Clark Quick Quote

OK, one good quote to embarrass my Arminian friends (and others similarly deluded) deserves another.  It’s been some time since I’ve read one of Clark’s commentaries, but they are excellent and the insights he provides are often profound and unflinching.  What more could anyone want in a commentary?  Here is part of Clark’s commentary of 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12.

And for this reason God will send to them an activity [energy] of error so that they shall believe falsehood in order that all those who do not believe the truth but who take pleasure in injustice shall be condemned. 

…  Notice now that on those who do not care for truth, God sends an activity of error. The Arminians usually hold that God does not cause people to despise the truth nor does he purpose to condemn them for doing so. But this verse says, note carefully, that God plunges them into error in order that they shall be condemned. Non-calvinists will say that God permits, but does not cause, unbelief. Calvin denounces the idea of a permissive will. “Here they recur to the distinction between will and permission, and insist that God permits the destruction of the impious, but does not will it. But what reason shall we assign for his permitting it, but because it is his will?” (Institutes, III, xxiii, 8).

Aside from what Calvin said, one should note that the Arminians fail in their attempt to relieve God of responsibility for evil and its retribution. Suppose a lifeguard at a poll or at the beach sees a little child drowning. Can he sit still in his high chair, refuse to rescue the child, and escape responsibility on the ground that he merely permitted the child to drown? Let the Arminians tell that to the parents, and to the judge! – (First and Second Thessalonians, 98 – 99. Also see “Determinism and Responsibility”).

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101 Comments on “Clark Quick Quote”

  1. Roger Says:

    11 The working of delusion. He means that errors will not merely have a place, but the wicked will be blinded, so that they will rush forward to ruin without consideration. For as God enlightens us inwardly by his Spirit, that his doctrine may be efficacious in us, and opens our eyes and hearts, that it may make its way thither, so by a righteous judgment he delivers over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:28) those whom he has appointed to destruction, that with closed eyes and a senseless mind, they may, as if bewitched, deliver themselves over to Satan and his ministers to be deceived. And assuredly we have a notable specimen of this in the Papacy. No words can express how monstrous a sink of errors there is there, how gross and shameful an absurdity of superstitions there is, and what delusions at variance with common sense. None that have even a moderate taste of sound doctrine, can think of such monstrous things without the greatest horror. How, then, could the whole world be lost in astonishment at them, were it not that men have been struck with blindness by the Lord, and converted, as it were, into stumps? (John Calvin)


  2. I have come to regard Arminians as lost and in need of conversion to the Gospel as it is revealed through the information in the Bible. The Canons of Dort excommunicated Arminians. So why do stupid elders accept self-avowed heretics into membership in their sessions? Is Arminianism a valid profession of faith? I think not! That’s part of the reason they now accept the Federal Vision heresy in the PCA. Shallow theology opens the door to false doctrine.

  3. Sean Gerety Says:

    Arminianism is heresy and if you work it out logically it is Pelagian. However, I don’t know too many Arminians who have so worked it out and instead generally have very confused and contradictory theologies even in regard to soteriology. Are those people lost? Marc Carpenter and his one follower say they are. Not only that all those who don’t agree that all Arminians are lost are lost (try and figure out that piece of convoluted logic). But, whatever happened to having faith the size of a mustard seed or Paul’s admonition; “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” I must have missed that free will clause. Frankly, I would bet 90% of all Arminians have never even heard of “Arminianism” and at best think it’s a country to the east of Turkey.

    I also agree with what you say regarding the dangers of “shallow theology.” However, I’ve never attended a church where membership was conditioned on a denial of free will as part of a credible profession of faith. Is that what you’re suggesting?


  4. By the way, Roger, I no longer believe that Gordon H. Clark committed heresy in his book, The Incarnation. Clark’s view is in line with the dythelite view that Jesus had two wills, divine and human. If Jesus had two wills, then the implication is clearly that Jesus was two persons. The Logos cannot cease being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Likewise, the human person/soul of Christ cannot be any of those things. A person is a complex of propositions that he thinks…… Yet Christ is a genuinely human person and He is united with the divine person of the Logos.

  5. Steve M Says:

    Charlie and Sean
    I have often pondered the question: How far off can ones view of God be before it constitutes worshipping another God? I don’t think I yet have the answer. I am not of the view that all Arminians are lost, but I do think that many are Arminians because they are not fond of certain attributes of God that the Bible clearly presents.

    Charlie, your comments on Christ’s two wills brought to my mind the passage where Christ says, “Not my will but Thine be done.” It seems to me He must be speaking of His human will, because His divine will (i.e the will of the second Person of the Trinity) would be in perfect accord with that of the Father. There would be no reason to contrast the two. I haven’t really thought this out in detail, but your comment got me thinking about that passage and its implications.

  6. Sean Gerety Says:

    A person is a complex of propositions that he thinks…… Yet Christ is a genuinely human person and He is united with the divine person of the Logos.

    One can of worms at a time please. :)

  7. Sean Gerety Says:

    Charlie, your comments on Christ’s two wills brought to my mind the passage where Christ says, “Not my will but Thine be done.” It seems to me He must be speaking of His human will, because His divine will (i.e the will of the second Person of the Trinity) would be in perfect accord with that of the Father. There would be no reason to contrast the two.

    Great point. I guess another way to put is does the Father, Son, and Spirit have one will or three? If one, then was Jesus only speaking hypothetically? Also, what is a will but a mind. OK, can number 2 closed.

  8. justbybelief Says:

    A person is a complex of propositions that he thinks…… Yet Christ is a genuinely human person and He is united with the divine person of the Logos.

    If I might add:
    Jesus was not conceived in sin like the rest of us. At conception His human will was (and would remain) submitted to the Divine will. He was genuinely (and originally) a sinless human FREE from the effects of sin and therefore in fellowship with God and free to His worship.

  9. Roger Says:

    Clark’s view is in line with the dythelite view that Jesus had two wills, divine and human.

    Charlie, all Nestorian views (despite their minor variations) are “in line with the dythelite view that Jesus had two wills, divine and human.” Yet that doesn’t make them any less heretical. Nestorianism isn’t condemned for teaching that Christ possesses two “wills” (which are attributes of His two natures by the way), but for teaching that Christ consists of two “persons” – a divine person and a human person that forever remain distinct from one another. If that is indeed what Clark was teaching in The Incarnation (which seems pretty clear to me), then he was guilty of committing heresy plain and simple.

    If Jesus had two wills, then the implication is clearly that Jesus was two persons.

    No it isn’t, for the orthodox teaching is that the will is an attribute of nature rather than person. Thus, Jesus’ human will is an attribute of His human nature (i.e., soul or immaterial mind), while His divine will is an attribute of His divine nature.

    The Logos cannot cease being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Likewise, the human person/soul of Christ cannot be any of those things.

    You’re confusion arises from wrongly equating “soul/person” as if there’s no distinction between the two. But that’s not the orthodox position. According to the Ecumenical Creeds, the person of the Logos assumed a true human nature which consists of a “reasonable soul and body.” Thus, Christ’s “reasonable soul” (i.e., finite immaterial mind) is a common attribute of His human nature and not of His unique personhood as such, just as His omniscience is a common attribute of His divine nature and not of His unique personhood as such.

    Yet Christ is a genuinely human person and He is united with the divine person of the Logos.

    If that’s what you truly believe, then you are guilty of heresy plain and simple. That type of two-person view is condemned not only by the Ecumenical Creeds, but also by all of the Reformed Creeds!

  10. Roger Says:

    I guess another way to put is does the Father, Son, and Spirit have one will or three? If one, then was Jesus only speaking hypothetically? Also, what is a will but a mind.

    The Father, Son, and Spirit have only one divine will, because the will is an attribute of nature rather than person. Likewise, the Father, Son, and Spirit have only one divine mind, because the mind is an attribute of nature rather than person. The two minds/wills of Christ are solely the result of the Incarnation. Thus, Jesus’ human mind/will is an attribute of His human nature, while His divine mind/will is an attribute of His divine nature. Like it or not, that’s the orthodox and biblical teaching.

  11. Sean Gerety Says:

    Nestorianism isn’t condemned for teaching that Christ possesses two “wills” (which are attributes of His two natures by the way), but for teaching that Christ consists of two “persons” – a divine person and a human person that forever remain distinct from one another.

    This doesn’t follow. The Father, Son and Spirit are distinct persons but one God. There are things that Jesus said and did that cannot be attributed to the Second Person and there are other things he said and did that can only be attributed to the Second Person. The problem is those things that cannot be attributed to the Second Person, things like ignorance, cannot be attributed to any person at all! The problem with Nestorius is first and foremost that he never defined what a person IS! The second problem, which is arguably why he was so strongly condemned, is that he didn’t agree that Mary, in any strict sense, was the “Mother of God.”

    Of Jesus, the man, Chalcedon says he had “a reasonable soul and body.” The Second person clearly has no body for God is without body, parts, or passions. Jesus, the man, had all of these things and what is a “rational soul” but a human mind? Isn’t this what we normally think of as a human person? I would think so. The only mystery is how this combination of a body and rational mind is not a human person and why do some Christians act like papists and think every utterance by “the church,” no matter how politically motivated, contradictory, or confused, is without any possible error and beyond all improvement or even further clarification? You don’t act that way when it comes to Scripture, so why do you act that way when it comes to the creeds? Even someone as wed to contradictions in Scripture and the creeds as RTS prof James Anderson recognizes “the difficulty of determining with sufficient precision how the strictures of the [Chalcedon] Definition are to be understood.” You, on the other hand, think it is all black and white.

    If that is indeed what Clark was teaching in The Incarnation (which seems pretty clear to me), then he was guilty of committing heresy plain and simple.

    It’s not that simple at all and those who have attempted to so tar Clark have failed and failed miserably. It comes down to how one defines their terms and if you weren’t so dogmatically knee-jerk you’d see that. You would also recognize that completely independent of each other, Clark’s solution tracks with Morris’ almost exactly. Where Morris fails is in his contorted and dubious (not to mention Thomistic) definition of person. Even then, Anderson correctly recognized the smoke and mirrors and argues:

    “If claims about Jesus possessing two distinct ranges of consciousness, two distinct sets of experiences, beliefs, etc., are to be coherent then it must be possible to refer to those mental features without those features being necessarily owned by an particular person. Yet this is precisely what our concept of a person rules out. If experiences are necessarily individuated with respect to persons, then at the most fundamental logical level it makes no sense to speak of one person with two distinct consciousnesses (in the sense that each consciousness might in principle be ascribed to a different person than the other).”

