If the communicatio is true, then why…

If the communication of attributes/energies from one nature to the other is true, as almost all Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and Lutherans hold, and the human nature was fully deified by the divine nature via this communicatio, then why did Jesus need to be anointed by the Holy Spirit?

*Nota bene:  another problem–why isn’t this communicatio a two-thing? No one ever talks about the divine nature being “humanized,” but given the logic there is no reason why not.


10 comments on “If the communicatio is true, then why…

  1. Silas says:

    “why did Jesus need to be anointed by the Holy Spirit?”
    I think, according to Lutheran theology, the communication of attributes happens at the ascension to heaven. At least one of my Lutheran friends argues that on the basis of Eph 4:10. But in arguing this, they create another logical inconsistency in their system. Because how could Jesus say “This is my body” before the ascension when his body was yet to be ubiquitous?

    • Clarpy says:

      I used to be a Lutheran pastor and that was always my question. And yes, it happened at the ascension (Ephesians 4:10 being key). So how could He, before the communicatio idomatum took place, utter those words?

      Since then I’ve become reformed and no longer hold to the communication of attributes. So John 16:7 has been a source of comfort for me regarding the Lord’s Supper.

      • Silas says:

        I’m glad you found the truth in this matter and thanks for confirming that Lutherans teach that the communication of attributes happens at the ascension.

        If you’re willing to share other arguments which made you favor the Reformed position, please let me know.

  2. Eric Castleman says:

    The Nestorians made the same exact argument, and Cyril of Alexandria deals with it. Why wouldn’t you know that? The question pressuposes that you are speaking of Christ as a second subject.

    Bruce McCormick doesn’t realize this.

    • You said “my question” presupposes….what exactly? I hinted at two questions. I don’t know which one you are addressing. It’s interesting you brign up the Nestorian charge, St Maximus suggested something along the lines of a two-communiacatio and many monophysites see Maximus’ two-wills/energies as a development of a Nestorian theology. That’s the whole point of the tantum…quantum line.

      McCormack knows exactly what Cyril is saying. He has read all the relevant literature on Cyril (Bulgakov’s critique of Cyril, Ayres, Gavrilyuk, etc).

      I brought the point up because the Bible speaks of Jesus’s anointing, which seems kind of redundant on the communicatio paradigm.

  3. Eric Castleman says:

    Which is exactly what the Nestorians brought up.

  4. Eric Castleman says:

    The Arians argue the same thing as well:

    “At this point Cyril’s exposition is interrupted by the voice of an unnamed Arian controversialist who pounces upon the fact of Jesus’s baptism in order to ridicule the Nicene confession of the Trinity. The Arian position, as rehearsed by Cyril, proceeds according to the following logic: (1) if the Spirit descended upon the Son, then the Son must have received what he did not already have; (2) if he received what he did not have, then he was not always perfect; (3) if he was not always perfect, then he cannot be consubstantial with the Father. The Arian interlocutor adds biblical authority to his logical demonstration by citing the anointing of the messianic King in Ps. 44: 8 (LXX) (Pusey, i. 175).”

    So, you are defending who?

  5. Eric Castleman says:

    “Cyril’s rebuttal begins, not by recourse to the baptism text, but by establishing on other grounds the divine perfection of the Son. Cyril’s argument, one which follows that of Athanasius,60 and which attacks the conclusions of the Arian objection rather than its premises, may be summarized as follows: (1) if the biblical revelation of Father and Son is true, then Father and Son must be of the same nature; (2) if they are of the same nature, then the Son must share all the perfections of the Father; (3) therefore the Son must also be perfect, lacking in nothing, and the Arian reading of the text is overthrown. If this is so, Cyril concludes, then another reason must be found to account for the Son’s receiving the Spirit in his baptism, for he cannot be imperfect or lacking anything in himself as the Son of God (Pusey, i. 176–7).”

    Exactly. Your position then must be?

    • Along with that of the Russian Orthodox theologian Bulgakov: I reject the casuality problematic. Both Nicenes and Arians are reading that passage in terms of ousia. I am not. Further, I do not recall on anyone’s reading that the communicatio had to deal with homousious. It deals more with a communication of natures (which I do accept, properly interpreted), and not whether the Son is homousios (and this is not the first time I cringe at some of the Nicene exegesis; again, see Bulgakov)

      You quote Cyril as saying,
      “If this is so, Cyril concludes, then another reason must be found to account for the Son’s receiving the Spirit in his baptism, for he cannot be imperfect or lacking anything in himself as the Son of God (Pusey, i. 176–7).””

      I don’t disagree with that. I am not claiming that the Son receives the Father’s essence at baptism. I am not aware of any Protestant that says that.

  6. […] We must add one more thing:  if the Eutychian communicatio is true, then it’s hard to understand why Christ had to be anointed by the Holy Spirit and receive said…. […]

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