A Reanalysis of the Hypostatic Union

In a previous post of mine titled, “A Critical Analysis of the Hypostatic Union,” I essentially argued against the Christian doctrine of the hypostatic union, which is the belief that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man. However, in this post, I wish to reanalyze my former position and even present a response to my own objection against the mere possibility of the hypostatic union.

A SUMMARY OF MY PREVIOUS ARGUMENT

In my previous post, I argued that because God exists necessarily in contrast to humans, who exist contingently, it is impossible for the same person to be both fully God and fully man at the same time in the same sense. This is because a necessary being is a being whose nonexistence is impossible, but a contingent being is a being whose nonexistence is possible. Hence, the doctrine of the hypostatic union is against the logical principle of noncontradiction in that it is a logical contradiction for a being’s nonexistence to be both impossible and possible at the same in the same sense. 

A REEVALUATION OF THE HYPOSTATIC UNION

The hypostatic union may be understood as a union of natures. If the hypostatic union is a union of the divine nature and the human nature, then so long as each nature is not confused as to be a nature which is semi-divine or semi-human, it is possible to prevent the aforementioned logical contradiction. If the doctrine posited that Christ possessed one nature which was both divine and human, then it would be subject to the objection which I presented. However, the doctrine rather teaches that Christ has both a divine and a human nature, which are different yet united in one person. Thus, one may say that Christ, or rather the union which was in Christ, existed necessarily in one sense yet existed contingently in another. That is to say that Christ existed contingently in His humanity yet necessarily in His divinity.

WHETHER TWO NATURES NECESSITATES TWO BEINGS

I have also posited that having two essences would imply two beings, using the same logic Trinitarians use in defending the doctrine of the Trinity. That is, if God is one Being insofar that He has one essence, then by the same logic Jesus would be two Beings insofar that He has two essences. However, I argued, this would be absurd to say that one person is two beings.

This absurdity may be avoided if one simply rejects the notion that an essence determines the number of beings in the first place. The unity of the Trinity may be understood as a unity of love, will, and attributes. (For a deeper look into this, see my post on the difference between the Western and the Eastern view of the Trinity here.) As for the unity of the hypostatic union, the two natures, the human and the divine, may be understood as being united insofar as each essence is in one person. In other words, one should start from the person rather than from the essences. 

Furthermore, a being may be defined simply as that which exists, that is, as an existent. If this simple definition is used, then the person of Christ may be described as existing in two natures, rather than defining the essence as the determining factor of the number of beings. In other words, the metaphysical absurdity that one person is two beings may be avoided if one starts from the being of Christ Himself rather than starting from the essences. 

CONCLUSION

I hope that I have explained my thoughts clearly. From the above paragraphs, it should be clear to the reader that I have taken back my rather harsh stance against the doctrine of the hypostatic union. It seems to me that the hypostatic union is, indeed, logically possible if one changes the defining entity. For example, instead of defining the person of Christ by the number of essences (that is, starting at the essences and using them as a foundation) and subsequently defining the being of Christ, one should rather start with the being of Christ as the foundation and from there define the essence or essences of Christ. 

If this is not clear, please let me know, and I will attempt to clarify my thoughts further.

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