Mixing and Blending: The Orthodox Recipe for Theanthropos

Eclectic Orthodoxy

“He comes forth, God with what he assumed, one from two opposites, flesh and spirit, the one deifying and the other deified. O the new mixture! O the paradoxical blending! He who is comes into being, and the uncreated is created, and the uncontained contained” (Or. 38.13). Thus declaims St Gregory the Theologian in his magnificent Theophany oration.

It’s a striking and dangerous image—the blending and mixing of divinity and humanity to form the one incarnate Christ. Striking—as it intimates the most intimate union. The divine and human natures stand neither over against each other nor alongside each other nor kept at a distance. They are joined and blended together, as one blends together lettuce, tomatoes, and bell peppers to create a delicious salad. Dangerous—because it can be easily misunderstood as suggesting that the two natures are mixed together to create a bizarre hybrid that is neither God…

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One Response to Mixing and Blending: The Orthodox Recipe for Theanthropos

  1. Mina says:

    Sounds like you’ve described Oriental Orthodox “Miaphysis” theology of Severus of Antioch quite well. That’s exactly the reason why our communion rejected Chalcedon, because speaking about Christ’s two natures, even if one believes He is “one person” still dangerously divides Christ, making our salvation and deification impossible. According to Beeley, St. Gregory the Theologian did write against Apollinarius, but he also believed Diodore’s theology was even more dangerous. At least, he seemed to think Apollinarius was an easy fix. They both come from the same Alexandrian school of thought, and to him it’s an easy fix. St. Cyril later on takes the mantle of St. Gregory to affirm the same. His earlier writing even supports the language of “mixing”, while his later theology avoids it.

    The whole point of Christology as we find out in the end after sifting through all the semantics is that the integrity of divinity and humanity is protected, but at the same time, there is no mere parallel unity either, but divinity “interwoven” into humanity as St. Athanasius teaches. By Christ’s humanity, we partake of divinity, and we partake of one whole entity of the Christ incarnate that is of divinity and humanity, that we too may have our own flesh interwoven with divinity. This is Miaphysite Christology at its heart, and it was this argumentation that people like Severus of Antioch used against Chalcedon.

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