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16. Consequences of the Hypostatic Union

1. By the Incarnation God himself became man. The natureof man is assumed to the nature of God and is joined with it in thehypostatic union. Hence, the proposition God is man isliterally true.

2. By reason of the hypostatic union, the propositionMan is God is also literally true. That is, of course, itis true when the word man is taken to mean this manChrist; the proposition is not true when the word manmeans any man at all or all men.

3. It is not accurate nor right to speak of Christ as alordly man. Christ is not merely lordly; he is the Lordhimself.

4. Following the hypostatic union in which God has assumed human nature in the unity of the divine Person of the Son, that which can be predicated of human nature can now be predicated of God. Yet we must carefully notice whether the predication refers to this one Person in his human nature, or to this one Person in his divine Nature. And thus when we predicate immortality of Christ as God, and mortality of Christ as man, we are not contradicting ourselves. We say truly that Christ is God, and that Christ died on the cross. But we cannot and do not say that God died on the cross. What we say is this: Christ who is God-made-Man died on the cross as man, or, Christ died in his human nature, but not in his divine Nature.

5. Therefore, what is proper to human nature can bepredicated of God in so far as God has assumed human nature, butwhat is thus predicable of human nature cannot be predicated ofGod as God apart from human nature.

6. To say God was made man is strictly true. Butthis does not mean that God was created, or madesimply. It means that human nature, which is a creature, wasassumed to the eternal God. To say that God was mademan is not to suggest that the changeless God waschanged,but that human nature was changed inasmuch as it nowsubsists in a divine Person without constituting a humanpersonality.

7. It is not, however, accurate to say Man was madeGod, as though human nature were deified. The phrase wouldsuggest that an existing human nature (and hence a human person,since human nature cannot exist except in a person, human ordivine) was made into God. Now, the human nature of Christ was notin existence before it existed in Christ; the human nature ofChrist, from the beginning of its existence, subsists by reason ofthe divine Personality of the Son.

8. We cannot say Christ is a creature unless we add inhis human nature; for Christ is God, and when we speak ofChrist simply, we think at once of God-made-man. But there isnothing misleading in saying that Christ was born, Christ suffered,Christ died and was buried; for it is manifest that we are speakingthus of Christ as man. When there is any possibility ofdoubt about the meaning of our words in reference to Christ, weshould always add an explanatory phrase. Thus, when we say thatChrist is one with the Father and the Holy Ghost, we know, withoutneed of more words, that we are speaking of the divine Nature, andmean Christ as God. But if we say that Christ is inferiorto the Father, some people may think that we are denying theGodhead of Christ; hence, we should say, rather, that Christ asman, or Christ in his human nature, is inferior to the Father.

9. To say, "This man (Christ) began to exist,"is, for reasons just given, to make a misleading statement. For theterm this man is easily interpreted as thisperson. Now, the Person of Christ is divine and eternal, anddid not begin to exist. Says St. Paul (Heb. 13:8): "JesusChrist, yesterday, today, and the same forever."

10. Therefore while it is correct to say that Christ asman is a creature, it is not right to say Christ as this man is acreature, for the phrase Christ as this man is usuallyunderstood to mean Christ as this Person, and the Personthat is Christ is God the Son, the Second Person of the BlessedTrinity.

11. Nor is it correct to say Christ as man is God, forthis would be to identify the human and the divine Nature inChrist; that is, it would make the two distinct natures in Christinto one nature, and this is heretical doctrine. Yet we can sayChrist as this man is God, for, in this expression, theterm this man means this Person.

12. It is not true to say that Christ as man is ahypostasis or person, for this would be to make two persons, onehuman and one divine, out of the one divine Person of the Son ofGod which subsists with two natures.

"Men should often renew their good resolutions, and not lose heart because they are tempted against them."
St Philip Neri

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"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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