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.]

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, December 01, 2017

Keith Mathison's Response to John Frame's Mutualism

"First lessons in theology, no matter how elementary, do not dare to omit the Scriptural material on omniscience, immutability, and creation. But it would be unfair to the student to leave the impression that all is elementary and easy. While it is conceit to assert that the problem [immutability and divine simplicity] here is insoluble, for no one knows enough to set limits to the implications of Scripture, it is not conceit, it is not even modesty, it is but frustrating fact to acknowledge that even the better attempts to solve this problem leave much to be desired."   -- Dr. Gordon H. Clark

I am always learning but hopefully I am arriving somewhere closer to the truth.  Pun intended.  However, in studying the doctrine of the incarnation and the trinity it has become all the more apparent to me that the problem of God's immutability and how that can be understood in relation to the doctrine of the incarnation of Jesus Christ is one that has not been completely solved even by the late Dr. Gordon H. Clark.  For example, in regards to the doctrine of creation Dr. Clark rightly asked the question of how an immutable God can "begin" to create?  If God is eternally timeless, then how does that work in regards to providential time?  After all, God is eternally omniscient and never learns anything new.  If God looks into the future to learn what will happen and then adjusts His providence to accommodate for contingencies and possibilities, is the future always in flux and is God ignorant of the future?

10. Immutability and Creation.

It would not do, however, to omit from this chapter a discussion of an extremely difficult point that besets the doctrine of creation. The difficulty lies in the apparent antithesis between divine immutability and the single, once­ for­ all act of creation, from which God rested on the seventh day. The history of theology has not overlooked this difficulty, but the solutions proposed are sometimes painfully superficial. 

Augustine did his best with the problem: How can the eternal and immutable produce the temporal and changing? The famous Passage in the Confessions (XI, 10, or 12) begins with the question of the Manichaeans: "What was God doing before he created the heaven and the earth?  If he were lazy and inactive, why, they ask, why did he not remain so for the rest of time, the same as before, doing nothing? If a change occurred in God, a new volition, to create what he had not yet created, how could there be a true eternity, when a volition occurred that had not occurred previously? Indeed, the will of God is not a creature; it precedes every creature; nothing is created without the preexisting will of the creator. The will of God belongs to the very substance of God. If in the divine substance, something comes forth that did not previously exist, that substance cannot be truly called eternal. And if God has always willed the existence of the creature, why is not the creature also eternal?" (cf. City of God, XI, 4­5).

The way the Manichaeans and Augustine understood the problem results in a solution that depends on a theory of time. The first word of Genesis, "in the beginning,” indicates a moment at which creatures first began to exist. Since, now, change defines time, time itself is a creature and began in the finite past. Hence it is wrong to picture God as doing nothing for a long time and then after this time creating the world. There was no time before creation. God is eternal, not temporal. A time preceding creation would pose the question, Why did God choose one moment, rather than an earlier or later moment, in which to create? In an infinite void time, every moment would be indistinguishable from every other. No one more than any other would contain a reason for choosing that one to be the moment of creation. This irrationality therefore precludes an infinite past of empty time. Similarly there could be no infinite empty space, for the same question reappears: Why did God create the world here rather than there? 

Quoted from:  Introduction to Theology, Chapter 4, Creation, by Dr. Gordon H. Clark.  (Pp. 29-30, pdf file). This is an unpublished chapter from an unpublished systematic theology written by Clark.  Thanks to Doug Douma for posting this on his blog, A Place for Thoughts.
Clark openly said that he had not solved this apparent contradiction between God's immutability and His providence in creation:

J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., in his A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion (pp. 40, 42, 47­-48, 52­-53) solves the present problem by denying what previous theologians have called immutability. Buswell of course asserts that God is eternal, but he denies that eternity is timelessness. He objects to the idea of an eternal now, and disapproves of Augustine and Aquinas. Although he asserts that God is “unchangeable in his being,” he repudiates "a timeless mental and spiritual immobility.” He denies that God is "fully actualized," and asserts that God is (partly at least) potential; from which we must conclude that Buswell is conceiving of God as in a state of development. He says, "The implications of the doctrine that God is 'pure act,' 'fully realized', that in him there is 'no potentiality (dunamis)' are devastating."

