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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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Logic and the Reformed Symbols

The late Gordon H. Clark.
 [3/17/2013.  My views about Clark's alleged Nestorianism have changed.  I no longer believe Clark erred in his book, The Incarnation.  I do stand by the authority of the creeds and confessions insofar as they reflect the teaching of Scripture.

Note #2.   On my blog I have decided not to delete earlier articles, even when my views change.  I no longer believe that Clark's view is wrong or Nestorian.  However, the problem still remains as to exactly how the union in the one man, Jesus Christ takes place.  The word for "person" in English is "hypostasis" in Greek, while in Latin it is "persona."  As Clark points out in The Incarnation, these terms did not mean faculty psychology the way the modern era views this.   What needs to be done is a better hammering out of the union between the human person of Jesus Christ and the divine Logos.  Clark solved the problem from the aspect of not confusing the two natures/persons.  But I think more work needs to be done on the union aspect.  Any remarks below criticizing Clark's view I will let stand even though I'm no longer convinced that Clark was wrong or that he was a NestorianCharlie, June 15, 2013.]

Recently the God's Hammer blog again brought up the issue of the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture versus the Reformed contention that church councils and synods may and do err.   (See:  Calvin on the Human Fallibility in the Councils).  While Sean Gerety does not reject the Reformed Confessions as authoritative, he does post comments by Hugh McCann, who apparently thinks that Scripture is the only authority and that creeds and confessions "necessarily err" and have no authority whatsoever.  As Forrest Gump once said, "Stupid is as stupid does."  The Anabaptist position rejects the authority of creeds and confessions, not the Reformed position.  I find it odd that a so-called Clarkian blog would post Anabaptist comments without any rebuke whatsoever.

I call it as I see it.  The fact is without an interpretation Scripture is without any authority.  Although all interpretations of Scripture are necessarily fallible and may be in error, it does not follow that no creed or confession has any secondary authority for matters of church discipline.  If that be the case then we could not prosecute heretics or condemn heresies since there would be no agreement on a logical or rational basis for determining what is necessary and essential for unity of belief and doctrine in the local congregation and in the denominations at large.

Either the Trinity is essential doctrine or it is not.  Simply because certain Clarkians wish to throw out the Nicene creed, the Definition of Chalcedon, and the Athanasian creed does not make their opinions infallible.  It is highly selective for Clarkians to open the door to Nestorianism while condemning Federal Visionists and Arminians on the basis of the Reformed confession.  Why?  Because the Westminster Standards uphold the Definition of Chalcedon and the theology of both the Nicene creed and the Athanasian creed.

That can easily be demonstrated here:

3. It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of His Church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with, reverence and submission; not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God appointed thereunto in His Word.1

1 Acts 15:15,19,24,27,28,29,30,31; Acts 16:4; Matt. 18:17-20  Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 31:3.


As indicated, the confession says that synods and councils do have authority, albeit that authority is subject to Scriptural authority.  Furthermore, the Confession upholds that Jesus Christ is one person:

2. The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon Him man's nature,1 with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin;2 being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance.3 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.4 Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.5
See also: WLC 36-37 | WSC 21-22


In light of the above, the onus or burden of proof lies with Clarkians to prove that Gordon H. Clark and John Robbins did not violate the Westminster Confession of Faith by adopting the two person view that Jesus Christ is not two natures united in one Person but rather two persons united in some yet to be described and "mysterious" way.  Ironically, Clark's view leaves us without any propositional or logical explanation for how Jesus Christ can be unified as both God and man.  The problem dealt with by the early church was how Jesus could be both God and man at the same time without dividing God and man.  Both the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity uphold that Jesus MUST be both God and man in order to be the mediator of the new covenant and to pay the penalty for sins:


Article 19: Of the Hypostatic Union or of the Two Natures in the Person of Christ

We believe that by this conception the person of the Son of God is inseparably united and joined with the human nature,[1] so that there are not two sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in one single person. Each nature retains its own distinct properties: His divine nature has always remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end of life (Heb 7:3), filling heaven and earth.[2] His human nature has not lost its properties; it has beginning of days and remains created. It is finite and retains all the properties of a true body.[3] Even though, by His resurrection, He has given immortality to His human nature, He has not changed its reality,[4] since our salvation and resurrection also depend on the reality of His body.[5]
 
However, these two natures are so closely united in one person that they were not even separated by His death. Therefore, what He, when dying, committed into the hands of His Father was a real human spirit that departed from His body.[6] Meanwhile His divinity always remained united with His human nature, even when He was lying in the grave.[7] And the divine nature always remained in Him just as it was in Him when He was a little child, even though it did not manifest itself as such for a little while.

