Christ has Two Harmonious Wills, Divine & Human

“Then said I, ‘Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.'”

Ps. 40:7-8

“Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

Lk. 22:42

“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.”

Jn. 11:33




Christ’s Mediatorial Operations, Divine & Human, unto the Same Work



Order of Contents

Articles  3
Quotes  2

Encyclopedia Articles  2
Historical Theology  4
Latin  5




This controversy, whether Christ has one will (monothelitism) or two wills (dyothelitism) was decided in the early Church at the 6th ecumenical council (AD 680-81), the 3rd Council of Constantinople.

It was rightly determined that ‘will’ is a property of ‘nature’, and not of ‘person’.  If it were not so, the Trinity would have three wills.  Nor is it possible for a rational nature not to have a will, power and its own distinct operations and ends.  If Christ’s human nature did not have this, then his nature would not be the same as ours.

Hence, as Christ has two natures, so He has two wills, one human, creaturely and finite, and one divine, uncreated and infinite; both are willed by his one and the same Person.

It was not until the late 1600’s, through the influence of Cartesianism, that will came to be more popularly defined as a formal and essential part of personhood rather than that of a person’s nature.  Such a paradigm is latent Tritheism.





Aquinas, Thomas

Summa Theologica, 3rd Part, Treatise on the Incarnation

Question. 18 – Of Christ’s Unity of Will  (6 Articles)

(1) Whether there are Two Wills in Christ? [Yes]
(2) Whether in Christ’s human nature the will of sensuality is distinct from the will of reason? [Yes, though joined]

(4) Whether there was free-will in Christ? [Yes]
(5) Whether Christ’s human will was always conformed to the Divine will in the thing willed? [Yes & No]
(6) Whether there was any contrariety of wills in Christ? [No]



Jones, Mark – ‘Eternal Subordination of Wills? Nein!’  (2016)  at NewCityTimes

Butner, Glenn – ‘The Obedience of One Man: an Excerpt from The Son who Learned Obedience‘  in The Master’s Seminary Journal, vol. 33, no. 1  (Spring, 2022), pp. 127-46

Butner covers the post-Chalcedon Monothelite (One-Will) controversy in this article.




Leonard Riissen

A Complete Summary of Elenctic Theology & of as Much Didactic Theology as is Necessary  trans. J. Wesley White  MTh thesis  (Bern, 1676; GPTS, 2009), ch. 11, ‘Christ’, pp. 114 & 117

“§VI. In this person, a divine and human nature, each with their own intellect and will, were united.”

“§XII. Consequently, Christ had a true soul (Mt. 26:38) and true body (Heb. 10:5) but without any blemish.”


Francis Turretin

Institutes (P&R), vol. 2, 13th Topic, Q. 7, ‘Was the hypostatical union of the two natures of Christ such that neither the person is divided nor the natures confounded?  We affirm against Nestorius & Eutyches.’, pp. 320-21

“XIII.  A second rock to be avoided here is Eutychianism…  who…  confounded the two natures into one…  one nature is neither changed nor converted by the hypostatical union into the other.  Nor are the natures so confounded or mixed with each other that each of them does not retain its own properties and conditions.

XIV.  The reasons are: (1) the opposition of the two natures in Christ is frequent in Scripture (Rom. 1:3; 1 Pet. 3:18; Heb. 9:14; Jn. 1:14; Phil. 2:6-7, 11); (2) two wills are ascribed to Him (‘not my will, but thine, be done,’ Lk. 22:42).  Nor does it follow that there are two [persons] willing because the will belongs to the nature, while willing belongs to the person; nor is it evident that the will follows personally forthwith because in God there are three persons, but only one will.  (3) Contraries are ascribed to Christ, which could not be if there were not two natures in Him (as that He would depart from the world and remain with us forever; that a child was born, who is the Father of eternity; that He suffered death and was made alive; in the form of God and in the form of a servant, etc.).

XV.  Although the efficient cause of the operations of Christ is one alone, still the exciting cause is twofold–the divinity and humanity.  The work upon which both exciting (egergema) causes exert their power is one, but the action (energeia) is twofold.”



