Category: predestination

Eriugena on Predestination and Dialectics

by Andrea Elizabeth

Eriugena’s view, as he sets it out in the rather hastily written treatise On Predestination, is that because God is simple and unchangeable, there can be nothing at all that can be predestined.11 Eriugena explains God’s predestination as God’s knowledge of the primordial causes. God cannot predestine the human will and people are blessed or punished because of their own free will. Since the free will of human beings can be misused, sins must be the fault of individuals. Sin and evil, and the fact that some souls are damned, cannot imply a change in God or a defect in God’s power; if we accept the view of Gottschalk, God is responsible for sin and evil. Eriugena’s way out of this difficult position is based on the Neoplatonic idea that God as good is simply existence and, therefore, the opposite of non-being. Evil and sin are negations that do not, in fact, exist and cannot be caused by God. Thus, God cannot predestine any soul to damnation; rather, human sinfulness creates its own hell. As I show in chapter 4, in the Periphyseon Eriugena argues that lack of knowledge in God is not a defect; in fact, nothing in God (wisdom, power, being, or the ability to predestine) can be understood, precisely because God’s essence is simple and unchangeable. Therefore, Eriugena concludes, salvation is open to all, a theme I discuss in relation to his conception of the final return in Periphyseon V. In addition to the arguments based on the dialectical understanding of being and non-being and the unity of God’s nature, Eriugena also invokes the principles of negative theology in his answer to Gottschalk’s heresy. Foreknowledge and predestination imply temporal notions in God, who transcends time. Since God is simple and unchanging, ideas, signs, and language cannot properly signify the divine nature (On Predestination IX. 308B).12″

I agree with this description of human free will, but I think he misses the mark somewhat with predestination and God’s simplicity. As I tried to explain St. Maximus in yesterday’s comments (Aaron has a better description here), each part of God’s creation is predestined in that it springs from at least one of the many logoi in Christ, which are like the dna in seeds. Many things can happen to a tree, but if it remains in health, it will be in essence a particular type of tree, but with distinctions that make it differ from all other trees, even of the same species. I don’t believe each tree has a determined course, but each can participate in God’s will, sometimes with the intervention of man in cutting it down and reshaping it. It is the will of God for certain principles of virtue to saturate the process of managing a tree, which is also discussed in Aaron’s post.

Regarding God’s simplicity, I sense that where he goes off the mark is in putting essence before person. God is a person who foreknows and acts. How His transcending time works into this is beyond me, maybe it’s through the Incarnation that He, meaning the Father through the Son, by the Holy Spirit, enters time. God is too bound, abstract, and nebulous if you put His essence first as is described above. Not that He is ever unloving, unwise, lacks power (though sometimes He may choose to lay it down). As far as the “dialectic” between being and non-being, it has been said that being is a verb, and so God isn’t being, that is putting activity first instead of the correct order of person -> activity -> essence, but I haven’t worked being-ness all out yet, not that I can. Still I think that dilutes the above stated dialectic somewhat. There is too much dialectic in western thought with associated diminishing hierarchies and the marginalization, or annihilation or consumption of supposedly weaker things. Along with the simple view of God’s being is His goodness. I think the eastern view is that His goodness is an activity/attribute/energy, not His essence. It is something He does, not is. He could be said to be simple in that He always chooses to do good, and so that is why we can say He is good. Her explanation of Eriugena implies that sin and evil is the opposite of God, based on the misunderstanding of Absolute Divine Simplicity (which is explained better at Energetic Procession, check the categories), but with Person first, sin and evil are the opposite of what God does. His will is involved with this model, which makes Him more dynamic in my view.

I am examining a less dialectical approach to the dialectical west by reading this book. I’ll say this book is not the opposite of truth, but as we all aim for the bull’s eye, we should seek clarification of its nature. Falsehood is a warped version (which supports the above idea that it doesn’t exist, or at least is substanceless) not the opposite of the truth.