For this reason we profess Him to be true God and true man: true God in order to conquer death by His power; and true man that He might die for us according to the infirmity of His flesh.

[1] Jn 1:14; Jn 10:30; Rom 9:5; Phil 2:6, 7. [2] Mt 28:20. [3] 1 Tim 2:5. [4] Mt 26:11; Lk 24:39; Jn 20:25; Acts 1:3, 11; Acts 3:21; Heb 2:9. [5] 1 Cor 15:21; Phil 3:21. [6] Mt 27:50. [7] Rom 1:4.  (Belgic Confession of Faith).

Article 18 of the Belgic confession asserts that Jesus has a "reasonable human soul".  If Gordon H. Clark meant only that the Logos has assumed a truly human soul into the Godhead via the incarnation there would be no objection.  But exactly what Clark meant is still a mystery.  Ironically, Gordon H. Clark equated the Westminster Standards with biblical Christianity.


I do not have my copy of Christian Philosophy with me but I believe in that book Clark says that the Westminster Standards are the best systematic exposition of the propositional truths of the inerrant and infallible Scriptures. I can, however, show that John Robbins thought that the Westminster Standards were the best summary of Scriptural teaching:

Three very useful guides for studying the Bible are the Westminster Standards, consisting of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Larger Catechism, and the Shorter Catechism, all written in the 1640s. The Westminster Confession remains the best summary of the Bible yet written. The Confession summarizes in 33 short chapters the teaching of Scripture on everything from Scripture itself to the Last Judgment. Dr. Gordon Clark’s commentary on the Confession, What Do Presbyterians Believe? is the best short introduction to what the Bible teaches. You as a young Christian should read What Do Presbyterians Believe? and the Scripture verses cited in it very early in your studies. This will give you an introduction to the whole system of truth taught in Scripture and will enable you to see the forest, not merely the trees. The Catechisms will help you grasp the definitions of important terms in Scripture, such as justification, adoption, predestination, and alone, as well as understand such basic items as the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer. A useful study guide to the Westminster Confession is Dr. W. Gary Crampton’s Study Guide to the Westminster Confession.  (See:  A Guide for Young Christians).

It is highly hypocritical for Clarkians to condemn other heresies like the Federal Vision, Arminianism, Oneness Pentecostalism, et. al., while selectively exempting departures from the Reformed symbols by Gordon H. Clark, John Robbins, and Robert L. Reymond.   Clark and Robbins denied the unity of the person of Christ as both God and man while Reymond denies the eternal generation of the Son of God from the Father.  Reymond's position is wrong because he overlooks the fact that the Nicene creed and the Athanasian creed both assert the aseity of the Son of God.

Scripture upholds the unity of Jesus Christ and the Logos as one Person: 

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3 NKJ)

 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said,`He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'" (John 1:14-15 NKJ)

 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him. (John 1:18 NKJ)

 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, (1 Timothy 2:5 NKJ)

If Jesus Christ is really two persons and not one person, then logically He cannot be ONE mediator between God and men.  Ironically, then, Clark's view is hopelessly irrational and raises more problems than it solves.  It is true that God cannot suffer on the cross.  But it is equally true that the hypostatic union cannot be severed.  What Clark did not explain or define is how his alleged two persons view avoids the logical problem of separating Christ from Christ.  Either Christ is God in the flesh OR what we have is a mere man who possesses divine propositions.  A further problem with Clark's view is that he makes no distinction in The Incarnation between communicable and incommunicable attributes/propositions.  The divine propositions are not communicable to men.  But in the case of Jesus Christ these divine propositions are there and they are in union with Him as one Person according to the Westminster Confession and the Belgic Confession.  I could add the Anglican Formularies here but the Puritans irrationally reject the Anglican Formularies as Reformed theology, which assertion is absolutely untrue.  Simply because the Anglo-Catholics have attempted to pervert the teaching of the 39 Articles of Religion and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, it does not follow that these documents are not Reformed.  Article 17, for example teaches the doctrine of double predestination.

