Friday, February 12, 2010

Is transubstantiation a Monophysite doctrine?

CrimsonCatholic and Perry Robinson participated a few months ago in a fairly technical but somewhat interesting discussion at David Waltz's blog.
CrimsonCatholic made a very interesting statement:

The key feature of Chalcedonian theology is that Christ's nature is exactly the same as ours, so what happens to the human nature in Christ happens to everyone who is "in Christ Jesus" (to use St. Paul's term) by grace, including the sharing of the divine glory.

I'd like to ask a few questions, if we're going to take this consistently with the rest of our theology.
So Christ's nature is exactly the same as mine. My nature is human. Part of being human (as opposed to being divine) is to be limited to a particular physical location at any one time, is it not? My body cannot be in more than one place at any one time. That's obvious.

Now, Christ Himself, at the time of His Incarnation, took upon Himself a human nature and a physical body. At the time of His Resurrection, His body became glorified and immortal; He doesn't necessarily have blood anymore, but He retains flesh and physical tangibility, among other properties. He can perhaps walk through walls, or perhaps not; John 20 simply says, "when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'" Maybe He created a key and let Himself in; maybe He knocked and they let Him in; maybe He passed through the door via "teleportation"; the text does not tell us. Obviously He can perform miracles such as walking on water and perhaps passing through walls, disappearing right in front of two disciples at dinnertime on the road to Emmaus, etc, but we never see Christ in more than one place at any one time.

CCC 1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."

1377 The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.

1378 Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. "The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession."

1379 The tabernacle was first intended for the reservation of the Eucharist in a worthy place so that it could be brought to the sick and those absent outside of Mass. As faith in the real presence of Christ in his Eucharist deepened, the Church became conscious of the meaning of silent adoration of the Lord present under the Eucharistic species. It is for this reason that the tabernacle should be located in an especially worthy place in the church and should be constructed in such a way that it emphasizes and manifests the truth of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

1412 The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper: "This is my body which will be given up for you. . . . This is the cup of my blood. . . ."

1413 By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651).

On any given Sunday, or really most any day of the week, Mass is performed at thousands of churches across the globe. On any given Sunday morning, to be sure, the Eucharistic host is transubstantiated in multiple locations, at the same time. How well does this match with the conception of Christ's body's substance? It is supposed to be of human substance, yet here it displays a trait better assigned to divinity, that of omnipresence. Christ's human body, it turns out, is NOT "exactly the same as ours", as I don't think CrimsonCatholic has ever been at two or more places at once. I know I haven't, much as I'd like to be; I could get a lot more accomplished!

And the situation seems to be even worse than that. Take a look at this from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
On the contrary, He continues His Eucharistic Presence even in the consecrated Hosts and particles that remain on the or in the ciborium after the distribution of Holy Communion.
Thus the red candle/light that one often sees perpetually lit on the altar of a Roman church - one or more transubstantiated hosts are still there. The real and substantial body of Jesus Christ is enclosed there. In many hundreds or thousands of churches across the world, simultaneously.

So, taking the doctrine that CrimsonCatholic has expressed and applying it consistently across the board, we run into a serious snag in the doctrine of the Eucharist. It would seem that, if transubstantiation is true, then the RC position leads to a denial of the true human nature of Christ, because the substantial, real human body of Christ is simultaneously in thousands of different places, thus applying a divine trait to Christ's human nature. Not Chalcedonian at all, then; more like Monophysite.

169 comments:

Matthew Bellisario said...

You are really missing the boat here. Saint Thomas buried your flawed reasoning over 700 years ago. This is exactly why your amateur apologetics methods are so boring and such a waste of everyone's time.

"I answer that, As was observed above (1, ad 3), because the substance of Christ's body is in this sacrament by the power of the sacrament, while dimensive quantity is there by reason of real concomitance, consequently Christ's body is in this sacrament substantively, that is, in the way in which substance is under dimensions, but not after the manner of dimensions, which means, not in the way in which the dimensive quantity of a body is under the dimensive quantity of place." (Tertia Pars Q76)

Rhology said...

Take it up with CrimsonCatholic, Matthew, not me.

CathApol said...

I would add to Matthew's comments:

1) Alan is limiting Jesus' power and authority here.

2) The multiple places at the same time is prefigured in the multiplying of the loaves and fishes at the feeding of the 5000 (which, not coincidently happened right before a Eucharistic treatise was given by Jesus in John 6!).

We STILL have the "grumblings" of the Jews (now by Protestants) over Jesus' ability to give us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink. They still ask, "How can we hear this?!"

In JMJ,
Scott<<<
CathApol Blog

Rhology said...

1) No, Jesus did, when He created the human nature and made it non-omnipresent.
2) Or maybe that was a miracle of multiplying loaves and fishes.

I don't grumble at all. I simply recognise that "eating" = believing, as Jesus Himself explained in John 6.

Jugulum said...

Rhology,

Hmm... Chalcedon speaks to Christ's human nature, right? If something does not involve an alteration to human nature, it would not violate Chalcedon?

That means the question is, "If God caused my own body to appear in multiple places at once, would that constitute a change in my human nature?"

If it's something God could do to humans without changing their human nature, then Christ's divine power could do it to his human nature without entailing a violation of Chalcedon. If it entails a change in human nature, then it does entail a violation of human nature.

That's what it sounds like to my vague, uninformed awareness of Chalcedon, at least. Do you agree/disagree?

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

I was wondering what you think St. Paul meant when he said the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily. Do you see any implications from that?

Rhology said...

Jugulum,

Jesus' body is not appearing in multiple places at once, on transubstantiation. See the difference?


Edward,

Yes, there are lots and lots of implications. Principally it means that God took on human flesh.

godescalc said...

I don't grumble at all. I simply recognise that "eating" = believing, as Jesus Himself explained in John 6.

Could you clarify that? I have read John 6 and saw nothing that counts as explaining, or even hinting at, "eating" = believing. On the contrary, Jesus clearly explained that "my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink", so it would seem reasonable to conclude that when He talks of "eating my flesh" He means really eating.

And, you know, if the entire "bread = body, wine = blood" thing bothers you, complain to the guy who said it...

Edward Reiss said...

Rhlogy,

"Yes, there are lots and lots of implications. Principally it means that God took on human flesh."

OK. Now I have another question. Since we all acknowledge God is infinite, how can that fullness fit inside a little baby? It would seem to violate the fact that a human bode, being finite, can contain the infinite, which might force us to say the fullness was not contained in Jesus Christ bodily.

Rhology said...

godescalc,
Notice how Christ bookends the monologue:

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.”

Further, it's been assumed by Scott Windsor w/o argument that this is a Eucharistic psg. It's more like a predestinatory psg. There is no indication in this psg of the Lord's Table, an institution/sacrament/ordinance for the church. Nothing about the Passover. Etc.


so it would seem reasonable to conclude that when He talks of "eating my flesh" He means really eating.

Then you believe monophysitism.
Look, for a Sola Scripturist, that's gonna hurt less than someone who's already sold on Rome's authority. But I don't think that's where you are.



Edward,
Since we all acknowledge God is infinite, how can that fullness fit inside a little baby?

1) I don't know, but I don't know why that would change the point made here anyway. I think part of the point of the Incarnation is that it's supposed to blow our minds.
2) You seem by implication to be admitting a Lutheran connection to this issue. I don't know if that's a good move.

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

OK, fair enough. I would just like to know if you believe the fullness of the Godhead is in the little baby or not, as an objective fact. I will leave it at that.

Rhology said...

Umm, I guess I'd have to say yes.

(Tell you what - the Incarnation blows my mind more than any other doctrine.)

Darlene said...

Well, since this blog is entitled "Beggars All" taken from a quote of Martin Luther, I will bring a Lutheran perspective into the discussion. Edward Reiss, a Lutheran who comments here, can correct me if I am wrong. :)

Luther believed that in the Sacrament of The Lord's Supper, the believer actually receives the Very Body and the Very Blood that was crucified and shed on the Cross of Calvary, and that the one receiving it is forgiven of their sins, which is why Luther said, "The Sacrament IS the Gospel." He believed so strongly in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist that he taught that those who were unbelievers and partook of the elements of bread and wine took it to their condemnation. It is with this view in mind that Luther and Lutherans make sense of I Corinthians 11:27. For how can one be guilty of "profaning the body and blood of the Lord" in a mere symbol?

For Calvin, the supper was mere bread and mere wine, Christ being present in some spiritual sense, thus the Sacrament does nothing - it is but a sign only. For Calvin, the sign was a philosophical sign of an ABSENT thing. (my emphasis)

For Luther, otoh, a sign was a theological sign, the sign of a thing really and truly PRESENT.
(my emphasis)

So it is that Lutherans have suggested that Calvinistic theology leans toward Gnosticism.

It is not surprising to me that current-day Protestant Evangelicals hold to the absence of the Sacraments straying even further away from Calvin himself, and embracing instead the teachings of Zwingli and the Anabaptists who held to empty symbolism.

Just my two cents, or three. :)

godescalc said...

Rho,

John 6:35, 63...

OK, I semi-retract my words. I can see it may be possible to parse it all in a purely spiritual sense. It's far from an obvious reading, tho, especially since the Eucharist involves faith anyway on any accounting of the theology.

....Further, it's been assumed by Scott Windsor w/o argument that this is a Eucharistic psg. It's more like a predestinatory psg. There is no indication in this psg of the Lord's Table, an institution/sacrament/ordinance for the church. Nothing about the Passover. Etc.

It has been assumed by me without argument that it's a Eucharistic psg every single time I ever read it. It seems pretty self-evident, and no teaching authority ever told me different. Predestinatory? How does that even work?

(I assume that Transubstantiation vs. symbolic Eucharist is not an essential issue of the faith? I ask because if it is you are taking scriptural perspicuity out back and shooting it in the head here.)

Then you believe monophysitism.
Look, for a Sola Scripturist, that's gonna hurt less than someone who's already sold on Rome's authority. But I don't think that's where you are.


(a) See Mr. Bellisario's quote of St. Thomas Acquinas, which insofar as I understand it, addresses the issue; (b) the obvious characteristic of created beings is locality as opposed to omnipresence - so while it is in many places at once, the Eucharist's physical properties, including limitation in space, are firmly on the non-divine level - so even if we ignore st. T of A for a mo, the argument is anyway only that Christ has two natures, one of which is divine and the other of which is Jamie Maddox, the Multiple Man; (c) Christ ascended into Heaven, and still after some manner possesses human nature even now (I leave the details to the theologians), yet we accept that He is with us anyway ("I am with you until the very end of the age"), so one figures that Christ's resurrection, ascension and glorification somewhat relaxes the limits on His human nature, (d) you did not in any case provide rigorous proof that Christ had never, ever bilocated, although admittedly I would not know what to make if it if it ever turned out He had, (e) I am still not entirely sure on the merits of RCC vs. EO (with maybe the Assyrians and the Copts as dark horses), and (f) I admit I do not understand the whole monophysite vs. monothelite vs. diaphysite argument too well anyway....

Darlene said...

Even better than my own words, here are Luther's words from the Large Catechism, under "The Sacrament of the Altar."

Now, what is the Sacrament of the Altar?

"It is the true body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine, which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink. And as we have said of Baptism that it is not simple water, so here also we say the Sacrament is bread and wine, but not mere bread and wine, such as are ordinarily served at the table, but bread and wine comprehended in, and connected with the Word of God."

The Zwinglian, Anabaptist, modern Protestant Evangelical supper, otoh, is what Luther alluded to as "mere bread and wine, such as are ordinarily served at the table."

An ordinary view of the Sacraments leads to empty ordinances which impart nothing.

I'm with Luther on this one.

Rhology said...

It's far from an obvious reading, tho, especially since the Eucharist involves faith anyway on any accounting of the theology.

Well, I don't really agree with that. Seems to me he tells us what the metaphors mean, then riffs off of that.
Besides, since He hadn't intro'd the Eucharist yet, reading Eucharist into this would stretch it even more. Would anyone present have any idea what He was talking about?


Predestinatory? How does that even work?

I was mostly referring to verses 37-45.


I assume that Transubstantiation vs. symbolic Eucharist is not an essential issue of the faith?

I probably wouldn't say it is, but Rome gets her knickers all in a twist if you deny the real presence and all that.
Further, since it clearly implies monophysitism and monophysitism is a heresy, that's approaching big deal territory.


I ask because if it is you are taking scriptural perspicuity out back and shooting it in the head here.

I'm sorry, I'll have to ask for further explanation on this, please.


the obvious characteristic of created beings is locality as opposed to omnipresence

And the human nature of Christ was created at a point in time - His conception by the HS in Mary's womb.


still after some manner possesses human nature even now

1 Cor 15 - a glorified body.


we accept that He is with us anyway

Yes, spiritually, so no, I would not agree that Christ's resurrection, ascension and glorification somewhat relaxes the limits on His human nature.


you did not in any case provide rigorous proof that Christ had never, ever bilocated

Prove a negative?


RCC vs. EO

I am pretty sure that the EO conception of the Eucharist is not all that much like RCC's, or at least they don't hold to transub according to what several EOdox have told me.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

Darlene,

Just checking - you are aware that the Lutheran view is not the same as the RC view?

Darlene said...

BTW, the Aquinas approach of dissecting the Eucharist into substances, accidents, and the like, has real problems. To take something as mystical and ineffable as the Eucharist, and boil it down to rationality from logic, strips the Sacrament of its beauty. And in trying so hard to defend the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist on such principles, it places faith in said Sacrament to rationality.

Luther said something to the effect that, Christ said this is my body, and He meant "This is my body."

Imagine if we were to break down the Incarnation with rationality. What I mean specifically here is, how did God enter a virgin? How did God take on flesh? How could Mary have had God dwelling within her womb? How could she have had a child within her womb without having sexual relations with a man?

Can such questions be answered with rationality? I say emphatically "No." The Incarnation is something we must believe by faith. We cannot explain in "Aquinas" categories HOW God inhabited a virgin. We believe it by faith because the Scriptures tell us it was so and the Apostles taught it, and the Church throughout the ages has embraced it.

So it is that we (or we should) believe by faith that the risen Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, the bread being His body and the wine being His blood. The Church for the first millenia believed this, which is evident from reading church history. Calvin, the Zwinglians, and the Anabaptists doubted what the Church had always taught regarding The Lord's Supper.

I know many Protestants here do not believe this, but history testifies against your view.

Rhology said...

So it is that we (or we should) believe by faith that the human nature of Christ has divine attributes. Oops, Chalcedon got it wrong.

Rhology said...

It is profoundly materialistic and unChristian to assume that the spiritual is not real. If I believe Christ is SPIRITUALLY present in the Lord's Table, He *is* really present there, with a real presence. Similarly, Christ binds the church together in SPIRITUAL unity a la John 17, not necessarily material unity. Yet that unity is no less real. Our Sola Ecclesia friends are stuck on the material, the visual, the temporal, whereas those who are Christ's focus on the eternal.

Darlene said...

Rhology,

Yes, I am aware that the Lutheran view is not the same as the RC view.

I am also aware that the Lutheran view is not the same as the Reformed Baptist view, which is the Zwinglian view, a mere memorial supper.

BillyHW said...

This post is perhaps the absolute dumbest thing I have ever read on this blog.

Why are Protestants so lacking in imagination?

Viisaus said...

"Saint Thomas buried your flawed reasoning over 700 years ago. This is exactly why your amateur apologetics methods are so boring and such a waste of everyone's time."

Typical Romanist man-worshipping arrogance, as if Aquinas had been an inspired apostle we could not contradict.

Rhology said...

Billy,

You mean, why was the Council of Chalcedon so lacking in imagination? Dunno - you'd have to ask them. Fortunately, you guys in RCC talk to dead ppl, so get on it and let me know what they say.

Constantine said...

So this is what Mighty Matthew, the Bishop of Bombast, - our very own Catholic Champ! - would have us believe:

1. the substance of Christ’s body is in the sacrament by the power of the sacrament
2. dimensive quantity is there by reason of real concomitance
3. therefore, Christ’s body is in this sacrament substantively.

But this is the worst sort of circular reasoning. Premise one begs the question by assuming what it attempts to prove. Premise two does likewise by assuming Christ’s presence in order for it to be “concomittant” with the physical elements. And the conclusion follows from neither of these premises. So Aquinas is no help in answering the real question which is “if” Christ is in the elements. The best he does is explain “how” He may be in the elements, if His presence is assumed.


The very serious problems with the doctrine of transubstantion are so numerous that only the most dogmatic could adhere – which is why Matthew likes it. Just a couple of quick examples:

1. The second law of thermodynamics (created by God) tells us that all matter is in a state of decay. Therefore, all substances, including Eucharistic hosts constantly shed their matter. Therefore, when Catholics line up to take communion, they are trampling on the flakes (however miniscule) that have fallen from the parishioner in front of them. Is Jesus in those flakes? Or is Jesus in every one BUT those flakes? How can you tell?
2. Digestion. What miraculous process takes place to prevent Christ’s presence from being digested and ending up in the sewer? Psalm 16:10 promises that God’s Holy One will not see decay. Since Aquinas proposes a “concomittance” of physical and reasonable substances, how, if at all, are they separated once consumed? Is there another sacrament?
3. The Apostles, when adapting their teaching to the Gentiles in Acts 15, maintained the strict prohibition against taking ANY blood. So if Aquinas is right, as Matthew believes, and Chirst’s blood is “substantively” in the Eucharist, then all who partake do so sinfully. (In fact, this Apostolic prohibition was so serious that while it was in fourth place in their discussions (Acts 15:20) it moved up to second place in the letter they actually sent out (v. 29).) If Aquinas is right, and Rome is an “Apostolic” church, how to explain this sinful sacrament?