Naturally there is no antithesis between a temporal, potential, developing God and an act of creation preceded by time.

First lessons in theology, no matter how elementary, do not dare to omit the Scriptural material on omniscience, immutability, and creation. But it would be unfair to the student to leave the impression that all is elementary and easy. While it is conceit to assert that the problem here is insoluble, for no one knows enough to set limits to the implications of Scripture, it is not conceit, it is not even modesty, it is but frustrating fact to acknowledge that even the better attempts to solve this problem leave much to be desired.  (Ibid., pp. 33-34, pdf file).

Moreover, I find it refreshing that there are at least a few defenders of old school Calvinism and classical Reformed theology out there.  Dr. Keith Mathison of Table Talk Magazine wrote the following critique of John Frame's review of James Dolezal's polemical work on divine simplicity. His observations in regards to Frame's theology of mutualism and divine immanence is a refreshing and encouraging theological tsunami that raises many valid points against assuming that all Scripture is apparently paradoxical:

Theologians even of the stature of the late Dr. Robert L. Reymond unwittingly introduced a form of mutualism into the doctrine of immutability when he objected to Dr. Gordon H. Clark's doctrine of divine impassibility and immutability.  The implications of Dr. James Dolezal's work for students of Dr. Gordon H. Clark are tremendously important.

I recently purchased both of James Dolezal's book on divine simplicity in Kindle format from the Amazon website and will be utilizing those books in my continuing defense of Gordon H. Clark's view of the incarnation as two persons.  Dolezal's books are available here:

God Without Parts:  Divine Simplicity and the Metaphysics of God's Absoluteness.

Of course, the theological debate between the Van Tilian school of apologetics and Clarkian apologetics continues to this day.  The trouble is that when the axiom of plenary verbal inspiration and biblical inerrancy is replaced with a thomist theology of analogy the tendencies toward neo-orthodoxy and Barthianism is notable.  Even worse, when Scripture is devalued as univocal and propositional revelation, the result is the undermining of every other doctrine as well.  The classical view that Scripture is an objective revelation from God is replaced by a theory that posits a twofold view of knowledge such that man can know nothing God knows whatsoever.  But is a theory of Scripture as analogy more neo-orthodox than Reformed?  I think the answer is yes. 

If there is a twofold theology of knowledge or epistemology the implication is that man's theological systems are all anthropocentric and not essentially based in direct divine and special revelation.  That would be because Scripture is not univocally identical to what God knows.  If definitions mean anything at all it would imply that knowledge has two different meanings and Van Tilians are using both definitions in equivocating and contradictory ways.

Another problem with Frame's approach is that he equivocates on the doctrine of plenary inspiration by advocating an axiom that from the outset makes Scripture irrational revelation.  The problem stated is that when Cornelius Van Til said that all Scripture is apparently contradictory he was presupposing an axiom of irrationality as his starting point for his theology.  The result of such contradictory thinking leaves the door wide open to outright contradictions in Frame's analogical system of doing theology and apologetics.  It is just fine to affirm both Arminianism and Calvinism since the contradictions can be resolved above the anvil in heaven and there is no need to try to resolve apparent contradictions and paradoxes here on earth.

For those who have unwittingly bought into a theology of paradox and contradictions it does not matter that the distinction between the doctrine of predestination or the divine decree and the doctrine of providence has not been fully solved.  According to Van Til's thinking, it is fine to embrace contradictions.  Dr. Gordon H. Clark never said that he had solved every apparent paradox in regards to the Trinity and the Incarnation.  But he at least tried to solve those problems and give some logical considerations to possible solutions.  In regards to the Trinity, for example, Clark said only that God is three in one sense and one in another sense.  But he was quick to point out that Van Til's contention that God was both one Person and three Persons is an outright contradiction and a direct rejection of classical Reformed and confessional theology.

