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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Debate Over Nestorianism at the God's Hammer Blog

Roger Mann has accurately assessed the situation in his responses to several misled modern students of Gordon H. Clark. I think Roger has hit the nail on the head:

Sean wrote,

No, you said:

"If God merely "takes up residence in a man" but does not "actually become a man," then we are left with no genuine Incarnation"

which would mean that, per you, the Logos actually became a man.

No, not per me, but per Scripture:

"And the Word [Logos] became flesh [i.e., a man or human being]" (John 1:14).

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh…" (1 Timothy 3:16)

"Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same…" (Hebrews 2:14)

The Logos/God "became flesh" by assuming a "human nature" while retaining the "divine nature" — one Person with two distinct natures. That is what Scripture plainly teaches. That is what Christians have always believed and maintained. If you don't believe that "the Logos actually became a man" you are not a Christian; you are a heretic.

However, to do that the Second Person would have to be divested of His deity since the characteristics that make a man a man cannot be simultaneously attributed to God.

You either don't understand the orthodox doctrine of the Incarnation, or you are simply not thinking clearly. The "characteristics that make a man" (i.e., the "human nature") are not attributed to the "characteristics that make God" (i.e., the "divine nature") in the orthodox teaching. In the Incarnation, the divine nature and human nature remain distinct, without confusion and without change, the property of each nature being preserved and concurring in the one Person (i.e., the Logos).

If we agree that the Second Person in his "divine nature" is immutable and cannot die, who or what died on the cross?

The Second Person in unity with His assumed "human nature" died on the cross. Of course, you reject this, for you deny that the Second Person or Logos ever became a man. According to your heretical two-person theory, the "divine Person" is never united with the "human person" in any way. There is merely a "divine Person" and a "human person" mutually indwelling a physical human body — two distinct "persons" with one common physical "body." Thus, only a "human person" was crucified and died on the cross, in direct opposition to Scripture:

"Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." (Acts 20:28)

"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." (1 Corinthians 2:7-8)

And, as John Gill rightly points out, if only a "human person" died on the cross, we have no redemption, no hope, and no salvation:

2d1c. [I]f the two natures in Christ were two distinct separate persons, the works and actions done in each nature could not be said of the same Person; the righteousness wrought out by Christ in the human nature, could not be called the righteousness of God: nor the blood shed in the human nature the blood of the Son of God; nor God be said to purchase the church with his blood; nor the Lord of life and glory to be crucified; nor the Son of man to be in heaven, when he was here on earth: all which phrases can only be accounted for, upon the footing of the personal union of the human nature to the Son of God, and his having but one Person; of which these various things are predicated. Besides, if the human nature of Christ was a person of itself, what it did and suffered could have been of no avail, nor of any benefit to any other but itself; the salvation wrought out in it, and by it, would not have been the common salvation, or common to elect men; but peculiar to that individual human person; and the righteousness he is the author of, he would only have had the benefit of it, being justified by it, and accepted with God in it; whereas, it being wrought out in the human nature, as in personal union with the Son of God, this gives it an enlarged virtue, and spread; and so it comes to be "unto all, and upon all them that believe."

(A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, 5.1.2)

So, again, if the personal quality of Jesus as he hung on the cross and was forsaken by the Father was essentially, if I'm understanding you correctly, animated by the Second Person, then what you're saying is that no real person died on that cross. Have I got it?

No, the Second Person in unity with His assumed "human nature" died on the cross, as I demonstrated above. The Logos is a "real" Person — divine in accordance with His "divine nature" and human in accordance with His "human nature." To quote Gill once again:

To which may be added, that the human soul of Christ is a part of the human nature assumed by him; it is included in the word "flesh", the Word, or Son of God, is said to be made, as will be shown presently; it is a part of that nature of the seed of Abraham, in distinction from the nature of angels, which the Word, or Son of God, a divine Person, took upon him, and into union with him…(see Heb. 2:14,16). (A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, 5.1.1)

Yes, but a divine Person possess "divine qualities," since there is no human person involved I want to know where these "human qualities" come from that we see so evident in the life of Christ? You don't seem to have an answer and I'm quite convinced that the orthodox position doesn't have one either or it would have been provided a long time ago and we wouldn't be here 300 posts later playing theological ring-around-the-rosy.

