The Western Loss of Theophanies, Descent & Recapitulation of Christ

By: Jay Dyer

“Thy mystery of the incarnation of the Word bears the power of all hidden meanings and figures of Scripture as well as the knowledge of visible and intelligible creatures. The one who knows the mystery of the cross and the tomb knows the reason of things. And the one who has been initiated into the ineffable power of the Resurrection knows the purpose for which God originally made all things.” (St. Maximos the Confessor, Chapters on Knowledge, 1.66)

I wrote before how there was a prophetic character to many types.  Their prophetic character is predicated on the reality of the historical persons and events, without which the historic nature of the Incarnation is lost, dissolving Christianity of one its key features that separates it from pagan religions.  The ahistorical nature of paganism, with its cyclical time and supposed escape from creature hood is fundamental to the unique nature of Orthodoxy, where the Lord of history affirms history by entering it.  This is possible because God is the author of history and guides it by His providence: His condescension to enter history is no more impossible than His creation of all things from nothing.   Creation bears within itself the seeds of transfiguration as its telos, showing that even “nature” teaches the “supernatural,” given the logoi of all creation are purposed to be recapitulated in the one Logos.

Typology and its attendant uniquely prophetic manifestation of the Theophanies all witness to this fact of history being recapitulated in Christ.  Recapitulation is central to biblical and Orthodox theology, and in particular in the writings of St. Maximos the Confessor, yet largely became lost in the West due to the prevalence of the Augustinian formulations of grace and the ultimate limiting of the atonement as only fully sufficient for the predestined.  In this theology, recapitulation is impossible because Christ’s death is no longer cosmic in scope: He only ultimately died to effect the salvation of a few, with this world being consigned to some mythical quasi-gnostic conflagration leaving the blessed few to relish in eternity in a “Beatific Vision” of the Divine Essence (with no place for a resurrected body, due precisely to the gnostic nature of this error).

Of course, for Orthodoxy and the fathers of the first millennia’s councils this is heresy.  The resurrection of man is universal, and includes all men solely on the basis of Christ assuming universal human nature.  Individual persons are thus required to make use of their natural wills to participate in theosis or remain in the fallen state of death.  In the Orthodox and patristic tradition, the universality of this message is also proven in the (lost in the West) doctrine of the descent and harrowing of Hades.   We do not know the precise function of time in the afterlife, but there is every reason to believe the Gospel is preached to all dead.  In Orthodoxy there is no canard of “What happens to people who never hear the Gospel?” Which, in most classical Western theology, consigns them all to hellfire.  When Christ triumphed over death, He triumphed over all death which spread as a corruption through our nature, but not merely our nature, all of created reality.   St. Maximos writes:

“He was invisible and became visible; incomprehensible and made comprehensible; impassible and made passible; the Word, and made man; consummating all things in himself. That, as in things above the heavens and in the spiritual and invisible world the Word of God is supreme, so in the visible and physical realm he may have pre-eminence, taking to himself the primacy and appointment himself the head of the Church, that he may ‘draw all things to himself’ (St. John 12:32) in due time.”

Concerning the Descent and Harrowing of Hades we must also understand this in the context of the recapitulation and universality of Christ’s redemption.  The assumption of human nature and raising it from the dead not only effects a resurrection, but also relates to the world of the dead, giving Christ the keys of death and Hades, allowing Him to “preach the Gospel to the dead.” Hilarion writes:

“The teaching on the descent of Christ into Hades was expounded quite fully by Clement of Alexandria in his ‘Stromateis.’ He argued that Christ preached in hell not only to the Old Testament righteous, but also to the Gentiles who lived outside the true faith. Commenting on 1 Pet. 3:18-21, Clement expresses the conviction that the preaching of Christ was addressed to all those in hell who were able to believe in Christ:

Do not  [the Scriptures] show that the Lord preached the Gospel to those that perished in the flood, or rather had been chained, and to those kept ‘in ward and guard’?… And, as I think, the Savior also exerts His might because it is His work to save; which accordingly He also did by drawing to salvation those who became willing, by the preaching [of the Gospel], to believe on Him, wherever they were. If, then, the Lord descended to Hades for no other end but to preach the Gospel, as He did descend, it was either to preach the Gospel to all or to the Hebrews only. If, accordingly, to all, then all who believe shall be saved, although they may be of the Gentiles, on making their profession there…”

And,

Harrowing of Hades.