In regards to the Incarnation, Clark rightly pointed out that the Definition of Chalcedon 451 A.D. said that the divine Logos did not replace the human soul of Jesus Christ but that the Definition then went on to say in so many words that Christ was not a human person.  Unfortunately, Clark died before he could finish his final book.  Though many of the Van Tilians are quick to call Clark a Nestorian for positing that Christ was both a genuine human person and the incarnation of the divine Logos, a distinct Person of the Trinity, I do not think the charge stands justified on the basis of Clark's own work.  And it is ironic that it is the Van Tilians who are advocating another departure from classical Christian theism by adopting the contradiction of immanence and transcendence as another part of their analogical system based on the axiom of irrationalism and apparent contradiction here on earth.

For another review of Dolezal's book, All That Is in God, see:  Reformation 21:  All That Is in God, by Malcom Yarnell.

Keith Mathison's review of All That Is in God is here:  Table Talk:  Book Review.


John Bradshaw said...

Hi Charlie,
You mention that you think Dr Clark's view of the incarnation is a two person view. But doesn't Dr Clark say that a (singular) person is the sum of his thoughts? Thus, Jesus Christ is the sum of the thoughts of the Son of God and the son of man. This sum is still one person by the above definition. A very unique Person to be sure. No other rational being is like Him, with two persons being combined into one. Nevertheless, the result is one Person,by Clark's definition.

Anyway, this is what I thought Dr Clark was teaching in his book.

John Bradshaw said...

Sorry, the Scriptures for that would be
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
For "who has known the mind of the Lord that he may
instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
I would appreciate your correction /feedback.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I'm not sure what you mean. Could you explain your theological point a bit more?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Also, Clark says in What Do Presbyterians Believe? that God is not totally transcendent but must interact with His creation. To say that God is totally transcendent is tantamount to agreeing with Neo-Orthodoxy and Kant's rejection of God's immanence on the basis of empiricism. I would have to check where Clark says that but I heard it the other day when I was listening to the audio book. I think it is in the chapter on creation or the chapter on the trinity.

Charlie J. Ray said...

No, Clark argues specifically that Jesus Christ is a genuine human person who is also in union with the divine Person of the Logos, the eternal second Person of the Trinity. Human persons are not omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent. Secondly, the Logos does not replace the reasonable human soul of Jesus Christ. That would be the Apollinarian heresy. Also, Clark points out that in the monothelite controversy the church decided that Jesus had two wills, one divine and the other human. How can one person have two wills? Further, in the Trinity you have three Persons who are all equally divine in one divine nature but who have only one divine will in complete agreement. Each Person of the trinity knows and thinks all the propositions that the other two persons think with the exception that the Father has certain propositions that are particular to Himself and not to the other two Persons. The Father cannot think that He is the Son or the Spirit and vice versa.

In a similar way, the human person of Jesus Christ cannot think or know everything the divine Logos knows. The two persons have overlap but the thoughts of one person are peculiar to that person. The Logos is omniscient and knows everything the Trinitarian God knows. But the Logos cannot limit Himself in His knowledge in order to become human. That would mean the Trinity itself is changed so that for 33 and 1/2 years God was only a binity or two Persons while the second Person of the Trinity empties Himself of deity for a period of time. This not only violates the immutability of God but it also means that Jesus Christ is not fully divine. The resulting heresy is called the kenosis heresy of the modernists and the liberals. It means that it is impossible for a human to be God so they empty the hypostatic union of any real meaning and make Jesus a mere man inhabited by the Logos who is no longer fully divine but has emptied Himself of deity. A variety of this heresy was propagated by Millard Erickson in the mid 1980s and is called the sub-kenotic view whereby Christ or the Logos laid aside the "free exercise" of the divine attributes in order to become incarnate. He bases this view on Philippians chapter 2.

