VIII. The Person of Christ

Originally published at: https://concordia.confident.faith/formula-of-concord-epitome/article-viii/





1 From the controversy concerning the Holy Supper a disagreement has arisen between the pure theologians of the Augsburg Confession and the Calvinists, who also have confused some other theologians, concerning the person of Christ and the two natures in Christ and their properties.



STATUS CONTROVERSIAE.



Chief Controversy In This Dissension.



2 The chief question, however, has been whether, because of the personal union, the divine and human natures, as also their properties, have realiter, that is, in deed and truth, a communion with one another in the person of Christ, and how far this communion extends.



3 The Sacramentarians have asserted that the divine and human natures in Christ are united personally in such a way that neither has realiter, that is, in deed and truth, in common with the other that which is peculiar to either nature, but that they have in common nothing more than the name alone. For unio, they plainly say, facit communia nomina, i.e., the personal union makes nothing more than the names common, namely, that God is called man, and man God, yet in such a way that God has nothing realiter, that is, in deed and truth, in common with humanity, and humanity nothing in common with divinity, its majesty and properties. Dr. Luther, and those who held with him, have contended for the contrary against the Sacramentarians.



Affirmative Theses.

Pure Doctrine of the Christian Church concerning the Person of Christ.



4 To explain this controversy, and settle it according to the guidance [analogy] of our Christian faith, our doctrine, faith, and confession is as follows:



5 1. That the divine and human natures in Christ are personally united, so that there are not two Christs, one the Son of God, the other the Son of man, but that one and the same is the Son of God and Son of man, Luke 1:35; Rom. 9:5.



6 2. We believe, teach, and confess that the divine and human natures are not mingled into one substance, nor the one changed into the other, but that each retains its own essential properties, which [can] never become the properties of the other nature.



7 3. The properties of the divine nature are: to be almighty, eternal, infinite, and to be, according to the property of its nature and its natural essence, of itself, everywhere present, to know everything, etc.; which never become properties of the human nature.



8 4. The properties of the human nature are: to be a corporeal creature, to be flesh and blood, to be finite and circumscribed, to suffer, to die, to ascend and descend, to move from one place to another, to suffer hunger, thirst, cold, heat, and the like; which never become properties of the divine nature.



9 5. As the two natures are united personally, i. e., in one person, we believe, teach, and confess that this union is not such a copulation and connection that neither nature has anything in common with the other personally, i.e . because of the personal union, as when two boards are glued together, where neither gives anything to the other or takes anything from the other. But here is the highest communion, which God truly has with the [assumed] man, from which personal union, and the highest and ineffable communion resulting therefrom, there flows everything human that is said and believed concerning God, and everything divine that is said and believed concerning the man Christ; as the ancient teachers of the Church explained this union and communion of the natures by the illustration of iron glowing with fire, and also by the union of body and soul in man.



10 6. Hence we believe, teach, and confess that God is man and man is God, which could not be if the divine and human natures had in deed and truth absolutely no communion with one another.



11 For how could the man, the son of Mary, in truth be called or be God, or the Son of God the Most High, if His humanity were not personally united with the Son of God, and He thus had realiter, that is, in deed and truth, nothing in common with Him except only the name of God?



12 7. Hence we believe, teach, and confess that Mary conceived and bore not a mere man and no more, but the true Son of God; therefore she also is rightly called and truly is the mother of God.



13 8. Hence we also believe, teach, and confess that it was not a mere man who suffered, died, was buried, descended to hell, arose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and was raised to the majesty and almighty power of God for us, but a man whose human nature has such a profound [close], ineffable union and communion with the Son of God that it is [has become] one person with Him.



14 9. Therefore the Son of God truly suffered for us, however, according to the property of the human nature which He assumed into the unity of His divine person and made His own, so that He might be able to suffer and be our High Priest for our reconciliation with God, as it is written 1 Cor. 2:8: They have crucified the Lord of glory. And Acts 20:28: We are purchased with God’s blood.



15 10. Hence we believe, teach, and confess that the Son of Man is realiter, that is, in deed and truth, exalted according to His human nature to the right hand of the almighty majesty and power of God, because He [that man] was assumed into God when He was conceived of the Holy Ghost in His mother’s womb, and His human nature was personally united with the Son of the Highest.



16 11. This majesty He [Christ] always had according to the personal union, and yet He abstained from it in the state of His humiliation, and on this account truly increased in all wisdom and favor with God and men; therefore He exercised this majesty, not always, but when [as often as] it pleased Him, until after His resurrection He entirely laid aside the form of a servant, but not the [human] nature, and was established in the full use, manifestation, and declaration of the divine majesty, and thus entered into His glory, Phil. 2:6ff , so that now not only as God, but also as man He knows all things, can do all things, is present with all creatures, and has under His feet and in His hands everything that is in heaven and on earth and under the earth, as He Himself testifies Matt. 28:18; John 13:3: All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. And St. Paul says Eph. 4:10: He ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things. And this His power, He, being present, can exercise everywhere, and to Him everything is possible and everything is known.



