“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; Hear ye Him.”

Matt 17:5




Christ in the Old Testament

On the Person & Human & Divine Natures of Christ

Offices of Christ: Prophet, Priest & King

The Life & Times of Christ  26+
.       Incarnation  1
.       Temptation of  7+                   
.       Beatitudes  3+
.       Sermon on Mount  13+
.       Lord’s Prayer  63+
.       Miracles  6+
.       Parables  8+
.       Transfiguration  1
.       Passion to Ascension  18
.             The Descent into ‘Sheol’



Order of Contents

Historical Theology  2
Whether & in What Way Christ was Under the Law?
Could Christ have Gotten Sick?
On the Two Operations of Christ the Mediator unto the Same Effect (Apotelesma)





Aquinas, Thomas

chs. 16-24  of Contra the Errors of the Greeks

Summa Theologica, 3rd Part, Treatise on the Incarnation  What follows are some of the more interesting and helpful sections, however see the whole Treatise as well.

Question 1, ‘Of the Fitness of the Incarnation (6 Articles)

(2) Whether it was necessary for the restoration of the human race? [Yes & No, takes the hypothetical necessity view, quoting Augustine]
(3) Whether if there had been no sin God would have become incarnate? [No, quoting Augustine]

Question 2, Of the Mode of Union of the Word Incarnate (12 Articles)

(1) Whether the union of the Word Incarnate took place in the nature? [No]
(2) Whether it took place in the Person? [Yes]
(3) Whether it took place in the suppositum or hypostasis? [Yes]
(4) Whether the Person or hypostasis of Christ is composite after the Incarnation? [Yes & No]

(6) Whether the human nature was united to the Word accidentally? [No]
(7) Whether the union itself is something created? [Yes & No]
(8) Whether it is the same as assumption? [No]

Question 3, Of the Mode of Union on the Part of the Person Assuming (8 Articles)

(1) Whether to assume is befitting to a Divine Person? [Yes]
(2) Whether it is befitting to the Divine Nature? [Yes & No]

(4) Whether one Person can assume without another? [Yes & No]

Question 4, Of the Mode of Union on the Part of the Human Nature (6 Articles)

(1) Whether human nature was more capable of being assumed than any other nature? [Yes, in contrast to animals & angels]
(2) Whether He assumed a person? [No]

Question 5, Of the Parts of Human Nature which were Assumed (4 Articles)

(1) Whether the Son of God ought to have assumed a true body? [Yes]
(2) Whether He ought to have assumed an earthly body, i.e. one of flesh and blood? [Yes, as opposed to a heavenly body]
(3) Whether He assumed a soul? [Yes]
(4) Whether He assumed an intellect? [Yes]

Question 13, Of the Power of Christ’s Soul (4 Articles)

(2) Whether the soul of Christ had omnipotence with regard to corporeal creatures? [Yes & No]
(3) Whether the soul of Christ had omnipotence with regard to His own body? [Yes & No]

Question 15, Of the Defects of Soul Assumed by Christ (10 Articles)

(3) Whether there was ignorance? [Yes & No]
(4) Whether His soul was passible? [Yes, but not exactly as ours]

(7) Whether there was fear? [Yes]
(8) Whether there was wonder? [Yes & No]

Question 16, Of Those Things which are Applicable to Christ in his Being & Becoming (12 Articles)  All.  On the Communication of Properties

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]

Question 19, ‘Of the Unity of Christ’s Operation [Energy] (4 Articles)

(1) Whether in Christ there was one or several operations [energies] of the Godhead and Manhood? [Two energies, though the human an instrument of the divine]
(2) Whether in Christ there were several operations of the human nature? [No, but a diversity of effects]

Question 46, The Passion of Christ (12 Articles)

(12) Whether Christ’s Passion is to be attributed to His Godhead? [To his Person in the human nature, but not to his divine nature]

Question 50 – Of the Death of Christ (6 Articles)

(2) Whether His death severed the union of Godhead and flesh? [No]
(3) Whether His Godhead was separated from His soul? [No]

Question 51 – Of Christ’s Burial (4 Articles)

(3) Whether His body was decomposed in the tomb? [No]
(4) Concerning the length of time He lay in the tomb [1 day & 2 nights]



Binnie, William – Christ in the Psalms, p. 155, 62 pages, being three chapters from his The Psalms: their History, Teachings, and Use

Hodge, Charles

‘Christianity Without Christ’, from the Princeton Review  (Apr., 1876), vol. 5, issue 18, pp. 352-362

‘God in Christ’, being ch. 13 from his Essays and Reviews  (1857), p. 433 ff.  39 pp.