Needless to say, Clark never solved the problem of divine simplicity and God's eternal immutability. But I think he did offer a more viable solution to the problem of the incarnation than the solution offered by Millard Erickson and the Pentecostals and other Evangelicals who agreed with him.

For a more nuanced view you can consult Robert L. Reymond's systematic theology.

I have been trying to blog on this issue but my time is limited due to working a full time job. However, I think adopting the Van Tilian view is tantamount to agreeing in some degree with the Neo-Orthodox view. Bahnsen goes so far as to say that there are many "logics" out there. This is completely destructive not only of biblical inerrancy but of Christianity itself. I've been re-reading Bahnsen's apologetics book, which I read many years ago prior to becoming a Clarkian Scripturalist. And frankly, Bahnsen's critique of Clark is wrong in so many ways that I had to laugh out loud at several points because Bahnsen attributes to Clark views that are completely opposite of what Clark actually said!

I hope to write a critique of Bahnsen's chapter on Gordon H. Clark sometime in the near future. Bear with me for now.



Charlie J. Ray said...

As for the view that a person is the sum of his thoughts, obviously Jesus as a true human being did not know everything. He grew up as a child and grew in knowledge and wisdom. The divine Logos never learns anything new. He eternally knows all the propositions that can be known. There is no passing of one thought to another in God's eternal mind. God knows past, present, and future as one timeless now. Man, however, is thinks discursively and can only know one thought passing to another thought in historical time. God is not bound by time whatsoever because He is an eternal being whereas man is a being bound by the passing of time. Time is defined as the passing of one thought to another in man's mind.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Two wills cannot coexist in an ordinary human being. But as the personality of Christ is complex or divine-human, it may be conceived of as including two consciousnesses and two wills. The Chalcedonian Christology at all events consistently requires two wills as the necessary complement of two rational natures; in other words, Dyotheletism is inseparable from Dyophysitism, while Monotheletism is equally inseparable from Monophysitism, although it acknowledged the Dyophysitism of Chalcedon. The orthodox doctrine saved the integrity and completeness of Christ's humanity by asserting his human will. [From: The Doctrine of Two Wills in Christ].

Charlie J. Ray said...

The last comment is a quote from Phillip Schaff.

Charlie J. Ray said...

If there are two consciousnesses and two wills in Christ, the implication is clearly that Christ had to minds and two centers of consciousness, thus as defined by Clark's view of a person as the sum of the propositions he thinks, Christ must be two persons united in the incarnation. There is of course overlap since the Logos is omniscient and knows everything the human person of Christ knows.

John Bradshaw said...

Thx for that Charlie. Very helpful summary of several positions.
From your last comment, are you stating that as Dr Clark's view? Or do u think he had another view in trying to decipher Chalcedon and the WCF on the Person of Christ?

As I understand it, Dr Clark agreed with Chalcedon and with the WCF's position. It was trying to get to the bottom of the terms they used (person/nature) that was the crux of the issue since they never defined their meanings.
Wills (I thought) were just another expression/function of Mind and are thus included in a persons thoughts.
Wasn't Dr Clark trying also to get away from the nonsense of today, where, since no one defines what they mean, then confusion reigns? So he was fighting at least two battles, 1. Trying to define terms precisely in order to take away the vagueness of the historic creeds (due to their concise nature) and 2. Removing the confusion in much of today's discourse on Chalcedon because modern writers do not define their terms.
Appreciate your work on this subject!!

John Bradshaw said...

Hi Charlie,
In paragraph 1 of the wcf we have the two natures in the one Person of Christ taught. "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 only Mediator between God and man."

