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

“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. 8:2-3

“Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep…  He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.’  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes…  Jesus saith unto them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.'”

Jn. 11:11, 43-44

“…his Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds…  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the Word of his power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:”

Heb. 1:2-3




Christ’s Two Wills



Order of Contents

Articles  15+
Quotes  12+
Latin  10+
.    Contra Lutheranism  3

Historical Theology  4
On the Divine Operation & Christ  6
Not All of the Logos’s, or Christ’s Operations are Theandric in the Same way, & on
.      Mt. 28:18  6+




The Teaching of the Church Councils

The Council of Chalcedon (AD 451), the Fourth Ecumenical Council, confessed that Christ is one Person with two natures.  The Fifth and Sixth Councils were essentially outworkings of this.  The substance of the Fifth, the 2nd Council of Constantinople (553), primarily condemned further variations of Nestorianism, that Christ is two persons.  The 6th Council, the 3rd of Constantinople (680-681), asserted and argued that will is proper to nature, and hence Christ has two wills, one divine and one human.  This is known as Dyothelitism, in contrast to the heresy of Monothelitism.

The acting of a will is its operation, or energy, stemming from the power of its nature; hence Christ has two operations, or energies, one divine and one human, in accord with his two natures having diverse powers.  This is known as Dyoenergism in contrast to the heresy of Monoenergism.  If will and operating were proper to personhood, then the Godhead would have three wills and three operations, which Social Trinity is Tritheism.†

† See our sections, Tritheism, On God’s Essential Works Inside & Outside of Himself, The Doctrine of Appropriations & Perichoresis.

While the Reformed of the Post-Reformation era did not wholesale sanction the 5th and 6th Ecumenical Councils (which had some dubious things in them), as they did sanction the teaching of Chalcedon, yet the Reformed did accept the main doctrinal teachings of the 5th and 6th councils about Christ’s wills and operations, and elaborated on these teachings in greater detail (in consistency with the greater detail of the early Church).  The Westminster Confession, ch. 8, ‘On the Mediator’, section 7, concisely affirms this teaching in its bare essentials:

“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)…”


The Teaching of Scripture

The councils discerned this teaching, not from metaphysics simply, but as it is in the Word of God.  The following two verses, cited by Westminster, speak of Christ the Mediator dying as man and simultaneously offering Himself through the divine Spirit to God the Father, as well as being enlivened in his resurrection by that same divine Spirit:

Heb. 9:14  “…the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience…”

1 Pet. 3:18  “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins…  that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit;”

While the Spirit in these verses may refer to the 3rd Person of the Trinity, and have their termination in Him, yet his nature and will is numerically the same as that of the Son; hence it is also the Son’s divine will that wills, operates and effects what in these verses is terminated in the Holy Spirit.†  Hence, if the above verses do speak properly of the Holy Spirit, the doctrine here being expounded of Christ the Mediator acting by both natures is still confirmed.

† For a further explanation of this orthodox teaching, see On God’s Essential Works Inside & Outside of Himself (ad intra & ad extra) and On the Doctrine of Appropriations.

More pertinently, Westminster’s cited Scriptures were meant to bear weight in an exegetical and interpretative context, such as with reference to these further Scriptures witnessing to Christ rising by his own divine power and authority:

Jn. 2:19-21  “Jesus answered…  ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’…  But He spake of the temple of his body.”

Jn. 10:17-18  “I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”

Jn. 11:25  “I am the resurrection, and the life.”


The Operations Terminating in a Single Effect (Apotelesma)

The most common example given in the early and medieval Church to illustrate the unity of Christ’s mediatorial operations was that of Christ healing a leper (as in Mt. 8:3 & 11:5).  It is the human nature of Christ (his body and soul) that walks, puts forth his hand, touches the leper and physically speaks, not the divine nature.  His human nature, as such, does not heal the leper, nor can it.  Christ, by his divine nature, heals the leper; and yet Christ does not heal the leper by his divine nature alone: Christ’s Person works by both natures to accomplish the one work (Greek: apotelesma).  Hence Christ’s two operations, springing from both his divine and human wills, terminate in one completed effect, the healing of the leper.


The Relations of the Natures Working

Yet more must be affirmed about this, lest Christ’s two natures and wills be seen as inexplicably coordinate: they are not.  Christ’s human nature and will is subordinate to his divine, eternal Person; so the Word teaches (Acts 2:22):

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know…”

Hence it is the Logos, by the divine nature, that empowers and directs his human nature in all that it does, by his eternal counsel, for his eternal purposes.

The reformed described this relation, though admittedly imperfectly, as the divine nature using the human nature as an instrument.  Aquinas gave the classic example:

An axe of itself does not cut, but can only lay there.  When a man swings the axe to cut a piece of wood, it is not the man, himself and simply, that is cutting the wood, but rather the man using the axe to accomplish the one effect.