“The doctrine of the descent of Christ into Hades occupies an essential place in the works of Cyril of Alexandria. In his ‘Paschal Homilies’, he repeatedly mentions that as a consequence of the descent of Christ into Hades, the devil was left all alone, while hell was devastated: ‘For having destroyed hell and opened the impassable gates for the departed spirits, He left the devil there abandoned and lonely.’

In his ‘Festive Letters’, Cyril of Alexandria elaborates on the theme of the preaching of Christ in Hades, popular in the Alexandrian tradition since Clement. He views the preaching of Christ in hell as the accomplishment of the ‘history of salvation’, which began with the Incarnation:

‘…He showed the way to salvation not only to us, but also to the spirits in hell; having descended, He preached to those once disobedient, as Peter says. For it did not befit for love of man to be partial, but the manifestation of [this] gift should have been extended to all nature… Having preached to the spirits in hell and having said ‘go forth’ to the prisoners, and ‘show yourselves’ to those in prison on the third day, He resurrected His temple and again opens up to our nature the ascent to heaven, bringing Himself to the Father as the beginning of humanity, pledging to those on earth the grace of communion of the Spirit.’

‘Death unwilling to be defeated is defeated; corruption is transformed; unconquerable passion is destroyed. While hell, diseased with excessive insatiability and never satisfied with the dead, is taught, even if against its will, that which it could not learn previously. For it not only ceases to claim those who are still to fall [in the future], but also lets free those already captured, being subjected to splendid devastation by the power of our Savior… Having preached to the spirits in hell, once disobedient, He came out as conqueror by resurrecting His temple like a beginning of our hope and by showing to [our] nature the manner of the raising from the dead, and giving us along with it other blessings as well.”

St. Maximos comments on the notion in Ad Thalasium 7:

“Some say that Scriptures call ‘dead’ those who died before the coming of Christ, for instance, those who were at the time of the flood, at Babel, in Sodom, in Egypt, as well as others who in various times and in various ways received various punishments and the terrible misfortune of divine damnation. These people were punished not so much for their ignorance of God as for the offenses they imposed on one another. It was to them, according to [St Peter] that the great message of salvation was preached when they were already damned as men in the flesh, that is, when they received, through life in the flesh, punishment for crimes against one another, so that they could live according to God by the spirit, that is, being in hell, they accepted the preaching of the knowledge of God, believing in the Savior who descended into hell to save the dead. So, in order to understand [this] passage in [Holy Scriptures] let us take it in this way: the dead, damned in the human flesh, were preached to precisely for the purpose that they may live according to God by the spirit.”

Hilarion continues, citing St. John of Damascus’ Exposition of the Orthodox Faith:

“In John Damascene we find lines which sum up the development of the theme of the descent of Christ into Hades in Eastern patristic writings of the 2nd-8th centuries:

The soul [of Christ] when it is deified descended into Hades, in order that, just as the Sun of Righteousness rose for those upon the earth, so likewise He might bring light to those who sit under the earth in darkness and the shadow of death: in order that just as he brought the message of peace to those upon the earth, and of release to the prisoners, and of sight to the blind, and became to those who believed the Author of everlasting salvation and to those who did not believe, a denunciation of their unbelief, so He might become the same to those in Hades: That every knee should bow to Him, of things in heaven, and things in earth and things under the earth. And thus after He had freed those who has been bound for ages, straightway He rose again from the dead, showing us the way of resurrection.”

According to John Damascene, Christ preached to all those who were in hell, but His preaching did not prove salutary for all, as not all were capable of responding to it. For some it could become only ‘a denunciation of their disbelief’, not the cause of salvation. In this judgement, Damascene actually repeats the teaching on salvation articulated not long before him by Maximus the Confessor. According to Maximus, human history will be accomplished when all without exception will unite with God and God will become ‘all in all’. For some, however, this unity will mean eternal bliss, while for others it will become the source of suffering and torment, as each will be united with God ‘according to the quality of his disposition’ towards God. In other words, all will be united with God, but each will have his own, subjective, feeling of this unity, according to the measure of the closeness to God he has achieved. Along a similar line, John Damascene understands also the teaching on the descent to Hades: Christ opens the way to paradise to all and calls all to salvation, but the response to Christ’s call may lie in either consent to follow Him or voluntary rejection of salvation. Ultimately it depends on a person, on his free choice. God does not save anybody by force, but calls everybody to salvation: ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him’. God knocks at the door of the human heart rather than breaks into it.”