Then in paragraph 7 we have the two natures each being associated with a different person:
"Christ, in the work of mediation, acts according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature".
So since what is done in one nature is attributed to the person (note how they have moved to the word "person") are they not teaching two persons being combined into one Person, the Lord Jesus Christ? And so Clark solves the problem by giving us Biblical definitions that fit the wcf. For it seems to me that Clark agrees that the wcf got it right on this doctrine. He is just clarifying by giving definitions.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Not exactly, no. What Clark said was that the Definition of Chalcedon didn't clearly define the hypostatic union because the terms used in the document are ambiguous or equivocal. What is a substance verse a subsistence? What is a person? For Clark the mind of Christ is a fully human mind. The mind of the Logos is fully omniscient while the mind of Christ is not. I don't think Clark committed the Nestorian error because the two persons are not separated, mixed or confused. For Clark each nature not only has its own will but its own personality as defined by the sum of the propositions it thinks. The human mind of Christ was not omniscient, timeless, etc., while the divine Logos is eternal, timeless, and omniscient. Jesus grew in knowledge while the Logos never learned anything new.

Charlie J. Ray said...

In Clark's earlier writings he did affirm Chalcedon and he said that Christ was one Person. I am aware that the WCF says that Jesus is one Person as well. But this would be a contradiction or at least a paradox since it is apparently a contradiction. In his last book, The Incarnation, Clark redefined the term person and said it is the sum of the propositions that he thinks. Of course, over a lifetime we often forget propositions we once knew about ourselves and replace them with others. But God never learns new propositions. He knows them all. So if there are two natures in Christ, the human nature must be discursive in his mind and learning new things. Jesus grew up as a boy and learn to read and write in Hebrew and Aramaic. The divine Logos never learned anything. He is omniscient and always knew all the languages mankind ever spoke. There must be two centers of consciousness in Christ: one divine and one human. We can call these "persons" as defined by the sum of the propositions each knows. The Logos knows all the propositions that can be known while the man, Jesus Christ, in his human mind was not omniscient and had to think things through discursively. God thinks directly and intuitively because He knows all things at one eternal now.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I think the Greek term used in the Definition of Chalcedon is hupostasis, literally to stand under. The complication is that in Latin this same word is translated as a subsistence. So in the trinity we have three subsistences or hupostases while in the incarnation we have two natures, substances, or ousios. Odd that in the incarnation there is one subsistence or hypostatic union or "person" while in the trinity we have one substance and three subsistences. The three subsistences are three persons in the trinity but in the incarnation we have two substances and one subsistence. In the trinity there is one divine will but three Persons share one divine will. In the incarnation we have two natures and two wills yet only one person. Clark points out that in the incarnation the human nature cannot be confused with the divine nature whatsoever. If so what you end up with is a mixture of two natures that is neither divine nor human. It gets complicated. The monophysite error makes Christ neither divine nor human. But if you replace the human soul of Jesus with the Logos you end up with two heresies: Apollinarianism and the kenosis heresy where the Logos lays aside His deity for 33 and a 1/2 years of the Incarnation. This would also leave the Trinity without the eternal Son for a period of time. This also implies that God can change with time. But the Trinity is eternally a Trinity and to say that one Person lays aside deity or the exercise of deity--practically the same thing--for a period of "time" is to change the nature of God and the definition of the Trinity. Jesus must be two natures each with a distinct person or center of consciousness in order to preserve the two natures and the complete humanity and complete deity of Christ.

Colossians 2:9

John Bradshaw said...

Hi Charlie,
Thx for continuing to clarify.
I must admit I find Chalcedon confusing. They are not clear in their meaning.
A. A. Hodge in his commentary on the wcf on this section begins not with the wcf but Chalcedon, which I find strange. He then goes on to say that "His divinity is personal, His humanity impersonal, and his divine nature and his human nature one person". That is bizarre. He is explaining Chalcedon here not the wcf.
But if I could bring your attention again to section 7 of chapter 8 of the wcf, where it says ".... yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes, in Scripture, attributed to the person denominated by the other nature", this says 2 persons!"attributed to the person of the other nature". But in section 1,they have clearly said the Lord Jesus is one person. I can only reconcile section 1 with 7,by invoking Clark's definition of person, and say that in Christ the two persons are one person ie the sum total of both sets of thoughts. But without mixture or confusion of the two sets.