Speaking of dialectic, continued from above,

This was, in brief, the case Eriugena presented to Hincmar for scrutiny. However, since Eriugena had denied the possibility of the pedestination fo the elect to eternal bliss, he had committed the sin of contradiction the great Augustine; for this reason Hincmar ultimately rejected the treatise. But a more serious issue was the invocation of the philosophical (and secular) principles of dialectic; in fact, Prudentius later rebuked Eriugena for using non-Christian sources and arguments in his refutation of Gottschalk’s heresy. The dialectical approach to a theological question (an approach Eriugena was to use to great effect in the Periphyseon), resulted in the rejection of the work by Hincmar, Predentius, and Florus as “sophistry,” and the treatise was eventually condemned at the council of Valence in 855 and at Langres in 859. […] Surprisingly, Eriugena did not suffer [persecution], and his future was much brighter, most likely because he was protected by Charles.

With regard to the predestination controversy, perhaps the one major point that demands further discussion is the fact tha both Gottschalk and Erigena claimed to be clarifying the ideas of Augustine himself. It would appear that, like the sacred texts, the writings of Augustine were open to manifold interpretations, a view that brings into question the use of the authority of Augustine. In the case of the predestination debate, Eriugena’s practical application of the Augustinian dictum that true philosophy is true religion had disastrous consequences. Theology (the study of the scriptures and the fathers) was neither ready nor willing to admit the secular science of dialectic into its privileged arena. Yet Eriugena’s endeavors in relation to the quesiton of predestination showed very clearly that the authority of Augustine could be questioned; as Jaroslav Pelikan observes, “the Augustinian synthesis” with which the previous centuries had been comfortable was now called into question.13 In this sense, Eriugena’s treatise On Predestination prefigures one recurring characteristic one finds in the Periphyseon: the reconciliation of the many authorities who influenced one of the greatest philosophical minds of the ninth century.”

I’m not sure exactly how she’s applying the term “secular science of dialectic” in this passage and will wait for further examples. It seems to me Eriugena’s conclusions were closer to Orthodoxy than his opponent’s, and I don’t know if he was trying to independently synthesize what he’d learned from the east with the west. Orthodox are more kindred to Wesley than Calvin, but perhaps close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, or is that too dialectical?

Lenten Listening pt 2 – Seeking Clarification on the Ordo Theologiae

by Andrea Elizabeth

Dh George pointed out a difference in the “ordo theologiae” in how I remembered and recounted it in this post. He said, “Reading the first few pages of God, History, & Dialectic, Dr. Farrel makes the assertion that western Christianity orders their theology in the sequence of “Essence, then Operations, then Persons”. He says this is exactly backwards, as the proper ordo Theologia is “Persons, then Operations, and finally Essence”.”

I said I’d review my sources, Father Hopko’s first section on his lecture on the Theotokos, and my first awareness of such an order on Energetic Procession by Photios Jones to a Mormon, “That’s the ordo theologiae: Persons — Operations — Essence. You need learn that. If not, you’ll never understand patristic christianity”.

I have copied the middle of Father Hopko’s lecture here while skipping some words:

“Why is she [Mary] the quintessential Saint? Why is she the quintessential human being? Why is she the one that we are all, men and women, duty bound to follow/imitate? Because she is the most perfect disciple of Christ, her son, she’s the quintessential Christian. She’s the leader of the Christians, so to speak in relation to Christ her Son. She’s the first among us, the greatest among us. …Because human beings can’t be compared, everyone is unique. And as one of the Desert Fathers said, When the Messiah comes in glory with all the angels and the saints, he’s not going to ask you, Why weren’t you the Theotokos, or … John the Baptist. He’s going to ask you, why weren’t you, you. Why weren’t you the person God created you to be.

She becomes a model for everyone because there are certain things in her life… that you can look at and contemplate and ask this question, If we say this about her, how does it relate to me. If this is true in her, what am I supposed to learn from this. What must I learn from this? … Jesus is the example for us all. But there is a sense that Jesus as Husband, as Bridegroom, as male is an example for male human beings. Mary is also in some way an image for women. An example of motherhood. She’s the image of virginity. It’s not just her humanity, womanhood, motherhood, virginity, and are exemplary in different ways for men and women.