The axe takes part in the man’s action, and it is not accomplished without it.  The action and the accomplishment, though, is fundamentally the man’s.  Yet the axe provides what is peculiar to the axe and its nature, namely the cutting and the cleaving, which is not done immediately (without mediation) and directly by the man.  In all of this, the axe is an axe, and not a man, and the man is a man, and not an axe.

Likewise, Christ’s human nature cannot exist or stir apart from the operation of the divine Logos.  The eternal Logos does not accomplish the work of mediation alone, but through his being joined to a human body and soul.  There is much that Christ’s human nature does, as human and creaturely, that is not proper to the divine nature, and yet such actions are yet those of Christ’s eternal Person, through his human nature.  In all of this, Christ’s divine Person, remains divine and unchanged, and his manhood, joined mysteriously and forever by the personal (or hypostatic) union to his Person, remains man.


Last Remarks

It should be observed that the (admittedly simplistic) illustrations and remarks above are only intended to be helpful; they are not a complete or sufficient description of the ineffable, personal union of the natures of Christ, the God-man.

There is much more that may and should be learned to fill out our understanding of these precious truths, but for that you will have to read and digest, and continue to meditate on the insights of the resources below in conjunction with and subordinate to the revelation of Christ in the pages of Scripture.

Do note that the affirmed truths of Westminster above about the operations of the Mediator, in accord with the reformed theology below, are only explicitly and properly in regard to “the work of mediation” (and not to God’s essential works simply, common to all three Persons as Creator).  For more on this, see our section below: Not All of the Logos’s, or Christ’s Operations are Theandric in the Same Way…

May Christ’s works, and their profundity, lead and incite us to give all glory and worship to God forever, through whom and to whom are all things.


“And when all things shall be subdued unto Him,
then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him
that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”

1 Cor. 15:28





Leo the Great – ch. 4  of Epistle 28, ‘The Tome’

This was a foundational statement, written against Eutyches, who melded and confused the two natures of Christ and their workings.  The letter was often referenced as Letter 10 by the reformed in Post-Reformation literature.



3rd Council of Constantinople (680-81)

‘The Definition of Faith’  in NPNF2 14.346

Extracts  in NPNF2 14.325-54  HTML



John of Damascus – On the Orthodox Faith  in NPNF2, vol. 9

Bk. 2

ch. 22, ‘Concerning Passion & Energy’
ch. 23, ‘Concerning Energy’

Bk. 3

ch. 13, ‘Concerning the Properties of the Two Natures’
ch. 14, ‘Concerning the Volitions & Free-Wills of our Lord Jesus Christ’
ch. 15, ‘Concerning the Energies in our Lord Jesus Christ’
ch. 16, ‘In reply to those who say, ‘If man has two natures and two energies, Christ must be held to have three natures and as of many energies”
ch. 17, ‘Concerning the Deification of the Nature of our Lord’s Flesh & his Will’
ch. 18, ‘Further Concerning Volitions & Free-Wills: Minds too, & Knowledges & Wisdoms’
ch. 19, ‘Concerning the Theandric Energy’

Damascus is very good.  In ch. 17, Damascus explains his term ‘deification’ in an orthodox way.  His teaching in ch. 19 of Christ’s two energies, human and divine, by way of composition, forming a certain theandric energy, was not adopted by the West or the reformed, and is an error.




Summa Theologica, 3rd Part, Treatise on the Incarnation, Question 19, ‘Of the Unity of Christ’s Operation [Energy]’

article 1, ‘Whether in Christ there is only one operation of the Godhead & Manhood?’ [There are only two]

article 2, ‘Whether in Christ there are several human operations?’ [No, but there is a diversity of effects]

Commentary on the Sentences [of Lombard], pt. 3

Distinction 18, answer 1, ‘Whether in Christ there is any Operation besides the Divine?’ [Yes]

Summa Contra Gentiles

ch. 36, ‘On the Error of Macarius of Antioch, who holds there is but one will in Christ’

On Truth

Question 20, ‘The Knowledge of Christ’, article 1, ‘Should we say that there is created knowledge in Christ?’, Answer to difficulty 2

On the Union of the Incarnate Word

article 1, ‘Whether this union was brought about in the person or in the nature?’, Answer to #16

article 5, ‘Whether in Christ there is only one operation?’ [No]

Compendium of Theology

ch. 212, ‘Unity & Multiplicity in Christ’



Zanchi, Jerome – H. Zanchius his Confession of Christian Religion…  (1599)

ch. 11, ‘Of Christ the Redeemer’, section 13, ‘Two kinds of actions in Christ: and all those things which we read that He did and suffered were done indeed according to the truth of the matter and not after a vain show or illusion’

The 11th Aphorism, ‘That Same Whole Christ, etc.’  in Observations of the Same Zanchius upon his Own Confession

pp. 355-60  in An Appendix to the Eleventh Chapter, ‘Of Christ the Redeemer, or of the Person of Christ’  This surveys and quotes the important early Church Pope Vigilius on the topic.