17 12. Hence He also is able and it is very easy for Him to impart, as one who is present, His true body and blood in the Holy Supper, not according to the mode or property of the human nature, but according to the mode and property of the right hand of God, as Dr. Luther says in accordance with our Christian faith for children, which presence (of Christ in the Holy Supper] is not [physical or] earthly, nor Capernaitic; nevertheless it is true and substantial, as the words of His testament read: This is, is, is My body, etc.



18 By this our doctrine, faith, and confession the person of Christ is not divided, as it was by Nestorius, who denied the communicatio idiomatum, that is, the true communion of the properties of both natures in Christ, and thus divided the person, as Luther has explained in his book Concerning Councils. Neither are the natures together with their properties confounded with one another [or mingled] into one essence (as Eutyches erred); nor is the human nature in the person of Christ denied or annihilated; nor is either nature changed into the other; but Christ is and remains to all eternity God and man in one undivided person, which, next to the Holy Trinity, is, as the Apostle testifies, 1 Tim. 3:16, the highest mystery, upon which our only consolation, life, and salvation depends.



Negative Theses.

Contrary False Doctrine concerning the Person of Christ.



19 Accordingly, we reject and condemn as contrary to God’s Word and our simple [pure] Christian faith all the following erroneous articles, when it is taught:



20 1. That God and man in Christ are not one person, but that the Son of God is one, and the Son of Man another, as Nestorius raved.



21 2. That the divine and human natures have been mingled with one another into one essence, and the human nature has been changed into the Deity, as Eutyches fanatically asserted.



22 3. That Christ is not true, natural, and eternal God, as Arius held [blasphemed].



23 4. That Christ did not have a true human nature [consisting] of body and soul, as Marcion imagined.



24 5. Quod unio personalis faciat tantum communia nomina, that is, that the personal union renders only the names and titles common.



25 6. That it is only phrasis et modus loquendi, that is, a phrase and mode of speaking, when it is said: God is man, man is God; since Divinity, as they say, has realiter, that is, in deed [and truth], nothing in common with the humanity, nor the humanity with the Deity.



26 7. That there is merely communicatio [idiomatum] verbalis [without reality], that is, that it is nothing but words when it is said the Son of God died for the sins of the world; the Son of Man has become almighty.



27 8. That the human nature in Christ has become an infinite essence in the same manner as the Divinity, and that it is everywhere present in the same manner as the divine nature because of this essential power and property, communicated to, and poured out into, the human nature and separated from God.



28 9. That the human nature has become equal to and like the divine nature in its substance and essence, or in its essential properties.



29 10. That the human nature of Christ is locally extended to all places of heaven and earth, which should not be ascribed even to the divine nature.



30 11. That because of the property of the human nature it is impossible for Christ to be able to be at the same time in more than one place, much less everywhere, with His body.



31 12. That only the mere humanity has suffered for us and redeemed us, and that the Son of God in the suffering had actually no communion with the humanity, as though it did not concern Him.



32 13. That Christ is present with us on earth in the Word, the Sacraments, and in all our troubles, only according to His divinity, and that this presence does not at all pertain to His human nature, according to which also, as they say, He, after having redeemed us by His suffering and death, has nothing to do with us any longer upon earth.



33 14. That the Son of God who assumed the human nature, after He has laid aside the form of a servant, does not perform all the works of His omnipotence in, through, and with His human nature, but only some, and only in the place where His human nature is locally.



34 15. That according to His human nature He is not at all capable of omnipotence and other attributes of the divine nature, against the express declaration of Christ, Matt. 28:18: All power is given unto He in heaven and in earth, and of St. Paul, Col. 2:9: In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.



35 16. That to Him [to Christ according to His humanity] greater power is given in heaven and upon earth, namely, greater and more than to all angels and other creatures, but that He has no communion with the omnipotence of God, nor that this has been given Him. Hence they devise mediam potentiam, that is, a power between the almighty power of God and the power of other creatures given to Christ according to His humanity by the exaltation, such as would be less than God’s almighty power and greater than that of other creatures.



36 17. That Christ according to His human mind has a certain limit as to how much He is to know, and that He knows no more than is becoming and needful for Him to know for [the execution of] His office as Judge.



37 18. That Christ does not yet have a perfect knowledge of God and all His works; of whom nevertheless it is written Col. 2:3: In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.



38 19. That it is impossible for Christ according to His human mind to know what has been from eternity, what at present is occurring everywhere, and what will be in eternity.



39 20. When it is taught, and the passage Matt. 28:18: All power is given unto Me, etc., is thus interpreted and blasphemously perverted, namely, that all power in heaven and on earth was restored, that is, delivered again to Christ according to the divine nature, at the resurrection and His ascension to heaven, as though He had also according to His divinity laid this aside and abandoned it in His state of humiliation. By this doctrine not only the words of the testament of Christ are perverted, but also the way is prepared for the accursed Arian heresy, so that finally the eternal deity of Christ is denied, and thus Christ, and with Him our salvation, are entirely lost if this false doctrine were not firmly contradicted from the immovable foundation of the divine Word and our simple Christian [catholic] faith.