    As we all know, Clark, unlike most Christians, even those calling themselves “Christian thinkers,” always thought on the “most fundamental logical level.” And, if this gets him in trouble with religious irrationalists and others with little minds, then I guess that’s his entire career in a nutshell.

  12. Pht Says:

    I suspect that many “arminians” are not actually arminians… who are otherwise maybe ignorant or ill informed on the necessary implications of the theology surrounding the gospel.

    Oh, boy, the nestorian thing. Again.

    A can of worms indeed!

    Instead of “publish or die” it should have been “define or die.”

  13. Sean Gerety Says:

    Likewise, the Father, Son, and Spirit have only one divine mind, because the mind is an attribute of nature rather than person.

    You had me then you lost me. I agree that the Three have one will, which would be implication of omniscience and a requirement of omnipotence, but I can hardly see how all three persons have one mind. Can the Father think, “I was incarnate and died on the cross”? That would seem to be a thought reserved for the Second Person.

    But, if you maintain all three have one mind, then it would seem you do not define person in terms mind or intellect. For you a person is not the propositions he thinks, so it must be something else. I honestly don’t know what you mean by “the mind is an attribute of nature rather than person.” Therefore, could you please define person for me?

    Thus, Jesus’ human mind/will is an attribute of His human nature, while His divine mind/will is an attribute of His divine nature.

    So did Jesus’ human nature cause the Second Person’s ignorance concerning his return? Also, how does an impersonal nature cause a person, in this case the Second Person, to be ignorant of some things?

    Like it or not, that’s the orthodox and biblical teaching.

    That’s fine, but I think we can at least all admit that besides being contradictory (Anderson prefers “paradoxical” in good Vantillian fashion) it is incoherent and doesn’t explain what is taught in Scripture. Centuries of professing nonsense only gives rise to more nonsense. I thought Christians were interested in truth and knowledge? (Just kidding, I never thought Christians were interested in any of that. Clark/Robbins may have been the exception which is why they were so universally reviled. I think most Christians are at best pietists).

  14. Pht Says:

    Sean Gerety Says:

    April 25, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Centuries of professing nonsense only gives rise to more nonsense. I thought Christians were interested in truth and knowledge? (Just kidding, I never thought Christians were interested in any of that. Clark/Robbins may have been the exception which is why they were so universally reviled. I think most Christians are at best pietists).

    I have suspicions that this might be one of the reasons God has decreed heretics who must come… if they didn’t, we wouldn’t stick our noses into God’s revelation and actually *learn it.*

    It may well be the muslims who force us to eventually define the term “person” as distinct from “nature” strictly out of the biblical text, what with much of the islamic attack against trinitarian monotheism. If memory serves, one muslim apologist directly asked this sort of question on the unbelievable podcast (and the christian who was asked basically punted on it).

  15. Sean Gerety Says:

    the mind is an attribute of nature rather than person.

    I think this is where you’re getting me confused. Beyond what I mentioned above, if mind is an attribute of nature, then natures, not persons think. Is this it? So, when you think it’s not really you, Roger, thinking. It’s your nature.


  16. Brother,

    I enjoy your writings and share your affinity for Dr. Clark. Keep up the good work and fight the good fight.

    Grace,

    BBG

  17. Roger Says:

    A “person” is a unique individual self-conscious subject that subsists or inheres within a particular nature, and thinks various propositions in concurrence with that nature (whether that nature be divine, angelic, or human). Of course, in the case of the incarnate Logos, since He has both a divine and human nature, He thinks and experiences things in concurrence with one or the other of His two natures (i.e., either His divine mind/nature or His human mind/nature). He, the divine person of the Logos Himself, is the one and only theanthropos.

    I’m sure that definition won’t satisfy you, as you’ve already convinced yourself of the absurd notion that a person is merely a “complex of propositions.” But Scripture plainly teaches that it is the same divine “subject” – the same personal “I” – who is “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last” (Revelation 1:11) who was crucified on the cross, who died for our sins, and who was raised to life for our justification:

    “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen” (Revelation 1:17-18)

    There’s no second human person who is distinct from the divine person of the Logos here. There is only one person – the eternal second person of the Godhead – who in hypostatical union with His assumed human nature actually experienced death and was raised to life for us on the third day! What you are teaching, Sean, is unbiblical and heretical. You need to repent!

  18. Steve M Says:

    Roger
    Was it a human “nature” that was crucified?

  19. justbybelief Says:

    Good question, Steve.

    If Jesus was not a man in every sense that we are men then He can in no way be our substitute.

    That said, and concerning ‘normal’ procreation, at conception you have the characteristics of two people manifested in one. What of the Son of God (without sin), conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary?

  20. Roger Says:

    Roger
    Was it a human “nature” that was crucified?

    Steve, I’ve already answered that question:

    Scripture plainly teaches that it is the same divine “subject” – the same personal “I” – who is “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last” (Revelation 1:11) who was crucified on the cross, who died for our sins, and who was raised to life for our justification:

    “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen” (Revelation 1:17-18)

    That’s more than clear for anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear. There is only one person – the eternal second person of the Godhead – who in hypostatical union with His assumed human nature actually experienced death and was raised to life for us on the third day! That’s why the one person of Christ can say both “I am the living bread which came down from heaven,” and “the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:51). He, the eternal second person of the Godhead, gave His “flesh” on the cross and experienced death in His human nature for our sins. If you deny that, then you deny the very Incarnation itself and the plain testimony of God’s word!

  21. Steve M Says:

    Roger
    It was no a person who died? It was a nature?

  22. Steve M Says:

    Not

  23. Roger Says:

    That said, and concerning ‘normal’ procreation, at conception you have the characteristics of two people manifested in one. What of the Son of God (without sin), conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary?

    Even when two people “normally” procreate, the offspring only results in one new person. Moreover, not only is there not a shred of biblical evidence that Jesus consisted of two people (a divine person and a distinct human person) in the Incarnation, but I’ve already demonstrated from Scripture that the divine Logos Himself is the only person in the incarnate Christ, and that He alone died on the cross for our sins.

  24. Steve M Says:

    Roger
    If a person subsists or inheres within a particular nature, how can someone with two natures be one person? Your definition is flawed. Try again.

  25. justbybelief Says:

    “Even when two people “normally” procreate, the offspring only results in one new person.”

    Isn’t that the implication?

  26. Ron Says:

    It is to reason by false disjunction to conclude that to think in accordance to nature precludes one mind given two natures. I thirst and I am eternal are thoughts that the Second Person can have with one mind.

  27. Sean Gerety Says:

    A “person” is a unique individual self-conscious subject that subsists or inheres within a particular nature, and thinks various propositions in concurrence with that nature (whether that nature be divine, angelic, or human).

    I completely agree. While “in concurrence with that nature” has to be fleshed out, I can’t imagine anyone disagreeing that a “person” is a “unique individual self-conscious subject that … thinks various propositions in concurrence with that nature (whether that nature be divine, angelic, or human).” Well, the divine self-conscious subject cannot grow in stature and wisdom. He is as omniscient as He is immutable. Yet, Jesus grew in stature and wisdom. Clearly that’s not something that subsists or inheres within the particular nature of the Second Person. So, who or what grew in stature and wisdom?

    It also seems you agree with Clark (but just can’t bring yourself to admit the obvious and logical conclusion that follows from your definition) and that a person is his mind. In regard to the question of nature, a human person thinks thoughts in a sequential manner and can increase in knowledge, whereas the thoughts of the divine Second person do not pass through His mind, but are, as theologians say, “an eternal intuition.” I don’t want to be presumptuous, but I hope you agree that the Second Person can’t grown in knowledge.

    However, above that you said “mind is an attribute of nature rather than person.” Now you’re saying mind is what defines a person and their nature determines the how of what they think. If that’s not what you mean, then I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    But Scripture plainly teaches that it is the same divine “subject” – the same personal “I”

    The Scriptures do not teach this at all otherwise you wouldn’t have to attribute some things regarding Jesus to his “human nature” and other things to his “divine nature.” Further, no one denies there is but one Christ, but to quote Charlie; “Christ is a genuinely human person and He is united with the divine person of the Logos.” Whereas Thomas Morris would say that the human mind is subsumed by the divine mind and there is an asymmetrical accessing relationship between the human and divine minds (which accounts for the fact that Jesus was ignorant of some things), Clark would simply define a person in terms of their mind; i.e., the propositions they think. How they think, or what the nature of their thoughts might be, is irrelevant to the definition. Perhaps for clarity I would add rationality to the definition of “person” simply because animals think, but are not rational beings (despite the claims of some animal lovers). Yet, in the case of Jesus we have two minds and two centers of consciousness. The problem is this is exactly how we normally think of a “person” and is even how you define “person” above! That’s why Steve nails it when he asks; “If a person subsists or inheres within a particular nature, how can someone with two natures be one person?” Bingo!

    The fact is, even if you don’t want to admit it, James Anderson is absolutely right and if you want to be faithful to the definition of Chalcedon you must embrace an outright contradiction. You must affirm one person who is both ignorant of some things and ignorant of nothing. A person who is both simultaneously immutable and mutable; who cannot die and yet dies. This is the “mystery ” of the incarnation. But what is bizarre is given that this particular creed ends in a contradiction, why Christians didn’t see this as a red flag and went back and rechecked their premises. If someone were to assert that the Scriptures teach contradictions I would hope you wouldn’t accept that. So why do you embrace a blatant contradiction when it comes to this so-called “ecumenical creed”? I really don’t understand this. Does the Bible determine orthodoxy or does the “church”?

  28. Ron Says:

    Regarding my post above, all I was saying is that we may not conclude two minds solely based upon two natures. More digging into Scripture needs to be done, which I’m sure all have done. My post was unnecessary and even misleading.

    Having said that, indeed Christ has two wills, etc., but that doesn’t imply two persons.

    Everyone but Roger,

    I’m a little perplexed how you can speak of Christ as two persons when the alleged human person does not constitute a person apart from being joined to the Word. All persons exist in the mind of God prior to their coming into existence. They are distinct entities. Who or what is this alleged distinct human second person of the Second Person? “He” has no essence apart from the Word. He has no personality apart from the Word. He is no person apart from the Word. He must be no he.

