Sarabi Dog of Alexander: Mystery and Fact

What is the connection between Alexander, the Persian Mastiff (Sarabi dog), and the Turkish Kangal? Where did the dog come from? Which breed was Alexander’s dog?

This article explores this mystery in depth.


The Sarabi dog is featured in the novel TRUNK OF SCROLLS: A FAMILY ADVENTURE. Those who love either the Persian Mastiff or the Turkish Kangal will appreciate the key role this dog plays in the story. (Get your copy today to find out!)


PERITAS

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-5iIoEcICBPU/Tefbd67F6ZI/AAAAAAAAATU/qLJ9s-EqBb0/s1600/Alexander%2Bsarcophagus%2Bdog%2Bdetail.jpgPeritas was a much-loved dog of Alexander the Great (356 BC-321 BC).  Apparently there were two dogs of Alexander named Peritas. One he raised himself Plutarch writes, “he also, we are told, built another city, and called it after the name of a favorite dog, Peritas, which he had brought up himself.”  This dog might have been a greyhound type.

But another breed seems to…read more

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Amazing Ancient Technology! Making of a Silver Bowl in the Roman Era

In Trunk of Scrolls, the family of Gaius Justus owns an exquisite silver relief fruit bowl. Watch the process the Romans used to make this type of bowl.

Amazing technology! While the “cup” in this video was made a century or so earlier than the Late Roman/Early Byzantine time of Justinian, the process used in making the Antioch fruit bowl (and the 6th century Antioch Chalice, which some think was the Holy Grail!) would have been very similar.

Now, for more time travel, take a look at the Getty Museum’s Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Collection from Berthouville artifacts!

COMMENTS: What was your favorite part of the process? Any favorite pieces from the Getty Museum?

Locked Away or In the World?– St Basil on the Monastic Life

In TRUNK OF SCROLLS we learn of the holy family of St. Emmelia and St. Basil the elder. One of their sons, St Basil of Cappadocia, is considered one of the Cappadocian fathers. He had a close relationship with Gregory of Nazianzus, and in one letter wrote about his view of Monastic Life. This is now referred to as the Rule of St. Basil the Great.

By the time of Justinian, the holiness attributed to monastic life trumped any other kind of holy life. And yet the character of individual monks was not always exemplary. In the first book of the TRUNK OF SCROLLS Trilogy, Marcellus struggles with this idea. He asks:

…why is it either one or the other? Why can I not consecrate my life as a man and not as a monk?”

St. Basil*s view on Monastic Life:

Cave Churches of Cappadocia (Goreme)

1. [I recognised your letter, as one recognises one’s friends’ children from their obvious likeness to their parents. Your saying that to describe the kind of place I live in, before letting you hear anything about how I live, would not go far towards persuading you to share my life, was just like you; it was worthy of a soul like yours, which makes nothing of all that concerns this life here, in comparison with the blessedness which is promised us hereafter. What I do myself, day and night, in this remote spot, I am ashamed to write. I have abandoned my life in town, as one sure to lead to countless ills; but I have not yet been able to get quit of myself. I am like travellers at sea, who have never gone a voyage before, and are distressed and seasick, who quarrel with the ship because it is so big and makes such a tossing, and, when they get out of it into the pinnace or dingey, are everywhere and always seasick and distressed. Whereverthey go their nausea and misery go with them. My state is something like this. I carry my own troubles with me, and so everywhere I am in the midst of similar discomforts. So in the end I have not got much good out of my solitude. What I ought to have done; what would have enabled me to keep close to the footprints of Him who has led the way to salvation— for He says, If any one will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me Matthew 16:24 — is this.]

Baptismal in Goreme
2. We must strive after a quiet mind. As well might the eye ascertain an object put before it while it is wandering restless up and down and sideways, without fixing a steady gaze upon it, as a mind, distracted by a thousand worldly cares, be able clearly to apprehend the truth. He who is not yet yoked in the bonds of matrimony is harassed by frenzied cravings, and rebellious impulses, and hopeless attachments; he who has found his mate is encompassed with his own tumult of cares; if he is childless, there is desire for children; has he children? Anxiety about their education, attention to his wife, care of his house, oversight of his servants, misfortunes in trade, quarrels with his neighbours, lawsuits, the risks of the merchant, the toil of the farmer. Each day, as it comes, darkens the soul in its own way; and night after night takes up the day’s anxieties, and cheats the mind with illusions in accordance. Now one way of escaping all this is separation from the whole world; that is, not bodily separation, but the severance of the soul’s sympathy with the body, and to live so without city, home, goods, society, possessions, means of life, business, engagements, human learning, that the heart may readily receive every

Now solitude is of the greatest use for this purpose, inasmuch as it stills our passions, and gives room for principle to cut them out of the soul. [For just as animals are more easily controlled when they are stroked, lust and anger, fear and sorrow, the soul’s deadly foes, are better brought under the control of reason, after being calmed by inaction, and where there is no continuous stimulation.]