You can find a much more thorough –and even-handed – treatment here: http://www.godandscience.org/doctrine/eucharist.html#iTusqbRawgkT

Peace.

Darlene said...

"If I believe Christ is SPIRITUALLY present in the Lord's table, He "is" really present there, with a real presence."

Rhology, so do I understand you as saying you believe Christ's Spirit is actually and truly present in and under the elements of the bread and wine?

You are aware of the strident discourse between Luther and the Anabaptists and embracers of the symbolic view of the Sacraments, right?

"Christ binds the church together in SPIRITUAL unity, not necessarily material unity."

Does Christ's Church consist of only spirits or actual persons with bodies who are IN CHRIST, that is, who possess His Spirit? I know, pretty much a rhetorical question.

You do believe in the physical resurrection of our bodies, right? Again, I hope a rhetorical question.

"Our Soal Ecclesia friends are stuck on the materail, the visual, the temporal"

Does that include Luther and Lutherans who also believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper?

"Whereas those who are Christ's focus on the eternal"

So, those who are Christ's can only be those who believe in the Zwinglian, Anabaptist view of the Sacraments? Is that what you are saying?

louis said...

"Notice how Christ bookends the monologue:

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.'

63 'It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.'"

Note also the parallel between verses 47 and 54:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life" (47)

"Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life"(54).

So believing is eating.

Also, Calvin did not hold that the supper was a "sign only." It is a sign and a seal.

Darlene said...

For Zwingly, the bread and wine simply represented Christ's body and blood.

For Luther, Christ's body and blood were truly present and communicated to the recipient.

According to Luther, Zwingli's denial of the "communication of the attributes" was a grave, Christological error.

As far as Luther understood, Chalcedonian Christology emphasized the distinct, two natures of Christ - divine and human- but also the unity of the Person of Christ. So it was that Luther embraced the teaching of the early Church on the Hypostatic Union. Zwingli denied that an action performed by one nature could be attributed to the other. His beliefs alligned very closely with Nestorias, who believed there were two persons or essences that co-existed within the hypostatic union. Thus, Luther accused Zwingli of Nestorianism - the heresy that denied Mary was to be called the Theotokos.

Luther believed that the human nature of Christ had communicated omnipresence, thus Christ could be REALLY and TRULY present in the Lord's Supper. Zwingli denied this - saying the finite was not capable of the infinite. The Lutherans saw this as a dangerous view, and when taken to its logical conclusions would mean that the human nature of Jesus would be incapable of the Infinite God, thus denying the Incarnation.

Luther did not think Zwingli arrived at his understanding of the Sacraments through sound interpretation of the Scriptures, but rather through human reason.

godescalc said...

Rho:

Well, I don't really agree with that. Seems to me he tells us what the metaphors mean, then riffs off of that.
Besides, since He hadn't intro'd the Eucharist yet, reading Eucharist into this would stretch it even more. Would anyone present have any idea what He was talking about?


No. But the entire talk is Him giving spiritual seekers weird and difficult stuff to deal with to see whether they're really serious (and they eventually try to stone Him, so presumably not; compare and contrast the Canaanite woman who's undeterred by being compared to a dog). And it's not as if He doesn't go round the whole time saying weird and cryptic stuff in the other Gospels that make sense only in hindsight. "Tear down this temple and I will raise it in three days", and stuff.

I vaguely see how you might read it in that way, anyway. But to me it looks totally Eucharistic, and it depends on how much you view the body and blood as a metaphor, rather than a spiritually-present reality.

I'm sorry, I'll have to ask for further explanation on this, please.

A wrong-headed comment on my part, my apologies (I let some snark creep in due to a parallel train of thought). My point was that if symbolic Eucharist is an essential doctrine, scriptural perspicuity would be pretty much disproven by the fact that it's very easy to come away from the Gospels and think something like what the EO and RCC do, and important texts (like John 6) are subject to very different opinions on what constitutes the plain sense of Scripture.

To pursue the point on whether Eucharistic doctrine is important - I remember one scottish reformer stated he feared one mass more than a thousand soldiers (Knox, I think), and Cromwell, replying to Irish inquiries about "freedom of conscience" (I read Cromwell's letters when I were a lad) insisted "I meddle with no man's conscience, but if you mean the saying of the mass, that will not be permitted". (Quoted from memory.) Now, denying Catholics the right to obey Christ's express command to do the bread and wine stuff is a very strange thing to do, unless either (a) you think Catholic doctrine (& practice, by extension) are seriously wrongheaded and perverted, or (b) you're actually afraid of the Mass (and Knox was!), which makes large chunks of the Reformation look like straight-out spiritual warfare, and the implications of that are pretty serious. In any case: there were major Protestant figures who clearly thought that Eucharistic doctrine was highly important and acted accordingly, which is why I thought it was counted an important issue by Calvinist types.

godescalc said...

Correction to self: No. But the entire talk is Him giving spiritual seekers weird and difficult stuff to deal with to see whether they're really serious...

I was conflating with John 7 & 8 there. (Just checked.) But the point still stands: Christ said a lot of stuff that was very strange or difficult to accept or that made sense in hindsight only.

Rhology said...

Darlene,

Zwingli denied that an action performed by one nature could be attributed to the other.

That may be, but that's not what I'm saying here. I'm denying that THIS ATTRIBUTE - omnipresence - is communicable to the human nature, and we certainly see no example of that in Scr.




godescalc,

My point was that if symbolic Eucharist is an essential doctrine, scriptural perspicuity would be pretty much disproven by the fact that it's very easy to come away from the Gospels and think something like what the EO and RCC do

Sorry, I don't see any reason to make man and his obedience or consistency the standard of comparison for judging such.

Jugulum said...

godescalc,

I've got a tangential observation, on John 6. It doesn't affect the eucharistic discussion.

"No. But the entire talk is Him giving spiritual seekers weird and difficult stuff to deal with to see whether they're really serious (and they eventually try to stone Him, so presumably not; compare and contrast the Canaanite woman who's undeterred by being compared to a dog).[bold added]"

Don't miss the impact of v. 64-66. I think you have to say it a bit more strongly than "see whether they're really serious". It looks more like Jesus is saying weird & difficult things because he knew from the beginning who didn't believe, and he's intentionally driving them away.

Incidentally, I think you'll like what someone once called John 6--it's Jesus' "church shrinkage seminar". :)

P.S. Notice something else about 64-66: Jesus actually explains the disbelief of the non-serious "disciples" by referring back to verses 37-44--it wasn't "granted by the father" for them to come. (Apparently "granted" equals "drawn", and "come"=="believe".)

Viisaus said...

You can expect Romanists to respond viciously on this subject, for it assaults their holiest of holies - this idea that Transsubstantiation dogma leads to heretical conclusions.

They simply cannot give in or make concessions on this issue without their whole theological system collapsing.

godescalc said...

Incidentally, I think you'll like what someone once called John 6--it's Jesus' "church shrinkage seminar". :)

Bwah, that's a good one. Thanks :)

Rho:
Sorry, I don't see any reason to make man and his obedience or consistency the standard of comparison for judging such.

I see no excuse for doing anything else (ok, maybe not the "and his obedience and consistency", strike those words out). If perspicuity means anything meaningful, it's "the Bible will make plain to sinful readers the way of salvation". This prompts me, at least, to ponder what the Bible makes plain to this particular sinner, and what it makes plain to other sinners, and what can be judged to be essential from that. If you say "I will not judge my doctrine according to whether Scripture actually makes vital doctrine plain to its readers, for that would make the truth of my doctrines dependent on depraved sinners", you have successfully prevented your doctrinal position from being relevant to any world containing actual depraved sinners.

Rhology said...

godescalc,

Another good reason, then, to be a Calvinist, in which those who repent and come to faith are those who were drawn. See John 6:44 and especially 45.

Edward Reiss said...

A couple of things.

Darlene has pretty accurately described the Lutheran view. I would also point out that formulations such as "in, under and through" are there as bulwarks against the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation, and other errors such as "impanation"; they are not the doctrine itself which is the bread and wine are Christ's body and blood respectively. We also add, Contra Calvin, that the ungodly receive as well as the godly.

Finally, Lutherans have been accused of Monophysitism because of our adherence to the Real Presence. This is why I asked about Col 9:2. If th efulness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily, perhaps a mundane definition of "human nature" doesn't catch every nuance.

We return the favor by accusing the Reformed of Nestorianism because they assert that there is a place where the second person of the trinity is without his human nature. :-)

L P said...

Rhology,

From what I can understand on the Lutheran side, the communication of attributes is the way Luther/Lutherans explain what is happening when Jesus for example did things that only the divine could do, such as walk on water, appear at will in the disciples room after the resurrection, or vanish in their presence on the road to Emmaus etc. These things are found in Scripture and as such the examples you required, from Scripture.

The communication of attributes is what keeps the two natures of Christ in tact, without mixing or fusing to one nature. But remember we are talking about the Christ, the Son of God who took on our humanity of Adam prior to the fall, hence, though he took our humanity yet he took, a sinless humanity to himself. Then later offered his body and blood, perfect sacrifice for the payment of the sins of the world.

As a Calvinist as yourself, you should agree with communication of attributes in some way. I say in some way because the 2nd Helvetic Confession agrees with it...
"For we accept believingly and reverently the 'communication of properties,' which is deduced from the Scriptures and employed by the ancient Church in explaining and harmonizing seemingly contradictory passages." (Ch. XI,11)

The issue with Roman Catholic transubstantiation is the fact that the host is adored and worshipped and whatever else is attached to the sophistry of "bread" being the Body of Christ etc. It is idolized. As an RC kid, I myself was taught and I had practised praying and meditating on the host.

I believe the RCs have gone beyond 1 Cor 10:14-16, in fact v 14 says to flee idolatry yet that is exactly what happens in RC practice. (BTW, this verse, among other verses made me a non-Calvinists, i.e., Lutheran, though for 4 years I considered myself a Heidelberg Confessor).

LPC

James Swan said...

Wow, I guess people do read this blog, go figure.

CathApol said...

Alan/Rho posted a comment on my blog, and my response can be found by clicking here.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

John said...

People's entire bodies aren't generally in two places at once, but certainly bits can be. Who said the eucharist is His entire body? Libosuction allows my body to be in millions of places at once.

Viisaus said...

"People's entire bodies aren't generally in two places at once, but certainly bits can be. Who said the eucharist is His entire body?"


Uh, the Council of Trent did. You didn't know?

"If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, AND CONSEQUENTLY THE WHOLE CHRIST, but says that He is in it only as in a sign, or figure or force, let him be anathema."

(Canons on the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, Canon 1).

John said...

I suspect by whole they mean both body and soul, rather than some kind of statement that it includes eyes, nose, feet, hands and so forth, but I'll let a Roman Catholic who knows comment on that.

Rhology said...

John,

So the Eucharist is liposuction.
Wouldn't Christ's body be used up by now?

And yeah, why not just stay out of this unless you have some knowledge of RC dogma?

John said...

"Christ's body be used up by now"

Everyone knows you put it straight back on.

"why not just stay out of this unless you have some knowledge of RC dogma"

I will if you will.

Rhology said...

Everyone knows you put it straight back on.

What does that mean?

Edward Reiss said...

I think we should make a distinction between the RP and transubstantiation. ISTM Rhology is arguing against the second more than the former, though some of his comments would tell against the RP as well.

John said...

After liposuction, you put the weight back on.

Rhology said...

Wow, John, that makes no sense. Thanks!


Also, CathApol/Scott Windsor has taken a shot at answering me. Here's my favorite part, starting at this comment:

SW: And He IS in more than one place at one time!

Me: Prove it, in any other example other than the transubstantiated elements or using any biblical evidence.

SW: Jesus resides in the hearts of all who are truly Christian - to deny this denies the omnipresence of God - which I don't think you wish to do, that's a whole 'nother heresy.


HAHAHAHAHAHA!! So much fail, so little time.

louis said...

I think John was joking. I thought it was kind of funny myself.

Rhology said...

Wow, and now MatthewBellisario is rolling over on this question. A veritable parade of fail!

Viisaus said...

I think that the language that Christ uses in John 6 can be compared to His words in Matthew25:40:

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."


Figuratively and mystically speaking, the Eucharistic bread and wine are Christ's flesh and blood - and likewise, what we do to Lord's humble servants (who are members of Body of Christ) we are "inasmuch" doing it to Himself.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Rolling over on the question? Are you even reading anything that I posted? Have you read the Questions and articles from the Summa Theologiae that I posted? If you have you would not be making these foolish statements here on your blog. Please, for the sake of not looking ignorant, do some real research on the subject of which you speak. Every single objection that brought forth here in these 50 or so posts, St. Thomas refuted over 700 years ago. No need for me to rewrite what has been written so well by the Angelic Doctor. Seriously, where did you think this would get you? Do you think that you are the first person on the face of the earth to have come up with these lame objections?

Rhology said...

Let the reader judge. Thanks for stopping by to add more bombast.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Bombast? I have done nothing but spoon feed you the information straight from the Summa. St. Thomas answers every single objection that you brought forth regarding the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist. It appears to me that you haven't read any of it. That is certainly not my fault.

Why don't you read the Tertia Pars, ST, Questions 75 and 76, and all of the articles from beginning to end. When you have done that, and you feel that you have understood the text, then form a real rebuttal to the Angelic Doctor's writings, maybe then we can take you seriously. I haven;t seen any substantial rebuttal to any of the texts I posted. How is that bombastic?

Rhology said...

Gosh, maybe 'cause it's no answer at all.

See you!

Matthew Bellisario said...

Yeah, you are such a great theologian, so much greater that St. Thomas Aquinas. This is par for the course for a Protester who thinks he knows more than Christ and the Church that he founded. St, Thomas refutes your arguments one by one using Scripture and the Church Fathers, yet you give us nothing in substance to answer him with. If you are such a great theologian and you think you can refute him, why don't you compose some formal objections?

Rhology said...

Oh, I guess you missed the original post. Try reading it.

Matthew Bellisario said...

So, are you saying that you went through Questions 75 and 76 in the Summa and refuted the entire text, and all of the arguments he presents on the subject?

godescalc said...

Another good reason, then, to be a Calvinist, in which those who repent and come to faith are those who were drawn. See John 6:44 and especially 45.

Thanks for the invitation! But even if I could accept scriptural perspicuity and sola fide at once, hardcore Calvinist parsing of predestination is something I have a hard time swallowing; tho I'll not derail the thread further with that.

CathApol said...

Alan does not wish to admit that he's been answered - fully - on his invalid question. As I pointed out on my blog, he's attempting to put a square peg in a round hole - and no matter how many times and ways we demonstrate the roundness of the hold and the squareness of the peg - he's still insisting he's got a valid premise to begin with. The FACT of the matter is transubstantiation is not the same theological concept as Monophysitism - in fact the very premise of transubstantiation teaches that the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ IS the Eucharist - both divinity AND humanity are part of the very premise of the teaching! Then he attempts to throw in the question about Jesus being present in more than one place at once in which he's challenging the very omnipotence of God!

The bottom line here is that the doctrine of the Eucharist is a Mystery of Faith. It is FAITH BASED! If it could be PROVEN the way Alan insists, it would be no mystery at all and would require no faith at all.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<
CathApol Blog

Constantine said...

How is that bombastic?

This is par for the course for a Protester who thinks he knows more than Christ and the Church that he founded.

The Bishop of Bombast has now become St. Schizophrenia. I just love this. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. He doesn’t even realize he’s doing it!!

If you are such a great theologian and you think you can refute him, why don't you compose some formal objections?

Well, Holiness, would that be formal in the sense of having form that is concomittant with the reasonable form? Or would it be merely the reasonable form, per se? Or would that be the substantive form devoid of its dimensive quantity? In other words, would it be a form singular in location or universal without dimensive quantity? Perhaps your Eloquence can illuminate us on his exact meaning and then we might humbly comply.

Please, for the sake of not looking ignorant, do some real research on the subject of which you speak.

Would that include interacting with the logic of the Summa, or merely cutting and pasting it, Holiness? We bow before your cutting and pasting, Majesty.

It appears to me that you haven't read any of it. That is certainly not my fault.

It is inconceivable that it could be your fault, Excellency. And, as long as it appears to you, that’s really all that matters, isn’t it?

James, thanks, really, for having this guy on! He’s hilarious!

godescalc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
godescalc said...

I thought John's liposuction comment was pretty amusing.

Constantine, your post contains one of my pet peeves: dismissing an opponent by telling them how funny they are when they disagree with you. This irritates me massively even when done by people I agree with. It is a low form of smug mockery, worse than sarcasm or honest name-calling. It has no effect in convincing the one you sneer at; and I can't imagine it has any effect in convincing many bystanders that you have the right of it. I myself am excited into fury by it. However, you did not descend into the utter abysms; you did not merit pain and beating and dismemberment by squirrels by describing anyone as "too funny"; for this, I credit you.

(Original comment deleted for slight intemperance and for praising chinese guy's insight before I saw what he was linking to.)

Matthew Bellisario said...

Constantine, how is my presentation not logical? I posted what St. Thomas wrote, because he answered the exact questions you guys have been posting.

St. Thomas upholds exactly the same teaching that the Catholic Church upholds. Do you understand the difference between substance and physical properties? Saint Thomas, and the Catholic Church teaches that Christ is present in His full person, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Eucharist. St. Thomas explains this fully in the Summa, Q75 and 76, and he also explains that Christ is fully present veiled under the Sacrament. That means that the physical dimensions are not what is being transformed, but only the substance is changed. So, just as the bread's physical properties remain after the consecration, so the physical properties of Christ remain where they are as well, yet the substance is changed. Bread is no longer bread in substance, but now Christ's body. St. Thomas is very clear about this, I do not see where the confusion is coming from.

Rhology said...

Matthew Bellisario,

Why don't you go ahead and present any other portions of Thomas Aquinas' text you think are relevant and we'll see how well they stack up.