In conclusion, then, I assert that although the Reformed symbols "may" err, no one is allowed an exception to subscription to what are essential doctrines of the Christian faith.  If Clarkians wish to prove that the Westminster Standards, Three Forms of Unity, and the Anglican Formularies are in error when they endorse the union of Christ as both God and man in one Person then Clarkians must follow due process of canon law to do so.  Otherwise, their position is essentially Anabaptist and not Reformed.  Reformed theology, according to the Westminster Confession (31:3) says that the church does have authority to hold Reformed synods and councils and that these councils and synods have the authority to settle doctrinal controversies.  Unfortunately, even Reformed synods err as the liberal mainline Presbyterian denominations demonstrate.  Even more recently the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church have refused to discipline ministers who teach the Federal Visionist heresies.  But Clarkians who condemn other heresies--while committing their own theological errors without any solid logical propositions settling all the problems raised by their views--are contradicting the axiom that Scripture IS the Word of God and the axiom that the Westminster Standards are the best summary of the teaching of the infallible and inerrant Holy Scriptures.  (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Peter 3:15-16; Jeremiah 23:29).  While I consider myself a Clarkian because I uphold Scripture as consisting of logical and doctrinal propositions, I am not obligated to contradict the Reformed articles of faith or the doctrines they uphold.  Although Scripture is the infallible and inerrant Word of God, Scripture of necessity requires an interpretation and a systematic exposition which functions as a rule of faith.  In short, some sort of doctrinal consensus on what Scripture teaches is absolutely necessary if there is to be one faith, one baptism and one religion (Ephesians 4:4-6; Philippians 1:27; 1 Timothy 4:13).

Even Gordon H. Clark and John Robbins acknowledged this.  Without an interpretation Scripture remains incomprehensible and therefore irrational.  Scripture requires a rational and reasonable interpretation and cannot function as revelation without a systematic exposition of the propositions revealed within the canon of Scripture.  Salvation itself is impossible without special revelation that is coherent, comprehensive, congruent, rational, and logical in verbal and propositional form.  Would that the internet proponents of Clark's theology and apologetics were as logical as Clark himself was.  Verbal plenary inspiration and special revelation in propositional form must be known to be of value to the church and to individual members of the church.

Addendum:  Demolishing the Stronghold of a False Christology, audio sermon by Dr. Robert L. Reymond.  Dr. Reymond clearly upholds the Definition of Chalcedon in this sermon and says that it is dangerous to reject the christology of the Definition.  In light of that, my association of Dr. Reymond with Dr. Clark and Dr. Robbins above may have been hasty and misplaced.



29 comments:

godshammer said...

A further problem with Clark's view is that he makes no distinction in The Incarnation between communicable and incommunicable attributes/propositions.

Of course it does and for the exact same reason that Morris’ two minds theory avoids all the inherent contradictions of the traditional understanding/interpretation of Chalcedon. There is an epistemological union, not an ontological one in the Incarnation. The question becomes one of definition; specifically how do you define a person? Therefore, if person is defined in terms of one’s mind, one’s center of consciousness, or as a composite of propositions (i.e., a person is what he thinks), then Clark’s view differs not one whit from Morris only that Clark doesn’t back away from defining a person in terms of the mind or “rational soul.”

The divine propositions are not communicable to men.

Then you’re no different than a Van Tillian who denies any and all univocal points of contacts between God’s thought (propositions) and man’s thoughts (propositions derived from God).

But Clarkians who condemn other heresies--while committing their own theological errors without any solid logical propositions settling all the problems raised by their views--are contradicting the axiom that Scripture IS the Word of God and the axiom that the Westminster Standards are the best summary of the teaching of the infallible and inerrant Holy Scriptures.

Admittedly, it’s hard to make heads or tails out of this run-on sentence, but at least when we condemn things like the Federal Vision or NPP we demonstrate where the error lies. You just assert that an error has been made, point to the Confessions, and expect everyone to bow down. Sorry, you’re not my pope (or anyone else’s for that matter).

While I consider myself a Clarkian

Rest easy, because you’re not a Scripturalist at all, well, at least no more than Drake Shelton. Anyone who would say “The divine propositions are not communicable to men” has never even grasped Clark’s first principle.

godshammer said...

If you're interested Charlie, I had a few responses to your post that you can find here:

http://godshammer.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/christological-confusion/#comment-8463

Charlie J. Ray said...