Let there then be such a place as ours, separate from intercourse with men, that the tenour of our exercises be not interrupted from without. Pious exercises nourish the soul with divine thoughts. What state can be more blessed than to imitate on earth the choruses of angels? To begin the day with prayer, and honour our Maker with hymns and songs? As the day brightens, to betake ourselves, with prayer attending on it throughout, to our labours, and to sweeten our work with hymns, as if with salt? Soothing hymns compose the mind to a cheerful and calm state.

Quiet, then, as I have said, is the first step in our sanctification; the tongue purified from the gossip of the world; the eyes unexcited by fair colour or comely shape; the ear not relaxing the tone or mind by voluptuous songs, nor by that special mischief, the talk of light men and jesters.

Thus the mind, saved from dissipation from without, and not through the senses thrown upon the world, falls back upon itself, and thereby ascends to the contemplation of God. [When that beauty shines about it, it even forgets its very nature; it is dragged down no more by thought of food nor anxiety concerning dress; it keeps holiday from earthly cares, and devotes all its energies to the acquisition of the good things which are eternal, and asks only how may be made to flourish in it self-control and manly courage, righteousness and wisdom, and all the other virtues, which, distributed under these heads, properly enable the good man to discharge all the duties of life.]

Carved Pillars underground in Cappadocia

3–The study of inspired Scripture is the chief way of finding our duty, for in it we find both instruction about conduct and the lives of blessed men, delivered in writing, as some breathing images of godly living, for the imitation of their good works. Hence, in whatever respect each one feels himself deficient, devoting himself to this imitation, he finds, as from some dispensary, the due medicine for his ailment.

He who is enamoured of chastity dwells upon the history of Joseph, and from him learns chaste actions, finding him not only possessed of self-command over pleasure, but virtuously-minded in habit. He is taught endurance by Job [who, not only when the circumstances of life began to turn against him, and in one moment he was plunged from wealth into penury, and from being the father of fair children into childlessness, remained the same, keeping the disposition of his soul all through uncrushed, but was not even stirred to anger against the friends who came to comfort him, and trampled on him, and aggravated his troubles.]

Or should he be enquiring how to be at once meek and great-hearted, hearty against sin, meek towards men, he will find David noble in warlike exploits, meek and unruffled as regards revenge on enemies. Such, too, was Moses rising up with great heart upon sinners against God, but with meek soul bearing their evil-speaking against himself. [Thus, generally, as painters, when they are painting from other pictures, constantly look at the model, and do their best to transfer its lineaments to their own work, so too must he who is desirous of rendering himself perfect in all branches of excellency, keep his eyes turned to the lives of the saints as though to living and moving statues, and make their virtue his own by imitation.

Dining Commons and Rooms in Cappadocia Monastery4–Prayers, too, after reading, find the soul fresher, and more vigorously stirred by love towards God. And that prayer is good which imprints a clear idea of God in the soul; and the having God established in self by means of memory is God’s indwelling. Thus we become God’s temple, when the continuity of our recollection is not severed by earthly cares; when the mind is harassed by no sudden sensations; when the worshipper flees from all things and retreats to God, drawing away all the feelings that invite him to self-indulgence, and passes his time in the pursuits that lead to virtue.]

The Dark Church Fresco of Last Supper

5–This, too, is a very important point to attend to—knowledge how to converse; to interrogate without over-earnestness; to answer without desire of display; not to interrupt a profitable speaker, or to desire ambitiously to put in a word of one’s own; to be measured in speaking and hearing; not to be ashamed of receiving, or to be grudging in giving information, nor to pass another’s knowledge for one’s own, as depraved women their supposititious children, but to refer it candidly to the true parent. The middle tone of voice is best, neither so low as to be inaudible, nor to be ill-bred from its high pitch. One should reflect first what one is going to say, and then give it utterance: be courteous when addressed; amiable in social intercourse; not aiming to be pleasant by facetiousness, but cultivating gentleness in kind admonitions. Harshness is ever to be put aside, even in censuring.

[The more you show modesty and humility yourself, the more likely are you to be acceptable to the patient who needs your treatment. There are however many occasions when we shall do well to employ the kind of rebuke used by the prophet who did not in his own person utter the sentence of condemnation on David after his sin, but by suggesting an imaginary character made the sinner judge of his own sin, so that, after passing his own sentence, he could not find fault with the seer who had convicted him.