    More to the point, “he” could not have come into existence as a particular person apart from the Word lest he would have been another person than the Christ! In other words, even if he could have been created apart from being hypostatically united to Christ, he wouldn’t have been Christ the human person (lest any of us could have been Christ the human person). which only underscores that these properties of the human nature don’t constitute a person let alone a human person when united to a divine person.

    Look at it this way. Remove the divine person from Christ and what do you have? Nothing but an empty shell. Yet remove the human soul, body, intellect and all else that is human from Christ and you still have Christ the person.

    Herein lies the confusion, I think.

    Indeed, every human person has the properties of a body, soul and mind, but that doesn’t mean that a human person exists each time those properties obtain.

    p If human person, then human will

    does not imply

    p* If human will, then human person

    Being a human person is a sufficient condition for certain human properties and having a human will is a necessary condition for being a human person. But, those human properties are not a sufficient condition for a human person to exist (when added to a divine person). We mustn’t confuse p with p*.

  29. Ron Says:

    Sean,

    I wrote above:

    p If human person, then human will

    does not imply

    p* If human will, then human person

    I could have just as easily put in human mind in place of human will. I get what Clark was saying, but to say a human mind is sufficient for a human person to obtain is not to consider that there can be an exception – that being when the human mind is co-joined to a divine person.

    I think the force in what I’m saying is that it eliminates the notion that a person can exist without a distinct personality. What would be the human Christ’s personality apart from being assumed by the Word? If “he” has no personality other than the divine personality, then there is no human person in Christ and that the Second person is one person with two natures?

  30. Steve M Says:

    Ron
    I have read your comments and I cannot disagree. In order to disagree I would have to have some idea what point you were trying to make. I don’t.

  31. Ron Says:

    Steve M,

    I was trying to bolster the point, Roger’s point, that Christ was a divine person only and not also a human person.

    I can’t with Roger calls Sean’s position heretical because as I see it, Sean is asserting the same propositions and merely summing them up as “person”. That’s a semantic difference as far as I can tell. I don’t believe he is using the happiest of terms (human person) for reasons I already gave.

  32. Roger Says:

    Well, the divine self-conscious subject cannot grow in stature and wisdom. He is as omniscient as He is immutable. Yet, Jesus grew in stature and wisdom. Clearly that’s not something that subsists or inheres within the particular nature of the Second Person. So, who or what grew in stature and wisdom?

    The “person” of the Logos cannot grow in wisdom and stature in relation to His divine nature (i.e., in concurrence with His omniscient and immutable divine mind/nature). But the “person” of the Logos assumed a human nature in the Incarnation, and can indeed grow in wisdom and stature in relation to His human nature (i.e., in concurrence with His limited and mutable human mind/nature). That is precisely what Scripture teaches. The Logos – the second Person of the Trinity – “became flesh” (John 1:14) and “grew in wisdom and stature” (Luke 2:52) as a Man. If you deny that, then you deny the very Incarnation itself!

    It also seems you agree with Clark (but just can’t bring yourself to admit the obvious and logical conclusion that follows from your definition) and that a person is his mind.

    No, I don’t agree with Clark at all, as the mind (as a rational faculty) is an attribute of one’s “nature” and not “personhood” per se. For example, the one immutable divine “mind/nature” is an attribute that is shared in common by each member of the Trinity (which is why all three are immutable and omniscient in relation to their one divine “mind/nature”), whereas only their “personal” or “relational” characteristics are unique to themselves.

    The Scriptures do not teach this at all otherwise you wouldn’t have to attribute some things regarding Jesus to his “human nature” and other things to his “divine nature.” Further, no one denies there is but one Christ, but to quote Charlie; “Christ is a genuinely human person and He is united with the divine person of the Logos.”

    So why don’t you explain how your two person view lines up with the passage I cited?

    “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen” (Revelation 1:17-18)

    So who died for our sins here, Sean? Was it the divine Person of the Logos, “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last” (Rev. 1:11), or not? What does the passage plainly say? Please enlighten us!

    As I said before, there’s no second human person who is distinct from the divine Person of the Logos here. There is only one Person – the eternal second Person of the Godhead – who in hypostatical union with His assumed human nature actually experienced death and was raised to life for us on the third day!

  33. Ron Says:

    For example, the one immutable divine “mind/nature” is an attribute that is shared in common by each member of the Trinity (which is why all three are immutable and omniscient in relation to their one divine “mind/nature”), whereas only their “personal” or “relational” characteristics are unique to themselves.

    Roger,

    I can’t be understanding that statement of yours. You certainly agree that the Holy Spirit thinks that He alone is the Holy Spirit. The Son and the Father don’t think this. If each Person has the same mind in the same manner in which they share the same essence, we’d end up with confusion wouldn’t we?

  34. Sean Gerety Says:

    I could have just as easily put in human mind in place of human will. I get what Clark was saying, but to say a human mind is sufficient for a human person to obtain is not to consider that there can be an exception – that being when the human mind is co-joined to a divine person.

    I don’t know that you “get” what Clark was saying. Have you read The Incarnation? How you define “person” is essential to intelligibility. Subsistence and substance are completely meaning-less phrases. Those problems alone point to obvious weaknesses in the Chalcedon definition.

    As to person, whatever definition you chose must at least apply to both humans, angels, and the three Persons of the Trinity. Further, you said that if you remove the divine person from Christ you’re left with an empty shell, but what follows from that is a denial of the incarnation and you’re left with nothing more than God in a body. Besides, the Scriptures make no mention of nature at all, but proclaim “the man Jesus Christ.” Jesus had to be a real human being otherwise the entire doctrine of federal headship falls. Jesus needs to be like you and me in every way except sin. He needs to be a man as the Scriptures say and not just God in a body.

  35. Sean Gerety Says:

    The “person” of the Logos cannot grow in wisdom and stature in relation to His divine nature (i.e., in concurrence with His omniscient and immutable divine mind/nature). But the “person” of the Logos assumed a human nature in the Incarnation, and can indeed grow in wisdom and stature in relation to His human nature (i.e., in concurrence with His limited and mutable human mind/nature).

    Roger, please tell me you don’t see the glaring contradiction? How can a person who cannot grow in wisdom grow in wisdom? How can a person be ignorant of nothing be also ignorant of some things? Remember, there is only one person, not two. Is your argument that this limited and mutable human mind/nature can cause the omniscient, omnipotent and immutable Second Person to be ignorant, impotent and mutable?

    I hope to get to the rest of your post later, but this just really jumped out.

  36. Sean Gerety Says:

    No, I don’t agree with Clark at all, as the mind (as a rational faculty) is an attribute of one’s “nature” and not “personhood” per se.

    That’s not true. You said; a “person” is a “unique individual self-conscious subject that … thinks various propositions in concurrence with that nature (whether that nature be divine, angelic, or human).” I hardly can see where Clark would disagree. The problem is you have a “unique individual self-conscious subject” who is conscious of being ignorant of nothing and ignorant of some things. Besides being contradictory it sounds more like schizophrenia.

  37. Sean Gerety Says:

    So why don’t you explain how your two person view lines up with the passage I cited?

    “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen” (Revelation 1:17-18)

    There is but one Christ, the God-man.

    So who died for our sins here, Sean? Was it the divine Person of the Logos, “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last” (Rev. 1:11), or not? What does the passage plainly say? Please enlighten us!

    Of course it wasn’t the Second Person who died. That would be a denial of the Trinity. God cannot die. As R.C. Sproul explains:

    If we say that God died on the cross [Roger], and if by that we mean that the divine nature perished, we have stepped over the edge into serious heresy. In fact, two such heresies related to this problem arose in the early centuries of the church: theopassianism and patripassianism. The first of these, theopassianism, teaches that God Himself suffered death on the cross. Patripassianism indicates that the Father suffered vicariously through the suffering of His Son. Both of these heresies were roundly rejected by the church for the very reason that they categorically deny the very character and nature of God, including His immutability. There is no change in the substantive nature or character of God at any time.

    God not only created the universe, He sustains it by the very power of His being. As Paul said, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). If the being of God ceased for one second, the universe would disappear. It would pass out of existence, because nothing can exist apart from the sustaining power of God. If God dies, everything dies with Him. Obviously, then, God could not have perished on the cross.

    Some say, “It was the second person of the Trinity Who died.” That would be a mutation within the very being of God, because when we look at the Trinity we say that the three are one in essence, and that though there are personal distinctions among the persons of the Godhead, those distinctions are not essential in the sense that they are differences in being. Death is something that would involve a change in one’s being.
    http://tinyurl.com/yl2khdd

    What you’re teaching is heresy Roger. You need to repent!

  38. Ron Says:

    As to person, whatever definition you chose must at least apply to both humans, angels, and the three Persons of the Trinity

    Sean,

    I think I met that requirement, at least implicitly, when I wrote: “to say a human mind is sufficient for a human person to obtain is not to consider that there can be an exception – that being when the human mind is co-joined to a divine person.”

    So, in explicit terms, a distinct person is a single entity (or if you prefer a set of propositions) with at least one will, mind, etc. Again, there’s a difference between p and p*. That one can predicate about each will does not logically imply two distinct persons. So, my definition is not at odds with humans, angels or the three Persons of the Godhead. It’s only at odds with your implicit definition of a person that limits the will to one.

    Sean, our difference seems to be that you don’t think a single person can have both a human and divine will, etc. Yet there is nothing contradictory about a person having two wills. It only contradicts your definition of a person, but it’s not inherently contradictory because no part of the definition is mutually exclusive to any other part of the definition. Apart from appealing to your definition to show mine as contradictory, maybe you might show how my definition of person that allows for two wills is internally inconsistent. It’s a mystery but not a contradiction. Theology giving way to doxology is part-and-parcel with Christianity.

    Further, you said that if you remove the divine person from Christ you’re left with an empty shell, but what follows from that is a denial of the incarnation and you’re left with nothing more than God in a body.

    Then what or who is the personality of the human person you posit? If it’s the personality of the Word, then it is the Word-person hence One Person. If it’s not the Word-person, then who is this person and what is he like?

  39. Ron Says:

    Roger, please tell me you don’t see the glaring contradiction? How can a person who cannot grow in wisdom grow in wisdom? How can a person be ignorant of nothing be also ignorant of some things?