Hyphenated clauses do not constitute a "run on sentence". Logic would require that you get your grammatical critique correct. It might be "wordy" but it's certainly not a run on sentence, which is defined as two sentences joined together with improper punctuation.

Also, your being dogmatic that Clark cannot err is self refuting. Clark's view in The Incarnation is too brief to deal with all the issues his "propositions" in that book raise. Furthermore, your view is closer to the Van Tilians since it is you who refuses to explain how an "epistemological" hypostatic union is possible since in your view it is impossible for a divine mind and a human mind to be united. Knowing propositions from a human perspective does not constitute infallibility or inerrancy as even Clark himself acknowledged. Clark had to acknowledge his earlier endorsement of Chalcedon was "hopelessly irrational." Funny that Clark admitted his human fallibility when you seem to refuse to consider that Clark could have erred in The Incarnation.

Also, the second point stands. If you call others heretics and unconfessional on the basis of the Westminster Standards while rejecting the Westminster Standards yourself, you're refuting your own doctrinal confession.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

You're not my pope either:) But thanks for admitting that you reject the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity. In short, you're just another heretic who can point out the heresies of other but refuse to admit your own.

Charlie J. Ray said...

So did Jesus know all the divine propositions? If not, then your "epistemological" union fails. I could care less if you don't acknowledge me as part of your local cult. I stand with the classical Calvinists, including the Protestant Reformed Church.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Pope Sean Gerety has anathematized me? Great:)

Charlie J. Ray said...

The incommunicable attributes of God are incommunicable for the reason that God's nature is not a human nature. Human beings are not omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent or super intelligent. Anyone who would imply that is no better than any other gnostic cult.

God is self-existent. You will die like a mere mortal.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The "hypostatic" union is not "ontological" since it maintains that the two "beings" remain distinct but united. Furthermore, since the orthodox view upholds the doctrine that Jesus had a genuine human soul which is assumed into the Godhead, the human personality is not replaced by the Logos and the Logos remains God. Clark has done little to explain this union but instead simply pointed out the obvious: God cannot be man. So what has he said that the Muslim has not said?

Obviously, the Bible DOES say that Jesus is fully God manifested in human flesh. Claiming to have solved the logical problems associated with the Incarnation and proving that solution are two different things altogether.

When you can convince the rest of the Calvinist and Reformed world that Scripture is wrong when it calls Jesus God, get back to me.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Anabaptists abound. Why not admit that you reject the Reformed Standards and be done with it.

Charlie J. Ray said...

So much for plowboys being able to read the Bible and understand it. I guess we all need the secret insights of the Illuminati over at God's Hammer:)

Charlie J. Ray said...

Sean Gerety said: I thought being a “reasonable” Christian meant that logic had some value, but as anyone can see what Charlie has written above doesn’t follow. Jesus being two persons yet one mediator is no more problematic than there being three persons yet one God.

Looks like Gerety wants to claim to be in line with the Reformed Confessions after all. But logically one mediator who is two persons would imply the ontological union known as a "hypostatic union". If not, why does Gerety appeal to the ontological union of the three persons of the divine nature?

The problem with exalting human reason above the doctrine of revelation is that reason can find all kinds of ways of contradicting the plain meaning of the Scriptural text. The Bible nowhere teaches that Christ is two persons. Jesus said, "I and my Father are one." (John 10:30). Jesus didn't say, "I and the Logos and the Father are one." How it can be logically deduced that there are 4 persons in the divine nature is beyond me.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The divine quadrilateral??

Charlie J. Ray said...

Sean, the problem is when folks study philosophy and have no understanding whatsoever of theology. Your comment below proves it:

According to at least the accepted historic and traditional interpretation of Chalcedon, Jesus wasn’t a human person at all. He was a divine person who took upon himself humanity. No human person died on the cross at all, at best what died was a “it”; an impersonal nature. Either that or the divine person died, the Logos, but that is, as Charlie says, partipassionism (which, strictly speaking relates to the idea of the Father suffering, but I’ll take what I can get).

The doctrine of the hypostatic union is much more complicated than this. For you to take my simplified comment and read such irrational non sequitur nonsense in it only makes you look even more irrational.

