Monophysites believe that Christ has only one nature. This doctrine was condemned as heresy at the Council of Chalcedon in 471 AD. The proponents of this view hold that the human will and the divine will of Christ were perfectly co-operative, his human will freely and fully subordinated to his divine will. Monothelites hold that Christ has only one will and activity, the divine will and activity.
The point of view of perfect co-operation is supported by Psalm 39:8, which reads:
- To obey your will?
- My God, I have always loved your Law
- From the depths of my being.
Also, we may reason towards the same conclusion from Ephesians 3:19, which speaks of:
- [T]he love of Christ, which is above all knowledge...
together with the ideas that that love makes us will what God wills, and that one mark of friendship is to will and choose the same.
Further, Christ, as united to God, had full understanding. And the Saints in heaven are believed to have gained full understanding, according to 1st Corinthians 13:12:
- Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known.
And they are said to have attained happiness, and this must be by willing only what God wills, for a commonly supported definition of happiness is by Saint Augustine as belonging to one "who has what he wills, and wills nothing amiss" (On the Trinity [400-416 AD], Book 13, ch. 5).
Yet Augustine explains (Answer to Maximinus the Arian [427-428 AD], Book 2, ch. 20): "When Christ says 'Not what I will, but what Thou wilt', He shows Himself to have willed something else than did His Father; and this could only have been by His human heart, since He did not transfigure our weakness into His Divine but into His human will."
The multiple will of Christ's human nature
The question of whether there are two wills and the subsequent question of whether there are two natures in Christ is really unrelated to a different but similar question that nevertheless aids the understanding: did Christ's human nature have two wills that moved Him, especially with regard to His Passion?
- Aquinas, Thomas (1267-1274). "Whether the human will of Christ was altogether conformed to the Divine Will in the thing willed?". Treatise on the Incarnation (Italy), Question 18, Article 5.