    Sean,

    As Roger has been saying, the person can grow in wisdom in stature according to his human nature. He cannot grow in wisdom and stature according to his divine nature. Therefore, there is no contradiction unless it is axiomatic that a person cannot have to natures.

    A contradiction would like something like this: The Second Person can and cannot grow in wisdom and stature according to the same nature.

  40. Ron Says:

    sorry for the typos

    Sean,

    As Roger has been saying, the person can grow in wisdom and stature according to his human nature. He cannot grow in wisdom and stature according to his divine nature. Therefore, there is no contradiction unless it is axiomatic that a person cannot have two natures.

    A contradiction would like something like this: The Second Person can and cannot grow in wisdom and stature according to the same nature.

  41. Ron Says:

    As for the Second Person dying, people’s objection is usually due to their unwittingly thinking of death in annihilationist terms. That the Second Person died means that the Second Person was separated from His body. He was no less conscious doing what he could do in the Spirit apart from the body than we will be as disembodied souls who die. We will do what we can do apart from the body, whatever that is. Likewise, the Second Person managed rather nicely governing the universe prior to those thirty some years in the flesh; so when He died there was nothing He couldn’t do as God.

  42. Sean Gerety Says:

    Sean, our difference seems to be that you don’t think a single person can have both a human and divine will, etc. Yet there is nothing contradictory about a person having two wills.

    OK, there is nothing contradictory about three persons having one will either. Or two persons having one will for that matter. Minds will to do this or that. What is contradictory is to posit one person who is both ignorant of nothing and ignorant of some things. There are clearly some things Jesus said that can only be attributed to Jesus as a man, things like referring to Mary as his mother or being forsaken on the cross (as a rift in the ontological Trinity is impossible – see Sproul above). Similarly, there are things that Jesus said that can only be attributed to the Second Person, things like “before Abraham was I am.” Notice, I carefully said Jesus as a man, but what is a man but a human person? I guess for you someone can be a man but not a person. For you it would seem that a man isn’t a human person at all and I wonder, given some of the other things you said, if you think Jesus was a man at all.

    Apart from appealing to your definition to show mine as contradictory, maybe you might show how my definition of person that allows for two wills is internally inconsistent. It’s a mystery but not a contradiction. Theology giving way to doxology is part-and-parcel with Christianity.

    I don’t deny that Jesus had two wills, just as I don’t deny that Jesus had two minds. Jesus said to the Father on the cross, “Not my will, but yours be done.” But, this makes no sense if said by the the Second Person because God has only one will not three wills. Now, you may say this is the “human will” that is speaking, but how do wills even speak? The problem for me, among others, is that having a human will doesn’t explain how this one person is both ignorant of some things and not ignorant of anything. I don’t see how “will”, human or otherwise, answer this question? Care to try?

  43. Ron Says:

    For you it would seem that a man isn’t a human person at all and I wonder, given some of the other things you said, if you think Jesus was a man at all.

    Sean,

    A man can be a human person but it need not be that way, as in the case of a divine person who adds to himself a human nature without subtracting his divinity.

    having a human will doesn’t explain how this one person is both ignorant of some things and not ignorant of anything

    Well, not being able to “explain” something doesn’t imply a contradiction. I cannot explain created time and space and many other non-contradictory mysteries. Theology gives way to doxology.

  44. Ron Says:

    Sean,

    You said this:

    “What is contradictory is to posit one person who is both ignorant of nothing and ignorant of some things.”

    …after I said this:

    As Roger has been saying, the person can grow in wisdom and stature according to his human nature. He cannot grow in wisdom and stature according to his divine nature. Therefore, there is no contradiction unless it is axiomatic that a person cannot have two natures.

    A contradiction would like something like this: The Second Person can and cannot grow in wisdom and stature according to the same nature.

    So, I’ll say this once again:

    Apart from appealing to your definition to show mine as contradictory, maybe you might show how my definition of person that allows for two wills is internally inconsistent.

  45. Sean Gerety Says:

    Apart from appealing to your definition to show mine as contradictory, maybe you might show how my definition of person that allows for two wills is internally inconsistent.

    I don’t even know what this means any more than saying a person who by definition is omniscient and cannot grow in wisdom (and who is a spirit) can grow in wisdom and stature according to his human nature. Unless you’re using the word will in some unusual sense, I would think it means the mental power of choosing one’s actions. Besides, how do natures and not persons grow in wisdom and stature?

    BTW, have you read Clark’s monograph?

  46. Sean Gerety Says:

    A man can be a human person but it need not be that way, as in the case of a divine person who adds to himself a human nature without subtracting his divinity.

    So a human person need not be a man? What else can it be? I suppose a woman. I guess if I’m following you Jesus wasn’t a man at all and the Scriptures err. I think I got it. Where’s that doxology when you need it. :)

  47. Ron Says:

    Sean,

    I think your rejoinders are getting rather silly. So, I’m happy to leave things where they are.

  48. Sean Gerety Says:

    Not as silly as yours. You don’t make any sense. “A man can be a human person but it need not be that way….” What on earth is a man who is not a human person?

    The Creed of Chalcedon says Jesus was “truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin.” Someone can be truly man with a rational soul (mind) and body and not be a human person? I mean, the creed is as good as it goes, IMO it just doesn’t go far enough and could certainly be improved upon if only so Christians don’t have profess nonsense and embrace contradictions. Admittedly, embracing contradictions is a prospect openly welcomed by Vantillians like James Anderson. Frankly, as things stand, when it comes to this creed I say score one for the Vantillians and the paradox mongers. Christianity is at its core irrational. Next we’ll all be professing God is one person and three persons (a conclusion Anderson maintains is the only one that is faithful to the “ecumenical creeds”).

  49. Ron Says:

    Sean,

    Where’s the logical contradiction?

    In any case, I think I need to retract one thing. You are engaged in heresy. After all, whose body and blood do you feast upon at the Supper? For you it must be a human person’s and not God’s.

  50. Sean Gerety Says:

    Where’s the logical contradiction?

    Of course, a Vantillian would say it’s a paradox and an apparent contradiction, just not a real one.

    While there are a number of examples, here’s but one from Anderson’s book, Paradox in Christian Theology:

    (K1) Christ did not know1 every fact (by virtue of his humanity).

    (K2) Christ did know2 every fact (by virtue of his divinity). (297)

    As Anderson explains:

    “If it turns out that adherents of the latter two religions [Judaism and Islam] can mirror the Christian’s appeal to mystery in defense of their own paradoxical teachings, then this is the price to be exacted for reconciling orthodox Christian doctrines with the rationality of Christian faith. In my estimation, it is a price worth paying. (285)”

    From your repeated appeals to mystery and doxology I can see you agree with Anderson.

    In any case, I think I need to retract one thing. You are engaged in heresy.

    And you’re engaged in nonsense. Besides, I think there is certainly enough ambiguity in the creed, even as badly written as it is, to allow for a two mind theory which in turn can allow for Clark’s two person theory provided it is properly understood. As John Murray argued:

    It may be that the term “Person” can be given a connotation in our modern context, and applied to Christ’s human nature, without thereby impinging upon the oneness of His divine-human Person. In other words, the term “nature” may be too abstract to express all that belongs to His humanness and the term “Person” is necessary to express the manhood that is truly and properly His.

    Amen.

  51. Steve M Says:

    Ron
    I feast on wine (or grape juice) and bread at the Supper. These are meant to be reminders representing the human blood that was shed and and the human flesh (i.e. Christ’s human body) that was given for me.

    Are you suggesting that the blood that Christ shed was not human blood? Are you suggesting that the body that was given was not human flesh?.

  52. Ron Says:

    Sean,

    Bringing James into this only muddies the waters. I’ve showed several times that if we define person as having at least one will, etc., then there is no contradiction. You can’t wrap your mind around Christ having two natures as a single person but that in itself is not an adequate argument against the definition that’s before you.

    Aside from not performing an analytic-rejoinder, you’ve yet to disclose what this human person is like or how he can even be a person given that his uninstantiated essence requires that he be assumed into union with God. Who is this lucky, now eternal sidekick?

  53. Ron Says:

    Steve M,

    The question is, are we partaking (whatever partaking means to you) of the body and blood of a divine or human person?

  54. Ron Says:

    Steve M,

    At the Supper we feast on human flesh and blood of a divine person. Some partake believing, in thanksgiving.

    Sean seems to think he’s partaking of human flesh and blood offered up by a human person. Big difference I would think.

  55. Steve M Says:

    Ron
    If we are feasting on the blood and body of a non-corporeal being, then was the resurrection spiritual rather than bodily as well? ,

  56. Sean Gerety Says:

    Bringing James into this only muddies the waters.

    Not at all. When it comes to the Chalcedon definition he is spot on. I think he failed in his analysis of the Athanasian creed and Trinitarian orthodoxy. Actually, I completely concur with his conclusion regarding the definition of Chalcdon and that to remain completely orthodox in Christology you must, by force of logic, embrace a contradiction, even if it is only, as Vantillians say, “apparent” and “not real.” The one way out, and the one that Anderson even admits resolves the paradox is Morris’ two-mind theory of the Incarnation. But, this too is rejected because while there may be enough wiggle room in the language of creed to allow for two minds (after all Christ “according to his human nature” had a “rational soul”), and something similar to Morris’ view “was favoured by Antiochene school of christology,” “it makes no sense to speak of *one* person with *two* distinct consciousnesses (in the sense that each consciousness might in principle be ascribed to a different person than the other).”

    I’ve showed several times that if we define person as having at least one will, etc., then there is no contradiction. You can’t wrap your mind around Christ having two natures as a single person but that in itself is not an adequate argument against the definition that’s before you.

    You haven’t shown anything Ron and the fact that Jesus had two wills only necessitates two minds, which is something I demonstrated simply by providing a definition for “will” that you failed to provide. But, beyond that a will isn’t a “nature” and you haven’t even begun to show how the omniscient Second Person can be ignorant of anything “according to His human nature.” Yet, Jesus was ignorant of some things including the time and date of His return. What is it about this human nature of ours that causes ignorance in the Second Person of the Trinity? That is a mystery.

    Aside from not performing an analytic-rejoinder, you’ve yet to disclose what this human person is like or how he can even be a person given that his uninstantiated essence requires that he be assumed into union with God.

