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CHAPTERS XXXII, XXXIIIOf the Error of Arius and Apollinaris concerning the Soul of Christ

ARIUS held that Christ had no soul, but assumed flesh alone, to which the Divinity stood in the place of a soul. In this he was followed by Apollinaris. Apollinaris however was brought to confess that Christ had a sensitive soul; but he averred that the Divinity stood to that sensitive soul in place of mind and intellect (S. Aug. de haeresibus, 55).919919A curious foreshadowing of Averroes: see B. II, Chap. LX. Apollinaris, a friend of St Athanasius and of the Sophist Libanius, sat in a synod in 362 as bishop of Laodicea. He was a better classical scholar than theologian; and was the first to attempt to rewrite the classics in the service of Christianity. His doctrine was condemned in the second General Council, that of Constantinople, in 380. Arius, making the Word but a creature, had less difficulty in supposing the Logos to do the office of a soul. Apollinaris was anti-Arian, and so came to admit some manner of human soul in Christ.

1. It is impossible for the Word of God to be the form of a body.920920Matter and form combine to make one nature, and therefore must be in proportion with one another. But there is no proportion between the Deity and anything corporeal. It will be seen that the error of Apollinaris is akin to that of Eutyches, who posited but one nature in Christ.

2. Take away what is of the essence of man, and a true man cannot remain. But manifestly the soul is the chief constituent of the essence of man, being his form. If Christ then had not a soul, He was not true man, though the Apostle calls Him such: One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. ii, 5).

4. What is generated of any living being cannot be called its offspring, unless it come forth in the same species. But if Christ had no soul, He would not be of the same species with other men: for things that differ in ‘form’ cannot be of the same species. At that rate Christ could not be called the Son of Mary, or she His mother: which however is asserted in Scripture (Luke i, 43: ii, 33: John xix, 25).

5. Express mention is made of the soul of Christ, Matt. xxvi, 8: John x, 18: xii, 27.

9. The body stands to the soul as matter to form, and as the instrument to the prime agent. But matter must be proportionate to form, and the instrument to the prime agent. Therefore according to the diversity of souls there must also be a diversity of bodies. And this is apparent even to sense: for in different animals we find different arrangements of limbs, adapted to different dispositions of souls.921921This argument suggests at least the likelihood of a rational soul being only possible in a body of human shape: a good instance of an intrinsic connexion in the nature of things between this and that, over and above the facts of number and space, to which we are too apt to confine such necessity. Cf. B. III, Chap. XCVII, note, p. 262. If then in Christ there were not a soul such as our soul, neither would He have had limbs like the limbs of man.


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