‘Certain Propositions’

‘Of the Resurrection of Christ Jesus from the Dead, his Ascension into Heaven & Sitting at God’s Right Hand, out of Eph. 1 [On Theandric Operations & Against Ubiquity]’  (1581)  397-419

‘Of those things which are spoken of our Lord Jesus Christ, after the [manner of the Hypostatic] Union: and in what sort they are spoken, out of Eph. 1’  (1580)  419-24



Wolleb, Johannes – pp. 93 (bot) – 94 (top)  in ch. 16, ‘The Person of Christ the God-Man’  in Abridgment of Christian Divinity  (1626)  in ed. John Beardslee, Reformed Dogmatics: J. Wollebius, G. Voetius & F. Turretin  (Oxford Univ. Press, 1965)

Wolleb (1589–1629) was a Swiss reformed theologian.  He was a student of Amandus Polanus.

Synopsis of a Purer Theology…  (1625; Brill, 2016), vol. 2

Anthony Thysius, Disputation 25, ‘On the Incarnation…’, section 31, pp. 83-85

Johannes Polyander, Disputation 26, ‘On the Office of Christ…’, sections 18-28, pp. 109-115

Note that the editors in a footnote on p. 109 mistakenly equate Polyander’s affirmation of a theandric effect (which is to be affirmed) with a theandric operation (which is an Eastern notion, to be denied).

van Mastricht, Peter – ch. 4, section 13  in Theoretical Practical Theology  (RHB), vol. 4, bk. 5

Heidegger, Johann H. – section 11, ‘Of Operations or Results’  in Locus 17, ‘On the Person of Jesus Christ’  in The Concise Marrow of Theology  (RHB, 2019), p. 121

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.




3rd Council of Constantinople  680-81 AD

“We glorify two natural operations indivisibly, immutably, inconfusedly, inseparably in the same our Lord Jesus Christ our true God…”



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.”


Jerome Zanchi

H. Zanchius his Confession of Christian Religion… (1599)

ch. 11, ‘Of Christ the Redeemer’

pp. 61-2

“9. How the two natures are united into one person without alteration or confusion, the properties and actions of either of them remaining whole and distinct.

But we believe and confess that these two natures, are truly and inseparably joined and united into one person of Christ: that yet we doubt not, but each of them remains whole and perfect, and the one truly distinct from the other, yea and that they do hold the essential properties and operations of each of them distinct: without all manner of confusion: so that as the divine nature holding the properties remains uncreated, infinite, immeasurable, simply omnipotent and simply wise: even so the human nature holding her’s remains created, comprehensible, and determined with certain limits: And as the divine nature has will and power, whereby Christ wills and works, as God, such things as are of God: so has the human nature will and power, whereby Christ as man, wills and works those things which are of man: so far forth as Christ in that He is God, He wills not nor works by human will or power: so neither as He is man, wills He or works He by divine will or power: as it has been learnedly determined by the fathers both against Eutyches and against Macarius.  We therefore did always like well of that saying of Leo I [c. 400-461], Epistle 10 [28], ch. 4, writing unto Flavianus about the same thing, where he says:

“He which is true God, the same is also true man, and in this unity there is no untruth, whereas there meet together the baseness of manhood and the excellency of the Godhead.  For as God is not changed by the partaking, so man (that is man’s nature in Christ) is not consumed by the dignity, for each form works with communion of the other, their own property: namely the Word works that which is proper to the Word, and the flesh performs that which is proper to the flesh.”

Thus far Leo that learned man: which he afterwards fets out by examples, whereby it is plainly showed that, as the natures are truly united in Christ, yet remain distinct and not confounded: so also were and are the actions: for things which were proper to the Word, the flesh did not perform, but the Word and that which was proper to the flesh the Word performed not, but the flesh.  To raise again Lazarus from death was proper to the Word: but to cry ‘Lazarus, come forth’, was proper to the flesh: yet both those actions were united to the raising up of Lazarus, because they were both one and in one Christ, and tend both to one purpose: and yet they were distinct.  Likewise to forgive sins was a proper action to the divine nature, but to say, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee, was proper to the human nature.  To restore his sight that was born blind was an action of his divine nature: but to put clay upon his eyes, and to say, ‘Go and wash’: was of the human nature.