    You haven’t been following then. For one thing, and as I just mentioned, this human person was ignorant of some things. There seems to be many things that theologians routinely attribute to Christ’s “human nature” that cannot be so attributed to His divine nature, or, more properly, to the Second Person (because the Second Person is an actual “person” and not just a nature).

    The problem, as I see it, lies in how you define person. FWIW I like Clark’s definition with perhaps the one expansion that a person is the propositions he thinks and who can think rationally. Although, I’m also happy with Roger’s definition and a “person” is a “unique individual self-conscious subject that … thinks various propositions in concurrence with that nature (whether that nature be divine, angelic, or human).” Obviously not a definition that helped his cause, because as Steve M points out, then how can someone with two natures be one person?

    Anyway, this has been fun. You really should read Clark on the Incarnation some day. Maybe you’ll walk away damning him to hell as Roger has, but then you might see he makes some important points.

  57. Ron Says:

    Steve M.,

    My question was pretty straight forward. It sounds to me that you feast upon the body and blood of human person. Accordingly, when Jesus said “this is my body” it was not the divine person speaking.

    Sean,

    You’ve ignored all I’ve said. You can’t affirm question 40 of the WLC.

    You need my prayers, not my polemic.

  58. Ron Says:

    a person is the propositions he thinks

    But Sean,wouldn’t this mean that a person is the propositions that “the propositions he thinks” thinks?

    Moreover, although we say might say in colloquial terms that “I’m not the person I used to be,” certainly we agree that in discussions like these that persons do not change. I am the same person that was born the fourth son of my mother. So, with that in mind, how is that an adequate definition of person given that what I think changes? A human person, though mutable, does not change in who he is lest none of are responsible for what we’ve done.

    Again though, who is “this human person was ignorant of some things.” And while we’re at it, what was done at the incarnation that couldn’t have been done through the word of the prophets and a sinless second Adam born of a virgin? What does it mean after all that Word became flesh? Who atoned for your sins, a human person? The implications of this view is indeed staggering.

  59. Sean Gerety Says:

    Who atoned for your sins, a human person? The implications of this view is indeed staggering.

    Some say, “It was the second person of the Trinity Who died.” That would be a mutation within the very being of God, because when we look at the Trinity we say that the three are one in essence, and that though there are personal distinctions among the persons of the Godhead, those distinctions are not essential in the sense that they are differences in being. Death is something that would involve a change in one’s being. – R.C. Sproul.

    Staggering indeed.

  60. Ron Says:

    Sean,

    Sproul’s issue is not with who was on the cross atoning for the sins of the elect but what it means for a divine person to “die.” But, forget Sproul for a moment. It would seem that you reject Q&A 40 of WLC, which Sproul does not.

  61. Sean Gerety Says:

    Ron, you really don’t understand what Sproul is saying do you. Here, I’ll make it simple for you, the Second Person didn’t die on the cross. Actually, no person at all died for your sins Ron. According to Sproul, “The atonement was made by the human nature of Christ . . .death is something that is experienced only by the human nature, because the divine nature isn’t capable of experiencing death.” An abstraction died for your sins Ron, not a person.

  62. Sean Gerety Says:

    Anyway, I can see by your last half dozen or so responses that your ears are closed and you are incapable of actually interacting with anything that is being said at this point. So, I’m out.

  63. James Says:

    Sean –

    great job – I deeply appreciate your defense of Clark here.

    as a small aside, I came to think of the one-person theory as being forced to commit *formal* apollinarianism: Christ could not be a human person because there was something lacking in him which only the Divine Logos could supply. Apollinaris himself said Mind/soul. Hodge said Ego (self conscious subject) Others say he lacked personal subsistence. But of course none of these are lacking in me or you…so we are human persons but he is not.

    But all this means is that, in a very significant way, Christ is *not* like me in all things excepting sin. But, on the contrary, If indeed Christ is like me in all things, excepting sin, then if I am a human person (and since it’s no sin to be a human person) then he must be a human person as well.

    Thanks, keep up the good work!

  64. Ron Says:

    An abstraction died for your sins Ron, not a person.

    Wow, can such a man be saved? May God’s grace overcome such a confession.

  65. Steve M Says:

    “Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul”

    Christ the Son of God (the Second Person of the Trinity) became man by” taking to himself” two things: a true body and a reasonable soul. It was this true body (which contained true blood) that was given for us and this reasonable soul that died. This reasonable soul was a human soul. It was the human soul that the Second person of the Trinity “took to himself”.

    The Bible uses soul, mind, heart, and spirit interchangeably. Calvin and Edwards both wrote of two faculties of the soul. Intellect (that which understands) and will (that which chooses).

    Calvin:
    Moreover, it will be seen in another place (Book 2 c. 2 see. 12-26), how surely the intellect governs the will. Here we only wish to observe, that the soul does not possess any faculty, which may not be duly referred to one or other of these members (i.e. the intellect and the will).

    8. Therefore, God has provided the soul of man with intellect, by which he might discern good from evil, just from unjust, and might know what to follow or to shun, reason going before with her lamp; whence philosophers, in reference to her directing power, have called her τὸ ἑγεμονικὸν. To this he has joined will, to which choice belongs.

    John Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion Book 1, Chapter 15, sections 7 and 8

    Jonathan Edwards:
    1. It may be inquired, what the affections of the mind are?
    I answer: The affections are no other than the more vigorous and sensible exercises of the inclination and will of the soul.
    God has endued the soul with two faculties: one is that by which it is capable of perception and speculation, or by which it discerns, and views, and judges of things; which is called the understanding. The other faculty is that by which the soul does not merely perceive and view things, but is some way inclined with respect to the things it views or considers; either is inclined to them, or is disinclined and averse from them; or is the faculty by which the soul does not behold things, as an indifferent unaffected spectator, but either as liking or disliking, pleased or displeased, approving or rejecting. This faculty is called by various names; it is sometimes called the inclination: and, as it has respect to the actions that are determined and governed by it, is called the will: and the mind, with regard to the exercises of this faculty, is often called the heart.

    Jonathan Edwards Treatise on Religious Affections

    To acknowledge two wills for Christ but to deny that one of these wills was governed by the reasonable soul that the Son of God took to himself when He became man is absurd. The idea that this reasonable soul was not a mind (a human mind) that governed a will (a human will) is just as absurd. I can’t fathom the idea that when Calvin and Edwards refer to a soul that they mean something other than a person.

  66. Roger Says:

    “An abstraction died for your sins Ron, not a person.”

    Wow, can such a man be saved? May God’s grace overcome such a confession.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, Ron, this is the position that Sean claims that R.C. Sproul espouses (I’m not sure if the quote is accurate or whether it was further clarified by Sproul or not). Sean himself indeed posits that a “person” died for our sins – a mere human person who is forever distinct from the divine person of the Logos. Thus there’s no real “Incarnation” in Sean’s view. The divine Person of the Logos never actually “became flesh” (John 1:14) and died for our sins in His human nature, in direct opposition to the clear testimony of Scripture:

    “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen” (Revelation 1:17-18)

    No matter how he tries to wiggle out of it, this amounts to the heresy of Nestorianism.

  67. Sean Gerety Says:

    As I’m sure you’re aware, Ron, this is the position that Sean claims that R.C. Sproul espouses (I’m not sure if the quote is accurate or whether it was further clarified by Sproul or not). Sean himself indeed posits that a “person” died for our sins – a mere human person who is forever distinct from the divine person of the Logos.

    I realize you’re desperate Roger, but that is no excuse for lying and accusing me of a position I don’t hold if only to bolster your own self-contradictory nonsense. Not very sporting. I have absolutely nowhere posited a human person (“mere” is just a weasel word) “who is forever distinct from the divine person of the Logos.” There is but one Christ in whom are all the treasurers of wisdom and knowledge. I see no more difficulty in reconciling the idea of two persons and one Christ than I do with three persons and one God; provided one has a clear understanding of what a person is and consistently applies it. You haven’t done this. You really need to study Clark’s monograph since you obviously have no idea what his position is.

    Thus there’s no real “Incarnation” in Sean’s view. The divine Person of the Logos never actually “became flesh” (John 1:14) and died for our sins in His human nature, in direct opposition to the clear testimony of Scripture:

    “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen” (Revelation 1:17-18)

    Where have I denied any of these things? It’s you who deny Jesus became flesh because you deny he was a human being. In your Christ there is no human at all only a abstract “nature.” In your materialism flesh is just a physical body which the Second Person wore like an overcoat. In your view the Second Person suffered and died and it is you who are guilty of the heresy of theopassianism. In your contradictory christology someone (or better some thing) can have a “rational soul” yet not be a human person. To you a “person” is a “unique individual self-conscious subject that … thinks various propositions in concurrence with that nature (whether that nature be divine, angelic, or human)” which is a complete denial of your stated position that Christ is one person with two natures. You have contradicted yourself and now instead of admitting your error you make up lies in an attempt to impugn me. Given your arguments so far I would say your response above is par for the course.

  68. Steve M Says:

    Sean
    I once asked on a Van Tilian forum where Clark’s view of the incarnation had been disparaged: If God is one person and three persons, why can’t Christ be one person and two persons? I never did get a response to that question.
    I hold neither the view that the Godhead is one person and three persons nor the view that Christ is both one person and two persons, but I wondered how a Van Tilian could criticize such a view. I am still wondering.
    I, like you, am trying to understand how one can hold that “someone (or better some thing) can have a “rational soul” yet not be a human person.”
    It seems to me that those who disparage Clark’s view of the incarnation first throw out his definition of person and apply their own to Clark’s position. They are then no longer criticizing Clark’s position, because his definition of person is a necessary ingredient in his formulation. What they are criticizing is something they, themselves have concocted.

  69. Sean Gerety Says:

    Steve, FWIW Clark was certainly open to others coming up with their own definitions. Anything is an improvement over reciting non-sense for generations because the terms make no sense. It makes no sense to say that Jesus was true man with a rational soul and not be a human person. But, as Clark points out, and it seems lost on some people here, anything is an improvement as neither Nestorius nor his opponents had any idea what a person is! Frankly, I’m happy with Roger’s definition and I would like to work in the the idea of rationality if only for completeness.