Sorry if I am only adding to the mess. Would you mind critiquing again? Thx.

Charlie J. Ray said...

VII. Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures; by each nature doing that which is proper to itself:o yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.p

Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 57.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The WCF is following Chalcedon, which explains why A. A. Hodge starts with the Definition of Chalcedon, not what the WCF says. Secondly, there is a problem with Hodge's view that the human nature is impersonal. This implies the heresy I mentioned earlier, namely Apollinarianism. If the human nature is impersonal, that would directly contradict the Definition of Chalcedon which says that Jesus had a "reasonable human soul." Of course, Clark points out the same thing in his book, The Incarnation. Thirdly, as I have commented several times already, if the divine Logos replaces the human soul or mind of Christ, then you have an outright contradiction because a divine person cannot be both ignorant and omniscient, localized in one place on earth and omnipresent or ubiquitous, a weak baby who grew up as all humans do and yet who is the omnipotent Creator of the material universe and all of creation.

Gordon H. Clark was initially pushed to define Christ as two persons because of the so-called "sub-kenotic" view of the incarnation being espoused by Millard Erickson in the late 1980's just prior to Clark's death. This also explains why Clark was unable to finish his last book, The Incarnation. He was elderly with health problems and died before being able to complete it. The John Robbins comment at the end of the book is of no help at all because Robbins fails to distinguish between the two persons. I am guessing that part of your confusion may be due to Robbins's comment that Jesus knew all the propositions that God knows. That is an ambiguous statement since only the Logos knows all the propositions that the Trinity knows. Jesus in his human nature and person did NOT know everything. Hence, Jesus must have been TWO persons. You yourself noticed the contradiction in section 7 of chapter 8 of the WCF. Clark points out that the Definition of Chalcedon says that Jesus was a genuine human person but goes on to deny it in the rest of the creedal statement.

I'm not sure that Clark's solution answers all the apparent contradictions but his view is at least better than asserting outright contradictions. There are other problems in regards to the ascension of Christ into heaven as well. If God is a pure spirit, how could Christ literally sit at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven? After all even after the resurrection Christ is still localized in one place in his resurrection body. The Lutherans greatly err by communicating divine attributes to the human nature of Christ and making His physical body ubiquitous through the omnipresence of the Logos. They do this because of their theology of the sacrament of the Lord's table as being really the body and blood of Christ in, with and under the creatures of bread and wine. I think this is just as idolatrous as the papist view of transubstantiation.

Sorry to be so long winded, but most modern conservative theologians are either in agreement with Apollinarianism and/or the kenosis heresy. So they are just ignoring their own problems when they attack Clark's attempt to resolve the paradox by utilizing the dual wills in Christ to say that Christ must have been two persons: a divine Logos, second person of the Trinity AND a genuine human person with a reasonable human mind and soul like everyone else.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Even here there are at least two problem verses in the New Testament. The first one is easier to resolve, John 16:30. It just means that Jesus knew all things in general, not necessarily that He is omniscient in His human nature. In John 21:17 Peter implied that the resurrected Christ was omniscient. But once again, this does not necessarily mean that the human nature or human mind of Christ is omniscient. It is just a general statement that Christ knows all things in general. But in particular God the Logos and God the Spirit and God the Father reveal things to Jesus that no one else knew. It is in the sense of divine revelation that Jesus knew all things in His human soul. He was not literally omniscient in His human soul or mind. But the Logos does know everything that Jesus knew and the two are united in the incarnation through their spiritual union in the hypostatic union. That is about the best I can do to explain the incarnation from my own understanding of Clark's view. I only wish he could have completed his book. In an earlier book, his commentary on Philippians, he firmly agreed with the Definition of Chalcedon and the WCF. The same is true of his book, What do Presbyterians Believe?