GoremeDarkChurchFresco2

6–From the humble and submissive spirit comes an eye sorrowful and downcast, appearance neglected, hair rough, dress dirty; so that the appearance which mourners take pains to present may appear our natural condition. The tunic should be fastened to the body by a girdle, the belt not going above the flank, like a woman’s, nor left slack, so that the tunic flows loose, like an idler’s. The gait ought not to be sluggish, which shows a character without energy, nor on the other hand pushing and pompous, as though our impulses were rash and wild. The one end of dress is that it should be a sufficient covering alike in winter and summer.

As to colour, avoid brightness; in material, the soft and delicate. To aim at bright colours in dress is like women’s beautifying when they colour cheeks and hair with hues other than their own. The tunic ought to be thick enough not to want other help to keep the wearer warm. The shoes should be cheap but serviceable. In a word, what one has to regard in dress is the necessary. So too as to food; for a man in good health bread will suffice, and water will quench thirst; such dishes of vegetables may be added as conduce to strengthening the body for the discharge of its functions. One ought not to eat with any exhibition of savage gluttony, but in everything that concerns our pleasures to maintain moderation, quiet, and self-control; and, all through, not to let the mind forget to think of God, but to make even the nature of our food, and the constitution of the body that takes it, a ground and means for offering Him the glory, bethinking us how the various kinds of food, suitable to the needs of our bodies, are due to the provision of the great Steward of the Universe.

Before meat let grace be said, in recognition alike of the gifts which God gives now, and which He keeps in store for time to come. Say grace after meat in gratitude for gifts given and petition for gifts promised. Let there be one fixed hour for taking food, always the same in regular course, that of all the four and twenty of the day and night barely this one may be spent upon the body. The rest the ascetic ought to spend in mental exercise. Let sleep be light and easily interrupted, as naturally happens after a light diet; it should be purposely broken by thoughts about great themes. To be overcome by heavy torpor, with limbs unstrung, so that a way is readily opened to wild fancies, is to be plunged in daily death. What dawn is to some this midnight is to athletes of piety; then the silence of night gives leisure to their soul; no noxious sounds or sights obtrude upon their hearts; the mind is alone with itself and God, correcting itself by the recollection of its sins, giving itself precepts to help it to shun evil, and imploring aid from God for the perfecting of what it longs for.]

Source: New Advent.org

More information: the Goreme (Cappadocian) churches.

COMMENTS? What do you think? Is there value in such restrictions? Can one aspire to holiness when the world distracts us and pulls us into mundane tasks? Is this what Christ meant when he said,

“Take up your cross and follow me”?

Sola Fides

https://tborash.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/screen-shot-2014-01-23-at-7-23-03-pm.png

BY FAITH ALONE

In the famous blockbuster Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, there is a poignant scene where Indiana Jones
1) reads there is a bridge,
2) hears that there is a bridge,
3) knows there is a bridge
4) cannot see the bridge.  He has to cross the bridge to get to the “Holy Grail.”

Abraham believed God.  And it was credited to him as righteousness. (Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, James 2:23)

But, it may surprise you–believing that “God is able to do what he has promised,” is NOT faith, –believing that God has spoken from beyond sight and beyond sense to give His Word is NOT faith.

Me? I do not believe in God.
I do not believe He made the world.
I do not believe Jesus died on the cross.
I do not believe he rose from the dead.

Why don’t I believe in these things? Because I reasoned them through. And I know they are true.

It is through REASON that I have come to KNOW that GOD IS. Through plain old common sense I can see the WORLD was created by His design. I don’t need to have some invisible faith to use my brain!

The death and resurrection of Jesus are also plain to an historian. Only approaching it as I approach any other event in history, I can see he died and he rose. I know He died for the sins of the world, because I approach it through reason. Evidence.

Natural Theology is how reason, the intellect, common sense and science work together to show us these things clear as day. I don’t need to hide behind the Bible.

There are only TWO WORDS I have to believe in.

These are the hardest words.

FOR ME.

We don’t have faith

    • that Salvation is in Jesus Christ.
    • that Christ’s perfect life, and dying on the cross satisfied God’s righteous requirement for us, or
  • that the Holy Spirit imputes righteousness to those who have been effectually called.

That is not faith. These there are also clear through reason.

If you take the time to think about it.

Let my FAVORITE TEACHER walk you through it, without requiring belief in the Bible…

otherwise, read a bit more.