Bread is no longer bread in substance, but now Christ's body.

See the Romanist desire to have it both ways, but we simply must call them out for it.
Either it's Christ's substantial, real body, and a result the human body of Christ suddenly somehow becomes deified, god-like, infinitely multipliable, infinitely present, multilocational, infinitely regenerative, and divorceable from the substantial real body of Christ which is substantially and really sitting at the right hand of God the Father. Or it's "sacramental", as MB posted another quote from Aquinas above to escape the noose. Call them on THAT, say it's more like Baptist doctrine, and they go running back to the substantial, real trail, hoping you've already forgotten that it's monophysite, so they can start the handwaving all over again. It's a bit tiresome, isn't it?


godescalc,

You might understand Constantine's attitude better if you'd read more of Bellisario than just this one thread. The man is a walking unintentional humor machine.

Viisaus said...

Since Bellisario touts the expertise of Aquinas, I guess I can also recommend to all Protestants to read a thorough historical-patristic case against the Transsubstantiation dogma here:


"The Difficulties of Romanism in Respect to Evidence" by George Stanley Faber (1853 edition), pp. 73-121.

http://www.archive.org/details/difficultiesofro00faberich


Faber writes in a lively manner, showing that our modern Web-debates were not unprecedented in style. :)

He makes many original points, pointing out things like the deafening silence that pagan emperor Julian the Apostate showed towards Transubstantiation. For Julian mocked everything seemingly absurd about Christian doctrines that he could find, but he did NOT mock the idea of Christians literally eating their God - for the reason that 4th century Christians still did not yet hold to anything like the medieval innovation of Transsubstatiation.

Viisaus said...

I should have added that since this book contains two books between same covers, Faber dealt on Transsubstantiation with still further thoroughness (citations footnoted in original Greek and Latin) on pp. 235-329:

http://www.archive.org/details/difficultiesofro00faberich


And concerning the topic of this thread: Faber also noted and documented the similarity between the ancient Eutychian (Monophysite) and modern Roman positions:

pp. 270-272

"4. In the fifth century, the Eutychians maintained, that the body of Christ, after his final ascension to heaven, was substantially changed or absorbed into the Divine Essence: the substance and nature of the body being converted into the substance and nature of the Deity. Thus, according to such a system, the humanity of Christ, virtually and effectively, ceased to exist, being wholly, by confusion of the substances, transmuted into his Divinity 1.

This singular notion they attempted to defend or to illustrate by citing against the Catholics, as a sort of argumentum ad hominem, their own familiar language respecting the Eucharist. After consecration, the elements of bread and wine were, by the Catholics, always denominated the body and blood of Christ. Their phraseology, indeed, as every Catechumen of the higher class well knew, was simply metonymical: but it suited the Eutychians, particularly as they might easily adduce specimens of very inflated and exaggerated and affectedly mysterious language, to understand and interpret it literally. Accordingly, on this perversion, they built their illustrative argument.

As the bread and wine, they alleged, are, after consecration, transmuted into the body and blood of Christ: so, they contended, was the body of Christ, after its assumption into heaven, transmuted or absorbed into the divine substance.

Thus, according to their statement, stood the argument: and the mode, in which it is answered by Theodoret on behalf of the orthodox Church of the fifth century, is not by an admission of the premises coupled with a denial of the conclusion (the manner, in which a Transubstantialist must inevitably, on his principles, have been constrained to answer it), but by a denial of the conclusion through the medium of an explicit denial of the premises. The Eutychians, in short, alleged, that the Catholics held the Doctrine which has subsequently been denominated Transubstantiation: Theodoret, on the part of the Catholics, flatly contradicted the allegation."

Alex said...

So Julian the Apostate did not mock transubstantiation,therefore it can't be a true Christian doctrine...

Allow me to recommend the short and relatively cheep book Being Logical; A Guide to Good Thinking by D.Q. McInerny

Alex said...

2. Digestion. What miraculous process takes place to prevent Christ’s presence from being digested and ending up in the sewer? Psalm 16:10 promises that God’s Holy One will not see decay. Since Aquinas proposes a “concomittance” of physical and reasonable substances, how, if at all, are they separated once consumed? Is there another sacrament?

Once the accidents have been destroyed, the substance returns to Christ. We do not digest Jesus.

3. The Apostles, when adapting their teaching to the Gentiles in Acts 15, maintained the strict prohibition against taking ANY blood. So if Aquinas is right, as Matthew believes, and Chirst’s blood is “substantively” in the Eucharist, then all who partake do so sinfully. (In fact, this Apostolic prohibition was so serious that while it was in fourth place in their discussions (Acts 15:20) it moved up to second place in the letter they actually sent out (v. 29).) If Aquinas is right, and Rome is an “Apostolic” church, how to explain this sinful sacrament?

If Christ commanded us to do so, then it would not be sinful. Even if the Eucharist is merely a symbol, following your argument Christ is asking us to commit symbolically a sinful act.

Rhology said...

Once the accidents have been destroyed, the substance returns to Christ.

That's not what human substance does. This is attributable to divinity. Monophysitism.


We do not digest Jesus.

1) Argument by naked assertion.
2) You don't digest Him b/c His human nature has been subsumed into the divine nature. Monophysitism.


Keep it coming, ye Romanists. It's so sad and funny how you don't even realise what you're doing.

Alex said...

Does the EO view the Eucharist as meta-ousiosis or do they have a different view, and how would this differ from transubstantiation? I understand meta-ousiosis as a change of being.

Edward, would your view be that you could accept the term meta-ousiosis in a limited sense?

Alex said...

Rhology, naked assertion or not, this is the Church's teaching. Unless you have a teaching from the Church that differs with what I said, then by all means show us.

Whether or not this teaching is philosophically feasible is not being argued by me at this time. I merely pointed out that we do not digest Jesus because as the Church teaches once the accidents are corrupted, the substance returns to Christ. I wasn't presenting a philosophical defense of the teaching, merely pointing out what it is.

You can go back to your milk and cookies now...

Rhology said...

Yes, I know it's the Church's teaching. And its teaching is monophysite. Maybe you missed the original post; might want to read it again.

Edward Reiss said...

Rhology,

I think that your claims Re: Monophysitism are a little too broad, so I would like to ask a couple of questions to clarify what you believe is the relationship between Jesus' human and divine natures. These are "yes and no" questions and can be easily answered by Chalcidonian Christians, and even most prots are Chalcidonian Christians.

If you were to shake Jesus' hand during his earthly ministry, would you be shaking God's hand?

Did Jesus' human body have less mass than the amount of water displaced by his feet?

(Yes, I am going somewhere with this...)

Viisaus said...

One Protestant writer said that Roman semi-Monophysitism is seen indirectly also in the known phenomenon of many Romanists praying rather to Mary and the saints than to Jesus Christ Himself - such people see these inferior mediators as more merciful or understanding than Christ, who is considered to be too stern or holy to hear them.

Such people do not see Jesus so much as GOD-MAN as GOD HIMSELF.

In other words, saint-worshippers have lost sight of Christ's true humanity, and thus logically they must seek truly human intercessors elsewhere.

Saint-worship or virgin-worship is thus a logical corollary of the latent Monophysitism of the Roman church.

Rhology said...

If you were to shake Jesus' hand during His earthly ministry, you'd be shaking Jesus' hand. Jesus is the God-man. God and man, both.

I'm not too strong on physics, so I don't get what you're saying with the mass displacement. As I understand mass and water displacement, I think that the mass of Jesus' body displaces the same amount of water that another man of equal mass would displace. Does that answer? (Sorry for being a doof.)


Viisaus,
You rock, sir.

Viisaus said...

"So Julian the Apostate did not mock transubstantiation,therefore it can't be a true Christian doctrine..."

It's you who seems be lacking in reading comprehension.

The point was simply that 4th century Christians had not yet adopted the Transsubstantiation doctrine that was first hatched in the 9th century by Paschasius Radbertus and which triumphed from 11th century onwards.

It was so unknown in the 4th century that it did not even occur to a malevolent enemy of the church like Julian to ridicule it.


What's more, Julian also said that the Christians of his day (360s ad) HAD NO SACRIFICES. To a pagan, this was big deal and thus Julian wrote that even Jews were superior to Christians in still having a sacrificial system of their own:

"And they revered a God who was ever gracious to me and to those who worshipped him as Abraham did, for he is a very great and powerful God, but he has nothing to do with you. For you do not imitate Abraham by erecting altars to him, or building altars of sacrifice and worshipping him as Abraham did, with sacrificial offerings. For Abraham used to sacrifice even as we Hellenes do, always and continually."

http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/julian_apostate_galileans_1_text.htm

Julian obviously had no concept of "The Sacrifice of the Mass", which developed only later in the Middle Ages. If he had, he would not have said that Christians had "no altars or sacrifices."

Viisaus said...

"You rock, sir."

Thank you Rho, although I frankly do not consider myself yet as quite so aged as to deserve such a grave title as "sir". :)


In any case, just like many Protestants do not hesitate to call RCC soteriology as "semi-Pelagian", so likewise we could call RCC christology as "semi-Monophysite."

Rome is clearly not all-out Eutychian, but it's leaning that way, or allowing its followers to lean (just like it allows questionable liberties to its followers in other areas as well).

Thus "semi-Monophysite" would be the most descriptive title of the RCC position, imho.

Viisaus said...

It's also worth mentioning that after Vatican II, the RCC has been nice and ecumenical towards officially Monophysite Eastern churches - and Romanist traditionalists are hopping mad about it:


"John Paul II received Armenian Monophysite patriarch Karekin II in the papal library. Notwithstanding his heresy, JPII handed over to him a relic of St. Gregory the Illuminator during the audience."

http://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A061rcMonphysiteRelic.htm

See also:

http://traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A060rcMonophysite.htm


John Bugay has noted how the new Vatican courtesy towards Nestorian Assyrian church is a full betrayal of their earlier (bigoted) position - this new attitude towards Monophysites is quite comparable to it.

Rhology said...

Well, you know, they share the same Eucharist...

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology,

Since you referred to the previous discussion I thought I’d chime in.

First a few clarifications. It is helpful to get clear on what substance means. In Aristotle it has three possible meanings. This gets refined by the Scholastics so one needs to be careful reading an unmodified usage back into say Aquinas or Trent.

Second, Jesus takes up humanity whole and entire and is the new font of the race, just as Adam was. He does not take up an instance of humanity. Incidentally, if Christ has no blood presently, how is it that he sprinkled the holy place with it? (Heb 9)

Physical locative limitation may be true of the body, but not the soul. Your soul is not spatially circumscribed by your body and so can be present to more than one place (toes, head, hands) at a time. Or to put it more correctly, your soul can access and affect your body at many places without being limited to any of them. This is also part of human nature.

Consequently, it seems possible for the human body, divinely empowered to be accessible and participatable to a plurality of locations without being spatially limited to any one of them.

This brings us to Chalcedon and the communicatio idiomatum. This is an exchange of properties or specifically energies or activities from the divinity to the humanity of Christ. This involves no confusion of essences for the simple reason that energies are not the essence of which they are energies. Consequently, your humanity unempowered by divine energies does not shine as Moses’ face did or Christ’s flesh did at the transfiguration with the divine glory. That doesn’t imply that it is not possible in the sense that what is true of your human status now rules out a latent unactualized power of your essence. I’d recommend reading Richard Cross, The Metaphysics of the Incarnation to get a better grasp of Scholastic Christology.

If you do not think that divine properties can be and are conveyed to the humanity of Christ, perhaps you can offer an explanation of the Metamorphesis or Transfiguration where the disciples see the divine glory coming from Christ’s flesh.

I’d also point out that while as an Orthodox Christian I do not believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation, that I also do not believe that Reformed Christology is Chalcedonian either. They deny a transfer of divine properties and assert that the communication is a communication of predicables in terms of attributions from each nature to a person of the mediator which is the result of product of the union and hence Christ is a divine and human person. That’s not Chalcedon, but Nestorianism and hence is in line also with the Nestorian gloss on the sacraments as “types” in the sense of Theodore of Mopsuestia took them. This Christological dissent is well documented by Reformed scholars and figures such as Richard Muller, Bruce McCormack, or Gordon Clark.

So do you agree with say the WCF 8.2 that says that Jesus is a divine and human person?

It then seams to me, supposing that Rome is monophysite and your position is Nestorian that you share fundamentally the same principle doctrine, namely that God cannot be intrinsically present in creation without replacing the essence of the creature. The difference is you say since the nature can’t be replaced, God can’t be intrinsically present and Rome says that it can and so the nature is replaced. This then implies that for you, nature enjoys a kind of intrinsic autonomy in relation to God and can only be related to him by an extrinsic act of will. So the difference between your position and Rome then seems to be not that great since you seem to agree on the fundamental principles but just diverge on the direction you take them. Rome is more realistic and yours is more Ockhamistic where sensible particulars are closed off from intrinsic divine participation.

Rhology said...

Hello Acolyte,

BTW, you don't hold to transubstantiation, do you? I know you were referenced, but only as an intro really. Why defend that which you don't believe?


Incidentally, if Christ has no blood presently, how is it that he sprinkled the holy place with it? (Heb 9)

1) What makes you think I think that?
2) Where is that holy place of Heb 9?


Or to put it more correctly, your soul can access and affect your body at many places without being limited to any of them. This is also part of human nature.

But can the body?


Consequently, it seems possible for the human body, divinely empowered to be accessible and participatable to a plurality of locations without being spatially limited to any one of them.

Obviously, since I question the premises, we're not to your consequently yet.


explanation of the Metamorphesis or Transfiguration

Seems to be similar to the shining of Moses' face. A prefiguring glimpse into the glorification of Christ, His post-Resurrection body.


I also do not believe that Reformed Christology is Chalcedonian either.

Yes, I know, but *yawn*. Been there, done that. How could anyone miss your favorite hobbyhorse?


So do you agree with say the WCF 8.2 that says that Jesus is a divine and human person?

He is the God-man. He is a person of the Trinity, Who has a divine nature and a human nature. What else would I say?


So the difference between your position and Rome then seems to be not that great since you seem to agree on the fundamental principles but just diverge on the direction you take them.

1) So you grant the point of the post, it would appear.
2) Hmm, so my position somehow says that Christ's body is actually divine? Weren't you arguing against that earlier?

Peace,
Rhology

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology,

I am not defending transubstantiation. What I was trying to do was clarify the terms of the discussion. If a position is misunderstood or misrepresented or argued against using bad arguments, even if said position is in error, then it is in the interests of all to point this out.

Your remarks “He doesn't necessarily have blood anymore…” makes me think that you don’t think that he retains blood upon entrance into heaven. As for heb 9, I’d recommend just looking over the comparison with Moses’ entrance with blood into the type and Christ’s entrance into the heavens.

Your question about the body gets ahead of the point I made. You referenced human nature and not just the body. So it was important to point out that the limitations you speak aren’t true of human nature per se.

If you deny a communication of divine properties or energies to the human nature of Christ, I asked for an explanation of your understanding of the transfirugation and not a reference to Moses as an anticipation of it. If human flesh doesn’t receive divine properties like the divine and eternal glory of God, then please explain what the glory is that the disciples saw on Mt. Tabor. What happened and what if anything was conveyed?

The Nestorian charge is not my favorite hobbyhorse, but even if it were, that’s not really demonstrative of anything germane to the arguments at hand. So it is irrelevant. In any case, I seriously doubt people like McCormack and Muller in saying the same thing are just making it up. http://aboulet.com/2008/05/20/reformed-christology-and-the-westminster-htfc-report/

Your characterization of Nestorianism that you reference is incorrect. Nestorius didn’t deny that there was a hypostatic union but rather disagreed about the nature of hypostasis and the nature of the union. Nestorianism held that there was one person or product of the union of two substances, with one substance taking hold of the other by an act of will. The person of Christ was then a composite that was a product of the union or more precisely “out of” two natures rather than “in” two natures.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology (Cont.)

Moreover, Calvin, among other Reformed writers indicate that the value of the atonement was due to God’s willing it to be valuable whether or not it intrinsically was valuable. Consequently it is not impossible for Calvinism to entail Nestorianism. And even if it were not so, that is not a demonstration that Calvinism in fact doesn’t hold a Nestorian gloss on the incarnation, it only shows that if it does, Calvinism is internally inconsistent. If so, I am happy to concede as much.

Regardless of what Rome does, the term Theotokos is Christologically appropriate since Mary bore a divine person. Consequently, Nestorius would only feel vindicated if you assert that Jesus is a human person also. More to the point, Nestorius’ primary concern was not over undue laud to Mary, but to impinging upon the rather Platonic sense of impassibility and immutability that he took to be true of God. His god can’t suffer.

The human Jesus that Mary bore is the divine person and no other. To say he is the “God-Man” is ambiguous in reference to what I was asking. Is Jesus a divine and human person or not? When you say that he is a person of the Trinity, is that person in question a divine hypostasis or a human hypostasis or a resulting composite of both? If both, what constitutes the union if not the hypostasis of the eternal Son? What unites them? Either the Son must not be a person prior to incarnation since the person is a product of the union and so the Son came into existence at the union, or there are two Sons, one subordinating the other.

When you ask what else you would say, if you adhered to Chalcedon, you would say no, he is only a divine person into which human nature has been assumed.

As for the point of the post, notice the “if”. The statement was conditional.

Second, your position assumes that God can have no intrinsic presence to a creature without replacing the essence of the creature, like Rome does. You seem to think that the essence can’t be replaced and so there can be no transubstantiation. This is why you appeal to intrinsic properties of the human body to ground your argument against Rome. The irony is that you agree with the fundamental principle. Why think that the shared principle is true?

Viisaus said...