Therefore this personal union, as it did not confound the natures, so neither did it the actions, but kept them distinct: neither yet did it confound the properties of the natures.  For there be in one and the same person of Christ these three things: natures, the proprieties and faculties of the natures, and the actions of them: and these proprieties of natures in Christ are after the very same manner that the natures and actions are.  Therefore as it is clear that one nature passes not into another, nor one action is confounded with another: so is it apparent that their proprieties are after the same sort.”


pp. 65-66

“Meanwhile, we believe and confess the force of this union of the natures in the person of Christ to be so great: that first, whatsoever Christ is or does, according to the divine nature, that same, whole Christ, the Son of man, may be said to be, or to do: and again, whatsoever Christ does or suffers according to his human nature, that same, whole Christ the Son of God, God Himself, is said in the holy Scriptures, to be, to do, and to suffer.  As that: God (that is Christ, man and God) redeemed the Church with his blood: Acts 20:28, whenas the force of the redemption pertained to the Godhead, the shedding of his blood only to the manhood.  Yet both these actions are joined in one, and each of them may be spoken alike of whole Christ: although they were and are distinct, because the natures, although distinct yet are coupled together in Christ’s one Person.  Yea Christ the Mediator, according to his humanity never did or does anything, wherein his divinity did not or does not work together: and He never performed anything according to his divinity, whereunto his humanity was not assisting or consenting: that the Fathers very fitly called all the works of Christ the Mediator [theandric?], that is performed both by God and man.”


pp. 68-9

“…Whereby it comes to pass that He, in that He is man…  He is able to do all those things which pertain to his office: yea and such things as cannot be performed of any created substance, but only of God Himself, may be done by Him, by the power of his deity, yet his human will always wor­king therewithal evermore by consent and as it were by desire: so that in all the actions of Christ, as He is God, pertaining to our salvati­on, always his soul in some sort joins itself thereunto by love, by desire, and will: as also in all things which He did as man, the dei­ty was always concurrent, yea even in his death and passion: not that the deity suffered, but that it willed both the passion and death of Christ, and added to his passion and death an infinite power, even to cleanse us of our sins.

To conclude, concerning the two na­tures in Christ, and the union and proprieties of them, we believe whatsoever has been de­termined in the Nicene, Constantinopolitane, E­phesian, and Calcedonian councils, against Ar­rius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, and Eutyches: and in the sixth synod against the Monothelites.

13. Two kinds of actions in Christ: and all those things which we read that He did and suffered, were done indeed according to the truth of the matter, and not after a vain show or illusion.

Now from the person of Christ, and his natures, and the union of the natures, to pass over peculiarly to his actions and his office: First we believe, that as there are two true natures in Christ, whereof each has had and has her true and essential proprieties, coupled together, even as the natures are also united, but not confounded together: so there are two kinds of actions, which our Lord Jesus Christ is said partly to have performed, and partly will yet perform for our salvation: some whereof proceed from his deity, and some from his humanity: and the same partly have been, and partly are so joined together, and yet distinct that each of their forms (as Leo speaks) always works with communion of the other, the Word, performing those things which are of the Word, and the flesh, those things which pertain to the flesh.  Moreover, as those things which Christ did and does by virtue of his divine nature, were true and not feigned deeds, (for He truly reconciled us to his father, he truly forgives sins, and truly sanctifies, and regenerates).  So whatsoever we read that He did or suffered for us according to his humanity, we believe that He did and suffered all those things truly and indeed, and not only in a vain show and (as some speak) an appearance only.”


Ch. 27, ‘Of Perpetual Remission of Sins in the Church of Christ’, pp. 253-4

“5. Christ, God and man, indeed forgives sins, but in a diverse manner: as He is God, and as He is man.

Whereon it also follows, that Christ, God and man (which we also confess) together with the Father and the Holy Ghost, forgives sins: but He does it in one sort, as He is God, and in another, as He is man.  For as He is God, He does effect the same properly and of his authority: but as He is man, He does it, and did it in the flesh, as being a fellow-worker with the deity: in his human will consenting to the divine, and pronouncing the words ‘Thy sins are forgiven thee’: as also Leo the First, Epistle 10 [28], ch. 4, so expounds it to Flavianus, saying, each form (namely of God and man) works with communion of the other, that which is proper to itself: as, the Word working that which is proper to the Word, and the flesh performing that which belongs to the flesh.  To forgive sins was the proper action of the divine nature: and to say, ‘Thy sins are forgiven thee’, of the human.  Thus far he.”