Charlie J. Ray said...

"Two wills cannot coexist in an ordinary human being. But as the personality of Christ is complex or divine-human, it may be conceived of as including two consciousnesses and two wills. The Chalcedonian Christology at all events consistently requires two wills as the necessary complement of two rational natures; in other words, Dyotheletism is inseparable from Dyophysitism, while Monotheletism is equally inseparable from Monophysitism, although it acknowledged the Dyophysitism of Chalcedon. The orthodox doctrine saved the integrity and completeness of Christ's humanity by asserting his human will." Phillip Schaff [From: The Doctrine of Two Wills in Christ].

Apparently the link I posted to Schaff no longer works.

Charlie J. Ray said...

John, you're not adding to the mess if you are truly trying to solve the paradox from a rational and biblical perspective.

Charlie J. Ray said...

On another note, I read in Reymond's introductory material that he was mentored by J. Oliver Buswell when he was a new professor at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri. Buswell outright rejected the eternal timelessness of God as well. I'm speculating that this is the reason that Reymond also rejected Clark's view of God's eternal immutability and timelessness. Of course, even Clark is not entirely consistent here because he denied that God is totally transcendent because that would affirm the neo-orthodox view and the view of Cornelius Van Til that all knowledge is analogical instead of univocal and propositional.

Charlie J. Ray said...

"Certain people have been of great personal help to me in my professional development; without them this book would never have been written. First, I want to express my lasting appreciation for Robert G. Rayburn, the first (and late) president of Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, who recommended me when I was only a fledgling theologian to the board of the seminary for a teaching position in the department of systematic theology. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Covenant Board itself, which hired me and always encouraged all of us on the faculty to write, giving us sabbaticals to do so. I also want to acknowledge my indebtedness to R. Laird Harris, the first dean of faculty under whom I served at Covenant Seminary, and the late J. Oliver Buswell Jr., professor of systematic theology in the systematics department there, both of whom assumed the role of “senior scholar” for me through my earlier years of working under their direction and tutelage. A very special word of appreciation has to go to my dear friend, David C. Jones, who was my colleague in the systematic theology department at Covenant Seminary longer than any other person and who by his scholarly example taught me more than he will ever know about proper theological method and the eternal significance of the theological task."

Reymond, Robert L.. A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith: 2nd Edition - Revised and Updated (Kindle Locations 135-144). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

John Bradshaw said...

Thx again very much for your patience and explanations Charlie. Very helpful indeed.
You may have already touched on the point, but does Dr Clark's view allow for the "without confusion" phrase of Chalcedon in your opinion? It seems to me that he does and does it well. Whereas Chalcedon contradicts itself from the first part (truly God, truly man)... to the latter "one and the same Son". One is at a loss how "truly God" includes personhood, but "truly man" does not! Dr Clark is correct that we just go round and round in circles when clear definitions are not given.
Do u know what Chalcedon means by "the creed of the fathers handed down to us"?
Thx mate.

Charlie J. Ray said...

God is not confused since all knowledge is propositional. If God is rational, intelligent, and omniscient then it logically follows that there can be no confusion between the limited knowledge of Jesus as a human person and the all knowing mind of God the eternal Son, the eternal Logos. While the Logos knows everything Jesus knows, Jesus does not know everything the Logos knows because he is truly a human person. This distinction of persons preserves the Trinity and the incarnation without violating either nature. And the union of the two persons is a union of the spirit. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So the human spirit of Jesus is not his body but his soul. And the soul and the Logos are in union but not confused or mixed. And they cannot be separated because the two persons are in spiritual union. Just my opinion. John 4:24.

John Bradshaw said...

That makes perfect sense. Thx Charlie.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I think the creed that Chalcedon is referring to is the Athanasian Creed. Could be the Nicene Creed, too. I am not sure without looking up what Clark says in The Incarnation book.

You are welcome.

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