Free Online Bible Library | Consubstantiation

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A term used to describe Luther's view of how Christ is present in the Eucharist, although the term does not appear in his writings. Luther's belief was that Christ is present “under (or with) the species of bread and wine”-a position William of Ockham* had earlier held. Luther nevertheless insisted that we know Christ is present only through the Word, whose pledge guarantees it. A union of the earthly and the heavenly occurs in the sacrament, but the bread and wine are not changed in substance, an explanation Luther found too reasonable. The question that intrigued him, rather, was why Christ was really present. His answer: for our salvation. “Of course,” he held, “it is a miracle that Christ's body and blood should be in the sacrament and not be visible; yet we are content to know through the Word and by faith that they are there.”