Lucas Trelcatius

A Brief Institution of the Common Places of Sacred Divinity…  (London, 1610), ‘Of the Person of Christ’, Part Confirmative, ch. 6, pp. 152-3

“Of these natures, the necessity, and verity whereof hath been declared, there are divers operations; for there are two natures in Christ, as it were two inward, and effectual beginnings; out of which formally, Actions, and their manners, are deduced: wherefore, as all things in Christ, (his subsisting only excepted,) are two-fold, (or of two sorts) to wit, his Nature, Properties, Will, Knowledge: so are there two-fold operations; some divine, some humane, distinguished by their beginnings, manners of doing, and the particular Actions of each of them.

By their beginnings: because, look how many Natures there are; so many formal beginnings of actions there are.

By the manners of doing: for every beginning works according to it own manner, and condition: the God-head, after a supernatural, and divine manner: the man-hood after a Natural and Human manner.

By particular Actions; for the Word works that, which is of the Word, and the Flesh, that, which is of the Flesh, without any confusion of Natures, in the unity of Person.”


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)…”


Francis Cheynell

The Divine Trinunity…  (London, 1650), pp. 347-9

“The actions performed by our royal Mediator flow from a double principle in this single Person, because this person does
consist of two natures, and each nature performs its proper work; the divine nature does what is divine, and the human nature what is human; and therefore though the Person be but one, and the effect one, yet there are two different actions of two different natures united in one Person for producing of one and the same glorious effect, and we are to give to each
nature what is properly due unto it.

Finally the Kingdom which is administered by our royal Mediator God-man, in a glorious way is but a dispensatory kingdom, not his natural kingdom, an inferior and temporary kingdom, not his sovereign, essential, eternal kingdom; and therefore even in the very administration of it our Mediator God-man, is in respect of order, and that gracious dispensation unto which He condescended for our salvation, employed in a kind of subordinate way…

This dispensatory kingdom is administred principally by the Godhead, instrumentally by the manhood, absolutely and perfectly by the Person of Christ acting in a divine way as God, and human way as man, that the properties of each nature may be reserved as peculiar to each, even whilst He does mediate, reign and judge, according to both; and therefore divine honor
is still reserved as proper and peculiar to the divine nature of our Mediator, who is God-man in one person.”


John Owen

Christologia, Preface, p. 12  in Works, vol. 1

“…this sacred, fundamental truth, concerning his [Christ’s] divine Person, and the union of his natures therein, retaining their distinct properties and operations…”


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.”


Francis Turretin

Institutes…  (P&R), vol. 2, 13th Topic, ‘Person & State of Christ’, 7th Question, ‘Was the hypostatical union of the two natures in Christ such that neither the person is divided nor the natures confounded?’, section 15, p. 321

“Although the efficient cause of the operations of Christ is one alone [that of the divine nature], 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.”


Peter van Mastricht

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



Latin Articles


Sohn, George – Works…  vol. 1, containing Methodical Writings of the Author…  (Herborne, 1591), Theses of the Author Publicly Disputed in Heidelberg

p. 348, thesis 69  in Disputation 5, ‘On the Incarnation of the Son of God’

pp. 358-9, theses 17-25

In thesis 20 Sohn mentions the ‘theandric energies’ (plural) of the Greeks, and in the following theses posits their being *united* in that they *concur* to produce one effect.

Zanchi, Jerome – On the Incarnation of the Son of God…  (Heidelberg: Harnisch, 1593)

Of the double will and double operating faculty of Christ contra Macarius and the Monothelites 232 the Ubiquitists are Monothelites 233 the arguments of John of Damascus against the Monothelites 234,247 the distinction of actions & properties does not divide the union 240-44 the will and energy is taken for the power or for the act 244 autotheleton [self-willing] was in Christ 245 as well as a human will besides the divine will 247 nor was one will conflated from the divine and human 250 objections of the Monothelites 254 the Paulicians are refuted 256



Martinius, Matthew – pp. 11-12, sections 9-10  in A Brief Confession on the Person of Christ…  (Herborne, 1604)

“9. Third, out of this union depends the conjunction or collation of the operations, since one nature with the other is conjoined, its energies, that is, actions, [work] to one effect, or work of redemption:  by the deity working those things which are required of immensity, humanity things human, which is a proper instrument for the deity, it subserving it and with the deity it works things henomenos ou dieremenos, that is ‘unitedly, not separately’.  Thus it is called theandrikon apotelesma, so Damascus, bk. 3, ch. 19 terms it, ‘a theandric energy’.”