Fundamentally we are human beings, and we are persons who have vocations. Men and women don’t have vocations, Persons have vocations. there is no role of men or role of women – that is horrible language and shouldn’t be spoken of. “Men can be ordained and women cannot”. That isn’t true – certain persons may be ordained, and one of the characteristics is that it be a virgin, or once married male. That’s only one of the characteristics, you can’t say all men may be ordained. The person has to live out their vocation and calling in their particular time and (circumstance) therefore an element in their life will be whether or not they are men and women – an incredibly confused issue… When it comes to communion with God, there is no difference between male and female. No difference in being human. Difference is personal before it is gender specific. “

So while I got the last two backwards, I think the correct way, Person – Activities – Essence still fits Father Tom’s explanation. We are first of all persons who freely choose our activities while our essence, whether male of female, but definitely human consists mainly of a huge range of possibilities existing in the image of God. Whether we attain likeness to Him, which Mary did in a feminine way, depends on our individual will, conformity to His ways, our predestined logoi (correct mode of existing – I think), and His freely promised grace made available by His energies and activities.

The Word of God in each person

by Andrea Elizabeth

On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ

One who has learned to think devoutly about the logoi of existing things can explain this matter in another way. There can be no doubt that one Word of God is the substance of virtue in each person. For our Lord Jesus Christ himself is the substance of the virtues as it is written: This one God made our wisdom our justice, our sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). These things of course are said about him absolutely, since he is wisdom and righteousness and sanctification itself. They are not, as in our case, simply attributed to him, as for example in the expression, a “wise man” or a “just man”. It is evident that every person who participates in virtue as a matter of habit unquestionably participates in God, the substance of the virtues. Whoever by his choices cultivates the good natural seed shows the end to be the same as the beginning and the beginning to be the same as the end. Indeed the beginning and the end are one. As a result, he is in genuine harmony with God, since the goal of everything is given in its beginning and the end of everything is given in its ultimate goal. As to the beginning, in addition to receiving being itself, one receives the natural good by participation: as to the end, one zealously traverses one’s course toward the beginning and source without deviation by means of one’s good will and choice. And through this course one becomes God, being made God by God. To the inherent goodness of the image is added the likeness (Gen. 1:26) acquired by the practice of virtue and the exercise of the will. The inclination to ascend and to see one’s proper beginning was implanted in man by nature. (From The Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ)

To see how he’s obviously not Calvinist, but also not Pelagian or pantheistic, keep reading.

In such a person the apostolic word is fulfilled: In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). For whoever does not violate the logos of his own existence that pre-existed in God is in God through diligence; and he moves in God according to the logos of his well-being that pre-existed in God when he lives virtuously; and he lives in God according to the logos of his eternal being that preexisted in God. On the one hand, insofar as he is already irrevocably one with himself in his disposition, he is free of unruly passions. But in the future age when graced with divinization, he will affectionately love and cleave to the logoi already mentioned that pre-existed in God, or rather, he will love God himself, in whom the logoi of beautiful things are securely grounded. In this way he becomes a “portion of God”, insofar as he exists through the logos of his being which is in God and insofar as he is good through the logos of his well-being which is in God; and insofar as he is God through the logos of his eternal being which is in God, he prizes the logoi and acts according to them. Through them he places himself wholly in God alone, wholly imprinting and forming God alone in himself, so that by grace he himself “is God and is called God.” By his gracious condescension God became man and is called man for the sake of man and by exchanging his condition for ours revealed the power that elevates man to God through his love for God and brings God down to man because of his love for man. By this blessed inversion, man is made God by divinization and God is made man by hominization. For the Word of God and God wills always and in all things to accomplish the mystery of his embodiment.