"Regardless of what Rome does, the term Theotokos is Christologically appropriate since Mary bore a divine person."

I recall Faber writing that it would have been easy to find a proper Greek compromise-word in stead of Theotokos - like "Theoanthropotokos" for example: a "God-Man bearer".

Acolyte4236 said...

Viisaus,

That would be perfectly acceptable to Adoptionists too.

Viisaus said...

"More to the point, Nestorius’ primary concern was not over undue laud to Mary,"

Perhaps not primary, but that was partly what motivated his objections as well. Here Nestorius is cited:

p. 66

"2. 'I have already said many a time that, if any one... delights in the term "Mother of God", I have no quarrel with the term. Only let him not make the Virgin a goddess (^cdv)'."

http://www.archive.org/details/nestoriusandhis01bethgoog


"but to impinging upon the rather Platonic sense of impassibility and immutability that he took to be true of God. His god can’t suffer."

I understand that it was not the question of God "suffering" but the DIVINE nature of Jesus DYING, fully perishing, that Nestorius opposed. And that Eutychian notion disturbed orthodox Chalcedonian Christians as well:


http://www.ntrmin.org/Apollinarimonophysites.htm

"After condemning the supposed teachings of Nestorius (albeit only a misunderstanding of them, for which see my book, Evangelical Answers), the council affirms its stance against the Monophysite heresy:

"[Monophysites pervert the faith] by introducing a confusion and mixture, and mindlessly imagining that there is a single nature of the flesh and the divinity, and fantastically supposing that in the confusion the divine nature of the Only-begotten is passible. . . . [The Church] opposes those who attempt to tear apart the mystery of the economy into a duality of sons; and it expels from the assembly of the priests those who dare to say that the divinity of the Only-begotten is passible, and it stands opposed to those who imagine a mixture or confusion between the two natures of Christ."

The council expressly condemns the view that the divine nature is passible (i.e., the Monophysite belief that "God can die, and in fact did die")."

Rhology said...

Oh yeah, I did say that about Him not necessarily having blood anymore, didn't I? Well, I may have to retract that, come to think of it. My apologies.


As for heb 9, I’d recommend just looking over the comparison with Moses’ entrance with blood into the type and Christ’s entrance into the heavens.

Symbolic, thank you. Christ's blood was spilled literally on the ground at Calvary. Yet it is efficacious to enter into the heavenly mercy seat.


You referenced human nature and not just the body. So it was important to point out that the limitations you speak aren’t true of human nature per se.

I've been using them sort of interchangeably, which is probably sloppy, but I don't yet see the problem.


please explain what the glory is that the disciples saw on Mt. Tabor.

Done, please see previous comment.


The Nestorian charge is not my favorite hobbyhorse

That's pretty much all you ever talk about when you interact with Reformed ppl. But if you say so.
Anyway, you went on for some time about Nestorianism. Hobbyhorse, like I said. I find it boring.


Nestorius’ primary concern

You might want to be more precise. Your own clergy don't think Nestorius held to Nestorianism, it would appear. Minute 2:30.



Is Jesus a divine and human person or not?

Seems to me a loaded question. He is a person, He is divine and since the Incarnation He is also human. He is the God-man. I don't know what else you want me to say.


When you say that he is a person of the Trinity, is that person in question a divine hypostasis or a human hypostasis or a resulting composite of both?

Is He not a human hypostasis and a divine hypostasis, in union? Hypostatic Union?


What unites them?

Dunno. As I've said before, the Incarnation blows my mind more than any other doctrine.
That said, I don't know what relevance this has.


You seem to think that the essence can’t be replaced and so there can be no transubstantiation.

I NEVER said it can't be replaced. I just said that if it were replaced, it would result in monophysitism. What's so hard about that to understand?


That would be perfectly acceptable to Adoptionists too.

So? So would monotheism. Argument from unsavory consequence.


Peace,
Rhology

Viisaus said...

"That would be perfectly acceptable to Adoptionists too."

In what sense?

Viisaus said...

I actually recall that classical Adoptionist heretics did not claim that Christ was already a "God-man" in Mary's womb, but that he was not "adopted" by God until during the baptism of John, when Holy Spirit came upon him:

http://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Adoptionism#Second_century:_pre-Nicene_Christology

Thus such adoptionists would not have called Mary "a bearer of God-Man" but of mere man.

L P said...

Rhology,

To Edward's question
"If you were to shake Jesus' hand during his earthly ministry, would you be shaking God's hand?"

You answered
If you were to shake Jesus' hand during His earthly ministry, you'd be shaking Jesus' hand. Jesus is the God-man. God and man, both

I do not know why you answered what is not in question.

Because I should think the answer to his question is "yes".

LPC

John said...

Alex: "Even if the Eucharist is merely a symbol, following your argument Christ is asking us to commit symbolically a sinful act. "

You beat me to it. If there's a problem here, then doing it symbolically can hardly be a step forward.

Viisaus: "the RCC has been nice and ecumenical towards officially Monophysite Eastern churches"

There are no officially Monophysite church. No church claims to be Monophysite.

"If he had, he would not have said that Christians had "no altars or sacrifices."

"there is but one altar for the whole Church," - Ignatius.

I think Ignatius beats Julius the apostate in theological credibility.

"Does, then, the Eucharist cancel a service devoted to God, or bind it more to God? Will not your Station be more solemn if you have withal stood at God’s ALTAR? When the Lord’s Body has been received and reserved each point is secured, both the participation of the SACRIFICE and the discharge of duty." - Tertullian

" the Eucharist whence the baptized are anointed with the oil sanctified on the altar. But he cannot sanctify the creature of oil, who has neither an altar nor a church; whence also there can be no spiritual anointing among heretics, since it is manifest that the oil cannot be sanctified nor the Eucharist celebrated at all among them. " - Cyprian

Edward Reiss said...

LP,

"I do not know why you answered what is not in question.

Because I should think the answer to his question is "yes"."

And this is why simplistic claims about Jesus' humanity apart from his person miss the mark.

L P said...

Edward/Rhology,

My point is this...

If one separates Jesus' humanity from his divinity then this is a Nestorian view. For you cannot separate the one person who has two natures.

Wherever his divinity is, his humanity is there and vice versa.

This is again from the postulate that you cannot divide the person.

For example in some place, Luther I believe said - if you take out the humanity of Jesus then you have shear God and thus shear terror.

There is an element of the Marburg Colloquy in this discussion.

LPC

Rhology said...

LP and Edward,

With Edward's handshake question, I'm trying to be very precise and avoid equivocation. It is very similar to the questions regarding the Theotokos/Christotokos appellations.

LP Cruz said:
If one separates Jesus' humanity from his divinity then this is a Nestorian view.

Have no fear; I am doing nothing of the kind. If anything, insisting on answering "You're shaking God's hand" as a superior answer to "You're shaking Jesus' hand, Who is the God-man" is guilty of that offense.


Wherever his divinity is, his humanity is there and vice versa.

And He is in ONE PLACE at ONE TIME (specifically, seated at the right hand of the Father), since His Incarnation and unto eternity.



John,

There are no officially Monophysite church. No church claims to be Monophysite.

"Monophysites, or Non-Chalcedonians—Armenians, Copts and Ethiopians (Abyssinians), and Syrian and Malabarese Jacobites—have, since the conclusion of the Fourth Oecumenical Synod, been viewed by the Orthodox Church as heretical groups. That is, until this century due to the influence of ecumenism. This page is offered as a corrective.

Despite all the "scholarly discussion" trying to show that we are in fact "of the same Faith and Family as the Monophysites," the fact remains that these groups have not unreservedly accepted the Fourth through Seventh Oecumenical Synods (something which was required of them by the Orthodox participants in all prior reunion attempts throughout church history), nor have they decisively and conclusively renounced the teachings of Dioscoros, Severos, Eutyches, et. al."

"...from the traditional perspective of the Orthodox Church, you are monophysite. This is how the Orthodox Church has always viewed the Coptic Church. In other words, to us your "miaphysitism" is essentially "monophysitism". Moreover, you have been wrongly led to believe—whether by your own teachers or by Orthodox ecumenists [3]—that the Orthodox Church has been mistaken, and that there's no reason for Coptic Christians to leave their church and be reconciled with Orthodox. Some Orthodox clergy and teachers will agree with you, but I am persuaded by the Saints and teachers whose writings are listed below."

"And if you personally hold a Chalcedonian Christology, leave the Coptic Church—which has been in heresy and separated from the one, true Church of Christ for over 1500 years—and bring your beliefs to fulfillment by being united to Christ, in the Church which has always believed and professed rightly concerning Him." (source)

"Let it be noted, in passing, that the Ecclesiastical Body is comprised of Baptized Orthodox Christians, and of them alone. The preservation of the unity of the Ecclesiastical Body means, consequently, the ensuring of their Orthodoxy and their perseverance to the end within the bosom of the Church; and this precisely constitutes an important part of the the Church's pastoral concern. We do not include within the Ecclesiastical Body, however, heretics outside the Church. The struggle and the concern of the Church reach even to them, but the intent of that struggle is their return to the Church and not the devising by contrived means of peaceful co-existence with them under some nebulous kind of ecclesiastical communion." (source)

John said...

Rhology, a simple thankyou for correcting Viisaus was all that was required. I'm not awarding any extra credit today for an essay on relations with Copts, but if you're real nice for the rest of the thread I might give you a gold star.

Rhology said...

Ah, but since your correction was in fact an INcorrection...

John said...

Really. Well we all await with baited breath evidence of an OFFICIAL monophysite church.

Rhology said...

Yes, you, an anonymous EO blogcommenter, have a LOT more weight with respect to officiality than the site I cited.

John said...

This is not a competition between me and some web site. The web site's assessment of of the Copts could be 100% spot on, and it wouldn't make it official. Words have meaning, at least when I went to school. And besides which, the context was Vatican II and in that context the only ones who can say something official in that context would be either Rome or the Copts.

Viisaus said...

Not only traditionalist Romanists, but also old-school purist EOs are outraged at the way their ecumenical-minded prelates are cozying up with the Monophysites:


"Is Bartholomew sincere in calling this successor of the heretic Evtyches, a denier of the incarnation of Christ, "much beloved and dear brother in Christ God"?! Does he really believe that this Monophysite Patriarch and "all the Armenians...are faithful to Christ"? How can those who deny the incarnation of Christ and make it an illusion, saying that he had no real body, but simply manifested some kind of anthropomorphic form of His Divinity, how can these be a part of the Body of Christ which they deny?"

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_world_orthodoxy_bartholomew.shtml

Viisaus said...

More bewailing of unreconstructed EO bigots here:


"The first violation of the Sacred Canons began, before the lifting of the anathemas, with joint prayer between Athenagoras and Paul VI during their meeting in Jerusalem. After the anathemas were lifted, the phenomenon of the Patriarch of Constantinople praying with Pope Paul VI in Constantinople or Rome, or with other heterodox, became de rigueur. Athenagoras has prayed in Constantinople with Armenian Monophysite clergy, in London with the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, and in other instances during his 'journey of love' through heterodox countries. In this way, an example of violating the Sacred Canons, which expressly forbid Orthodox to pray with schismatics and heretics, was given from on high. "

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_world_orthodoxy_athenagoras.shtml

Viisaus said...

"I think Ignatius beats Julius the apostate in theological credibility."

Early Christians had (as they liked to put it) "reasonable UNBLOODY sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving." Faber documents this well on pp. 287-298:

http://www.archive.org/details/difficultiesofro00faberich

Christians thus did not have a literally BLOODY sacrifice that the Roman Mass implies - or "real sacrifice" as pagans would have seen it.

Julian was raised as a Christian and thus knew quite well what the church then believed in.

John said...

Viisaus: I realise the desperation with which you have to try and deny the obvious, but Tertullian says as I quoted above that when the Eucharist is served there is a participation of the sacrifice, and this happens when you stand at God's altar.

Obviously you need to find a way to pretend this is something innocuous like sacrifices of praise or something, but it just doesn't work.

Lvka said...

Is He not a human hypostasis and a divine hypostasis, in union? Hypostatic Union?


Hypostatic union means the union of the two natures (divine and human) under the same (divine) hypostasis. It is the one divine Person that unites its two different natures: one inherited from eternity, and the other borrowed from the flesh of a human virgin mother.


------------------------------

Viisaus,


I think we both know what both Catholics and pagans mean by refering to the Eucharist as a bloodless sacrifice, so there's no point in pretending not to.


------------------------------

Rhology,


to (finally) address the scope of the post, the Eucharist isn't omnipresent, nor is there anything uncommon in making parts of a whole present in various different places. -- so the essence of the teaching of trans-substantiation stands, even in rooted in monophysite explanations. [Our inability to either understand or explain certain things doesn't undermine their existence or reality].


Secondly, even if the opinion of both species subsisting in the same reality is more in tune with the teachings of the councils, this doesn't necessarilly mean that believing in a change in or dislocation of substances is heretical. (When Christ changed water into wine, did both species subsist in the same reality? So there are reasons to believe one way, and reasons to believe the other).

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology,

As for Hebrews 9, would it be correct to say that you take Jesus entrance into heavenly place sprinkling his blood is symbolic? If so, isn’t the symbol what Moses does and Jesus’ action the reality?

Moreover, you claim that human bodies by nature are locally circumscribed in your argument against Catholicism. But isn’t it also true that living human bodies have and circulate blood too? (Elijah and Enoch doesn’t seem to have dropped off some pints before entering heaven bodily either.) It seems if Rome’s doctrine is Monophysite, yours is also.

You wrote: “I've been using them sort of interchangeably, which is probably sloppy, but I don't yet see the problem.”

I would think using them interchangeably which is “sloppy” would be problematic, unless you wish to endorse anthropological materialism such that human nature just is a body and not a soul, but I don’t think you wish to hold to such a position. Consequently, logically your claim doesn’t follow about the impossibility of human nature being present or accessible to more than one location at a time. If it can be true in nature of human nature, then given a miracle it doesn’t see impossible for it to be true. What you need to do is revise the claim with respect to the body alone and give an argument for that conclusion.

I asked you to explain how, if divine properties cannot be transferred to human nature, the humanity of Christ enjoys the divine glory and then the divine immortality after the resurrection. I can’t see anything you’ve written that explains this. Was the divine glory not really communicated to Jesus’ flesh or was it not really the divine glory but something created as an analog to it or some third option you have yet to articulate?

As for the Nestorian charge, actually I talk about quite a bit of things with Reformed persons such as the Filioque, predestination, free will, the metaphysics of soft determinism and libertarianism, interpretative methodologies, apologetic methodologies, apostolic succession, theosis, monothelitism and monoenergism. But even if it were my favorite hobby horse, I am not clear on how it being so implies that the claim is false or counts as a demonstration that it is so.

As for your reference to Bp Ware. I don’t take Bp Ware to be the pope. He can and has erred on a number of occasions. He is not to my knowledge a specialist in this area. That said his comments are ambiguous and misleading. They are true in so far as Nestorius never explicitly states a Two Son theory as did Theodore of Mopsuestia, but that is irrelevant since he was and he took Cyril to be also, responsible for the implications of the doctrine he proposed. So while its true that the Assyrians and Nestorius do not explicitly teach a Two Son Christology, it is also true that the Christology put forward by them is significantly deficient.


Asking you, is Jesus a divine and human person or not, is not a loaded question in the sense of the fallacy of a complex question. It is a genuine theological question and one legitimate to ask, especially in the context of someone making a charge against another tradition’s Christology. This is especially germane when the person seems to wish to evade the question. If you find the question unclear, then you should answer it and show where and how the question is deficient.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology (cont.)

Lots of Christological positions could say Jesus is “the God-man” and mean something entirely heterodox by it, even on Reformed standards, so your response is entirely insufficient to address the question. Does Jesus’ hypostasis come into existence at any time? Does his hypostasis change per se at any time or logically? Is it the result of the union or what effects the union? If you adhered to Chalcedon, as adherents of the Reformation have historically claimed to do, the answer would be that Jesus is always and only a divine person into which human nature is assumed without any intrinsic change in the divine hypostasis or person. Do you agree or no?

You wrote: “Is He not a human hypostasis and a divine hypostasis, in union? Hypostatic Union?”

Here it seems to me that you are using hypostasis in terms of nature rather than person. If so, then this is not what the concept of the hypostatic union is, since we would need to know what unites the two natures. It would have to be something other than the natures. If you mean by hypostasis, person, then you have a form of extreme Nestorianism (Two Persons) or Eutychianism (One new Person/nature) since either there will be two persons or a mixed new kind of person neither human nor divine.

I do not mean to be rude or condescending, but it seems the right method would be to find out what the Hypostatic union is before you charge Catholics with violating it as you did in your post. The doctrine of the hypostatic union is as I glossed above that the divine person of the Son assumes human nature into his divine person, making it his own, enhypostacizing it and the nature enhomizing the divine person without any loss of each essences distinctive properties so that there are two wills as well as two intellects in the one divine person of Christ and without any intrinsic change in the hypostasis per se.

I must confess it seems not a bit ironic that you are charging Catholics with Monophysitism when you don’t seem to have a fundamental grasp of Chalcedonian Christology and the Hypostatic union in particular. To help you remedy this, I’ve posted some notes on the heresy of Nestorianism and Nestorius teaching. http://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2010/02/14/some-notes-on-the-christology-of-nestorius/


You ask what relevance my asking what unites the natures has. Well I would think that given your charge against Catholics of Monophysitism it has great relevance, especially if your own position falls into Monophysitism or Nestorianism. People in glass houses…


You write that you never claimed that the essences of creatures can’t be replaced but only that doing so would result in monophysitism. But it seems to me that that is the implicit conclusion of such an argument, one can replace the essences on *pain* of monophysitism but monophysitism is false or unacceptable and so they can’t. Modus Tollens-If P, then Q, Not Q, therefore Not P.