As a side note, this doctrine of recapitulation explicitly refutes the heresy of “Theistic Evolutionists” who claim the death that entered the “physical” world of plants and animals is “natural,” while the death that Adam and Eve experienced was either physical or both physical and spiritual.  Romans 8 not only refutes this, but explicitly demonstrates the universality of the recapitulation in Christ of all the logoi of creation, all of which will be gathered together into one Logos as they were intended to be.  Without these Orthodox doctrines it is impossible to avoid heresies, especially the Pelagian heresy that “death is natural” or that the Fall of man only affected his physical being, and not also the loss of spiritual communion with God (the Fathers explain the loss of “likeness” as the loss of communion with God).

Man was situated as the steward of all creation, a prophet, priest and king under God, with his Fall releasing tremendous ontological changes in created reality.  Death, all death, enters at this point into the universe of human affairs (it had already entered in the prior fall among the angels, hence the temptation).  As a result, to be consistent, Theistic Evolution must deny the recapitulation and relegate Christ’s work to some spiritual realm or only to the physicality of human nature – if death is natural in the world, presumably it will continue in the natural world, thus denying Romans 8:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”

Commenting on this notion in relation to typology, Dr. Farrell wrote in Free Choice in Maximos the Confessor:

Saint Abraham

“Here not only is Christ’s recapitulation taken to refer to His preeminence in deity and humanity, but, since His divine nature is spiritual and invisible, it also includes “the spiritual and invisible world”, the world of the angels and also of man’s soul and mind. And by the same token, for St. Irenaeus the fact that Christ’s humanity is physical and part of the physical creation, all of “the physical realm” is also effected by His Incarnation. Thus, the “one Christ Jesus our Lord” came “in fulfillment of God’s comprehensive design and consummates all things in himself.” In other terms, as the Word Himself in conjunction with His everlasting Father created “all things visible and invisible”, so His Incarnation effects all things visible and invisible.

The double entendre of the word ‘effects’ is intentional, for Christ’s Incarnate Economy affects all invisible and visible things both in the sense of accomplishing and even causing them to be, as well as in the sense of influencing them. The Recapitulation consequently effects the very design of time and history itself, since it pertains to “the mystery which hath been hid from the generations” of the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Recapitulation is the christological basis, then, of a proper understanding of the history of creation and of humanity from its inception to its consummation:

He was incarnate and made Man; and then he summed up in himself the long line of the human race, procuring for us a comprehensive salvation, that we might recover in Christ what in Adam we lost, namely, the state of being in the image and likeness of God.

This constitutes the allegorical or typological basis on which Irenaeus and other Fathers read the Old Testament. On the basis of the Pauline precedent of the parallelism between them: Adam is fashioned of virgin untilled earth, Christ is born of the Virgin Mary. As the Fall occurred through a (fallen) angel, and the disobedience of Eve and Adam, so the restoration is effected not only by a repetition of these elements in the Annunciation by an angel, but by a reversal of disobedience by the obedience of Christ the Second Adam and Mary the Second Eve.”

The Eastern conception of the eschaton is radical in its scope and claim.  Not only does Christ undo the universal effects of Adam’s transgression, He raises created reality to a new level of being – a transfiguration for the entire cosmos.  This is contrasted starkly with western theologies, which do not even have a coherent view of why, and on what basis exactly, unbelievers are bodily resurrected.  Since western theology claims unbelievers share no part in Christ and since the dominance of the Augustinian soteriological limitations of the efficacy of the Atonement only for the predestined, the basis for the bodily resurrection of unbelievers is arbitrary and ad hoc.  The solution lies in the fact that western theology’s denial of Christ’s assumption of universal human nature is itself based on the confusion of nature and person, in both God and man.  Rather, Christ is the universal man, as Georgios Mantzaridis writes, echoing St. Maximos:

“In the ancient Greek world man was described as a microcosm. In Christianity, however, he was accorded a much higher status. Man was viewed as ‘the great world in the small’. This human majesty is revealed in Christ, just as the truth and majesty of the individual are revealed in Christ.