    But to your question, Vantillians generally don’t think VT really meant what he wrote. As you know, they try and nuance his position to the point where he really didn’t mean that God is one person (it’s fun to watch). I suppose they could do the same gymnastics with two person/one person. Other Vantillians, like R.S. Clark, simply say VT was wrong and he doesn’t mince words, but then he affirms insoluble paradoxes parading as contradictions in other places that are easier to defend. I just happen to believe that James Anderson is correct when it comes to the Chalcedon definition and that it is hopeless and irredeemably contradictory. For Vantillians like Anderson this is a brilliant move and would seem to justify their entire contradictory view of Scripture and the many biblical truths they say cannot be resolved at the bar of human reason. Of course, any attempt to resolve seemingly contradictory truths at the bar of human reason is to commit the sin of “rationalism” (which is not yet a “heresy” but I’m sure they’re working on it). I mean, just the fact that I am not happy with Anderson’s absolutely spot on analysis of the creed proves I must be a “rationalist.”

  70. Steve M Says:

    I strive to be and hope I am rational, but I fervently deny that I am a rationalist.

  71. Sean Gerety Says:

    Try and you might, Vantillians can’t tell the difference.

  72. justbybelief Says:

    Rhetorical question:

    When the second ‘person’ of the Trinity assumes a human body and soul, does He cease to be the second ‘person’ of the Trinity?

  73. Steve M Says:

    JBB
    No.

  74. Roger Says:

    I have absolutely nowhere posited a human person (“mere” is just a weasel word) “who is forever distinct from the divine person of the Logos.”

    That’s the necessary implication of your two-person Christology, Sean. You wrote:

    “Further, no one denies there is but one Christ, but to quote Charlie; ‘Christ is a genuinely human person and He is united with the divine person of the Logos.’”

    Now, if this doesn’t mean that the “genuinely human person” of Christ remains forever distinct from the “divine person of the Logos” in this undefined and nebulous “union,” then what does it mean? Does your so-called “one Christ” consists of a divine person with a divine nature and a distinct human person with a human nature or not?

    Further, you’ve made it quite clear that you reject the orthodox position that the divine person of the Logos experienced suffering and death on the cross in His assumed human nature. Therefore, under your view, the only person who could have experienced suffering and death on the cross was this distinct human person that you claim exists in your so-called “one Christ.” So my use of “mere” wasn’t a weasel word at all, and I’m hardly lying or accusing you of a position that you don’t hold.

    There is but one Christ in whom are all the treasurers of wisdom and knowledge. I see no more difficulty in reconciling the idea of two persons and one Christ than I do with three persons and one God; provided one has a clear understanding of what a person is and consistently applies it.

    The “three persons” of the Trinity are unified by equally sharing in the one divine nature. But under your “two-person” view of the Incarnation, the divine and human persons are not unified by equally sharing in the same nature, but rather have two distinct natures; nor are these divine and human natures hypostatically unified in the one person of the Logos, but are rather possessed by two distinct persons. So you certainly do have a problem “in reconciling the idea of two persons and one Christ.” In what manner are two distinct persons with two distinct natures unified in any real ontological sense? And how can the human person in your so-called “one Christ” possess “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” something that only an omniscient divine person can do?

    Where have I denied any of these things?

    Get serious. In your view, the human nature of Christ belongs solely to a distinct human person. Therefore, in your view, the divine person of the Logos never actually “became flesh” (John 1:14) and died for our sins on the cross – for “He” (the divine person) doesn’t possess a human nature that could in fact perish. Yet Scripture plainly declares:

    “I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen” (Revelation 1:17-18)

    In this passage, the same personal subject (“I”) who is “the First and the Last” (i.e., the eternal person of the Logos) “was dead” and is now “alive forevermore,” precisely what you deny is possible! The straightforward text of Scripture refutes you. The eternal person of the Logos experienced suffering and death for our sins in His human nature.

    In your view the Second Person suffered and died and it is you who are guilty of the heresy of theopassianism.

    You obviously don’t understand what the heresy of theopassionism is – the notion that the divine nature itself suffered or that the eternal person of the Logos experienced suffering and death in His divine nature, both of which I’ve never claimed. As far as my claim that the eternal person of the Logos experienced suffering and death for our sins in relation to His human nature is concerned, that is orthodox theology, affirmed by The Second Council of Constantinople:

    “If anyone shall say that the wonder-working Word of God is one [Person] and the Christ that suffered another; or shall say that God the Word was with the woman-born Christ, or was in him as one person in another, but that he was not one and the same our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, incarnate and made man, and that his miracles and the sufferings which of his own will he endured in the flesh were not of the same [Person]: let him be anathema.” (The Second Council of Constantinople, Sect. III)

    So which orthodox creed do you suppose that I’m running afoul of? On the other hand, your two-person heresy is condemned by Chalcedon and Constantinople and all of the Reformed Creeds! I suppose the entire body of orthodox believers have gotten it wrong over the past fifteen hundred years, and only Sean and his few followers have finally gotten it right!

  75. justbybelief Says:

    Rhetorical question:

    When the second ‘person’ of the Trinity assumed a human body and soul, was there then (and is there now), a new person so that the second person of the Trinity is no longer as He was (nor will He ever be)? That is, did this union cause the second person of the Trinity to change in any substantial way? Is He a different person (or non-person) than he was before? Was His person subsumed into this ‘new’ person.

  76. Steve M Says:

    Roger
    I asked:
    “If a person subsists or inheres within a particular nature, how can someone with two natures be one person?”
    No answer from you.

    You now write:
    “The “three persons” of the Trinity are unified by equally sharing in the one divine nature.”
    What you’re saying about the three persons of the Trinity does not comport with your previous definition of “person”. It is quite confusing.

  77. Sean Gerety Says:

    Now, if this doesn’t mean that the “genuinely human person” of Christ remains forever distinct from the “divine person of the Logos” in this undefined and nebulous “union,” then what does it mean? Does your so-called “one Christ” consists of a divine person with a divine nature and a distinct human person with a human nature or not?

    The word “distinct” means that something is readily distinguishable and I don’t see that as being case with the God-Man, Jesus Christ. There are certainly things that can only be attributed to his “human nature” and visa versa, but there are things Jesus said and did that can’t seem to be attributed to either. In much of Scripture we simply can’t distinguish one from the other; which makes sense as there is only one Christ who is both truly man and truly God. This is true regardless if you hold to two persons or two natures. Only in your case, Jesus is not a real man at all. The main advantage of Clark’s theory is that he defines his terms and most importantly defines a person in terms of the propositions he thinks (for as a man thinketh in his metaphorical heart so is he). In Clark’s theory there is a divine mind/person that actually takes on to Himself a human mind/person. Consequently, there isn’t always a one to one relationship between the two, which accounts for Jesus’ ignorance of some things and why we attribute other things to His divinity like impassibility and immutability and things like suffering and death to his humanity .

    Frankly, I think Clark would have very much appreciated Morris’ The Logic of God Incarnate. Remember, for Clark a person is the content of their mind or soul (not their body). A person is not defined by their “nature,” whatever that might mean. Further, only a two mind theory overcomes the contradictions of the creedal definition, contradictions you embrace, defend and assert.

    Further, you’ve made it quite clear that you reject the orthodox position that the divine person of the Logos experienced suffering and death on the cross in His assumed human nature.

    But that isn’t the orthodox position at all. The Second person cannot suffer or die. I know Ron thinks Jesus was only God in a body and that death means nothing more that the separation of the soul from the body, but in Scripture death is considerably more including separation from God. Clearly the Second Person cannot be separated from the other members of the Godhead, yet Jesus was forsaken on the cross. For you, at best, it was an abstract human nature that was forsaken, not a person (unless along with your other errors you believe there was a temporary rift among the persons of the Godhead).

    As to the question of suffering, Calvin said; “Our Lord came forth very man, adopted the person of Adam, and assumed his name – so that He might in his stead obey the Father; so that He might present our flesh as the price of satisfaction to the just judgment of God…. As God only, He could not suffer; and as man only, could not overcome death.”

    Therefore, under your view, the only person who could have experienced suffering and death on the cross was this distinct human person that you claim exists in your so-called “one Christ.” So my use of “mere” wasn’t a weasel word at all, and I’m hardly lying or accusing you of a position that you don’t hold.

    No, it was a weasel word and there is NO Reformed, orthodox, creed that says the Second Person suffered and died. They say that Christ “in his human nature” suffered and died, but since the only person in the hypostatic union is the Second Person who cannot suffer and die the only option left is that it was a nature that suffered and died and it was a human nature in the abstract who cried to the Father, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me.”

    The “three persons” of the Trinity are unified by equally sharing in the one divine nature. But under your “two-person” view of the Incarnation, the divine and human persons are not unified by equally sharing in the same nature, but rather have two distinct natures; nor are these divine and human natures hypostatically unified in the one person of the Logos,

    You are confusing persons as defined as a collection of propositions with “natures.” Further, it makes no sense to say that the divine and human natures are hypostatically unified in the one person of the Logos. The one person of the Logos is not ignorant of anything and natures don’t think. Rather I think Morris’ description is aptly applied to Clark’s theory, in fact the following closely mirrors Clark’s theory almost exactly:

    “There is first what we can call the eternal mind of God the Son with its distinctively divine consciousness . . . encompassing the full scope of omniscience. And in addition there is a distinctly earthy consciousness that came into existence and grew and developed as the boy Jesus grew and developed. It drew its visual imagery from what the eyes of Jesus saw, and its concepts from the languages he learned. The earthy range of consciousness, and self-consciousness, was thoroughly human, Jewish, and first-century Palestinian in nature.

    We can view the two ranges of consciousness (and, analogously, the two noetic structures encompassing them) as follows: The divine mind of God the Son contained, but was not contained by, his earthly mind, or range of consciousness. That is to say, there was what can be called an asymmetric accessing relation between the two minds . . . The divine mind had full and direct access to the earthly, human experience resulting from the Incarnation, but the earthly consciousness did not have such full and direct access to the content of the overarching omniscience proper to the Logos, but only such access, on occasion, as the divine mind allowed it to have. There thus was a metaphysical and personal depth to the man Jesus lacking in the case of every individual who is merely human” (The Logic of God Incarnate, 102, 103).

    Get serious. In your view, the human nature of Christ belongs solely to a distinct human person. Therefore, in your view, the divine person of the Logos never actually “became flesh” (John 1:14) and died for our sins on the cross

    God cannot die (1 Tim 6:14-16 and 16:6), consequently the Logos did not die.

