The Dynamic of "Ipse Christus" in the Light of Constantinople III and J. Ratzinger
Blogger: The Redemption consists in this: "I have come down from heaven not to do My [human] will, but the will of Him Who sent Me" (Jn. 6, 38). The key is to understand that the human will of Christ does not will of its own. The Protagonist Agent of human will in Christ is the divine "I" of the Logos Himself.. Hence, there is no parallelism in Christ, and this because there is only one "I" with both wills. By His obedience to the Will of the Father, He destroys all the sins of all men which He has taken on in His human will. He obeys to death, and therefore destroys the disobedience of all sin by making the gift of self in the obedience of self-gift to death on the Cross.
How do we become Ipse Christus? By the affirmation of Love received from Christ in Baptism and the Mass, I become capable of making the gift of myself to death on the Cross "for" the others in the Church and the world. The actual gift of the self is the act of the Ipse Christus. Without Christ, I cannot make this act. But I can because my ontological structure is the Trinitarian Son of the Father Who is pure Self-Gift. As image and bapized, I make the act, and if I do, I am "other Christ," Ipse Christus.
See below that the humanity of Christ, derived from the Virgin, becomes one with the Person of the Logos and is totally dynamized by that "I" without being destroyed. There is only one "I" in Christ. By imaging and Baptism, we have the same ontological personal and human constitution as Christ.If we permit Him, He will take us into Himself without damaging anything in us (our person and freedom); rather, on the contrary, He will live out Himself through us and yet not without our consent and cooperation. He will empower us to make that act of self gift that is His Trinitarian relation to the Father, whereby the unique word in His mouth is Abba.
The Text of Constantinople III (680-681): (The work of Maximum, the Confessor):
“And we proclaim equally two natural volitions or wills in him and two natural
principles of action which undergo no division, no change, no partition, no confusion, in
accordance with the teaching of the holy fathers. And the two natural wills not in opposition, as the impious heretics said, far from it, but his human will following, and not resisting or struggling, rather in fact subject to his divine and all powerful will. For the will of the flesh had to be moved, and yet to be subjected to the divine will, according to the most wise Athanasius.
For just as his flesh is said to be and is flesh of the Word of God, so too the natural will of his flesh is said to and does belong to the Word of God, just as he says himself: I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me, calling his own will that of his flesh, since his flesh too became his own. For in the same way that his all holy and blameless animate flesh was not destroyed in being made divine but remained in its own limit and category, so his human will as well was not destroyed by being made divine, but rather was preserved, according to the theologian Gregory, who says: "For his willing, when he is considered as saviour, is not in opposition to God, being made divine in its entirety"… Therefore, protecting on all sides the "no confusion" and "no division", we announce the whole in these brief words: Believing our lord Jesus Christ, even after his incarnation, to be one of the holy Trinity and our true God, we say that he has two natures [natures] shining forth in
his one subsistence [subsistentia] in which he demonstrated the miracles and the sufferings throughout his entire providential dwelling here, not in appearance but in truth, the difference of the natures being made known in the same one subsistence in that each nature wills and performs the things that are proper to it in a communion with the other; then in accord with this reasoning we hold that two natural wills and principles of action meet in correspondence for the salvation of the human race."
The key to understanding the unity of the divine and human in Christ is to understand that there is one divine Person Who has taken the humanity of the man Jesus of Nazareth epitomized in the human will as His own. It is critical to understand that it is not the will that wills, but the person. That is, the divine Person wills with His own human will. Only this can make sense of Jn. 6, 38: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.” The divine “I” does not do His own human will, but that of the Father. The dynamic of self-mastery consists in the Person subduing the human will that has been “made to be sin” (2 Cor. 5, 21). 20 In a word, this is the radical self-gift of the Son as God-man.