In the person of Christ the whole of creation is recapitulated and renewed. As the new Adam, Christ assumed the ‘Adam of all generations’ (the whole of mankind). Yet He did not confine Himself to this: out of infinite love, He suffered for man, sacrificed Himself for him, and led him through death into life. He did not avoid death but defeated it through His divinity so that man could partake of His Resurrection.

In this way Christ passed through all the stages of human existence. He lived, died and descended into Hell to meet all of Adam’s descendants. And the Resurrection of Christ was not merely an individual event but the resurrection of human nature as a whole. As is well known, in Orthodox tradition the Resurrection of Christ is depicted by the image of the Harrowing of Hell and His raising of Adam and Eve. And the inscription on this icon is not ‘The Resurrection of Christ’ but simply ‘The Resurrection’, in other words, the resurrection of all men.”

The collapsing of hypostasis into ousia, and the collapsing of energy or act into ousia, necessarily effects anthropology, as man’s “sin” becomes an aspect of his being, with his whole human nature trapped and tainted, in both Calvinism and Augustinianism.  Since Christ died ultimately to atone for the predestined, the effects of atonement can only be achieved by the grace of Christ overcoming the inherently rebellious will and energy of man.  Since this is the sum total of Christ’s redemptive work, it’s both impossible and inconceivable in Augustinian or later western theology to find any place for a cosmic scope of redemption, of any any need for “preaching the Gospel in Hades,” or the recapitulation of all logoi in the one Logos.  This is precisely why St John of Damascus said the root of all heresies is the confusion of nature and person.

Patriarch Joseph.

With these facts in mind, we can come to understand the crucial importance of the radically different nature of Eastern eschatology as a result of a different Christology and anthropology.  The recapitulation is a logical outcome of Orthodox Christology, which extends the effects of Christ’s redemption cosmically.   Heretical Christologies thus inevitably limit or negate the scope of Christ as Pantokrator, generally due to misunderstandings about the meaning of Christ assuming universal human nature.  However, Christ assuming and raising this nature from death is the only basis for bodily resurrection – including the resurrection of the wicked.  With this in mind, the statement of St. Irenaeus on recapitulation is all the more powerful.  In Against Heresies, he explains:

“As it has been clearly demonstrated that the Word, who existed in the beginning with God, by whom all things were made, who was also always present with mankind, was in these last days, according to the time appointed by the Father, united to His own workmanship, inasmuch as He became a man liable to suffering, [it follows] that every objection is set aside of those who say, “If our Lord was born at that time, Christ had therefore no previous existence.” For I have shown that the Son of God did not then begin to exist, being with the Father from the beginning; but when He became incarnate, and was made man, He commenced afresh the long line of human beings, and furnished us, in a brief, comprehensive manner, with salvation; so that what we had lost in Adam—namely, to be according to the image and likeness of God—that we might recover in Christ Jesus.” 3.18.1

And,

“He has therefore, in His work of recapitulation, summed up all things, both waging war against our enemy, and crushing him who had at the beginning led us away captives in Adam, and trampled upon his head, as thou canst perceive in Genesis that God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; He shall be on the watch for thy head, and thou on the watch for His heel.” For from that time, He who should be born of a woman, [namely] from the Virgin, after the likeness of Adam, was preached as keeping watch for the head of the serpent. This is the seed of which the apostle says in the Epistle to the Galatians, “that the law of works was established until the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” This fact is exhibited in a still clearer light in the same Epistle, where he thus speaks: “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman.” For indeed the enemy would not have been fairly vanquished, unless it had been a man [born] of a woman who conquered him. For it was by means of a woman that he got the advantage over man at first, setting himself up as man’s opponent. And therefore does the Lord profess Himself to be the Son of man, comprising in Himself that original man out of whom the woman was fashioned (ex quo ea quae secundum mulierem est plasmatio facta est), in order that, as our species went down to death through a vanquished man, so we may ascend to life again through a victorious one; and as through a man death received the palm [of victory] against us, so again by a man we may receive the palm against death.” 5.21.1