The Logos does not replace the reasonable human soul in Jesus. Nor does the human soul exist apart from union with the divine nature and the second person of the Godhead. Yet Jesus is not two persons independent of the other. As you admit above there is ONE mediator. So for you two is still ONE. You want to deny the hypostatic union on the one hand and accept it on the other: mediatorship. Your view is as hopelessly irrational as the view you claim to have explained. So much for "Clarkian" reason and rationalism. If you could solve the problem surely you would be able to explain it to any stupid plowboy.

"Is not My word like a fire?" says the LORD, "And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29 NKJ)

Like the Van Tilians and the Pentecostals and the Illuminati I guess one needs to have the secret intellectual knowledge that only Clarkians have access to???

godshammer said...

The Logos does not replace the reasonable human soul in Jesus. Nor does the human soul exist apart from union with the divine nature and the second person of the Godhead.

You wrote: “Jesus suffered as a human person. Ok, you got me. I agree with Clark on those issues.” I agree too, however the Logos cannot suffer, so what person suffered Charles? Saying the Logos suffered according to his human nature doesn’t cut it since natures or attributes cannot suffer only people can suffer and the only “person” present in the traditional understanding of the Incarnation is the divine Logos; the Second Person of the Trinity. Also, I’m well acquainted with the theological arguments in defense of Chalcedon and no not one of Chalcedon’s defenders is able to define what they mean by the word “person.” Like you all they can do is point and grunt (or use words with about as much meaning as grunting). Can you do more than grunt Charles? Then, if so, please defined what exactly you mean by the word “person” (and make sure it’s not a Lockean definition since those are deemed out-of-bounds and necessitate a two-person view).

The Logos does not replace the reasonable human soul in Jesus. Nor does the human soul exist apart from union with the divine nature and the second person of the Godhead.

Of course that the rub isn’t Charles. How can Jesus have a reasonable human soul and not be a human person? No one ever answers that. Also, I have never said the human soul exists apart from union with the divine Second Person. Without the sustaining of the Second Person Jesus could not have withstood the Father's wrath. You clearly have not understood Clark or me for that matter. In the man Jesus there was and is a one to one correspondence between his human thoughts and the divine thoughts of the Second Person. As Thomas Morris described the relationship, in Jesus the divine mind of the Second Person contained but was not contained by Jesus’ human mind. There weren’t just a few univocal points of contact here and there between Jesus’ human thoughts and the thoughts of the divine Second Person. Jesus always, immediately, and continually thought the thoughts of the Second Person, and, as a result, rightly identified himself completely as God’s natural born Son; the first born of many brothers. Jesus didn’t just think some of the divine thoughts, he thought all the thoughts of the divine Second Person of the Trinity, the Logos, as in him are hidden all (and not just some) of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. To see the man Jesus is to see the divine Second Person, quite literally, in the flesh.

Yet, you and others say Jesus was a man but was not also a human person, which, on the face of it, defies logic and ordinary language. What is a man but a person? Since a rift in the everlasting Trinity is impossible, who (and it has to be “who”) died on the Cross? Above you said “Jesus suffered as a HUMAN PERSON.” Were you lying when you said that? Seems you were.

Yet Jesus is not two persons independent of the other. As you admit above there is ONE mediator. So for you two is still ONE. You want to deny the hypostatic union on the one hand and accept it on the other: mediatorship. Your view is as hopelessly irrational as the view you claim to have explained. So much for "Clarkian" reason and rationalism. If you could solve the problem surely you would be able to explain it to any stupid plowboy.

I would never call you a stupid plowboy as I wouldn’t want to insult plowboys. However, the word hypostasis is rendered literally as "substance" so saying Jesus is one “substance” is in fact saying absolutely nothing unless you can attach some meaning to the word and in the history of philosophy and theology no one has. Care to take a crack at it when you’re finished defining “person” or are you just going to act like a typical snarky jackass?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Normal human beings are not sinless in their human nature. Normal human beings do not walk on the water by their own will nor do they perform divine miracles at will. Normal human beings cannot predict future events or see someone sitting under a tree without being there. Jesus therefore violates your rule that he is merely a human person. Chalcedon acknowledges that Jesus is a human soul/person when it says that He had a reasonable soul.

You have yet to define how Jesus is both God and man without dividing the two. What is your definition of the union of the two persons/natures? Simply denying that there is an ontological union does not solve this logical dilemma for you. Futhermore, the implication of the Nestorian view is Arianism. If Jesus is merely a human person and there is no union of the reasonable human soul/person wtih the Logos in any hypostatic sense whatsoever, what you have is two different persons and no union whatsoever. Your view leads to Arianism or worse. Jesus is both God and man and perfectly united without confusing the two or separating the two. Scripture makes that perfectly clear.