Polanus, Amandus

pp. 75-77  in ‘More Follows [on the Effect of the Union]’  in The Divisions of Theology Framed according to a Natural Orderly Method  (Basil, 1590; Geneva, 1623)

A System of Theology, vol. 2  (Hanau, 1609), bk. 6

cols. 2441-2447  in ch. 16, ‘Hypostatic Union’

cols. 2785-2789  in ch. 27, ‘Mediatorical Office of Christ’

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

Keckermann, Bartholomaus – ch. 3, ‘On the Office of Christ…’, pp. 331-2, #9-12  in A System of Most Holy Theology…  (Hanau, 1610), bk. 3

Forbes, John – bk. 1, ch. 9, ‘Of the Theandric Operations, or of the Powers of God’  in Historical & Theological Instructions on Christian Doctrine…  (Amsterdam, 1645), pp. 21-23  This volume was commended by Polyander, Trigland, Spanheim, Voet, Maets, Hoornbeeck, Cloppenburg, Coccejus and Maresius, as well as Gerhard Vossi, an Arminian.

Forbes (1593-1648) was one of the Aberdeen doctors.  This volume of his gained him the reputation of being one of the greatest theologians of the reformed Church.  The covenanters ‘acknowledged his orthodoxy and high Christian character’ (DNB).

Maresius, Samuel – Locus 9, ‘On the Person & State of Jesus Christ’, section 33  in A Theological Collection, or a Brief System of Universal Theology…  2nd ed.  (Groningen, 1649), p. 119

Heidegger, Johann H.

ch. 17, ‘Of the Person of Jesus Christ’, section 29, ‘Of the Communication of Effects’  in The Marrow of Christian Theology  (Zurich, 1713), pp. 15-16

ch. 17, ‘Of the Person of Jesus Christ’, section 50  in A Body of Christian Theology...  (Tigur, 1700), vol. 2, pp. 23-4



Vitringa, Campegius – The Doctrine of the Christian Religion, Summarily Described through Aphorisms  (d. 1722), vol. 5, Of the Person of the Messiah & his Twofold Nature, On the Union of the Two Natures

pp. 202-4  This is the main bibliography.

 pp. 312-4  This provides quotes from the Synopsis of Pure Theology and numerous Lutherans on the issue.

De Moor, Bernard – ch. 19, ‘Of the Person of Jesus Christ’, section 23  in A Continuous Commentary on John Marck’s Compendium of Didactic & Elenctic Christian Theology  (Leiden, 1761-1771), vol. 3



Latin: Contra Lutheranism



Alsted, Johann Heinrich – 10, ‘Whether the actions of Christ’s office are common to the natures?’  in Polemical Theology…  (Hanau, 1620; 1627), Part 5, ‘An Examination of the Controversies which are now agitated in these times between Evangelicals, which are commonly called Lutherans and Calvinists’, Class 3, Controversies about the Creed, pp. 622-23

Alsted at the end says that the operations are distinct, yet concur to a united effect, and have a certain communion, but that Damascus’s teaching that the natures work, not being separated, but conjoined, must be taken with a grain of salt.

Maccovius, Johannes – Johannes Maccovius Revived, or Manuscripts of his…  ed. Nicolaas Arnoldi  (Amsterdam, 1659)

The False First-Principles of the Papists, Socinians, Lutherans, Arminians, Anabaptists…, ‘An Examination of the Lutheran Controversies’

4. ‘The Personal Union & the Communication of Properties’

pp. 582 (rt col) – 583 (lt col top & rt col bot, on Final Judgment), pp. 581-5

Maccovius (1588-1644)

‘Anti-Eckhardus’  [Heinrich Eckhardi 1580-1624], 6. Communication of Properties

7. ‘Whether koinopoiesis [Greek, a communion of effects], or the communication of effects, may be a grade of the communication of properties?’  642

8. ‘Whether the doctrine of the communion of effects of the Calvinists may be the consensus of the decrees of the Synod of Chalcedon?’  642



Historical Theology

On the Early & Medieval Church


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

Wellum is a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  He holds to Progressive Covenantalism, which is a position between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology (such is not recommended).



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 Post-Reformation

Muller, Richard – Dictionary of Latin & Greek Theological Terms  (Baker, 1985)

‘energeia’, p. 102

‘communicatio operationum’, pp. 74-5

‘apotelesma’, p. 41

‘apotelesma theandrikon’, p. 41



On the Divine Operation, Distinctions Thereabout, & with respect to Christ



Jerome Zanchi

Of the Eternal Omnipotency of One True God, year 1575  in H. Zanchius his Confession of Christian Religion… (1599), pp. 377-78

“3. Yet we must not imagine any such active power in God, which is a diverse thing from his essence.

4. For God in his own most simple essence is such, whatsoever He be: just, good, or almighty.

5. And although there be indeed but one only power in God: yet for the diverse respects wherein He is considered, it may be said (not impiously) to be manifold.

6. For it is one respect when it is considered as God works always in Himself in understanding, willing, loving: and another respect when we behold it as God has wrought outwardly or without himself in creating the world: and as He evermore works in governing the same: and as He could work innumerable things, if He would.