Put more clearly, the relation of the divine and the human in Christ is not a parallelism of two natures bound together by the commonality of a Person as substance in itself. Rather, it is the compenetration [and this because there is only one Divine "I"] of the divine and the human natures by the fact that the divine Person has taken the human will as His own and He, the divine Person, wills with the human will. The result is the “compenetration” of the two “wills,” the divine and the human because it is one and the same Person doing the willing.
And yet, the human will does not lose its autonomy and freedom, but rather has it
radically enhanced by the fact that it is a divine Person living out the Trinitarian relation
to the Father, now as man with a human will.
“In the manuals, the theological development after Chalcedon has ordinarily come to be little considered. The impression thus frequently remains that dogmatic Christology finishes up with a certain parallelism between the two natures of Christ. This impression has also been the cause leading to the divisions since Chalcedon. But in effect the declaration of the true humanity and the true divinity of Christ can retain its significance only when there is a clarification also of the mode of unity of the two natures, which the Council of Chalcedon has defined by the formula of the `one person’ of Christ, at that time hot yet fully examined. In fact only that unity of divinity and humanity which in Christ is not parallelism, where one stands alongside the other, but real compenetration,"
21 J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 92-93. 12
- compenetration between God and man – means salvation for humankind. Only thus in
fact does that true `being with God’ take place, without which liberation and freedom do
“If God joins himself to his creature –man/woman – he does not wound or
diminish it: he brings it to its plenitude. But on the other hand (and this is no less
important) there remains no trace of that dualism or parallelism of the two natures,
which in the course of history was frequently judged necessary to defend the human
liberty of Jesus. Such studies forgot that the assumption of the human will into the divine will does not destroy freedom, but on the contrary generates true liberty. The Council of
Constantinople has analyzed concretely the problem of the two natures and one person in Christ in view of the problem of the two natures and one person in Christ in view of the
problem of the will of Jesus. We are reminded firmly that there exists a specific will of the man Jesus that is not absorbed into the divine will. But this human will follows the divine will and thus becomes a single will with it, not, however, in a forced way but by way of freedom. The metaphysical duplicity of a human will and a divine will is not eliminated, but in the personal sphere, the area of freedom there is accomplished a fusion of the two, so that this becomes not one single natural will but one personal will. This free union – a
mode of union created by love – is a union higher and more intimate than a purely
natural union. It corresponds to the highest union which can exist, the union of the
Trinity…. (I)n Jesus there are not two `I,’ but only one. The Logos speaks of the will and
human thought of Jesus using the `I;’ this has become his `I,’ has been assumed into his `I,’ because the human will has become fully one with the will of the Logos, and with it
has become pure assent to the will of the Father.”22
Therefore, the Cross is the revelation of God’s deep primordial love for man. It
also cannot be explained then as “satisfaction,” or “scapegoat,” or any theory that has
God as “Other” in the sense of an individual substantial being paying the price for
another individual substantial being. To see God in Christ as “other” than man is to see
Him as an “exception” Who extrinsically and from a distance pays off the debt of
another. It is His debt – debtless as He is in Himself – but it is His debt because He willed to be man before the creation of the world (Eph. 1, 4). He willed to will with a human
will that is His as God. Jesus of Nazareth is really Christ, i.e., the ontological Son of the
eternal Father Who is Absolute Goodness, accepts all sin of all men of all time as His
own (2 Cor. 5, 21) and turns it back from self seeking to the obedience of self-giving.
This is redemption as “atonement” from within the sin itself, not simply paying off the
debt in an extrinsic detachment from it as “satisfaction.” “Here’s the money, it’s not my
problem.” Rather, “here I am, I am the problem.” “To be” means “to be for,” to live
outside of self and at risk. It is the ontology of the universal call to holiness.
The Fathers of the Church, Anselm and all theories of satisfaction that mean
paying off the debt of another from outside in the sense of not involving the very being of
the rescuer are false as non-Christian.
22 J. Ratzinger, “Journey Towards Easter,” Crossroad (198 ) 13