Berkhof, Louis

Systematic Theology  (1950)

The Doctrine of Christ in History  14 paragraphs

The State of Humiliation  24 paragraphs

The State of Exaltation  27 paragraphs



Fentiman, Travis – ‘Jesus the Friend of Sinners’  2014  10 paragraphs

Is Jesus friendly to the unconverted?  The Bible says Yes.




Kennedy, John – The Saviour  Buy  no date  130 pp.

Here is a review by Rev. Sherman Isbell that will wet your desire for the book.




Beza, Theodore – Theological Tracts, vol. 3, translation of Theodore of Raithu, The Preparation



Historical Theology

On the 300’s-600’s

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.


On the 1500’s

Lindholm, Stefan – Jerome Zanchi (1516-90) & the Analysis of Reformed Scholastic Christology  in Reformed Historical Theology  Buy  (2016)



Whether & in What Way Christ was Under the Law?  (Mt. 17:24-27; 21:38; Gal. 4:4-5; Heb. 1:2)


Campos, Junior, Heber Carlos – Part III, Ch. 7.3, ‘The Person of Christ in Relationship to the Law’, pp. 275-85  in Johannes Piscator (1546-1625) and the Consequent Development of the Doctrine of the Imputation of Christ’s Active Obedience  PhD diss.  (Calvin Theological Seminary, 2009)

As to a final synthesized answer on the question, we recommend the answer and distinctions that Turretin makes on pp. 283-4, from his Institutes, vol. 2, 14th Topic, Question 13, on Active Obedience, sections 15-16, pp. 449-50.



Peter van Mastricht

Theoretical Practical Theology (RHB), vol. 3, bk. 3, ch. 12, section 9, ‘Was it [the CoW] also entered into with the second Adam?’

“Certainly from one perspective, as a creature and as man, it seems that He [Christ] cannot be exempted from the moral government of God, nor otherwise could He as a man have merited anything for Himself.  From another perspective, if He were in Adam under the covenant of nature, then it would seem that in and with Adam who sinned, He violated that same covenant, which is beyond absurd.

Therefore it seems most safe to state: although as a rational creature He cannot be exempted from moral government with respect to his natural duties, yet He could have been withdrawn by God from the same moral governance in the positive duties, such as the commandment not to eat of the forbidden fruit (upon the transgression of which the sin of the human race



The Covenant of Redemption (which obliged Christ to fulfill the law for his elect by way of covenant).

Whether Christ Merited Glory for Himself



Could Christ have Gotten Sick?


Aquinas, Thomas – Summa Theologica, pt. 3, a Treatise on the Incarnation

Question 14, Of the Defects of Body Assumed by the Son of God (4 Articles)

Aquinas doesn’t here answer this specific question, but the thrust of his answers leans towards: Yes.

(3) ‘Whether His body was decomposed in the tomb? [No]’  in Question 51 – Of Christ’s Burial (4 Articles)

“It is written (Ps. 16:10): “Nor wilt Thou suffer Thy holy one to see corruption”: and [John the] Damascene (De Fide Orth. iii) expounds this of the corruption which comes of dissolving into elements….

…It was not fitting for Christ’s body to putrefy, or in any way be reduced to dust…  Christ’s death ought not to come from weakness of nature, lest it might not be believed to be voluntary: and therefore He willed to die, not from sickness, but from suffering inflicted on Him, to which He gave Himself up willingly.”


Peter van Mastricht

Theoretical Pratical Theology  (RHB), vol. 4, bk. 5, ch. 4, section 28, 29 & 31




Murray, David – ‘Was Jesus Ever Ill?’  (2017)  15 paragraphs

Murray makes distinctions, gives Biblical support for his position, and quotes Smeaton, Spurgeon and Goodwin to a like effect. 



John Owen

Works, vol. 3, Pneumatologia, or a Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, bk. 2, ch. 3, p. 167

“Although he took on him those infirmities which belong unto our human nature as such, and are inseparable from it until it be glorified, yet he took none of our particular infirmities which cleave unto our persons, occasioned either by the vice of our constitutions or irregularity in the use of our bodies.

