The en-hypostatized humanity of Christ is in heaven

I plan on doing a longer post on why I came down on a Reformed understanding of the sacraments as opposed to a Lutheran one (and also why I am Reformed and not Lutheran, despite my tremendous love for Gustav and Chemnitz).  Ironically, the phrasing of it came from a man with whom I normally disagree: Kim Riddlebarger.  KR was discussing the ascension of Christ and he mentioned a conversation he had with a Lutheran friend of his:

Lutheran:  Kim, so, is Jesus just going to drop down from heaven on a rope?

While seemingly incoherent, the Lutheran’s question was nothing short of brilliant.  What he was implying was that the Reformed (correctly) teach that Jesus’s person (and body) are in heaven at the right hand of God the father (and hence, not in the bread and wine).   The thing is, Acts 3 says just that:  Jesus must remain in heaven until the time of refreshing.

Implications:

We know from Chalcedon that Jesus can never be separated from his humanity post-incarnation.   Further, Jesus’s humanity is en-hypostatized in the Person of the Logos.  The Person of the Logos is at the right hand of the Father.  Therefore, the humanity is not in a million bread-wine-altars (otherwise, we would have a million hypostases of the Logos; so who’s the Nestorian now?  Sorry, couldn’t resist).   This is what decided the Reformed faith for me.

Thus, we see a difficulty for Lutheranism, Orthodoxy, and Rome.  The difficulty is compounded because if Orthodoxy says that the bread and wine are just bread and wine, which is correct, then on what grounds do they venerate/worship the elements?  If it is just bread and wine, then this is idolatry by anyone’s definition.  If it is the actual body and blood of Christ, then we are back to the difficulty mentioned above.

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One comment on “The en-hypostatized humanity of Christ is in heaven

  1. Daniel Jones says:

    I’m going to offer a view that goes beyond the usual dogmatic slugging. I do not offer this as a way to defend traditional dogmatic systems either Catholic or Orthodox, but a way that makes some sacramental sense of some very old metaphysics.

    If we look at a couple of texts of Maximus the Confessor, we will find the idea that the Cosmos is the embodiment of the Logos (man as macrocosm) and that man embodies the Cosmos (man as microcosm):

    “The one Logos is many logoi and the many logoi are One. The many rational principles are one by being providentially attached, led, and offered up, to the One Rational Principle of the many, as to a source which possesses universal sovereignty, or as to a point which predetermines and unites all the radii emanating straight out of it and that gather them altogether.” Ambigua 7, 1081A

    “The Word of God, who is God, wills always and in all things the mystery of his embodiment.”
    Maximus the Confessor, Ambiguum 7, 1084C-D

    “God Who is truly none of the things that exist, and Who in the strict sense is all things, and yet beyond them all, [exists] in each logos of all particular things and in all the logoi together whereby all things exist. If, therefore, in a proper sense, every divine energy properly signifies God indivisibly, wholly and entirely through itself, in each thing according to the logos—whatever it may be—whereby it exists, who is capable of conceiving and of saying exactly how, being wholly and entirely and altogether common to all and yet altogether particularly present in each of these realities, God is without part and division, without [thereby] being diversely distributed in the infinite differences of these realities in which He exists as Being, and without thereby being contracted according to the particular existence of each individual [logos], and also without fusing the differences of these realities into the sole and unique totality of them all, but on the contrary that He is truly all in all, He Who never abandoned His own simplicity [which is] without parts?” Ambigua 22, 1257A-B

    Taken in this sense, man as the midpoint of both microcosm and macrocosm, on one hand the Cosmos is the ‘macrocosmic man.’ The declension of the Logos, can be seen as a plurality of conscious stages of his embodiment of ‘man.’ In this paradigm, bread and wine are not simply bread and wine in the conventional way of thinking, they are a particular unfolding of the Logos at this conscious stage of reality. The awareness that the Logos is in the strict sense ‘all things,’ and man, on the other, as the particular conscious embodiment of divine principles is the understanding how bread and wine truly ‘are’ the Logos in a symbolic fashion (as symbols both simultaneously conceals and reveals this divine aspect, just as a ‘word’ as symbol both conceals and reveals its meaning). The thrust of theurgic rite is a real anamnesis, the awareness–divine tokens–of waking up one’s consciousness to this particular reality.

    If we parse this in terms of nature as understood with its set of functions or operations, I see how this confusion can arise. If bread and wine have or are converted to the essence of human body and blood, than they should manifest the operations or functions of body and bloody. If every essence naturally manifests it’s operations or energies, than that is a problem.

    Given the Neoplatonically driven metaphysics above, we can look at creation as a theophany waiting to awaken us by the use of this theurgic rite. This gloss here will mean understanding ‘man’ in a much broader sense than a particular geometric body.

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