The doctrine of recapitulation is thus directly connected to the many logoi being restored to their proper place in the Logos.  Note as well St. Irenaeus stresses this point to demonstrate the entire period of the Law and Prophets was all concerned with Christ’s coming – typology was based on the historicity of the texts and even the meanings of the types and prophecies are summed up in Him.   Liberal Protestantism and modern Roman Catholicism, following various pop trends has largely denied the historicity of the Law and Prophets and, as a result, they obviously no longer have any miraculous prophetic force.

Classical Protestantism, with its unquestioned acceptance of Augustinian limitations of the effects of the Atonement and heretical denial of a natural human will and energy also lead to errors on this topic, but with different results (such as the blasphemous heresy that One Person of the Trinity “damns” Another).  Not only that, another powerful demonstration of the truth of Orthodoxy in contrast to classical Latin theology revolves around the confusion (beginning with Augustine’s confusion and speculation in On the Trinity) of how possible, and what exactly the Theophanies in the Law and Prophets were.

For Augustine, due to his doctrine of divine simplicity, it seemed impossible that God, an absolutely simple invisible essence, could manifest in visible form within time and space.  God is His own essence, as the argument goes, yet clearly many Patriarchs and prophets were said to interact with “The Angel of the Lord.”  For Augustine, the only possible answer was the speculation these manifestations were created, angelic forms that appeared for a time and were discarded.   When I first encountered this objection, I failed to understand why this was a big deal – who cares whether we speculate over these angelic forms as created or uncreated?   Of course, when one does become grounded in Orthodox Christology, it becomes evident how important these manifestations of the Logos – God Himself, were.

Moses the Prophet.

Scripture says both that Man has seen God face to face, and that no man can see God and live.  Rather than being a contradiction, the mystery of the Theophanies of Christ are explained by the Eastern doctrine of the distinction between the divine essence and the uncreated energies.  When Moses ascended Sinai, we are told he “saw God,” and the text explains Moses saw God’s “goodness.”  In other words, Moses did not and could never “see” the divine ousia, but rather was given a vision of the divine goodness, one of God’s many operations or energies.  This small glimpse of divine goodness was enough to visibly alter Moses’ very appearance as St. Paul explained.  This seeing of God face to face would become the norm for the Messianic period we now inhabit, while the denial of the possibility of the Theophanies of Christ (which the West appears to have largely adopted) remains the same error of the Jews:

12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3)

Moses saw Christ, as did the many other Patriarchs who interacted with the “Angel of the Lord,” yet we can see how both textual liberalism and the philosophical presupposition of absolute divine simplicity begins to remove the possibility of Christ appearing to the Old Testament Saints.  As a result, the history of “religion” becomes a long train of evolutionary stages, supposedly developing from primitive animism to polytheism to monotheism, etc.  Christianity is emphatic the opposite is true: The Original religion has always been Christianity, even in the Jewish period, where the church of that period looked forward to the coming Messiah.  The original Tradition was nascent Christianity, as Genesis 3:15 prophesied the coming of Christ:

“And I will put enmity

Between you and the woman,

And between your seed and her Seed;

He shall bruise your head,

And you shall bruise His heel.”

There was not an evolution into a new religion, but rather there is one single covenant where Moses and Abraham and St. Paul are revered as saints and portrayed in icons – because they all share the same God, Jesus Christ.  One need only look to modern Rome’s apostasy at Vatican II and the ecumenical “parliament of religions” heresy that posits many “paths” to God as evidence of how far the world’s largest so-called Christian body has fallen from biblical theology.   The same can be said of most Protestantism as well, and what we want to highlight here is the loss of faith in the veracity of the texts as well as the unbelief that mimics the error St. Paul was rebuking in 2 Cor. 3 that it seems impossible Jesus could have appeared to the patriarchs.

Apostasy.