As for alternative terms to Theotokos being acceptable to monotheists that is not relevant since the context here is Christology and not all Monotheists are professing Christians. So the context is one of acceptable terms in the sphere of Christology. A terms’ permitting adherence and use by Adoptionists or Monothelites or any other Christological heretics, when the term is to function as a shibboleth shows that the term is inadequate.

Acolyte4236 said...

Viisaus,

Your citation of Nestorius doesn’t actually work for your point but for mine and here is why. Nestorius takes nature or hypostasis to be an instantiation of an essence or to put it in Aristotelian terms, a substance in Aristotle’s first sense of that term. Consequently a “hypostatic union” for Nestorius would imply a mixture of natures where one nature obliterates and replaces the other.

“For Nestorius it was this tendency to absorb or evaporate away the human reality in the face of the divine that was the chief deficiency of Apollinaris’ heresy, and like Gregory Nazienzen before him he attacked such presuppositions on soteirological grounds, for a theory of incarnation that wiped away the human reality in the advent of the deity constituted not only a failure of revelation theology but an inability to value the extraordinary role which the Christian Gospel gave to human experience in its conception of God’s redeeming work. Nestorius taught that such ‘absorption theory’ in Christology was sub-christian or mythological, inevitably involving its proponents in concepts of incarnation based upon Krasis or mixture. He was ever on the look out for the ‘mixture’ or ‘confusion’ of divine and human spheres of reality in Christological discourse, and regarded this as the most serious deficiency of Cyril’s work. He regarded all sense of ‘mixture’ as inevitably connoting change, and even the annihilation, of the individual elements that were so mixed.”
John Anthony McGuckin, St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Christological Controversy, SVS, 2004, 130-131.
Consequently, his remark is in the context of Christology such that a “hypostatic union” as he understood it would entail not only an absorption of the humanity of Christ, but that of Mary also making her essence that of the divine essence. This is why he objected to the term. His concern as expressed in the text you cite was not that of what Protestants would take as impermissible devotional practices or beliefs. This is why also in the Book of Heraclides (55-58) he argues that a “hypostatic union” would involve all three persons of the Trinity, signaling that he is taking hypostasis to do the work of essence or substance in terms of the divine essence.

On the other hand, one should also note that he stated that he could not call a baby of three months his God which seems to be directly contrary to the NT witness, indicates a major Christological failure on his part.

What strikes me as most odd is that I should have to argue with Calvinists for the heterodoxy of a person and position which their own tradition has consistently claimed as such for five hundred years and counting.

Acolyte4236 said...

Viisaus, (cont.)

You are right to note that the question was ultimately about the divine nature of Christ dying, though somewhat wrong since all Christians in the dispute at the time did not think of death as a perishing since they believed in an after life. The reason why he took the suffering of the subject to amount to a suffering of the divine nature was that he confused the two, by taking “hypostasis” to mean primary substance in Aristotelian terms, an individual thing or an instance of a nature. It is only in this way that his worry could be motivated. But Cyril’s position doesn’t entail or imply that the divine nature undergoes change or is caused to be what it is by the suffering of the eternal Son. (See Gavrilyuk, The Suffering of the Impassible God, Oxford, 2006. The divine person can suffer without any alteration in the divine essence.


As for the reference to Svendsen, his writing here is outside his area of expertise. Second, he relies on the popular work of Harold O.J. Brown. Brown’s area of expertise was Reformation history, not the early church, let alone the Nestorian controversy. Brown’s work suffers from a number of problems, not the least of which is an over reliance on early and mid century works that sought to rehabilitate Nestorius, but which have largely been shown to be failures. More to the point, Brown’s arguments turn on basic conceptual failures that were key to the debate.

As to Svendsen himself, his position is essentially Apollinarian since he identifies person with soul or nous and then claims that Jesus has two nous united together, which entails that Jesus is two persons. Svendsen has here followed the Lockian understanding of person as consciousness which is not the Chalcedonian position. This is why he sees taking Christ as only a divine person as implying monophysitism or apollinarianism. It would if person or hypostasis was the intellect(nous) or soul, but Athanasius didn’t think so and neither does Cyril and neither does Chalcedon. Therefore, the term Theotokos and saying that Jesus is only a divine person in no way implies either Apollinarianism or Monophysitism. It is true that Apollinarius took Jesus to be only a divine person in human nature, but he meant that person was nous and therefore Jesus couldn’t have a human nous. The problems with Apollinarianism leave untouched the Chalcedonian position which says that Jesus is a divine hypostasis with two intellects and two wills, relative to teach nature.

Saying that God died on the cross or that they “crucified the Lord of glory” is acceptable I by the term “God” we refer to the divine person of the Son. If the Son doesn’t suffer and die for our sins, then all is naught.

Acolyte4236 said...

Viasaus,

Historically in the main you are correct that most adoptionists didn’t think the adopting took place immediately. But this is not true of all of them and in principle, there is no reason why it couldn’t be an adoption from conception.

Moreover, even Nestorius himself argued early on against the use of the term you designate, arguing that it could imply that Jesus was only human or other heresies.

Rhology said...

Hello Acolyte4236,

No, I would not take Jesus' entrance into the heavenly place to sprinkle His blood as symbolic. But that doesn't have a ton of bearing here anyway - "blood" is not quantifiable. I'm talking about Jesus' body and blood being simultaneously multilocational; Heb 9 is not.

But isn’t it also true that living human bodies have and circulate blood too?

Yes; perhaps you missed above where I conceded the point.
And you are just speculating about Elijah and Enoch, BTW.


It seems if Rome’s doctrine is Monophysite, yours is also.

Naked assertions down pat; now you just need an argument.


anthropological materialism such that human nature just is a body and not a soul

Now you've lost me. Where does ROME claim that the elements of the Eucharist include CHrist's soul? Let's stick to the issue at hand. Nobody's been able to so far, but I sorta hold someone like you to a higher standard.



logically your claim doesn’t follow about the impossibility of human nature being present or accessible to more than one location at a time. If it can be true in nature of human nature, then given a miracle it doesn’t see impossible for it to be true.

Now all you need is an argument. Again.


f divine properties cannot be transferred to human nature, the humanity of Christ enjoys the divine glory and then the divine immortality after the resurrection.

I guess Moses and Elijah and Philip the Evangelist had divine properties transferred to them too, then.
Or maybe glorification is not a violation of the human nature. Yeah, I'm gonna go with that one, too.
Besides, how does this address the multilocation point?


As for your reference to Bp Ware. I don’t take Bp Ware to be the pope.

But any sane person would take a Bishop as a better authority to the voice of the church than you, a pop epologist.


Asking you, is Jesus a divine and human person or not, is not a loaded question in the sense of the fallacy of a complex question.

Actually it IS a loaded question since the answer to what you're sort of asking is that Jesus is one person who has a divine nature and a human nature. He is the God-man. Why try to mix that up unless you're trying to slide in some naughty heresy?


Lots of Christological positions could say Jesus is “the God-man” and mean something entirely heterodox by it

Then you simply need to ask me to clarify, which you're doing, kind of. But I don't see why clarifying equates to changing the answer.


Does Jesus’ hypostasis come into existence at any time?

No.


Does his hypostasis change per se at any time or logically?

No.

Rhology said...

a divine person into which human nature is assumed without any intrinsic change in the divine hypostasis or person. Do you agree or no?

Yes.


You wrote: “Is He not a human hypostasis and a divine hypostasis, in union? Hypostatic Union?”

Here it seems to me that you are using hypostasis in terms of nature rather than person.


Sorry, I forgot. Yes, that's what I meant.


since we would need to know what unites the two natures

Well, we could talk about it, but I don't see why we NEED to know that. How would knowing that affect the possibility of Christ's human body being in a gazillion places at one time?


o find out what the Hypostatic union is before you charge Catholics with violating it as you did in your post.

I know what it is, but I know there's pleny more I could learn, of course.
But maybe somebody could actually start explaining how it is that a human body can be in many places at once... So far, I'm answering a lot of questions, but nobody has made a substantive rebuttal to my post. 100+ comments later.
BTW, even if my position is Nestorian, which I of course don't grant and which argument of yours has been thoroughly defanged as far as I've seen, that doesn't change the point of my post. You know that right? So it's very telling that you've spent most of your time riding the same ol' hobbyhorse over and over. Let the poor thing go, seriously.



But it seems to me that that is the implicit conclusion of such an argument, one can replace the essences on *pain* of monophysitism but monophysitism is false or unacceptable and so they can’t. Modus Tollens-If P, then Q, Not Q, therefore Not P.

Call me crazy; I kinda figured that RCs would prefer not to embrace monophysitism, but of course I could always be proved wrong.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology,

I am not clear on what you mean when you say that blood is not quanitifiable. Certainly it is quantifiable. Perhaps you mean its usage as a term in that context. Please clarify.

You write that you are talking abut Jesus’ body and blood being simultaneously multi locational, but I didn’t argue that transubstantiation entails that it is simultaneously multilocational. Let’s look over what I wrote previously.

“Consequently, it seems possible for the human body, divinely empowered to be **accessible** and participatable **to a plurality of locations** without being spatially limited to any one of them.”

Here I am not suggesting that the body is in more than one place, but only in one place. I am suggesting then that many places can access one body or rather that the one body can be accessible from many places. So take one way of thinking about God’s omnipresence. God is not in every place as in spatial location, but every place is present to God and hence God’s access to every location immediately without being located in or circumscribable by any of them.

It therefore seems logically possible for a body to be in one and only one place but for it by divine power to be accessible from many locales. This view denies that Christ is in more than one place at a time qua body but that his body is still accessible to many different agents.


If living human bodies have and circulate blood too, then the view that you seem now not to hold, would be a kind of monophysitism. You wrote that my remarks constituted assertions, but I think you missed the construction, which was in the form of a conditional with an implied argument. If a union with divinity entails the removal or replacement of something essential to an object then this is a form of monophysitism. Christ post resurrection lacks blood and blood is essential to a human body. Therefore this is a form of monophysitism. If given the above Rome’s view is monophysite, your view would be monophysite also.

I don’t think I am speculating about Enoch and Elijiah. They were taken up as living human beings and as you keep asserting, living human beings have such and so properties and have now conceded that they have blood. If so, either you are speculating with me or your argument about what is essential to a human body is also speculating.

As for anthropological materialism, let me try to clarify. If you wished to maintain the conceptual overlap between human nature and the body and evade the force of my earlier criticism, one way of doing so would be to deny the soul as a constituent of human nature since my criticism turned on the soul being part of human nature. This would be to embrace some form of anthropological materialism.

As for Rome claiming that the transubstantiation includes the presence of Christ’s human soul, they say it often enough and since I don’t really have a dog in that fight, I’ll leave that for Catholics to defend.

Actually I gave an argument from human nature via the soul. Your claim was, as stated about what was possible for human nature. I gave a counter example. You then retreated that you were being “sloppy” and conflated human nature in a co-extensive manner with the body. Consequently you conceded the point implicitly.

I freely grant that Moses, Elijah, Philip all partook of divine properties. I think everyone in the general resurrection will too in terms of immortality. What I asked from you was an explanation of how if human nature cannot partake, participate or bear divine properties the seemingly clear examples when they do, such as the transfiguration of Christ. Let’s take 2 Peter for example.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology,

“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.” 2 Pet 1:16ff.

Now Peter says that they saw the majesty. What is it that they saw and what was the relationship to the flesh of Christ if divine properties cannot be conveyed to human nature? The Synoptics have pretty much the same account of seeing God’s glory with their eyes. What was it on your account?

I agree that glorification is not a violation of human nature, but I don’t understand how your claim that it isn’t is an explanation of how it isn’t a communication of divine properties to human nature. Saying it isn’t a violation of human nature isn’t a demonstration that it isn’t.

Sure lots of sane people would assume as much, but why think I am a “pop apologist?” I have my own earned degrees in a relevant field. Second, plenty of major theologians in the Orthodox Church have been laymen who challenged bishops, particularly patriarchs, far above Bp. Ware’s position. Moreover, the question is not who is speaking authoritatively, since Bp. Ware was giving an academic lecture, but who is correct. I gave reasons why and how his comments were in part correct, but could also be misleading. Its fairly common knowledge among a good many Orthodox clergy and laity that I have known that this is not the first time this has occurred.

I am not trying to “mix it up”, but rather trying to get a clear answer as to what you in fact believe. My question wasn’t loaded in that any answer would be blameworthy, such as, “have you stopped beating your wife?” would entail. I clearly think there is a correct answer. If you think I am trying to “slide in some naughty heresy” which heresy do you take me to be sliding in? And whatever it is, I think you need to give some demonstration that that is what I was in fact trying to do.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology,

I believe I have been trying to get clarification repeatedly. Thanks for the clarification. The clarification doesn’t entail changing the answer, it entails showing me that you are ruling out Christological heterodoxy by the terms you used in the past. “God-man” is perfectly acceptable, once it is know what is meant. But since it can hide various heterodox understandings, clarification was required, especially in light of the Reformed dissent from Chalcedon. This is why I have asked what you mean of say WCF 8.2 when it seems to teach and historically to be taken to teach that Jesus is a divine and human person? Perhaps you don’t adhere to the WCF or say the 2nd Helvetic Confession. I don’t know. But if you do, it’d be helpful to know how you square your now clearly Chalcedonian profession that Jesus is only a divine person with those statements and historical understandings. If you reject them as inaccurate then it seems that your own tradition is guilty of major Christological error on the level that you have been accusing Rome of. That seems to be problematic.

You state that you don’t see why we’d need to know what unites the two natures. This was necessary in the context of taking hypostasis in terms of nature. There could be two natures side by side so to speak but that wouldn’t constitute a union or at best an extremely weak one. In general it is necessary to know to see if you adhere to major Christological error yourself or not.

As I noted before, I don’t see why a locally circumscribably body can’t be accessed from many different points of space. That seems to accommodate the properties you take to be essential to human nature without seemingly violating at least that part of transubstantiation.

Since the Reformed tradition has historically dissented in the main from Chalcedon, viewing the person of the mediator as a product of the union, and hence Christ is “out of” two natures, rather than in two natures and such a view is Nestorian or at least significantly Nestorianizing, and I took you to be arguing from a Reformed position, my argument was spot on. Now we only require an explanation of how you square your dissent from the Reformed Confession with what you confess is a Christological error on their part by implication from what you have clarified as the correct teaching about Christ.

If you take it that RC’s would prefer not to embrace monophysitism, then the gloss I gave of your argument was correct and the claim that the essences cannot be replaced was implicitly made by you.

CathApol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CathApol said...

I have posted a fuller response to Alan's original article here:

http://cathapol.blogspot.com/2010/02/transubstantiation-question-ii.html

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

Rhology said...

Acolyte4236,

I am not clear on what you mean when you say that blood is not quanitifiable.

Sorry, meant that you can't count it: 1, 2, 3...
What I meant above was that I would not take Jesus' entrance into the heavenly place to sprinkle His blood as symbolic. But that doesn't have a ton of bearing here anyway - there's no requirement for HOW MUCH blood He needed to sprinkle. Fine, it was real substantial blood; doesn't mean it was the same atoms as were spilled at Calvary.



Here I am not suggesting that the body is in more than one place, but only in one place.

Then you're not arguing what the RCs are arguing. That's why I find your intercession a bit strange.


God is not in every place as in spatial location

Again arguing differently than the RCs (and Lutherans).


It therefore seems logically possible for a body to be in one and only one place but for it by divine power to be accessible from many locales.

I don't see much of a problem with that. It's not, however, RC dogma.



one way of doing so would be to deny the soul as a constituent of human nature since my criticism turned on the soul being part of human nature.

But that's not particularly relevant to my critique of RC transub. So again, I'm wondering why discuss it?


What I asked from you was an explanation of how if human nature cannot partake, participate or bear divine properties the seemingly clear examples when they do, such as the transfiguration of Christ. Let’s take 2 Peter for example.

2 Peter 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge...

This is so like EOdox - take a quick aside out of context and build an entire edifice on it! Theosis is not what Peter is discussing here - he's talking about godly living, and throws in a mention of how God is our example and has given us His divine love as quality - escaping corruption caused by lust, b/c God has given us power to resist lust and thus corruption.


What is it that they saw and what was the relationship to the flesh of Christ if divine properties cannot be conveyed to human nature?

Already answered that above: Seems to be similar to the shining of Moses' face. A prefiguring glimpse into the glorification of Christ, His post-Resurrection body.


the question is not who is speaking authoritatively, since Bp. Ware was giving an academic lecture, but who is correct.

When convenient, you switch away from discussions of authority to questions of correctness. I love your disingenuous approach to dissension within your own ranks.

Rhology said...

If you think I am trying to “slide in some naughty heresy” which heresy do you take me to be sliding in?

Probably Docetism, if your other Sola Ecclesia friends' positions are any indication. But I'm unwilling to speculate anymore and unwilling to answer questions with incorrect Christology just b/c you ask a bad question.


This is why I have asked what you mean of say WCF 8.2 when it seems to teach and historically to be taken to teach that Jesus is a divine and human person?

It means that Christ is one person with two natures, one divine and one human. The divine nature has always been; He has always been the 2nd person of the Trinity. He took on a human nature at the time of the Incarnation and evermore will have it. He's unique, the God-man. It's very straightfwd Reformed doctrine, what I express here.


your now clearly Chalcedonian profession that Jesus is only a divine person with those statements and historical understandings.

??? Where did I say that Christ is "only a divine person"? He is a person of the Trinity, just like the Holy Spirit and the Father, but He also has a divine nature. It is 100% correct to say that He is divine. It is also 100% correct to say that He is human.


Since the Reformed tradition has historically dissented in the main from Chalcedon, viewing the person of the mediator as a product of the union

Alot more ink has been spilled on that by men who are both smarter and more interested in the topic than I, on TurretinFan's blog and at Triablogue. I'd suggest responding to their points.