Sola Fides

When we say we are saved by faith, Sola Fides, we mean…

It does not take WORKS.

We do not have to achieve perfection, or sinlessness before we can approach God. Not only that we do not have to, it means we couldn’t if we tried.  We could never meet the righteous requirements of God’s law.  Conscience and earthquakes prove that we’re broken and the world is broken.  It’s not the way it should be.

and we mean…

It does not take INTELLECT. 

If we could be saved through intellect, only the smart people would be saved.  So God evened the playing field by having salvation through faith alone.  A child or an adult.  A genius or a mentally handicapped person.  A reader or a non-reader. Salvation is free to all, based on faith alone.

But the phrase “Sola Fides” means that some volition is required. We must use our minds before it can reach our hearts.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.”  (Isaiah 1:18)

It does take thinking through a QUESTION: Was it FOR ME?

Objections to it being FOR ME:

It can’t be for me. What about Good People who never hear??

Many people deny that it was FOR THEM because they let go of reason when it comes to others. “If it is not FOR THEM too, I won’t have it,” they say. If God doesn’t let everyone in, he’s not fair.

Foolishly, they exchange REASON for an unproven faith in the inherent goodness of men. Do you really KNOW that mankind is inherently GOOD?? We WANT mankind to be good. But are we good at heart??

Everyone has conscience-pricks.

How do you explain conscience? Why did God put conscience into man? (If not God, where could such an immaterial alarm come from?) Why put a constant alarm when we cross the line? Why put an alarm unless there is a consequence for not obeying the requirements of God?

We are created equal. Very true. We all have equal access to Truth. Otherwise God’s judgment would not be fair or right. But unless persuaded by reason and common sense, people do not want the cross to have happened FOR THEM.

It’s a hard pill to swallow.

I want to live the way I want to live.

I want my goodness to be good enough. I’m as good as the next guy, so there you have it.  I don’t need anyone’s help.

If you think about it, only perfection could be allowed eternal access to God (or his presence would be tainted). And justice requires condemnation of all sin (or he would by his disregard be accomplice-before & after-the-fact).

If God is God, Judgment Day is coming. No one is good enough. Conscience tells us this. Reason tells us this.

Will you be one who thinks it through to the end?  Reason echoes it across time and space, and it so happens that the Bible agrees.

FOR ME holds in it the miracle of the incarnation,
the miracle of Christ’s death and resurrection.
FOR ME. To give me a way.

“For by grace you have been saved, through faith. And this not of yourself. It is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast”  Eph 2:8-9


Update (3/1/20)
I just came across this quote by Martin Luther where he says the same thing, in different and more eloquent words…

Who is this “me?” The beloved Son of God gave Himself for me, a most miserable and condemned sinner. If I could by means of any work or merit love the Son of God and come to Him, why should He given Himself as a sacrifice for me?
…because there was no price under heaven and earth for my release except that of Christ the Son of God. Thus it was supremely necessary that He gave Himself for me. What’s more, He did it all from His inestimable love, for Paul says, “Who loved me.”
Everyone who can say this word me and make it his with firm faith and confidence together with Paul will be a good lawyer against the law, for He did not give sheep, bulls, gold, or silver, but God Himself in all His divinity. He did it entirely and fully “for me.” Yes, this “me,” a miserable sinner under condemnation.

-Martin Luther, Commentary on Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (1535)

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS.

Marcellus and Byziana struggle with what God requires from us.  Does he want sacrificial acts, like standing on pillars?  Is this what pleases God?  In the story, they learn about faith, and how faith working with reason results in our actions and in our relationship with God. They learn this through the power of the Scrolls in their life.

Solus Christus

Solus Christus. This means “In Christ Alone.” Only by Christ’s intervention. Only by the Coming-Between of Christ can we even hope for salvation. We cannot come on our own. We need that High Priest who has the right to come into the holy place, not by the blood of bulls, but by His own holy blood.

As are the other “Solas,” this stands in juxtaposition to the teachings of the Medieval Catholic Church.The belief then was that the Church (and in particular the new priesthood of the Pope and those under him) is the go-between for Man and God–the way that Moses was a go-between.

Protestant Christians believe otherwise. Christ opened the way for believers to directly enter into the holy of holies (thus the tearing of the curtain from top to bottom ). Christ is our Mediator.

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.  Hebrews 9:12

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim 2:5

What is it that Christ did?  He took my place.  His blood was shed for me.

1. I SINNED, and the consequence for that sin is swift, immediate DEATH.

Q-What is sin?  A-Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the Law of God. (WSC #14) In other words, sins of omission and sins of comission.  Sins of forgetting to do right, and sins of doing wrong.