Before becoming Orthodox, I the idea that the “lost” were those who hadn’t said the sinner’s prayer. But I always wondered how they could love. I thought it must be a substandard kind of love. What I’m understanding from St. Maximus is that everyone has a logoi in them where virtue is seeded. And insofar as they are participating in that virtue, which is the participatory image of God, they are being saved. But people may be deceiving themselves in thinking they are loving others according to what is right in their own eyes which is not always effective love, as love requires true knowledge – to know is to love. But the lost may be participating in loving others more than those who are saved. This is why ancient philosophers and Chinese taoists and American Indians could already have been participating in their salvation in loving, seeking and finding truth and beauty and why some seem to have prophesied about Christ. I do not want to judge the ultimate state of salvation of people in other credal alignments as I truly don’t know if their rejecting the correct creed and life in the Church, especially once they are exposed to it, limits how far they can in fullness align themselves with their idiomatic logos, which according to St. Maximus is God, but I believe it does. I now believe that everyone, Christian or not, participates in their logos to some extent because I do not believe in total depravity. This should be acknowledged and respected and cultivated.

I believe he St. Maximus will make a further case against Pelagianism later. He has stated that the pursuit of virtue needs to be vigorous and ascetically striven for, I look forward to seeing how he brings in grace and how it relates to our innate logos.


by Andrea Elizabeth

I have grown weary of opposition. I suppose this is partly from thinking it my responsibility to change people’s minds. What folly, pride, and self-idolatry that is. Yet I know that conflict is a motivator to strengthen one’s position and so I have dug deeper as a result than I probably would have done. But now conflict isn’t pushing me. I avoid it. I am so weary of debates that only cause the opposition to strengthen their side or to insult and condemn when it doesn’t work. I’m probably doing the same. So I let them go. If I’m right and they’re wrong, then I’m causing them to sin by strengthening themselves in error. If vice versa, then if I do have some influence on them, better not lead them astray. So I’ll just stay on my side of the fence and mind my own business. How does that poem go, better fences make better neighbors?

So what does this have to do with St. Maximus’ Cosmic Transfiguration? As with many of the writings and statements of the Church Fathers, the Ambigua is largely a defense of the truth against opposition, namely the incorrect teachings of Origen (or more kindly, he provided a “critical rehabilitation of Origen’s masterful insight”). Maximus is considered very steeped in Patrisitic teaching, drawing from the Bible, the Alexandrians, and the Cappadocians, and from the beginning was sought after for appointments and answers, though some of them got him into ultimately life threatening trouble. I will leave it to him to defeat the opposers and I will not concentrate on them as it gives me stress. So if you don’t mind, (or if you do, you may purchase your own copy of this book, which I heartily recommend anyway) I will skip over the sometimes wrong propositions of Origen and the monothelites and focus mainly on joining the cosmos in Christ’s Recapitulative work by God’s mercy and grace.

Back to Restlessness. From Ambigua 7,

[1069B] But they do not realize how untenable their views and how improbable their conjectures, as a more reasonable argument will surely demonstrate (!). For if the divine is unmoved, since it fills all things, and everything that was brought from non-being to being is moved (because it tends toward some end), then nothing that moves is yet at rest. For movement driven by desire has not yet come to rest in that which is ultimately desirable. Unless that which is ultimately desirable is possessed, nothing else is of such a nature as to bring to rest what is being driven by desire. Therefore if something moves it has not come to rest, for it has not yet attained the ultimately desirable. Those who are tending toward that which is ultimately desirable have not yet reached the end, since they have not yet come to rest.

[ 1069C] But if it is the case, as some hold, that rational beings had in fact reached this end, and afterward were moved from their secure abode in what is ultimately desirable, with the result that they were scattered…, if reasonable beings are thus to be carried about and have no place to rest and cannot hope to have any abiding steadfastness in the good, what could be greater reason to despair?

Oh this is getting deep. I must pause. In one sense I can see Origen as being right about the fall in the Garden, but of course not in his preexistent soul in the monolith. But Maximus is saying, contrary to my understanding of Protestant thought, that man had not achieved rest in the Garden before he fell or else he would not have moved from it. He did move from the uncreated Object of our ultimate desire, but before he united fully to Him, by accepting a quick fix, devastating substitute.