You have yet to give a satisfactory definition of "person" yourself. Clark's view that a human person is merely what he "thinks" or the propositions he thinks is ridiculous. When God breathed into Adam's nostrils he became a living soul. The definition of a "living soul" in the OT is not a disembodied mind that thinks propositions. A living soul included the complete package of the physical body, and everything that takes place in man's mind/soul, including the emotions, the will, and the intellect. This is not "faculty" psychology but the wholistic view of all that constitutes the divine image. In fact, all Clark does is invent a few definitions that satisfy himself but ends up being too simplistic. Volumes could be written on what constitutes the human soul/nature/being and the divine image and likeness. Clark barely scatches the surface of the subjects involved. How you can say a tiny book of less than 200 pages solves the problems involved in the incarnation is puzzling at best. Calvin's Institutes covers four books. Clark has written an ad hoc, hodge podge but nothing deeply theological. His critique of modern philosophy is well done but his understanding of theology is simplistic at best.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Jesus didn’t just think some of the divine thoughts, he thought all the thoughts of the divine Second Person of the Trinity, the Logos, as in him are hidden all (and not just some) of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. To see the man Jesus is to see the divine Second Person, quite literally, in the flesh.

Oh? So Jesus IS more than simply a human person? But human persons cannot think "all the divine propositions." You've just contradicted yourself. Human beings are not omniscient. Jesus could not have been omniscient if He was human. Just as God cannot die, humans do not possess the incommunicable propositions/attributes of deity. But you say Jesus DID possess these. So now who is saying that Jesus is not a human person? It is you, of course. Be consistent, Sean.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Confusing the human propostions with the divine is to mix the human nature with the divine nature, which Chalcedon at least attempted to avoid. So it would appear that you've merely created more issues and you have chosen to ignore the implications of your own position. How can more confusing clear up the problems with Chalcedon? Obviously you have not done any better.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Like you all they can do is point and grunt (or use words with about as much meaning as grunting). Can you do more than grunt Charles? Then, if so, please defined what exactly you mean by the word “person” (and make sure it’s not a Lockean definition since those are deemed out-of-bounds and necessitate a two-person view).

And all you can do is stand on your soap box and ignore the problems raised by Clark's view.... You violate your own definition a human person when you admit that Jesus has all the divine attributes/propositions. God doesn't just "think". He has the power to cause supernatural events and miracles. Jesus does not just think these things... He does them!

Charlie J. Ray said...

When you can define anything at all, Sean, I would be more than happy to consider you smarter than a stupid plowboy:) Either the doctrine of the priethood of believers matters or it doesn't. The perspecuity of Scripture means one does not need a theological or philosophical degree to understand that Jesus is both God and man. But you want to make matters complicated:) Like the logical positivists you've created a non sequitur that logic is the pnly valid science. While logic is essential to theology,theology is a distinct science. Both irrationality and rationalism are both equally problematic. Theology is rational but it is
certainly not rationalistic. Odd that someone who claims to be an expert in logic would resort to the fallacy of ad hominem.

godshammer said...

Normal human beings are not sinless in their human nature. Normal human beings do not walk on the water by their own will nor do they perform divine miracles at will. Normal human beings cannot predict future events or see someone sitting under a tree without being there. Jesus therefore violates your rule that he is merely a human person. Chalcedon acknowledges that Jesus is a human soul/person when it says that He had a reasonable soul.

You need to stop fighting straw men Charles and actually address what I’ve written. Where have said that Jesus was “merely a human person”? Well, nowhere. Also, there is *no* interpretation of Chalcedon in the annals of theology which defines ‘rational/human soul’ as a person. Actually, they provide no definition of person at all. You are engaging in creedal eisegesis.

You have yet to define how Jesus is both God and man without dividing the two. What is your definition of the union of the two persons/natures? Simply denying that there is an ontological union does not solve this logical dilemma for you. Futhermore, the implication of the Nestorian view is Arianism. If Jesus is merely a human person and there is no union of the reasonable human soul/person wtih the Logos in any hypostatic sense whatsoever, what you have is two different persons and no union whatsoever. Your view leads to Arianism or worse. Jesus is both God and man and perfectly united without confusing the two or separating the two. Scripture makes that perfectly clear.