    In your view the Second Person suffered and died and it is you who are guilty of the heresy of theopassianism.
    You obviously don’t understand what the heresy of theopassionism is – the notion that the divine nature itself suffered or that the eternal person of the Logos experienced suffering and death in His divine nature, both of which I’ve never claimed.

    What you don’t understand is that abstract natures can’t suffer or die either. Souls or persons suffer and die. Bodies don’t suffer at all. Further, you just said above “the divine person of the Logos … died for our sins on the cross.” For you God dies.

  78. Ron Says:

    Death entails the body being separated from the soul. Why can’t the the eternal Word be separated from the body that was assumed at the incarnation?

    The reason you don’t see this, Sean, is you’re thinking in terms of annihilation I suppose. In any case, there is nothing contrary in the divine second Person being separated from His body, which is the essence of death.

  79. Sean Gerety Says:

    I’m not thinking in terms of annihilation Ron, I’m thinking in terms of the curse. Death isn’t just separation from the body, it’s the judgment and penalty for sin. Read Genesis.

  80. Ron Says:

    Yup, and that’s the work of the cross, payment for sin.

  81. Roger Says:

    The word “distinct” means that something is readily distinguishable and I don’t see that as being case with the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

    If the human and divine persons in your anti-incarnational heresy don’t remain “readily distinguishable,” then who in fact experienced suffering and death on the cross in your view? You’ve said over and over again that an abstract human nature can’t suffer (which is correct), and you absolutely reject the notion that the divine person of the Logos experienced suffering and death in His assumed human nature (which is false and heretical). Therefore, unless you’re now claiming that the divine and human persons morphed into a new type of “hybrid-person,” the only person who could have experienced suffering and death on the cross in your view was the distinct human person that you claim exists in your so-called “one Christ.”

    There are certainly things that can only be attributed to his “human nature” and visa versa, but there are things Jesus said and did that can’t seem to be attributed to either. In much of Scripture we simply can’t distinguish one from the other; which makes sense as there is only one Christ who is both truly man and truly God. This is true regardless if you hold to two persons or two natures.

    Everything that Christ did, whether in relation to His divine nature or in relation to His human nature, is attributed to the one divine person of the Logos:

    “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.” (WCF 8.7)

    By the way, that which is “attributed to the person” (i.e., the one divine person of the Logos) includes His suffering and death in His assumed human nature, so once again you are in direct opposition to Scripture, the Ecumenical Creeds, and the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    Only in your case, Jesus is not a real man at all.

    Of course Jesus is a “real man” in my (i.e., the orthodox) view, since a real man is a person who possesses the full set of human attributes, which the divine person of the Logos in fact assumed into union with Himself when He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

    But that isn’t the orthodox position at all. The Second person cannot suffer or die.

    Of course that’s the orthodox position, which is why I directly quoted from the Second Council of Constantinople in order to prove my point:

    “If anyone shall say that the wonder-working Word of God is one [Person] and the Christ that suffered another; or shall say that God the Word was with the woman-born Christ, or was in him as one person in another, but that he was not one and the same our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, incarnate and made man, and that his miracles and the sufferings which of his own will he endured in the flesh were not of the same [Person]: let him be anathema.” (The Second Council of Constantinople, Sect. III)

    What part of that is confusing to you, Sean? Or are you just being dishonest?

    Moreover, since you quoted Calvin, as if he’s in opposition to the orthodox position (which he’s most certainly not), let’s see what he truly has to say about the “unity of person” in Christ in His death for our sins:

    “But because the speech which Paul useth seemeth to be somewhat hard, we must see in what sense he saith that God purchased the Church with his blood. For nothing is more absurd than to feign or imagine God to be mortal or to have a body. But in this speech he commendeth the unity of person in Christ; for because there be distinct natures in Christ, the Scripture cloth sometimes recite that apart by itself which is proper to either. But when it setteth God before us made manifest in the flesh, it doth not separate the human nature from the Godhead. Notwithstanding, because again two natures are so united in Christ, that they make one person, that is improperly translated sometimes unto the one, which doth truly and in deed belong to the other, as in this place Paul doth attribute blood to God; because the man Jesus Christ, who shed his blood for us, was also God. This manner of speaking is caned, of the old writers, communicatio idiomatum, because the property of the one nature is applied to the other. And I said that by this means is manifestly expressed one person of Christ, lest we imagine him to be double, which Nestorius did in times past attempt [and Gerety does in the present!]; and yet for all this we must not imagine a confusion of the two natures which Eutychus went about to bring in, or which the Spanish dog, Servetus, hath at this time invented, who maketh the Godhead of Christ nothing else but a form or image of the human nature, which he dreameth to have always shined in God.” (Calvin’s Commentary, Acts 20:28)

    So, Calvin in fact agrees with the Ecumenical Creeds and the Reformed Confessions – that the sufferings and death of Christ are attributed to His “one person,” which is the divine person of the Logos incarnate.

    No, it was a weasel word and there is NO Reformed, orthodox, creed that says the Second Person suffered and died.

    You either don’t know what you’re talking about, or you’re lying.

    “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.” (WCF 8.7)

    As I said before, that which is “attributed to the person” (i.e., the one divine person of the Logos) includes His suffering and death in His assumed human nature. So, once again, you are in direct opposition to Scripture, the Ecumenical Creeds, and the Westminster Confession of Faith. Add to that the Larger Catechism:

    Q. 39. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be man?

    A. It was requisite that the Mediator should be man, that he might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities; that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.

    Q. 40. Why was it requisite that the Mediator should be God and man in one person?

    A. It was requisite that the Mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us as the works of the whole person.

    You are confusing persons as defined as a collection of propositions with “natures.”

    I’m not confusing anything at all. I’m simply pointing out that there’s no basis for any sort of genuine “union” of the divine and human persons in your anti-incarnational heresy. You can’t claim support from the model of the Trinity, as the three persons of the Trinity are unified in the one common divine nature – that is, they equally subsist in and share the attributes of the one divine nature. But that’s not the case in your two-person view of the incarnation, as there’s no common nature that the two persons equally subsist in or share the attributes of.

    Rather I think Morris’ description is aptly applied to Clark’s theory, in fact the following closely mirrors Clark’s theory almost exactly.

    You’re misrepresenting Morris’ position just as you misrepresented the position of Calvin and the Westminster Confession. Morris makes it quite clear in his book that he’s defending the “traditional doctrine of the Incarnation…that Jesus of Nazareth was one and the same person as God the Son, the Second Person of the divine Trinity…one person in two natures – divine and human” (The Logic of God Incarnate, p. 13). Moreover, he clearly states that the “two minds” which he proposes properly pertain to the “two natures” of Christ (the same position that I’ve been defending here) and not to two different persons as you are implying.

    “Jesus was a being who was fully human, but he was not a created human being. He was not a being endowed with a set of personal cognitive and causal powers distinct from the cognitive and causal powers of God the Son. For Jesus was the same person as God the Son. Thus, the personal cognitive and causal powers operative in the case of Jesus’ earthly mind were just none other than the cognitive and causal powers of God the Son. The results of their operation through the human body, under the constraints proper to the conditions of a fully human existence, were just such as to give rise to a human mind, and earthly noetic structure distinct from the properly divine noetic structure involved with the unconstrained exercise of divine powers. Thus there came to be two minds, the earthly mind of God Incarnate and his distinctively divine mind, but two minds of one person, one center of causal and cognitive powers… All that I have attempted here to indicate is that it is by no means clear that the ascription of two minds to one person is any more problematic than the ascription of two natures to one person” (The Logic of God Incarnate, p. 161-162)

    As anyone can plainly see, Morris’ position doesn’t support your anti-incarnational “two-person” heresy at all.

  82. Sean Gerety Says:

    Yup, and that’s the work of the cross, payment for sin.

    Amen.

    Yet, death is more than just a separation of a soul from a body. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Besides, and the point you seem to be avoiding, is the question of whether it was somebody or some thing that was forsaken on the cross. Someone or some thing stood in our place before the judgment seat. As the piece by Francis Nigel Lee your buddy Tim linked to on your blog points out, God cannot die. To this point, and among a list of others, Lee quotes Guido de Brés:

    “The divine nature always remained united with the human, even when He lay in the grave…. We confess that He is very God and very man: very God, by His power to conquer [not to succumb to] death; and very man, so that He might die for us according to the infirmity of His flesh.”

    To this point Clark adds regarding Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34:

    “Since a rift within the eternal immutable Persons of the Trinity is absolutely impossible, Jesus is here speaking as a man. An impersonal human ‘nature’ cannot speak. Nor is there much ineligibility in supposing that the Father could forsake a ‘nature.’ Those words from Psalm 22:1 were the words of a true man, a real human being, whom the Father forsook, thus imposing the penalty of propitiation by which we are redeemed” (The Incarnation – 70,71)

  83. Sean Gerety Says:

    Of course Jesus is a “real man” in my (i.e., the orthodox) view, since a real man is a person who possesses the full set of human attributes,

    Roger, is your mind so clouded by your zeal to defend the incoherent and contradictory pronouncements of the magisterial church that you can’t even recognize the contradictions in your own position? It really is amazing as it is scary.

    If a human person is one who possesses the full set of human attributes, then it would follow that a divine person is one who possesses the full set of divine attributes. Therefore, since Jesus possesses both the full set of human attributes and the full set of divine attributes or “nature.” it follows that Jesus consists of two persons.

    Your position is self-refuting.

  84. Ron Says:

    Sean,

    Seems to me the icarnation wasn’t necessary by these calculations. In fact, it would appear there was no incarnation. An omnipresent Second Person indwelling a sinless second Adam is all you’re left with I’m afraid. The Word never became man.

  85. Sean Gerety Says:

    Ron, fwiw I think you checked out of this conversation a long time ago. If you ever want to try again in the future let me know. In the meantime, read Clark.

  86. Ron Says:

    If a human person is one who possess the full set of human attributes, then it would follow that a divine person is one who possess the full set of divine attributes. Therefore, since Jesus possess both the full set of human attributes and the full set of divine attributes or “natures.” it follows that Jesus consists of two persons.

    Sean,

    You just argued:

    p1. If human person, then human attributes

    p2. Human attributes (Jesus possesses)

    p3. Therefore, human person (is Jesus)

    Conclusion. Jesus is therefore 2 persons given that he is indisputably a divine person.