I said a while back on Energetic Procession (I think it was on A Good Question) that perhaps evil is necessary to show us what God is not. St. Maximus takes me in hand on that!

On the other hand, if our opponents should say that intellects could have adhered to the divine goodness, but did not, because theywanted to experience something different, then the beautiful would of necessity be loved not for itself, but because of what had been learned of it from its opposite. That would mean the beautiful is loved for some other reason than that it is itself lovable by nature. What is not good and lovable in itself, and does not draw all movement toward it simply because it is good and lovable, cannot properly be the beautiful.[1069D] Such beauty would be incapable of satisfying the desire of those who find delight in it. In fact those who hold this view would have to be grateful to evil, because it taught them what is right and how to hold firmly to the beautiful. [1072A] If our opponents are consistent, they would say that evil brought things into being and is more useful than nature itself, because in their view evil teaches what is fitting and allows one to attain the most precious possession, I mean love, by which all things made by God are brought back to abide in God forever.

I look forward to finding out his stance on universalism. And was Lucifer not fully in God? Do angels move toward or away? When does one reach eternal security?

I used to think I was eternally secure because I could not and cannot imagine turning my back on God. Yet every sin and neglect is movement away from Him. Lord have mercy and help it to at least always be three steps forward and only two steps back.

Isn’t Incompatibalism Pelagian?

by Andrea Elizabeth

Again in EP, this time Monk Patrick’s posting of St John Chrysostom’s Commentary on Romans 9: 20-24 (Post-Nicene Fathers: Series 2, Vol 11.)

But in saying, “which He had afore prepared unto glory,” he does not mean that all is God’s doing. Since if this were so, there were nothing to hinder all men from being saved. But he is setting forth again His foreknowledge, and doing away with the difference between the Jews and the Gentiles…

when he says, “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth,” he does not deprive us of free-will, but shows that all is not one’s own, for that it requires grace from above. For it is binding on us to will, and also to run: but to confide not in our own labors, but in the love of God toward man. And this he has expressed elsewhere. “Yet not I, but the grace which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10.)

Whence then are some vessels of wrath, and some of mercy? Of their own free choice. God, however, being very good, shows the same kindness to both. For it was not those in a state of salvation only to whom He showed mercy, but also Pharaoh, as far as His part went. For of the same long-suffering, both they and he had the advantage. And if he was not saved, it was quite owing to his own will: since, as for what concerneth God, he had as much done for him as they who were saved.

If we say it is grace alone, then we accuse God of not willing to save all. If we say it is by our will alone, we are being Pelagian, and taking all the credit for our salvation. We must choose to keep connected to God’s grace, and discover where it’s at through the prayers of the Saints. Still, St. Chrysostom stresses free will because it’s important for us to keep employing it and not get lazy or take grace for granted. We must keep attentive.

In addition, I believe through the testimony of the Church that God intervenes and intercedes for the benefit of His people, whoever they may be, against the will of the vessels of wrath who want to stop their life, but by making them martyrs, these vessels give them life instead.

Incompatibalist Freedom?

by Andrea Elizabeth

Even the angels have or had free choice, and Lucifer and 1/3rd of them chose poorly. Power is freely offered and available and can be used for ill or well being, with or without the counsel of God. Lucifer retained his access to the knowledge of power and uses it.