Straw man argument. I have explained precisely how Jesus is both fully God and fully man, yet you simply smuggle the idea of human person into your definition of Chalcedon which would, by your reading, make Chalcedonian orthodoxy Nestorian. How ironic. Further, without defining what a “substance” is talk about a “hypostatic union” is more meaningless phraseology proving to anyone that you don’t know what you’re talking about as your words have no meaning.

You have yet to give a satisfactory definition of "person" yourself. Clark's view that a human person is merely what he "thinks" or the propositions he thinks is ridiculous.

Then the Scriptures are ridiculous because they state that a man is what he thinks in his figurative heart. A person is a composite of propositions.

When God breathed into Adam's nostrils he became a living soul. The definition of a "living soul" in the OT is not a disembodied mind that thinks propositions.

Indeed it is. A living soul may use a body as a man uses a hammer, but a living soul is not a body. And, a blank mind is a contradiction in terms and figurative language is no replacement for a definition. The image of God in man is reason and what individuates one man from another, are the thoughts he think. Since you’ve offered no alternative other than blowing smoke, I’ll stick with Clark’s definition.

A living soul included the complete package of the physical body,

Then you are even more foolish than I first thought (or at least even more unthinking) as person cannot be his physical body as a person doesn’t cease being a person when this body returns to dust, yours included. Besides, God consists of three persons none of which has a “physical body.”

godshammer said...

Oh? So Jesus IS more than simply a human person? But human persons cannot think "all the divine propositions."

Of course Jesus IS more than simply a human person. He is a divine Person too as I’ve explained. You say he is a human person and a divine person too (even if you, and oddly, rightly define “rational soul” as human person in violation of Chacedonian orthodoxy). Jesus is God incarnate.

You've just contradicted yourself. Human beings are not omniscient. Jesus could not have been omniscient if He was human. Just as God cannot die, humans do not possess the incommunicable propositions/attributes of deity.

Straw man. I have never said human beings are omniscient. Jesus as a human person/rational soul grew in stature and wisdom. Jesus is both fully human a human being; a man) and divine (the Logos - the Second Person of the Trinity).

I haven’t bothered answering any more of your assertions as it is all posturing. You have offered NO alternative definitions of “person” (actually as anyone can see you have not defined the word person at all), you assert Jesus was a human person in opposition to Chalecdonian orthodoxy by presuming that by “rational soul” anyone at the time or since meant that Jesus was also a human person, and you have not attempted a definition of “substance” despite your use of the Greek “hypostasis.” I consider your objections to Clark’s construction which completely tracks with Morris’ to be a complete failure.

I don’t know that we have anything more to say to each other.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Also, there is *no* interpretation of Chalcedon in the annals of theology which defines ‘rational/human soul’ as a person.

Sean, your ignorance of basic theology is appalling. The doctrine that Christ had a "reasonable" human soul means exactly that. He was a true human being with the same human qualities all human beings have, including the mind, intellect, emotions, will, etc. That is exactly what "reasonable human soul" means.

Furthermore, your confusion over the post mortem state of the soul as a disembodied spirit does not remove the fact that the Hebrew understanding of Adam as a "nephesh" or "living soul" included the whole man, body, soul and spirit. That's precisely why the Jewish view does not divide the divine image into neat sections like the Greeks or the Pentecostals where man is a tripart being where the parts are neatly separated. The Christian doctrine is that the body and soul/spirit constitute the living soul and the only way to separate body and soul is in death. Your idea that the person exists independent of the physical body is just plain ignorance unless you're speaking about the soul/spirit surviving in another state after the body dies. Until then a person is rightly identified with his or her body. That's why death is so shattering. The soul has departed.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Charlie J. Ray said...

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 NKJ)

Charlie J. Ray said...

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7 NKJ)

Charlie J. Ray said...

The fact that God is a spiritual being and has no human body does not mean that the divine image and likeness does not include man's physical body. God obviously planned the whole man. Your idea that a man is just a mind is a gnostic idea that denigrates the physical creation of the world and man's physical existence in a physical body. The parallels you have with the Pentecostals is indeed interesting. The Bible, on the other hand, says that God looked at His creation and called it "good". That would include man's physical body. Also, in the resurrection there will be a new body just as in the resurrection Jesus had a body of flesh and bones that could be physically touched and felt. Man is not just a mind.