Scripture often rebukes the worship of angels, so it becomes clear the numerous Theophanies encountered by the Patriarchs were not mere created angelic beings.   The Theophanies also show a distinction in the Godhead, though this was not as clear to the patriarchs as to us.   A distinction is shown in the fact that the Person spoken of as the “Angel” or “messenger” is clearly distinct from the Father.  We read in Genesis 12:7: Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.”  The text stresses that God “appeared,” in some form or in some manner that Abraham “saw.”  In 15:1, the text states the “Word of the Lord came to Abraham in a vision,” and in 18:1 “God appears” to Abraham at the oak of Mamre and engages in a covenantal meal.

One can begin to see, on the presuppositions of absolute divine simplicity and the identification of God and His actions with His own unknowable essence, how impossible and problematic these texts begin to become.  Ironically, this is also the section where we are told “Is anything impossible with God?” (vs. 14)  Indeed, the assumptions of all western theologymake these Theophanies impossible – yet Abraham worshipped and called this Messenger God (Genesis 18), as well as in Chpt. 19 when the Lord seeks to destroy Sodom.  Similarly, in Genesis 21 the “Angel of the Lord” is identified as “God” calling from heaven to Hagar, while in Genesis 22 the testing of Abraham’s faith with Isaac leads to Abraham naming the location “The-Lord-Has-Appeared: as it is said to this day, ‘in the mountain God was seen.’” (22:14) The Angel of the Lord is the Son of God, the Logos of the Father.

Genesis follows with many more examples of Theophanic appearances but Genesis 32 is of particular relevance due to Jacob seeing not only the Lord, but also angelic hosts and the amazing statement when renamed Israel, that he “saw the Form of God.”   God has no form, yet here Jacob wrestled God.  The solution to the apparent contradiction is that Jacob did not interact with a mere created angelic form, nor with an impassible, unchangeable, unknowable divine essence, but with a truly distinct Hypostasis, the Son of God in His pre-incarnate state.   The importance of these facts cannot be overlooked, as they demonstrate the entire biblical message, the totality of redemptive history, is a revelation of the Person and work of Christ.  All of these historical events in Genesis are not relating to magic or superstitious Talmudic principles of angel invocations, but to the Son of God Himself and His fulfillment of all types and prophecies.  In fact, Theophanies are all prophetic in nature, as they look forward to the Incarnation of the Son of God within history as a fulfillment of all these historical texts – as Jesus Himself said, the “Scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35)

Prophet Isaiah.

Theophanies are possible because of the power of God – is anything impossible for God?  They are explained by the truths of Orthodox theology which affirm no man can or ever will see the divine essence, as even the Seraphim hide their faces (Is. 6).  However, we are told many times in Scripture we will see God “face to face,” in the same manner as the patriarchs and prophets “saw God” – and even to a greater degree.  This is possible because God acts within time and space according to His uncreated energies, and not as an Actus PurusMonad.  There was no evolution from a primitive Old Testament polytheism – to – Monotheism because the True Tradition was the Tradition of Christ, as promised in Genesis.   That means it was not angelic forms the Patriarchs worshipped, but the Son, as Hebrews 1 stresses (note the author of Hebrews mandates the historicity of the Mosaic and prophetic texts):

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”

The texts are all summed up in Christ precisely because Christ recapitulates all future history, summing up all meanings, all logoi, in Himself.  The scope of Christ’s redemption extends back to the Patriarchs and prophets because He is the Angel of the Lord Who appeared to them.  He is the author of the texts through inspiration because He is the meaning of all reality, period – all things were made though Him, for Him and by Him (Col. 1:20).  Even Hades was not immune to Christ Who destroyed and despoiled Hades and the power of death through His descent and preaching of the Gospel to even the dead.   The truly sad fact in all this is what all the West, in its theological errors, has lost.  The western loss of all these dogmas not only produces a mangled, deformed Jesus and deficient Gospel, but ultimately a jumbled mass of so many contradictions and incoherencies it’s no wonder it has become a giant atheism factory.

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One thought on “The Western Loss of Theophanies, Descent & Recapitulation of Christ

  1. “The truly sad fact in all this is what all the West, in its theological errors, has lost. The western loss of all these dogmas not only produces a mangled, deformed Jesus and deficient Gospel, but ultimately a jumbled mass of so many contradictions and incoherencies, it’s no wonder it has become a giant atheism factory.”
    ……….couldn’t have said it better!!

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