not God.

Jesus is not human.

  • Arianism
  • Monophysitism
Jesus is not God.

Jesus is human.

  • Nestorianism
  • Modernism
  • Adoptionism

There are other errors that don't fit this scheme. They are essentially Trinitarian doctrines: Modalism, Patripassionism, Sabellianism, etc.

Hypostatic Union

Wikipedia, "Hypostatic Union."
From the Greek: ὑπόστασις, "hypostasis", sediment, foundation, substance, or subsistence.
Wikipedia, "Hypostasis" in philosophy.
Cappadocian Fathers: "Three Hypostases in one Ousia."
Catholic Encyclopedia, "Hypostatic Union."
A theological term used with reference to the Incarnation to express the revealed truth that in Christ one person subsists in two natures, the Divine and the human. Hypostasis means, literally, that which lies beneath as basis or foundation. Hence it came to be used by the Greek philosophers to denote reality as distinguished from appearances (Aristotle, "Mund.", IV, 21). It occurs also in St. Paul's Epistles (2 Corinthians 9:4; 11:17; Hebrews 1:3-3:14), but not in the sense of person. Previous to the Council of Nicæa (325) hypostasis was synonymous with ousia, and even St. Augustine (On the Holy Trinity V.8) avers that he sees no difference between them. The distinction in fact was brought about gradually in the course of the controversies to which the Christological heresies gave rise, and was definitively established by the Council of Chalcedon (451), which declared that in Christ the two natures, each retaining its own properties, are united in one subsistence and one person (eis en prosopon kai mian hypostasin) (Denzinger, ed. Bannwart, 148). They are not joined in a moral or accidental union (Nestorius), nor commingled (Eutyches), and nevertheless they are substantially united.

Council of Chalcedon

"Confession of Chalcedon" (451 AD):
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess
one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood;
truly God and truly man,
of a rational soul and body;
consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and
consubstantial with us according to the Manhood;
in all things like unto us, without sin;
begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead,
and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood;
one and the same
only begotten,
to be acknowledged in two natures,
without confusion,
without change,
without division,
without separation;
(ἐν δύο φύσεσιν ἀσυγχύτως, ἀτρέπτως, ἀδιαιρέτως, ἀχωρίστως
in duabus naturis inconfuse, immutabiliter, indivise, inseparabiliter)
the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union,
but rather the property of each nature being preserved,
and concurring in one Person (prosopon)
and one Subsistence (hypostasis),
not parted or divided into two persons,
but one and the same Son,
and only begotten God (μονογενῆ Θεὸν),
the Word,
the Lord Jesus Christ;
as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him,
and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us,
and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

Jesus' awareness of His divinity

Consciousness of God in Jesus: God from the beginning. "If He didn't know that He was God, He wasn't God." But that is in His divine nature. He is also like us in all things but sin. His mind was certainly in perfect union with God, and was filled with light in a way that our minds are not, but his mind still had to develop the power of speech.

Different kinds of knowledge. Immanent, tacit, perceptual, gazing on the Father and the Spirit at all times; being able to articulate that experience is a human development. Self-possession linguistically in His human consciousness. That's the thing that the scriptures are open to.



St. Leo's Tome, addressed to and adopted by the Council of Chalcedon.