Letting some orthodox doctrines in the bible stay as mysteries instead of dogmas

I recently read an article in christianity today that mention about nestorianism. I researched about it and disagree with it. However, what interest me about that article is how the believe in the nature of Christ as affirmed in the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451 actually caused division within the church at the time between the Roman Catholics and the eastern orthodox church. Of course this was not the first time the division had occurred in the church. It happened before with the affirmation of the doctrine of trinity.
Perhaps we should revisit some of that so called orthodox doctrines as we live now in the time of openness. I realise that some of the orthodox doctrines were based not on the clear teaching of the bible. They are mysteries if we can use that word. God did not and does not make it clear for us. When we tried to make it clear and succinct, then division occurred. The doctrine of Trinity and the doctrine on the nature of Christ fall in this category. Questioning them today is treated with the look of heresy today, but questioning them is what we have to do today, not to create a new doctrine, but to let them as mysteries as God wanted them to be. After all, who is a man/woman who can understand the mind of God or the nature of God. I believe it is safer for us to let what the bible has not made clear to us as mysteries.

I cannot follow your statement(s); perhaps you can expand, since a simple Google search shows:-

Council of Chalcedon, fourth ecumenical council of the Christian church, held in Chalcedon (modern Kadiköy, Turkey) in 451. Convoked by the emperor Marcian, it was attended by about 520 bishops or their representatives and was the largest and best-documented of the early councils. It approved the creed of Nicaea (325), the creed of Constantinople (381; subsequently known as the Nicene Creed), two letters of St. Cyril of Alexandria against Nestorius, which insisted on the unity of divine and human persons in Christ, and the Tome of Pope Leo I confirming two distinct natures in Christ and rejecting the monophysite doctrine that Christ had only one nature. The council then explained these doctrines in its own confession of faith.

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I’m fine with one person, two natures, as if the incarnation was real, that’s perfectly sound. What is not is the utter absurdity, the complete irrationality, of making John’s magnificent late ancient Near East rhetoric (and Paul’s in Colossians) modern fact.

Yes, my point is that this unity of divine and human persons in Christ is not clearly given in the teaching of the bible. it is based more on human reasoning trying to settle the facts about the nature of Christ. This for me is a mystery that is not given to us and perhaps should remain a mystery.

I was initially noting this:

At this point in the history of Christianity, I am unaware of these divisions - nor the Trinity.

I think I understand your point regarding seeking greater understanding of the mysteries - I cannot see how orthodox doctrine goes against this.

@Miekhie After all, who is a man/woman who can understand the mind of God or the nature of God. I believe it is safer for us to let what the bible has not made clear to us as mysteries.

Are you saying that dogma changes anything?

Christian theology has labored with gleaning insights from scripture - doctrine has been accepted before the west-east split.


Not all orthodox doctrines for sure, but those concerning the nature of God such as Trinity and the nature of Christ. The doctrine of trinity itself was borned out of arian controversy.

From what you have stated, I get the impression that you feel the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and that regarding Christ should not be stated, but instead we say they are a mystery, and we should not discuss what that means? Am I correct on this?

Among other problems, Nestorius had a problem with calling Mary the mother of God.

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That’s because there is no unity of persons. There is one person. Of two natures. Or rather was. Between incarnation and death. What there was in the first phase of the resurrection and then the second to date is worth exploring.

What did they prefer, Vessel of Christ’s delivery? The objectivization of women goes way back.

Hi, I’m currently taking a course in Early Church History at Regent College (Vancouver) and we just learned about such controversies in the councils. Apparently Pope Leo’s Tome which was read and accepted at the Council of Chalcedon was already a wording compromise that set some boundaries around “orthodoxy”, but did not spell everything out explicitly. Namely that Christ was one person with 2 natures and not one blended nature–and that the natures were in communication with each other (contra strict Nestorianism), i.e., “hypostatic union”…but the wording was left vague enough, not describing exactly how the natures communicated-- pope Leo essentially said “there is a great mystery there that we must just leave room for in our understanding”.
Although I think the Trinity has a good basis in scripture, personally, yes, I think people can go overboard trying define exactly how the trinity works…and dogmatically declaring all other views heretical. History shows, unfortunately, that many schisms were not due so much to the small theological differences, but to strong personalities and power struggles.


The orthodox position is that Mary was the mother of God. Not merely the mother of Christ (the messiah).

Well that is interesting to me in that God comes along after men. I tend to thing God and humans give rise to each other but I’m sure they have a nuanced understanding that checks more Christian boxes than I do.

Not what it’s saying. Mary was the mother of God Incarnate. God was there before anything. Mary was a creature, God her creator.

Yes it does, but Mary, although humble, was not a pushover controlled by men. When the angel Gabriel told her she would become pregnant with Jesus, she didn’t discuss it with Joseph her betrothed. She didn’t consult her parents about it (tradition calls them Joachim and Anne). She spoke for herself, when she replied, “Be it unto me according to thy word.” And she didn’t try to back out of her calling the way Moses did!

Later, at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, it was Mary who encouraged Jesus to start his public ministry.


That sounds more like what I’d expect, thanks.

I guess what complicates matters from my perspective is that I think there is something that gives rise to God belief in our kind but I also think there is something like proto-consciousness latent in everything which could play a roll in ordering the cosmos - for all I know. I don’t assume those are the same thing though if in fact it plays any roll in the cosmos as a whole it would have led also to us along with our inborn god hole. (I actually think that ‘hole’ is much more dynamic than ii sounds though I don’t suggest it is the equivalent of the Christian God.)

The orthodox position is that Jesus had two natures, human and divine, and that they were blended. Nestorius taught that Jesus had two natures that were not blended, and that one could separate them. For example, when Jesus wept that was from his human nature acting. He rejected calling Mary the mother of God.

The 4th ecumenical council, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, rejected the monk Nestorius and his teaching, and Nestorius and his followers got kicked out. However…the Nestorians were recognized by the Islamic Caliphate in Persia, and were even allowed to send missionaries to China and India!!! There are archaeological remains of a Nestorian church in China.

The Oriental Orthodox position is that Jesus had only one nature, which was divine. The Oriental Orthodox churches includes the Armenian Church, certain Coptic churches, etc. I wouldn’t mind visiting an Armenian church as their music is quite beautiful. A later pope reached out with words of reconciliation and attended a service commemorating the Armenian genocide by the Turks.

Yes, but “blended” how? That is what the wording debate centers around.

I was told that the council of Chalcedon struck a compromise between one extreme (the monophysite view of Eutyches that the divine nature so overwhelmed the human nature when blended (like a drop of wine in the ocean) and Jesus’s human nature was obliterated versus the Nestorian view that the natures were distinct, sort of like 2 computer hard drives contained within Jesus, but not really communicating with each other.

The orthodox view came to be that both natures persist in Jesus (the human is not obliterated) and that they are in communion with each other “hypostasis”, but Leo’s Tome left it vague as to how exactly the 2 natures interacted… Some Nestorians were satisfied with this formulation but not all…

Nobody knows. It’s just that Jesus has two natures, blended.

There are still Nestorian churches around today, even in the U.S.

I think as many others have that people have two natures too. Since Jesus was born a man (unless I have that wrong too - certainly possible) perhaps his two natures can be understood by way of that along with transcendence.

No, they’re not blended.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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