Those natural passions of our minds which are capable of being the moans of affliction and trouble, as grief, sorrow, and the like, he took upon him; as also those infirmities of nature which are troublesome to the body, as hunger, thirst, weariness, and pain,—yea, the purity of his holy constitution made him more highly sensible of these things than any of the children of men;—but as to our bodily diseases and distempers, which personally adhere unto us, upon the disorder and vice of our constitutions, he was absolutely free from them.”



On the Two Energies (or Operations) of Christ the Mediator, Divine & Human, unto the Same Completed Effect (Apotelesma)


Aquinas – Summa Theologica, 3rd Part, Treatise on the Incarnation, Question 19, ‘Of the Unity of Christ’s Operation [Energy] (4 Articles)

(1) Whether in Christ there was one or several operations [energies] of the Godhead and Manhood? [Two energies, though the human an instrument of the divine]

(2) Whether in Christ there were several operations of the human nature? [No, but a diversity of effects]

Heppe, Heinrich – ch. 17, section 25, pp. 445-6  in Reformed Dogmatics  ed. Ernst Bizer  (1950; Wipf & Stock, 2007)

Heppe quotes or references Mastricht, Sohn, Zanchi, Keckermann and the Leiden Synopsis.

Hurd, Ryan – ‘Certain New Theandric Energy, Part 1’  2020  11 paragraphs  There is no Part 2.

This article is advanced and is not recommended, but is here for reference.  For something recommended on the topic, and comprehensible, see the quotes below by Beza, Riissen and Mastricht, etc.

The notes below are designed to be helpful in understanding the issues and the article better, especially in its correlation (removed by a few steps) to later reformed theology, as mentioned at the end of the below notes.

The Council of Chalcedon (451), the 4th Ecumenical Council, declared that Christ is one Person in Two Natures.  It was yet, however, to be explicitly agreed and decided by a council, in express terms, whether Christ has one will or two.  That Christ has two wills, one divine and one human, they pertaining to his natures (and not his Person), was declared to be orthodox by the 5th Ecumenical Council, the 2nd Council of Constantinople (553).  That council also said that Christ, likewise, has two ‘energies’, or kinds of operations, namely divine and human.

Some theologians, between the councils, holding to the formula of Chalcedon (such as Theodore of Raithu), held to dyophysitism (two natures) and came to hold to monoenergism (one energy).  The term ‘energy’ was deliberately left vague so as to be an offer of reconcilation from Chalcedonian dyphysites to non-Chalcedonian groups (such as monophysites and miaphysites, who tended to be more agreeable to monothelitism, Christ having one will).

Debate ensued on ‘the principle of the operation’, whether that pertained to Christ’s one Person, or to each of his two natures.

Just as the will pertaining to nature (and not person) safeguards there being one will in God (as opposed to three, according to the three Persons), so energy or operations pertaining to nature likewise safeguards God having only one indivisible energy and operations (and not three).

Hurd, in the article above, seeks to explain the last dogmatic definition about the Person of Christ in the Eastern Orthodox Church before the Reformation, which went one step higher in its pronouncements than the Western Church on the subject, namely that (within the Chalcedonian confines) upon the Incarnation of the 2nd Person of the Trinity, there was a ‘certain new theandric energy’.  ‘Theandric’ means God-and-man.  Though it was new, because it was entailed with the Incarnation, it did not change the divine nature in any way, but was held to be added to it through the Personal union with the human nature.

The phrase comes from Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (late 5th to early 6th century), at the end of his Letter 4 to Gaius.  The phrase was then picked up and expounded by Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662) and John of Damascus (c. 675-749).  These were all Eastern Orthodox fathers.

Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) in the West, according to Hurd (giving citations), had “the same elements of the ‘certain new theandric energy'” in his writings, but seems to “have stopped just short of explicitly offering this judgment, or at least he seems to be pulling away from it more than resting upon it.”  Thomas (said to be speaking in a different context) came to the conclusion that “The energies are not united.”  Maximus had stated: “The energies are not not-united.”  Hurd claims that both of these statements are true.

In positive affirmations, one affirmation can be true in one sense, while an exact opposite affirmation (or the denial of the original affirmation) can be true in another sense.  The same is true in negative dictums: one thing can be denied in one way, and the exact opposite may be denied in another way.  If this is the case, there may yet be truth in the middle (though that truth may be notoriously difficult to articulate accurately).