Peace,
Rhology

Viisaus said...

There is yet another way through which RCC dogmas promote Monophysitism - this one I actually learned from a militant EO site! :)

http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_roman_catholics_evils.shtml


"9. Her Denigrating and Dehumanizing Pseudo-Glorification of the Theotokos
...

"The Papacy teaches that the Virgin Mary's nature was never fallen, never had any kind of corruption, bodily or spiritual, as is the lot of Adam and his descendents, but was always united perfectly to God, incapable of sin, and divinized (at least in a Roman Catholic sense [cf. 'created grace' above]).

...

Moreover, if she was always absolutely incorrupt or immortal, then how could Christ receive a mortal body from her? If she had a body never having any possibility of passion or temptation, then how did our Savior receive one from her in which He suffered, felt what is natural and blameless, and was tempted? If her nature never received the ability to sin or even be tempted, then did she not have a nature lacking free will, and so our Savior lacked this too? For the teaching says not simply that she had these things suppressed in Her by irresistible grace, but that her nature was preserved from it, that is, it never received it at all. So this false glorification of the most holy Theotokos actually leads to a denial of Christ's real humanity and coessentiality with us and, thus, His redemption of our nature."

Rhology said...

Tee hee, they said "irresistible grace".

John said...

Rhology: "he's talking about godly living, and throws in a mention of how God is our example and has given us His divine love as quality - escaping corruption caused by lust, b/c God has given us power to resist lust and thus corruption."

Sounds like an adequate description of Theosis to me.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology,

As for the body being accessible from multiple points of space and this not being Catholic theology, I’d like you to support the claim that they are committed to a circumscribable illocal presence.


As for God not being in every place as in spatial location, that is not arguing differently than the Lutherans, Catholics or the Reformed for that matter. They all more or less gloss omnipresence the same way because they all inherited more or less the same Platonic metaphysical gloss. You can read any major Reformed or Lutheran systematic text on omnipresence to see that this is so. It is not controversial between traditions.


Given that the Catholic dogmatic definitions deny a natural mode of presence I find your claim that I am arguing something in principle inconsistent with their view implausible. Please support your claim here.

As for your “sloppy” gloss using human nature interchangeably with body, my remarks were germane since your claim was conceptually confused and so your critique missed its intended target.

When I asked you to explain how divine properties were seemingly conferred on human agents in biblical accounts and referred to 3 pet, I didn’t refer to 2 Pet 1-3. I explicitly referred to 2 Peter 1:16ff. I quoted the passage in full as well, but you seemed not to have read it and assumed I referred to 2 Pet 1:4. Please address the passage I referred to and explain how the seemingly divine eternal glory is in fact not conveyed to Christ’s flesh.

As for your remarks of “so like the “EOdox” I am not sure how that aids your argument. Accusing me of something without a demonstration doesn’t seem either fair or rational, especially when you stereotype and accuse me of immorality. You may think I am wrong, but I’d please ask you to refrain from making remarks about my motives and character, as they are not relevant to the arguments.

As for your gloss on 2 Pet 1:3ff I can’t see how anything you wrote contradicts the doctrine of theosis and being partakers of the divine nature. The most recent monograph with fairly detailed exegesis by James Starr, who is not Orthodox, supports our reading as well. If you think God gives us power, is that divine power or a created power? If the former, is that divine power God or something else divine other than God? If you think it is a created power, how does that not posit a created intermediary between us and God?


As for what the disciples saw, you have not answered that. Did they see something divine and uncreated or something created? The case of Moses only moves the question back to that case. Did the people that saw Moses’ face see something created or uncreated? If created, is God’s glory created or uncreated in your view?

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology (cont.)

I have made no secret of disagreements with Bp. Ware’s writings in the past so this is hardly new. Second, I don’t believe we were arguing over the nature of authority and consequently I didn’t invoke it as part of my argument. We were arguing over Christology and the eucharist. So I haven’t “switched” from authority to what the facts of the matter are. Third, I am perfectly free to disagree with a bishop in my own church within certain bounds. As I’ve noted previously, some of the best theologians of the church have been laymen. Fourth, the infallibility of the church in the episcopate functions or is actualized in specific conditions and when Ware was speaking, that wasn’t one of them. Fifth, you make moral accusations against me accusing me of being “disengenous” and I’d ask you to stick to the arguments rather than making personal remarks. After all, if the arguments and truth is what matters, then personal remarks aren’t necessary.

Why would you think that I was trying to “slide in” Docetism by maintaining that Christ is only a divine person and that Christ is present in the elements? That might only imply docetism if I thought Christ’s presence there was substantial and I adhered to transubstantiation and I thought that such a presence entailed the replacement of the essences of the elements, but I am Orthodox and not Catholic and have repeatedly denied the above. Persons aren’t substances as they are in Catholic and Protestant theology.

As for my supposed “Sola Ecclesia” friends and their position, I am afraid you’ll need to judge my position from well…my position and not the Catholic position. ShallI judge the Reformed position from what the Lutherans hold?

As for you stating you are unwilling to answer questions or objections regarding Christology, do you mean to say that you expect Catholics to do so when challenged but you don’t bear any burden to do so when you are challenged on Christology? If so, that is a clear case of special pleading.

If you think I ask a “bad question” then you need to demonstrate in terms of an argument that it is so. Moreover, it is a legitimate question discussed in most Reformed systematic theology texts as well as across the board in Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist and Orthodox texts. If you don’t believe me pick up a few and start reading the sections on Christology.


If WCF 8.2 means that Christ is one person with two natures, why does it say that the person is both human and divine? So for example when say Gordon Clark says that Jesus is both a human and divine person he is misinterpreting the Confession in your judgment? As for your gloss on the incarnation, its quite compatible with Eutychianism, Monophysitism, Apollinarianism or Nestorianism. An adherent of any of those positions could agree with it in full.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology (cont.)

Since you seem confused about what the questions I asked entailed, let’s go over them again.

I asked, Does Jesus’ hypostasis come into existence at any time? To which you replied “No.”

I asked, Does his hypostasis change per se at any time or logically? To which you replied “No.”

a divine person into which human nature is assumed without any intrinsic change in the divine hypostasis or person. Do you agree or no?

To which you replied “Yes.”

Now, if Jesus’ person or hypostasis never comes into existence, then he is obviously a divine person/hypostasis. If his person never changes per se, then the incarnation can’t make his hypostasis or person a divine and human person. Consequently, you implicitly agreed that Jesus is always and only a divine person. Q.E.D.

But you seem to wish to deny this when you write “…, but He also has a divine nature. It is 100% correct to say that He is divine. It is also 100% correct to say that He is human. “

Jesus having a human nature would only serve as a denial of the thesis that Jesus is always and only a divine person if nature was the same thing as person. Do you assert then that person and nature are the same thing or no?

Oh, I am sure that a lot of ink has been spilled on it, but the same is true from some of the best minds during the scholastic period, such as Scotus, Albert, Aquinas, et al. Does that imply that Catholics are justified in ignoring your remarks too because after all, a lot more ink has been spilled on that by men who are both smarter and more interested in the topic than I?”

So far as I have seen Turretinfan hasn’t really engaged me and not on this question. Steve on the other hand seems to uphold the idea that Jesus is both a human and divine hypostasis, following the Reformed Nestorianizing dissent from Chalcedon. In any case, if you do not wish to defend your own Christological commitments from objections, then I suppose since this is your blog, we will have to leave the matter there.

Acolyte4236 said...

Viisaus,

Actually the heresy you have in mind is not monophysitism but monothelitism and monoenergism, which deny two wills and two energies in Christ. I’ve made that argument against Rome for a number of years. Its no great secret, but in principle there is no fundamental difference between Rome and Geneava here since Rome’s monergism/monoenergism with Mary is different really only in the number of members of the set from that of Calvinism, hence Calvinism is also Monoenergistic and Monothelite. Mary is irresitably predestined for Rome and lots of other people are for the Calvinists, Mary perhaps included. Besides, Scotism, Thomism and Molinism all entail a denial of libertarian free will and at least the first two are explicitly monergistic about the first move relative to God.

As to what the site you refer to says, they in fact have it in part wrong. If the ability to sin was entailed by free will, then this implies the heresy of monothelitism and monoenergism, since Christ, who cannot sin as a divine person would not have a free will. Free will entails choosing between a plurality options, it doesn’t entail choosing between good and evil options only. And her nature could never receive the possibility to sin for a very simple reason, natures don’t sin, let alone make choices, persons misuing their natural powers sin and make choices. Sin is in the person and not the nature.

Viisaus said...

"Mary is irresitably predestined for Rome and lots of other people are for the Calvinists, Mary perhaps included. Besides, Scotism, Thomism and Molinism all entail a denial of libertarian free will and at least the first two are explicitly monergistic about the first move relative to God."


You mean they were non-Pelagian, pointing out that it's "not that we loved God, but that He loved us" (1 John 4:10)?

Out of curiosity, how many anathemas have EOs issued against the heresy of Pelagius, as compared to the heresy of not bowing down to images?

Acolyte4236 said...

Viisaus,

I am not exactly clear on who “they” refers to in your first question. But as far as predestination goes Rome and Geneva aren’t worlds apart. They are both monergists with respect to the first movement of the will towards God. They differ on whether subsequent human activity can be included in the justifying work of God or not. To think that it can be is not Pelagianism or Semi-Pelagianism, but Augustinian. The Protestant position is a later development of an Augustinian theme. In any case, Rome isn’t Pelagian.

In any case, Mary’s Immaculate conception is just an instance of personalistic predestination. Which is one reason the Orthodox reject it.

Your second question commits two fallacies. First it is a complex question and second it begs the question-it assumes that veneration is heterodox. In point of fact, Pelagianism was condemned at the Council of Ephesus along with Nestorianism and then that condemnation was routinely repeated at other councils along with various other heresies. Pelagianism is considered heterodox by the Orthodox, which is why we reject the Reformed idea that Adam was created naturally righteous.

Viisaus said...

"it assumes that veneration is heterodox"

The totalitarian-spirited 2nd Nicene Council (that really resembled a Stalinist show-trial, right down to cringingly self-accusing recantations of former iconoclasts) was not content with declaring "the veneration" of images as orthodox - it declared the NON-veneration of images as damning heresy.

Iconodules were not content with having icons for themselves, they cursed all those who would NOT have them.


"which is why we reject the Reformed idea that Adam was created naturally righteous."

What else was pre-lapsarian Adam supposed to be?

Acolyte4236 said...

Viisaus,

Your remarks leave my arguments regarding the fallacious reasoning you put forth untouched.

Second, suppose your remarks are right for the moment. Ephesus and Chalcedon which the Reformed profess weren’t any less “totalitarian-spirited.” Do you reject their conclusions on that basis as well or label them as “totalitarian” as also? Second, the iconoclast councils were far more “totalitarian.” Moreover, the Iconoclast emperors massacred thousands of iconodules by torture and other means. Third, “totalitarianism” is a product of modern ideologies and so it is somewhat anachronistic to label such behaviors “totalitarian.” Fourth, Nicea and other councils declared a refusal to profess their doctrinal judgments heresy too, so then the issue isn’t that 2nd Nicea did so, but that you simply reject their judgment. In which case, its not the condemning of a refusal to venerate that you find objectionable per se, but the idea of veneration. But we already knew that so your remarks do not advance any new substantive argument. Fifth, the recantations are only problematic theologically if what they profess was wrong, but this is simply question begging since I do not grant as much. While you are certainly free to think that they were, that doesn’t amount to an argument or demonstration that they were. Sixth and to bring it back around to the issue of this post, the issues at 2nd Nicea were Christological, specifically over the issue of the resurrection of the body or of the flesh and whether matter could be God-bearing or not. The Iconoclasts argued that matter could not be God-bearing and was “worthless” and that there was only a resurrection of the body, but not the material flesh, which was why images of persons now dead were impermissible. No image could accurately denote or refer back to a physical prototype. Now if matter cannot be God-bearing, then certainly there can be no incarnation along Chalcedonian lines or a resurrection of the flesh. And if that is so, well then Christianity is a sham

As to your second question, I’ll take your question as an affirmation of the view that Adam was created naturally righteous. As of what else he was supposed to be, how about naturally good, but personally innocent? Righteousness entails personal activity and since Adam didn’t pre-exist his embodiment, he couldn’t have any. More to the point to posit personal righteousness as natural conflates the categories of person and nature. In any case, the view is Pelagian and was picked up from some of the Ockahmists.

Viisaus said...

"The Iconoclasts argued that matter could not be God-bearing and was “worthless” and that there was only a resurrection of the body, but not the material flesh, which was why images of persons now dead were impermissible. No image could accurately denote or refer back to a physical prototype. Now if matter cannot be God-bearing, then certainly there can be no incarnation along Chalcedonian lines or a resurrection of the flesh. And if that is so, well then Christianity is a sham"


I know this crude caricature of the Iconoclast position. You have faithfully parroted the official party-approved EO version of what happened in the dark 8th century AD.

Iconodules could not admit that iconoclasts might have been right about even a tiny detail. They shouted them down instead of trying any sort of loving compromise, respecting the scruples of "weaker brethren" (Romans 14) like real Christians would have done.

Acolyte4236 said...

Viisaus,

If you claim it’s a caricature, then you need to support your claim. So far, all I have seen is a bald claim. Whether I have parroted a view or not says nothing as to whether that view is true or not. Young children parrot their math instructors, but everything coming out of their little mouths in the act of parroting is true. So you need to show that my view is false. So far, all I have seen is another bald claim. So you need to make arguments rather than cast aspersions on my character as I am some mindless moron.

Even if the iconodules could not admit that the iconoclasts might have been right on some points, that doesn’t amount to a demonstration that the former weren’t correct in the main. And again, all you have done is make a claim and not give a reason to think the claim is true. So its another unsupported claim on your part. More to the point, the gloss I gave concerning matter is supported by specialists in the field, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox, whether Giakalis or Elizabeth Clark for example.

As for the “weaker brother” line of thought, following the Pauline thinking, the weaker brother’s beliefs are in fact false. Eating the food doesn’t render you unclean. It is a prudential matter as how to handle his false belief. If as you have done, you claim that the iconoclasts were the weaker brothers, then this implies that the iconoclast belief was false and the iconodules were right but merely handled it in an imprudent manner. Consequently, not only does this concede the case in principle to the Orthodox position, it contradicts your position.

Rhology said...

Acolyte4236 said...
As for the body being accessible from multiple points of space and this not being Catholic theology, I’d like you to support the claim that they are committed to a circumscribable illocal presence.

That who/what are committed to it? Sorry, the antecedent is not clear.


As for God not being in every place as in spatial locatio

AGAIN changing the terms of the question. We're talking about Jesus, the God-man, not simply "God".


Given that the Catholic dogmatic definitions deny a natural mode of presence I find your claim that I am arguing something in principle inconsistent with their view implausible.

You sure like to use unnecessarily pedantic language. I can't help but think it's part of your epologist schtick. Make you look smarter than you are.
This is the 1st time you've used the term "natural mode" or "natural mode of presence" in this convo, so you'll need to explain precisely what you're getting at.
Bottom line - the Roman dogma is that Christ's body is REALLY SUBSTANTIALLY PRESENT IN THE EUCHARISTIC HOST. It doesn't need to be any more complicated than that.


Please address the passage I referred to and explain how the seemingly divine eternal glory is in fact not conveyed to Christ’s flesh.

Just like with Moses' glowing face, divine glory was GLIMPSED, SEEN thru Christ. Doesn't mean that Moses' face was divinised.
BTW, if you ARE in fact arguing for some kind of divinised human nature in Christ, wouldn't that be, you know, one divine nature in Christ? What precisely about Christ would actually be human?


If you think God gives us power, is that divine power or a created power?

Divine.
If you think God gives us divine power, does it divinise our human nature? If so, what remains of the human nature such that it is human nature and not divine nature?


I have made no secret of disagreements with Bp. Ware’s writings in the past so this is hardly new.

I'm only too happy to see more evidence of the dissension within EOC's ranks.


I am perfectly free to disagree with a bishop in my own church within certain bounds.

Sure, like what is and isn't heresy. Just keeeeeeeep talking.


Why would you think that I was trying to “slide in” Docetism by maintaining that Christ is only a divine person and that Christ is present in the elements?

I'll quote myself:
But I'm unwilling to speculate anymore and unwilling to answer questions with incorrect Christology just b/c you ask a bad question.

Now you're projecting onto ME. You asked a bad question, I called you on it, now you're in full prevent defense.


Persons aren’t substances as they are in Catholic and Protestant theology.

Umm, where have I said that persons are substances?
Actually, I think my argument has been the exact opposite of that.


If WCF 8.2 means that Christ is one person with two natures, why does it say that the person is both human and divine?

Probably b/c the person has a divine nature and a human nature.

Rhology said...

do you mean to say that you expect Catholics to do so when challenged but you don’t bear any burden to do so when you are challenged on Christology?

When it's MY post about ROMAN Christology, I expect Romanists to man up and answer questions about it, not divert the issue at hand.



Do you assert then that person and nature are the same thing or no?

No, they are not the same thing. Remember I said I'd been confused by the word 'hypostasis'?



Consequently, you implicitly agreed that Jesus is always and only a divine person.

I think that's another product of my day-long lapse in memory on the meaning of "hypostasis" as "person".
As I've said, the Incarnation is the most difficult doctrine for me to grasp - it blows my mind wide open. Anyway, now that I think about it, we'd probably have to say that Christ the person when He adds a human nature does change. Wow. Amazing stuff, really.
Not, however, that this affects the argument in the post. You're flitting all around the edges of the question at hand but never sinking your teeth into it. Rather, you've taken the opportunity to critique my Christology. I have patience for such things, but these days I don't have time for it. Either deal with the arguments in the post, or I'll be ignoring you from after this comment.