7. Therefore as the actions of God are not unfittly distinguished into abiding actions and passing: so the power of God may not unjustly be called twofold, one, wherein He ever from all eternity did work and does work in himself: the other, wherein He did not only make, rules, and works all things in time without Himself: but also can bring to pass infinite things, which He never will do.

8. Whereupon it is also that the same is usually divided into actual power, which works whatsoever He will: and into absolute power, whereby he can also do infinite things which He will not: because otherwise He could not be said to be simply omnipotent.”



Francis Cheynell

The Divine Trinunity…  (London, 1650)

ch. 4, p. 26

“The ancients† insist much upon that proof John 16:15, ‘All things that the Fa∣ther hath are mine’, compared with John 10:30, ‘I and my Father are one’, and John 10:37, ‘If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not; for from hence they do conclude, that Christ has the same divine nature and Godhead with the Father; they both have the same divine and essential titles and attributes, and perform the same inward operations in reference to all creatures whatsoever;

† Epiphanius, contra Apostolicos, see Cyril in John, ch. 3 & 8; Jerome on Zech. 2; Ambrose, bk. 5, Of Faith, ch. 4; Augustine, contra Pascen tium: ‘nemo igitur jam calumnia turde verbo; et si enim verbum ipsum in Lege scriptum non reperitur, res tamen reperitur, ego et Pater unum sumus’, Epistle 174.

and therefore they did farther infer that they had reason to use the word ‘Consubstantial’ [one substance]; for though the word is not in Scripture, yet the sense and meaning of it is orthodox and canonical, because evidently deduced from these texts and some other Scriptures.”


pp. 129-32

“4. The intrinsical acts of God which do connote some habitude and respect to some thing that is out of the Godhead, are the will of God, or the essence of God considered after the manner of an act of his will, ‘essentia ex se actuosa’ (as the Schools speak) ‘concepta per modum actus volendi.’  If this act be considered in itself, it is nothing else but the will or essence of God, because it is an intrinsical and vital act.

But now if this act be considered as relative, and as related to some thing that is out of God, we say this act is not necessary, but free in respect of all those things which God decrees to produce or permit in the world; for God does arbitrarily decree to permit or produce this, and not that, according to the counsel of his own will, it being as truly and fully in his power to permit or produce that, as this: both were alike possible, but this is made future, and will in the fullness of time be present in act by virtue of the free decree of God; for all creatures are produced and do exist by the will of God.

It is most evident that the will of God is the same whether it act upon Himself or something that is out of the Godhead.

5. The relation which is between the will of God, and the creature, whether in futurition, or existence, is extrinsical.

6. The denominations grounded upon the termination, or relation of the will of God towards the creatures, is extrinsecal also.

7. These actions of God which are said to be rather from God, than in God, as to create, govern, redeem or the like, are called extrinsical, and therefore the denomination of God from them must needs be extrinsical.

8. We have no ground to conceive that the essence of God is compounded with extrinsical terminations, relations, or denominations.

9. Though the objects which God does will are very different, and their production is successive, yet the will of God is the self same, and is one single and pure act: the Power of willing and the act of willing are not distinct in God; nay God does will his own happiness necessarily, and the happiness of men and angels freely by the same will; necessity and liberty do not make distinct powers or wills in God.

10. There is no potentia executiva in God, and therefore all those conceits of Vorstius [an Arminian] concerning any change or composition in God by several acts or decrees are but mere dreams, and vain conceits, though they be now published to the world, not with less blasphemy than impudence in this licentious age.

It is evident by what has been said that the eminent virtue of God (notwithstanding its several objects, egresses, terminations, relations, denominations and effects) is one single and infinite perfection.  This will be the constant result and conclusion of all sober debates, and Christian discussions.”


pp. 178-9

“IX. Three created persons have different actions and operations, because they have different singular natures, different powers…  All actions of Father, Son and Holy Ghost upon the creatures are undivided, nay indivisible; how personal actions
ad infra differ, I am to declare at large
in the next chapter…”




De Moor, Bernard – Continuous Commentary

ch. 6, section 1, ‘Divine Decrees as Internal Acts ad extra

ch. 6, section 5, ‘The General Nature of the Divine Decrees’


Historical Theology

Richard Muller

PRRD, vol. 3, pp. 445 & 461

“God as Absolute & Relative, Necessary, Free & Contingent: The Ad Intra-Ad Extra Movement of Seventeenth-Century Reformed Language About God”  in Always Reformed: Essays in Honor of W. Robert Godfrey  Buy  eds. R. Scott Clark & Joel E. Kim  (Escondido: Westminster Seminary California, 2010), pp. 56-73



Not All of the Logos’s Operations, or Christ’s Operations, are Properly Theandric, or Theandric in the Same Way, & on Mt. 28:18

See especially the quotes by Zanchi above (which are not repeated here), especially about one nature giving (at least) consent to what the other nature does, and that by the personal union.