The positive affirmation above, of a certain new theandric energy, according to Hurd, seeks not to identify what may be positively affirmed, but to circumlocate it, to show where it may be found, within what parameters.  Part of those parameters, for Hurd, include being within the dyenergism view itself:  that is, the ‘certain new theandric energy’ is something in addition to, or at least inclusive of something more than simply Christ’s two human and divine energies, or operations, considered simply in themselves.

There are abysses are on all sides of these issues (beyond what is mentioned here or in Hurd’s article).  Hurd notes that there is “a qualitatively infinite distance” “between God and Creation”, or these two kinds of energies or operations of Christ, one human and one divine.  Yet they may not be ‘severed’ because of ‘the one God acting indivisibly’.  Hurd makes comments at the end of the article that appear to say that the removal of the division of the two energies of Christ exists in reality, as surely as his actual incarnation has happened and continues, yet the positive conception of ‘one energy’ exists only in a person’s mind, due creaturely reasoning’s own limitations, and not in reality.

How these issues relate in some measure to later Reformed theology:

The Reformed at the Reformation only held by consensus to the first four ecumenical creeds (receiving, and yet stopping with Chalcedon).  Theodore Beza, in vol. 3 of his Theological Tracts (pp. 390-401) in Latin, highly commended and translated from Greek into Latin the main work of Theodore of Raithu (fl. late 6th or early 7th century, a Neo-Chalcedonian monoenergist) on the subject.

While the Westminster Confession of Faith essentially limits its express remarks to the detail of a Chalcedonian Christology, yet the following passage speaks in some way to the issues here treated:

WCF, ch. 8, on the Mediator, section 7, affirms Christ’s two natures, which each operate according to their own nature.  Yet the two natures are unified by Christ’s Person which acts according to both natures: “Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures; by each nature doing that which is proper to itself (Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 3:18)…”


Historical Theology

On the Early Church

Wellum, Stephen J. – ch. 9  of God the Son Incarnate: the Doctrine of Christ  in Foundations of Evangelical Theology  Pre  (Crossway, 2016)  This surveys post-Chalcedonian history.


On the Post-Reformation

Muller, Richard – ‘apotelesma’  in Dictionary of Latin & Greek Theological Terms  (Baker, 1985), p. 41



Theordore Beza

Lutheranism vs. Calvinism: the Classic Debate at the Colloquy of Montbeliard, 1586, ed. Jefferey Mallinson & trans. Clinton J. Armstrong (Concordia Publishing House, 2017), ‘On the Person of Christ’, Dr. Beza’s Responses to the Theses, p. 248

“Finally, this rule prevails: in this hypostatic union, the natures themselves remain distinct, and each does distinctly what is proper to itself; accordingly the word [o logos] is distinctly that which is Word [logos], and it does distinctly that which belongs to the Word [o logos].  Just so, flesh remains also distinctly that which is flesh, and accomplishes that which distinctly belongs to flesh.

Hence to make a long story short: just as we can say there are two distinct essences [ousiai], not separate , but nevertheless distinct in number, so there are also two wills and operative functions [energiai], and two operations [energemata] but one end purpose [apotelesma], just as the person is one only.”


Westminster Confession 8.7

“Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures; by each nature doing that which is proper to itself (Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 3:18)…”


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’, p. 123

“§XVIII. A completed work (apotelesma) is one work proceeding from both natures.  In this completed work (apotelesma) the divine has a divine energy and the human nature a human energy, such as justification and glorification.

§XIX. An energy is a power and operation of a particular nature.  The
divine energy in its mode is divine; the human nature only has human
energy.  Thus, the actions are two, but the work is one.  “By the spirit He offered Himself” (Heb. 9:14).

§XX. Each nature exerts these powers in the office of Christ the Mediator.  But the Mediator is:

1. Unique (1 Tim. 2:5),
2. Perfect (Heb. 7:25),
3. And acting as surety and making payment (spondens et solvens) (Mt. 26:28)
4. For all believers of the Old and New Testament and all their sins (Rom. 3:25)
5. According to both natures.”


Peter van Mastricht

Theoretical Practical Theology  (RHB), vol. 4, bk. 5, ch. 4, section 13




Ayres, Samuel Gardiner – Jesus Christ our Lord: an English Bibliography of Christology, comprising over 5,000 Titles Annotated & Classified  (NY, 1906)  ToC

Ayres (1865-1942) was a librarian at Drew Theological Seminary and was in the American methodist tradition.  See other works of his here.




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