book report: Atheist Delusions part 2

Here is another delicious quote from Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart.  
the result of the fourth ecumenical council convoked at Chalcedon in 451 was a fragmented church - divided for the most part by terminology rather than by faith. At the same time, the evolution of Christological dogma must also be remembered as one of the most extraordinary intellectual achievements of Christian tradition. Again the principal engine of dogmatic definition was the theology of salvation, and again the chief concern was ho the church might coherently affirm that, in Christ, the divine and the human had been perfectly reconciled and immediately joined. That Christ was wholly God had been proclaimed by the Council of Nicaea; but, in order for his incarnation to have created a truly divinized humanity, he must also have been wholly man. Gregory of Nazianzus stated the matter in a rather elegant aphorism in his "Epistle to Cledonius": "That which [Christ] has not assumed he has not healed, but whatever is united with his divinity has been saved." That is to say, if any natural aspect of our shared humanity - body, mind, will, desire - was absent from the incarnate God, then to that degree our nature has never entered into communion with his and has not been refashioned in him. So it was that, pursuing this logic to its most radical consequences, the theologians who participated in the Christological debates were led into an ever-deepening consideration of what it is for any of us to be human, and into an ever more precise investigation of all those hidden realms within where God (they believed) had united us to himself.

It is no exaggeration to say that what followed, over the course of centuries, was the most searching metaphysics of self undertaken to that point in Western thought. p.209

Hart is a Chrisitian of the Orthodox flavor. He also is well read in the Eastern church's writings. For that, we are all better off. If you want to show the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses where they err, explain Jesus to them this way. Their wrong for has been explained 15 centuries ago.


Joshua said…
Very intriguing. I've been raised Catholic myself, but have been exploring other religions.
John Umland said…
I think Jesus said it well, "by their fruits you will know them." In this book, Hart shows how much Christianity changed the world, he prefers to call it a revolution.
God is good

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