    That all x possess y does not mean that all who possess y are x. Given your understanding of induction and asserting the consequent, I’m surprised you would use this argument.

    Even if you were to argue: If human attributes, then human person, that too would be inadequate. It begs the question of whether the Second Person can have human attributes without being a human person. It dismisses the the orthodox view of the incarnation by definition, which is not the same thing as proving internal inconsistency among premises.

    As I’ve pointed out already, the contradiction you find with confessional orthodoxy is based upon a definition you impose on the discussion and then point to as axiomatic.

  87. Sean Gerety Says:

    Even if you were to argue: If human attributes, then human person, that too would be inadequate. It begs the question of whether the Second Person can have human attributes without being a human person.

    I never defined person as a collection of attributes. Roger did.

  88. Denson Dube Says:

    Roger,
    What is a “nature”?

  89. Ron Says:

    Sean,

    Then substite human attributes with human will and you have the argument you’ve put forth. Again, you’ve defined your position and then pointed to that definition to prove your position.

    As far as your critique of orthodoxy, all you’ve essentially said is that you cannot comprehend one person with two natures, therefore, it must be wrong due to how you’ve defined your position.

  90. Denson Dube Says:

    Ron,
    The “orthodox”(Chalcedon) position does not define a person and other terms. If one does not know what is meant by chief terms in the definition, how can meaning be ascribed to the “orthodox” position?
    Sean/Clark has offered his definition of a person and demonstrates that given his definition, Christ is two persons, whatever difficulties this entails. Offer an intelligible definition of nature and person and let us take it from there.

    True or genuine doxology should follow understanding, I would have thought. Your doxology cannot be distinguished from pseudo-pious mystical hunches.

  91. Sean Gerety Says:

    True or genuine doxology should follow understanding, I would have thought.

    Denson, I agree with your sentiment completely. But you and I know you are completely wrong. When it comes to the so-called “ecumenical creeds” so-called Protestants are no better than papists. Actually, I’m being kind. As Clark wrote:

    “But when a council, or a pope, or a theologian uses the terms nature, person, substance, and sits back with a dogmatic sense of satisfaction, it reminds me of a football team that claims a touchdown while the football is still on the thirteenth or thirtieth yard. But football teams are not usually that blind.”

  92. James Says:

    “all you’ve essentially said is that you cannot comprehend one person with two natures,”

    Umm… I think what Sean cannot “comprehend” is one person with two natures in that it entails attaching contradictory properties to one and the same subject at the same time. Some repeatedly demand that as we consider the subject, we only focus on one set of the contradictory properties at a time (person qua divine, person qua human) as if that somehow resolves the contradiction. Which of course it doesn’t.

    “Death entails the body being separated from the soul…..In any case, there is nothing contrary in the divine second Person being separated from His body, which is the essence of death.”

    this completely misses the fact that the human soul also separated from the body – so now we have two deaths? Laughable.

  93. Ron Says:

    this completely misses the fact that the human soul also separated from the body – so now we have two deaths? Laughable.

    James,

    Sean can’t grasp how the second person could die, just he as will not accept that the Word became man. All of which leads to heretical implications, like not knowing whose body and blood he is to feast upon.

    Regarding your post, like Sean you’ve pointed to your definition to prove your point. There wouldn’t be two deaths if the person who died also had a human soul. Rather than engage with that premise you simply assert an implication of your own position.

    It gets a bit tedious to point out fallacies, like Sean asserting the consequent, without any adequate responses to such observations. In Scripture we find that God became man and that from thence forward He is referred to as a single entity.

    In any case, Sean has resorted to dodging and insults rather than dealing with specifics so I’m done.

  94. Roger Says:

    Sean,
    Seems to me the icarnation wasn’t necessary by these calculations. In fact, it would appear there was no incarnation. An omnipresent Second Person indwelling a sinless second Adam is all you’re left with I’m afraid. The Word never became man.

    Bingo! It’s a full-blown anti-incarnational heresy of the first order, and essentially the same error as historic Nestorianism!

  95. Roger Says:

    Roger, is your mind so clouded by your zeal to defend the incoherent and contradictory pronouncements of the magisterial church that you can’t even recognize the contradictions in your own position? It really is amazing as it is scary.

    Sean, as Ron has already pointed out, “that all x possess y does not mean that all who possess y are x.” To use your own words: “It really is amazing as it is scary” that someone who so prides himself on being rational would attempt to slander me with such blatant irrationalism.

    If a human person is one who possesses the full set of human attributes, then it would follow that a divine person is one who possesses the full set of divine attributes. Therefore, since Jesus possesses both the full set of human attributes and the full set of divine attributes or “nature.” it follows that Jesus consists of two persons. Your position is self-refuting.

    But that wasn’t my argument, as anyone who’s been paying attention can plainly see. What I wrote was…

    Of course Jesus is a “real man” in my (i.e., the orthodox) view, since a real man is a person who possesses the full set of human attributes, which the divine person of the Logos in fact assumed into union with Himself when He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

    There’s nothing contradictory about that, as the term “real man” refers to one’s human “nature” and not to one’s unique “personhood” per se. And since the divine person of the Logos assumed a complete human “nature” in the Incarnation, the divine person of the Logos is in fact a “real man.”

    Moreover, as I pointed out before, because of the communicatio idiomatum, human properties can be rightly attributed to the one person of the Logos. Properly speaking, the “person” of the Logos is divine, since He eternally subsists in the divine nature. Yet, there’s a sense in which the “person” of the Logos can also be called human, since He has assumed a human mode of subsisting in the Incarnation as well. For anyone who’s interested, here’s an excellent article on this very subject that’s well worth reading.

    A Compound Person and Complex Questions

  96. Ron Says:

    Yes, the divine nature is the Second Person’s eternal and fundamental substance. He is a person because of his rational nature. He is not fundamentally human, for His human nature is contingent upon incarnation-instantiation. There is no eternal uninstantiated human essence of Christ apart from the personality of the Word. Unlike us, this alleged human person is not independent from another person with respect to being an object of isolated predication. He defies personhood.

    Humanity is not an essential property of the Son but now a property just the same and can be predicated of the Son. The eternal Word became man. The same person could say “I am” and “I thirst.” He (singular) could look forward to returning to the Father while agonizing the cross. No contradictions.

  97. Sean Gerety Says:

    a real man is a person who possesses the full set of human attributes

    Not sure why you keep repeating this, although it seems you and Ron have now completely abandoned all reason.

    If a “human person” is one who possesses the full set of human attributes. Similarly, a “divine person” is one who possesses the full set of divine attributes. And, the Lord Jesus Christ is one who possesses the full set of human attributes and the full set of divine attributes. Therefore, it follows necessarily that Jesus was two persons. Not one person.

    What you don’t seem to get, or just blindly refuse to get in rejection of all logic (not to mention basic addition), is that you’re stuck with one person with two mutually exclusive and contradictory set of attributes no matter how you try and finesse it. Besides, for Ron now the man Jesus wasn’t even “fundamentally human.” You men are even blinder than Clark’s proverbial football team.

    Anyway, since this discussion hasn’t been progressing — at all — and we’re all just repeating ourselves, I’ll give you the last word then I’m closing the comments. Be as mean and vitriolic as you want (I recommend using word heretic a lot and make sure you use all caps). :)

    Actually, anyone else wanting to make a parting shot now is your chance.

  98. Steve M Says:

    Ron to James:
    “Regarding your post, like Sean you’ve pointed to your definition to prove your point.”

    I don’t understand what Ron’s point is, but I will point to Roger’s definition to prove a point.

    Roger: ” A “person” is a unique individual self-conscious subject that subsists or inheres within a particular nature, and thinks various propositions in concurrence with that nature (whether that nature be divine, angelic, or human).”

    This definition allows for the Trinity (three persons subsisting or inhering within a particular (one) nature, but it does not allow for a (one) person subsisting or inhering in more than “a particular” (one) nature.

    Sean has made other good points in this discussion, but this one point shows that he has supplied a definition of a person consistent which his view and Roger has not. I don’t believe that Ron has supplied a definition of “person” or, if he did, I missed it.. To declare Christ to be one person with no definition of what is meant by person is not to say much.

  99. Roger Says:

    In closing, I’ll simply say that all true Christians must reject this type of “two-person” heresy that started with Nestorius and is being shamefully promoted on this blog, and remain in accord with “the common assertion of the whole church, holding opinion according to scripture.” Bullinger, the great Reformer, sums the matter up well:

    “Nestorius, willing to avoid a coal-pit, fell into a lime-kiln. For he, confessing two natures, seemeth to affirm that there are so many persons, teaching that the Word is not united to the flesh into the selfsame person, but that it only dwelleth therein: whereupon he also forbade the holy virgin to be called God’s mother. Against whome the common assertion of the whole church, holding opinion according to scripture, hath taught that two natures in Christ and tho the properties of those natures are to be confessed; which are so coupled together nto one undivided person, that neither the divine nature is changed into the human, nor the human into the divine, but either of them retain or keep their own nature, and both of them subsist in the unity of person. For Christ, according to the disposition of his divine nature is one and the selfsame, immortal: according to the disposition of his human nature, mortal: and the selfsame immortal God and mortal man is the only Savior of the world… For one person is God and man, and both of them is one Jesus Christ.” (Heinrich Bullinger, Decades, 4th Decade, 6th Sermon, vol. 3, 261, 264)

  100. Roger Says:

    This definition allows for the Trinity (three persons subsisting or inhering within a particular (one) nature, but it does not allow for a (one) person subsisting or inhering in more than “a particular” (one) nature.

    Obviously the Incarnation creates an unique circumstance for the general definition that I gave. Since the divine nature of the incarnate Christ is “a particular nature” and the human nature of the incarnate Christ is “a particular nature,” the divine person of the Logos “subsists” in both particular natures simultaneously. I thought that basic distinction would be pretty easy for most people to see. My bad…

  101. Steve M Says:

    “a particular” means two?. Nothing contradictory there?

    Roger:now: ” A “person” is a unique individual self-conscious subject that subsists or inheres within one or any number of nature(s), and thinks various propositions in concurrence with that or those nature(s) (whether that or those nature(s) be divine, angelic, or human).”

    That certainly clears things up.


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