John of Damascus

On the Orthodox Faith, bk. 2, ch. 11  in NPNF2, vol. 9, p. 55 (rt col)

“Besides all this, notice that the Father and the Holy Spirit take no part at all in the incarnation of the Word except in connection with the miracles, and in respect of good will and purpose.”




Summa Theologica, 3rd Part, Treatise on the Incarnation, Question 19, ‘Of the Unity of Christ’s Operation’, article 1, ‘Whether in Christ there is only one operation of the Godhead & Manhood?’

“Reply to Objection 1:  …Now, that he [Dionysius] understood two operations in Christ, one of the Divine and the other of the human nature, is clear from what he says, Divine Names, ii:

“Whatever pertains to His human operation the Father and the Holy Ghost no-wise share in, except, as one might say, by their most gracious and merciful will,”

i.e. inasmuch as the Father and the Holy Ghost in their mercy wished Christ to do and to suffer human things.  And he adds:

“He is truly the unchangeable God, and God’s Word by the sublime and unspeakable operation of God, which, being made man for us, He wrought.”

Hence it is clear that the human operation, in which the Father and the Holy Ghost do not share, except by Their merciful consent, is distinct from His operation, as the Word of God, wherein the Father and the Holy Ghost share.”



Lucas Trelcatius

A Brief Institution of the Common Places of Sacred Divinity…  (London, 1610), ‘Of the Person of Christ’, Part Confirmative, ch. 6, pp. 156-7

“This Person is the common beginning of those actions, which the Greek Fathers have called divinely humane: for the actions of Christ are not only, some humane, some divine: but also some of common operation, which Christ effects; both as he is Man-God by Nature, and as he is Mediator by dispensation: his Natures are the beginnings of Natural Actions; but his person is the beginning, both of common and particular actions, according to both natures: wherefore every working of Christ, in respect of his person, is in number one; in respect of his Natures, is in kind, two-fold: One in number, because he is one effectual Worker: and one absolute Perfection. In kind two-fold, because there is one Divine, of the God-head, and another humane, of the man-hood.”


George Gillespie

Aaron’s Rod Blossoming…  (1646), pt. 2, ch. 6, p. 98, lt col

“Neither can the names of Jesus and Christ prove that what is said there [in Prov. 8:15-16, 22-30] must needs be meant of Him as Mediator.  Mark how well-grounded Mr. Hussey’s arguments are.  Jesus sat at meat in Simon the Pharisee’s house, Luke 7:37; Jesus wept for Lazarus, because He loved him, John 11:35-36.  Must we

needs therefore say that, as Mediator, He sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, and, as Mediator, He wept for Lazarus?  Christ is the Son of David, Matt. 22:42.  Must we therefore say that, as Mediator, He is the Son of David?  Christ is “God over all, blessed forever,” Rom. 9:5.  Must we therefore say that this is meant of Christ only as Mediator?  What is more ordinary than to use the names of Jesus and Christ when the thing which is said is meant in reference to one of the natures?”




Zanchi, Jerome – theses 28-30  of Of the Eternal Omnipotency of One True God, Year 1575  in H. Zanchius his Confession of Christian Religion… (1599), pp. 383-4


Latin Articles


Polanus, Amandus – cols. 2785-2789  in ch. 27, ‘Mediatorial Office of Christ’  in A System of Theology, vol. 2  (Hanau, 1609), bk. 6

Keckermann, Bartholomaus – ch. 2, ‘On the Person of Christ’, p. 322, #7  in A System of Most Holy Theology…  (Hanau, 1610), bk. 3

Maccovius, Johannes – p. 583 (lt col mid-bot)  on Mt. 28:18  in 4. ‘The Personal Union & the Communication of Properties’  in ‘An Examination of the Lutheran Controversies’  in The False First-Principles of the Papists, Socinians, Lutherans, Arminians, Anabaptists…  in Johannes Maccovius Revived, or Manuscripts of his…  ed. Nicolaas Arnoldi  (Amsterdam, 1659)

Maccovius (1588-1644)

Heidegger, Johann H. – ch. 17, ‘Of the Person of Jesus Christ’, section 50, p. 23 (bot)  in A Body of Christian Theology...  (Tigur, 1700), vol. 2




“And his disciples…  awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us: we perish.’  Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”

Mt. 8:26

“…the church of God, which He hath purchased with his own blood.”

Acts 20:28




Related Pages



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

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