Adam and Eve were also given freedom, but also a single, simple command within their reach to choose to obey. Satan used his powers of deception to cause doubt and to entice. Eve then Adam chose the way of pleasure and immediacy over the way of patience and pain – fasting. Satan, Adam, and Eve all suffered the consequences, with Satan ultimately suffering the worse defeat. How can Adam share culpability with Satan for his act of disobedience if he is truly free? Was it part of God’s mercy in covering Adam’s sin by jointly blaming it on the devil? No, God’s more honest. He can look at things starkly and fix them organically and therapeutically without having to pretend. There is a legitimate sharing of responsibility for that original sin, and God’s not one of the participants. Though He ultimately did take the blame in bearing the consequences in His Incarnate Body. Maybe He did feel somewhat responsible. Or was it 100% unmerited favor that made Him do it? If sin is seen as illness instead of consensually participated in blatant evil then Christ the rescuer of His captured betrothed makes sense. But as we’ve seen in St. Maximus, human nature is good but dysfunctional and deluded into making less than good choices. Though this is a result of the fall and Adam is to have been presumed not to originally have been dysfunctional and deluded, though Eve was deceived. Her deliberation is noted and not Adam’s. His motivation is unclear. Maybe he didn’t want her to be punished without him and did it out of love. Nevertheless he is blamed. He covers her sin while she bears it in the pain of bearing children. So I think freedom is limited in that we don’t have full disclosure as to the nature of our choices. Satan gave Eve a fuller disclosure that was correct, though not completely full. Eve would have done better to trust God’s judgment that it was not time for her to have her eyes opened yet. So God chose to not disclose Himself completely to her yet and she did not want to experience the pain of not knowing but had been up to that point motivated to not eat out of fear of death which Satan knew and used against her. He had fuller disclosure.

Strict Libertarianism doesn’t take enough variables into account, by my current lights. Parents do not let their children make their own choices like to play in the street or not. More freedom is given as the child can be trusted to be able to handle it with enough incremental disclosure as to outcomes. Though God is also their parent and lessons learned the hard way cannot be avoided. That’s what I mean by variables. Orthodoxy has a consistent tradition of spiritual parenthood, which is indeed the purpose of the Church, to provide people with a haven from deception. But the decision to join the Church or to stay in her is a matter of free choice. Yet our will is influenced by past experience, including what we are taught by others.

The main free freedom that we have is the choice to submit to God. His way or the highway, and His way is just a matter of saying yes every single second and following through with what we’ve said yes to. This will ultimately lead to transcendent virtue enjoyed by full disclosure in participation with God.

I can think back on when I felt irresistably seduced towards the wrong course of action, mainly because the pain was so loud and relief was promised, but there was also a moment or two in the midst of that course of events when I knew I was making the wrong choice. I believe God is merciful in regards to the pain of waiting, but He patiently waits for us to freely choose against the organically unsatisfactory alternative.

Which brings me to Satanist who fully consent to follow Satan and wish God dead. Are they deceived? If people are irresistably, but on their own, dysfunctionally, drawn to good, can anyone think that following Satan is “good”? Perhaps they are given enough pleasure to overcome their conscience. And this is related to the outcome of habits. If we let ourself freely maintain a habit of the pursuit of pleasure independent from God, we will reject Him for eternity. It will be too ingrained in us even when we see His goodness and love with unveiled eyes and we will be in torment as fugitives without a home or rest.

Back to transcendent virtue – it is the ultimate joyful free pleasurable existence of ever moving rest, if we freely choose to wait patiently for it while we committedly obey in the mean time.

By the way, determinism wasn’t addressed here as the alternative for true free will. Deception and pain vs. pleasure were. And intended, transcendent, ecstatic, though painfully waited for, pleasure is better than the short cut, irrational, warped, unsubstantial copy.

What is the nature of Christ’s suffering?

by Andrea Elizabeth

Mr. Jones states,

However because of the principle of “distinction is opposition,” this leads Pyrrhus to confess:

‘It is impossible for two wills to exist in one person without opposition.1’

It was the motivating factor of non-contradiction to maintain the integrity of Christ’s hypostasis, and subsequently, to safeguard from any overture of opposing wills in him.2 This concept even appears in none greater a Father than St. Gregory [Nazianzus] the Theologian that was appealed to by the Monenergists:

‘…The words there (“not what I will – let your will prevail”) mean not that the Son has, but that he has not, a will over against the Father’s. This would give the sense: “’Not to do my own will,’ for what is mine is not distinct from what is yours but belongs to both you and me, who have one will as we have one Godhead.”36 37

This indicates that Christ is stating He chooses, as an act of will rooted in His Hypostasis (Person) to depend on His Father, unlike Adam and Eve who chose to become independent from their Father. His words also reveal the uniqueness and distinction of His Person in the Godhead. What does this say about His nature? I believe this is revealed more in His suffering. Does divinity suffer? Was becoming vulnerable to suffering part of His Incarnation? He chose as a unique Person to subject His nature as God and man to suffering, but the suffering itself was natural, once He gave Himself over to be tortured. Did He hesitate, and was it because He did not want to suffer?

