In polemic against monarchianism and against certain materialistic conclusions of Asiatic Christology, Arius ca. 320 stressed the subordinationist tradition of the Logos-theology to the point of making the Logos a God distinctly inferior to the Father, extraneous to his nature and created by him for the sake of the subsequent creation of the world. Malaysia Metro Map To uphold this doctrine, Arius also relied on the results of the Logossarx Christology; indeed, the absence of a human soul in Christ allowed him to attribute tout court to the Logos the human passions that the gospels attest in Christ anguish, fear etc. and therefore to consider his divine nature as being of lower rank than that of the Father, the one supreme God. Among his opponents, only Eustathius of Antioch, heir to the Asiatic Christology, criticized his Logos sarx model, affirming the presence of a human soul in Christ: in fact those anti-Arians who were formed at Alexandria Alexander, Athanasius shared Arius’s christological approach, even if only implicitly.
Athanasius never formally denied the presence of a human soul in Christ, but he could not assign any function to it, and he attributed all of Christ’s human characteristics to the body, to sarx, alone. The Arian controversy gradually moved away from its initial christological dimension to a more broadly trinitarian one, so that its outcome one divine substance articulated in three hypostases of equal eminence and dignity does not directly concern us here.
Weneed only say that, to contest Arian statements about the passibility of the Logos’s divine nature, their opponents tended to distinguish clearly, in Christ’s actions, between what belonged to the weakness of his humanity and what was derived from the power of the Logos. Especially in the area influenced by Antioch, where the integrity of the man assumed by the Logos was traditionally affirmed, the distinction, anti-Arian in function, between Christ’s divine and human components was particularly stressed Diodore of Tarsus, with the risk of distinguishing in him two subjects, the man and the Logos, and therefore two Christs.
This danger was noticed especially by Apollinaris of Laodicea last decades of the 4th c., who realized its implications for soteriology: by distinguishing too clearly between the man Jesus and the Logos, we exclude the latter from the death on the cross, i.e., from the supreme redemptive act, whereas Athanasius had maintained against the Arians that only God could redeem humanity from Adam’s sin.
To obviate the risks inherent in this divisive Christology, Apollinaris went back to and developed the Logossarx type of Christology: the Logos, by assuming a humanity without soul or, more precisely, without nous, the soul’s rational faculty and using it as an inert instrument organon, achieved a single nature in the union, i.e., a single principle of willing and acting: the nature of the incarnate God-Logos is one. In this way the divine Logos was intimately united to the human body in its passion and death, though per se incapable of suffering and death. Apollinaris preached Christ’s unity to the detriment of his assumed humanity, and the criticisms of his opponents Epiphanius, Diodore, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa focused on this point. They objected, on the basis of the axiom Christ assumed all that he redeemed, that to redeem the complete person, body and soul, from sin, Christ must have assumed a humanity complete in soul and body; and to the one nature which Apollinaris derived from the union, they opposed the distinction of two natures, united but not confused.