Jesus upped the ante by telling how detailed God is in viewing sin.  If you even CONSIDER doing it, it’s sin.

For the wages of sin is death. (Rom 6:23)

2.  JESUS TOOK MY PLACE.  

He lived a righteous life.  Knowing how detailed God is in judging even the motives and intentions of the heart, it is amazing to know he “was tempted in all ways, but without sin.”  (Heb 4:15)  He died for those “given to him” before the creation of the world.  He was resurrected, opening up the way to God.  (Rom 8:11 )  Wow!

3.  FAITH IN THAT ACT…

Faith alone brings about what is called “vicarious atonement,” which means “the death He died He died for me.”  And faith proves itself through works. (James 2:14) Anyone who believes that Christ died for them, cares to live in a way conformed to that life and death.  The Holy Spirit living in us brings about the holy life God desires.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Tim 1:9-10)

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

“In Christ Alone”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

 

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS

Marcellus and Byziana want to “please God.” Byziana soon comes to the dead end that “I cannot please Him,” and she acts accordingly.  Marcellus, meanwhile, struggles with the big question of “How do I live a consecrated life?”  He sees monks living on pillars, he sees vicious theological struggles between leaders of the church, he reads the Scrolls but sees the Church teaching things that do not match the simplicity of Scripture.  The book is a story of Marcellus and Byziana both learning what it means that Christ was our Mediator.  Why was it that he had to come to earth as man?

Sola Scriptura

LIFE WITH NO BIBLE

What would the world be like with no Scripture?  Can you imagine, there actually was a time when God’s word was spoken into hearts only.  From the time of Adam until the giving of the law on Mount Sinai (sometime between 1600-1300 BC), there was no written record of God’s testimony to Man.

And it changed after God spoke audibly to the Children of Israel, and then took a stone and wrote with His own finger the Ten Commandments.  After this basis was written, Moses began writing the Penteteuch.  Then we have the History books and Poetry books, and the Prophetical writings of the Old Testament.

When the time was right, God sent His Word to earth in the flesh.

Once a Bible professor asked our class, which is more important:  Jesus or the Bible.  What do you think?

Consider this.  If Jesus is the Word of God, and the Bible is the Word of God, in a sense, they are equal.

It makes me cringe to think of the times I have put my Bible on the floor, or stacked things on top of it, or left it on the shelf gathering dust.

DIET OF WORMS

The year was 1521, Martin Luther, one of the lucky ones, knew Greek and Hebrew so he could read the Bible, and know what the Bible said.  He found that over the years a lot of Church leaders had neglected Scripture for the traditions of Popes and decisions of Councils before them.  His life was one big STOP SIGN held out to them.  He wanted them to know that Scripture was sufficient.  Scripture in its interaction with the common man’s intellect.

They took him to Worms, and held him on trial.  “Do you recant?” they asked him.  He looked at his books. They wanted him to deny that they were true. They wanted him to disown what he had written.  He apologized for the ones in which he was rude and disrespectful to others.  But regarding the rest he said,

“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

This site includes a primary account of the Diet of Worms.

In the same way, we need to trust the Bible to direct us how we may glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

WHAT RULE?

Catechism Q2:

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?

A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

FINAL AUTHORITY

When we say Sola Scriptura, we are saying that the Bible is our final authority, and it is enough.  We don’t need other books, other people, other conferences, in order to KNOW truth.  Other books, people, conferences can help us grow in our relationship with God.  But our final authority and SOURCE for knowing God is the Bible Only.

What about the Creeds?  What about the foundational doctrines of the church, like the dual-nature of Christ, like the Trinity?  DId those not come from Councils?

Yes.  We also believe in church–the importance of going, of encouraging each other, of praying for one another.  We believe in the Preaching of the Word, that the pastor has a unique message for the church each time he preaches.  We are intimately aware of the need for others involved in our lives to teach and instruct.  But Sola Scriptura means that if it is not specifically taught in Scripture, it is not authoritative.  Trinity is a word that is not in Scripture. But the triune nature of God IS in Scripture.  The Councils that depended upon Scripture alone, through the reasonings of Biblical passages, are considered by Protestant Christians to be authoritative for our lives.  The others are not.  For example, if the evidence is extra-biblical–like some

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS

Marcellus, Byziana and his family are some of the rare common people who actually know how to read, and who actually have Scripture scrolls that they can read whenever they want.  When they depend upon the Scrolls, they find their relationship with God grows and their peace and joy in life grows.  When Byziana reads Leo’s Tome, she understands from Scripture that the nature of Christ was dual–God and man.