It has been suggested that if Adam and Eve had not sinned that Christ would still have been Incarnated to complete the union between God and man, to deify our nature. Then no one would have had to suffer. Suffering is bad and was intended to be avoided. But it is also said that Christ was perfected through His suffering. Love is proven by how much we are willing to sacrifice and suffer for something. No pain, no gain. So was the Crucifixion plan A or plan B? Was His being slain before the foundation of the world because of foreknowledge that we would sin, or was it planned to happen that way?

I think of the choice to have kids. We know that labor and delivery is going to be excruciating, but out of love we endure it. There is no other way. But the pain in childbearing is the result of the fall, it was not supposed to be that way. I think God would have deified Adam without the fall. I believe Mr. Robinson has articulated in his blog, Energetic Procession in a post called, A Good Question, an alternate universe allowance, which I need to reread.

Back to Christ’s hesitation. If the Bible is to be understood through the lens of Tradition, then we take what Tradition teaches us about Christ and understand His words in that context. The Son was perfectly submitted to the Father. He was tempted, but prevailed. I would say He prevailed immediately, without hesitation, because I don’t think He entertained the notion of disobedience. He obeyed perfectly in every trial. Like when He was tempted in the desert, He didn’t have this “on one hand” discussion with Himself. “I am hungry, maybe if I just made the rock smell like bread, it wouldn’t hurt anything.” He never even deliberated. But His nature suffered hunger and so the decision to not make bread for Himself was painful. Maybe He was having to make a series of decisions in the Garden, and that’s why it was a drawn out painful submission and realignment of the history of man’s wrong decisions and their consequences, past, present, and future. He had to consider every aspect of the suffering. It is probably more detailed than just the choice to give Himself over to physical torture.


by Andrea Elizabeth

With the help of my husband, I re-edited More on Christ’s Supernatural Will as it was unclear. For a much more delightful rendition than mine, here’s John Scotus Eriugena, an Irish teacher, theologian, philosopher, and poet, who lived in the ninth century, emoting on the topic. (Pah!)

More on Christ’s Supernatural Will

by Andrea Elizabeth

From “The Disputation”, “The second principle of Monotheletism is the dialectical counterpart of the first (that The Will is Hypostatic, that is, that it is rooted in hypostasis, and not in nature:’If Christ be one person, then He willed as one person. And if He willed as one person, then doubtless He hath one will, and not two.”), and that is that What is natural is compelled, ‘If thou sayest that the will is natural, and if what is natural be compelled, and if thou sayest that the wills in Christ are natural, thou dost in fact take away all His voluntary motion.'”

I find this argument against monothelitism (which negates free will) and the following statement against limited atonement to be anti Calvinistic despite its predetermination,

“Indeed, the very fact of Christ’s human nature which is consubstantial with all men implies an apokatastasis, for if in Adam all have died, in Christ there is a certain predetermination that all shall be made alive.

If Christ’s redemptive work is limited… (to certain elected individuals), then His humanity will also be consubstantial only with that predetermined number of elected individuals. But since Christ is the Second Adam, this implies that there are some individuals who, not being in the Second, will neither be found in the First Adam. Not being in the First Adam, they will not be subject to ancestral sin, and will therefore have no need of Christ.”

Calvinists don’t acknowledge that those not included in the second Adam aren’t in the first Adam, but it explains a certain logical conclusion that I gather from that ideology that those not in Christ are subhuman.