Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/556

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MONOTHELITISM


502


MONOTHELITISM


among peoples of inferior culture 1o-(iay. It is onlj' since niodern science hiis brouKlit iiH I licse phenomena within the reign of physical law thai the tendency to view them as manifestations of distinct personalities hius been thoroughly dispelled. Now such a ])erson- alizing of nature's forces is compatible with Monothe- ism so long as these difTerent intelligcncics fancied to produce the phenomena are viewed as ( lod's creatures, and hence not worthy of Divine worship. But where the light of revelation hsis been obscured in whole or in part, the tendency to deify these personal- ities associated with natural phenomena has asserted itself.

In this way polytheistic nature-worship seems to have arisen. It arose from the mistaken ajiplication of a sound principle, which man everywhere s(vms nat- urally to possess, namely, that the great operations of nature are due to the agency of mind and will. Pro- fessor Cieorge Fisher ob.serves: "The ])olytheistic re- ligions did not err in identifying the manifold activities of nature with voluntary agency. The si)ontaneous feelings of mankind in this particular are not belied by the principles of jjhilo.sophy. The error of polytheism lies in the splintering of that will which is immanent in all the operations of nat ure into a plurality of personal agents, a throng of divinities, each active and domi- nant within a province of its own" ("Grounds of Christian and Theistic Belief", 1903, p. 29). Pol.y- theistic nature-worship is to be found among practi- cally all peoples who have lacked the guiding star of Divine revelation. Such history of these individual religions as we possess offers little evidence of an up- ward development towards Monotheism: on the con- trary, in almost every instance of known historic devel- opment, the tendency has been to degenerate further and further from the monotheistic idea. There is, in- deed, scarcely a Polytheistic religion in which one of the many deities recognized is not held in honour as the father and lord of the rest. That this is the result of an upward development, as non-Catholic scholars very generally assert, is speculatively possible. But that it may as well be the outcome of a downward de- velopment from a primitive monotheistic belief can- not be denied. The latter view seems to have the weight of positive evidence in its favour. The ancient Chinese religion, as depicted in the oldest records, was remarkably close to pure Monotheism. The gro.ss Polytheistic nature-worship of the Egyptians of later times was decidedly a degeneration from the ear- lier quasi-Monotheistic belief. In the Vedic religion a strong Monotheistic tendency asserted itself, only to weaken later on and change into Pantheism. The one hapjjy exception is the upward development which the ancient Aryan Polytheism took in the land of the Iranians. Through the wise reform of Zoroaster, the various gods of nature were subordinated to the su- preme, omniscient spirit, Ormuzd, and were accorded an inferior worship as his creatures. Ormuzd was honoured as the creator of all that is good, the revealer and guardian of the laws of religious and moral con- duct, and the sanctifier of the faithful. The sense of sin was strongly develojjed, and a standard of morality was set forth that justly excites admiration. Heaven and hell, the final renovation of the world, including the bodily resurrection, were elements in Zoroastrian eschatology. A nobler religion outside the sijhere of revealed religion is not to be found. Yet even t his re- ligion is rarely classed by scholars among monotheis- tic religions, owing to the polytheistic' colouring of its worship of the subordinate nature-spirits, and also to its retention of the ancient Aryan rite of fire-worship, justified by Zoroastrians of modern times as a form of symbolic worship of Ormuzd.

The so-called survivals in higher religions, such as belief in food-eating ghosts, pain-causing spirits, witchcraft, the use of amulets and fetishes, are often cited as evidence that even such forms of Monotheism


as .ludaism and Christianity are but outgrowths of lower religions. The presence of the greater part of these superstitious beliefs and customs in the more ignorant sections of Cliristian peoples is easily ex- plained as the survival of tenacious customs that flourished among the ancestors of European peoples long before their conversion to Christianity. Again, many of these beliefs and customs are such as might easily ari.se from faulty iii1er|)retati<)ns of nature, un- avoidable in imscientilic grades of culture, even where the monotheistic idea prevailed. .Superstitions like these are but the rank weeds and vines growing around the tree of religion.

Krieq, Der Monolheismuft d, Offenbarung u. das Hcidentum (Mainz, 1880); Boedder. Natural Theology (New York. 1891); VmacoiA., ChriMian Philosoph]/. God (New York, 1900); Hont- HEiM, InslUuliones Theodica:a: (Freiburg, 1893); Lilly, The Great Enigma (2nd ed., London, 1893); Rickaby, Of Cod and His Creatures (St. Louis, 1898) ; Michelet, Dieu et Vagnosticisme con- temporain (Paris, 1909); de la Paquerie, Elements d' apologHique (Paris, 1898) ; Garrigoc-Lagrange in Dictionnaire apologHique de lu foi calholique (Paris, 1910), s. v. Dieu; FiBHER, The Crminds of Theistic and Christian Belief (New York, 1897); Cairo. The Evolution of Religion (2 vols,, Glasgow, 1899); GwaTKIN, The Knowledge of God and its Historic Development (Edinburgti, 1906); Flint, Theism (New York, 1896); Idem, Anti-Theistic Theories (New York, 1894) ; Iverach, Theism in the Light of Presejit Science and Philosophy (New York, 1899); Orr, The Christian View of God and the World (New York, 1907); Rashdall. Philosophy and Religion (New Yorlt, 1910) ; ScHtJBMANN, Belief in God, its Origin, Nature, and Basis (New York. 1890).

Charles F. .\iken.

Monothelitism and Monothelites (sometimes written Monotheletes, from lUoroSeX^rai, but the v is more naturally transliterated into late Latin by i), a heresy of the seventh century, condemned in the Sixth General Council. It was essentially a modifi- cation of Monophysitism, propagated within the Catholic Church in order to conciliate the Monojjhy- sites, in hopes of reunion.

The Theological Question. — The Monophysites were habitually represented by their Catholic oppo- nents as denying all reality to the human nature of Christ after the union. This was perhaps a logical deduction from some of their language, but it was far from being the real teaching of their chief doctors.

Yet at least it is certain that they made the unity of Christ (on w'hich they insisted against real and sup- posed Nestorianizers) imjjly only one principle of in- tention and will, and only one kind of jictivity or operation {ip^pyaa). Personality seemed to them to be manifested in will and action; and they thought a single personality must involve a single will and a single category of action. The Person of Christ, being divino-human, must therefore involve one di- vino-human will and one divino-human activity (see Eutychianism; Monophv.sites and Monophysit- ism).

A. The two Wills. — The Catholic doctrine is simple, at all events in its main lines. The faculty of willing is an integral part of human nature: therefore, our Lord had a human will, since He took a perfect human nature. His Divine will on the other hand is numer- ically one with that of the Father and the Holy Ghost. It is therefore necessary to acknowledge two wills in Christ.

But if the word will is taken to mean not the faculty but the decision taken by the will (the will willed, not the will willing), then it is true that the two wills always acted in harmony: there were two wills willing and two acts, but one object, one will willed; in the plirase of St. Maximus, there were 56o OeXi/iiMTa though m'o yoin-q. The word will is also used to mean not a decision of the will, but a mere velleity or wish, twlutilas ut nalura (fttX^o-is) as opposed to iioliinlas ut ratio Ooi/Xtjo-is). These are but two movements of the same faculty; both exist in Christ without any imperfection, and the natural movement of His human will is perfectly subject to its rational or free movement. Lastly, the sensitive appetite is also