Published as a single article in DBSJ 2 (Fall 1997): 81–103. Used by permission.
Part 2 continues Part 1’s consideration of what “nature” means in the “one or two natures” question.
As was previously noted, the use of the term nature as it relates to the question of one or two natures does not stem primarily from a particular text. Instead, it can more correctly be viewed as a theological term, essential to the discussion at hand, but whose meaning is generally derived from its common, ordinary usage. Webster, for example, defines nature as “the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing: essence, disposition, temperament.”1 Smith helpfully observes that
except when it is used for the material world or universe, the term “nature” does not designate a substance or an entity. Instead, it is a word which refers to the inherent or essential qualities of any substance or entity.2