Encyclopedia Articles

McClintock & Strong Biblical Cyclopedia





Historical Theology

On the Early & Medieval Church



Baxter, Richard – ch. 8, ‘Councils held about the Monothelites, with others’  in Church-History of the Government of Bishops & their Councils abbreviated…  & a True Account of the Most Troubling Controversies & Heresies till the Reformation...  (London, 1680), pp. 193-202

Du Pin, Louis Ellies – A New History of Ecclesiastical Writers…  (London, 1693), ‘Councils held in the Seventh Century’

‘Council of Lateran against the Monothelites under Martin I’, pp. 63-66

Du Pin (1657-1719)

‘Council III of Constantinople, 6th General’, pp. 66-74



Hovorun, Cyril

Theological Controversy in the Seventh Century Concerning Activities & Wills in Christ  PhD diss.  (Univ. of Durham, 2003)

Abstract:  “The primary purpose of the thesis is to fill the existing gaps in our understanding of various theological and political aspects of the controversy that took place in both Eastern and Western parts of the Roman Empire in the seventh century, the main theological point of which was whether Christ had one or two energeiai [energies, or operations] and wills.

Before coming to any conclusions on this subject, I shall investigate the preliminary forms of Monenergism and Monothelitism i.e., belief in a single energeia and will of Christ, which were incorporated in the major Christological systems developed by Apollinarius of Laodicea, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Severus of Antioch (chapters 1-3).  Against this background, it becomes obvious that the Chalcedonian Monenergism and later Monothelitism emerged from the movement of neo-Chalcedonianism.  It was an attempt by the political and ecclesiastical authorities to achieve a theological compromise with various non-Chalcedonian groups, mainly Severian, but also ‘Nestorian’.  Their ultimate goal was to reconcile these groups with the Catholic Church of the Empire (chapter 4).

However, this project of reconciliation on the basis of the single-energeia formula was contested by the representatives of the same neo-Chalcedonian tradition and consequently condemned at the Councils of Lateran (649) and Constantinople (680/681).  Thus, the same neo-Chalcedonian tradition produced two self-sufficient and antagonistic doctrines.  A major concern of the thesis is to expose and compare systematically their doctrinal content per se and in the wider context of the principles of neo-Chalcedonianism (chapter 5).

Will, Action & Freedom: Christological Controversies in the Seventh Century  in The Medieval Mediterranean  Pre  Buy  (Brill, 2008)  This is the published form of the dissertation above.



Latin Articles


13 Short Works of St. Maximus the Confessor Against Monothelites & Acephali  trans. Francis Torres  (Ingolstadt, 1605)  159 pp.  ToC  This work does not appear to be in Patrologia Graeca.

Maximus (c. 580–662).  Turrianus (c.1509-1584) was a Romanist Jesuit.  The Acephali (meaning ‘men without a head’) was a name for various heretical early Church sects who had no distinguishable leader.  Two prominent groups of them were respectively Nestorians and Eutycheans who did not accept the Council of Chalcedon.



Goclenius, Rudolph – ‘First Disputation, contra the Error of the Monothelites’  in a Twofold Disputation…  1. Contra the Theological Error of the Monothelites, 2. Physical-Theological on the Bread & Wine  (Marburg, 1610), pp. 2r-3v  25 theses

Goclenius was reformed.

Strauch, Aegidius – A Historical-Theological Dissertation Describing the Heresies of the Monothelites  (Wittenberg, 1665)

Strauch (1632-1682) was a Lutheran professor of philosophy and theology at Wittenberg.



Chladni, Martin – A Theological Dissertation on the Condemned Monothelitism of Pope Honorius at the 6th Ecumenical Council, against Binius & Cabassutius  (Wittenberg, 1710)  40 pp.

Chladni (1669-1725) was a Lutheran.  Pope Honorius I (d. 638) was post-humously anathematized by the 6th Ecumenical Council (680-81) for monothelitism, but later only for failing to end it.  This became a central argument against Papal infallibility and for councils’ authority over Popes by the concilliarists.



Latin Book


Combefis, Francois – The History of the Heresy of the Monothelites, & in it, of the Holy Sixth Synod, Vindications of Diverse Ancient Authors in the Same, and in the Middle Age, even of Sacred History, as well as Dogmatic, with short Greek Works…  (Paris, 1648)  1,322 cols.  Index  Scripture Index

Combefis (1605-1679) was a Romanist Dominican.




“And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?”

Mk. 2:8

“And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, ‘Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.’  And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched Him, saying, ‘I will; be thou clean.’  And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”

Mt. 8:3

“For Christ…  being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also He went and preached [by Noah] unto the spirits [now] in prison, which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing…”

1 Pet. 3:18-20




Related Pages


On the Person of Christ, his Human & Divine Natures & the Hypostatic Union

On Union with Christ & the Fruits of the Fellowship Ensuing Therefrom

On the Grace of Union, the Logos Assuming an Impersonal Human Nature, its Manner of Subsisting, Communication & Existence, & of the Personal Sustentation


On the Doctrine of Appropriations

On the Communication of the Properties of Christ’s Natures

Against Ubiquity & the Multi-Presence of Christ

The Grounds of Christ the Mediator Receiving Divine Worship