The reason we're playing "theological ring-around-the-rosy" is because you consistently confuse the category of "person" with "qualities" (i.e., "nature" or "attributes"), as if they are the same thing. They are not. A "person" is a self-conscious substantive entity while a "nature" is a complex of attributes. In other words, a "person" is a principle in its own right, not to be deduced from the "nature." So the "human qualities" so evident in the life of Christ come from the Second Person's "human nature," as I've made clear over and over now. Robert Reymond makes this quite clear:

While it is true that the Definition [of Chalcedon] denies that the Son of God, already a person within the Trinity, took into union with himself a human person, insisting rather that he took into union with himself a full complex of human attributes (the doctrine known as the anhypostasia, literally, "no person"), these fathers would never for a moment have thought of Jesus, as a man, as being an impersonal human being. Jesus was personal, as a man, by virtue of the union of his manness in the person of the Son. In other words, as a person, the Son of God gave personal identity to the human nature which he had assumed without losing or compromising his divine nature. Never for a moment did the man Jesus exist apart from the union of natures in the one divine person, but then this means as well that the man Jesus from the moment of conception was personal by virtue of the union of the human nature in the divine Son. (Systematic Theology, p. 610)

There is nothing confusing, contradictory, or nonsensical about any of this. The only thing that is nonsensical is your heretical fantasy that only a "human person" was crucified and died on the cross, when Scripture plainly states that the "Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8) was crucified on the cross!

Did a nature die on the cross and if so what is a nature and how can it satisfy God's just wrath against sin?

If the Second Person of the Godhead equally shares both sets of "qualities" or "attributes" in the Incarnation (i.e., the "divine nature" and "human nature"), then obviously it wasn't merely a bare "nature" that died on the cross. How many times does this need to be pointed out?

I didn't ask you to fully explain anything. What I asked is how the Second Person could grow in knowledge? I would have thought that was a logical impossibility we both could agree on, but evidently not.

I've already answered that question in plain, easy to understand language. You simply refuse to listen or carefully think through my answer, as is evident by your next question.

Great, got it. But what does this mean? How does a human nature grow in knowledge? I thought human persons grew in knowledge, but evidently not.

Here's my answer once again: "The Second Person did not grow in knowledge according to His divine nature, but He did grow in knowledge according to His human nature." How is that difficult to understand? I never said that a bare "human nature" grew in knowledge; I said that the Second Person grew in knowledge according to His human nature. To be more precise, it was the rational, human soul of Jesus, which derived its personality from the Second Person, that grew in knowledge. "This means that all of the human qualities and powers were present in Jesus, but that the ego, the self-conscious acting subject, was in fact a composite union of the human and the divine" (Wells, Person of Christ, p.108).

But the Second Person is a person. A human nature, it would seem, and whatever that means, is not a person. It's an it.

Yes, the Second Person is a person — and that applies equally to His relationship with the "divine nature" and assumed "human nature." I'll re-quote Gill, as you obviously are having trouble grasping this point:

To which may be added, that the human soul of Christ is a part of the human nature assumed by him; it is included in the word "flesh", the Word, or Son of God, is said to be made, as will be shown presently; it is a part of that nature of the seed of Abraham, in distinction from the nature of angels, which the Word, or Son of God, a divine Person, took upon him, and into union with him…(see Heb. 2:14,16). (A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, 5.1.1)

No, it's just not the Incarnation as you understand it, but from what I can tell your theory does not explain the biblical data and is in large part nonsense.

The two-person fantasy is not an Incarnation period. The Logos never "becomes flesh" or assumes a "human nature" in any sense whatsoever. In other words, the "divine Person" never truly becomes human, but merely takes up residence in the shell of a human body — that is, co-exists side by side with the "human person" in the physical body of Jesus. That is not an Incarnation; that is heresy plain and simple.

So, again, per you Jesus wasn't really a man. He certainly wasn't a real human person. The one the Scriptures calls "the man Jesus Christ" was really an impersonal nature animated by the Second Person so as to appear as if he was a real person who grew in knowledge, thirsted and died. Got it. Thanks for the clarification.

Yes, Jesus was a real man, with a rational human soul, which derived its personality from the Second Person of the Godhead. "This means that all of the human qualities and powers were present in Jesus, but that the ego, the self-conscious acting subject, was in fact a composite union of the human and the divine" (Wells, Person of Christ, p.108). But, since you blatantly reject that, you have demonstrated yourself to be a heretic who denies the Incarnation. Got it. Thanks for the clarification.

So the Second Person was play acting, manipulating this thing called a "human nature" like a person playing with a puppet. Have I got it?

No, all you have is a ridiculous, distorted caricature of the orthodox doctrine of the Incarnation. It reminds me of the Mormon, who after I explained the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity, replied: "So, you believe in a three-headed monster God, is that right?" Yeah, sure, that's right! You got it!

See all comments on this post here.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

1 comment:

Charlie J. Ray said...

We need to guard against Apollinarianism on the one hand where the Logos replaces the reasonable human soul of Jesus and on the other hand of dividing person of Christ into two persons so that we have a human person on one hand and a divine person on the other. To say that only a human person died on the cross for our sins would mean that the wrath of God is not propitiated since only a divine man could possibly pay for our sins.

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