Peace,
Rhology

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology,

You claimed that the logical possibility of a body being multiply accessible that I offered was not Catholic dogma or consistent with it. This claim was unsupported by you.


When I stated that God was present in every place in a spatial wasn’t any tradition’s view I did so because of your reply. The exact exchange was,

“God is not in every place as in spatial location

Again arguing differently than the RCs (and Lutherans).”

But the Lutherans and Rome do not argue that God is spatially circumscribable. If you meant to refer to the human nature of Christ being present in the mode of spatial location then you should have said that rather than “God.” I was being precise, you were using “God” and the humanity of Christ interchangeably-rather ironic don’t you think.

I don’t like to use “unnecessary pedantic language.” I am using fairly standard technical terms that have been and are used by the Reformed, Lutherans, Anglicans, Catholics and Orthodox for centuries. If you aren’t familiar with the precise terms of the debate, that doesn’t seem to be fair grounds for making personal jabs. Even if I were an arrogant ass, that doesn’t show that my arguments are wrong. As for trying to look “smarter” I may not be the brightest bulb, but I have two earned degrees under my belt in philosophy and I have taught it for the better part of a decade with particular competence in philosophical theology. So I don’t need to prove anything on a blog.

I’ve used “natural mode” with reference to presence because that is part of the question in practically all of the major texts that discuss the objection you raise for about…oh…the last 800 to 1,000 years. It isn’t just the kind of object, but the way it is manifested or its existential mode that is at issue. Again, this isn’t anything new.

Granted that the Roman dogma is that Christ is substantially present, but your objection really only goes through on a certain understanding of the notion of substance that I’d bet real money thoughtful Catholics reject and so your post is an exercise in question begging. So what do you think a “substance” is?

So the divine glory is seen through Christ’s flesh? If so, I fail to see how that is consistent with a denial that divine properties can be communicated to human nature. I think you are also not clear on what divinization entails. It does not entail a mixture of the essences. The problem is that you are thinking that a transfer of properties or qualities entails a transfer or mixing of essences-it doesn’t. It entails a transfer of powers or what historically during the (post-)Chalcedonian period were denoted as energia or energies. So the basic idea is that heat is the energy of fire, but the energy of fire can be transferred to say iron. In a similar or analogous way, Christ’s humanity doesn’t cease to be human, but is divinely empowered. This is why your previous remarks about God giving us divine “qualities” was precisely theosis.


Therefore, divinization of the human flesh of Christ, the making of it immortal for example in the Resurrection, doesn’t imply one divine nature or a mixing of essences. Immortal human flesh is still human flesh, albeit operating by divine power. Hence the way it is, is now different, even if what it is remains the same.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology (cont.)

Disagreements on historical points doesn’t exactly amount to “dissension” any more than it does among Reformed academics and clerics.

So you’re unwilling to defend your own traditions idiosyncratic Christology. As for the “bad” question, it is customary in an argument when you make a charge that you defend it. In what sense was the question “bad?” It is a perfectly coherent question addressed in the works of Hodge, Warfield, Turretin, Vermigli, et al.

I don’t need you to say that persons are substances since you aren’t the sole or representative mouthpiece for Reformed theology. Start with Boethius.

As for WCF 8.2, historically your understanding is not that of the framers and fairly consistent tradition of interpreting 8.2 along with other Reformed confessional statements on this point. Just to be clear, here’s Reformed academic, Bruce McCormack.

“The unifying ground of these three concerns - the integrity of the natures, resistance against an instrumentalizing of the human nature and the emphasis on the Spirit's ministry in the life of Jesus - was found in the Reformed understanding of the person of the union. There is, you see, an ambiguity at the heart of the Chalcedonian Definition where the "Person" is concerned. On the one hand, the Definition can say that "the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single person and a single subsistent being." On the other hand, the Definition can say, "he is not parted or divided into two persons, but is one and the same only-begotten Son, God, Word, Lord Jesus Christ..." On the basis of the first formulation, it would seem that the person is formed out of the coming together of the natures. On the basis of the second, it would seem that a straightforward and direct equation is being made of the "person" and the pre-existent Logos as such. It is because of this ambiguity that patristic scholars are, to this day, divided over the question of which party to the controversy actually attained the upper hand at Chalcedon (which already, by itself, would render untenable any simplistic appeal to "Chalcedonian Christology"). There are those who, leaning heavily on the first of these formulations, say that the Formula grants a certain victory to Nestorius. But there are also those who say that it is Cyril's theology which triumphed at Chalcedon. In the first group is to be found Aloys Grillmeier and Brian Daley; in the second, John McGuckin. My own view is that a carefully contextualized reading of the Definition will show that it is the second of these opinions which is correct. But here's the thing: classical Reformed theology clearly stood on the side of the first of these options - not the second...

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology (cont.)

Heinrich Bullinger offers the most extreme example. In his Second Helvetic Confession, he writes, "We therefore acknowledge either two natures or two hypostases or substances, the divine and the human, in one and the same Jesus Christ our Lord." Two hypostases is extreme; indeed, it is something less than orthodox. According to Chalcedon, there is but one hypostasis in which the two natures subsist. What led Bullingerto this conclusion, however, was something that is to be found in the Definition, viz. the idea that the person of the union is formed out of the "coming together" of the natures. The same idea can be found in Calvin(who mistakenly believed that this was the view of all the orthodox Fathers). "Now the old writers defined ‘hypostatic union' as that which constitutes one person out of two natures. This expression was devised to refute the delusion of Nestorius, because he imagined that the Son of God so dwelt in the flesh that he was not man also" (Institutes II.xiv.5). Clearly, Calvin's grasp of Nestorius' views was shaky at best. But he was not wrong to think that the idea that the "person" is formed out of the union had orthodox support - not only in one of the strands of the Chalcedonian Definition but also in later orthodoxy. John of Damascus, whose great work "On the Orthodox Faith" was newly translated into Latin in the early sixteenth century (and pored over by Zwingli), understood the "person" as a "compound person"2 - an idea that finds resonance in the Westminster Confession. "So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ." The "person", according to this teaching, is not simply the Logos as such but is very God and very man - the two natures having come together to form a single person.”

http://aboulet.com/2008/05/20/reformed-christology-and-the-westminster-htfc-report/

You can find the same fundamental interpretation in Muller’s works and a number of other Reformed scholars as well in the primary source material of Reformed Christology for the last five hundred years.

You are right that it is your post, but by reason if Catholics should support their claims and positions, by the same token, so should you. And if it turns out that Catholic Eucharistic theology implies a heterodox Christology, that isn’t much of a win for the Reformed if their own Christology is also heterodox. So I am not diverting the issue. I am just arguing against your own position on the same grounds as you argue against Catholics-Christology. The Reformed notion of the “person of the union” or “person of the mediator” is clearly contrary to Chalcedon, clearly Nestorian and clearly heretical, but that is the consistent reading and intended meaning of WCF 8.2. The idea that the Reformed hold to the Christology of the early church councils is fiction. And it is neither here nor there if Rome is heretical. I am Orthodox and think that already so that I don’t have a dog in that fight. But if on the same grounds Reformed Christology is heretical, well that’s a rather large problem for you it seems. Take your pick, Calvinistic predestination or Chalcedonian Christology-one or the other, because you cannot consistently maintain both.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology (cont.)

I agree that the Incarnation is a difficult doctrine to grasp. But for that same reason it behooves you to grasp it better before you accuse others openly of major Christological error, especially when your own tradition, out of the mouth of its own representative academics and primary sources expressly errs with respect to it. What’s good for the goose…

I am in fact not “flitting all around the edges of the question” since how Eucharistic theology is structured depends on Christology. This is the premise that your own argument depends. This is why my points regarding Christology were quite germane. If the Catholic eucharist theology implies a heretical Christology, by the same principles, Reformed heterodox Christology implies a false Eucharistic theology as well. Consequently, the entire line of Reformed argumentation along the lines of physical limitations is due to a Christological error.

Rhology said...

You claimed that the logical possibility of a body being multiply accessible that I offered was not Catholic dogma or consistent with it. This claim was unsupported by you.

See here, please.



But the Lutherans and Rome do not argue that God is spatially circumscribable.

Yes, I know. They argue that JESUS' BODY AND BLOOD are.



I was being precise, you were using “God” and the humanity of Christ interchangeably-rather ironic don’t you think.

Actually, the first time "spatial location" appears in this thread is in YOUR comment. Here. Maybe try again with that accusation?


I’ve used “natural mode” with reference to presence because

Well, that's all you had to say, now isn't it? Rather than taking the opportunity to humbly let us all know about your education and teaching history?


So what do you think a “substance” is?

"Nature or substance is the totality of powers and qualities which constitute a being; person is the Ego, the self-conscious, self-asserting, and acting subject. There is no person without nature, but there may be nature without person (as in irrational beings). The Church doctrine distinguishes in the Holy Trinity three persons (though not in the ordinary human sense of the word) in one divine nature of substance which they have in common; in its Christology it teaches, conversely, two nature in one person (in the usual sense of person) which pervades both. Therefore it cannot be said: The Logos assumed a human person, or united himself with a definite human individual: for then the God-Man would consist of two persons; but he took upon himself the human nature, which is common to all men; and therefore he redeemed not a particular man, but all men, as partakers of the same nature of substance. The personal Logos did not become an individual anthropos, but sarx, flesh, which includes the whole of human nature, body, soul and spirit." (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 3:751)

I think it's that.


So the divine glory is seen through Christ’s flesh? If so, I fail to see how that is consistent with a denial that divine properties can be communicated to human nature.

B/c the glory was SEEN THRU IT. It was a window, not a possessor/recipient of the nature itself. Much like when Stephen saw heaven opened - the sky didn't suddenly receive the divine nature or become heaven. He saw INTO heaven, thru a miracle of vision, not ontology.


It does not entail a mixture of the essences.

...he said to the guy who's arguing AGAINST monophysite doctrine. Ironic.



In a similar or analogous way, Christ’s humanity doesn’t cease to be human, but is divinely empowered.

And even if I grant that, we never seen Christ's humanity, even when divinely empowered, in more than one place at more than one time, b/c that would be omnipresence - a divine attribute.

Rhology said...

In what sense was the question “bad?”

To explain AGAIN, b/c it does not take Christ's TWO natures in ONE person into acct.



It is because of this ambiguity that patristic scholars are, to this day, divided over the question of which party to the controversy actually attained the upper hand at Chalcedon (which already, by itself, would render untenable any simplistic appeal to "Chalcedonian Christology").

So much the worse for Roman and EO claims as to some kind of patristic consensus or conciliar consensus. It must be hard to be encircled on every side!



Now the old writers defined ‘hypostatic union' as that which constitutes one person out of two natures.

that's how I've always understood it.



if it turns out that Catholic Eucharistic theology implies a heterodox Christology, that isn’t much of a win for the Reformed if their own Christology is also heterodox.

Lord knows you've spilled enough ink on Reformed Christology over the years. I consider you well refuted by the likes of Steve Hays and TurretinFan; that's why I'm loathe to rehash it all here.
And you know what? If it turns out that Catholic Eucharistic theology implies a heterodox Christology, it turns out that Catholic Eucharistic theology implies a heterodox Christology!
Funny how you've taken the backdoor into the tu quoque fallacy. But you're in nonetheless.

Peace,
Rhology

L P said...

I think you are also not clear on what divinization entails. It does not entail a mixture of the essences. The problem is that you are thinking that a transfer of properties or qualities entails a transfer or mixing of essences-it doesn’t. It entails a transfer of powers or what historically during the (post-)Chalcedonian period were denoted as energia or energies.

Just to interject....
I have a strong suspicion that this is what Luther believed when he alluded to the communication of attributes.

That is why I see the Lutheran view as within the catholic (small c) and orthodox (small o) tradition.

LPC

Acolyte4236 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology (cont.)

As for your remarks about my statement that my view doesn’t entail a mixture of essences not being monophysite, I am not clear on where you think the irony lies. Monophysitism denies a plurality of energies in Christ and Eutychianism denied the existence of plural of essences in Christ. I affirm both so my view isn’t either. In fact, if you read Cyril and then a good number of pre-Chalcedonian and post-Chalcedonian fathers, its clear that my view of the transfer of energies or activities from the divine nature via the divine hypostasis to the humanity of Christ was the Chalcedonian view.

Take Athanasius for example, “And as, when we hear of Him as Lord and God and true Light, we understand Him as being from the Father, so on hearing, ‘The Lord created,’ and ‘Servant,’ and ‘He suffered,’ we shall justly ascribe this, not to the Godhead, for it is irrelevant, but we must interpret it by that flesh which He bore for our sakes: for to it these things are proper, and this flesh was none other’s than the Word’s. And if we wish to know the object attained by this, we shall find it to be as follows: that the Word was made flesh in order to offer up this body for all, and that we partaking of His Spirit, might be deified, a gift which we could not otherwise have gained than by His clothing Himself in our created body, for hence we derive our name of “men of God” and “men in Christ.” But as we, by receiving the Spirit, do not lose our own proper substance, so the Lord, when made man for us, and bearing a body, was no less God; for He was not lessened by the envelopment of the body, but rather deified it and rendered it immortal.” De Decretis, 3.14.)

“And it was this that Thomas handled when it had risen from the dead, and saw in it the print of the nails, which the Word Himself had undergone, seeing them fixed in His own Body, and though able to prevent it, did not do so. On the contrary, the incorporeal Word made His own the properties of the Body, as being His own Body. Why, when the Body was struck by the attendant, as suffering Himself He asked, ‘Why smitest thou Me?’ And being by nature intangible, the Word yet said, ‘I gave My back to the stripes, and My cheeks to blows, and hid not My face from shame and spitting.’ For what the human Body of the Word suffered, this the Word, dwelling in the body, ascribed to Himself, in order that we might be enabled to be partakers of the Godhead of the Word. And verily it is strange that He it was Who suffered and yet suffered not. Suffered, because His own Body suffered, and He was in it, which thus suffered; suffered not, because the Word, being by Nature God, is impassible. And while He, the incorporeal, was in the passible Body, the Body had in it the impassible Word, which was destroying the infirmities inherent in the Body. But this He did, and so it was, in order that Himself taking what was ours and offering it as a sacrifice, He might do away with it, and conversely might invest us with what was His, and cause the Apostle to say: ‘This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality.” To Epictetus, 6.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology (Cont.)

Or John of Damascus, “It is worthy of note that the flesh of the Lord is not said to have been deified and made equal to God and God in respect of any change or alteration, or transformation, or confusion of nature: as Gregory the Theologian says, “Whereof the one deified, and the other was deified, and, to speak boldly, made equal to God: and that which anointed became man, and that which was anointed became God.” For these words do not mean any change in nature, but rather the economical union (I mean the union in subsistence by virtue of which it was united inseparably with God the Word), and the permeation of the natures through one another, just as we saw that burning permeated the steel. For, just as we confess that God became man without change or alteration, so we consider that the flesh became God without change. For because the Word became flesh, He did not overstep the limits of His own divinity nor abandon the divine glories that belong to Him: nor, on the other hand, was the flesh, when deified, changed in its own nature or in its natural properties. For even after the union, both the natures abode unconfused and their properties unimpaired. But the flesh of the Lord received the riches of the divine energies through the purest union with the Word, that is to say, the union in subsistence, without entailing the loss of any of its natural attributes. For it is not in virtue of any energy of its own but through the Word united to it, that it manifests divine energy: for the flaming steel burns, not because it has been endowed in a physical way with burning energy, but because it has obtained this energy by its union with fire Wherefore the same flesh was mortal by reason of its own nature and life-giving through its union with the Word in subsistence.” An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 3.17

Consequently to speak this way is not Monophysite. More to the point, given that you mistakenly thought the hypostatic union was two hypostases coming together to form on thing I doubt that you have a clear idea of what exactly constitutes Monophysitism. And I gave a demonstration of why it wasn’t monophysite since there was only a transfer of energies and not essences.

We see Christ’s humanity divinely empowered in Scripture at the very least with the woman with the issue of blood for example when she touches Christ’s flesh and the power goes out of his flesh. Certainly that wasn’t a human power. And again, to be multi-local is not the same as to be omnipresent. If hypothetically I could be here and say in California at the same time, that would be multi-local, but it wouldn’t be omnipresent. The former is more restricted than the latter. Consequently to conflate these two as you do is a mistake. Second, I didn’t claim Christ’s humanity was in more than one place at a time, but rather many places had access to Christ’s body.

Acolyte4236 said...

rhology (cont.)

As I have already made clear, attributes aren’t properties or qualities. Attributes in western theology generally are attributions, predications or judgments we make about an object. Second, Scripture regularly gives us good reasons to think many divine properties are given to the flesh of Christ and by derivation to his apostles and others. God alone is immortal and yet we are made immortal as well in the Resurrection. If we can’t be immortal then Christ’s work is worthless. The corruptible puts on incorruption.

My question wasn’t “bad” because it failed to take into account Christ’s two natures in one person. In fact, it did so and was aimed at weeding out confusions and heterodox glosses of the incarnation. It certainly brought out your confusion regarding the hypostatic union quite nicely. If Christ is only a divine person, this doesn’t fail to take into account the two natures unless one thinks like a Nestorian or Monophysite that nature = person so that to speak of one divine person entails that there is either two natures and two persons or one person and one nature or the person is a product of the union.

