Category Archives: Hypostatic Union

On the Hypostatic Union

“Orth.— When we hear the story of the divine evangelists narrating how they brought to God a man sick of the palsy, laid upon a bed, do we say that this was paralysis of the parts of the soul or of the body?

Eran.— Plainly of the body.

Orth.— Then let us make use of this reasoning faculty in the case of our Maker and Saviour, and let us recognise what belongs to His Godhead and what to His manhood.

Eran.— But by doing this we shall destroy the supreme union.

Orth.— In the case of Isaac, of the prophets, of the man sick of the palsy, and of the rest, we did so without destroying the natural union of the soul and of the body; we did not even separate the soulsfrom their proper bodies, but by reason alone distinguished what belonged to the soul and what to the body. Is it not then monstrous that while we take this course in the case of souls and bodies, we should refuse to do so in the case of our Saviour, and confound natures which differ not in the same proportion as soul from body, but in as vast a degree as the temporal from the eternal and the Creator from thecreated?”

Theodoret, The Polymorphus Dialogue III

I’ve rather butchered the above quote. For anyone interested, the whole work of Theodoret is available for free online. I would highly recommend it. I want these few lines, however, only as a possible suggestion on how to think about the Hypostatic union.

The union of the human and divine natures is compared here by Theodoret to that of the body with the soul. The two are somehow united, yet not such that the natures of each are destroyed. It is the body which becomes paralyzed, blind, hot and cold. It is the body which is material, subject to death, existing in space, etc. Yet the soul as such does not have these properties. It may “experience” the paralysis and blindness of the body but it is not itself blind or paralyzed.

Likewise maybe we can use this analogy – which of course is not perfect – to sort of imagine the Hypostatic union of the two natures in Christ.

Short post today.