Charlie J. Ray said...

More bait and switch, Sean: Further, without defining what a “substance” is talk about a “hypostatic union” is more meaningless phraseology proving to anyone that you don’t know what you’re talking about as your words have no meaning.

You're tip toeing around the tulips, son. The fact is you have yet to define or explain what sort of union you are even talking about. A epistemological union? What the heck is that??? Union of mind? I guess you got that one from Star Trek and the mind meld??? Good grief.

Talking down to people assuming you have won your point by simply assuming you have is a logical fallacy. I strongly disagree with neo-orthodoxy AND Van Til's irrationalism. But frankly your irrationalism is just as irritating, especially when you haven't explained anything at all. Like the cults you simply redefine terms that mean one thing to Christians and another to you. A Mormon can claim to believe in the Trinity. You claim to believe Jesus is both God and man but you deny that there is any sort of union in the man Jesus Christ because according to you such a union is impossible.

Maybe you don't like the terminology used by the Chalcedonian creed but your terminology is no better.

A subsistence is literally to stand under. It is not necessarily to be taken as a "substance" in the sense of modern scientific terminology. Substance is simply an attempt to explain how a man is God. Jesus IS God. Jesus IS human. The two claims are not self contradictory unless you wish to deny Christianity and what Christians have always believed.

Charlie J. Ray said...

See also: Was Gordon H. Clark a Nestorian Heretic?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Andy Underhile of the Contra Mundum Blog: Contra Mundum: Man’s Savior must be God and Man Hypostatically United (1).

On FaceBook, Andy made the following comment:

A Christ without a rational soul is Apollinarian.

Maximus the Confessor did excellent work in the field of Christology. The Cappadocian Fathers were his mentors in this regard. Maximus raised the question of how it could be that the Logos became truly man without having a rational soul, and therefore, a natural human will, and reached the conclusion that if the Logos did not have a rational soul, and therefore, a natural human will, he did not become a true man, which means that he did not become a man at all.

The Theological Orations of Gregory of Nazianzus are extremely useful for this subject as well.


Of course, Andy is correct. I pointed this out to Sean a couple of years ago but he completely ignored the fact that Apollonarianism is a heresy. The Logos does not replace the reasonable human soul. The epistemological union Sean appeals to makes no sense whatsoever if Christ has two personalities and not one. Although Christ does have two wills, both divine and human, He is a hypostatic union of two natures in one Person. The human nature is NOT impersonal since it includes the human mind, will, emotions, intellect, et. al. In short the human nature has a reasonable human soul that is not replaced by the Logos. The Second Person of the Godhead assumes a true human soul into the Godhead and that soul and the Logos are united as one in hypostatic union as ONE person, not two.

Charlie

Charlie J. Ray said...

So for you, the person of Christ and the person of the Logos are not one person but two persons. Gotcha. But your definitions are simply more confusion. Basically, it's Nestorianism. The Bible never calls Christ two persons but ONE. That's why the Reformed symbols side with the creeds--the creeds summarize the teaching of Scripture. Mary is not the "christotokos" but the "theotokos". She gave birth to a baby that was also fully God in the flesh. Jesus is both a human soul and the Logos in one person. If you prefer to call the human soul a "person" rather than a soul, you have merely substituted terms and you have not resolved the logical problems of the Incarnation one whit. Human beings cannot know all the propositions God knows (omniscience). Human beings cannot perform supernatural miracles at will (omnipotence). But Jesus at times does both of these. So you can huff and puff about flat contradictions and "apparent paradoxes" all you like but you have merely contradicted the Reformed theology of the Westminster Standards, Three Forms of Unity and the Anglican Formularies, Sean.

The fact is Calvin himself acknowedged that we follow logic as far as we possibly can.... But in the end the human intellect is limited and may not solve all the logical problems that present themselves to the human situation.

That does not entail that everyone who disagrees with Clark is of necessity a Van Tilian or semi-neo-orthodox. It is a fact that the noetic effect of sin makes some people stupid and others smart. But even "smart" people make intellectual and logical errors in their thinking and reasoning because sin corrupted the mind and every part of man's being to one extent or another. And furthermore, since God is sovereign, ALL theological errors were predetermined by God for His own glorious purposes. That is not neo-orthodoxy. That is BIBLE.

And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 NKJ)

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, (Romans 1:20-22 NKJ)

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