As for the citation from McCormack, I think you misunderstand the citation. The reason why Daley and Grillmeier favored the first was that they inherited the Catholic academic reading of the council that saw it as an example of papal supremacy and a triumph for Leo’s Tome and the Christology articulated therein. This reading has largely been put to rest in the last 25 to thirty years thanks to work done by Gray, McGuckin and other scholars. Leo’s Tome did not settle the matter but rather Leo’s theology itself was subject to judgment with Cyril’s teaching being the standard. Academic consensus is not the same as patristic and McCormack is talking about the former and not the latter. What has been done is to show that the Catholic reading that aimed at grounding papal claims in Chalcedon is mistaken. Its quite ironic if you wish to defend that reading though.

Acolyte4236 said...

Rhology (cont.)

Secondly, McCormack says that the evidence does in his judgment teach that there is one divine person and that the older scholars like Grillmeier are wrong. But the problem is that the Reformed view is not supported by Chalcedon.

“My own view is that a carefully contextualized reading of the Definition will show that it is the second of these opinions which is correct. But here's the thing: classical Reformed theology clearly stood on the side of the first of these options - not the second.”

So McCormack indicates that the patristic consensus was expressed at Chalcedon, but it isn’t what the Reformed have thought it was. Hence the situation of being “encircled on every side” is a problem for you since your own scholars indicate that you’re inconsistent in professing adherence to the Christology of Chalcedon.

As for Calvin’s citation relating to the “old writers” and hypostatic union, McCormack shows that Calvin is wrong. That is not how it was understood at Chalcedon or Ephesus for that matter. It was the Nestorians who thought of the person of Christ formed *out of* two natures. So if that is how you have always understood it, then you have always had a Nestorian understanding.

As for being refuted by Turretinfan, he has never engaged my arguments to my knowledge on this point, but evaded them. Just go to his blog and see what he says. As for Hays, well Steve writes more on the topic to be sure, but he essentially concedes the point, which is why he uses terms with mask the error, key terms the Nestorians used as well to hide their views from scrutiny by established precise terms. Just go read our last exchange on this and its pretty clear Steve was obfuscating by using “theanthropos” to address the question of WCF 8.2 and whether Jesus was a divine person only or not. That term can and was historically used to hide heterodox meanings and evade the very question the Fathers put forward to root out the Nestorians. This is one reason why I no longer take Steve to be a sincere and worthwhile dialog partner.


As for the charge of a tu quo que fallacy on my part, it actually isn’t since I don’t adhere to transubstantiation or Catholic Christology. So if it turns out that Catholic Eucharistic theology and the same vice versa with Reformed Christology and Eucharistic theology implies a heterodox Christology that isn’t a problem for me since I am not Reformed or Catholic. So it isn’t a tu quo que fallacy since neither problem is applicable to my views.

John said...

Are the protestants here arguing that the 2nd person of the trinity gave up permanently divine qualities like being in more than one place at once, or do they think he maybe goes astral travelling out of his body when he wants to do that?

Rhology said...

Acolyte,

I do not interact with Steve Hays any longer.

Too bad. I enjoyed your interactions.


I fail to see what your personal remarks about my supposed lack of humility have to do with the concept or the argument.

Yes, it does appear that your irony detector is defective.
I asked you to define "natural mode of presence" in less technical terms, and you responded with arrogance about your studies. It has nothing to do with it, yet we're a bit stuck until you grant my request. Or you could go talk to someone who has some bkgrd knowledge on the topic. Your choice.



your ability to insult people?

Please.



Human bodies are not naturally diaphanous any more than they can be present in more than one location at a time.

Yet I'm not claiming that anythg about the HUMAN changed in that case. Rather, the divine glory superseded it and surrounded it.
Further, we have an example of that occurring in the Bible at least once - Moses' glowing face. But nobody thinks that Moses' nature changed after he was shown a peek of God's hindquarters.



Hence a transfer of properties on your view would entail a mixture or confusion of essences, whereas on mine it wouldn’t.

Which seems to me a very ad hoc and just-so distinction. As Steve Hays has told you before.



I can easily say that the eyes of Stephen were divinely empowered with the divine energies so that he could see more deeply into reality without implying any kind of confusion of essences taking place.

OK, that's fine. I do believe I was the one who introduced Stephen into this convo.
And it wasn't a reductio on MY part; I mentioned him to defeat an opponent's (might've been you, I forget) defeater.


Monophysitism denies a plurality of energies in Christ and Eutychianism denied the existence of plural of essences in Christ. I affirm both so my view isn’t either.

Yet you're arguing so strenuously against me that I can't help but think that you DO have a dog in the fight.



Athanasius citations

I don't know if you think I should be objecting, but those look just fine to me.



John of Damascus: "nor, on the other hand, was the flesh, when deified, changed in its own nature or in its natural properties. "

Oh, you mean like the natural property of unilocality? Couldn't've said it better myself!



Consequently to speak this way is not Monophysite

Which is a meaningless tautology. "To talk in terms of non-monophysitic doctrine is not monophysite." Oh, thanks!



given that you mistakenly thought the hypostatic union was two hypostases coming together

I briefly confused the translation of hypostasis (person) and ousios (nature). But, given the quality of critique we've seen so far in these comments, I'm not surprised you keep kicking the dead horse in the face.

Rhology said...

And I gave a demonstration of why it wasn’t monophysite since there was only a transfer of energies and not essences.

You seem to have more or less forgotten the antecedent of "it", the actual topic at hand.
Why precisely isn't transubstantiation a transfer of essence why is it a transfer of energies?



she touches Christ’s flesh and the power goes out of his flesh. Certainly that wasn’t a human power.

B/c no other human in the Bible ever performed miracles.



If hypothetically I could be here and say in California at the same time, that would be multi-local, but it wouldn’t be omnipresent.

Yes, I know that. It would be multi-local, and no human can do that.



Consequently to conflate these two as you do is a mistake.

Naked assertion duly noted. Now all you need is an argument to that effect.



Second, I didn’t claim Christ’s humanity was in more than one place at a time, but rather many places had access to Christ’s body.

In transubstantiation you'd be hard pressed to make that stick. I have little doubt you'd agree that Roman dogma is hopelessly confused.



Two whole comments on Nestorian Calvinism

Yaaaaawwwn. Go subvert someone else's combox for that.


John,
The former.


Peace,
Rhology

Mazzle (Tyler) said...

Just one comment (and I haven't read through this massive list).
There actually are men and women who have bilocated (been in two places at once). St. Padre Pio is among those.
You can Google "bilocation saints" and find a list of them and these occurrences.

Mazzle (Tyler) said...
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Mazzle (Tyler) said...
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Mazzle (Tyler) said...
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Rhology said...

Well, hopefully you'll forgive me if I find such sketchy accounts far less convincing than the arguments laid out above, that people aren't in two places at once.

You can Google a lot of things and find all sorts of "evidence". Could I recommend you re-examine your belief in such bizarre things?

John said...

Still waiting for a response to my objection Rhology. Is it your contention that Christ gave up permanently his divine qualities like omnipresence? OR, is it your contention that Christ has to leave his human body, go astral travelling, and leave his body like a piece of meat, every time he wants to be our God, and do God-stuff? He just sits moping around powerless in his frail human body, until we need him to be our God, then he pops out of the limitations of his human body, and zips around as a divine spirit, before he has to go home and be human again.

Rhology said...

Is it your contention that Christ gave up permanently his divine qualities like omnipresence?

That's a good question.
I'd have to think it through some more, read some more on it.
Fortunately, I don't have to have an answer to that one to know that transsub is monophysite, because the RC claim is not that Jesus Himself is omnipresent but rather the claim is that His actual substantial body is really present in the Eucharistic hosts.
His body is not omnipresent. That, we can take to the bank.


OR, is it your contention that Christ has to leave his human body, go astral travelling, and leave his body like a piece of meat, every time he wants to be our God, and do God-stuff?

I don't think you've followed the argument very closely.
And what in the world could you mean by "every time he wants to be our God"?


He just sits moping around powerless in his frail human body, until we need him to be our God, then he pops out of the limitations of his human body, and zips around as a divine spirit, before he has to go home and be human again.

Huh?

John said...

Well hang on now Rhology. The crux of your argument is that Christ has a human nature, humans can't be in more than one place at a time, therefore Christ's body can't be present in the Eucharist.

...but...

you aren't willing to state unequivocally that Christ has given up divine qualities like omnipresence - qualities that are (seemingly) completely foreign to being human, and completely at odds (seemingly) with all the limitations that people like you and me are familiar with in being human.

While you are dancing around monophysitism yourself (at least, you are if we take your line of reasoning seriously), it's hard to get too excited about the validity of your criticisms of others. Maybe when you have strength of constitution to take a consistent position on this, then you'll have a firm rock that we can examine.

As far as I see, Christ is not bound by our understanding of human limitation. Walking through walls is one example. Another example would be not being bound by the frail memory that our meagre brains limit us to. How man names can your human brain remember? Is Christ so bound too?

LPC said...

Just my take on this. Where Jesus divinity is, there is his humanity too. You can no longer separate the two. It will be like that for all eternity since the incarnation.

Though God is omnipresent he can for sure only be located through His Son in the Lord's Supper - for the sinner who believes in Christ for the forgiveness of his sins. He does not want us to look for him else where but where he said we will find him, in His Word and in His Sacraments.

Just my $0.02

LPC

Rhology said...

While you are dancing around monophysitism yourself (at least, you are if we take your line of reasoning seriously)

To substantiate this claim, you have all your work ahead of you.



Maybe when you have strength of constitution to take a consistent position on this, then you'll have a firm rock that we can examine.

K.


Christ is not bound by our understanding of human limitation.

Special pleading.


Walking through walls is one example

That was already discussed in the original post.
Now, Christ Himself, at the time of His Incarnation, took upon Himself a human nature and a physical body. At the time of His Resurrection, His body became glorified and immortal; He doesn't necessarily have blood anymore, but He retains flesh and physical tangibility, among other properties. He can perhaps walk through walls, or perhaps not; John 20 simply says, "when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you.'" Maybe He created a key and let Himself in; maybe He knocked and they let Him in; maybe He passed through the door via "teleportation"; the text does not tell us. Obviously He can perform miracles such as walking on water and perhaps passing through walls, disappearing right in front of two disciples at dinnertime on the road to Emmaus, etc, but we never see Christ in more than one place at any one time.

What is your rebuttal?


Another example would be not being bound by the frail memory that our meagre brains limit us to

You have taken a physicalistic worldview to base your question this time. I don't accept the presupposition that memory is entirely dependent on the brain. What is your argument in favor?

Rhology said...

LP Cruz,

Though God is omnipresent he can for sure only be located through His Son in the Lord's Supper

Then why did Stephen see Jesus at the right hand of the Father?
How can an omnipresent being be "located"? Your sentence seems to confuse the issue, because surely you wouldn't claim the Father is located somewhere, would you?
Why did the crucifixion succeed when the Romans would have also needed to put to death the Eucharistic host that Jesus had held up at the last supper?


He does not want us to look for him else where but where he said we will find him, in His Word and in His Sacraments.

I can agree with that, sure, but you're not being entirely forthcoming in this sentence. What do you mean "look for Him"?

John said...

"To substantiate this claim, you have all your work ahead of you."

You won't repudiate the suggestion that Christ is God, and God is omnipresent, therefore Christ is omnipresent. By your line, that is monophysitism. If you want to reject that, or the line of reasoning be my guest.

"Special pleading."

How so? You already were prepared to accept perhaps he can walk through walls, without saying "Special pleading". So you're special pleading by allowing one special pleading uncontested, yet not another one.

In any case, the science boffins tell me that, from a purely secular standpoint, Christ IS physically present in the Eucharest! Why? Because People change the cells in their bodies every 7 years or something, and those atoms get dispersed around the world. Then if you do the math, there's actually atoms of Christ in your body and mine. So they say. If it turns out the math is wrong or whatever, it shows that you don't need too much imagination for Christ's body to be truly present without breaking any laws of physics.

" I don't accept the presupposition that memory is entirely dependent on the brain. What is your argument in favor?"

LOL. You wouldn't find any scientists or biologists to help you here. Not that this is necessarily the absolutely final word, but it's plenty good enough as a default assumption.

Rhology said...

You won't repudiate the suggestion that Christ is God, and God is omnipresent, therefore Christ is omnipresent.

Cool! I can play too!
Christ is God, and God is a Trinity, therefore Christ is a Trinity.
Christ is God, and God is not a man, therefore Christ is not a man.

Very sloppy, John. Try again.


You already were prepared to accept perhaps he can walk through walls, without saying "Special pleading".

For the record, I consider it one of the least plausible options available that He could "walk through walls".
It is special pleading because you're appealing to mystery where there is no need, except to salvage your pet doctrine.


Then if you do the math, there's actually atoms of Christ in your body and mine.

So MY body is present in the Eucharist! Neato.


You wouldn't find any scientists or biologists to help you here.

Darn. I'm crushed to hear this terrible news.



LPC said...

Rhology,

Then why did Stephen see Jesus at the right hand of the Father?
How can an omnipresent being be "located"? Your sentence seems to confuse the issue, because surely you wouldn't claim the Father is located somewhere, would you?
Why did the crucifixion succeed when the Romans would have also needed to put to death the Eucharistic host that Jesus had held up at the last supper?


The resurrected body of Christ is a glorified body, a reality we are not experiencing yet. It can pass walls and can show himself at will, etc. Scripture says, no one takes his life from Him (Christ), he lays it down freely. The question is rationalistic and quite silly, and this is type of rationalism why I am no longer a Calvinist. This is where Lutherans and Calvinists differs aside from some other critical points of views.

You also said
So MY body is present in the Eucharist! Neato.

It would have if you were Jesus, but as we all know you are not Jesus so the rhetorical comment does not work.

LPC

Rhology said...

hi LP Cruz,

We assume Jesus can pass thru walls, but there is no Scriptural example of Him doing so.

So, the question "How can an omnipresent being be located?" is silly and 'rationalistic'?
You say that kind of thing is your reason for being Lutheran, not Calvinist. Lutherans' unnecessary disdain for logic for the sake of preserving their traditions are what keep my Calvinist, not Lutheran.

Of course I am not Jesus but like Jesus, my atoms have been spread all around. I was replying to John on his own terms. Could you please re-read my statement with John's previous comment in mind?

Rhology said...

are what keep *me*

Typo.

John said...

"Christ is God, and God is a Trinity, therefore Christ is a Trinity."

Rhology, I didn't assert that Christ is omnipresent. I just asked you take a position strong enough so that you can be consistent. Either affirm, or deny so that we can take you seriously. If you can't then you are a monophysite sympathiser.

"It is special pleading because you're appealing to mystery where there is no need"

I find that amusing. How very secular humanist of you. You are like those folks presenting very complex scientific arguments about how under the right conditions the Red Sea could be parted if the wind was blowing in the right conditions.

"Darn. I'm crushed to hear this terrible news."

So... you have no biblical argument, and no scientific argument. But, your appeal to "mystery" as regards to the nature of human memory, wins out over hard science!!! You bowl me over!!!

"How can an omnipresent being be "located"?"

God the Father, is located outside space-time, so in that sense it makes no sense to say he is located. But if he wants to locate himself in space time too, whether in some places or all places, in whatever manner he wants, I don't see the problem. To Him, space time is an abstraction, and 2 places 1000 miles apart in his mind may as well be the same place. Most people assume God sees time events simultaneously because he is outside space/time. In the same way he sees different places in a way that they are equivalent. Us humans don't even really grasp what space-time is, and you want to be making dogmatic statements about what the God-man can do in relation to it. Amazing!






Rhology said...

. I just asked you take a position strong enough so that you can be consistent. Either affirm, or deny so that we can take you seriously.

That Christ is physically located in His body, in Heaven?
I affirmed that several times in this post and thread.


I find that amusing. How very secular humanist of you

LOL


blah blah blah

LOL


God the Father, is located outside space-time, so in that sense it makes no sense to say he is located.

At last you said something sensible in this comment.


But if he wants to locate himself in space time too, whether in some places or all places, in whatever manner he wants, I don't see the problem.

That's not very consistent with Hebrews 1 and 2.


To Him, space time is an abstraction, and 2 places 1000 miles apart in his mind may as well be the same place.

This might be worth something if you were arguing the Eucharist is really and substantially the body and blood of the Father.


you want to be making dogmatic statements about what the God-man can do in relation to it.

I'm not the one affirming the real and substantial presence in the Eucharist. You got things backwards.

John said...

Yeah, it would be nice if you acknowledged that you were busted appealing to the notion that memory is not biological, but some kind of mystery, whilst simultaneously complaining that appealing to mystery in the Eucharest is bad. I mean, for crying out loud, that's what it's been called in the church for 2000 years - the holy mysteries, the sacred mysteries. If you want to attack its very foundation, its very definition, you'd better do better than this.

And nobody asked you to affirm if Christ was in his body. You were asked to affirm if Christ, as God, is allowed to exhibit divine attributes such as omnipresence. You waffled on that, because answering either yes or no undermines your entire position. So you waffle instead.

Now if you want to put limits around God and what he can and can't do, you need a pretty good argument to support it. Even on a purely secular level, different parts of space time can in theory be linked together, given enough energy to bend space time.

Christine Erikson (aka Justina) said...

"so it would seem reasonable to conclude that when He talks of "eating my flesh" He means really eating.

Then you believe monophysitism. "

No, this has no bearing. monophysitism also recognizes the limitations of Jesus' physical body.

The real issue is, that as one posted noted, the multiplication of loaves and fishes seems relevant.

That Jesus can "teleport" His Body and Blood somewhere, and in multiple doses, without diminishing Himself.

In Eastern Orthodoxy, The Holy Spirit is invoked to do the transformation, after the words of institution. RC relies on the words of institution alone, and only asks The Holy Spirit to bless the bread and wine and make them able to become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, but does not ask Him to actually make it happen.

Of course Jesus is infinite in His divinity but finite in His humanity, but some of His flesh and Blood can be relocated, in mutliple, per His orders, elsewhere.