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Coptic Orthodox Church
Wills in the christ
It's certain that Jesus had a single nature out of two according to the fathers, But did the fathers mention whether Christ has one or two wills? Since we and the Eastern Orthodox agree that the one hypostasis of the Logos is he who wills and acts.
Christ has one will composed of 2 natural wills and one energy composed of 2 natural energies. The fathers speak of the Logos being the one who operates and wills:
St Epiphanius of Salamis, Ancoratus, Ch. 57:5-6
“For the one who does not believe that he is true in what he said falls out of grace and of salvation. Since we heard, let us also believe. We believe that it is his body, and we know our Lord is wholly perception, wholly perceptible, wholly God,
wholly the one who moves, wholly the one who acts,
wholly light, wholly Logos, incomprehensible, but with grace this has been given to us.”
Saint Cyril Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint John:
For this cause also, when He raised the dead, the Saviour is found to have operated, not by word only, or God-befitting commands, but He laid a stress on employing His Holy Flesh as a sort of co-operator unto this, that He might shew that It had the power to give life, and was already made one with Him. For it was in truth His Own Body, and not another's. And verily when He was raising the little daughter of the chief of the Synagogue saying, Maid, arise, He laid hold of her hand, as it is S. Luke written, giving life, as God, by His All-Powerful command, and again, giving life through the touch of His Holy Flesh,
He shews that there was one kindred operation through both.
Yea and when He went into the city called Nain, and one was being carried out dead, the only it. vii." son of his mother, again. He touched the bier, saying, Young . man, to thee I say, Arise. And not only to His Word gives He power to give life to the dead, but that He might shew that His Own Body was life-giving (as I have said already), He touches the dead, thereby also infusing life into those already. decayed. And if by the touch alone of His Holy Flesh, He giveth life to that which is decayed, how shall we not profit yet more richly by the life-giving Blessing when we also taste It? For It will surely trans form into Its own good, i. e., immortality, those who partake of It.
...the Logos of God has united to himself not only to the flesh but also to the soul, which is
endowed with will and understanding
, in order to allow our souls, which are inclined towards evil, to lean towards choosing good and turning away from evil. For God as God does not need to choose good; but because for our sakes he assumed flesh and spiritual soul, he took for us this redress.
Between the things performed and done by the one Christ the difference is great.
Some of them are acts befitting the divinity, while others are human. For example, to
walk and travel in bodily form upon the earth is without contention human; but to
bestow on those who are maimed in the feet and cannot walk upon the ground at all
the power of walking like sound persons is God-befitting. Yet the one Word incarnate
performed the latter and the former, and the one nature did not perform the one, and
the other the other; nor, because the things performed are different, shall we on this
account rightly define two natures or forms as operating.
They saw Him sleeping in the ship, as Man, and they saw Him walking upon the waters,
as God. They saw Him hungry, as Man, and they saw Him feeding (others), as God.
They saw Him thirsty, as Man, and they saw Him giving drink, as God. They saw Him
stoned by the Jews, as Man, and they saw Him worshipped by the Angels, as God. They
saw Him tempted, as Man, and they saw Him drive away the Devils, as God.
St Dionysius the Aeropagite:
But when God became human he performed for us a new divine-human (theandric)
Saint Ephraim Hymns on the Nativity Hymn 2
The Nature that could not be touched, by His hands was bound and tied, by His feet was pierced and lifted up. Himself of His own will He embodied for them that took Him.
But what we reject is the use of two wills and energies without the proper qualifications such as composition into one and one nature. An example of the language we reject is found in the Tome of Leo:
For each form performs what is proper to it in communion with the other, the Word
achieving what is the Word’s, while the body accomplishes what is the body’s
; the one
shines with miracles, while the other has succumbed to outrage.
And from that same:
...the Word performing what appertains to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what
appertains to the flesh. One of them sparkles with miracles, the other succumbs to
injuries. And as the Word does not cease to be on an equality with His Father's glory, so
the flesh does not forego the nature of our race.
And further on:
Just as therefore, to pass over many other instances, it is not part of the same nature to be moved to tears of pity for a dead friend, and when the stone that closed the four-days’ grave was removed, to raise that same friend to life with a voice of command: or, to hang on the cross, and turning day to night, to make all the elements tremble: or, to be pierced with nails, and yet open the gates of paradise to the robber’s faith: so it is not part of the same nature to say, “I and the Father are one,” and to say, “the Father is greater than I.”
...let him consider which nature it was that, pierced with nails, hung on the wood of
Saint Severus comments on this concrete use of two natures:
But we must anathematise those who confine the one Christ in two natures and say that each of the natures performs its own acts. Between the things performed and done by the one Christ the difference is great. Some of them are acts befitting the divinity, while others are human. For example, to walk and travel in bodily form upon the earth is without contention human; but to bestow on those who are maimed in the feet and cannot walk upon the ground at all the power of walking like sound persons is God-befitting. Yet the one Word incarnate performed the latter and the former, and the one nature did not perform the one, and the other the other; nor, because the things performed are different, shall we on this account rightly define two natures or forms as operating.